the dorsey cocktail bar

in honor of thirsty thursday and me having intense vegas withdrawals, i thought you all would love to hear about a bar you must visit if in vegas, especially if at the venetian. i went to the dorsey cocktail bar for the first time last december and knew i had to make a reservation for my mom and i for labor day weekend.

one of the reasons i fell in love with the dorsey is because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time – beauty and the beast. as a child, i also said if i could be any princess, i would choose belle. and while i loved her yellow dress and the relationship she had with the staff members of the castle, what i envied most was the library. as an avid reader, there was nothing more captivating. and strangely, the first time i walked into the dorsey, i felt like i was in a sultrier version of the beauty and the beast library. what made it better? the craft cocktails they serve and on this most recent visit, the bomb ass dj that was spinning everything from lauryn hill to ja rule to biggie to megan the stallion.

during covid, a reservation is highly recommended and the minimum is two drinks per person and one appetizer per two people. trust me – you will want more than just that the second the first sip hits your lips.

felecia and i ordered the following cocktails: spicy flamingo, sunflower and easy street. the spicy flamingo is kind of like their spin on a spicy watermelon margarita – who doesn’t love watermelon with a little kick? don’t be deceived by the name sunflower – that drink came with the perfect punch since it is gin based with absinthe but balanced perfectly with floral and citrus notes. easy street is named perfectly because the cucumber and vodka is super smooth and goes down easy.

something i loved was how the bartenders did not take offense to modifications to a cocktail. my mom is definitely a vodka girl and made an adjustment to the spicy flamingo to have it made with vodka instead of tequila. it did not disappoint.

there is ample space to spread out and be comfortable – this was especially crucial during covid. the music is played at a volume where you definitely enjoy it but do not need to yell to have a conversation. and for people like us who like to stay in the venetian, is there anything better than getting buzzed downstairs and just taking an elevator back up to your suite? absolutely not.

when planning your next vegas trip, make a little reservation on opentable beforehand and thank me later.

xoxo,

k. tap

vanderpump cocktail garden

over the weekend, i took a much needed road trip to vegas with my mom for an early birthday celebration. on saturday, we were lucky to have hillary join us for the day as we adventured to the most magical place in vegas – the vanderpump cocktail garden.

it is like stepping into the most beautifully lit forest. the experience was outstanding and the garden certainly had the lisa vanderpump touch. an added bonus? i have never seen a more efficient line/check in process. every single person working there was friendly, knowledgeable and aesthetically pleasing. and of course, the food and drinks were to die for.

if you are familiar with villa blanca, you probably already know and love the goat cheese balls. well guess what? you can get them here, too! we also did the crispy chicken sliders and the truffle potato puffs. not only was everything fresh and decadent, it was the perfect size to pair with a cocktail.

speaking of cocktails, our waitress, ashley, was able to answer all of our questions. she also returned in the blink of an eye with the most amazing drinks for us to try. my mom and i both went with the “please her, caesar!” and hilly had the “puff the magic dragon” – both were insanely delicious. my drink was vodka and champagne based while hilly’s drink was mezcal based. there truly is something for everyone.

both ashley and brandon (another employee at the cocktail garden) were just delightful. we felt right at home. when brandon realized he was in the company of a fellow virgo, he asked my mom what her favorite spirit was. when she replied with vodka, he brought these amazing shots for the table with an edible flower that numbs your mouth a bit and enhanced your tastebuds. my mom was SHOOK. she said that in all of her years of drinking, she has never had drinks this delicious or unique.

it was the perfect way to kick off a week of celebrations and we can’t wait to go back.

have you been to the cocktail garden? if so, what did you get?

xoxo,

k. tap

national relaxation day

it is fitting that i am typing this post from an airbnb in indio, ca on national relaxation day. even with us being quarantined, it is still easy to go extended periods of time without carving out specific chunks for relaxation. not only have i been intentional about carving out time, i have been specific about who i spend said time with.

for me, relaxation is about being with people where our relationship is effortless, bubble baths, being in a beautiful space (sometimes, this is improved when i am not at home), enjoying good food and drinks, and waking up without an alarm clock.

what ways do you like to relax/unwind?

xoxo,

k. tap

herb & sea

to say i love san diego would be a gross understatement.  it is the perfect escape when wanting to get out of la but not be too far from home.  it helps that one of my closest friends, hillary, moved here a few years back.  we make a conscious effort to visit one another.  when looking for a little staycation during a time when i would typically be catching a flight somewhere tropical, a quick drive to san diego seemed like the perfect solution.

 

when choosing where to go to dinner, the choice was easy.  we love to support small businesses, we love seafood and a dear friend of ours, sara, is both the executive chef and partner at a restaurant in encinitas.  last night, i finally got to experience herb & sea.

 

 

founded by brian malarkey, who you might recognize from top chef, herb & sea is truly a gem.  even amidst the pandemic, they have found a way to create an extraordinary dining experience.  rather than each get a starter and an entree, we had sara suggest some of her favorites.  because this was not hillary’s first rodeo, she had an item or two that she knew we should tack on as well.

 

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it was unreal.

 

we started with drinks (we got the mezcal and flowers and even as someone that typically gravitates towards vodka, it was to die for), burrata, oysters, hamachi crudo, smoked salmon dip and shrimp toast.  there was nothing i would not order again but i will say this – i could have ordered 10 of the hamachi crudo plates and still wanted more. it was that good.

 

 

 

for our main courses, we went with the local field greens, linguini and crab, peaches and prosciutto pizza and the crispy boardwalk potatoes (which aren’t pictured due to us being in a trance from all of the goodness on our table).

 

 

 

and for dessert, there was a special cheesecake with tropical fruit and berries and for you chocolate lovers, a lava cake.

 

i really cannot say enough great things about this restaurant, the drinks, the food and the quality of service.  brian happened to be there while we were dining and stopped by our table to say hello, ask how our dining experience was and wish us well.  there is something magical about restaurants like this one where you can tell that every single person who works there genuinely loves people, food and what they do.

 

if you find yourself in the san diego area, stop by herb & sea. you will be happy you did.

 

xoxo,

k. tap

 

 

 

classic coffee cake

i have been channeling my grandmother during quarantine and that has included a lot of kitchen experimentation.  this week, i tried my hand at something everyone loves – a classic coffee cake.

 

here’s what you will need:

  • 1 cup of oil
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of butter (melted)

 

now, for the steps:

  1. combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a large mixing bowl
  2. combine the baking powder, flour, salt and sugar in a medium mixing bowl
  3. combine the egg mixture with the flour mixture
  4. pour half the batter into a lightly greased 9×13 pan (i used pam cooking spray for this)
  5. in a medium bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon to make the streusel
  6. sprinkle half of the streusel on top of the batter
  7. add the remaining batter, then top with remaining streusel
  8. drizzle with melted butter
  9. bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minuets (my oven required 30)
  10. allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting
  11. enjoy!

 

 

if you are like me and not big on a huge breakfast (boozy brunches are a completely different story), a serving of this classic coffee cake is the perfect way to start the day.  who doesn’t love a little something sweet?

 

are you a coffee cake fan?  what is your favorite sweet to have for breakfast?  if you try out this recipe, let me know how it turns out.

 

xoxo,

k. tap