Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rice To Meet You! Meet OTORO, the Mirage’s Japanese Robata Grill & Sushi

Rice To Meet You!  Meet OTORO, the Mirage’s Japanese Robata Grill & Sushi
By Kat Thomas

Sake it to me! Edible Skinny was lucky enough to recently experience the newest restaurant at the Mirage, the Japanese inspired OTORO Robata Grill & Sushi.  

If Udon know them yet, you will soon! (Don’t diss the food puns I’m on a roll…)  The restaurant’ moniker is derived from, which is named after the most desired part of the tuna belly that usually doesn't get a price on any sushi house menus. And it’s one that fits, from the sizzle and aroma of the Robata Grill to the freshest sushi and specialty rolls to an impressive menu of sharing-style platters.
Are those chopsticks? Or are you just happy sashimi.  OTORO is a space of multiple options.  From an extensive cocktail area to a sushi bar where you can pull up and watch chefs handcraft rolls with the freshest ingredients while working their magic to a private room gold adorned dining room for that intimate meal.  My dining companion, Miss Julia Reed Nichols, and I started the night with OTORO’s Grapefruit Three Way, the most popular cocktail on their menu.  Comprised of Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, Fresh Grapefruit, and Fresh Lime Sour this drink was the right amount of pucker worthy tastiness.

From there we began our dining experience with a Calamari appetizer. Artfully marinated and served in fine strips the dish was an intimate experience of taste.  We contrasted this round of seafood with some farm, sampling their veggie options. The delectable Baby Artichoke from the Robata Bar, complimented with Lemon Aioli was uber fresh and absolutely tasty! We topped this with some Garlic Edamame (made of garlic, chili pepper, and soy sauce) which was deliciously reliable (and super FAB the next day)! Thank you very Mochi!
We then shifted our focus to sushi, noshing on some of OTORO’s specialty sushi rolls. 
First up was the Tiger Roll an amalgamation of Shrimp Tempura, Snow Crab, and Spicy Tuna.  This was followed by a Philadelphia Roll consisting of Scottish Salmon, Avocado, and Cream Cheese.  This roll had none of the heaviness normally found in this combo, instead the result was light as a creamy delicious cloud. 

It was then time for the main courses! We commenced with the Black Cod Robata, the most popular dish on their menu. Delightfully delicate, it was like eating newly fallen snow.  This was followed by Tempura Udon with a Soy Broth vase, Assorted Veggies and Shrimp Tempura.  A classic dish done right. This was paired with OTORO’s flavorful chicken dish the Katsu Rice Bowl. Encompassing a super moist Chicken Breast, Truffle Fried Rice, Asparagus, Mushrooms, and topped with a fried egg.  It was the perfect luxury fried rice dish (a statement I never thought I’d write). This dish is so tasty you’ll have to control your tempura you can’t have it every night!
To finish off the meal we delighted in the whimsical Pineapple Snow. This Pineapple upside-down cake dessert with pineapple shaved ice, vanilla bean gelato and vanilla sauce. This dish, which serves 2, has a dramatic table side pour over that is not to be missed!

So if you’re looking for the taste of Japan in Vegas swing on over to OTORO.  You’ll love it Roe much! ;-)

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Girls Getaway to the Alternative Side of Las Vegas

A Girls Getaway to the Alternative Side of Las Vegas
By Kat Thomas

“Las Vegas looks the way you’d imagine heaven must look at night.”
--Chuck Palahniuk

The Thomas Gals were in action, anti-Sin City style! LA based Kelly traversed the desert for a few days of rest, relation, and good old fashioned fun! Yes we bookended the visit with an obligatory (and spectacular) sojourn to the Strip, but this trip was about the other side of Vegas, the one that most of our 42 million visitors per year miss out on!

First stop was Red Rock Canyon, this popular picturesque desert park showcases a set of large red rock formations (hence the name): a set of sandstone peaks and walls called the Keystone Thrust.  The park consists of a one-way loop road, 13 miles long, which provides vehicle access to many of the features in the area.  The devastingly gorgeous walls are up to 3,000 feet high, making them a popular hiking and rock climbing destination.  No national resource wallflower, a good amount of people make 15 mile trek from the Strip to experience the park’s desert wonders: the area is visited by more than two million people each year.  

As Walter Eliot says, “a desert has its holiness of silence, the crowd its holiness of conversation,” so with that we headed over to the hustle and bustle of local favorite: Downtown Container Park.  Home to a giant fire breathing mantis, a kickass barbershop housed in a retired boxcar and caboose, and numerous intimate spots for a cocktail time.  Downtown Container Park is an open-air shopping center and entertainment venue featuring 39 shops, restaurants, and bars, located in downtown Las Vegas.  The innovative shopping center was built from 43 re-purposed shipping containers and 41 locally manufactured Xtreme cubes.  

Downtown Container Park is also home to an interactive play area, which features The Treehouse, a one-of-a-kind, dynamic environment where both children and adults can have fun and be active while exploring their creativity.  Special features of The Treehouse include a 33-foot-tall slide, NEOS play system, and oversized foam building blocks; so embrace your inner child!   

After perusing the dozen food and drink options we settled on Bin 702, a cosmopolitan charcuterie and cheese joint that specializes in famous mini sandwiches.  Bin 702 has been with Container Park since it opened November 2013 and is made of two shipping containers totaling 640 sq. ft.  There we grabbed some beers while noshing on Cuban inspired Montaditos, mini sandwiches filled with gourmet meats and cheeses.   We went with the house specialty: Flamin’ Hot Cheeto.  Kelly was wary, but the dish became an instant favorite!    We also splurged on their Lobster Grilled Cheese compromised of lobster salad and smoked Gouda.  Both were the perfect complement to a fantastic sunset!

After our liquid courage we sauntered over The Freemont Street Experience to fair Slotzilla. The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) occupies the westernmost five blocks of Fremont Street, including the area known for years as "Glitter Gulch," and portions of some other adjacent streets.  We prayed that “Luck Be a Lady,” as we fared SlotZilla.  This attraction at the Fremont Street Experience is a 12-story, slot machine-inspired zip line attraction. SlotZilla offers "flyers" two levels of lines, the lower "Zipline" (77 feet up) and upper "Zoomline" (114 feet up).  SlotZilla cost $17 million to construct and features a launch tower with over-sized dice, a martini glass, a pink flamingo, simulated video reels, a giant arm and two 37-foot-tall showgirls.  The lower lines travel halfway down the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall.  The upper lines go the entire length of the mall (1,750 feet).  Guests on the upper "Zoomline" travel prone, or “superhero-style."  The wait breed new levels of fear, but the adrenaline rush was worth every moment of nail biting.  Exhilaration was never so tangible! 

The next day we drove up to Jean to experience the art exhibit Seven Magic Mountains.  Renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s colorful large-scale, public artwork is a two-year exhibition, featuring seven thirty to thirty-five-foot high dayglow totems comprised of painted, locally-sourced boulders.  Visible across the desert landscape along Interstate 15, Seven Magic Mountains offers a “creative critique of the simulacra of destinations like Las Vegas.”

Then it was off to the ultimate relaxation at Spa Mio at TheM Resort.  Spa Mio is the Forbes Four Star award winning spa at M Resort Spa Casino.  The 23,000 square foot, full service spa and salon features 16 luxurious Men’s and Women’s treatment rooms and offers a variety of treatments including massage therapy, facials and body treatments.  The spa offers a wet area with two whirlpool hot tubs, a steam room and sauna (that includes LED lightings for a more “rainbow” experience).
Day passes are available for purchase for Vegas Locals wanting a quick getaway and allow access to the spa and M Pool fitness center.  As I relaxed under the polychrome of colors in the sauna, I was able to settle into the art of doing nothing.  With iced cucumber slices on my eyes and a cucumber lemon spritzer in my hand I sighed an exhale of relaxation.   
After our spa time, Kelly and I headed to The Source in Henderson to experience one of Nevada’s newest attractions: recreational marijuana.  As Charles Baudelaire said in 1860, “The brain on marijuana will never deviate from its destined disposition, nor be driven to madness.   Marijuana is a mirror reflecting man’s deepest thoughts, a magnifying mirror.  It’s true, but only ever a mirror.”
The Source is one of Las Vegas and Henderson’s premier retail and medical marijuana dispensaries offering selections in edibles, flowers, and oils.  There we purchased one of Evergreen Organix Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Established in 2015, Evergreen Organix has grown to be Nevada’s premiere marijuana edibles producer.  They are 100% locally owned and family operated.  Made from scratch with premium ingredients EGO’s Chocolate Chip Cookies are a classic cookie favorite with a cannabis twist.  The perfect one two punch, we indulged in our sweet tooth while opening up our mind just a bit more to the universe!
And after two days of seeking out alternative Vegas we decided to finish the trip with some first-class Strip time.  So like modern day Sin City Cinderella’s we Uber-ed over to Hyde at the Bellagio.  Hyde’s first Las Vegas location invites guests to take in Sin City with floor-to-ceiling windows and an expansive terrace with a stunning view of the Fountains of Bellagio.  There’s nothing like seeing the Pink Panther performed though fountain water ballet front row center stage! 

We started our drinks with the Love Unit, a bell pepper juice martini (Absolut Vodka/Absolut Vanilla Vodka/Thai Basil/Fresh Lime, Grapefruit & Hand Extracted Bell Pepper) that was featured in The New Times.  This cocktail tasted like an Italian Villa, of an August day wearing a crisp white shirt.  It was a naughty wink to sweet and spice.  We partnered this with the Burning Mango (Belvedere Mango Passion Vodka/Fresh Lemon and Mango Juices/Peach Bitters/Jalapenos).... which tasted like something you drank on your desert ranch.  Just a hint of smoke that something burned here, maybe peach trees, maybe not. 

We paused from imbibing to nosh on Al Cipollo E Speck Pizza (Buffalo Ricotta/Cipolline Onion/Speck), Bruschetta Al Pomodoro with break that tasted like it was soaked in olive oil, and Salumi Charcuterie plate that included the best Salami we’ve ever tasted. 

It was then another round of drinks (because why not!)  The first was a Watermelon Cucumber Margarita (Avion Silver Tequila/Grand Marnier/Muddled Cucumber & Watermelon/Fresh Lime Juice).  The beverage tasted bright, like poolside pink bikini.  We partnered this with the dessert drink: Brunch in Beverly Hills a wuzzle of Ciroc French Vanilla Vodka/Bailey’s Almande/Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut/Orgeat Syrup/Aromatic Bitters).  Similar to a Horchata, it tasted like an alcoholic Cream soda would in St. Tropez.  TrĂ©s Yum!!! 

By the end of our two days, Kelly really felt like she had seen another side of the city: one of painted deserts to inventive innovate food experiences, from 33 foot slides to giant fluorescent boulders.   Each showed a different side of Vegas, a varied as numbers on a roulette wheel.  

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Irreverent Morning Eats at San Diego’s Breakfast Republic!

Hello to the most important meal of the day!

Edible Skinny was lucky enough to grab a mean morning meal at Breakfast Republic while in San Diego a few weeks ago.

BR is Amy Schumer of breakfast places; its East Village location has an exterior that screams sunny disposition, but with an irreverent mind as dirty as any sailor disembarking from the Midway. For example, this breakfast joint is big on the cock (as in the Rooster). This male chicken adorns multiple aspects of decor from statues to t-shirts. The Wi-Fi password: Run Cock Run.

The food is divine, offering up tasty (and decadent) delights such as Oreo Pancakes, Shrimp & Grits, S’mores French Toast, and a Breakfast Sammie, made with thick-cut Applewood-smoked bacon marinated in paprika and brown sugar with a sunny-side up egg. 

While there I was able to experience the fantastic special of a Breakfast Poutine compromised of Cheese Curds, Duck Meat, Sage Gravy, Mushrooms, Potatoes, with 2 eggs on top (I voted for over easy... Tres Yum!).  It was the perfect autumnal dish!

Another Score: organic coffee (considering how much I drink of this black gold elixir having it sans chemicals is quite the perk!). And for those looking for the more alkaline side of the beverage spectrum there’s Kombucha on tap!

It’s no wonder that this fun and unpretentious place to begin the day was named one of ZAGAT’s Hottest Restaurants in San Diego this year!

So if you’re in the SD area saddle up for a good (breakfast) time! ;-)