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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Las Vegas, NV: Deuces wild, chili, and more Hawaiian food, Day 3

Don’t you love it when you can sleep in! A sliver of sunlight slips through the drapes and your body says, “Coffee!” Roll out of bed and peek through the drapes – a beautiful Las Vegas sky smiles back at you. Hotel coffee makers make convenient, albeit not exactly the best, coffee. It would do as it was almost lunch time.
  • Travel tip: If you love to sleep in and don’t want the sun to stream in on your restful bliss, pack a few clothes pins in your suitcase. They make the perfect closure and help keep the sunlight outside.
About 9 miles from downtown is Silver Sevens Hotel and Casino (formerly Terrible’s Hotel and Casino). The casino has a wide variety of video slots, video poker, and table games. Their coffee shop, The Sterling Spoon Café, is casual dining with great prices. With a chili challenge tasting in the afternoon, a lighter breakfast was in order. Deuces Wild is two fluffy buttermilk pancakes with eggs any style and choice of bacon or sausage. The eggs were cooked perfectly for sunny side. Bacon was crispy and meaty. Pancakes were fluffy and not too heavy. A little time of slot play was order after lunch.

  • Savings tip: Join their A-Play club if you gamble. They have food specials for club members. Back in November, Deuces Wild was only $2.99 when you presented your card at the cashier. They also have specials on their hotel billboard and many other specials listed in the parking garage elevators. Also, swipe your card at the A-Play kiosks. You never know what kind of food comp you have waiting for you.

Downtown Chili Throwdown was the public’s chance to try red-hot championship chili and help decide a People’s Choice winner at the World Food Championships. Here are some of the teams vying for the prize: 

  • On the Road Chili, from Corona, CA served up Tri Tip Chili with red and black beans, tomato, and tri tip. It was a little spicy but not overpowering. The tri tip was a little chewy and needed to be cooked a bit longer. The consistency could be thicker as well. Rating: 3.8/5
  • GrannyB, from Fort White, FL, served up chili with corn, black beans, and chuck roast. The chuck roast was perfectly tender. The consistency was smooth. Corn added a little sweetness. Rating: 4.8/5
  • Hot Flash Chili, from Houston, TX, served up chili with hamburger, tomato, chili beans, garlic, and onions. It was reminiscent of Cincinnati-style chili but thinner consistency. It would be good on spaghetti. The flavor profile leans towards Italian with a nice blend of flavors. Rating: 4.5/5
  • Susan Simons, from Eatonville, WA, served up chili with ground sirloin, 5 different chili peppers, kidney beans, roasted corn, paprika, and topped sour cream, cilantro, and green onions. Flavor was like home cooked chili, not too spicy or overly fancy. It needed salt and acidic element like Worcestershire sauce. Rating: 3.8/5
  • Scary Mary's, from Springfield, IL, served up chili with ground beef, pinto beans, tomato, and onion. The flavor was very basic and bland. It definitely needed work on the combination of seasonings and salt. Rating:  3/5
  • Chili Crew, from Springfield, IL, served up chili with red/pinto beans and ground beef. It tasted like gourmet Dennision’s chili with good consistency. The fat from the ground beef needs to be drained off after browning – too much oil floating on top. Rating: 3/5
  • Pinstripes Chili Bar, from Woodburn, OR, served up chili with red/pinto beans, ground beef, and chili pepper. The chili was very oily and bland, but would great on a salty hot dog. Rating: 2.5/5
  • Cheesehead Chili, from Pewaukee, WI, served up chili with ground sirloin, stew meat, pinto, and red beans. The ratio of beans to meat was great, too heavy handed on the salt. This would be good served over rice. Rating: 3/5
  • Fire in the Hole Chili, from Lancaster, CA, served up chili with tri tip, pork shoulder, carrots, pinto beans, peppers, and tomato. The consistency was a little thin. The flavor was more like a stew versus chili. Rating: 3.3/5
  • Farley's Family Restaurant, from Hermantown, MN, served up chili with pepperoni, hamburger, sausage, filet mignon, bacon, peppers, pinto beans, onion, and celery. Unfortunately, this chili was too sweet like marinara sauce. All of the different meats were muted by the sweet base. Meat only provided texture, not flavor. Rating: 2/5
Even though these were just tastings, the number of chilis you can taste fill you up really fast. It was time to head back to the hotel to rest after a chili induced “food coma”. Ray Bogart from Team Bogart, was the winner of the Chili Competition and took home $10,000. But, there can be only one! Ricardo Heredia from Alchemy Restaurant in San Diego, CA from the Bacon Competition swept the ultimate prize of $100,000. 

 
Later in the evening, comfort food was needed and Aloha Specialties was the place to go. Another popular plate lunch favorite is Kalua Pig & Cabbage. Pork is seasoned with Hawaiian salt and slow roasted. In Hawaii, the whole pig is laid out on chicken wire and stuffed with hot lava rocks to start the cooking from the inside. The pig is placed in an imu (underground oven with hot lava rocks) and covered with banana leaves and buried for the day. When it is done, the pig is pulled from the imu and the pork is juicy and tender. At this point, the kalua pig is eaten or stored for later use. Kalua Pig and Cabbage is a great way to use the pork. The rich, salty pork works well with the cabbage when cooked together. The cabbage and pork juice is great on sticky rice as well. Mac salad is served alongside for a creamy flavor. Teri Beef Sandwich is also a quick lunch stable. The teriyaki flavor was good, but the beef portion was kind of small. One more slice would be better.

As the pulse of Vegas continued on into the night, the road trip back to SoCal was only hours away.


For more information:
November 3-10, 2015
Kissimmee, FL USA
 
The Sterling Spoon Café (inside the Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino)
4100 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89169
+1.702.733.7000
Hours: Every day, 24 hours a day

Aloha Specialties (inside the California Hotel & Casino)
12 E Ogden Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89101
+1.702.385.1222
Hours: Daily from 9am to 9pm

600 E Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
+1.702.385.5200

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