Getting Kicked Out of a Vegas Mall and Beer Ignorance

About two weeks ago I was in Vegas for the day — about 7 hours. I had some meetings late in the afternoon, but based on flight schedules I arrived around 10:00 a.m.

It had been a while since I was in Vegas. Last time I was there was just before the opening of CityCenter. Since I had some time to kill before my first meeting I decided I’d go explore. After checking out the basics, I need to go catch up on some work. Vegas being Vegas, the hotel lobbies don’t have easily accessible power outlets, but I noticed a very comfortable bench with an outlet next to it across from Harry Winston inside the Crystal Mall. This was a Wednesday morning and the place was empty.  It probably was obvious that I wasn’t there to buy a $250,000 watch, I was wearing a sport coat and slacks. Not the usual Vegas wear, but not a total slob either.

I sat down to work and after about 10 minutes a very large man in a black suit that was nice enough to have been purchased at the mall and not JC Penney approached me and said “Our electricity is not for public use.” This caught me as a little odd since their Wi-Fi is public.

I decided not to mess with the man, walked downstairs and found a coffee stand. I grabbed the cup of coffee and sat down on another bench just outside the coffee stand and opened up my laptop. As I finished my coffee and tossed it in the nearby gold-plated trash can, a different security guard approached. Similar black suit, but also an earpiece in his right ear. “We already told you that wasn’t allowed. I must ask you to leave the premises.”

I was then escorted out by the man in black, with a second equally well dressed UNLV lineman following behind us about 20 paces.

Rather than test my luck again. I hopped into the Todd English gastropub and taphouse for a sandwich and a beer, where I heard the waitress tell the table next to me that an IPA was just like an amber.

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JELD-WEN Field Food Guide #RCTID

Last night I got a sneak peek at JELD-WEN field. There were a few hundred guests invited to watch a highschool exhibition game and “dress rehearse” the stadium before tonight’s MLS home opener.


The stadium looks great the original main concourse hasn’t changed significantly but the new East and South ends are well designed, close to the field and add some modern aesthetic that blends well with the 100-year-old original architecture.
JELD-WEN Field

The East stands at JELD-WEN field the night before the first game.

First the Beer:
Winder is a sponsor of the Timbers, so most beer stalls focus on Widmer beers and Coors products. The standards (Hefeweizen, Droptop, W, etc) are present at the main kiosks as well as a handful of carts spread around the stadium.  Brewed specifically for the home opener is a 414 IPA — April 14.  Its a pretty mild IPA and won’t quite be bitter enough for hopheads, but it will work wonders as a session beer, that has a lot more character than your average session beer.

The standard stadium food:
Throughout the main concourse are the usual kiosks. Two new kiosks adorn the East walkway, past the Timber’s merchandise store. These restaurants serve the usual grill fair, burgers, hotdogs, chicken fingers, etc. I also saw curly fries available at a few. The burgers are your standard, patty, thicker than some, but fairly dry. The chicken fingers are well seasoned white meat, not too dry, but come with pretty good think-cut fries. The bratwursts are from Zenner’s and are true brats, pale in color and well spiced with ginger, cardamom and some cinnamon.

Specialty Carts
Scattered throughout the stadium are BBQ, bento, taco and grill carts. Last night they were located beneath the luxury boxes and on the deck on the East side. The BBQ was a little sweet, but better than the options at the Rose Garden. My favorite was the chile verde tacos. I tried the chicken, served with rice and beans. The soft corn tortillas were a little dry. They were  made with yellow corn and warmed to order. The chicken was moist and tender , while the verde sauce had a nice citrus  and vegetable flavor and much spicier than I expected.  The grill cart had the usual sausages and burgers. There was also a carved meat cart. I don’t know if this will be a regular feature, but they were carving us  fresh looking looking whole roast turkey.

I didn’t get to try the sit-down restaurant in the Key Bank area in the East stands.

Expect to see a number of mobile food trucks in the JELD_WEN Field neighborhood tonight. I know Koi Fusion will be setting up shop across the street from the main plaza, as will 2-3 other trucks.

GO TIMBERS!
note: I work for CMD which is owned by JELD-WEN.

Gastro Weekend

It started with a dinner with Microsoft clients at the Book Bindery.  What I thought was a simple get to know you and celebrate the start of a new project kind of dinner, quickly moved into one of those dinners where I was goaded to order the sweetbreads.

Despite a nagging fear of contracting zobieism from eating brains, I ordered, and they were fabulous. The sweetbreads were quickly followed by a foi gras terrine with citrus aspic, an apple salad and hamachi crudo. Of and then an entrée of rack-of-lamb.

Getting back in Portland the next day, lunch started with a brewery hop, starting with Coalition Brewing.  Then a late lunch at Burnside Brewing. After starting in on a bourbon porter and an apricot Scotch bonnet pepper ale we ordered  duck comfit cigars. Duck comfit, wrapped tightly in a crunchy crepe shell then wrapped again in collared greens. Rich duck, crunchy, and tangy greens made to look like a cigar and served with ash of salt, pepper and ground hazelnuts.

Image courtesy of Yelp.

We followed the duck cigars with the best pastrami sandwich I’ve ever eaten — yes, better than Kenny and Zukes — and a burger cooked in duck fat. The thick cut pastrami was accompanies by thinly sliced pickled apples. Same principle as sauerkraut on a reuben, but much better with out all the goop.

Sunday brunch was had at Russel Street Barbecue with good friends. Barbecue for brunch. This was then washed down with beer at Bar Bar and a steady stream of musicians going in and out of Mississippi Studios.

Dinner that night was leg of lamb with cauliflower puree at home.

And to counteract all this eating, I took the stairs at work this morning.