The Mrs. and I made one of our semi-annual pilgrimages to see how well the Mirage has been doing with their chunk of the family fortune (and as usual, we left the Mirage with another portion of our fortune on this trip). Having subsisted on the liquid diet for the past four months I was looking forward to a little dining R & R, without totally blowing the diet. My dining pleasure, if not my diet conscience, was helped along when about 45 minutes after departure from the old homestead the Mrs. and I realized that we had forgot to pack any of the liquid diet powder mix (as noted in this posting about pit stops:
[BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
by the way, there is a nice shot of some In-N-Out fare in the linked posting, for those of you who are in to food porn).
Following is a log of our dining while bivouacked at the Mirage:
Since we had indulged in a late lunch at the Barstow In-N-Out at about 5:00 P.M. the Mrs. was content to exercise her slot prowess in the casino while I lounged in the room. All that lounging worked up an appetite, fortunately there was a fully stocked mini-bar in the room. I dined on the Mirages own house label premium cashews and a couple of vodka and tonics. These were pretty good cashews, from some purveyor in Novato, California. The nuts were large and were whole, there were no pieces (as is the usual order of things in a can of Planters), very lightly salted. I highly recommend the Mirage cashews. When the Mrs. rejoined me after exhausting the stake I had provided her for the evenings entertainment she enjoyed a Snickers out of the mini-bar for her late night snack.
One 5 ounce can of cashews, two miniature bottles of Absolut, one 10 ounce bottle of tonic and one Snickers bar set us back about $32.00 (a win/win for the hotel/casino, who took it from us downstairs and upstairs that evening.)
Since we slept in to about 2:00 P.M. we bypassed breakfast and lunch and repaired to the recently opened branch of Carnegie Deli on the casino floor, adjacent to the California Pizza Kitchen operation and just a spit-balls length from the Mirage race & sports book at about 5:00 P.M. I was on a self-appointed mission to perform some field reconnaissance on a Woody Allen sandwich in the deli, for scientific, national security and humanitarian purposes. The last time I had enjoyed a Woody Allen was about 12 years earlier, at the real Carnegie Deli on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. As in my previous mission I ordered a matzo ball soup and a Woody Allen (a towering monument of corned beef and pastrami on rye) with a couple of Dr. Browns Cel-Ray tonics to wash it all down. The Mrs. ordered breakfast, consisting of scrambled eggs, bacon and a banana nut muffin; the egg dish came with home fries or French fries, but the Mrs. opted to forego the potatoes and accompanied her meal with coffee.
The broth for the soup was clear with a beautiful golden color and good taste, although, as is too often the case when dining out, not quite hot enough for me, with two medium sized, flavorful (which is saying a lot for matzo meal) matzo balls. When the beverages arrived at the table we also receive three medium half sour pickles, which were pickle-y. The Mrs. two scrambled eggs resembled about four eggs (portions were very generous) and she must have had a double rasher of bacon on her plate with the eggs. She enjoyed the eggs and ate most of the bacon, I did not try either, the bacon had the appearance of having been cooked hours before, and one of my cardinal rules of dining, is I dont order pork products in a Jewish deli.
The Woody Allen was all that I remembered it to be. This sandwich was truly towering, in between some insignificant slices of rye bread were two halves of a sandwich consisting of about four vertical inches or corned beef topped by about four vertical inches of pastrami, all held together with Paul Bunyanesqe tooth picks. (Check out the photo below, compare the sandwich to the large beverage glass and the bottle of Dr. Browns to get a sense of the scale of this sandwich.) The rye bread was better than I expected, my past experience of Las Vegas rye bread being bland and uninspiring, so while not of the same caliber of the corn-rye that can be obtained in the L.A. area, the bread was decent and a good foil for the meat. The meat was all machine sliced, seemingly about a micron thick. While I imagine this makes it a lot less labor intensive for the deli, I have a theory that it also is a way for compensating when the meat being sliced is not the most tender possible, my rationale being that that when it is sliced that thin, anything is going to be easy to bite through. Regardless, I love pastrami and corned beef and this was pretty good stuff, especially for a guy who lives in a deli wilderness and has been on the liquid diet.
The pastrami was very mild in the spice department. My usual experience with deli pastrami is that after indulging myself during the meal, there is a lingering spicy aftertaste in my mouth. The best protection against the spicy mouth condition, however, is liberal amounts of Dr. Browns Cel-Ray tonic consumed in between bites of pastrami. So of course, the first thing I ordered when we sat down was two Dr. Browns. The only quibble I had with both the pastrami and the corned beef was that it was much too lean for my taste, with absolutely no discernable fat, leaving an impression of dryness in my mouth as the meat touched my palate. I figure this is a concession to the health conscious masses, who just dont have discriminating taste buds in terms of deli delights, I would have preferred my meats with a modest strata of fat, and the juicy-ness that would have accompanied it.
I have to admit, this sandwich did get the better of me. In my last encounter with this meal at the Carnegie Deli I had no problem polishing off the soup and entire sandwich. Maybe it is my advancing age, maybe it is the fact that my eating muscles are out of shape and my stomach has shrunken from the liquid diet, but I was only able to finish the first half of the sandwich, and after a little rest, about a quarter of the second half of the sandwich. Needless to say, the left over half sandwich made a very nice snack back in the room later that evening.
So while I would not say that this was a stellar corned beef/pastrami sandwich compared to other experiences, it was a hell of a good sandwich probably rivaled by no other hotel/casino in Las Vegas, and a welcome addition to the casual dining options at the Mirage.
The bacon and eggs, banana nut muffin, one matzo ball soup and Wood Allen, one coffee and two Dr. Browns set us back about $45.00. I did enjoy a couple of complimentary vodka and tonics in the sports book later that evening, but did not particularly enjoy the torture of seeing the San Antonio Spurs and my first ever sports bet go down the drain.
With our routine well established we dined on breakfast in our room Tuesday afternoon. The Mrs. enjoyed scrambled eggs, a large, thick slice of ham that took up about half of the real estate on her plate, breakfast potatoes, white toast, coffee and OJ. I opted for an omelet stuffed with smoked salmon and onions, breakfast potatoes, rye toast and coffee. The omelet, advertised at three eggs seemed more like four or five eggs with plenty of slivers of lox and onions folded in to it. Very enjoyable and at least in my mind, more healthy than a bagel and lox with cream cheese, so I compensated and ate all of the potatoes. These were halved and quartered small potatoes that had been oven roasted, not greasy, with a nice golden brown skin that yielded to soft potato, a nice change from the usual hash browns. The carafe of room service coffee was good, as was the ham.
Total tab for room service breakfast was about $37.00, plus a $2.00 service charge.
After her late afternoon workout on the slots, the Mrs. joined me for some in-room dining about 9:00 P.M. We dined on Caesar salads, rolls and butter and the Mrs. enjoyed a large boiled lobster tail accompanied by steamed broccoli and a backed potato. Sticking to the precepts of the liquid diet, and avoiding The Look from the wife, I ordered broiled salmon, fresh asparagus and a baked potato. The Mrs. pronounced her lobster tail with drawn butter as excellent (much better than a previous lobster tail and some sort of shallot/wine/butter concoction served to us on a previous visit to Kokomos in the Mirage). Just the basics, steamed lobster and melted butter, do that right and all is forgiven. The Mrs. did not touch her broccoli as she did not want to subject her slot-neighbors to the gaseous after-affects that were sure to follow. (This was our one communications breakdown of the evening, as when I placed the room service order I asked the Mrs. if she wanted broccoli or asparagus, I should have TOLD her that she was going to have asparagus - because of course she would not have eaten them, and there would have been more for me).
My fish was a bit dry and over cooked, the lemon juice I squeezed on it helped a bit. Both of our baked potatoes were smaller than I would have preferred, and seemed, by the relative elasticity of their jackets, to have been baked in foil. They also were not sufficiently baked, the interior flesh not very yielding to a fork. The potatoes were truly shameful. A good baked potato will be a decent size (at least occupying as much space as a softball), with an almost crisp, dry skin, with hot potato-y fluffiness inside. Even a liberal slathering of butter, chives, bacon bits and sour cream did not redeem these non-descript potatoes. The baby asparagus spears were the highlight of the meal. Crisp but tender to the tooth, these were very nice asparagus.
Wine hicks that we are, we accompanied our meal with a chilled bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel. The Mrs. drank about a glass of wine (she needed to keep her slot machine wits about her for round two that evening) and I polished off the rest.
Total tab for this intimate dining experience was about $150.00, the salmon ran about $26.00, the lobster $85.00, the salads about $10.00 each and the wine was $30.00.
I had wanted to try out the new Cravings buffet in the Mirage, but he Mrs. nixed that idea. Since I would have been in a wheel chair, or at best with my trusty walker, she did not relish being my runner. Too bad, I have always thought the quality and value of the Mirage buffet is outstanding, and I had wanted to try it out since the overhaul.
Those were the only meals that we consumed while in Las Vegas, Wednesday morning brought not enough time for snoozing and a Noon check-out time, so breakfast was had on the road home (please see the pit stop report on the California board).