Let’s Go On An Edible Excursion
I get asked, “Why do you go on these Edible Excursions, what are they?” Well, the simple answer is, “Because I Love Food!”
Honestly, whether it’s a hole in the wall, cafeteria-style, or Michelin award-winning, I am enamored by the aesthetic, menu, flare, location – and their story.
I began these excursions in 2016 in Northern California. Originally from Illinois, we’d go state to state on these familial food crawls and talk about them for months. We would travel discovering the best sandwiches, barbecue, cultural cuisine, or local favorites. Because let’s be honest, they will give it to you raw.
How Do I Decide, “Who’s Next”?
When deciding which city, I may plan the trip in its entirety or play it by ear, often the latter. And I also gauge reviews and try to decipher a disgruntled customer from someone who talks about the full experience. I also like to talk to the locals, go to the art districts or I’ll look up eateries to see if a name jumps out at me. That’s exactly what happened in Las Vegas.
Sometimes You Get Gifted Twice
We planned a trip to Las Vegas because well, CHICAGO WAS THERE!!! Bears vs Raiders and we knew it would be a vibe. And to be honest, it gave me an excuse to go to one of my favorite culinary haunt cities. So, the crowds would pour in on Friday, so Thursday was the perfect time to enjoy a yummy dinner. Remember when I said I like to see if a name jumps out at me? Like a moth to a flame, there was the aromatic LEMONGRASS – I. Love. Lemongrass. – scent, flavor, structure, and color. So when I saw a restaurant called Lemongrass, it was kismet.
Lemongrass is located in Aria Las Vegas and is Thai-inspired throughout – sleek setting inspired by silk factories, stunning. Enticed by the culinary journey through Thailand I wanted to be intentional with my choices, without looking at the menu beforehand – crazy, right?! I go into it creating a perfect menu for myself with what they have available if that makes sense. My idea of cleaning out the fridge or already prepared dishes in a chopped basket… there’s a t.v. show.
Entering the Aria, I made my way up the escalator into this beautiful foyer with sunflowers on display and floral installations hanging over the table. The hostesses led us in through a stunning array of silk-inspired decor.
Here’s Where It Gets Good – For Me At Least
I was ready to create my menu, my dinner, my four-course meal – and it starts with tea. Tea is the essential drink for me no matter the meal. Now deciding on the tea is where you have to get not only creative but intentional. I ordered a hot lemongrass tea but the accompaniment sets the tone, right. So for this particular tea, I asked for a side of fresh basil, spiced honey, and fresh mint. As there was no need for acid here, I did not use any citrus.
Now for the first course, Spicy Asian Cucumber – julienne style tossed in chili-garlic, vinegar, and sesame oil. Seasoned perfectly, it was a great start to prepare my palate for all the deliciousness coming my way.
On the second course, my eyes fixated on a familiar item, Lobster Tom Kha. Now, if you know, you know, I am obsessed with a good bisque or soup – and they did not disappoint. This Tom Kha was silky, flavorful, with the right amount of heat and acid. Beautiful lumps of lobster, abalone mushrooms, lots of lemongrass, and chili oil. This was a big bowl of just, YES. YES. & MORE PLEASE.
Let’s go entrée!! So the entrée was placed center table – Garlic & Lime Steamed Seabass. And the taste of lime, mint, and garlic was perfect for this mild-flavored fish. Also, it was cooked perfectly and adorned with three thinly sliced lime and Thai chilies. I took the garnish and put it in my Tom Kha – genius.
The piece de resistance was the coconut ice cream…DEE · LISH. Because it is such a wonderful palate cleanser, you leave an opening for a nice cigar and whiskey later.
Lemongrass Is The Best Accompaniment
The service was impeccable.
The overall aesthetic was alluring upon entering and deliberate throughout. I look forward to returning next season and creating an experience for some of my Edible Excursionists.
Sign up FOOD. ART. LOVE. NOIR. to stay up on what we’re planning next. If there are any restaurants or cooks in your area you think we should try, let us know. We may just pop up and go on an Edible Excursion.
Watch me make Lobster Tom Kha live from Chicago on Book of Dawn.