Tag Archives: Las Vegas

#TheGreatDebate: Is Cookie Butter really that great?


Every time I hear a conversation between someone going to the Mainland and someone who isn’t, it goes something like this:

“You’re going to Vegas?”



“I’m leaving next week.”

“You going to Trader Joe’s?”

“I guess. Why? What you want?”

“Cookie Butter. Have you heard of it? OHMYGOD you HAVE to bring me back some. Maybe three. I think there’s a limit. Anyway. Whatever you can. I’ll pay you. I’ll pay you extra.”

So it was the other week when two of my friends were heading to the Mainland. One to Vegas, the other to Los Angeles. People — even some they didn’t know — were putting in orders for the fanatically popular gingerbread spread by the Holland company Speculoos.

And when I say, “fanatically popular,” I’m not kidding.

Trader Joe’s, which sells three different versions — creamy, crunchy and cocoa swirl — of this spread, is frantically trying to keep up with demand. Already, its Las Vegas stores have had to set limits on how many customers could purchase. And back in April, Trader Joe’s reported a shortage of the Speculoos products in its stores across the country, with some stores reporting the spread completely out of stock.

So what’s with this Cookie Butter craze?

To be honest, when I first tried it earlier this year, I thought it was good. Better than OK but not so mind-blowingly good that I’d bid for it on eBay or pay to check-in a suitcase just to lug the stuff home.

And I love gingerbread.

Turns out, I’m not the only one wondering about the cult following for this bottle spread.

I posted a photo of a jar of the Cookie & Cocoa Swirl, the latest flavor (and craze) in the line, and I got a few mixed reviews.

Some, like my Facebook friend Jeff, who picked up a bottle a year ago in Arizona, referred to Cookie Butter as crack: “I just want to keep eating it!”

But others, like David, tried it and wasn’t impressed: “I don’t know what all the hype is about.”

So I’m throwing it out there: what’s with this fascination over Cookie Butter? What am I missing? Or do you think it really lives up to its hype?

Let the debate begin!

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I’m having Vegas withdrawals


What is it about local people and Las Vegas?

We can’t seem to get enough of Sin City.

My grandparents used to go several times a year. I have friends who book weekend jaunts every year. And it seems like every public school is holding their reunions there.

Even though I’m not much of a gambler, I find myself daydreaming about Vegas. I browse the menus of restaurants I haven’t tried and check the Megabucks progressive slots online regularly.

You’d think, since I’m there at least once every two years, I wouldn’t find anything new or interesting to do. And that might be true for most U.S. cities — but not Vegas.

As Elaine Glusac wrote in Thursday’s New York Times: “From a tourism perspective, Las Vegas is ever the chameleon. New restaurants, shows, clubs and hotels are constantly reinventing Sin City with the aim of getting repeaters back to the tables. Big construction projects continue, and there are currently two competing Ferris wheels under construction on the Strip.”

So true. And so Vegas.

She mentions new restaurants I want to try — L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, for example — and a strange hour-long Yoga Among the Dolphins at the Mirage Las Vegas.

It’s really true — even if you’re not a gambler, there are still lots of things to do — The Neon Museum, anyone? — and see.

So I’m throwing it out there: what it is about Vegas that we love — or maybe hate to love? You have an addiction like mine?

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FUUD: Best of #CatTravels

FUUD: Best of #CatTravels

Traveling is tiring.

You wait in airports, you stand in security lines, you drive for miles. There’s nothing more miserable.

But there’s also nothing more inspiring and exciting and completely exhilarating, either. Which is why we endure the pain and suffering and the kid kicking the back of your airplane seat. Because we know the pleasures traveling can bring.

And in my case, that pleasure usually comes served on a plate.

The best part of traveling, for me, is usually the food.

I love trying new restaurants, sampling new cuisines — it’s a fun way to learn about a new city.

On this last trip, I spent three weeks in four states. So imagine all the food I ate!

Here are some of my noshing highlights in Madison, Chicago and Las Vegas. (I didn’t eat much in Arizona.)

Welcome to the Midwest

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I spent most of this trip in the Midwest, particularly Madison, Wisc. and Chicago. So we ate a lot of brats and cheese and drank a lot of beer. Or at least Derek did.


Dog Kimono from Inu Inu Hawaii

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Days left: 3

Dog kimono or yukata from Inu Inu Hawaii (www.inuinuhawaii.com)

Price: $30 online or at pet boutiques such as Calvin & Susie in Kilohana Square

The gist: Bored of the usual dog outfits? Or your pooch is quite the fashion diva? Get a kimono (or yukata) from Honolulu-based Inu Inu Hawaii, which specializes in unique Asian-inspired apparel for dogs. They come in all sizes — in fact, you can custom order ones for larger breeds — and patterns. Imagine your Rottweiler in one of these!

Best for: Dog owners, of course!

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#CatTravels: Grandest canyon

#CatTravels: Grandest canyon

I have a list.

And I’m sure you have one, too.

It’s a list of all the things I want to see and do before I get to an age where I just want people to push me around in a wheelchair.

Seeing the Northern Lights is on the list. So is visiting Stonehenge and surfing the waves at Malibu.

Another stop on the list was walking on the glass-floored Skywalk over the west rim of the Grand Canyon.

I had read about this engineering feat in Time a few years ago when it had been recently opened to the public.

Back in 1996, entrepreneur David Jin of Las Vegas had an idea to build a glass walkway that extended over the canyon. He approached the Hualapai Tribe with the idea and, seven years later, he got their blessing. Four years after that, the Skywalk was opened to the public.

Some facts about the attraction: It’s located 4,000 feet about the Colorado River. It consists of more than 1 million pounds of steel and 64,000 pounds of strengthened glass, imported from Germany. Its foundation is strong enough to support about 71 million pounds, or the equivalent of 71 fully loaded 747 airplanes (though I’m sure no one tested this theory).

But here’s the real deal: The floor isn’t entirely made of glass; the edges are solid metal, and you could — people do — just walk on that part if you’re scared. The walls are about 5 1/2-feet tall with very sturdy railings; if you don’t look down, you feel like you’re at a lookout. Less than 120 people are allowed on the Skywalk at a time, so it doesn’t feel crowded. And everything you heard about cameras is true: you can’t bring ‘em. There are staff photographers on the Skywalk who take your photo — as many as you want — and you can purchase them for $30 each inside.

Hey, it’s clever if you want to make money!

And it’s a long day. You need to give the entire tour about four hours from start to finish. You don’t just go to Eagle Point, where the Skywalk is located. You also visit Guano Point — best views of the canyon — and Hualapai Ranch.

Here’s what our day looked like:

Good luck!

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We left the California Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas at around 7 p.m. for the long trip to the historic Grand Canyon West Rim, about 120 miles east.

Grand Canyon Skywalk. Cost is $29.95, but you have to purchase a West Rim entrance pass to get in, which cost, at the least, another $29.95 plus tax and fees. (888) 868-9378, (928) 769-2636, www.hualapaitourism.com.

Follow my adventures on Twitter (@thedailydish) and Facebook. Powered by Oceanic Mobile.

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Do you believe in 11/11/11?

Do you believe in 11/11/11?

I dropped into Cake Works yesterday to pick up some cupcakes, and I ran into the owner Abigail Langlas.

She said business was good. And Friday — today — was particularly busy.

“Why?” I asked her, thinking she was busy catering for APEC, going on this weekend.

“Weddings,” she said. “Everyone wants to get married tomorrow.”

Today — Nov. 11, 2011 — is supposed to be the most magical day of the year.

According to some reports, 11/11/11 is like three doorways — an extra powerful significance that won’t happen for another 100 years. “If you envision a doorway and walk through in triplicate on that same day, you can imagine what you want and achieve it in a more potent and imaginative way,” said Tania Gabrielle, a practitioner of numerology in Los Angeles, to the Associated Press.

And one way to commemorate this kismet kind of day — not to mention it’s easy to remember — is to get married. And Langlas, who runs a fairly small operation, is making cakes for 16 weddings today. Sixteen.

In Las Vegas — the wedding capital of the United States — more than 3,200 marriage applications were filled out — more than three times the normal number.

I have friends who are planning to do something special today. One is taking the day off to surf. The other is proposing to his longtime girlfriend.

I plan to surf, go to Pilates, hang out with my favorite people, take the dogs to the beach, bake something, Skype with Derek, read a book and write. Those are some of my favorite things to do.

What are your 11/11/11 plans?

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