Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Celebration

The holiday season is a time for family and food, a lot of food. Although, when my family gets together, everyday is always about family and food.

Christmas Eve
Enoteca San Marco, Las Vegas
One of our family's favorite spots. This is located in the Venetian Hotel. It's traditional Italian food from Italy with the Mario Batali touch.
The Menu

The Place Mat
They have several types of place mats. They all have various information regarding Italian culture and Italian food and drinks.

Bar Tower
Filled with blocks of cheese and meats.

Bar Seats

The Atmosphere
The restaurant is open to the Grand Canal Shoppes, so the customers get to enjoy the music from the entertainers.

The Wine Pairing
Friulano, Bastianich, 2007, Friuli - A great pairing for salads, light appetizers, and light pastas
“Vertigo”, Livio Felluga, 2006, Friuli - A nice pairing with the Bucatini and the Pork Shoulder

Radish in Bagna Cauda, Squash Agro Dolce, Roasted Beets with Saba
A delicious and refreshing start to whet the appetite.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Tomato, cured pork, onion. The pasta is cooked perfectly al dente, and the sauce nicely coats the noodles. A great pasta dish!

Bavette Cacio e Pepe
Black pepper, pecorino. Another delicious pasta dish. Actually, all of the pastas on the menu are great.

Braised Pork Shoulder
Averna apple reduction, cucumber. Soo good! This is definitely a plate to share. The pork is fork tender and the reduction is slightly sweet.

Roasted Cauliflower
With hazelnuts. A nice side dish to balance the meal.

Cheese Plate Prep
By sitting at the bar, we get to talk to the cooks that prep the antipasti, the cheeses, and the meats. This is Oscar. He was very generous to us, and it was great getting to know his story.

Cheese Plate
Ricotta, Scimudin, Baita Friuli, Gorgonzola Dulce, and Pecorino Fiore Sardo

Cheese Plate Sides
As part of the cheese plate experience, you get to have three accompaniments.

Honey with Black Truffles
This is AMAZING! It was so good that we bought a jar. $35 - soo worth it!

Apricots with Mustard Seeds

Brandied Cherries

Christmas Day at Home
The Centerpiece

Floating Cranberries

Bowl of Ornaments

Bowl of Pears
Pears from Harry and David

The Buffet Spread

The Wine Pairing
Cava, Montcadi, Semi Seco

Sorini Panettone
This is our yearly treat. We buy it at Williams Sonoma. It's filled with whole candied chestnuts. Mmm!

Lomo, Prosciutto, Smoked Salmon

Gorgonzola and Cheddar

Jar of Honey with Truffles


It's even better than last year. My mom soaked the raisins in Meyer Rum. It's moist and a drinker's dessert of choice. Mm!

Vegetable Soup
The vegetables naturally sweetened the broth. A nice warm bowl on a cold day.

Christmas Night
Rao's, Las Vegas
After watching the Christmas episode of Bobby Flay's Throwdown, we made reservations at Rao's. We had eaten here a few years ago, but now we wanted to try the Christmas Seafood Menu. It was a good meal, but when it comes to Italian food I prefer the traditional Italian cooking of Mario Batali. Rao's style of cooking is more Italian American.
The Entrance

The Bar

The Kitchen

The Inside

The Wine Pairing
Casamatta - A nice white wine that paired well with the pastas.
Riesling - A light white wine that paired well with the fish course.

Insalata di Mare
Steamed Calamari, Shrimp, PEI Mussels, Lobster and Crab Meat With Diced Celery, Gaeta Olives and Parsley. A refreshing dish of fresh seafood. I was expecting to be more impressed by the dish, though.

Linguine al Vongole Marechiara
New Zealand Cockle Clams Sautéed with Garlic, White Wine and Parsley Topped with a Touch of Tomatoes and Spice.

Pennette alla Vodka
San Marzano Tomatoes, Diced Italian ham, Vodka and a Touch of Cream.

Le Polpette di Rao’s
Traditional Rao’s Meatballs Served in Tomato Sauce.

Branzino sotto Sale
Mediterranean Sea Bass encrusted under salt.

Payard, Las Vegas
Francois Payard's patisserie. He has such beautiful creations. A lot of it is delicious; however, at lot of it is also too sweet for my palate.

The Christmas Displays

The Display of Desserts

Buche de Noel

Berry Buche de Noel

The berry part is just the jelly layer on top. Inside is the praline and chocolate center. Tasty, but sweet.

Candy Bar

Tarte Tatin
Nice presentation. But it was cold and the apple was sort of rubbery. My mom's was way better, and I'm not saying that because she's my mom.