Food Friday | My Top Local Las Vegas Restaurants

Yesterday I was chatting with a couple we just met from Toronto, Canada and of course, the subject of food came up! Now, I am no foodie, that's my friend Emily! But, I do love to go out and enjoy a good meal and lots of times, she's my go-to person for food recommendations. Anyhow, I was asked what my top 3 favorite Vegas restaurants were and at first I drew a blank! Maybe it was because I was put on the spot or maybe because I was overthinking it.  My brain started thinking of sub-categories, like on the strip or off the strip? Casual or fine dining? What kind of cuisine? Fusion? Traditional? Seriously, I went into overdrive! I did finally give them some suggestions and I thought I'd share this with you today on the blog too! So many people come to Vegas and never leave the strip! Yes, there are some very good restaurants on the strip, many owned by famous chefs from around the world. However, for this blog post, I want to share some restaurants that are off the strip! When we travel, we always look for where the locals eat. We ask for recommendations on less touristy eateries and most of the time, those are our favorites from our trip.  Next time you come to Vegas or anywhere else on your travels, be sure to try something new and local!

Here are a 4 of my favorite off the strip Las Vegas restaurants:

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Yonaka Modern Japanese  -  They are a modern tapas style restaurant, consisting of traditional Japanese ingredients fused with international flavors and inspirations. Most of their seafood is flown in from Japan. Everything we've ever had here has been amazing! I highly recommend the Omakase Tasting Course because you get to try lots of different dishes from their menu, from seasonal sushi to hot dishes and dessert.  The crispy brussels sprouts are not to be missed!

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Carson Kitchen - Located inside the re-purposed downtown mid-century John E. Carson Motel, this is a great place to enjoy some delicious American comfort food with a creative twist.  The space is small, but modern and quaint.  The bacon jam and bourbon fudge brownie are bomb!

 

Bachi Burger - They are everything you'd want and expect from a good burger, but with an Asian twist.  The portions are huge so come hungry and don't miss the oxtail chili cheese fries! Yumm

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Makers and Finders - This is a Latin cafe in the Arts District of Downtown.  They offer an extensive coffee bar and handcrafted cocktails and the food is modern spin from South/Central America foods including handmade arepas and empanadas.  The arepas benny for brunch is my favorite, with either a lavender infused latte with almond milk or a hibiscus mimosa ;) 

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There are so many other great culinary spots in this town, I had a hard time narrowing it down.  I may have to share some more faves in another post!  You'll have to try one or all of these local favorites next time you visit Las Vegas! Have you visited any of these restaurants yet? What's your favorite off the strip Vegas spot? 

 

Food Friday | Starting Whole 30

I am on day 5 of Whole 30 and let me tell ya, it's not been easy!  But, first what is Whole 30?  I'm describing it as Paleo on crack! It's very strict, ie. no dairy, no legumes, no grains, no sugar, no alcohol.  YIKES!! Yeah, I've been leading a paleo lifestyle for about 2 years now, but I've never been 100%!  I've allowed for cheat meals, I've allowed for paleo treats, such as brownies made with dates and pancakes made with coconut flour and bananas.  These treats and cheat meals have kept me sane.  They've kept me moving forward on my weight loss journey.  

Recently though, my cheat meals have turned into cheat days, heck cheat weekends, who am I kidding! And those paleo treats are now, well, just treats minus the paleo! You see where this is going, right?  I needed a paleo intervention and that's where Whole30 came in.  The hubs & I started reading the book It Starts with Food and just decided to do it, cold turkey.  No cheats.  It's just 30 days, right?  If you want to read up on all the science behind it, I recommend you get the book and check out their website

I've been feeling hungry and maybe a little hangry (hungry + angry) this past few days so I think my food intake has been kinda low. I'll be adding more veggies to my plate this coming week and hoping it helps.  I'm also going to add a mini meal in between lunch & dinner and not just a snack and see if this helps too.   I don't want to bore you guys with daily food photos (I post enough on Instagram!) But, here's a snippet of what I've been eating this week.  Most photos are with my Iphone but 2 are with my "real" camera.  I had a moment when I went all food photographer and thought I'd get all fancy but I didn't make it past lunch.  I just want to eat my food..remember I get hangry!

Tarragon Cream Pork with sauteed green beens.  Recipe from  It Starts with Food

Tarragon Cream Pork with sauteed green beens.  Recipe from It Starts with Food

Simple Grilled Steak with grilled brussels sprouts and salad

Simple Grilled Steak with grilled brussels sprouts and salad

I discovered homemade mayo! Ok, I didn't discover it, but boy is it amazing!  Lots of recipes online.  Here's the one I used from  The Health Foodie ! I've read that the slower you pour the oil, the thicker it turns out, so I'll pour slower next time.  Because there will be a next time.  I will never buy store mayo again! I'm excited to make ranch dressing, tartar sauce, and other jazzed up versions of this!!! 

I discovered homemade mayo! Ok, I didn't discover it, but boy is it amazing!  Lots of recipes online.  Here's the one I used from The Health Foodie! I've read that the slower you pour the oil, the thicker it turns out, so I'll pour slower next time.  Because there will be a next time.  I will never buy store mayo again! I'm excited to make ranch dressing, tartar sauce, and other jazzed up versions of this!!! 

So, have any of you tried Whole30 program? I'd love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, results, recipes! Anything to keep me going these next 25 days!!! xo

 

 

Food Friday | Chia Pudding

Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you all have some fabulous plans for the weekend.  We're planning on doing some shopping for the kids this Saturday.  They grow out of their clothes & shoes way too fast!  Also on the agenda is a 10 mile run for me on Sunday!  Please send me all your good running vibes.  This one is making me nervous! 

Anyhow, do you remember those commercials for chia pets?  I always wanted one, but never got one.  Admit it, you did too! "Cha-cha-cha-chia"  So, it turns out that those little seeds are actually super seeds packed with healthy omega-3 fats and fiber! They are also a good source of antioxidants and are gluten-free.  They are tiny and don't have much flavor by themselves, so you can add them to salads, smoothies, hummus, and even your italian salad dressing!  So far, I've only made the chia pudding, but I really like the idea of putting it in smoothies and dressing! The pudding has the consistency of tapioca pudding.  It can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack.  I always add some fruit to mine, such as bananas, strawberries, or blueberries. 

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vanilla chia pudding

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1 cup of almond milk

1/4 cup chia seeds  (make it a heaping pile if you want your pudding a little thicker)

2 tsp vanilla

1 tbp raw honey

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Put all the ingredients in a glass container with a tight lid.  I use a small spoon to mix up the honey a bit and then add the lid and shake it!  Put it in the fridge over night, and that's it! 

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I hope you try it and let me know what you think!  xo