Las Vegas

Blog, Las Vegas, Nevada, Travel

Vegas Strong – A City Still Shining Bright

As some of our readers may know, we met in Las Vegas and lived there for two years. We both moved to Las Vegas shortly after we graduated from our universities and went there to grow in our careers in a management training program. For us, Las Vegas is where we truly started our lives. Most people feel a great connection to the city where they move to after college and for us it is no different – we met, fell in love, made lifelong friends and started our careers. We love Las Vegas with every inch of our body and sometimes think we might move back one day because of how much we loved our two years there. So, when we heard about the Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on October 1, 2017 we were more than devastated.

We will never forget where we were when we heard the news of the Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. We just entered the airport lounge at the Kruger International Airport and were handing the agent our Priority Pass cards when we saw CNN news on the television. The agent was trying to hand back our cards, for who knows how long, because everything around us didn’t matter – our world, our home was just attacked and nothing seemed right anymore. At the time we were watching the news, the event had just happened less than three hours ago, and with the time differences most of the United States citizens had no idea what was transpiring. We watched the news waiting to hear more information; it went from 20 dead and 200 injured to 58 dead and over 500 injured in just an hour, making it the deadliest shooting in modern US history. Our hearts felt broken and we felt helpless being in Africa. We remembered Facebook had a “check-in” feature and we quickly started asking all of our friends to check in – we had no idea if we had people we cared about at the concert and that was frightening.

The next thing we knew, we were on our flight back to Johannesburg, South Africa. When we landed, we found out that we had two friends at the concert, Alexa and Tyler. We were relieved to know that they were both safe at home and could not imagine what they just went through.


a sushi double date with Tyler and Alexa

It is sad to say, but the truth for us (and for a lot of people) is that we stop for a few moments of silence when we hear about tragic events all around the world, but then we carry on with our lives. We still feel bad for what happened, but at the end of the day we go on with our lives because we weren’t the ones affected. I think a lot of people can agree that they feel and do the same. It is only human nature and nothing to be ashamed of. Even with Las Vegas, a place we call home, a place where we had two friends at the concert, we still went on with our lives – we went on to enjoy the rest of our trip throughout Africa. It was not until we went to Las Vegas a week ago (October 21-24) and saw the aftermath and strength of the city, that it became more real – we felt more of a connection to the shooting than ever. When we saw the memorial with our own eyes, our world never felt smaller. When we saw everyone showing their remorse with flowers, candles and other tokens, we felt more connected to the victims, especially our friends and city than ever before. A lot of thoughts went through our minds during these moments, we thought to ourselves that we wished we felt this way before. We thought, how can we make others feel the way we feel right now standing at this memorial, while they are not? Thus the purpose of this article.

Our goal with this article, is to help others understand that though it is okay to carry on with your lives after hearing about a tragic event, we want our audience to place themselves in someone else’s shoes, because that is how we felt when we were in Las Vegas last week. It is one thing to see it on television, but it is another to be there and really feel the affect in person. We also hope to show our audience how this city has come together to be stronger than ever. It is a shame that it takes a tragic event to bring people together, but with darkness there is light. And as we all know, Las Vegas is full of light!

photo credit: The National Compassion Fund

An Interview With Alexa

Our amazing friend Alexa agreed to participate in an interview to showcase the terrible events she and others had to go through and how she has overcome the tragedy. Her interview gives us insight on the night of October 1st and a chance to really feel connected to her story. If you need to, we recommend grabbing some tissues because her story is definitely not an easy one to share.


You are a born and raised Vegas citizen, how does this make you feel towards your city?

I am, yes. It doesn’t change how much I truly love this city. I haven’t been able to drive back to the scene or near Mandalay Bay, but I think overtime I will be able to.


What remarkable moments have you witnessed of the city or people coming together to help make Vegas strong?

The amount of people that visit the Vegas sign where the shrine is located, is amazing. It is great to see people going there to pay their respects and/or bring flowers, candles, cards, etc. I have also been so proud to work for MGM Resorts International. They instantly provided anything and everything needed for the employees who were there that night. They called to check in on how I was doing and reminded me of the options I had. My coworkers were there for me when I had no concentration, energy, and would sometimes just cry out of nowhere.


How did you get out safely?

Once the second round of bullets started going off we ran inside the VIP cubes when a gentleman (I am assuming was in the army based on his hat) told us to get down to the floor in which we listened. After that we thought, “no way are we staying here, the gunman is going to come inside and shoot us.” Another man looked us in the eyes and told us “RUN.” We ran out the back door of the VIP cube, to the back where the fence had been opened. We ran across the street and started to run East, but that is when we heard gunfire to our right thinking the gunman were coming that way. Later, we found out this is when he was shooting at the fuel tanks. We then turned North and hopped the fence to the church, ran through the parking lot, hopped the next fence, and started running through the parking lot in between the Tropicana hotel and the Hooters hotel. I had parked my car over in that lot since we were late to the concert. After initially passing my car, we ran back to it, laid on my horn so we wouldn’t hit all the people running around us and drove out. We followed a big truck that ran over a planter, knocking down the bushes, which helped my car to go over and out onto the road.


If you had time to process or think while seeking safety, what was going through your mind?

Everyone has a different survival mode, according to my grief counselor. For example, Tyler instantly blacked out and doesn’t really remember anything. He doesn’t remember the route we took or the people that were around us. I, however, remember every little detail. I can tell you though, you don’t think AT ALL. I remember not knowing who to trust. Some people would tell you to get down and others would tell you to run. You’re obviously in fight-or-flight mode so you just think RUN, RUN, RUN. The hard part about this incident was it sounded like the gun fire was coming from everywhere due to the echo.


You have gone to Coachella four years in a row, do you foresee yourself going to Coachella or future outdoor concerts/festivals after Route 91 Harvest Festival?

To be honest, it definitely scares me. Will I be able to enjoy myself fully? Probably not. However, I don’t want to live the rest of my life in fear. Tyler and I love festivals and concerts so we will just have to try our best to start enjoying them again.


Do you live your life differently after October 1st and if so, how?

I 100% live my life differently after that night. There is just so much more to life and I don’t let the little things bother me anymore. I am very close with my family, but I feel like I do everything I can to talk/see them as many times as I can. When/if something comes up, I just remember how truly grateful I am to be alive. Nothing is scarier than fearing for your life. It changes everything!


After a month, how are you feeling?

I am definitely feeling better. I still have those days where I just feel anxious and scared or so sad for everyone involved. I actually was falling asleep last night and started hearing the gun fire again! So scary!


How are you working through this trauma?

You just do your best. You cry if you need to, talk to anyone, keep yourself surrounded and especially try to continue on with your life.

There will be times where certain sounds, sound just like the gunfire which will bring you to an instant panic. This can be known as PTSD, but overtime it will get better and we won’t jump at the sounds we hear.

Trauma comes with a lot of different symptoms as well, like loss of memory, hard time concentrating, confusion, anxiety, feeling hopeless, and most of all guilt. Both Tyler and I struggle a lot with the guilt aspect of it. We are very thankful to have gotten out with just bruises (which I still have a month later!!!), but to know that we got out so quick and with minor injuries brings on a lot of guilt for us. It shouldn’t, but it does. Maybe we could have helped people on our way, thrown people into my car, anything. Again this goes back to your survival mode and understanding that what you did at the moment, was what your brain was telling you to do.

I think back though, if I had saw someone get shot; I know I would have stopped to help in some way!


Do you have any stories you wish to share?

While running for safety, I dropped my nice David Yurman bracelet my parents got me. I only realized a couple days later that I didn’t have it. I thought it was long gone by now, since it’s a nice piece of jewelry. About a week and half later from the incident, I went on to the FBI website and filed a claim for my bracelet in hopes maybe it was still at the festival grounds. A couple days later I was told to go to the Family Center that was open for the survivors, family members, friends etc. After a lot of questioning (in a good way) from the FBI, they went into the back area and came back with my bracelet. As you can imagine, I was shocked they retrieved it. I instantly started crying and was terrified to look at it in case there was blood on it. Thankfully it didn’t! I wear it every day still as a reminder of just how lucky I was that night.



The City and Nation Coming Together

It was refreshing to hear how so many people came together to help the victims and their families. Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air offered free flights to family members of people who were killed or injured in the shooting. MGM Resorts International provided free rooms at the Bellagio to the victims’ family members and also provided meals to workers at the hospital. They are also selling Vegas Strong merchandise (hats, shirts, sweatshirts, tumblers and more) to be purchased at gift shops. All of the t-shirt sales are being donated to the MGM Resorts Foundation to support the first responders, the victims and families affected by the shooting. UFC, Zappos and Station Casinos all donated $1 million each to the families of the victims. Uber and Lyft offered free rides to and from blood donation centers, hospitals and relief centers. Domino’s Pizza delivered free pizzas to police officers, first responders, hospital workers and people in the waiting rooms. So many people were lined up to donate blood that they had to start sending them away, so instead of turning around, they went and bought water and snacks to all those volunteering and donating blood. These are just a few stories of how people came together because there were truly so many people helping in many different ways, the stories are almost endless.



Showing Strength Throughout the City

Throughout the city, people will find billboards from dozens of different companies showing their support to the city and victims with #VegasStrong. Seeing it around the city is uplifting and inspiring. We saw it throughout the Vegas Strip, T-Mobile stadium, Downtown Las Vegas, the airport and on the highways to the suburban neighborhoods. Even on the radio station commercials and talk hosts would touch on the Vegas shooting. The most significant #VegasStrong sign is perhaps the window banner at Mandalay Bay, right above where the shooting perspired.

photo credit: ABCnews

Las Vegas Sign Memorial

When we visited the Las Vegas sign to promote Mariamor Designs All You Need Is Love bracelet, we had no idea there was a memorial for all the victims who passed away from the shooting. What was once a place tourists go to take pictures in front of the famous Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, is now a beautiful memorial where people show their respect. We witnessed people giving flowers, candles and more, to some of the victims’ crosses. What touched us significantly was seeing several different national flags from other countries around the world. It is a beautiful memorial where a lot of people have come to place their token of respect and remorse.


The memorial was created by Zanis, a retired Chicago-area carpenter who built each tribute. He has driven to several states to donate his crosses and create similar memorials for fallen victims for 20 years, including, the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, Columbine High School shooting, the Colorado theatre shooting and for the hundreds of gun violence victims in Chicago from 2016 to 2017. Needless to say, Zanis is a remarkable man with a big heart.

We do not know how long this memorial will be at the Welcome Las Vegas sign, if it will stay there forever or make its way to a new home. If you are traveling to Las Vegas, we encourage you to show your respect at the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.



Thank you

We want to extend our thank you to everyone who has helped with the aftermath of October 1st, whether you donated, were a first responder, nurse or doctor and more, thank you for your services to help those in need. Thank you for making a difference no matter how big or small. We know that every bit of help makes the biggest difference.


Making a Difference

Las Vegas and the victims have endured a great deal. As you can see with Alexa’s interview, the shooting may have been a month ago, but people are still healing and there will never be a set time of when people will no longer need help. So, if you can take the opportunity to help in anyway, we highly encourage you do so. Here are a couple places where you can donate:

  • Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission Chair from Las Vegas started a Gofundme for the victims’ families. They have already raised over $11 million and are close to reaching their goal of $15 million. To help this fund, click here.
  • The National Compassion Fund has partnered with the Las Vegas Victims Fund. 100% of the funds received through the National Compassion Fund Las Vegas will be distributed directly to victims. To help this fun, click here.



With Love,

Christina + Adam



Blog, Blood Orange, Caramel, Coffee, Crepe, Food, Italian, Las Vegas, Lemon, Nevada, Pistachio, Semifreddo, Strawberry, Tiramisu

B&B Ristorante (The Venetian), Las Vegas, NV


B&B Ristorante is one of many of celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Italian restaurants. It is also one of four of his restaurants in the Venetian and Palazzo properties. I had dined here once for my 21st birthday and loved their desserts so much that I knew I had to return one more time for the Dessert Tour before Adam and I moved to Texas. This is also Adam and I’s second restaurant and Dessert Tour post from a restaurant of Mario Batali’s. We dined in the lounge area, an inside, “outside” patio. With the gondolas gliding down the indoor canal and the rest of the Italian ambience of the Venetian and restaurant it was like we were really in Italy watching people pass by as we indulged in our desserts. When I dined here the first time the pastry chef was Doug Taylor, today it is Jessica Antonaccio. Luckily for us the dessert menu featured desserts from both chefs, fan favorite desserts of Doug Taylor’s remain, while also showcasing Jessica Antonaccio’s prevailing desserts.

When a server finds out we are just dining in for dessert we usually either get an enthusiastic person who loves that we want to just indulge in sweets or we get someone that is just there to do there everyday job. On this particular day we got the best server I have encountered and he made our Dessert Tour more than just a dining experience – it was a great learning adventure! That is one thing I love about our Dessert Tour – is making relationships with our servers and getting them involved because most of the time they can see my excitement and curiosity for every dessert on the menu. Unfortunately I cannot remember his name, but I did leave him a great comment card that I hope he received recognition for because he was very personable and knowledgeable with their menu.

Lastly, before I start reviewing the desserts I have to acknowledge pastry chef Doug Taylor because every time I mention his name in Vegas to someone that knew him I get the most enthusiastic responses of how amazing he was as a chef and person. The server here had nothing but amazing words about Chef Doug and it was refreshing to get a glimpse of his work ethic and great leadership. I once met him years ago and to this day I get inspired every time I look back at that meeting. He had taken the time to meet with me and answer all my annoying questions and then took me on a tour of his kitchen and had me taste some of the best chocolate. So I would like to just tip my hat to Chef Doug for still inspiring to this day and continuing to grow the pastry industry.

Tiramisu (Doug): 9/10
When I had this tiramisu the first time it was heaven and I can always remember how amazing it tasted. Back then I would have given this dessert 11/10, but today it received 9, which is still very good! The flavors were still all there it was just not executed as perfectly as I remembered. This tiramisu is deconstructed and brilliant! The ladyfingers are soaked in espresso followed by mascarpone cream on top and chocolate curls. The marsala wine is reduced and is circled around the plate. A quenelle of espresso gelato with some candied cocoa nibs sprinkled over the top of the dessert. The chocolate is Amano Dos Rios 70% (the chocolate I talked about getting a taste of from Chef Doug) is spread elegantly. The cake was thick and is the only downfall of this dessert because it was a little on the dry side. The marsala wine was wonderful with a surprising kick at first and then finished so sweetly. The candied cocoa nibs were also sitting underneath the espresso gelato and added a nice contrast of texture giving the bite of espresso a little crunch and sweetness. The mascarpone cream was luscious and lastly the chocolate – the star on this plate because its texture was nothing I have ever encountered before. In fact it is a chef secret because this was the one thing our server did not go into further detail to explain and just responded with, “Doug is stumping you on this one”. The texture was out of this world – the chocolate was not melted but it did melt in your mouth and was creamy and smooth like a cremeux. I truly was stumped on this one – the chocolate made me speechless, so much natural flavor from its origin. As a whole this dessert is rich, well balanced with its sweetness and powerful flavors. The plate replicated a smile and this dessert definitely leaves you with a smile on your face. A beautiful, refreshing take on my favorite classic dessert!

Balsamic Mascarpone Bruciato (Doug): 10/10
A bruciato is Italy’s version of a creme brûlée, but to me and this dessert in particular, is the baby of a cheesecake and creme brûlée. I loved this dessert so much it took me until there was one bite left to realize I forgot to take a picture of what this dessert looks like inside… my apologies. This dessert uses a three year old balsamic vinegar with mascarpone cheese for the “custard” with caramelized sugar and fresh Harries berries on top. The texture of the custard is not like your typical creme brûlée – silky smooth, this custard replicated more of a cheesecake texture – smooth, creamy and dense from the mascarpone cheese. Every bite is packed with flavor and texture – the strawberries are filled with a burst of sweetness followed by the crunchiness of the caramelized sugar and then the creaminess of the mascarpone filling that almost cleans the palate. Its the three year old balsamic vinegar that finishes this bruciato strong with a kick of acidity and a lasting sweet taste.


Pistachio Ricotta Crespelle (Jessica): 10/10
This dessert was fantastic and heavier than it looked. The crespelles (Italian crepes) were very thin, served warm and filled with an elegant lemon-pistachio cream. Drizzled on top was pistachio butter and a limoncello caramel….YUMMM. The last components were chunks of candied pistachios, fresh raspberries and a dollop of whipped mascarpone cream. This dessert as a whole was more earthy than sweet. The cream filling was amazing! Soft, heavenly texture from the ricotta cheese with a light refreshing taste from the lemon followed by the nuttiness of the pistachios. Both the raspberries and the limoncello caramel added a nice pop of tartness. The limoncello caramel was also not the typical caramel where it is thick and creamy, this was more like limoncello reduced into a syrup which enhanced its sweetness and tartness. Like stated before this dessert was a little heavy and therefore is suggested to be shared, but it is so delicious that sharing could be unnecessary.

Blood Orange Semifreddo (Jessica): 10/10
Semifreddo is a semi-frozen dessert and is the perfect dessert for the summertime. This was a blood orange semifreddo, both acidic and citric, with slivers of candied blood orange peel and chocolate. The slivers of candied blood orange were small and added a nice crunch for a contrast of texture from the smooth semifreddo. Sitting under the semifreddo was a chocolate ladyfinger (sponge cake), and was by no means mushy. It actually had a nice structure of being firm and crumbly despite being under a frozen dessert that eventually melts. Besides texture the cake also added some sweetness that balances the tartness of the blood oranges. Decorated throughout the plated dessert were blood orange segments, a blood orange syrup and a blood orange peel that was poached in a vanilla syrup and was quite sweet and delicious. The tartness from the dessert as a whole really hits the palate in a very pleasant and refreshing way while the chocolate can help restore some sweetness.


Complimentary Plate of Mini Desserts

Blood Orange Apple Cider Gelee: 9/10
The gelee was chewy but had a nice bite to it with a good balance between the sweetness and tartness.

Oatmeal Raisin Cake: 8/10
This was a nice and simple bite. For a small bite the cake was as soft as a pillow and packed with the flavors of oatmeal and raisin.

Dark Chocolate with Fruit: 10/10
Loved it! Just like the chocolate in the tiramisu this dark chocolate was delicious. This small bite was decadent with brandy soaked raisins and toasted nuts to balance the rich dark chocolate.

Lemon Meringue: 6/10
Soft, light and chewy. This was the one dessert from the whole evening that was not flavorful. Did not taste the lemon which could have been vibrant in this meringue.

Citrus Biscuit: 8/10
A thinly sliced cookie that was crunchy and sweet with a lovely hint of citrus.

Flourless Chocolate Cake: 11/10
Oh my goodness!!!!! This is just like I remember years ago – absolutely amazing! My best friend, Mary, and I loved it so much when we first dined here that I had actually purchased 21 for her 21st birthday. The ultimate, tender chocolate cake that is rich and just melts in the mouth – almost like a pudding. My mouth is watering again thinking about how this one small bite is so delightful.


Blog, Chocolate, Danish, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

Baguette Cafe, Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas calls Baguette Cafe “a hidden gem” and it is probably because not a lot of people know about it. First of all, it is not located on The Strip, but is tucked away in a commercial area right off the highway – conveniently close to our apartment. It is a very small building with limited seating inside, but there is also a patio with palm trees to shade more seating availability. The building is so hidden that when Adam and I arrived we felt like we had escaped the crazy scene of Las Vegas. Although it is by the highway, the cafe is in a secluded area, therefore it is quiet and peaceful here.  Inside the cafe is very simple – chalkboard menu, pictures hanging on the wall, and only three people working, one of which is the owner, Olivier Brouillet.

Olivier grew up in France and then made his way to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked his way up the French ladder managing at Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Joel Robuchon and Bouchon Bistro. To say the least, this man knows hospitality and how to run a successful restaurant – it is no wonder that Baguette Cafe is as successful as it is today. And what better way to have a French bistro than to hire your French parents? Yes, Olivier hired his parents to work for him. His father, Lucien, is the chef while his mother, Claudie, is the pastry chef. What an amazing and gifted family! Everything is fresh and made in house every morning. This is no secret because you can taste and smell the freshness!

This was Adam and I’s third visit here, and before we moved to Dallas I knew we had to go back one more time and include this beautiful cafe in the Dessert Tour! We opted to enjoy our treats out on the patio and in the desert heat we found ourselves comfortable from the palm trees giving us shade. On this visit we had the Pesto Sandwich, a Chocolate Twist and a Chocolate Tart. These were by far our favorite goods we had ever had there. Save the best for last right?

Adam had ordered the Pesto Sandwich and he claims this is a 10/10 on his sandwich blog… there is no blog haha, but this sandwich was fantastic! The combination of fresh ingredients and bread that is crunchy on the outside and light and spongy on the inside is what makes this sandwich a perfect ten.

Chocolate Twist: 10/10
Oh myyy gosh!!!! This was amazing! It is essentially a croissant twisted with chocolate. I could not go into a French cafe and not get some fashion of a croissant. The croissant was a nice dark brown, flaky and crunchy, the way any perfect croissant should be. Twisted within the croissant dough is the dark chocolate which was smooth and creamy. The dark chocolate melts completely in the mouth leaving a sweet and rich taste balanced out by the buttery croissant. Just perfect!

Chocolate Tart: 11/10
Oh myyy gosh again!!! It is a cold tart which I enjoyed outside in the Vegas heat. As soon as the chocolate tart hit my lips I melted away into a bliss. I have never tasted something so silky smooth – it was so luscious that every bite I took completely dissolved in my taste buds. The tart dough itself was also well made – it had the right amount of thickness in the crust to give the tart a nice bite and crunchy texture. The whipped cream on the side was a nice touch because it added some creaminess when combined with the decadent chocolate tart. So sweet, so rich, and yet so balanced. All around beautiful dessert and one of my favorites to date.


Blog, Budino, Caramel, Cherry, Coffee, Cotton Candy, Creme Brûlée, Food, Hazelnut, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Oreo, Tiramisu

Veranda (Four Seasons), Las Vegas, NV

To celebrate Adam’s new job we went to Veranda, located in the Four Seasons, for a nice breakfast. It was so delicious that we came back later that evening just for their delectable desserts.

Four Seasons in Las Vegas is not a stand alone property, it is actually tucked away in the Mandalay Bay Resort. Guests can get to the Four Seasons either through the Mandalay Bay lobby or at the Four Seasons private valet/entry. The Four Seasons Las Vegas has two restaurants – Charlie Palmer Steak and Veranda. I believe the restaurant title, Charlie Palmer Steak, can speak for itself that it is indeed a steakhouse. Veranda on the other hand, is a beautiful, authentic Italian restaurant – open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a spacious restaurant with seating in the main room, bar and an outdoor patio overlooking the pool. It was a beautiful spring day so we sat outside on the patio for breakfast and in the evening we sat in the bar for dessert.

Breakfast was relaxing and enjoyable. We shared a sweet and savory entree – Tiramisu Croissant French Toast and Focaccia Eggs Benedict. Both dishes were fantastic! When the server cleared our plates they were licked clean and I became excited for dessert that evening because of how good breakfast was.

While in Vegas, whether you are a local or tourist – always go out big! And that is exactly what we did for dessert. As a dessert enthusiast I wanted to try everything and luckily the dessert menu offered  me exactly what I wanted! We ordered the Signature Sharing Dessert and the Giro D’Italia (Tour of Italy). Keep in mind that diners usually order one to two single desserts to share or a dessert for two to share. Adam and I order dessert to be shared amongst at least four people! Like I said, go out big! My blog can speak for itself that I have had a lot of desserts, especially in Las Vegas, and these desserts (every single component) were some of the best desserts I have ever had! Veranda by far is one of my new favorite places to dine. These desserts were everything I enjoy – Italian, creative, fun, engaging, and just darn good!

Signature Sharing Dessert: 9/10 
Amaretto Tiramisu Cake served with a crispy hazelnut basket, white chocolate, hazelnut and espresso gelato, and orange flavored cotton candy.
Vegas is where everyone goes to have fun and this dessert speaks loud and clear that it is fun! The presentation itself brought excitement to my stomach and I. It is tall which instantly brings that “WOW” factor to any guest.  The dessert comes in this grand tower that already gives the dessert its height, but then the cotton candy adds an additional height to it. I am sure they sell a lot of this dessert because as a diner if I saw a table next to me have this dessert I would tell my server, “I’ll have what they’re having”.


The amaretto tiramisu cake sits inside the bowl as the base of this dessert. The crispy hazelnut basket rests on top of the cake and inside the basket are three giant scoops of gelato. Lastly, the cotton candy is placed on top of the gelato. We worked our way from top to bottom – playing and eating with our food. The cotton candy made us feel young again, pulling it apart and getting the fun sensation of the cotton candy dissolving in our mouths. The citrus from the orange cuts a little bit of the sweetness out, but overall the cotton candy is flavorful and still really sweet.


The espresso gelato was strong in flavor – there was no doubt that it was espresso. It was perfectly balanced, not too bitter, not too sweet. Same can be said about the hazelnut gelato – profound flavor of hazelnut, smooth and creamy. The white chocolate gelato on the other hand was very subtle in flavor. The crispy hazelnut basket was indeed very crispy and sweet. It was nutty at first, but then it finishes really strong with sugar. The basket was not necessarily even in terms of its thickness – some areas were thinner and thats when it was perfect, whereas other areas were thicker. When I got a bite of the basket with the gelato or with the cake the dessert as a whole was even better because of the contrast of textures.

The amaretto tiramisu cake was very good. Slightly different than a typical tiramisu, given the fact that amaretto is used to soak the cake instead of the traditional espresso. The cake had a nice balance of nuttiness from the amaretto and a sweet finish from the mascarpone layers. Overall when I would get a small bite of every component it was like a party in my mouth. Crunchy, creamy, packed with strong flavors and finished with a light, citrus-sweetness.

Giro D’Italia

Fior Di Sicilia Creme Brûlée: 9/10
Very subtle in flavor from the fior di sicilia (flowers of Siciliy), a combination of vanilla, citrus and flower essences – almost like a perfume. There was a nice crunch from the caramelized sugar followed by the smooth, creaminess of the creme brûlée.  All in all it was a light, clean dessert.

Salted Caramel & Oreo Budino: 10/10
Wow! Oreos are Adam’s favorite, but tonight Oreos became my favorite. This dessert was a surprising hit for me! Genius thinking with salted caramel pudding and Oreos. The salted caramel pudding is layered with Oreo cookie chunks and crumbs. The saltiness of the caramel hits the taste buds first and then finishes sweet with hints of the chocolate from the Oreos. The dollop of whipped cream on top of the budino serves as both a nice garnish and a cleansing palate that helps lighten the rich dessert. Unbelievable combination!

Espresso Tiramisu: 9/10
As I always state, I love tiramisu and I loved this one! The small ladyfingers were soaked in espresso that carried out great flavor throughout every bite. At times the espresso can get lost in the creaminess of the mascarpone and I am happy to report that never happened with this lovely tiramisu. We enjoyed this tiramisu till there was none left.

Amarena Cherry Panna Cotta: 10/10
Amarena cherries are very popular in Italy, they are derived from the Bologna and Modena regions of Italy. These cherries are known to be more bitter than most cherries, (“Amara” means bitter in Italian), but they are a wild dark cherry most commonly sold preserved in a very sweet, luxurious syrup that removes the bitterness. This was not my first encounter with amarena cherries – I have had them before and the cherries are amazing!

The silky smooth vanilla panna cotta was very refreshing and clean and then the dessert gets a powerful flavor from the amarena cherries changing the tone of the panna cotta. A little of the amarena cherry syrup goes a long way so the amount was perfect. The cherries give the vanilla panna cotta an elegant sweetness that is very inviting making this dessert well balanced. Another favorite of the night.