A Squared: What Happens in Vegas...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What Happens in Vegas...

Good evening, Las Vegas!
... ends up on A Squared! It's okay though, it was a work trip so nothing scandalous occurred-- Just a lot of dining, cocktailing, and talking about luxury real estate.  My company hosts an annual conference every year for agents and staff from the real estate brokerages that work with us.  It's always a big event and this year's was the biggest yet which meant we had a lot more work to do and now I am back in Chicago and completely exhausted!

Work aside, the conference is always a good time.  We have a lot of fun attendees that come from around the world and in addition to the speakers and sessions, we have some great meals and parties too.  And that's one of the wonderful things about hosting or attending a conference in Las Vegas-- the venues and food (and don't forget, the people watching) are all fabulous.  We were at the Cosmopolitan again this year (we hosted our 2011 conference there too) and it did not disappoint.  Here are a few snapshots from the trip and of course, some details on everything/everywhere I ate-- enjoy!

The trip got off to a running start with a late night of work on Saturday after we arrived.  And then an even later dinner.  We stopped by Holsteins in the Cosmopolitan for a late night bite-- a great casual spot among the more upscale restaurants in the hotel and on the rest of the Strip.  I tried the New England Turkey Burger with cranberry sauce and stuffing.  It wasn't the best burger I have ever had, but it was still tasty.  The truffle popcorn they leave on the tables is the best part of the meal though.

We had a little star power on stage at our event this year, which was awesome.  That's my boss interviewing Josh Altman of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing below.

And that's Joan Lunden below doing an interview with Dave Stevens on the state of the mortgage industry as well.

And now let's get back to food.  We had a very impressive dinner at Mastro's Ocean Club at the Crystals Mall. The restaurant itself is pretty amazing-- the "treehouse" dining room is the focal point of both the restaurant and the entire mall.

The food also did not disappoint-- from the smoking jumbo shrimp cocktail appetizer to the signature bone-in filets (yes, even the waiters agreed this is an oxymoron) to the classic steakhouse sides, the dinner was amazing. I LOVED the Brussels sprouts and creamed spinach. I could have just eaten those for my whole meal. The highlight for this girl though was the miniature dessert sampler they brought out to share.  Not only was it lovely to look at, but who wouldn't want to try a little bit of everything on the dessert menu and not feel bad about it?  Thanks, Mastro's!

I had a lovely view of the Bellagio Fountains from my room at the Cosmpolitan.

We spent a few evenings catching up with members at the Chandelier bar. The bar is exactly what it sounds like-- a three-story chandelier that extends up through the center of the Cosmopolitan. Since it's right there in the middle it's a great place to meet up with people since it is so easy to find.  Downside (and this is the downside of all of Vegas): smoking!  I always forget that there are places that still allow smoking indoors and Vegas is the prime location for that.  I woke up every morning with a pillow (and hair) smelling of cigarettes. Blah.

Other than that, the Chandelier is a great place to sit on a comfy couch and sip champagne will chatting and watching the inevitably interesting Vegas characters wander by.

We celebrated the end of our conference by escaping the Cosmopolitan (sometimes you forget that you can go days in Vegas without seeing the light of day) and we went back over to Crystals for lunch at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina. I ordered one of my favorite combos-- a pizza with caramelized cippolini onions, potatoes, and goat cheese. And I consumed the entire thing.

We did even more celebrating that night with dinner and a toast at China Poblano in the Cosmopolitan.  This is definitely one of the more interesting restaurant concepts-- the menu is part Mexican taqueria, part Chinese noodle shop.  I enjoyed a few tacos (because I love tacos)-- fish, carnitas, and pollo mole and my coworker Kerri took full advantage of the concept and ordered sesame noodles with a taco on the side.

This is also where I ended up running into an old colleague from Chicago on her way to a disco-theme party.  Only in Las Vegas!

Carnitas and Pollo Mole. I need these handy taco holders!

And finally, I may not have hit up the casinos (I like to make sure I have some ROI anytime I am spending my cash), but what trip to Vegas would be complete without visiting a buffet?  For our last meal before catching our flight back to Chicago we wandered into the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan.  Even food snobs will tell you that this is not your typical cheesy all-you-can-eat buffet.  This place is serious.

The Wicked Spoon is huge and they have everything from fine cheeses to sushi to omelet stations and most things are already served in perfect little portions so you can sample many items without them all running together on your plate.  I like how these people think.  My recommendations: the Angry Mac & Cheese (it's got a good kick to it) and the blistered tomato panzanella.  If you're there for brunch, the individual baked egg whites with spinach, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms were also tasty.  I want to try making those at home... stay tuned!

And now I am home-- in a food coma and in desperate need of a nap.  The good news is that it sounds like we'll be hosting our 2014 conference in Vegas as well at a TBD hotel/casino.  Can't wait to share those fabulous details with you too!

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