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Sunday, January 31, 2016


We had dinner at Raku. Turns out, the kids loved the tofu so we didn't need the pre-dinner snack at Big Wong's.

Housemade Tofu--$5.50. This is the best I've ever had. The tofu is so soft, silky and flavorful. We had 3 portions for the 5 of us.

Sashimi Salad--$14. This was loaded with fresh fish and the soy dressing was delicious.

Pig's Ears--$3. My favorite of the grilled items.

Kurobuta Pork Cheek--$4.25.

Duck with Balsamic Soy Sauce--$4.50, Kobe Beef Tendon--$3.50, Direct Flamed Eggplant--$4.50. I loved the eggplant. It was so tender.

Butter Sauteed Scallop with Soy Sauce--$7. This was the worst value of the entire dinner. It was just 1 scallop for $7. It wasn't even that tasty.

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Big Wong Restaurant

Big Wong Restaurant is located at 5040 Spring Mountain Road in Las Vegas. It's a cheap Chinese place. We had 2 kids with us and were afraid they wouldn't like what we were going to have for dinner so we took them here.

Beef Ramen--$5.95. They loved the noodles.

Fish Balls with Noodle Soup--$4.95. They weren't big fans of the fish balls but the adults loved this dish.

Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings--$4.95. This was the best. Crispy skin, juicy on the inside, and well flavored.

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Friday, January 29, 2016


In my opinion, Bellagio has the best free things to do in Las Vegas.

There is a seaside village in front of the hotel.

You can have lunch or dinner at one of the seaside restaurants and watch the fountain show.

Fountain shows:

Mon-Fri: every 1/2 hour from 3-8 pm; every 15 min from 8 pm-midnight
Sat & Holidays: every 1/2 hour from noon-8 pm; every 15 min from 8 pm-midnight
Sun: every 1/2 hour from 11 am-7 pm; every 15 min from 7 pm-midnight

Inside, there are floral displays that change seasonally in the Conservatory.

Then, you can visit the chocolate fountain at Jean Philippe Patisserie.

Chihuly glass ceiling in the lobby.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mendocino UNcrab, Beer & Wine Festival

In late January, Mendocino has an annual Crab, Beer & Wine Festival. This year, the crab season hasn't opened because of high levels of domoic acid (a neurotoxin produced by algae) in crab meat and viscera. The California Department of Public Health advisory warned people not to consume crab caught between the Oregon border and Santa Barbara county line. Sooooo...this year, Mendocino has the UNcrab, beer & wine festival. It started Jan 22 and runs through Jan 31.

Many of the wineries in Anderson Valley have "crab" bites to pair with their wine. Look for the festival sign. We visited a couple.

Lula Cellars is located at 2800 Guntley Road in Philo. It's a relatively new winery that opened in 2010. They boast award-winning Pinots and Zinfandels but I liked their Gewurtztraminer. For the UNcrab festival, they had NO crab bites.

Husch Vineyards is located at 4400 CA-128 in Philo. They did have a crab dip that was delicious. It was made with blue crab and not dungeness crab.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pinches Tacos

Pinches Tacos is located in the Container Park. They advertise Real Mexican Food by Real Mexicans. I don't know where their Real Mexicans come from but I've had better Real Mexican Food.

Guacamole--meh. Chips & salsa--meh.

Nachos--cheese was not melted. 

Fish Taco--$3.15 each. Rubio's makes a better fish taco.

Lengua--$3.15. The tongue was tender but again nothing special.

Side of rice. This came out cold.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Container Park

My sister had read about a park made out of old containers in downtown Las Vegas. We decided to check it out.

Entrance to the park.

Locks on the heart. Not sure if people left locks or it was all part of the sculpture.

Scrap metal Praying Mantis sculpture.

Kid's playground made out of containers.

I must say it was disappointing. On a Saturday afternoon, there were just a handful of people there. There weren't any interesting shops and the food available was disappointing.

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Monday, January 25, 2016


We stayed at the Palazzo, an all-suite hotel on the Strip. Our room overlooked the Wynn Hotel and the golf course.

There was a large living area.

2 queen beds

and a humongous bathroom.

Since I was just there for 2 nights, I packed in a messenger bag. That's a pair of heels in the side pocket and my computer tucked into the back pocket.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Las Vegas

I went to Las Vegas with my sisters to celebrate one of their birthdays.

M&M shop on the strip.

There was every imaginable color of M&Ms.

Paris Hotel

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Texas Sheet Cake

I love this cake. The cake is moist and the frosting is delicious.

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
½ cup shortening
1 stick butter
1 cup water
4 Tbs cocoa
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together sugar and flour in large bowl.  In a saucepan, bring to boil the shortening, butter, water and cocoa.  Pour over the flour mixture while still hot.  Add the buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda and vanilla.  Pour into a large cookie sheet with sides.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

1 stick butter
4 Tbs cocoa
6 Tbs milk
1 Box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts

Bring to a boil the butter, cocoa and milk.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts.  Cook until syrupy.  Spread over the cake while both are still hot.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's this week's Thursday Night  Dinner at Flavor Bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. All this for $24.95 and that includes the wine pairing.

Bruschetta Con Gamberoni--Topped with Grilled Marinated Jumbo Prawns, Wild Arugula, Tomato-Basil Salsa & Spicy Saffron Aioli, paired with 2013 Séka Hills Viognier, Capay Valley

Risotto Di Ruspante--Arborio Rice Cooked with Homemade Country Style Chicken Sausage, Sweet Leeks, Organic Treviso & Parmigiano-Reggiano, paired with 2013 Vietti Winery Barbera d'Asti, Tre Vigne D.O.C., Italy

Anatra Al Forno--Stone Oven Roasted Duck Breast, Cannellini Bean Ragù Flavored with Escarole, Cipolle Brasate & Garlic Candy Topped with Citrus-Sage Gremolata, paired with 2012 La Posta Angel Paulucci Malbec, Ugarteche Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina

Crostata Di Mele--Organic Apple Tart Served with Mascarpone Vanilla Custard, paired with 2014 Vietti Winery Moscato d'Asti, Cascinetta D.O.C.G., Italy

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kettles Vietnamese Bistro

Kettles Vietnamese Bistro has a very flavorful Shaken Beef dish. It's what I usually get when I go there. They're located at 1202 W. Steele Lane in Santa Rosa.

Shaken Beef--$16.50. Tender filet mignon cubes wok-tossed with red & green onion, in Asian spices served with mixed greens & Jasmine rice. This is delicious. My only complaint is that it's a tad on the salty side. 

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lee's Noodle

We went to our usual standby for dinner on the way home from Albion--Lee's Noodle House, located at 1010 Hopper. Their usual chef must have been out because the dishes didn't taste the same.

Deep Fried Egg Roll-$4.95. These were greasy and didn't have much flavor.

Small Pho--$6.50. I like mine with eye round steak, soft tendon and bible tripe. They don't have just these as an option, so I got well done flank and brisket in addition. The broth was not very robust and didn't have depth of flavor. That's why I think the usual chef wasn't in that night.

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