Julian Serrano: Wine & Tapas Las Vegas Style

Last night, Theodora and I decided to trade in our dancing shoes for a more relaxed evening involving wine and wonderful conversation. We were able to snag a table at Julian Serrano for 8pm, early enough to make a reasonable bedtime but late enough to enjoy the people watching.

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Located in Aria Hotel and Resort, the restaurant was open and very bright, the perfect spot for a relaxing evening.

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The tapas style restaurant’s menu was a bit overwhelming and everything sounded amazing. We made our choice a bit simpler by trusting the waiter’s opinion and making sure we chose a dish from each section, ranging from verduras to carne.

Our first choice, the drink selection, was definitely the easiest as we were both craving wine after many nights of vodka and seltzer.

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Our dishes came out as they were ready, so we were able to take our time and enjoy each dish without worrying that other dishes would get cold.

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Our tapa choices, from top to bottom and left to right were as follows:

  • Pan con manchengo: The simplest dish of the evening was also one of the most delicious. The toasted bread was topped with a simple tomato and garlic chutney before the manchengo cheese was placed on top.
  • Grilled Sea Scallops: This dish was the least memorable, lacking seasoning and flavor. But, the scallop itself was very fresh and cooked perfectly.
  • Ahi Tuna: This dish was delicious and the Asian flavors offset the rest of the tapas flavors perfectly. The tuna was served in two ways, tartare and in a roll form. The light wasabi foam was definitely one of my favorite parts of the dish.
  • Grilled Calamari: The whole calamari was grilled perfectly and deliciously seasoned with lemon and garlic.
  • Sauteed spinach: I can’t wait to recreate this dish at home. The spinach was accompanied by raisins, pine nuts, and pears before a drizzle of vinaigrette. It was warm and delicious and the spinach wasn’t completely sautéed by instead lightly wilted. 
  • Flank steak: This was one of the dishes our waiter highly recommended and it didn’t disappoint. The steak was quickly seared and paired with Japanese eggplant between each piece.

As we finished our last dish, we realized we weren’t full and ordered two more tapas, truffle and mixed mushroom risotto and truffle salmon. Clearly dancing through the nights, raising our glasses, and laughing burned lots of calories and boosted our metabolisms this weekend.

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Both were very rich and we were only able to eat a few bites.

We enjoyed one final toast to the wonderful weekend before heading back to our hotel.

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While Theodora was at the ATM I decided to use my last dollar bill in the Irishman slot machine. I finally had luck and won!

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As soon as I won the $10 I cashed out which allowed me to leave Las Vegas $6 richer than I came. Maybe next time I’ll have more luck.

I’m not in route to Savannah for my mom’s 60th birthday tomorrow! Hopefully all my connections are smooth and I’m able to catch up on sleep. I definitely think a 4.5 hour nap will occur on my first leg to Charlotte!

See you in Savannah!

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A Tao Night to Remember…


After a day of fun in the sun and exploring Vegas, last night Theodora and I spent another long evening on the dance floor together!

We took a cab from our hotel to dinner and were surprised how much traffic there was on the strip and how expensive cabs are in Las Vegas!

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Due to traffic, it cost $13 to go 2.5 miles! But, our cab driver gave us a Las Vegas hotel and economy lesson while were with him so at least it wasn’t all bad.

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A few readers recommended Tao since a dinner reservations not only gets you in the restaurant and lounge but also free admission to the nightclub which can run as much as $20 per person and often has a line over an hour long. We were apprehensive to go to Tao while out here since there is one in New York, but we’ve discovered that most restaurants here are chains. In addition, neither of us have been to Tao in ages and remembered having good experiences before.


The 42,000 square foot hot spot did not disappoint! We had a perfect table for two in front of the huge statue and were able to people watch during our meal.

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The Asian influenced menu includes many items intended for sharing such as dumplings, edamame, and wontons.

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We took our hilarious waiter’s suggestion and ordered the lobster and mushroom steamed dumplings along with warm edamame.

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I am still thinking about those dumplings, nom nom nom! These two items were the perfect sized appetizers to enjoy with our vodka and seltzer before dinner.

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Since we knew we wanted to share our main course as well, we chose a few of their sushi rolls. Neither of us have enjoyed “fancy’ sushi lately and instead have become more accustomed to sushi served in tin foil boxes and delivered to our door step. It was a nice change of pace though we both missed our brown rice!

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Our roll choices, from top to bottom, were as follows

TAO Angry Dragon Roll with Eel and Kabayaki Sauce

Spicy Lobster Roll with Shiso and Black Tobiko

Chef’s Roll with Tuna, Salmon, Tobiko and Avocado

After our delicious dinner, we walked two flights up to the night club portion of Tao. It was packed with beautiful people, different DJs and music in every room, and decorated with naked women in tubs with flowers, red lights, and multiple dance floors.

We spent the next three hours posing for pictures.


Making friends with two guys from Kansas who happen to have bottle service! Score!


Theodora was really, really happy at this point!


I really wish you could see this guys diamond stud earring. Also, Theodora and I have decided that a wedding ring makes any girl 10x more attractive to guys.


By the end of the evening our feet enjoyed their table service sofa area. Also, please check out the hostess in the left hand corner of this picture. Yes, that is what the hostesses wear in Las Vegas.


Oh, and last but not least, my Dr School slip-ons have paid for themselves ten times over since I bought them the weekend of my sister in law’s 21st birthday. These roll-up slip on shoes cost $10 at CVS and have seen the floor of Tao Las Vegas, Marquee NYC, and Eye Candy Dance Club. By the way, when did I start going out dancing every weekend?


We made the smart choice of closing our blinds this morning when we went to sleep and therefore were able to sleep for 7 lovely hours! We woke up starving once again since we haven’t been eating any late night food after our long nights of dancing and drinking.

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Red, White, and Blue in Mandalay Bay delivered on our cravings for something savory. I devoured this grilled chicken “burger” complete with grilled mushrooms, onions, ketchup, and mustard. It was exactly what I was craving. Ten glasses of water, one pickle, and a few tater tots later I feel like a human again!

Now if the sunshine could just return to Las Vegas for one more afternoon by the pool. Oh well, we may have to head for the outlets instead. Winking smile

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Making the Best of It..


So, sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you expect.

When I arrived on Sunday, I was able to soak up the sun and read by the pool. IMG_1253 (640x478)

The past four days, while I’ve been cooped up in conference rooms and meetings, the weather has been sunny and above 70 degrees. I was even able to enjoy it during two outdoor runs this week.

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Last last night, my long run partner arrived in Las Vegas ready for a weekend of partying, pool time, and other events and escapades that will stay in Vegas.


I couldn’t be happier that Theodora joined me out in New York City for a weekend of fun but unfortunately Las Vegas hasn’t cooperated.

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Really Las Vegas? What is up with the fact that the high this weekend is 60 degrees and there is a greater than 50%  chance of rain each day?


Well, I guess when Las Vegas gives you lemons that’s just this city’s way of saying drink more vodka tonic with a splash of lemon. I think that will become our drink of choice this weekend.

Question: Any suggestions what we can do in Las Vegas if the weather doesn’t improve?

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