Sunday Currently, vol. 41

Currently…

Reading…all the gift guides sprouting up all over the internet. I used to pooh-pooh them, but from time to time, I discover some pretty interesting things on them – like the cognac sampler set I got my dad a year ago. Depending on the amount of work people put into them, they can be pretty good!

Watching…The Blacklist. All of it. I have trouble sitting through two TV shows in a row, but for the first time, I binge-watched the entire season and a half of a show. How did I not know about the awesomeness of this show before? So many situations in life require a little of Red Reddington’s negotiation strategy. I’m hooked.

Listening…to my Texas Blues Pandora station. I was inspired after listening to the Texas Blues scene in Chef, another must watch for the foodies among us.

Smelling…coffee, fresh baking bread, and whatever deliciousness my father has marinating right now for Sunday supper. Coming home is just so wonderfully comfortable, and my tastebuds are in heaven!

Wishing…that even if I really, really needed the week of relaxation we’ve had so far, I had a little more get-up-and-go to do stuff. There are so many great hikes, great restaurants, and other great things in my hometown, but I swear, there is something in the air here. All you want to do is nap and chill.

Loving…being home. And that it still feels like home, even though I’ve been on my own for almost 18 years.

Wanting…another nap. Seriously. It’s the air. That’s the only way I can explain it. Well, that and the amount of walking and running I’ve been doing since I’ve been home. My parents walk a lot, and quickly, thanks to their exuberant Aussie, and Scott and I have been joining them. I’ve been adding in a run here and there, when I’m not too lazy.

Feeling…relaxed. And amazed that we’ve been here a week! It has just flown by – and I need some more relaxation time. We’ll be home at the end of next week, and I’m not ready!

Pictures from This Week

From top left: 1) Finished – another 13.1! 2) A delicious bucket of crab, sausage, and corn at the Cracked Crab! 3) Ronnie the super dog, my parents’ Aussie. 4) The California life. 5) Happy hipsters in the coffee house. 6) California autumn. 7) With my dad and husband at Port San Luis Pier, at the fresh fish market. 8) Gorgeous and clear blue skies! 9) Two big kids at Disneyland!

Read Up…

Weekly Reads…

Posts This Week…

  • Las Vegas: Papillon Grand Canyon Helitour – Who knew you could catch a helicopter from Las Vegas and fly through the Grand Canyon? That’s what we did, and the views were absolutely amazing!
  • Las Vegas: Gordon Ramsay Steak – as big fans of all things Chef Ramsay, we had to check out his fabulous steakhouse, and it did not disappoint! Here’s a mini-tour.
  • Las Vegas Adventures – recapping our adventures in Las Vegas. For those of you who might think there isn’t much to do besides drink and gamble, think again – this place is packed with amazing entertainment!

What’s on your mind, currently? Link up below and share!

Las Vegas Adventures

Viva Las Vegas! Who would have guessed that we would have been able to try so many amazing things – and amazing food – without even going near a slot machine? Okay, fine, we did go near one. I think Scott gambled away a whole dollar. Still, there’s so much more to Las Vegas than gambling, casinos, and clubs. Even though the party is always going on somewhere on the Strip, before we move on from Las Vegas and share a little of what we’ve been up to in California, here’s a look at what it has to offer to the daywalkers and foodies among us.

Las Vegas Adventure Recap

1. Cooking in Guy Savoy’s Kitchen

It’s not every day that you can take a cooking lesson from the head chef of a two Michelin star restaurant – in the restaurant’s kitchen! This was a major bucket list worthy experience, and on top of that, I picked up some fun new skills that have made me a better cook at home!

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2. Touring Hotels on the Strip

The hotels on the Las Vegas Strip {a.k.a. Las Vegas Boulevard} are enormous, sometimes taking up whole city blocks, and packed with restaurants, casinos, shopping, and more. We walked through hotels, shops, and restaurants, and while there are a bunch we missed, here are some of our favorites.

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3. Papillon’s Grand Canyon Helitour

Who would have guessed that just a short ride from Vegas, you could hop on a helicopter and go flying through the gorgeous rock walls of the Grand Canyon? We jumped on a shuttle out of our hotel, hopped a helicopter, and marveled at the wonders of nature – and got back to Las Vegas in plenty of time to take in more dining and shows!

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4. Gordon Ramsay Steak

I’m a fan of all things Chef Ramsay, and his steakhouse is no exception. We stopped in for a delicious meal and discovered not only that, but great ambiance and gorgeous design. What’s not to love?

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We’d love to hear from you – what did we miss? What should we put on our Las Vegas bucket list or our next trip itinerary? We’d be happy to add more to our adventure list!

We’re not Vegas experts by a long shot, but if you’re looking for more fun and adventures in Las Vegas, you need to check out Esther + Jacob’s local adventures!

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Las Vegas: Gordon Ramsay Steak

After sharing some pretty amazing and unexpected bucket list experiences from Las Vegas – cooking in Guy Savoy’s two Michelin star restaurant’s kitchen and soaring by helicopter over the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon – it’s going to sound a little lackluster when I talk about an experience where I got what I expected.

But you shouldn’t be surprised when I say I expected a delicious dining experience when Scott and I headed to Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris for Scott’s birthday – and we got that and more.

With all the amazing steakhouses – and amazing restaurants in general – in Las Vegas, it was hard to narrow down our options for a great dinner. Still, as you probably know if you’ve hung around this site for any length of time, I’m a huge fan of all things Chef Ramsay, and staying in the Paris made this a remarkably easy decision. Maybe it was the subliminal messaging from seeing his face on kiosks, on the faux Arc de Triomphe in front, or even the room key cards. The chef didn’t mind a little good-natured ribbing over those.

Gordon Ramsay Steak | No Reservations

Just another reason to heart the hell out of Twitter.

Wandering through the Paris makes you feel like you went a bit too far into EPCOT’s Paris pavilion and found out where the cast members go to party after work. And then you come to Gordon Ramsay Steak in the middle of it all, and feel like you’ve fallen through a wormhole into another place entirely. Amidst all the overly frou-frou building facades, there’s sleek metal, modern lines, sexy curves, and lots and lots of neon. It had just the right mixture of new tech, classic style, and natural materials to make this industrial design fan’s heart sing.

I don’t have a name for the ambiance in there, but whatever it was, it was my jam. From the red glow of the central neon light fixture – modeled from a motion capture of Gordon Ramsay preparing his famous Beef Wellington – to the rock on the stereo to the wine list iPad being dropped off at our table, it was part pub, part club, and absolutely alive. There are plenty of steakhouses that will put you right to sleep with soft music and soft light once you’ve eaten, but this one keeps you awake for every bit of it. And that every bit was worth it.

The wheel o’ steaks was beyond tempting, but I opted to go with the specialty menu, a Hell’s Kitchen based five-course deal that hit all the right notes. It started with a small Scotch Egg, featuring a quail’s egg, brought in an octopus salad that was amazingly flavorful, featured the HK classics – butternut squash risotto with scallop and Beef Wellington – and rounded out with dessert, a sticky toffee pudding that I didn’t really have room for but made room for, because it was beyond delicious! And the pairings were awesome. My husband loved his meal as well.

Our servers were terrific as well. Not only did he help us snap a photo or two, but he got us in, seated, served, and out the door in time for us to catch the Cirque show we had booked for that evening without making us feel the least bit rushed. Bonus points – he had no trouble hearing us over the music, which is something I’ve seen other folks complain about when dining there.

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Gordon Ramsay Steak

Located in the Paris Hotel, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S, Las Vegas NV 89109

Open 4:30pm to 10:30pm most days

For reservations, call (866) 733-5827 or click here.

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If you’re shopping for special occasion dining or just tasty steakhouse fare with lively ambiance, definitely check out Gordon Ramsay Steak. We’ll be back the next time we’re in Vegas – and there will be a next time. There’s still so much more dining to do!

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P.S. As per norm around here, this restaurant post was not sponsored. I accept partnerships and sponsorships when it comes to food and wine tools, ingredients, recipes, and pairing suggestions, but I do not and will not accept restaurant sponsorships. I only share the ones I’m passionate about!

Las Vegas: Papillon Grand Canyon Helitour

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When we visited Las Vegas, the last thing we imagined was that the Grand Canyon would be right at our doorstep! Gotta hand it to the folks at the Paris – if they hadn’t handed us a booklet of coupons, we never would have called up the Papillon helitour company and booked one of their tours, and then none of these pictures would have happened. There are photographers who have captured the Grand Canyon better than I ever could, but I have to say, the view we got was pretty damn spectacular! Hats off to Papillon Tours – and the pictures speak louder than any words I could give them, so I’ll just let them do the talking.

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Tips for the Papillon Grand Canyon Tour:

  1. Bring an extra layer or two – it gets chilly up in the canyon!
  2. Be prepared to be on a full flight. You’ll get a great view, but you may be squished in the middle of the back seat of the helicopter. You can throw in a little extra to get a guaranteed front seat, though, if that’s your thing.
  3. No bags, but you can bring your camera. Seriously, there isn’t room for much extra.
  4. It takes about 45 minutes by shuttle to reach the airport from Las Vegas, so factor that into your time.
  5. The winds can be a little turbulent and taking pictures out a window can be rough for those of us whose stomachs tend to be sensitive. Pop a dramamine before the flight, and you’ll be so much happier!

Papillon Grand Canyon Tour:

To book a tour, call 702-736-7423 or click here.

The Golden Eagle tour we booked runs about $540 for two people with discounts.

Papillon books dozens of different tours – check out their selection.

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Who doesn’t love unexpected adventures and hidden jewels? What is the most exciting hidden jewel you’ve discovered when you’ve been out exploring new places?

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Sunday Currently, vol. 40

I’m in Anaheim for the Inaugural runDisney Avengers Half-Marathon, so there will be a lot of pre-half-marathon whining in this post. Just warning you now…

Currently…

Reading…the line-up instructions for the half-marathon race that I’m about to run. And who the heck thought this was a good idea again? At least it won’t snow on this one!

Watching…Scott and I are way behind on our shows and the DVR is probably going to implode while we’re on vacation, but we did go watch Big Hero 6 at the Downtown Disney theater last night. Oh my God. There was way more depth of story there than I imagined there’d be, and you just love the characters. Big Hero 6 is a big hero win!

Listening…to Idina Menzel’s Christmas album – or at least we’ll be listening to it when we make the drive up the coast to my parents’ house! Last night we listened to a violin virtuoso play another one of her hits, and get a singing accompaniment from pretty much every kid in the Downtown Disney Plaza. And I can neither confirm nor deny that an operatic soprano joined them, if only to prove she can still hit those notes.

Smelling…coffee, new racing shirt, anti-chafe lotion, tape…all the important racing stuff.

Wishing…that I had a magic life DVR remote and I could just skip to the end of this race. Because I know that at the end, I’m going to feel totally rewarded and justified for running it. It’s always the greatest feeling, after you finish a terrific run. But the whole process of running 13.1 miles? Can I just have an out of body experience?

Loving…my awesome husband, for coming out to support me on this run. He hates running, but he’s always up for cheering me on when I get it into my head to go race. I’m also loving the runDisney crowd – we’ve met so many people around the parks who are here for the races and they’re so beyond positive!!

Wanting…painkillers. Or wine. Can I run with wine in my race bottles?

Feeling…both excited and fearful of this upcoming race. I know I’m going to be feeling pain in a couple hours, too. And pride. There will be a whole lot of pride after this, no matter how slowly I run!

Pictures from This Week

From top left: 1) Enjoying a firepit with our s’mores white hot chocolate. 2) Learning a few things from Gordon Ramsay’s take on Home Cooking. 3) Posing with my Uncle Jim before he promoted me from captain to major, back in 2010. 4) My Great-Grandpa Charles, a mechanic who served in WWI as an infantryman, won the French Croix-de-Guerre, and then returned home and built the tractor he’s sitting on. I posted the last two photos for Veteran’s Day. 5) A great firepit on a cold Hawaii evening. 6) A Hawaii sunset, showing off. 7) I went with bangs for my fall haircut {yep, I’m at the point where I’m only getting haircuts twice a year} and I think I like them. 8) Hidden Mickeys all through the carpet at the Disneyland Hotel. 9) Wine flights at the Wine Country Trattoria at Disney’s California Adventure.

Read Up

When I’m on the road, I’m terrible about reading up on what’s going on in the world and what everyone is posting! This week is no exception. I’ll hopefully have more together for next week!

Posts This Week…

  • Loaded Baked Potato Soup – one of my favorite cold-weather recipes, revamped and re-garnished for your bacon-loaded sour-cream-laden cheese-coated enjoyment!
  • Times of Gratitude – I think it’s fortuitous that Thanksgiving and Veterans’ Day lie so closely together, because this season is one in which we should be grateful.
  • Las Vegas: Hotels on the Strip – I wish I had time to tour you through all the hotels we visited on the Las Vegas Strip, but here are my favorites. Vegas is proof that if you can dream it, you can build it!
  • Las Vegas: Cooking with Guy Savoy’s Head Chef – Here’s a peek into my foodie-bucket-list experience cooking with amazingly skilled chefs in a two-Michelin-star kitchen.
  • Firepit Friday - cool late-fall Fridays are for fire pits, debating the best way to toast a marshmallow, and making s’mores white hot chocolate in fabulous Treat recipe mugs!

What’s on your mind, currently? Link up below and share!

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