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Thursday, August 22, 2013

That Time I Got To Have The Suite Life

I got lucky somehow with the opportunity to stay at The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in one of their nicest suites! The wraparound terrace suite is 1200 square feet, with a 500 square foot balcony that wraps around the corner of the hotel. The room was equipped with a full kitchen, two full bathrooms, a separate bathtub located just behind the bed wall, a washer/dryer, and other amenities like bathrobes and slippers. The hotel offered us a high floor upgrade with an eastern view and we took it over the view of mountains or partial strip view. I figured this would be special so I took it. Our views included the Paris Hotel's Eiffel Tower, and the Bellagio fountains.  Normally, this upgrade is $125/night but we were given the rate of $65 because we would only be staying one night. They always get you with the add ons in Vegas, but this was worth it. 

The whole night was spent on the terrace drinking wine, watching the fountain show every half hour, and even catching a few scenes of The Little Rascals screening at The Cosmopolitan pool down below. The weather was just cooling off at sundown with the low being a steamy 88 degrees. It felt good after a few photo ops and a few bottles of wine. The balcony couches were so cozy I could've stayed there all night or hosted a party and had a few extra guests crash there. Instead, we made our way downstairs for dinner at STK, where we stuffed ourselves with steak and seafood. My only disappointment was waking up the next morning and realizing there's no coffee machine! Even a HoJo has a coffee machine! I was kind of expecting an espresso machine but then again, the 'full kitchen' wasn't actually equipped with anything except two martini glasses. We had to call down to requested wine glasses the night before. Overall it was an exquisite experience and I vowed to someday stay at wraparound terrace suite at The Cosmopolitan Hotel again. 

Late check out was requested (duh) so we spent the last hour or two of our stay at the pool. How genius is it to have AstroTurf instead of concrete, cushioned lounge chairs instead of metal, and chaise lounges in the pool? It made the 104 degree temperature feel a lot cooler.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How To Maintain Your Healthy Diet in Switzerland

You don't.

So I went to this beer hall in Zurich, Zeughauskeller, that was built in 1487 when it served as a storage for guns and ammo. Today, it's a restaurant serving up jumbo sausages and beer with guns hanging on the walls. I began with an enormous goblet of beer with schnapps mixed in. The waitress then lit the goblet on fire while table side, swirled it until the flame ceased, and garnished the final product with some wheat. It was potent and ridiculous. A delightful over the top lunch cocktail.

The food was heavy and hearty. A plate of rösti, shredded potatoes fried in pancake form, was served with chunks of veal in gravy. Meat and potatoes is the epitome of comfort food! Next, a yard of sausage came to the table with a side of gravy with onions and a plate of potato salad. The combination was perfection.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Switzerland Fondues and FonDONTS

Maybe summer is not the ideal time of year to enjoy fondue, but I found myself in Zürich in July so I am going to have piping hot fondue regardless of the heat outside.

We heard that the tiny restaurant, Raclette Stube, was this towns best choice for hot cheese but it also had a catch. Prostitutes roaming in broad daylight on the prowl for fresh meat. A guard monitoring vehicle traffic entering Zähringerstrasse was screening for potential clients. Don't nobody like whores and cheese mixed together, that's gross. But we went forward with it anyway.

With a slight smell of stinky feet growing stronger, I knew the raclette cheese was upon us. The waitress brought over individual plates, bare of everything but melted cheese with burnt edges. We were instructed to sprinkle it with pepper and paprika. A plate with pickles, onions, baby corn, and potatoes was given to us to accompany the raclette. I've never heard of this pairing but it seemed to work, as I went through 3 plates of all-you-can-eat cheese (keep in mind, this is just the appetizer).

The next course was fondue. A bubbling bowl of yellow gooeyness came with plenty of bread for dipping. All that was left in the end was some burnt cheese residue. Our waitress took the fondue fork and began twisting and turning until the burnt cheese was scraped off into an edible cheese disc. She described it as being the best part of the meal, and it was my duty to test the theory. AFFIRMATIVE.

DO: Eat fondue!
DON'T: Be a prostitute. At least not during the day around food establishments.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Swiss Chuchi!

After walking in the heat all day it became a mission to find lunch. I had no idea what "Swiss food" meant. It didn't feel right eating French. It didn't feel right eating Italian. It didn't feel right eating German. So why don't I take a chance on a restaurant with "Swiss" in the title, and a fondue pot painted on the awning.

We sat at a table outside, and judging by the puddle of sweat I produced when my cheeks met the pleather chair, it was just too hot for fondue. Instead, we tried a few other plates that we heard are like, totally Swizzy.

Cheese, ham slices, and pickles (you will find, as we did, this is a theme) over a salad with some kind of creamy dressing was our first dish. A lot of cheese. Their cheese is not to be messed with. You can smell it coming.

Up next was the rösti, shredded potatoes fried in nugget-form and stuffed with cheese (surprised?) served over a salad with creamy dressing. It was like McDonald's breakfast hash browns, the gourmet edition, stuffed with cheese. Yum. Nothing makes more sense to me than fried carbs over a bed of lettuce.

We finished the meal with a meaty plate. A skewer of pig, if you will? Bratwurst, bacon, and pork on a stick with gravy to be exact. It was complimented by home fries. The whole production was washed down with a Swiss beer, Eichhof.