steak dinner

Prime

I didn’t mean to take two months to celebrate Michael’s new job. But the whole holidays-are-filling-my-schedule thing happened and we kept putting it off. I wanted to do it before the end of the year so I made a reservation and then did everything I could NOT to cancel it (like we’d done twice before). I had a Groupon deal for Portland Prime, a nice steakhouse in downtown Portland that neither of us have been to before.

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The best steak house I’ve ever been to in my entire life, is of course Craft in Vegas. It’s my favorite restaurant on the planet (so far) and I’ve yet to have a steak that compares. Sadly, I can’t say that Portland has ever given me a fantastic steak (yet) better than Craft.

Michael and I had an early dinner after work one night after Christmas. I ignored the feeling that we were entering early bird special territory, and just went with it. Sometimes it’s nice having an earlier dinner, missing the crowds, avoiding traffic, and then going home at a reasonable hour (sheesh, when did I get so old?).

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The restaurant itself was beautiful and classy. The service was fast, friendly and attentive. Michael was dying to get onion rings and I caved, after all it was his night! The onion rings were just as huge as they look in the picture. They were fried in Ninkasi beer batter and were crunchy and tasty. I ate three of the smallest ones there. I’m not a huge onion ring fan simply because it’s fried, but these were good!

A small chopped salad came with the entrees. The salad was by far my favorite part of the meal. It was crisp and healthy, slightly sweet with a raspberry vinaigrette and topped with all my favorite things: tomatoes, pickled red onions, sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

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There was also some focaccia bread with the salad course. It was soft and spongy, a little on the greasy side with the olive oil, but rich in garlic and salt flavors. After that, they gave us a small bowl of lemon sorbet to cleanse our palate (so fancy!).

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The sorbet was great. I loved how strong the lemon flavor was. Finally, the entrees arrived. Michael got the New York Strip steak which was covered in peppercorns and some glaze. He loved it.

My flat iron steak was sweet–sweeter than I’m used to–and I think it was balsamic. The sweetness was balanced with the melted blue cheese on top and the roasted beets underneath the cheese.

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It came with a risotto cake, which was made with squash and greens. I liked the risotto cake for most of it, but by the end of the cake it tasted a little grainy and I was too stuffed to finish it.

The green beans were overdone. I happen to like my green beans a little on the soft side so I didn’t mind, but I imagine a food critic slamming them for that. I had one glass of Malbec with my steak. It was earthy and rich and balanced the flavors of the sweet steak.

We rolled ourselves to the car, completely full. I definitely ate too much and could have skipped the onion rings and probably have been better off.

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On the way to the car, we passed by the above sign. 🙂 Awesome. I’d planned on going to Ben and Jerry’s for dessert (had another Groupon) but we had zero room for dessert. So I used the groupon to buy two cartons of ice cream for later.

We got home at 7 and while I was tempted to immediately go to bed (red wine and red meat tend to do that to me), I decided to stay up a bit and start packing up the Christmas decorations. I hate that! I wish they could stay up just a little bit longer…and Maya is definitely unhappy that we are removing her hiding place (under the tree).

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I also finished the book I was reading. I really recommend it if you’re looking for a good read. It’s called “The Hangman’s Daughter” by Oliver Potzsch. I really liked the book because it was an easy and interesting read. I think the title is misleading, because the main characters were not the daughter. Other than that, it’s worth a read!

QUESTION: Do you have anything to celebrate?

Died and Gone To Heaven

Sunday morning I slept in and then hit the casino gym for a run. My body was feeling fairly tired after three days of intense walking for hours, but my run was fantastic and fast.

For breakfast we went to some diner in New York New York called America. Nothing special about the place–it was kind of like an upscale IHOP. All I wanted was French toast. And by gods, I got it!

After breakfast we walked around outside because the weather was FINALLY hot and sunny! I wanted to soak up as much as possible. It’s amazing what a little Vitamin D does for me. One of the things on Sunday’s agenda was The Wynn. I had never seen it and so we took a cab there since it’s a ways down the Strip. What an amazing hotel.

Steve Wynn clearly deserves whatever mega-billions he has because the casino is outstanding. I could see a lot of the Bellagio in the Wynn, and I guess he designed both. The atrium at the Wynn was gorgeous and smelled like a spring afternoon.

I wandered around and took a bunch of photos, and then Michael and I sat outside for “lunch” in the Parasol Down patio lounge. Michael insisted we sit down and relax because I “never relax or enjoy vacations and do too much.” Truth. I like to cram in as much as humanly possible on vacations because I want to experience everything. I cannot remember the last time I had a “relaxing” vacation. Hmmm. Maybe never?

Words cannot express just how beautiful and relaxing that outdoor lounge was. We were seated by the “lake” on a couch and enjoyed our drinks in the sunshine while staring at the waterfall. Heaven.

I ordered a totally ridiculous drink that was way too expensive, but it was refreshing and worth it. It was called a “Strawberry and Grapefruit Collins” – Finlandia Grapefruit Fusion Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, strawberry puree, fresh lemon and club soda. Basically, it tasted like a super sweet daiquiri but it was delicious on a hot day.

After we awhile we were both too hot in the sunshine and walked back to The Strip, this time with some refreshing beers for our trek through the madness that is Vegas.

Ahem…I have no shame:

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Michael fell in love with the poker room at Caesars, so I plopped down at the Pussycat Dolls roulette table and was ridiculously lucky before taking myself to the Caesar’s Palace pool to relax poolside in the sunshine.

What a fantastic pool! I wished I was in my swimsuit to fully enjoy it.

A few hours later it was time to get cleaned up and dressed up for my FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD.

It’s so easy to say things like “this was the best meal of my life” or “make this recipe! It’s to die for!” But there are very few meals that actually stand out and you remember for the rest of your life. For me, that meal has been at Craftsteak. The first time I ate at Craftsteak was a few years ago when Michael and I went to Vegas for a UFC fight. Top Chef is one of my favorite TV shows and Michael surprised me by making reservations at Tom Collichio’s restaurant in the MGM. That meal has been in the back of my brain for the last four years. Every steak I have in a restaurant is compared to that meal, which in one word would be classified as orgasmic.

This meal was no different than our first time there. The atmosphere is simply amazing. Romantic, dimly lit, with the aromas of fresh lobster and steak dripping in marinade.

We both ordered the New York strip steak. Last time we tried the Wagyu beef, a Japanese steak that is melt-in-your-mouth amazing. We both agreed that was better, but that is not to say the NY Strip wasn’t fantastic.

We split a side of asparagus that had been seasoned with thyme (fascinating taste) and there was a roasted onion bulb soaking in the balsamic reduction around the meat. Holy, effing, cow. Literally. Every amazing bite was followed by another amazing bite that made me feel like all other meals I eat would be cheating on Craftsteak.

The dinner rolls were steaming hot, light and airy and covered in large pieces of salt. My glass of Malbec wine went perfectly with the richness of the steak. And no, there was no Tom Collichio spotting, unfortunately.

For dessert we shared the flourless chocolate cake with blood orange sorbet and tangerines that had to have been soaked in lemon juice. The tartness of the oranges and the sorbet paired so beautifully with the thick, dense chocolate that I wanted to cry. Best. Meal. Of. My. Life. Did I mention that there was like a homemade marshmallow on top of the cake? Lightly and airy, but also thick at the same time–deceptively looking like whipped cream but with the texture of a freshly baked, oozing rice krispie treat.

Oh my god.

Are you drooling yet? You should be!

After a leisurely and romantic dinner at my favorite place on earth, Michael went back to Caesar’s to play poker and I went to New York New York to clean up at roulette.

Oh yeah!

QUESTION: Describe the best meal you’ve ever had in your entire life…the meal you think about even years later!