giada – the cromwell las vegas

just before christmas, i was lucky enough to venture to vegas for a much needed getaway with some lovely ladies from my last job. we had agreed to ahead of time to do one calm night and one wild night. our calm evening was definitely memorable because we had the most magnificent dining experience at giada.

for all of my fellow food network lovers, dining at giada was just as dreamy as you think it would be. i was especially excited to experience this with annie – she has all of giada’s cookbooks, loves a good italian meal. today is her birthday so this post is in honor of her. happy birthday, annie!!!

i cannot go to an italian restaurant and not have burrata. the burrata crostini was served with a kale salsa verde and toasted pine nuts. it was absolutely divine.

next, i had an arugula salad. it definitely had a little something special since it was combined with candied lemon, crispy pancetta and parmigiano-reggiano. it was a simple salad but absolutely decadent. for my main course, both amanda and i had the ravioli which comes with lobster, candy stripped beets and preserved lemon butter. our waitress suggested we get the lemon potatoes as a side to share and dip them in the preserved lemon butter sauce. it was absolutely to die for.

annie got giada’s signature lemon spaghetti and was in heaven. the presentation was just stunning.

michelle and vicky split bone-in tuscan ribeye and salmon paired with roasted broccolini. to say they were pleased with their choices would be a gross understatement. everything was seasoned to perfection.

more cocktails were consumed than i care to count and every single one was amazing. my favorite was probably my drinkable dessert. giada’s take on affogato included a bailey’s gelato they make in house. i am still dreaming of it.

our experience was seamless from start to finish. there are few things that compare to an amazing meal with even more amazing women.

if you are in vegas, be sure to make reservations via opentable at giada – the cromwell las vegas. you will be so happy you did.

xoxo,

k. tap

beautiful boards by drew

yesterday, we celebrated my godsister’s birthday. while we started on the rooftop of ballast point in long beach, we knew ahead of time that we would want to enjoy some time at the beach. in trying to think about what snacks to bring that would be equal parts delicious, beautiful and easy to transport, there was a clear answer: drew’s boards.

i mean, come on. can we just take a moment to appreciate the vibrant colors and the variety of options?

the boards were so beautiful that initially, no one wanted to eat them. everyone was able to get over that eventually because who could resist? there were multiple meats, cheeses, veggies, fruit, honeys, jams and nuts. the variety of crackers and baguettes were amazing. drew also included disposable tongs and forks for the boards because he knew we would be at the beach. he truly thought of everything.

*it was quite windy so we had to weigh down the lids with wine stoppers, plates and utensils

whether you are doing a girls night in, a date night, a beach day, hosting a party or a picnic in the park, these boards are perfect for every occasion. they are totally customizable and priced based on the number of people being fed. i already asked drew if he’d be willing to do a board or two for my coachella group this spring.

you can find drew’s beautiful boards on instagram here.

xoxo,

k. tap

beautiful boards by drew

yesterday, we celebrated my godsister’s birthday. while we started on the rooftop of ballast point in long beach, we knew ahead of time that we would want to enjoy some time at the beach. in trying to think about what snacks to bring that would be equal parts delicious, beautiful and easy to transport, there was a clear answer: drew’s boards.

i mean, come on. can we just take a moment to appreciate the vibrant colors and the variety of options?

the boards were so beautiful that initially, no one wanted to eat them. everyone was able to get over that eventually because who could resist? there were multiple meats, cheeses, veggies, fruit, honeys, jams and nuts. the variety of crackers and baguettes were amazing. drew also included disposable tongs and forks for the boards because he knew we would be at the beach. he truly thought of everything.

*it was quite windy so we had to weigh down the lids with wine stoppers, plates and utensils

whether you are doing a girls night in, a date night, a beach day, hosting a party or a picnic in the park, these boards are perfect for every occasion. they are totally customizable and priced based on the number of people being fed. i already asked drew if he’d be willing to do a board or two for my coachella group this spring.

you can find drew’s beautiful boards on instagram here.

xoxo,

k. tap

brigantine at portside pier

i love a birthday celebration and after the last year we’ve had, i would argue that it is even more important to give your people their flowers while they are still here to enjoy them. since i already knew that i would be in san diego for some much needed quality time with hilly, we (hilly, lauren and i) made sure to do a birthday dinner for our girl t. she has been kicking ass and taking names all year as a registered nurse amidst a pandemic and has done it with grace. when we asked her where she would like to go, without hesitation, she mentioned brigantine at portside pier. i have been dreaming about it ever since.

dining with the four of us is easy as we all have similar palettes. we started with the crab and shrimp fondue with garlic toast, a jumbo lump crab cake and fresh steamed black mussels. to say we thoroughly enjoyed our starters would be a gross understatement.

for my main course, i had two oysters and their crab and lobster cobb salad. because i was also strongly considering the shrimp and louie crab salad, i had them bring the dressings for both on the side so i could have the best of both worlds. 10/10 would do again.

the cocktails were unreal. all of us are vodka girls however the three of them enjoyed a few dirty martinis that were made to perfection while i had three different vodka based cocktails. one was more floral (with elderflower), one was more fresh (with basil and citrus) but my absolute favorite is what i am going to call a blackberry smash. i cannot find the actual name anywhere but it had muddled blackberries, fresh lemon and the perfect punch of vodka.

between the great service, the beautiful view and the extraordinary meal, i never wanted to leave. already counting down the seconds until my return to san diego and brigantine at portside pier.

xoxo,

k. tap

p.s. i would highly suggest making a reservation through opentable to streamline the process and guarantee swift seating

crimson in bloom

months ago, my mom mentioned that she wanted to take hillary and i to vegas to celebrate our birthdays. it evolved into a girls getaway weekend with two of our favorite girls, kendall and lo.

hillary knows how much i love a cocktail garden so when she caught wind of crimson in bloom (located in red rock casino), she made us a reservation. anyone who knows me knows how i feel about flowers and rosé so walking in to this magical wonderland that combined both nearly took my breath away.

the menu was expansive and included tons of hard alcohol options too so we were able to have a little bit of everything.

we started with a bottle of sparkling rosé. i had to experience this flower cart experience and had a still rosé that was enhances with orange blossom, edible flowers and lemon. it smelled and tasted delicious. our waitress, michelle, made the absolute best recommendations.

once we were ready for something with a bit more of a kick, hillary and lo ordered the elderflower.

kendall ordered the rosemary, which was patron based.

staying true to form, i ordered the lavender. it was vodka based and had a little caffeinated kick. the little lollipop to enjoy afterwards was a nice touch.

and because none of us can say no to hillary, we all took shots of tequila or lemon drops before leaving to do some gambling.

crimson in bloom is open until mid may. the theme of the bar changes seasonally so if flowers are your jam, head to red rock before it’s too late.

happy friday!

xoxo,

k. tap