Seeking Absolution in Sin City
By Trish Sebastian
The only capital sin I seek penance for while in Las Vegas last weekend was that I did not party hard enough. I failed to squander money at a gambling table, did not come close to any of the night clubs despite having collected a handful of wristbands from promoters to bypass lines and get in charge-free. I did not watch any over-the-top Cirque du Soleil productions and if I must confess the most embarrassing of truths, I did not have a drop to drink. Had I not gone to a small pool party (hotel pool parties are the rage in Vegas nowadays), I would have been the total town party pooper.
Despite the sobriety, I still felt hung-over, though. Vegas does that to you. As minimalism is not its virtue, a sensory arrest everywhere is overwhelming. And sometimes, when in Vegas, as if there’s not enough bacchanalia to recover from, you also don’t need anything to recover from other than Vegas itself.
So for the crime of falling for short of belligerence and over-indulgence, I am guilty and I too, deserve to recover by way of food. And Vegas is just the fantastic place for great grub – hung-over or otherwise! There is a dizzying variety of bars, lounges, day bars, buffets, international cuisine, and haute food at every corner, some churned by celebrity chef-cum-restaurateurs from a long roster of Food channel mainstays like Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, Mario Batali, and Bobby Flay (my favorite) just to name a few.
My ideal recovery meal should have these: vegetables, fruits, protein (fish or meat), a lot of water, and definitely some strong European style coffee. It may sound on the boring side, but think about it. When your system has been nutrient-deprived due to intoxication and dehydration, don’t you agree that the remedy to counter all that poison is to feed your body with good, healthy food? I find myself crawling guiltily back to healthy eating like some sick absolution.
Here are my two recovery-food picks to vanquish thy sins and be cleansed from debauchery while in Sin City:
1. Estiatorio Milos (Greek)
Supposedly one of the healthiest diets in the world, Mediterranean food is sure to wring out the inebriation out of you by forcing you to eat healthy and actually enjoy it. Lunch at Estiatorio Milos on the 3rd floor of the swanky Cosmopolitan serves mind-blowing fresh and healthy Greek food at a cost not just reserved for the high rollers. The restaurant with its elegant white table linens and subdued music is a zen retreat compared to the chaos outside. Their $22 three-course lunch prix fixe is a jackpot. Each course was sophisticated in its simplicity and perfection. I never thought I could say this about a salad but their tomato cucumber salad (no cheap lettuce as fillers), served with a little side of feta wedge, was decadent. The perfectly grilled fish with its subtle tones of capers, kalamata olives, and tangy lemons in all their naked glory – will make you feeling repentant. By the time dessert of fresh Greek style yogurt arrives, you’ve forgiven and forgotten. A sip of their cappuccino and you are officially resurrected.
- Mesa Grill by Bobby Flay (Southwestern)
If capsicum in your bloodstream jolts you awake, Mesa Grill by celebrity chef Boby Flay will not flail. Try to make it to brunch. An unforgiving headache is no match for the their bread basket: a mosaic of fresh baked breads, some creatively infused with chili. A bite of the rich, succulent shrimp tamale will have you “mmmmm-ing” after each bite, and will make you forget temporarily all the wrong things you committed the night previous. Finish with their cappuccino and churros with star anise dark chocolate and dulce de leche. It will be your most decadant penance yet.
And if greasy food in magnanimous proportions is your known antidote for too much bacchanalia, Vegas locals recommend big greasy meals at Hash House A-Go-Go (three locations in LV), Sterling Spoon Café at the Terrible’s Casino (sounds divey but supposedly very cheap), and Roberto’s Tacos, a local hangout.
If still all else fails, then I suppose you can just abandon seeking pardon altogether. Drink yourself to oblivion all over again. It’s Vegas after all.