Curry · Restaurants · Thai · Vegas

Vegas 2020 – Lotus of Siam

Mai told me about Popslots, a free online gambling game. I figured out pretty quick which casino and game produces the most points. So, for my 40th birthday, I took Beep Beep to Vegas to use up all my freebies. For this post, let’s listen to “Good Times Roll” by The Cars.

My points provided me with a complimentary room (+ $50 resort fee), one room at a 25% discount (+$99 + $50 resort fee) and a $50 credit for the Dueling Pianos in New York New York Hotel and Casino. I picked the Vdara Hotel and Spa but I could have stayed at the Aria, the Bellagio and a handful of other resorts. Vdara is a nonsmoking hotel with no casino. Note that you can only book these rooms Monday to Thursday. That’s fine with me because Vegas is too crazy on the weekends.

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Due to the extreme cold weather, our flights were delayed three times. I nursed a couple of Caesars at the Belgium Beer Cafe and when my plane was delayed a third time, I ordered a calamari and Greek salad combo from OPA!. The guy ahead of me ordered just the calamari and he received a heaping plate. I received mostly salad and a stingy portion of calamari. I was fuming until I realized OPA! was actually doing me a favour in the long run.

caesar

When I met Beep Beep at her terminal, she pulled out confetti from her purse and tossed it high above my head. She crowned my head with a tiara, decorated my neck with beads, and outfitted my dress with a birthday sash. Beep Beep wasn’t quite done. She whipped out a mini bottle of wine and two plastic cups onto a nearby table. She apologized for the poor quality of wine but said that’s all she could get on the plane.

happy

After we toasted to my old age, I ordered an Uber. Uber is cheaper than hailing a taxi. From the airport to the hotel, the trip cost me only $14 dollars. Our trips to Chinatown and Fremont Street averaged around ten dollars.

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Our suite looked like hotel’s website picture. The bathroom was large with a big soaker tub. The room itself was spotless and spacious. The only thing I’ll complain about is the couch was sagging in the middle. I’d stay here again.

drink

We stopped by Vice Versa Lounge for a Gin and Tonic ($16). The drink itself was boozy and full of botanicals like juniper berries, cucumber, and a freshly peeled lemon rind. The complimentary dill popcorn and Asian crackers were fresh and a nice snack to munch on while we sipped our drinks.

wine sweet

For dinner, I made reservations at Lotus of Siam. I wanted to try Lotus because of the reviews by Anthony Bourdain and Munchies Guide to Las Vegas. Make sure you call ahead for a table. At 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, all the tables were reserved.

thai

I ordered one Northern dish – Beef Khoi Soi – as well as the Garlic Prawns ($30). For the khoi soi, I ordered mild heat because Beep Beep doesn’t have a spice tolerance. Our server recommended a riesling ($13) to pair with our dishes, which I found too sweet.

shrimp

We received about eight prawns – each  butterflied and supersized. The batter crackled despite its sticky, sweet garlicky coating. The fried shells tasted like shrimp chips. The prawns and sauce went well with the steamed rice. I found this dish memorable and comparable to Chef Lam Pham’s Salted Duck Egg Yolk Tempura Prawns ($14 Canadian) at his restaurant Pure Kitchen Bar in Calgary. Except Pham uses a different sauce – a mouth-watering combination of tobiko, fresh scallions, kewpie mayo and nori.

beef

For the Khao Soi ($12.95), I chose beef. I read the Fried Duck ($30) was the most popular protein for khao soi, but I thought it would be too fattening. The beef was tender, the sauce sweet and creamy from coconut milk. The noodles were pleasantly al dente and took on the full flavour of the curry.

bill

I know it is tacky to look at the bill when someone else is paying for it, so I doubled down and snapped a picture. Beep Beep gets me – she knows I do it for the blog. I always keep the bill so I can itemize the food.

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On Instagram, comments were added about the employee health cost ($2.07)  that was tacked on the bill. I didn’t care because the service was good and I’m aware that servers in the United States make next to nothing, thus relying on tips. One follower noted that in Nevada, minimum wage is $2.13. That is criminal.

drinks

We left to catch the Comedy Cellar ($34) at the Rio Hotel. Beep Beep and I decided to throw away twenty dollars on the slot machines. She told me to put a dollar bill on the machine so a server would come by and get us a drink. I put two bills on my machine and a dollar on her machine. Our server came by and took our drink order. He asked us if we would also like bottled water. Yes, I said, we would. Thank you for reminding us to to hydrate. I put another dollar on Beep Beep’s machine. Our server come by several more times to ask us if we wanted drinks even though we moved around the casino.

panda

At one point, I was up $160 dollars! I should have stopped because before I knew it, I lost it all. I put another twenty bucks into the slots and I saw it disappear within minutes. Why do I do this? House always wins! I know this! Dejected, we got up and dropped by the washroom before our comedy show.

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In the washroom, I told Beep Beep not to wait for me because I wanted to freshen up (i.e. redo my makeup). The two millenials standing next to Beep Beep – FOMO and DBD – loudly exclaim that’s why they love women, because we were all so considerate. They turned to the cleaner to thank her for all her hard work and said without her, the washroom would be dirty. FOMO and DBD droned on and though they were trying to be appreciative, I thought it was condescending.

omedy cellar

The Comedy Cellar put on a hilarious show. FOMO and DBD from the washroom sat at the very front of the stage. They pissed off one comedian for talking, texting, and taking a picture, despite being warned prior to the show. After getting brutally called out for their millenial behaviour, the dynamic duo was escorted out of the club.

I’m glad I told Beep Beep to not get the front row seats. Everyone sitting the front got roasted by the comedians. We enjoyed ourselves so much, I regret not catching another show at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club. Thanks Beep Beep for drinks, dinner, the comedy show and all your effort into making my first night in Vegas a fun one.

Lotus of Siam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Curry · Thai

Khao San Thai Kitchen

Ms. Biz has taken me out for so many lunches that I can’t keep track. She speaks highly of Khao San Thai Kitchen so I told her I’d take her and Cruizing out for lunch. Of course Office Dad came too as we needed our office chaperone.

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Khao San Thai Kitchen is tastefully decorated. The colour scheme has lots of dark colours and rich decorative flourishes. Ms. Biz informed me that one of the owners, Sam, has a background in the hotel industry. His hospitality experience is evident in the professional service we received to the heavy silverware, teacups with saucers to the linen napkins.

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When we ordered, Office Dad asked if they could blend the green and red curries together. Aya Office Dad! The gentleman, who I think was the other owner, looked surprised at the request and said that no one has ever asked him that question but if that’s what he wants, he could do it. I protested and told Office Dad to not be a weirdo and just order like a normal person, off the menu. Office Dad laughed good-naturedly, and picked a curry with no modifications.

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We ordered four cups of jasmine tea ($8) and two bowls of the tofu ($5) and chicken ($6) Kha San Creamy Tom Yam soup. The soup was unbelievable. My taste buds were alive, awoken by the spicy, tart, salty and sour notes of the soup. I could taste the lime, lemongrass and the deep heat of the chilli. The soup was silky smooth. The tofu was still crispy, tasting like it was briefly deep-fried before being added to the soup.

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Surprisingly, one of my favourite dishes was the Chicken Cashew Nuts ($13.00). I find at Chinese restaurants, chicken and cashews taste one dimensional. Not at Khao San. The sauce was sweet and sticky, so good we ensured each drop was used mopped up in the rice. The chicken was battered and juicy. The cashews were roasted. The bell peppers and onions still retained a nice crunch.

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The Pork Green Curry ($13.00) was delightful. The pork slices were tender. I liked the lightness of the green curry and the use of zucchini and fresh Thai basil leaves.

The Beef Red Curry ($13.00) was also good. The beef was nicely sliced but could have been a bit more tender. The squash was soft and sweet while the bell peppers were crunchy. I appreciate that Khao San uses a variation of vegetables for all the dishes, so you aren’t eating the same ones in each dish. Sometimes I find at Asian restaurants use the same vegetables in all the dishes.

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I enjoyed the Pad Thai Koong ($15.00). There were plenty of prawns and a generous smattering of eggs, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts and tofu. Most importantly, the taste of tamarind was evident. No ketchup used here. While the pad thai was very good, I preferred the cashew chicken and the pork green curry even more.

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Finally, we ordered two servings of coconut ice cream ($12.00). The ice-cream was hard (that’s what she said), which we all preferred. I hate it when ice cream melts too quickly. Rich and creamy, the coconut flavour was strong and it tasted like it was homemade. Office Dad loved the addition of the peanuts, palm sprouts and a jelly-like topping. I like my ice cream plain. The portion was generous.
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Unlike Tuk Tuk, I found the food at Khao San vibrant and screaming with flavour. I didn’t even need the tray of spices, as it tasted great as served. None of the dishes were spicy, but the soup had a strong heat to it. Yes, the prices are a little higher than other Thai restaurants, but it’s worth it. I agree with Ms. Biz that it’s better to pay extra than to eat subpar food.

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This is the best Thai food I’ve ever eaten, but mind you, the only other places I have for comparison are in Vancouver and Calgary. I plan to take my husband here for date night to try the braised short ribs in massaman curry ($23), chicken cashew dish and of course, that soup. Ms. Biz says she and her husband come for dinner and order soup, an appetizer, two main dishes, cocktails and leave for under $100. That’s a great price for all that expertly prepared food and profesional service.

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If you haven’t checked out Kha San Thai Kitchen yet, I would highly recommend it. This 17th Avenue gem is making it on Hitting the Sauce’s list of favourite restaurants in Calgary.

 

View my food journey on Zomato!

Khao San Thai Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato