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Friday, May 30, 2008

Red Thunder by John Varley


I picked this up for the Husband when we went to Vegas. I knew we would have some downtime in the airports and on the plane itself. He buzzed through it and said it was a good read so I put it on my pile.

I...didn't think it was such a good read. It was okay, but I found myself wanting to put it down and not pick it back up. Premise of the story is a group of kids (Alica, Dak, Kelly and Manny) find a washed up drunken guy (literally - they drove over him on the beach) and over the subsequent days they discover he is a astronaut who's seen better days. Travis is living with his cousin, Jubal, who happens to be a genius and would have moved on to lofty achievements if his father hadn't smashed his head smashed.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are headed for Mars and a US contingent is not far behind. Jubal decides that the Americans must be on Mars first, except, Jubal also figures out the US ship has a design flaw and they will either blow up or miss Mars and fly off into the solar system. This is when the six of them find out that Jubal has discovered a new and innovative source of power that could take them to Mars and back. So with Kelly's inheritance and Jubal's patent monies they decide to build a manned rocket in three months.

While better than Titan (ugh) but not as solid as Steel Beach, I struggled with the simplicity of this one. The Husband felt it was a good book, if not a bit childish. I found the story implausible in that six people (more after they bring in Travis's family, so 8 people) could build an - untested - space worthy vehicle in less than 6 months. One that contained a freezer, microwave and a place to play monopoly throughout the voyage.

I think this book would have been better marketed toward pre-teens, except for all the references to sex. I probably won't be reading Red Lightening, the next book in the series.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Recipe Review from 4/19/08

Boy, where do the weekends go? Mother's Day weekend we were out and about, the following weekend the Husband went to the western side of the state for some turkey hunting, then I headed up to Grand Marias for a long camping and hiking weekend.

One follow up before I move into new recipes. The Milk and Honey Sourdough Bread (Ckng Lght BB)that I reviewed last week turned out excellent! A request was made to make this one again. Easily enough done!


Spinach and Feta Turnovers (Culinary in the Desert Blog from Everyday Foods) 3.0
Joe's description of this and the pictures looked fabulous. However, it just didn't grab our fancy once made. The Husband found the turnovers "bitter" and I thought they were wanting for some kind of sauce. I will confess that I was short one box of feta cheese, and I had some ricotta I could have added but brain farted it. Still, assembly was easy enough and they baked up perfectly. I froze four for a later date which will give me time to figure out a sauce or something.

Rhubarb Sauce (Joy of Cooking, pg??) 4.0
The Husband surprised me with this one. He grew up with rhubarb sauce. We have a rhubarb plant. He decided to make said sauce and consulted the above cookbook (I think that's the one I have) for the correct ratios of sugar, water and rhubarb. Must have worked because it was darn tasty on oatmeal! I'll have to try and remember to pick up the ice cream on the way home tonight.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mesa Grill, Las Vegas, Ceasars Palace

This is the last of the Las Vegas restaurant reviews, and in my opinion, one of the best. I'll be posting my usual Monday recipe review later this week as I'm hopefully going to be off hiking on the Superior Hiking trail this Memorial Day weekend.


I have wanted to visit Bobby Flays Mesa Grill since I walked by it last year. When I peeked at the menu the first time, I thought it was going to be one of these kind of things: $$$$, but much to my delight it was well within the "common persons" price range.

Mesa Grill is located in Caesar's Palace Casino, within walking distance from our resort. It was our last day in Vegas and everyone knew I wanted to go here for at least one meal. The Folks and the Brother met us at our resort and we loaded the bags into the car after checking out. We didn't have to be to the airport until 3:00p and we all agreed lunch at Mesa was just the thing.

Well...it wasn't quite lunch as they serve brunch on Sundays, but hey, I'm eating at Mesa Grill! I'll take whatever menu they put in front of me! Oh delight of delights!

After ordering a variety of drinks that included Cactus Pear Ice Tea and some fancy margaritas, our meal started with a brunch bread basket. It was a variety of cornbreads...and...other tasty pastry things.

Then came the serious business of ordering. We settled on:
I had the NEW MEXICAN SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN SANDWICH with Grilled Red Onion, Arugula
Ancho-Chile Mayonnaise and Southwestern Fries. This was a room temp sandwich. The pork was thinly sliced and stacked nicely in the bun. The flavors were subtle, yet tangy and bright. Very good.

The Father and the Brother ordered MESA BURGER; Double Cheddar Cheese,Grilled Vidalia Onion and Horseradish Mustard on a House Roll with Southwestern Fries. This was huge and required the use of forks and knives.

The Husband had the BARBEQUED LAMB COBB SALAD with Avocado, Tomato, Cabrales Blue Cheese and Buttermilk Dressing. We swapped plates partway through - I just love sharing!

The Mother ordered the GRILLED MAHI MAHI with Roasted Pineapple-Cascabel Chile Sauce
and Caramelized Pineapple-Green Onion Salsa. She had the chili sauce on the side and I used it as dipping for my fries.


Would we eat here again? YOU BET! The waitstaff were friendly and prompt (they did ask the Husband to remove his baseball cap...I guess they do maintain a modicum of standards for a Vegas restaurant), the food was excellent, and most importantly, it was reasonably priced! We all had a blast and when I make it back down, I am going to make a beeline back to Mesa Grill!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews


This is book 4 in the Meg Langslow mystery series. I know I should be working my way through the Hugo Nominees as I get to vote on them this year, but I haven't been in the mood for Scifi this past week.

In Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon, Meg has to moved to Caerphilly to live with her boyfriend Michael. After smashing her hand with a hammer, Meg has agreed to work temporarily at her brother's computer business, Mutant Wizards. Rob thought something strange was going on at the company and asked Meg, under the pretences of working there, to find out what.

Mutant Wizards is a looney bin full of computer people and several offices of therapists, who are just as loony as the computer people. Not more than a couple days into the job, the office joker, Ted, is found dead on the mail cart, strangled with a mouse cord. The question is now, who would bump of Ted? Drop dead gorgeous Jack, who's had his ideas ripped off from Ted? The disgruntled dismissed employee who's been lurking around the building? The company's lawyer, tired of his practical jokes? From Meg's view, it could be anyone of them, except her brother of course.

Meg starts to dig into the murder because the police are going to botch the job and lock her brother up in the slammer. In the course of her investigations she learns that one employee used to be a hacker, a lurker is a spy for another company, the office veterinarian is a former PETA radical turned animal therapist and Michael bought a run down house with all it's occupants.

Fun. Fluffy. More errors in this one than I've noticed in others. And I'm wondering why everyone in Meg's life must be a nut job. Still, I'll read the next. Possibly this week even...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trattoria de Lupo, Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay

Just in case you are just tuning in, I've been working my way through the restaurants I visited in April in Vegas when I was there for K4's wedding.

I considered this one a bonus restaurant! Trattoria Del Lupo by Wolfgang Puck was the only place that would accommodate my sisters Wedding dinner with 30 guests. Even though we were "on the floor" with the other diners, the waitstaff was absolutely incredible. You didn't even notice that you were at a table with 10 other people they were so smooth and well orchestrated.

I couldn't even begin to tell you what everyone had, but I can assure you, nobody was disappointed with their meal. The evening's meal started out with drinks and we shared a bottle of Chianti with Charrisa and Chad from Phoenix - a former co-worker of my sisters.

The table was then served warm baguettes sticks - which were good if you liked sticks of dried bread - But then! came the real bread - a warmed baguette with a choice of olive tapenade or whipped butter. I will admit, the waitstaff had to bring more.

I ordered linguine with clams and the Husband thinks he had the veal marsala. The sauce on my linguine was light yet covered everything in a most satisfactory manner. The clams were a nice size and I could taste a hint of the sea with the wine notes in the background. I couldn't tell you what the Bride and Groom had as they were at a different table. What I do know is everyone was very pleased with their dish. A couple people ordered a salad, but this was one of those times when it would have just been too much food.

I would dearly love to re-visit here again.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Recipe Review from 5/18/08

Wonky schedules are preventing us from trying as many new recipes as we would like. We've been returning to recipes we made recently that were fairly quick. With that being said, I did make several new ones this past weekend.


Milk and Honey Sourdough Bread (Ckng Lght BB)
With some over the phone guidance from the Husband (he was turkey hunting and feeding "Harold" is his domain) I divided out some starter and fed Harold. I sure hope I didn't do him in.

Temps were a bit cool inside and outside the house on Sunday morning and the starter didn't look like it had done all that much overnight. But I fired up the oven with grand baking plans, ate some breakfast and by the time I got to the starter it looked much perkier. This bread assembled, rose, and baked beautifully. A pretty simple recipe too: just combine starter, scalded milk, honey, flour (ww and bread), salt and a bit of extra yeast. There are only two risings. I was supposed to roll it in oats, but I've found in the past that the oats just fall off and make a mess so I skipped that bit. Sadly, this is going in the freezer for next week as I won't be able to make bread next weekend. Is that torture or what?



Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting (Culinary in the Country via Everyday Foods)
When Joe posted this on on his blog, I knew I was going to have to make these for book group. The directions seems cumbersome, but assembly and baking go very quickly. The liquids are combined (egg yolk, oil, sugar); the dry goods are combined (flour, dutch process cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda); and the egg whites are whipped into stiff peaks and folded into the batter. This is supposed to make a tender light crumb. My disappointment was that the cakes didn't rise very high.

Meanwhile, a mixture of powdered sugar, butter and cream is beat together and and then piped into the cupcake for the "filling". A little bit is reserved for the curliques on top. Then a chocolate ganache is made and each cake dipped in that. When cool, the white piping is added. What fun! Homemade Hostess Cupcakes!

**Picture is from Joe's blog - sadly, my camera battery died just as I went to take my picture. His picture is better anyway...



Cobb Salad (Mpls Star Tribune; Thurs, Mar 27, 08) 5.0!!
OMG. This was absolutely fabulous! I loved the flavors and all the veggies with a splash of bacon and blue cheese. If you need a picnic meal, this would be it - great with some wine and crusty bread.

A vinaigrette of basil, oregano, shallots, balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil is whipped up in the food processor and set aside. The recipe called for romaine lettuce, but I used a leaf lettuce variety. I also opted out of the rotisserie chicken (the newspaper article was about using rotisserie chicken) and added baby red potatoes and artichokes. Asparagus is briefly boiled then blanched, a hard boiled egg sliced, an avocado diced and everything is arranged ever so nicely on top that bed of lettuce and sprinkled with bacon and blue cheese. I added the dressing after I had served because there is nothing worse than soggy lettuce.

I can't WAIT to have leftovers of this one!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Alliance Space by CJ Cherryh


Alliance Space is a re-printing of two of Cherry’s Alliance-Union Stories: Merchanter’s Luck and 40,000 from Gahenna. I’ve already read and reviewed 40,000 from Gahenna so I’m just going to be reviewing Merchanter’s Luck here.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a solid, interesting, space opera. Sandor is the Captian of a small merchanter ship called, at the moment, Lucy. Sandor has not had an easy life, his family killed by pirates while he watched, living on the edge of space since then, he’s known as a “marginer” because he works the margins of legal and illegal trade. Sandor gets himself in a whole universe of trouble by following the ship Dublin Again after a one night fling with Allison Reilly to Pell station - which is in Alliance Space, not Union - with a record three consecutive solo jumps. Allison, in a calculating move, convinces Dublin's Old Man to back her and four of her cousins to change ships and use Sandor as a way for the Dubliners to move into new trading space. This move also happens to save Sandor from a nasty investigation into why he is even in Alliance space.

This story is deftly woven and you are pulled along with Allison and her cousin’s desire to be at the helm of their own ship and Sandor’s downward sprial with long gone ghosts and the potential to loose Lucy. The edginess of Sandor and the ruthlessness of the Dubliner's is plausible and well written. I found this to be a very enjoyable read. I didn’t even mind the occasional odd sentence structure that characterizes Cherryh's books.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Penazzi's, Las Vegas, Harrah's

Penazzi Oyster Bar Harrah’s

It was wedding day in Vegas, and we needed a light lunch to tide us over till supper time. We didn’t want to walk to far as we still had to shower and change. We wandered across the street to the Mirage, but the restaurants that grabbed our fancy initially were only open for dinner. There was a New York Deli, but Kosher deli food didn’t grab our fancy.

We mosied back across the street and I knew of a place in Harrah’s casino that had grabbed my interest on my previous visit, but because of the squeamish factor of K4 and her allergies, we did not go there. The Husband, however, has no allergies and is not squeamish and was in fact, very intrigued. When we were in Mobile Al in 2005, we discovered we loved oysters and clams and mussels...all cooked mind you! And have recently been experimenting with making them at home.

So it was we ended up at Penazzi’s. It was a cool place - upscale, yet homey. The menu’s were the placemats. Very convenient. If you sit at the counter like we did, you can watch the chefs prepare the meals and talk to them. There are tables for a traditional sit-down meal.

For starters we ordered ½ dozen fried Malpeque oysters. Oh my god. These were huge! If you are familiar with the Japanese tempura style of cooking, this is how they were prepared. Absolutely fantastic. We then shared the Tequila Lime Shrimp with a black bean and corn salad. Again, delicious. Tangy, sweet, and cooked just right.

To conclude the meal the Husband had to try an O-shooter. Yes, an oyster shooter. He chose the Tequilia Lime shooter: a blue point oyster, tequila, jalapeno and mango. I really wish I had thought to take a picture! The whole thing comes in a 3 oz shot glass...I thought it looked alien and slimy. The gal sitting down the counter from us exclaimed out loud that it looked...slimy. The Husband decided he would take this in steps and first reduced the amount of liquid in the glass. Then he was able to toss the oyster back...except that he didn’t just let it slide down he chewed it! Lesson #1. Don’t. Chew. The. Oyster. When all was said and done, he was glad he tried it, but wouldn’t ask for seconds.

If I make it back to Vegas, and if Harrah’s is still standing (I heard they are slated for demo and re-building), I will go back here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Recipe Review from 5/5/08

Spring may be thinking about visiting us here in the Northland...I'm not sure. Mornings are still around 30*. We did have a couple of days that made it to 60* but this weekend was downright damp and cool. Makes it hard to get into the garden and the soils not warming up, but it makes it easier to curl up on the couch with a book or knitting.

So the emphasis for mealtime has still been on warm hearty foods:



Pasta with Sun-dried Tomaotes, Ricotta and Peas (Cooks Illustrated, Jan/Feb 04, pg 13) 2.5
This sounded good - shell pasta tossed with ricotta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, sauteed garlic, and some peas. Unfortunately, this was lacking in the flavor department big time. Bland, bland, bland. I thought it was perhaps just me, but when the Hubby mentioned it as he was reaching for the salt and pepper, I knew the dish had a problem. And also unfortunately for us, this made quite a bit and the leftovers were not much better. Very disappointing for a CI recipe.



Beef and Barley Soup Mix (gift from co-worker) 4.0
At Christmas time, a co-worker very generously gave out little mason jars of a soup mix. It just needed the occasion and some meat. We had a buffalo roast in the freezer and a cool damp weekend and this got made. We did some changes (can't leave a recipe alone can we?) - for starters, this ended up in the crock pot, we used a beef boullion rather than straight water, added a bottle of beer, and added carrots and onions.

This was super tasty. The meat ended up being a bit tough (more likely I have become a bit sensitive to eating beef), but the addition of the beer and beef boullion made for a hearty backdrop to the barley and lentils and seasonings. My only regret is I forgot to get mushrooms. That would have made this dish stellar. I may have to hunt this recipe down and give it away next year.



Popovers (Michael Ruhlman's Blog) 4.0
I was bouncing around the blogs I like to read on Sunday afternoon and I popped over to Michael Ruhlman's. He had a posting (which is linked above) about popovers and thier simplicity. Simple was an understatement and I knew I had to try these. I did quickly consult one of my bread baking books as a comparison, decided to add some butter to the ingredients and Wa-la! Popovers!

It's so simple I'm going to put the recipe here: 1 egg, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp salt, (1/2 tsp butter, melted). Combine well. Divide evenly between 4well buttered ramikins (muffin tins will work too). Bake at 450* for about 20-30 minutes. I got fancy and topped mine with grated parmesan cheese and a splash of paprika.

YUM! I didn't think I liked popovers but these were good! They puffed up (oddly, but they puffed), they were steamy-hot, mmmm...it was a good think I only made four otherwise I would have ate the whole lot of them.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Silver Needle Murder by Laura Childs (Tea Shop #9)


This is book 9 (unless I've miscounted) in the Indigo Tea Shop Mysteries. The Indigo Tea shop is gearing up for Charlston’s first Movie Premier and week long fundraiser event for the Charlston Historical Society. The old theater has been completely renovated and there is a full contingent of producers, directors, actors and techy people descending on the town. It’s opening night, the audience and judges are set and a director is murdered before everyone. In the coming days, Timothy Neville, chairman of the Historical Society, asks Theo to “look into things” because his granddaughter has been questioned by the police. Theo, unable to just say no, is off and snooping, getting caught up in intrigue, threats and generally going where she shouldn’t go much to the chagrin of her friends (who oddly enough, don’t do much to talk any sense into her).

The Tea Shop mysteries are pure brain candy, full of tea and wine trivia, and lots of references to historical Charlston and surrounding areas. People seem to drop dead with alarming frequency around Theo and her group, but Childs does it well, tying in the murders to events that bring people to town. Still, there are the unanswered questions at the end, bits and pieces that weren’t quite tied up nice and tidy like, that keep these books in my “fluff” category. I read these as a brain break between my more solid and stoic SF.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Diego, Las Vegas, MGM

Continuing with my restaurant review from my recent travels to Las Vegas, this was the next place which we visited that warranted a blog page. The Husband and I met up with the parents for dinner before going to see Cirque de Solils KA performance. I had seen the name of this establishment in the Las Vegas what's-where book and it intrigued me. When I found that KA and Diego were in the same casino it seemed only logical to go.

Diego is a upscale Mexican restaurant and I am going to say this was probably the best place we ate dinner. I say dinner because we had brunch at Mesa Grill, otherwise it would have been a tie!

We arrived at 5:30p and were seated immediately. Water quickly arrived and our drink order taken. The waiter showed up and ran through the specials for the evening and informed us the chips and salsa samples would soon be on the table. These were no ordinary chips or salsas. Fresh, bright, all the salsas teased the tongue.

But, we had a meal to order!

I ordered: Sea Bass a la Veracruzana
Green Olive, Caper, and Tomato Crusted Chilean Sea Bass Medallions with a Veracruz Butter

The Father had:Camaron a la Diabla
Grilled Epazote and Cilantro Marinated Gulf Shrimp with Spinach, Tomato, Corn and Fiery Red Chile Salsa and a Roasted Corn Budin

The Husband had: Cochinita Pibil
Yucatecan Style Braised Pork Marinated in Achiote and Orange, Slow Cooked in Banana Leaves with Poblano Rajas, Black Beans, Pickled Red Onions, Habanero Salsa.

The Mother was not feeling well and had tea.

Everything was delicious, very nicely plated and the perfect amount. Except the Father thought he should have had one more shrimp to make it a truly satisfying meal. I would eat here again just to order the guacamole - it's prepped right at the table to taste! How cool is that? I had a margarita on the rocks that was so tangy and smooth I honestly didn't want to ruin it with a second. And the waiter was funny, attentive, and informative - a good waiter really makes for a great dining experience and he was tops.

Diegos is a meal worth splurging for.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Return of the King by JRR Tolkien


This was technically a re-read, but since it was twenty years ago that I read it the first time I decided I could review it here. When the LotR trilogy came out in the theaters, I was reading the books after watching the theatrical release. Except for RotK. I either wasn't in the mood to read it or I just bounced off of it. After our trip to Vegas, we watched RotK again, and I decided that I was at last ready to give the book another attempt.

Do I need to summarize RotK? I think enough folks have read this - or seen the movies - to remember the basic story well enough.

Reading this book was an interesting comparision between the movie and the written word. I know amongst avid Tolkien fans that there was much resentment towards Peter Jackson and how he did the whole trilogy. Now having watched (more than several times) the theatrical version and having re-read all the books, I really must applaud Jackson for tackling such a difficult series.

I have decided Tolkien is not an easy read. He has so much history and discription woven into all of the books that you really have to be paying attention to what is going on. His writing style is very formal to the point of being almost stilted. The names of his characters all look alike and sound alike (Eowyn, Eomer, Elrond, Elindil - to mention just a few) and he has multiple names for many of them. I felt it helps if you have read the Simarillion (which is a history of the four books) to help set the stage and all the characters straight - but it is certainly not necessary.

Did Jackson "miss the point" in the final movie when compared to the books? In my opinion, no. Jackson took the whole LotR series and distilled it down to its bare bone essence. Like taking wine and making brandy. You start with something full of floral notes, fruity overtones and lingering tastes of summer and end up with, concentrated floral and fruity notes that make brandy. Something was going to be cut, changed, altered (artistic liberties going on here) and out came the movie trilogy.

So while I think the books allow a person to really dive into the world Tolkein created and the epic struggle, I feel the movies did a good job of bringing that struggle to the screen. And I would say, if a person has the patience to read Tolkien, it is a facinating comparison because really, the whole story is brilliantly conceived and written.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Recipe review from 4/28/08

Look! It's Spring!



Slower week for recipes - we went out for dinner on Saturday and I was concentrating on eating up leftovers. Plus Hubby brought home a frozen pizza one night (locally made - we like to support the local folks) so there was another meal.

Interesting...both soups this week!

Velvety Squash Soup (Ckng Lght Annual 2008, pg 342) 3.5
I had ONE squash left in the basement from last years harvest. Yes, it is so! Can you believe it? Neither can I. I thought for certain the inside would be all oogie.but it was still good. Because of it’s age, I decided soup would be the best venue and dug through my various cookbooks and found this recipe and modified it slightly. I cubed the squash and diced the onion, tossed everything with some olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted for about an hour. Meanwhile, I got the chicken broth heating up on the stove and when it came out of the oven I tossed in the pot with the red pepper, curry pepper and a couple other seasonings. In hindsight, the seasonings would have been better added during the roasting for fuller flavor. When seasonings and squash had melded, I blended everything (LOVE my immersion blender) and added some half and half. Warm soup was perfect for the chilly week of rain.



Hot and Sour Soup (Cooks Illustrated Jan/Feb 06, pg 13) 4.0
I’ve had this on the menu for about three weeks now but for one reason or another, it just never got made until now. Granted, I forgot the shitake mushrooms, but that just gives me and excuse to make it again. It’s a combination of mushrooms, tofu, thinly sliced pork, bamboo shoots all simmered in a lightly thickened chicken broth. The sour comes from a splash of balsamic and red wine vinegar and the hot is optional. I didn’t have chili oil, so I stirred in some chili garlic sauce in a bowl-by-bowl basis. Tasty, a bit of heat to warm the tongue and tummy and nicely filling. I really liked this soup and would make it again.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nine Fine Irishmen, Las Vegas, NYNY

I was going through my Las Vegas pictures when I realized I had not blogged about my dining adventures. How remiss! Dining at really good restaurants was part of the highlights of this trip. The Husband and I would eat breakfast at our resort (we had a full kitchen), lunch would be someplace on the light side or again, at our resort and dinner was the splurge.

I'll highlight some of the notables over the next couple of weeks, starting with Nine Fine Irishmen in NYNY.

This is modeled after a traditional Irish pub as one might find in NY city or perhaps even the Emerald Isle herself. This evening we met up with K2 and fiancee, her future in-laws and my folks. I suggested Nine Fine Irishmen thinking we would all be able to pick something off the menu. What I didn't realize is that it was perhaps a bit on the pricey side for some of our dining companions. But then, everything edible in Vegas is on the pricey side.

Let's see if I can remember what we all ordered:
The Husband and I shared a plate of calamari with the table, then split the Bangers and Mash.

K4 and fiancee split the potstickers (I think, I couldn't find them on the menu but I could have sworn that's what they had).

My folks split the Fish and Chips.

Fiancees folks split a burger (I think...again, it might have been Fish and Chips).

Splitting a plate is almost a given in Vegas. Not only are the meals pricey, but there is soooo much food that it would be impossible to eat it in one sitting. We found this to be especially so at the Cheesecake Factory. The portions there were just obscene. Very tasty, but huge.

Anyway, back to Nine Fine Irishmen. The food was very good. The calamari was done perfectly with two accompanying sauces that were both tangy and bright. The Bangers and Mash were well plated and delicious. The sausages not overly spicy or greasy and the baby red potatoes were perfectly mashed. We did eat outside - it would have been a bit nicer if we hadn't been in the shade in the evening with a slight wind blowing. It was a tich chilly. The service was less than stellar. We seemed to be an inconvenience to the waitress and given we were a party of 8 on what appeared to be a somewhat slow evening, she could have been a bit more attentive. She got her automatic 18% gratuity and we left it at that.

I think the Hubby and I both thought this would be a neat place to return to and dine inside.