An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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T’s Mom visits

IMG_8469My husband’s mother is Mom. His Step-mother is Mama. My mother is Mummy. T grew up in New York and his Mom recently bought a house near Syracuse. In the midst of the busy move, she decided to take a break and come to the West coast for a holiday. The last time she was here to visit T was in 2009 and he didn’t have much furniture then. She and Grammy had to stay in a hotel. Now that we’re more settled in, I wanted to make sure she felt comfortable staying at her only son’s house while she visits for a week.

T’s been busy with his game and he didn’t have much time to take her out himself. He did get to spend a few hours a day with her and we went out for meals together. I think perhaps her favourite day might have been when he drove her to Mount Charleston. Just the day before, he drove 4.5hrs to Culver City to attend Indiecade (and another 4.5hrs back that night).

The last time I saw my MIL was last Christmas when I brought my family to meet T’s. I feel bad that T only sees his Mom a few days a year because he relocated to Nevada for work, so while she visited, I tried to do as much as I could with her.

This MIL is not the shopping type – unlike my Mum who can walk for hours at a mall. She loves nature, reading, arts and crafts, and antiquing. So while she was here, we drove around a lot just to see the sights. I took her to visit a super quaint village about 15 minutes away from where we live – they have 1 Elementary school, maybe about 50 quaint cottages and a general store that also houses the Sheriff’s department.

IMG_8471Mom is a very interesting person. She trained as a teacher (with a Masters in Education) before going back to school to get her nursing degree for better career prospects. There are some things she knows a lot of but they’re not just book-ish stuff. She’s almost 70 and recently just painted the interior of her own house. She also makes her own curtains for her windows, stains furniture and re-upholsteres old chairs. Her favourite activity now that she’s retired is… GARDENING! (While she was describing to me how she digs trenches and moves soil around to plant everything from roses to asparagus, I got really tired for her!) So of course, we had to visit some nurseries while she was in Las Vegas.

IMG_8472While Mom was here, we also went to

The Strip (just riding through it in the car)

Lake Las Vegas

IMG_8470Island Malaysian Cuisine for some Southeast Asian food which she’s never had. She wanted Cashew Chicken or Sweet and Sour but we ended up getting Nasi Goreng Ayam with Kuah Satay (aka Chicken Fried Rice and Sweet Peanut Sauce).

IMG_8467Mount Charleston (a 1hr drive from Las Vegas) where the trees grow green and tall (but the Aspens were turning Orange at this time of year). There is also a ski resort in operation during Winter.

IMG_8466– The Buffet At Wynn for lunch which had diabetic-friendly, Vegan and gluten-free options clearly marked. USA Today also recommended it as one of 5 Best Buffets in Las Vegas.

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– The newly opened Downtown Summerlin (directions to this place on their flyer was vague but I found it once I figured out I just have to go to Summerlin). We walked around and went in and out of several shops. It wasn’t my MIL’s cup of tea at all but we did sit down and have a nice frozen strawberry lemonade and some pretzels. I can’t imagine shopping there in Summer. The shops are really spread far apart and there’s hardly any shade. But we’ll see when the real test comes in the form of my sisters and Mum in December.

Downtown Las Vegas where we walked the old part of Las Vegas (the one you see in old movies) and Fremont East which houses Downtown Container Park and is also known as the hipster part of Las Vegas. Not that my mother-in-law cares about the hipsters or even knows what they are but there are cool little shops and cafes that dot the street. And it seems like it’s even more hipster than it was when I last was there in August. Hopefully it’ll grow exponentially and combat the commercialisation that is signature of Las Vegas.

IMG_8537And because it was her last night here in Las Vegas, we went out to dinner together yesterday. My mother-in-law is a very thrifty person and seldom affords herself any luxuries especially since she chose early retirement. Dining out at The Cheesecake Factory and Olive Garden are rare treats to her, so that’s what we did. She wanted dinner at Olive Garden, we had dinner at Olive Garden.

IMG_8536And that’s the end of my mother-in-law’s Las Vegas holiday. The next time we’ll see her, it’ll be in New York state for Christmas at her new house in Syracuse!


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Royal India Bistro (Las Vegas)

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Our weekend eating buddy May Leng suggested this place at the Rio several months ago but it took us till 10th February to actually make our way there. May Leng’s boss recommended this place and we were only too happy to take it on because it gave us some place new to explore and we absolutely love Indian food!

When we arrived, it was eerily quiet and rather odd for not having dinner time crowd. Perhaps the overtly wannabe opulence turned people off at the entrance but most likely, I reckon it might be the price. Of the different Indian restaurants we’ve been to in Las Vegas, this was definitely the most expensive. We ended up paying more than US$30 per person though I thought the food was really good!

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We had an all Vegetarian dinner (though not the set) even though our friend May Leng isn’t vegetarian. She’s very accommodating that way (but then again, Indian vegetarian is so flavourful). We ordered the vegetable samosa, paneer pakora (my favourite dish of the night), aloo tiki, bhindi masala and shahi paneer. The dishes however didn’t come with any rice or breads unlike other places, so we also ordered naans and basmati rice.

I think the decor of this place is too weird and fancy, even though it’s in a hotel. I’m not sure what they’re trying to do – maybe an Indian fine dining ambience with prices to boot?

T and I really liked the food. Unfortunately, we don’t see ourselves returning very often. Luckily though, I just found a Groupon for it! YAY!!!  We paid US$20 for US$40 worth of food but knowing us, we’ll end up paying another $15-20 more (which is still okay, right?) Besides, the service was pretty good (*koffkoff* it was virtually empty). We had a knowledgable waitress who knew how to explain and recommend dishes to us.

Recommended? Yes… if you don’t mind paying about 30-40% more.

ROYAL INDIA BISTRO

3700 East Flamingo,

Las Vegas, NV 89103

(702) 777-2277
 


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Cactus Joe’s in Las Vegas

T took me to Cactus Joe’s in May but it was closed on the day we visited. We were near Red Rock Canyon and decided to check it out last Saturday. He loves Cactus Joe’s and the place is just teeming with T’s signature Southwest Style (or as I call it… brown things).

IMG_0310I’m glad we didn’t get to go in the Summer heat because it was sprawling and open-air. There was a lot to see and T was just wandering from place to place like a kid in a candy store. I’m not really sure what to call this place. I assumed they sold cactus and that was it but it was like a nursery and a giant gift shop of desert-y (and ethnic) things.

T bought many of our home decor from Cactus Joe’s. Everything from wall art to figurines to bits and bobs (including a Chinese rice barrel). As you can see from the pictures, there were decorative art and sculptures all over the place – some made of glass, some metal, some wood. A lot of HUGE glass chunks and chiselled off semi-precious stones. There were some posters of old mining towns, books on Native American art, a gold-mining kit, jewellery and plants of course! One section was just all Joshua Trees! There were other desert plants and cactus of all shapes and sizes everywhere.

IMG_0311I ended spending a total of USD9 at Cactus Joe’s last week. I bought 2 glass balls encased in what I think is hemp rope – each slightly bigger than my fists. One was orange and the other yellow. I’ve decided that we are going to get a Christmas Tree for our 3rd floor living space and each and every ornament will be purchased by us together. Nothing out of a commercially packaged box and hopefully, we will grow our collection for years to come.

I think this is a wonderful break from the Strip itself. Cactus Joe’s is a great place for both locals and tourists. You can buy some plants or learn about desert plants, maybe bring a gem stone or two home, buy some post cards or a map of the old mining towns, purchase a giant Mayan calendar for your wall at home, come play with the critters that roam the premise or take some pretty fun pictures! There’s apparently a chapel that you can rent for a wedding too!

CACTUS JOE’S BLUE DIAMOND NURSERY

12740 Blue Diamond Road,

Las Vegas, NV 89161

Email: cactusjoeslasvegas@gmail.com

Phone: (702) 875-1968


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My week of domestic bliss in Las Vegas

I was away in Las Vegas for about a week and just got back this morning in the wee hours. It’s been surreal and I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms. Or maybe it’s just jet lag. It took me almost a day to get back to Singapore but here I am! Las Vegas, Portland, Narita, Singapore… bleagh… I hate flying. I hate this long-distance relationship thing even more.

Every moment was precious and other than spending time together, T and I managed to catch up with some friends. My dear friend G, whom I’ve known since we were 7 (we were Primary schoolmates at CHIJ Toa Payoh), specially drove in from Los Angeles with her husband and baby. G and I kept in touch even though she left Singapore to attend high school ages ago. I’ve hung out with her and her husband on several occasions when they came back to visit in Singapore but this is the first time I’m meeting her 2-year old, Conrad. We had our first sleepover guests and it was great!!! I loved every moment and I’m so terribly envious of her. Her son is not only gorgeous but so incredibly intelligent for a 2-year old! He’s definitely ahead of his peers in many ways! We had so much fun visiting Circus Circus and playing with the different claw machines! G’s husband was on a roll and won just about every kind of plushie possible for their baby. They ended up with a bunch of toy cars too!! It was crazy! We ended Day 2 of their visit at the Bacchanal Buffet at Ceasars Palace and after an hour long wait in line, I just went nuts! I think it was definitely made better eating with friends… I can’t wait to see them again in LA when I go visit next!

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T and I spent most of our time just doing nothing in particular. I loved cooking, cleaning, walking Max, splashing about the pool within the housing community, watching movie after movie on Netflix and just lounging about talking endlessly with T about the most inane things. He drove me around every other day just to see the sights – sometimes with the top of his Corvette down and now I’ve got a tan from the desert sun (my mother doesn’t like it and was lamenting about how my fair skin is now dark).

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Of course, I had to go to the Las Vegas Strip (well, kinda) and pay a visit to the premium outlet malls. We also drove up to Mount Charleston and I fell in love with the views. I’m thinking I want to spend a night in one of the log cabins there in Winter. Maybe Mount Charleston Lodge?

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting different supermarkets and buying a lot of household things. We just filled the house with food, containers, cutlery, and I even bought myself a super cute cupcake print apron from Cost Plus World Market. I think I also ate too much and would need to watch my food intake for the next month! We went to Gigi’s Cupcakes on E Flamingo (their mini ones are better), Claim Jumper in Henderson (love love love their Spinach Artichoke dip), had the best veggie cheeseburger in my entire life at Capriotti’s and an amazing avocado filled egg roll at The Cheesecake Factory (okay, their cheesecakes are faaaaaab too!).

My week has come and gone. We’ll be apart for another 92 days and I’ll go back again to this domestic bliss….

BTW, check out the awesome SHARE buttons that T installed for me. Now you can LIKE and SHARE and PIN my posts!