Club Culinaire of French Cuisine vs Las Vegas

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has taken me to Club Culinaire events. One of my first food memories was driving to this Ranch in the Malibu Hills, and just eating some of the best food all day long. The day ended with the biggest strawberry tart I had ever seen, literally. It must have been 10 feet in diameter. The people organizing the event began cutting pieces from it and every one dug in.

I couldn’t make this year’s Cancer fundraising event, because I had unknowingly booked a vacation with my boyfriend the same weekend. But, without fail, my mother grabbed me a goody bag.

Chocolate (85%), Vanilla Sugar, Heirloom Balsamic, Red Wine, and mini bottles of Olive Oil and Vinegar

Why can’t all gift bags be like this?! My main excitement comes from this packet of vanilla sugar. It is only 2 ounces, and yet I have a million ideas for it. One thing is for sure, I plan on sprinkling this on some fruit to place over waffles. Yum ;) I may also incorporate this dark cooking chocolate I got. Isn’t the wrapping beautiful!?

This should be called “Crack Sugar”, because I am sure I am going to get addicted.
The little bottles of olive oil and vinegar will be perfect to keep at work for salad

My mom told me the balsamic bottle also came in a fig version. I am much more excited about this heirloom tomato kind. I have a love for fig balsamic, but I’ve had it a lot. So far, I can’t say I have purchased heirloom flavored balsamic. Which sounds PERFECT for Caprese! mmmmm. I may just have to have a dinner party.

My vacation, despite the fact that I missed out on feasting on French food for a whole day, was amazing. My boyfriend and I took a luxury bus up to Vegas, which turned out to be a disaster. I have told this story so many times today, I will have to post about it later. However, he and I made the best of the situation and had an amazing weekend.

Stephanie, Aimi, and I at Marquee

On Saturday night, we decided to have a good dinner out. Having French food on the brain, Jacob, my friend Kevin, and I opted for Hubert Keller’s restaurant, Fleur.

Needless to say, I was excited! However, the meal ended up being a disappointment. At Fleur, it is recommended that you get small plates and share. For three people, 9 small plates were the norm, which made me think, “how small could they be?”. The answer, OVERPRICED AND TINY! Here is my verdict:

1.First Course, Salad: The Cesar salads cost each of us 13 a pop, and were, well, the size of a side salad, the diameter of 4 inches, taking me about 6 big bites to eat. I am sure the cheese was an upgraded Parmesan, but if I am going to order a salad with NO protein, it shouldn’t cost that much.
2. Kevin’s Tacos: The taco situation was the best example of how I am feeling… and hilarious! The look on Kevin’s face when the food arrived was priceless. Upon ordering the small plates, we all had trouble deciding what to get because it sounded delicious. But, upon getting the food, we all felt duped. Kevin ordered tuna tacos, which came with 3 in an order for 13 dollars. You know when you know you’ve just been scammed? When you are a 24 year old, 5’2” male that has to eat a Baja Fresh quesadilla after your expensive meal because you didn’t have enough food. The tacos were about 1.5 inches long. It was comical watching Kevin struggle with holding these MINI, MINI tacos in between 2 fingers, finishing each in a bite and the “meal” in under a minute.

Don’t be fooled. These were BITE sized.

3. Mine and Jacob’s Met Dishes: I ordered a skirt steak for 16 dollars, while Jacob got sliders for 12. Let me copy and paste the descriptions off the website for your here:
Steak– chimmichurri, roasted fingerling, crème fraiche
Sliders-blue cheese, onion, bacon, pear
Now, both sound incredible. The skirt steak was probably 1.5 ounces, and came in 4 shallow slices, doused in chimichirri to the point where you couldn’t taste the meat at all. The roasted fingerling was just that, ONE potato the size of a quarter with a dollop of creme fraiche. What cracked me up the most about this is your are supposed to SHARE the small plates…. how exactly do you advertise a creme fraiche potato, and make it impossible to share it. I tried biting it in half and giving the rest to my boyfriend, but instead ended up with creme fraiche down my face and a mutilated half a potato. It would be impossible to share it. The steak too; 16 dollars for a piece of meat that may not even weigh in at my local butcher? Excuse me, I will have my money back.

I got this photo off the website. I wonder how many times the camera man zoomed in.

How about the sliders, which also sounded amazing?? Well, surprise, the sliders were also so small. each burger could have been eaten in 2 bites. I am almost positive mine had no condiments on it, as all I tasted was a hunk of dry meat on toast. And don’t you love the garnish of 7 french fries in ketchup.

4. Desert: Using science in food can be exciting, but don’t tell me that because you frozen ice cream in liquid nitrogen, it is going to cost me 15 dollars. I was a premed major at UCLA; I know Liquid N2 doesn’t cost that much.

I understand the want to be cutting edge, modern, and new. But please do not rip me off. Here is the thing, tapas/small plates/ whatever… are small. BUT I have had a much better tapas experience that wasn’t this overpriced, with this little food. And the whole point of tapas is to be able to share, which this experience obliterated you from doing. One of my favorite resteraunts ever is Mesa Grill, by Bobby Flay. He knows how to do Tex-Mex right, and despite the fact that it is pricey, the portions are right and outstanding. I suggest next time you are in Vegas to try this place out (located in Cesar’s Palace).

All in all, fabulous trip. If you haven’t discovered all the great food Las Vegas has to offer, I suggest you make time and save money to revel in some delicious food-fare.

My 2 dates to Fleur, awaiting the Mandalay Bay Tram
My boyfriend thought I overpacked… I clearly did not bring enough :)

Fleur (Mandalay Bay) on Urbanspoon

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