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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Wow, this post is way overdue! Since we’ve moved to SF, Yufei and I have not had a shortage of food outings. On weeknights when I work late and have no time to cook dinner, we usually just go to one of the neighborhood restaurants a few blocks away. We sure are glad that we live in the Lower Haight, with a ton of restaurants and bars within walking distance. Some of our favorites include Sushi Raw for Japanese, Wonderland for Chinese, Axum Cafe for Ethiopian, Tandoor on Haight for Indian, Chilli Cha Cha for Thai, Greenburger’s for burgers, and Danny Coyles for drinks. There are still a few places around we have yet to try, but we’re definitely happy with the amount and variety of food options near our apartment!

One of the fancier but still close to us restaurants that I really love is L’Ardoise. It’s a cute and cozy little French bistro that has great food, excellent service, and wonderful ambiance. We’ve been there twice now and have an awesome time both times. Not sure if you can tell from this photo, but it’s quite a small restaurant, with lots of rich, red decor, resulting in a very French, very intimate atmosphere.

Now the food. The first time we went, we ordered their appetizer special, which was a delicious salad with spinach, green beans, goat cheese, walnuts, and I forget what else.

Yufei got the filet mignon and I got the duck confit for our main courses, and both were really good. The only thing was that my duck was a little bit too salty, and I wasn’t sure if it was just that one night or not.

We also had the creme brulee for dessert and it was one of the best I’ve ever had! I had to resist the temptation to lick the dish.

Last time we went we shared a butter lettuce salad, and ordered the hanger steak (for Yufei) and coq au vin (for me). Again the food was wonderful! And of course we had to get dessert again. Yufei opted for the flourless chocolate cake and I was intrigued by the floating island. I’d never heard of it before, but the waitress told me it was made of meringue floating on creme anglaise served with caramel sauce and fresh strawberries. Sold! It was so light and sweet, and beautifully presented too.

Another great thing about L’Ardoise is their bread. I swear they have some kind of bread monitor, and every time our bread basket is even half empty, a server would sweep by and replace it with a fresh, full one. And they do this throughout the meal!

I have a few more restaurants around SF I want to review, and I thought about lumping them all into one post, but I think they deserve their own posts. So look forward to more of our food adventures!

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Yufei and I went to Las Vegas last month for the first time ever! It was our first short trip since we moved to SF, and just in time too since we were tired of the non-existent summer weather here! Vegas definitely gave me the dose of summer I wanted; the temperature was over 100F (40C) pretty much the whole time we were there.

We stayed for 3 nights at 2 different hotels: first night at the Westin Las Vegas and the last 2 nights at Bally’s. The Westin was a little bit off the strip, but still within walking distance. It had a small casino, a small pool, and a little restaurant, but none of the sprawling mall-like features of the larger resorts. We really liked it!

Lounging by the pool at the Westin:

We got there pretty early that first day, so we kind of just wandered around the strip.

Ran into Mario and Luigi!

We had a huge lunch at the buffet at the Bellagio and a late dinner at the restaurant in the Westin. I also realized very early on during the trip that I am definitely not made for gambling. I’m way too emotionally involved to be any good at it (i.e. I will sulk for hours if I lose like $50). So for the rest of the trip after that first night I left all the money-winning and losing to Yufei, haha.

Later that night we ventured out again and watched the Bellagio fountains:

And then we walked around in the Bellagio and decided to visit one of the clubs there, Hyde. It kind of half inside and half outside, with a side open to the fountains and the Eiffel Tower so the view was nice.

We got back pretty late that night so we slept in and got up in time for the free breakfast at the Westin. Then we relaxed at the pool for one last time and then checked out and moved to Bally’s across the street. Then it’s off to do more wandering and exploring!

In front of Caesar’s Palace:

Inside Paris:

An interesting note: the whole time I was in Vegas, I knew there was something familiar about it even though I’d never been there before. I didn’t realize what it was until I read somewhere that Las Vegas is like Disneyland for adults, which is exactly it! Then for dinner we ate at the buffet at Paris. I just want to take a moment to complain about the crazy lines for buffets in Vegas, ugh! But I think all the seafood I ate made up for it.

After dinner, we decided to go downtown and check out the scene there.

Fremont Street was pretty fun for a bit, but there wasn’t too much to do around there so we left and went back to the strip after about an hour.

The next day brought more exploring. We walked all the way up to the south end of the strip and reminisced about NYC by New York, New York (“where’s Columbia?!”).

We got tickets to see Mystère by the Cirque de Soleil that night. (Sneaked a photo of the set before the show started.)

It was our first time seeing the Cirque du Soleil, and it was an interesting experience. The show itself was pretty fun to watch, though it was at times bizzarre and confusing. The only thing that sucked was this really rude lady sitting next to us who kept being very vocal about her opinions, so annoying.

After the show, we walked over to Encore to see if we could get into XS, but alas, not a chance. The lines were huge.

So we just had a drink in the bar next door instead. We really liked the whole vibe of Encore, very glitzy and glittery, with lots of gold and red. Here I am with a pretty peacock light.

After our last night in Vegas, we packed our bags and left them at the hotel, since our flight was not until later that night. We decided to check out the flamingo sanctuary at (where else) the Flamingo.

And then we took the bus to the Stratosphere.

I was too chicken to go on any of the rides at the top, so we just had lunch at the rotating restaurant, Top of the World. The views were great and the food and service were really good as well. Prices were actually very reasonable too. I ordered the Banh mi sandwich and Yufei had the burger, and both were delicious.

After lunch, we hung around in the Stratosphere for a while longer, including taking a quick nap by their pool. And then it was time to go back and pick up our bags! One last walk around the strip!

We were quite reluctant to leave; I was especially unenthused about returning to the cold weather and working at 8am the next day. Anyway, so concluded our first trip to Las Vegas. Probably not our last though, especially if we stay in the west!

Have you been to Vegas before? Do you have suggestions for places to stay or visit? Fun things to do? Let me know in the comments!

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