Vegas and Red Rock Canyon State Park

Business had us making our way to Vegas sooner than we had planned this year. Maximizing the fun we could have while dealing with work was our number one goal. There wasn't much we hadn't seen or done yet, but there's always a new restaurant to try out. Chinese food was the number one desire once we set foot on the Strip. Something fresh and exciting, not take out, not dim sum. Our planned trip to Los Angeles that would come in a few days had us thinking about China Town and dim sum. We tried not to worry about the risk and followed our hungry stomachs to Red 8 at the Wynn.
There once was time when Chinese food was an exciting meal to have. The sweetness, the fried, the noodles, the grease. Maybe college ended, maybe the shop you always trusted closed, or maybe it just left you feeling so heavy every time you couldn't go back. Either way the craving is still there. You'll find a new restaurant, or you'll try again, but it's never as good. It always leaves that greasy feeling. Red 8 broke that spell. A splendid menu of creative twists on Chinese offerings, fresh tasting vegetarian dishes, juicy meat dishes and wontons and egg rolls that didn't taste bland, soggy or microwaved. It was a delightful meal and we can't wait to go back.
Mandarin Mojito
Lychee Martini
Classic Hot & Sour Soup
The classic hot and sour soup is the star of the restaurant, many reviews rave about it and indeed the thickness provides a unique quality without being overbearing. It simply leaves you wanting more.
Crispy Roasted Pork Belly
This has to be the only disappointing part of our lunch. It was too tough and crunchy. The pork belly lacked the juicy bacon flavor we were familiar with. However, we must admit, we have never had Chinese style pork belly, so perhaps the dryness was intentional, but one would think, that meat should never be described as dry.
Vegetable Egg Rolls
It's hard to avoid egg rolls at Chinese, because let's face it, egg rolls are everything about Chinese food. If for whatever reason you are one to skip egg rolls because lately they all taste the same we urge you not to. Red 8 egg rolls were amazingly tasty and full of ingredients that really brought them to life.
Jade Dumplings Heavenly vegetarian dumplings filled with mushrooms and spices
Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings
Pan-Fried Pumpkin Dumplings
We had considered ordering dessert but after the Pan fried pumpkin dumplings we realized we didn't need to. They had a sweet feeling and satisfied that desire for dessert.
Jasmine Green Tea

The next night we found ourselves at our one of our favorites again, Serrano's. Without a doubt it will be hard to set food in Vegas without a visit here. The quality was once again top notch and outstanding.
Tuna-Raspberry Skewer
Ahi Tuna Tempura
Avocado Cannelloni
Salmon with Truffle
Yellowtail Tiradito
Seared Scallops
Tuna Carpaccio
Steamed Mussels
Black Cherry Martini

The following day we woke up early and made the 30 minute drive outside of Vegas to Red Rock Canyon State park. It happened to be just our luck the day after the "resolution" of the government shut down. A day earlier and the park would still have been closed. Or if there had been no resolution at all. It is a short drive and well worth a visit. Red rocks and with white layers dot the landscape. If you are stuck in Vegas, the short trip is worth it just to get away from all of the hustle and bustle of the Vegas Strip.

We returned back to our hotel exhausted yet rejuvenated. Las Vegas has a way of draining the mind. Getting back outside refreshed us. For our final day in Vegas, we decided to once again eat at one of the fine dining establishments inside the Aria. Javier's "delivers a rich heritage of authentic Mexican cuisine". It was pricier than most Mexican restaurants but the quality was amazing and each dish superb and tasteful.
Shrimp Cocktail
Cheese Enchiladas
La Tablita