I have decided to make peace with it all since I now visit Las Vegas yearly for Cruise Planners' training. I can easily rail against how expensive everything is, how crowded places are, and how fake everything seems. But there’s no point in complaining incessantly about it. I’ll find what I enjoy.

That inevitably comes down to food. As you know from previous posts, I am not a gambler, party person or entertainment lover – everything that Vegas caters to. But the city is becoming more of a foodie destination, and I can get behind that.

So, I had three meals at three different eateries for this stay. I mentioned Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas in last week’s post. I enjoyed this place because the service was wonderful and accommodating, and our dishes were crafted with great flavor and care. On the other end of this was Flavortown in the Horseshoe Resort, connected to Paris. This Guy Fieri establishment was essentially elevated bar food and adequate quality. In between was China Poblano, an Asian Latin fusion restaurant in the Cosmopolitan.

Here is a rundown of these places and my recommendations for each.

The elegant interior of Mon Ami Gabi bistro, Paris Las Vegas

Mon Ami Gabi

It looks alluring from the outside. Bistro tables and chairs are on an elevated platform directly across the dancing Bellagio fountains. It’s almost as if you’ve been transported to France and expect to hear accordion music.  That’s the atmosphere Mon Ami Gabi aims for.

I enjoyed dinner with three friends and ordered two dishes and a pinot blanc. My first dish was a daily special, jalapeno corn chowder. While that didn’t sound very French, it was intriguing, and I was happy to choose it. Even with peppers, it wasn’t spicy, but the creaminess of the base and silkiness of the corn made the soup come together beautifully. Next, a citrus vinaigrette brightened my salmon salad, along with spinach, kale, avocado, walnuts and blueberries (see the food from Mon Ami Gabi in last week's post)

Our server was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. When we asked for suggestions, she was on point with her recommendations. She also willingly replaced my friend's French 75 cocktail when it wasn’t cold enough. Overall, I think this is a worthy splurge if you are in Paris Las Vegas.

China Poblano

I admire chef Jose Andres—not just for his incredible culinary magic but also for starting World Central Kitchen. It’s an organization that brings meals to areas of the world in need. Also, as my friend mentioned, he is highly involved with his restaurants, ensuring the food quality meets his standards. That can’t be said for many so-called “celebrity” chefs.

Another group of friends and I went to China Poblano, an Asian-Mexican fusion eatery in the Cosmopolitan Resort food hall. Most dishes here are shareable, so that’s exactly what we did. Starting with chips and salsa, we then moved on to har gow dumplings, fried wontons, steamed pork buns and shrimp fried rice. To round things out, we had a mole with Oaxacan cheese and creative twists on margaritas.

Overall, the food was authentically flavorful, and a few starter dishes provided a substantial meal for us.


I will not say much about this place, one of celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s few dozen eateries. I didn’t have much here—a pretzel pull-apart covered with provolone and beer cheese bacon sauce. But my friends ordered more substantial dishes—fish and chips, cheeseburger and fries, macaroni and cheese with brisket (that was my favorite), one of Fieri’s signature starters - trash can nachos (ones presented vertically and molded from a steel cylinder).

The problem with this place is that it was severely understaffed, with only two servers covering it. While we were all getting impatient to get some water, we were more forgiving when our server did everything he could to accommodate us.

While the dishes were tasty, the overinflated price doesn’t justify the experience. Maybe having a drink and watching a game in the cacophony of the sports bar atmosphere would be just fine.