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Friday, September 16, 2011

Vegas Trip: Holsteins @ The Cosmopolitan & Top Chef Just Desserts - Part 2

This is part 2 of my amazing experience with Holsteins and the chefs.

On Sunday I made sure that we made time to go by Holsteins for a meal. I texted Chef Carlos to let him know that we were planning on stopping by in the afternoon. Unfortunately he was at their other restaurant so he wasn't going to be there. He offered to make us a reservation though. :)

At 3:30 we arrived and were seated in the main dining room. The waiter was really nice. We looked over the menu and quickly decided what we wanted.

We got Tiny Buns (served in orders of 2): Crispy Pork Belly Bun (Asian flavored wrapped in a Chinese steamed bun with Hoisin sauce, cucumber & pea shoots, wasabi mayo) $9~
The plating was simple and cute in the little cast iron skillet. The pork belly was really juicy with a great sear on it. The greens were really fresh and the buns had a great texture. Just like how Chinese restaurants make their steamed buns. And one of my favorite things was the wasabi mayo. It was great in the pork buns, it was great on fries. Soo good!

Big Buns (served with choice of shoestring or steakcut fries): The Steakhouse Burger (beef patty crusted with black pepper, Holsteins creamy steak sauce, marmalade onions, tomato confit, wild mushrooms, Swiss cheese) $16.50~ We chose the shoestring fries.
This is one of Chef Carlos' favorite burgers on the menu. This burger was AH-MAZING! By far one of the best burgers I've EVER had, and my bf agrees. The beef patty was beyond juicy and cooked perfectly. There were so many different flavors and textures going on in there. The onions, tomato, mushrooms and sauce all added a level of complexity. My favorite part was the crushed black pepper that was basically pressed into the patty and the cheese. Every bite you get that fragrant and hint of spice from the black pepper. And I see why they have the buns custom made. It was able to hold up to the juiciness and amount of toppings in there, never once got soggy. We shared a burger, but I could've easily eaten one on my own! And I wasn't even that hungry!! I'm wishing there is a Holsteins in Dallas just so I can go right now...

We also ordered the Campfire Smores (chocolate fudge, roasted marshmallow, graham crumble, Gosling’s Dark) $11~ Since we got 2 shakes the day before, we got one to share this time.

Now this is where the SUPER DUPER FANTASTIC-NESS begins... After finishing the burger and waiting on our shake, we see Chef Craig walk towards us with 2 plates. There was a trio of their Bam-Boozled milkshakes on each plate. From left to right: Campfire Smores (chocolate fudge, roasted marshmallow, graham crumble, Gosling’s Dark); Strawberry Cheesecake (Cheesecake chunks, graham crumble, strawberry swirl, Absolut Vanilla Vodka); Drunken Monkey (Reese’s pieces, banana, malt, Frangelico).
Oh wow!! We were definitely surprised and happy. Chef Craig was super nice and introduced the different shakes to us. We dug right in and finished it all!!

Little did we know.. this was only the BEGINNING...

After finishing the shakes, we see Chef Craig walk out again with more plates! OMG! He presented us a sampler of their Dessert Lollipops ($15 for all):
Lemon Meringue $3.5~
Birthday Cake $3.5~
Strawberry Cheesecake $3.5~
Blondie (macadamia nuts) $3.5~
Brownie (with chocolate crispies) $3.5~
We started working through the Lollipops... We took a bite of each. They were all really good but the Lemon Meringue was our favorite of the bunch.

AND... he also had a little bucket with smoke billowing out. He spooned out a small blue meringue and gave it to my bf. He put it in his mouth and immediately started sprouting smoke from his mouth and nose. It was soooo freaking coool!!!!!
The blue meringue was bubblegum flavored and was in a pool of liquid nitrogen. It was such a neat experience. At this point, the tables around us were like "oh cool", "what's that?" and just watching us. It was pretty epic!!

We only got through one bite of each one before Chef Craig brought out two MORE plates. WOW!! We were floored. This was just surreal! We got another sampler in these cute little jars. Mini Desserts ($14 for all):
Butterscotch Pudding with Shortbread $4~
Lemon-Yogurt Blueberry Panacotta $4~
Black Forest Cake $4~
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble (olive oil gelato, tarragon foam) $4~
The jars were super cute. Everything had an interesting twist to it. Like the Panacotta had this spicy tuile on it. It was really spicy!! And the panacotta was cooling. The Black Forest Cake had a layer of tapioca inside that added a different layer of texture. And the crumble, which Chef Craig called a soup, was topped with olive oil gelato and tarragon foam. How interesting is that?!?!?

The other plate was sooo fun! It's a dessert twist on “Slider & Fries” (peanut butter macaron “burger”, churro “fries”, raspberry “ketchup”) $8~
The little burger container was super cute. And the peanut butter-chocolate-banana macaron inside looked like a real burger!! And he used the little squeegee of the raspberry sauce and squeezed it over like ketchup. It's soo fun I couldn't stop smiling. :D We were really overwhelmed with all the different desserts. There was only 2 of us!! haha. Too bad our friends couldn't make it, we really needed them there!

And it wasn't complete until the final presentation...
The Candy Store ($14 for all):
Drumstick (Raspberry sorbet, white chocolate, pistachio) $2~
Push Pop (banana cremieux, crunchy peanut butter layer, chocolate covered pop rocks) $2~
Guava Gummy $2~
Huckleberry Polenta Cake $2~
Doughnut (maple, bacon, cream filled) $2~
Strawberry-Lime Float (strawberry soda, lime sorbet) $2~
“PB&J”, Infused Milk (peanut butter & jelly macaron) $2~
(The Nitro Meringue from earlier is actually part of this sampler. $2~)
The platform it came on was unique on its own. Chef Craig told us that Chef Carlos actually had this platform as well as the one for the cake lollipops specially engineered just to display the desserts. So creative!! Again, all the different desserts had a cool/interesting twist and were so whimsical. We were seriously on a sugar high!!

I was totally on cloud 9! This is truly one of my life dreams coming true. I've always wanted to be a judge on Top Chef or Top Chef Just Desserts and here I am getting a private tasting from 2 of the contestants. O.M.G. There's nothing really else I could say. I can die happy now...

I just want to thank Chef Carlos and Craig again for the amazing hospitality and creative desserts. This was a once in a lifetime experience and I will never forget it. Holsteins will be a must-visit spot whenever I go to Vegas. Chef Carlos told us they are planning on opening many more locations in the next few years, so keep an eye out if they go to your town! And I definitely hinted at opening one in Dallas!!! hehehe.

I wish the Chefs best of luck on all their future projects and businesses. With the level of creativity and innovation, I have no doubt they will be even more successful in the future. Hopefully I can visit them again soon! And I will continue to cheer them on in Top Chef Just Desserts as the season goes on!! :D

Of course this deserves 5 cookies in ALL aspects!!!!!!!!


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