Short Rib Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Short Rib Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Grand Lux Cafe
Like its sister restaurant (which is more aptly named), the Grand Lux Cafe is a food factory. The menu is outrageously huge, the place is a well-oiled machine and the food is typically pretty good and served in way-too-big portions. And this sandwich, also, is well-oiled, pretty good and way too big.

Braised short ribs are a menu favorite all over Vegas, and so it was hard to pass up this lunch option. It combines the succulent, slow-roasted beef with a melty but unidentified white cheese and not enough carmelized onions, served on grilled white bread. The ingredient the menu description does not include is butter, as there is a shit-ton of it grilled into the bread. That's okay, as butter is usually the secret to a top quality grilled cheese. Problem is, there's not enough cheese. I'm all for throwing some meat -- especially short ribs -- into your grilled cheese sandwich, but let's keep the proportions proper, huh? Overall, this sucker is very rich, very filling, and completely unnecessary. Balance is tricky, and you're probably not gonna find it in a food factory like this.

The Vito

The Vito Sub at Jimmy John's
In my getting-less-humble opinion, this sub is the best sandwich on the menu of the best monster sandwich chain around. Jimmy John's is just solid stuff: the bread is fresh and great, the meats and cheeses are high quality, and they throw it together in a quick and classic way.

Speaking of classics, this Italian sub has a traditional meat mix of Genoa salami and just-spicy-enough capicola. (Actually, the cappy is a little sweet and a little spicy.) There's smooth provolone cheese, onions, tomatoes, shredded iceberg lettuce and a tangy vinaigrette to bring out the best in the veggies. Like most everything at Jimmy John's, I highly recommend you order the Vito with hot cherry peppers, which add a powerful vinegary kick. An Italian sub is a beautiful thing, and it's pretty good every time at Jimmy John's.


Reuben at Zoozacrackers
Yes, most everything you'll eat inside Wynn Las Vegas is ultra-delicious and fancy. Does that include this little deli stop near the sportsbook? Eh. Fancy, yes. Ultra-delicious? How about just slightly tasty?

Actually, this half-reuben was solid, unspectacular, and just a little boring. So ... definitely not living up to the Wynn standard. Riding on toasted seedy rye bread, you've got Swiss cheese, some pretty bland, kinda fatty corned beef, crisp, cool sauerkraut that really falls somewhere between typical 'kraut and coleslaw, and Russian dressing with a bit of a bite. Horseradish, perhaps? The bread was the best part. The meat just didn't bring it. I don't care if there's 'kraut or not, a deli sandwich has to be all about the meat.

It's kinda funny ... Wynn is one of the best hotels for food on the Vegas Strip, but the best sandwich spots on the boulevard (Carnegie, 'Wichcraft, Burger Bar, Canter's) are in hotels with lesser overall culinary acclaim.

Famous Star

Famous Star with Cheese at Carl's Jr.
Ugh. I gave in, finally. It wasn't a fast food urge that forced me to succumb, it was the damn Carl's Jr. they just opened across the street from my house. I was in a rush, there it was, no line at the drive-through. I'm a sucker. Damn you, fast food convenience. You are evil.

Carl's Jr. burgers, like their counterparts at Burger King, are better tasting than the average fast food burger due to charbroilyness. But this, the standard cheeseburger on the menu, is woefully inadequate in the flavor department. American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, special sauce and mayo on a sesame seed bun ... that's how you make a Famous Star. That's how you bore me to death. Of course, Carl's is home to the crazy "Six Dollar Burgers," which may contain anything from portobello mushrooms to guacamole. But I just can't get excited about this menu or this burger. I'll try my best not to return.


Pastrami, Vol. 1

Pastrami, Vol. 1
What if you lived in a city famous for its spectacular food, but none of that food was actually from that city?

What if you could eat almost anything you want at almost any time you want, but not everything is going to turn out just the way it should be?

Why is the best pastrami in Las Vegas made in New York City?

Why can't we make our own stuff? Why? Can't? We?

This is pastrami, dry-brined for three days, home-smoked for over three hours, sliced thick and dropped on dill rye bread with (unseen) garlic mustard. The relatively small size of the 2.5-pound brisket allowed the curing process to go bananas, and so this meat is very salty. Eating it by itself, it is juicy and delicious with all the right notes of coriander seed and black pepper until a few seconds in when the salt sledgehammer smacks your buds out your mouth. But on this pleasant, soft, fragrant bread, it's a magical meal, almost balanced and much more satisfying than any of the high-stacked piles of thin-sliced, fatty, pink meat I've eaten lately.

This is one. There will be two, then three, four, maybe more. I'm going to do this. Wanna taste?