My tiny guy ~

 

One of the most interesting aspects of being a chef with atoddler is that he flat-out refuses to eat any food that I have had a hand in preparing.  It’s a novel thing,really, given that most people are more than happy to come into my house andgobble anything that I set in front of them, including (sometimes) crayons and/or napkins.  The expectation to provide delicious, balanced food has been replaced entirely with naked scorn at my attempts.  Once I even caved and tried to feed the little man an organic version of, basically, EZMac.  He cried actual tears.  Which would have been a pleasing recognition of genetic opposition to boxed mac n’ chee, except that he provides the same reaction when I put homemade pot pie on his little plastic Ikea plate.
Seriously, kid. Why?
I try not to worry too much, since he’s tracking on the growth charts pretty steadily. Pretty steadily, that is, for a child in the 3-5th percentilefor weight.  And the 5-10thpercentile for height.  My child is TINY.  He’s almost 19 months, andtoday I had the gall to put him in some of his 18 month clothes, because I haven’t done laundry recently enough for his 12 month stuff to be anoption.  He looks really stylishand appropriately dressed, provided his preschool activity for the day will be“making a rap video.”  His pants are rolled at both the waist, like a high school cheerleader trying to shorten her skirt, and at the cuffs, like a short kid trying to wear normal kid pants.
I am 5’9.  Hisdad is 6’0.  My dad was 6’4.  Chris’s dad is 6’2.  There is no reason for him to be so little. 
Except maybe that I drank sugar-free red bull when I was pregnant. And I ran a half marathon when I was pregnant. And I restricted weight gain to 25 lbs when I was pregnant.  And I induced two weeks early just because I FELT LIKE IT.  Any of those things could be blamed for both why he is little, and why I am obviously a terrible mother and human being.
Or, I can blame genetics.  Chris was 4’11 and under 90 lbs when he graduated high school.  His dad was growth restricted until college.  Chris entered the Air Force Academy for college at 5’1, and had to report daily toeat a power bar in front of his superiors for extra nutrition.  And then in a couple of painful,growing years, he shot up to a broad-shouldered, 6 foot tall man.  By that point, he was 21 years old.
So I guess it’s not so much a matter of fighting Emmett’s weird little toddler food aversions (yesterday, Larabars were EXCELLENT.  Today, Larabars are BABY POISON), but more a matter of just accepting that he’s going to be this perfectly formed, adorable miniature until well into college. That I get to pretend he’s a baby for way longer.  That he’ll fit into my lap for cuddles well after the age that it becomes creepy and inappropriate.  That he’s going to have shitty luck getting attention from women until his twenties.  Which I’m okay with. It happened to his dad, and all it meant was that he had adequate time to finish medical school before women started distracting him from his studies with their boobs and their swingy hair and their vagina hypnotism.
Tiny little dude in his giant 18 month old pants is ready togo to preschool now.  I’m going totake him, cuddled up like a baby, because I can.  And when I pick him up, and they tell me that he refused toeat a single bite of his lunch, I’m going to probably let him pick some chocolate chips out of his trail mix, because chocolate has fat, and I’m a sucker, and he currently will only eat chocolate and yogurt.
Totally staged.  Like he would ever eat food.
Parenting is awesome.

The (even) uglier side of Vegas ~

 

Monday was my 30th birthday, and Sunday night I got home from my first trip to Vegas. Wow.  30.  Time to break out the full-coverage panties and elaborate facial creams, and investigating how I can get my insurance to pay for an in-home elevator.
I’d like to share a Vegas story with you:
As I mentioned in my last post, I had a GREAT group of friends who flew out to celebrate with me, and in this group of great people happened to be a selection of gorgeous women.  On the night I’mwriting about, three of these hotties came out with me for a night on the town, and it just so happened that they were all tall, thin, and had their boobies out.  I have lots of variously sized and shaped friends, but by chance it was the tall and skinny brigade who made it out that night.  We spent the trip dressed to the nines, drinking complicated drinks, and batting our eyelashes at anyone who was willing to smile at us.  Or leer.  We weren’t picky.
That’s what happens as you get older—you start grasping at any kind of superficial validation that you are still sexually desirable to the universe at large.  Or maybe that’s justme.  Either way, I try to do my part by telling women they look beautiful, that I like their dress, that I’m jealousthat their hair is so long and shiny. Anything I notice, really, because I want everyone to feel that glow of being admired.  And because I believe that everybody except for Casey Anthony has something about them that is exceptional and beautiful.
I have learned this after spending a decade of my life being a judgmental, superficial bitch about other women.  I repent for my formerly evil ways.  I will spend the next decades of my life trying to be kind to women to make up for my previous wrongdoing, because guess what?  It’s kind of hard to live up to the standards we’re given.  I try, don’tget me wrong, but it’s hard.
Which is why this story is so disgusting.  And why I’m now swimming in puddles of my own shame for doing nothing about it.  And why I’m telling you—so that maybe, if this happens in front of you—you’ll beprepared and thoughtful enough to do the right thing.  The thing I didn’t do, because I was too taken aback and unprepared to respond.
We were approached and offered a free “limo” ride to Club Vanity at the Hard Rock hotel.  Club Vanity was a frequent haunt of the most recent Real World cast, so it sounded like a good time.  Or, at the very least,a debauched time.  The limo ended up being a bus with machine guns painted on the sides, but it was still free, andI’d been drinking high-end Russian vodka and wasn’t in a position to quibble over details.  Also, it felt too late to back out because we were dressed, and I say this with love, like complete tramps.
Part of my third-life crisis involves wearing bandage dresses and hoiking my breasts up underneath my chin and getting European-style bangs.  No judging.
While we were waiting by the door of the club, waiting to be escorted in, there was a heated discussion in undertones between the promoters and the bouncers for the club.  One of my girlfriends asked, “is there a problem?” We thought perhaps they were angry that we had a man in our group (my darling husband, who offered to chaperone and hold purses and otherwise be a saint for the night). 
The bouncer stared at us, very obviously, from top to bottom and said “Oh no, you guys aren’t the problem. You’re the solution.”  He then gestured to the two women behind us in line. They were larger women, with fabulous dresses and really cute hairstyles, but they happened to be larger than a size 6.
He then leaned over to the promoter and said, “who broughtthe BIG girls?” in a very accusatory tone.
My friends and I stared at one another in horror as the club staff started to physically separate the larger women from the line and explain that they couldn’t come in because they weren’t on the “guest list.”  The guest list that did not, technically,exist.  The 5’4, plenty-large-himself bouncer was taking issue with the fact that two women had gotten dressed up and excited to go dancing, but weren’t the exact right height and weight dimensions to be allowed to have a good time.  But the men in line were allowed to be whatever dimensions they wished without judgment or having to tolerate bullshit.
The two women knew exactly what was happening, and their hurt was palpable and painted all over their faces.  It was heartbreaking.
While we gaped, open-mouthed, we were chivvied into the club, handed free shots and drink tickets, and placed near the stage of women in underpants, gyrating on poles and having unnaturally toned abs. We stayed where we were put.  We didn’t take a stand.  We didn’t leave.  We had a good time, and not once did one of us go tower over the bouncer and tell him to go fuck himself, as we should have done.
So this has to serve as my belated, inadequate middle finger to that jerk who thought it was okay to judge the bodies of women who were just trying to have fun on a Saturday night in a city that prides itself on providing fun Saturday nights to anyone who shows up willing to get rowdy.
This also has to serve as my apology to the two women who had their night ruined.  I’m sosorry.  I’m sorry I didn’t sayanything.  I’m sorry I patronized that establishment after witnessing their show of assholery, and I’m really jealous that your hair was so long and shiny. You deserve better because you are beautiful, and because you’re HUMANBEINGS.
If you visit Vegas, I encourage you to avoid the Hard Rock and especially Club Vanity.  They take their pretentious name very seriously, they only apply their standards to women, and there’s nowhere to sit down and take off the Godawful heels that you have to wear in order to be deemed acceptable by their titchy little bouncer.

Las Vegas ~

 

Glamming it up in Vegas…sort of.

Okay, back from Vegas, and don’t even have a mild batch of syphilis to show for it, so either I was doing it wrong, or I’ve been lied to for a number of years.  I don’t even think I saw one, single, solitary whore, let alone an entire flock of whores (caravan? herd? peck?).  But my friend did report that when she arrived at her hotel at 7 am, she did overhear some gentlemen bargaining with hookers on the elevator.  One asked in a heavily Asian accent “I can go to your ay-noos?”

Yeah dude.  Yeah you can.

So lack of prostitutes aside, here are my overall impressions of the Las Vegas strip:

My husband, Chris, glamming it up.

1: Holy shitballs of cigarette smoke, batman.  As an ex-smoker (God bless myself for quitting), I cannot imagine voluntarily putting that garbage into my lungs anymore.  The casinos, which are located…um…everywhere, including the hotel lobbies, are just thick clouds of cigarette smoke, with the occasional complete bastard puffing away on a phallic cigar.  Even at the Bellagio, which is where we stayed because we’re high-falutin’, the smoke was just overwhelming.

The Cosmopolitan

2: The amount of electricity being used stressed me out a little.  WHY SO MANY LIGHTS, VEGAS??

3: Whomever invented remote-controlled blackout curtains should receive complimentary road head from someone far more attractive than I.

4: I found the imitations of the Eiffel Tower, Venice, the pyramids etc. to be cheap, farcical, and tacky.  Every time I saw one, I just wished that I were in the actual location of the original, rather than in the American desert looking at fakes.  I thought hotels like the Cosmopolitan, which were just original but overdone, were much nicer than the international pretendo models.

5: You know how on Halloween women tend to wear clothing that is not technically flattering on their particular body type, but they act like having a mask on totally excuses it?  That.  A lot.  Every night in Las Vegas.

Hot messes after a night out, tangled in a giant chandelier at Cosmo

6:  The whole “VIP, high roller, exclusive club entry” crap was pretentious and overdone.  I’m paying you to be here, so let’s not pretend that you need to decide if I’m “good enough” to exchange money for services/goods/entry, okay? Also, the way that heavy women were treated at a club was horrendous enough that I wrote a whole separate blog entry on it.  Expect to see that soon.

7: Every time I saw a baby in a smoke-filled area I got Very. Very. Upset.  It happened frequently, and was heartbreaking.  You don’t need to have a stroller on the strip at midnight while you drink a yard of liquor.  That should be illegal.  I don’t care how many family friendly activities there are, I would never choose to bring a child to that environment.  My lungs hurt the whole time we were there, and I’m a grown-ass woman who made that choice.  A kid shouldn’t have to.

Blah blah blah blah….

THE FOOD!!!!!!

If I return to Vegas, it’ll be for the food.  There are delicious, game-changing, phenomenally well-done meals every 3 feet in Vegas.  I literally couldn’t eat enough to even get a sampling, and that was while having, literally, two dinners every night.  So I’ll tell you what I tried, but you should know that it is a molecule in the ocean of deliciousness that is Vegas.

Thai hot “10 out of 10” wasn’t so hot, but was very good.

 

They brought us this to fire up the spicy dish, but it still wasn’t TOO bad.
Every time I meet a friend from my blog, they end up being awesome.

Lotus of Siam– in a shitty strip mall somewhere off the strip, we found the best Thai food ever.  It was recommended by a bloggy friend (thanks to Jeremy Hall!), and was just excellent.  I had the Panang tofu, some wontons, some spring rolls, and a Thai chicken salad at Thai hot level 10 that they brought out to challenge us.  It wasn’t that spicy.  Not even after we added crushed Thai chili seeds to it.  But it WAS very good, and I almost wished I’d ordered it instead of the Panang.  It was relatively inexpensive, and had an impressive wine list.  Our server was a tiny Thai man with blue hair who smirked at us while we sampled his “10” dish.

Budino.  All most good enough to make you forget how douchy Scott Conant is.

D.O.C.G.–A Scott Conant restaurant/wine bar in the Cosmopolitan.  All I had there was wine and the salted caramel budino (pudding) which was salty and rich and custardy–all of which are my favorite things to find in a dessert.  High five, Conant.  You make nice pudding.

Breakfast of Champions
The Napoleon to end all napoleons

Jean Pierre Patisserie– the man voted “best pastry chef in France” opened this baby up in the Bellagio, and it’s home to the largest chocolate fountain in the world, as well as both the best crepe I’ve ever eaten and the best Napoleon I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste.  The first morning, Chris and I shared a napoleon, and the “royale” crepe, which was chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and mornay sauce in a buckwheat crepe with a side salad. OMG. Firstly, the buckwheat crepe was a stroke of brilliance.  It had all the deep flavor and muskiness of buckwheat, but in the light, airy texture of a well-made crepe. And the filling was just richly superlative and perfectly balanced.  The next morning, I put on my workout clothes, walked downstairs, had my very own royale crepe, plus four full-sized pastries (eclair, bear claw, raspberry pistachio tart, flan).  Then I went back to bed for two hours. Vegas is awesome in that way.

Crepetacular

The Public House at the Venetian– Best mojito ever, plus some pretty tasty Welsh rarebit.

Karachi
Pork belly ramen
teriyaki chicken and peruvian corn
Tuna and white asparagus

SushiSamba–A sushi restaurant with some Latin flair, this was where I had my favorite cocktail of life.  It was called the karachi, I think, and it was cherry vodka with jalapenos and cherry juice.  Spicy, sweet, bright, I could have had about 30 of them if they weren’t so expensive.  Foods that were consumed there (by me) include: spicy tuna roll, tuna with white asparagus and miso aioli, kobe tartare, teriyaki chicken skewer, peruvian corn, edamame, pork belly ramen, and coconut rice.  All were fab, and I’d never had peruvian corn before.  It was kind of a mushy, chewy large yellow hominy of sorts.  Not better than good, sweet corn, but an experience for sure.  The spicy tuna roll was the best I’d ever had, with only the faintest hint of seaweed flavor, and a great spicy sauce drizzled on top.  That’s usually my issue with sushi (aside from the fact that I only eat raw tuna), is that it tastes too much like seaweed, and that’s not a flavor I like.  Usually I stick with tuna nigiri.

A washed out picture of Chris, big pimpin with ALL of his dates to Le Cirque.  From the left, we’ve got Kate, me, Chris, Oksana, and Bri.  Thanks for coming guys!

Le Cirque–Really, this place could have had a review of it’s own that took up an entire post, but I’ll try to be brief.  It was excellent.  The amuse bouche was a roasted carrot soup with pepitas, which I could have made at home, but was tasty. It came with miniature bacon madeleines, which are a fab idea and I’ll be working on developing a recipe for. My salad course was truffle/avocado/lobster/cucumber, and wasn’t fabulous to be totally honest.  It lacked salt and punch, but was fresh.  A friend of ours had the diver scallop with parsnip veloute, and that was MUCH better.  Chris had beef tartare with heirloom tomatoes, and while I questioned the wisdom of tomatoes served in March, it was perfectly seasoned and flavorful, if the tomatoes were a touch mealy for my taste.

Bacon Madeleines? Yes.  Every day, yes.
Lobster, black truffle, avocado, and cucumber salad at Le Cirque

For main courses, mine was by far and away one of the best I’ve ever had.  Whenever I eat at a restaurant that is going to cost more than about $100 per person, I try to branch out a little.  Because things I typically don’t eat (scallop, for example) are always done very, very well and are often good enough to change my opinion of the item in question.  So when I saw lapin as an entree…well, I just decided to go for it.  Lapin is rabbit.  I know, I know, fuzzy bunnies.  My sister had one growing up.  It was cute.  I felt bad ordering it, but I’d never had it before and was feeling adventurous.  The entree ended up being a rabbit liver mousse ravioli, with rabbit belly bacon and shredded, braised rabbit covered in a rich, butter foam and sprinkled with a giant helping of freshly fried (weird preparation, but great) spaetzle.  WOW.  I was completely taken aback by how thoroughly in love I was with the dish.  The whole thing tasted like umami and butter and depth.  Game changer, for sure.  I still won’t be purchasing rabbit and preparing it (for now), nor will I be ordering it in a $20/entree type of establishment for fear that they’d ruin it for me, but Le Cirque gets mad props for perfect composition and execution.  I even tasted a bite of the ravioli, and then gifted it to Chris because liver is still a thing I hate, regardless of its original mammalian owner.  When they tried to sprinkle a few spaetzle out of a copper all-clad pan, I stared the server down aggressively and said “JUST LEAVE THE ENTIRE PAN.”  He did.  Fearfully.

Rabbit ravioli, rabbit braise, rabbit bacon, fried spaetzle, and butter foam.
Eating my birthday dessert at Le Cirque like a really classy lady

Dessert was a chocolate bomb with gold leaf, and then a raspberry macaroon with sugared rose petals and rose ice cream and raspberry foam and gelee.  Plus we got cute little truffles in tiny jewelry boxes.  Adorbz.

Cosmopolitan– I ordered kobe burger and fries from room service, then promptly spilled ranch dressing on Oksana’s bed, toddled unsteadily back to my hotel while balancing the plate and dropping a Hansel and Gretel-esque trail of fries between the hotels (and into my purse, too), and then ate two bites of before I fell asleep (passed out).  Chris ate the rest.  It was good enough.

Bellagio buffet–We ate there twice, once for dinner and once for Sunday brunch.  It was actually very good.  Tons of selection, very good food, kobe beef, kurobuta pork, free-range chicken, great desserts, and free unlimited mimosas.  Bag of win.  Plus, I scored line passes so we didn’t even have to wait to get our gorge on.

Myself and Bri, outside the Bellagio after a giant buffet meal

That was it for food, but it’s a pretty impressive list for a 3 day trip, eh?  I gained a full percent of body fat, though I remained weight neutral because I also didn’t exercise at all.  And I drank a lot of wine, but not enough to be miserably hung over any of the days we were there.

Miranda, Oksana, Briana, and Me before heading to Club Vanity

As a final shout out, I’d like to thank everyone who made it out to help me celebrate.  I have a dream team group of beautiful friends, and they share either my love for food, my love for slutty outfits, my love for family, or my love for liquor. And some share my love for ALL of them.  So thank you, everyone, and let’s do this again next year.  London or New York, anyone??