Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Burgers and iced tea

Thanks to Rob pointing at the new chapter in Blogstory recently. He felt I would be offended by the description of Vegas. One line I liked is “Isn’t it wonderful? It’s like a sauna all day long. And the Americans here, aren’t they a treat?! They drive around all the time and eat hamburgers and … “ . . . “it’s so strange that we drink so much tea and of course the tea here is iced because, well it’s hot here innit, yeah yeah it is sort of like being in a sauna all day long except this sauna has a view of sorts … well, not much of a view I suppose, mostly just dust and garbage and of course the sun … “ I don’t know where the author, Jim, lives, but to me this is a fairly accurate description of this place.

So in honor of Jim’s attitude we went out and had burgers and iced tea. Well, I usually drink iced tea most of the time, and burgers are on our regular food schedule, so it wasn’t much of a leap. Just a selection I gave Jim credit for.

Some of the best burgers in town are at the Burger Bar, a small restaurant at Mandalay Place, the small shopping mall on a bridge in between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor.

Went for lunch with Denise from work – we work on the south side of the airport, not too far from the Mandalay. Though she grew up in Vegas, Denise has never been to the Luxor, so we started there.

I like starting Strip tours with the Luxor. They have a big parking garage (well, all the casinos do) that is easy to get to with multiple entrances. The entrances are right off of Frank Sinatra Drive, so you don’t have to drive on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip). Plus, when you walk from the parking garage to the main pyramid you pass on a bridge over the pool area, and the pool is very ‘well stocked’ in the summertime. The entrance from the parking lot is not very impressive – you are thrown right into the back of the casino.

But this is the location of the nickel slots – sorry you can’t read the lighted signs over the machines. As an alternative you can go up some stairs to the entertainment area, where the food court and Imax movie theatre and other attractions are located. This does provide a nice view inside the pyramid –

All the rooms are on the outside walls, leaving the entire central space open. You can see all the way up to the tip thirty or so floors up. With balconies to the rooms making stripes all around. I was impressed with one of the attractions – they have a carpet in front of a green screen. You can sit on the carpet and have a short video made – a computer replaces the green screen with a tour of the strip, so it looks like you are flying between the casinos. Part of the video has Elvis and other celebrities waving at the carpet as it goes by, so it looks like you really are flying along the strip. It looked really cool. I’ll have to go back with B and have a shot made.

So up on the entertainment level and onto the bridge over to the Mandalay. Some fancy stores – but it is not a full shopping mall, like at the Aladin or Caesar’s – and an assortment of places to eat. The Burger Bar

is about in the middle. Not very big or fancy, there is still usually a line outside most times. There are a lot of fancy Mandalay Bay restaurants. The Burger Bar was opened by one of the main chefs in charge of several other restaurants. You don’t just go up to a window and order a burger. You pick your meat; beef, sirloin, Kobe, turkey; then bun, then what goes on, which includes such typical items as onions and pickles all the way up to foi gras and shaved truffles. There are a list of standards, all the way up to a $60 burger (yes, sixty dollars!) which is Kobe beef, foi gras, truffles and a Madera wine based sauce. Someday I’ll have to try one, just to say I did, before inflation brings up the price of a Big Mac to that level.

I had the sirloin, onion roll, fried onions and fat fries. Of course, along with iced tea. It was pretty good. The atmosphere was nice,

Not a fancy place, but not a typical MacDonald’s. Kind of more like a British pub. They’ve got a good beer selection, including several locally brewed beers. But that’s for at night, not when I’ve got to get back to work. Burger and a brew go pretty well, and then we’d walk the strip while the alcohol worked off before driving home.

You can get by with a simple burger for $7. An extra dollar for the sirloin upgrade, fifteen dollars for the American version of Kobe beef. Extras (grilled onions, cheese (seven selections), etc.) are about $1.50 each. Fries are an extra three dollars or so. Turkey burger is $8. Denise and I ended up with a total bill of around $32, drinks included. They also have some all American desserts - typical is the 'dessert burger' - a donut split in half with a chocolate ganache filling, covered with melted chocolate and whipped cream. I've never had room for dessert there.

So, yes Jim (and Rob), burgers and iced tea and sun. OK alternative for our fancy restaurants. Starting to warm up – cold cold winter is past. Supposed to be up to 69f tomorrow. Had a low of 54f the other night, so hopefully no more snow.

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