Lindo Las Vegas
The Food Marathon in Las Vegas didn't happen. There's no valid excuse, but I'll at least give the reasons:
1. We didn't rent a car (more on the fun of Vegas cab rides later).
2. The weather was amazing (thus requiring many daytime hours spent by the pool).
3. We went to the Marquez-Barrera fight (which meant heading to Mandalay Bar early).
Although there wasn't a true food marathon, there was plenty of eating and adventure. I'll start with the highlight, Lindo Michoacan.
In ten years of Vegas vacations, this was the first time I left the strip. With almost two million people populating one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, it shouldn't be a surprise that there is good food found in the sprawling suburban neighborhoods surrounding the mega casinos on South Las Vegas Blvd.
The plan was to wake up Saturday morning, start the marathon and return in time to get to the pool before the fight. We didn't reserve a car ahead of time, so we decided we'd take cabs. The total cost wouldn't be too bad as we were staying close to the strip.
We grabbed a cab from Caesars (which is not as nice as The Hotel at Mandalay, but fun, centrally located and has a great sports book) and the tone was immediately set by the cab driver who regaled us with stories of his cab's sexual exploits. I won't get into details but our cabbie always keeps condoms in the car and he mentioned having to tame his dragon at one point. We exited the vehicle fifteen minutes later, wondering if we'd be able to eat after hearing such tales.
It didn't take long to forget, however, as we entered Lindo Michoacan (my pictures are a disgrace, there are excellent pictures here), a quintessential Mexican restaurant in an area that what we dubbed the Northride of Las Vegas (which could also be anywhere in modern day America: Phoenix, Tulsa, strip malls, Starbucks).The Michoacan (pronounced mee-cho-ah-cahn) region of Mexico is found in the southwest, extending from the Pacific Ocean about halfway inland. The interior of the restaurant looked similar to El Cholo, with a slightly more 'country' feel. Although the look of the restaurant was typical, the menu featured a variety not normally found at El Torito or Cozymels (which our cab driver claimed was the best Mexican restaurant in Vegas). Immediately the Carnitas a la Coca Cola stood out as a rare find. Other options ranged from Lengua a la Michoacan- fresh beef tongue cooked in a fresh tomato sauce and a little jalapeño to Pollo con Nopales- broiled fillet of chicken breast served with Mexican cactus.
We knew we'd start with the fresh guacamole made table-side,
but due to the range of choices we decided to ask our waiter for help. He pointed out a few meat, chicken and seafood choices. We chose the Camarones Abuelito Timo- large shrimps filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried, served over rice and Pollo Chipotle- chicken breasts smothered in a smoky chipotle sauce.
As we ate our chips, salsa, guacamole and beans (which they serve in a bowl next to the salsa) we were served small bowls of tortilla soup. Shortly after, the food arrived on huge plates full of rice and beans. We each took a bacon-wrapped cheese-covered shrimp and bit into the fried goodness, alternately dipping it into the salsa, guacamole and bowl of creamy chipotle dipping sauce. They were phenomenal- one of the best bites I've had in Las Vegas since Delmonico many years earlier. The chicken was delicious as well, tender and soaked in sauce. The gluttonous meal continued, with our waiter checking in often to refill drinks and make sure everything was all right. We had no complaints, except that the restaurant is too far from the strip.
Which leads to the demise of the marathon. After the meal we ran across the street to the bank to save the $5 ATM fee in the casinos. We called a cab and waited. I won't get into the details, but 3 buses, 2 missed cabs, 1 monorail and an hour and a half later we returned to the hotel- happy that we had a good meal but disappointed that it wasn't a marathon. That said we'll be back in June, so stay tuned...
Also, Lindo Michoacan has a myspace page.
And, there's more Vegas food blogging to come, including crappy service but good food at Rao's and Joe's Stone Crab.