Nom Nom Paleo

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

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My co-pharmacist (a.k.a. Work Husband) is on vacation in Spain, so I had to deal drugs all by my lonesome last night after 2 am. I’m exhausted and hungry and sleepy, so rather than blathering on and on, I’m just going to post a bunch of photographs from our meal at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon when we were in Las Vegas last week for the 2013 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Geez. Was that really less than a week ago?

LAtelier de Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves (mostly because I desperately need to pass out), but I’ll say two quick things about the experience:

Not surprisingly, the food and service were exceptional. This shouldn’t be a surprise; Chef Robuchon was named Chef of the Century by Gault Millau for good reason. Even though the kitchen is run by his Vegas team in his absence (I’m assuming the chef doesn’t spend much time out in the desert), the restaurant here (located in the MGM Grand) must make him proud.

It was a surprise, however, to see that the restaurant is situated right off the casino floor. The floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the restaurant reveal row after row of flashing slot machines, and the wafting odor of cigarette smoke seeps into the restaurant unless the host is diligent about sliding the glass door shut. As a diner, if you happen to sit facing the back of the restaurant, your view is of a sleek, dark, high-end eatery punctuated with vibrant bursts of color. If, on the other hand, you’re seated near the front of the restaurant and facing the gaming floor, your view is of people losing their money at slot machines and shuffling past the restaurant in search of the restrooms.

We ordered the Seasonal Discovery Menu, nine small tastes of L’Atelier’s signature dishes. You’ll see 10 dishes below, but that’s because you have a choice of quail or steak and we got one of each. Almost everything was gluten-free, except for the desserts and the soy sauce in the quail dish. It was definitely a splurge meal and we savored every bite.

Okay, I’ve written enough. Here are the pics:

LAtelier de Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Dining Out: Bluestem (Kansas City, Missouri)

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Two weekends ago, Henry and I took a last-minute, 42-hour trip to Kansas City on clandestine Nom Nom Paleo business. (Don’t worry, all will be revealed in due course.) The few meals we had in KC were already planned, with the exception of Sunday brunch. I’m a firm believer that no meal should ever be wasted, especially in a new-to-me city.

Although we’d hoped to try the legendary barbecue at Oklahoma Joe’s, it’s not open on Sundays, so I polled my pals on Facebook and tweeted my favorite Kansas City homie for recs on the best brunch in town. After scrolling through the different options and checking out Zagat scores, Yelp reviews, and restaurant websites, I chose Bluestem.

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Bluestem is located in the historic Westport neighborhood, where the streets are dotted with bustling restaurants and funky boutiques. Chef Colby Garrelts has been nominated seven times for the Best Chef of the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation, and this year he won the coveted prize. (In your face, Susan Lucci!) His food has been described as “progressive American cuisine with seasonal selections and a bounty of local farmers and producers to showcase the best of Kansas City and the Midwest.”

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Admittedly, I’m a bicoastal food snob who was wary about Midwestern cuisine (outside of Chicago). Bluestem might be good for Missouri, but it can’t be better than what I’ve eaten in San Fracisco or New York, right?

Wrong! Our meal at Bluestem may have been one of my favorite brunches of all time.

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I Left My Heart in Texas (Last Two Days in Austin, TX)

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I know what you’re thinking: What the FEENA FOO?!?! (BTW, that’s Lil-O’s favorite made-up curse phrase of the moment.) Wasn’t your trip to Austin over TWO weeks ago?

Yes, grasshopper, your observation skills are very strong indeed. But I did tell you that I was gonna milk this trip for as many blog posts as possible. Before the gull wing doors lock on this modified DeLorean, gulp down a chill pill ‘cause we’re talking one last trip to Austin.

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Bright and early Easter morning, our posse met up with Melicious

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….her hubby Dave….

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….and Danielle for brunch at 24 Diner. See? We do eat several meals at this restaurant every time we’re in Austin. As luck would have it, a bunch of other like-minded Paleo food bloggers had the same idea and we ended up dining in a booth next to Julie, Charles, and baby Scott…

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…and waving out the window at a whole mess of other Paleo pals brunching al fresco.

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Eating Out: Barley Swine & Lick Ice Cream (Austin, TX)

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It’s been over a week since we left Austin, but in my mind, I’m still there, eating my way through the city with my friends.

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Want to see what we ate for dinner — just a few hours after finishing up our fantastic lunch at Elizabeth Street Cafe? Then let’s grab some plutonium and fire up the flux capacitor. Hop into my DeLorean, and we’ll travel twelve days back in time to relive my dinner at Barley Swine and dessert at Lick Ice Cream. (No, it wasn’t perfectly Paleo, but neither am I.)

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Ready to accelerate to 88 miles an hour?

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Eating Out: Elizabeth Street Cafe (Austin, TX)

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Despite the full slate of speakers, discussion panels, and cooking demos at PaleoFX, I attended only a few Saturday morning presentations before heading back to our bungalow in Austin to hang with my family. It was hard to sit still when I knew my boys were having fun without me.

Diana and Cathy joined us, and we all took a stroll down to Elizabeth Street Cafe for lunch. 

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You wouldn’t know it from its name, but Elizabeth Street Cafe serves up tasty Vietnamese fare. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Vietnamese food; the dishes always have the perfect balance of savory, sweet, tang, and crunch. Blending Chinese and French influences, the cuisine of Vietnam is pure alchemy, combining flavors, textures, and temperatures to create unique, surprising dishes that really pop.

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I’ve had my fair share of terrific Vietnamese grub, but as soon as we sat down, I knew this place was gonna be good. Why? Because there were bottles of homemade sriracha AND Red Boat Fish Sauce on every table. And you know how much I love both.

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Read on to see our chow!

**Spoiler alert: Continuing with the Paleo People Gone Wild theme, we ate some non-Paleo foods (Rice noodles! Rice wrappers! Sugar!), so skip this post if you don’t want your eyes to explode and melt off your face.**

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