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Quick (Picture-less) Trip Reports: Las Vegas, Washington DC

a pair of gold tickets on a wooden surface
I am an absolutely terrible travel blogger, good thing I have a day job.  We’ve been on a handful of trips recently and every single time, without fail, I have forgotten to bring my camera.  But it’s a good thing that our phones have cameras – unless they’re stolen in which case you’re left with no pictures at all.

So purely for the sake of documenting so that we can remember where we’ve been 10 years from now, a couple brief (picture-less) updates to share:

Las Vegas (June 2013) – celebrating my 30th birthday in my favorite city in the world

  • Mandarin Oriental
    • Finally got around to staying at the Mandarin Oriental, and it is by far my new favorite hotel in Vegas.  Not the best fit if you’re looking for a party-oriented trip, but more of a relaxing getaway
    • Was initially concerned about lack of casino at hotel, but ended up not being a big deal at all as MO is a 5-minute walk to Aria
    • Very relaxing (and quiet) pool area, again for those not looking for a huge party scene
    • Spa was top-notch, especially the shared facilities and views from them
  • e by Jose Andres
    • 30th birthday dinner was spent at e by Jose Andres.  All I have to say is EAT HERE.  By far, the best dining experience I have ever had.  It’s a private room in the back of Jaleo restaurants at the Cosmopolitan, 2 seatings per night, 8 seats per seating.  Roughly 25 courses are prepared in front of you, and pretty much each one is delicious
    • They take pride in accommodating dietary restrictions – among our table of 8, they made completely custom substitutions for 3 of us (gluten-free, vegetarian, pregnant)
    • What other restaurant will make you feel like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by sending you golden tickets in advance?  
two gold tickets on a table

Washington DC (August 2013) – because waiting 4 months to go on honeymoon was simply too long, we booked a mini-honeymoon over Labor day weekend

  • Park Hyatt Washington DC
    • I was surprised to find a lot of good hotel options in DC, but settled on the Park Hyatt because we were keen on having dinner at Blue Duck Tavern
    • Overall, we were very satisfied with our stay.  Daily breakfast was taken as room service but the same menu as served in Blue Duck Tavern.  Short rib hash is a must try
    • Location is quite good, approximately a 10 minute walk to the nearest subway station
    • Rooms are very stylish and modern (as expected with a Park Hyatt), bathrooms were a highlight
    • Only negative comment is that the pool/hot tub facilities were only average
  • Restaurants
    •  Blue Duck Tavern – very, very good and definitely lived up to the hype
    • Zatynya – one of Jose Andres’ restaurants and we were able to utilize Restaurant Week menu for special deals.  Felt like this was pretty good, but service was a bit chaotic during the dinner rush
    • Brasserie Beck – favorite restaurant of the three we went to for dinner.  The mussels are a must

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