The Perfect Dining Experience


It is so beautiful here, and with reports of rain, hail and wind at home, I don’t ever want to leave!

Yesterday Ben and I spent the afternoon strolling the strip, stopping everywhere from O’Sheas, to recall beer pong memories of vacation past,


to the MGM Grand Hotel to see the live lions!

Lionesses, actually. They were snoozing on top of the see-through tunnel you can walk through, but it was still cool to have 2 MASSIVE lions sleeping 4 feet above your head. 


This photo is my favorite – check out Ben’s face! Aww… ;) 

My luck has completely run out at the penny slot machines, so after losses experienced all along the strip, we threw in the towel and got ready for a nice dinner.


Sushi at Koi inside Planet Hollywood!


We haven’t been eating or drinking like maniacs on this trip, but a light and fresh seafood dinner sounded absolutely irresistible.

Plus it was happy hour, so rolls and drinks were half off!


The lounge of Koi is done up in chic, dark wood with a brightly lit bar. So pretty.

We were some of the first to arrive, so our rolls came right out. Tons of California Rolls, packed with crab and creamy avocado, and Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice.


After dinner we headed to my favorite hotel in Las Vegas – The Bellagio. You know, the one with the fountains! :D We sat out on the patio of the little lounge with the red canopy (this picture was taken today, so you can see it!)

and sat back with a few cocktails to enjoy the fountain show played every 15 minutes or so in the evenings.

The air was warm,

the view was unmatched,


and the cocktails were good! Lemon & vanilla infused Makers Mark for him and Peach Sangria for her.


Let the show begin!

Only in Vegas! :mrgreen:

This morning we were up and at ‘em – I had brunch on the brain!

We headed over to Cesar’s Palace,

stopped for a photo op (muwahahaha!)

and arrived at our destination – Max Brenner’s Chocolate Shop in the forum shops at Caesar’s Palace!

I read about this place in the in-flight magazine on the way to Vegas, which raved about the luscious chocolate indulgences like chocolate shots, chocolate pizza and hand-crafted chocolate truffles you’d find there.

Then Hillary told me about their crazy-good restaurant menu, which totally sold me!

You feel like you’re in the center of a chocolate bar when you walk in, and the smell, as you can imagine, is intoxicating. Chocolate nirvana!

The sweets menu we perused before digging into the savory menu melted my mind – chocolate shots, crepes and hot chocolate, oh my! – and the savory menu was equally as decadent.

I had to have the waitress come back THREE times, because I just couldn’t make up my mind on what to get. That NEVER happens to me!

I finally settled on mini Monte Cristo Sliders and Molly’s White Corn Croquettes. 


The croquettes, which ok – look like potato oles – were crispy, light, stuffed with creamy cheese and bursting with sweet, corn flavor. Bomb, bomb, bomb.

But the baby cristos stole my heart! Look at them!

Thick brioche, stuffed with ham, turkey, swiss and bacon, then generously dusted with powdered sugar. My ideal meal!

Especially when I dunked them in the sweet, maple syrup that came on my plate. Unbelievable. I will be recreating this at home!

I couldn’t eat at a chocolate shop without having some chocolate, for Heaven’s sake, so we stopped at the adjoining store on the way out to admire the rows and rows of hand-crafted truffles.

Oh these were so cute – “hug mugs” – hot chocolate mugs perfectly shaped to “hug” in both your hands!

After a brutal internal debate, I chose the Praline cream mixed with caramelized pecan truffle.

It was everything I imagined it to be.

Two bites, with a creamy, crispy chocolate-caramel center. Ahhhh. What a perfect dining experience!


And with that – I’m off to go enjoy my final afternoon in Vegas! Ben and I are getting ready to share what our “perfect last night” would be. I’m thinking his will involve a significant amount of time sitting in the Sports Book at our hotel, betting on basketball games, and I have no idea yet what mine will look like.

Off to think! :D

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  1. Lauren 04.20.2011

    How fun!! I love Vegas and am totally jealous of you right now. I’m also from the midwest and yeah the weather here has not been very nice :(

    Enjoy your last day in wonderful Las Vegas!

  2. What an absolute blast you two are having! Thanks for taking ALL those pictures and sharing about your adventures. Your meals have all looked amazing and the chocolate shop looked so over-the-top! If and when I make it to Vegas, that’ll be a must-see!

    • Darien 04.20.2011

      serendipity is SO.DADGUM.GOOD. my hubby and i got two different kinds of sandwiches and split them with sweet potato fries. they are so incredibly flavorful!

  3. Wow that chocolate shop/restaurant looks amazing. I’m also really jealous of the warm weather! Ours should be back soon. I’m glad you guys are having a great time!

  4. erica 04.20.2011

    i love the bellagio!
    i love monte cristos!
    i love penny slots!
    i love vegas!

    you’ve given me vegas fever!

  5. Ooh, i love your purple dress! So fun. Looks like you guys are living it up there without getting to craaaazy. ;)

  6. I LOVE monte cristos – it’s a great excuse for me to sweeten up a meal :) And I also LOVE your dress! Too cute!

  7. Katy 04.20.2011

    Looks like so much fun! I want to go to that chocolate shop. Kristen, where did you get that purple dress?? Somewhere in Des Moines?

    • Kristin from MN 04.20.2011

      Agreed! That dress is adorable!

    • Carrie 04.21.2011

      I want to know the same thing! That dress is adorable.

  8. Lauren 04.20.2011

    Vegas does have some amazing dining experiences. I need to go back and relive my Vegas trip and remember some of them myself. The monte cristos are adorable and that chocolate looks heavenly! :)

  9. So glad you guys are having an amazing time in Vegas! I actually live right across the street from a Max Brenner… deadly! LOVE their praline crepes! I need to try that chocolate you got :)

  10. Chad 04.20.2011

    I can’t even wrap my mind around how fun that looks…

  11. Hillary Quinn 04.20.2011

    So glad you loved Max Brenner! Next time, I’ll have to try the Monte Cristo…looked absolutely delish.

  12. Darien 04.20.2011

    the fountains are so romantic and beautiful! my favorite, favorite song that they so is ‘its time to say goodbye’ by sarah brightman and andrea bocelli. it just takes my breath away.

    (the fun, cutesy songs are great too!)

    try serendipity 3 while youre in vegas- BEST sammiches and sweet potato fries!

  13. Christy 04.20.2011

    Ben looks kind of uncomfortable in front of that statue :)
    The chocolate looks amazing! My mouth is totally watering.

  14. Kristin from MN 04.20.2011

    Oh my goodness! I want to make a trip to Vegas just to eat those monte cristos and croquettes! Seriously! Have a super last day! I can’t wait for you to get back and re-create that meal! ;)

  15. ashley 04.21.2011

    I really like that pink dress & brown belt you had on!! Looks great on you too. Can’t wait until it’s dress weather! :)

  16. Lindsey 04.21.2011

    Oh – you HAVE to play the Amazing Race slot machines.. they are the fun interactive ones and you play against other people on the machines! The Wizard of Oz ones are the same.. I was obsessed when I was there!!!

  17. Rachel 04.21.2011

    OMG, I would kill for one of those truffles right now!!! And I’ve got Vegas fever now too! :) I should start planning a trip back there soon.

  18. Hope 04.21.2011

    What a fun trip you are having so far!! I definitely want to try Koi! That looks awesome! I went to Max Brenner in Philly for desserts and I was unimpressed. I thought it was overpriced and the desserts weren’t that great. The food looks good though! I’d be willing to give it another try! Love the view at the Bellagio! So nice watching the show and having drinks! :)

  19. lindsay 04.21.2011

    Where is your black striped shirt from?! it is so cute!
    i am sooo jealous you are on vacation! :)

  20. Shana 04.21.2011

    Wow! Those Monte Cristo sliders look amazing! Thanks for sharing. Would love to know where you found your black and white striped blouse (or is it a dress?)

  21. Tracey 04.21.2011

    This entire post has me craving warm weather, good food and a nice cocktail.

    Looks like you guys are having a great time in Vegas!

  22. WOW! This trip looks seriously fun! I never had a desire to go to Vegas before but this is making it look tempting!

  23. Julie S. 04.21.2011

    I can’t wait ’til you get home & recreate that Monte Cristo recipe & SHARE it w/ the rest of us!! Your pics made my mouth water – especially that close up of the truffle! So glad you guys are having fun!

  24. Looks like you’re having a great time :)

  25. sherry 04.21.2011

    So how much do you figure the whole trip (including transportation)
    ended up costing you? We are thinking about going there but we need a ‘ballroom park’ money budget it see if it’s something we can afford. Thanks for information.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.27.2011

      Hmm – I bet we spent around $1400 total. $800 for flights/hotel and then 300-400 for food, drinks…and a little gambling. ;)

  26. Max Brenner’s! We have that here in NYC and I’ve never been. After seeing your food, I will have to make a stop. Enjoy the rest of Vegas!

  27. Aussie Girl 04.21.2011

    Max Brenner is the bomb diggity!!! It started here in Australia, and I’ve been there on quite a few occasions! You HAVE to go back there and try something off their menu like the italian hot chocolate (omg, tastes just like melted chocolate) or the chocolate pizza (drools). It is seriously the best!

  28. Britt 04.21.2011

    wow looks like an awesome trip! those baby sandwiches as so friggin cute. btw i finally got myself a donut pan after drooling over yours for weeks!!!

  29. Hi – this is my first time visiting your blog, and I love your recipes! I’m still learning to cook but excited to try some of them. Your trip to Vegas looks fun too – such a fun place to visit! :)

  30. […] had the idea for this luxurious ‘wich lurking in the back of my mind since devouring the baby Monte Cristo Sliders at Max Brennan’s in Las Vegas last week (weird, I can’t believe that was just last week – I want to go […]

  31. […] up – we headed out back towards the Bellagio because I REALLY wanted to get a drink on the “red canopy porch” and watch the fountain show (yeah – I do whatever other bloggers tell me to do as well as what […]

  32. Vanessa 03.25.2013

    Love this- there are so many great things to see, do, eat in Vegas that I really feel that the slot machines are almost secondary at this point! We really loved Red Square in Mandalay Bay – we really need more communist themed vodka bars!!! They have an amazing collection of vodka, a funky menu with an old Russia twist, crazy communist theme art work on the walls, and great, friendly staff who really know their drinks. It was a great change from the usual Vegas club scene.

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