Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier

I was browsing 9gag.com today when I came across this awesome post.

Here are some ideas to make life easier, from making instant cupcake carriers to heart-shaped hard boiled eggs. :)

All credit goes to 9gag user raachelf! http://9gag.com/gag/2228508

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Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan

This is my long overdue post on Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmopolitan. I have been quite busy these days because my mom is in town (visiting from Taiwan~) and also cleaning the house for Chinese New Year. :)

So, the last buffet I visited in Las Vegas was Wicked Spoon Buffet. Again, the line-up was long and we lined up for an hour or so (Well actually, JL lined-up while Kabocha, Mochi and I took a walk around the hotel).. Thanks JL!!

This is the cheapest buffet out of all three that I went to. It only costed $22USD+tax (for a total of $23.78USD) for their brunch package which came with one complimentary alcoholic drink.

Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan

Just an interesting fact: Wicked Spoon can seat up to 1045 people! I think that is more than Bellagio’s buffet and Wynn’s buffet.

Maximum Occupancy

It was nice and spacious inside the buffet. The decor was very new and modern since the Cosmopolitan is one of the newest hotels to be built in Las Vegas. I like the atmosphere of Wicked Spoon too!

Interior of Wicked Spoon

Before we started to eat, we were served water in large bottles instead of just small cups and we also each got an alcoholic drink (Kabocha was not of age yet, so sadly no drinks for her).

Bloody Mary, champagne, mimosa, and water

I really like how Wicked Spoon has little servings for their food. You don’t need to scoop it out on your own because it’s already in their individual bowls. One of my favourites is their mac and cheese. Yummy~ Full of cheesy goodness. They also have cocktail shrimps too! (Third time that I ate it within three days, but I was still not bored of it!)

Spicy tuna roll, Korean short rib, mac and cheese, prime rib, and cocktail shrimps.

Steamed mussels

The selection is not as large as the buffets at Wynn or Bellagio, but for the price you are paying, I think it’s really worth it. The food tasted fresh and the turnover was very fast. They kept running out of steamed mussels and shrimps!

The desserts at Wicked Spoon were the best I had at Las Vegas! Especially their chocolate covered strawberries. Most of the desserts were not too sweet for my Asian standards. There was no fruit at Wicked Spoon, but they made up for it by having the strawberries and also berries to make your own “berry shortcake”.

Truffle berries cup

This berry cup was made from chocolate, and filled with chocolate truffle, topped off with blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Chocolate covered strawberries

These large strawberries were dipped in dark chocolate and then rolled in either Oreo crumbs or peanuts (the peanut one tasted better). I was scared that they would be sour at first but nope, they were sweet~

Here were some other desserts:

Truffle cones and a delicious raspberry cheesecake

Vanilla bean ice-cream (a bit too melty and sweet)

Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries

I am definitely going back to Wicked Spoon the next time I go back to Las Vegas! My cousin said that Aria’s buffet is his favourite, so I’ll be trying that one next time as well! I didn’t get a chance this time.

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone who celebrates it! Have a good time with your family and may good luck come your way in the year of the Dragon~
Wicked Spoon (Cosmopolitan) on Urbanspoon

Taking Grad Photos Shouldn’t Feel Like This

I am going to graduate from university this year, so I had to get graduation photos taken if I want to have a composite on the walls of UBC. I am in biology and all of the biology students at UBC have to get their graduation pictures taken by a specific studio (Evangelos Photography Ltd).

This is just my personal opinion, but I absolutely despise the photography studios here in Vancouver. I have only experienced two (Artona Group Inc. for my high school graduation and Evangelos Photography Ltd. for university), and none of them left a good impression on me.

Artona is a very pretty studio, with a nice waiting area filled with sofas, and comfortable change rooms. The rooms where the actual photos are taken are also quite nice, but this studio is bad in terms of customer service and their pricing. The employees at Artona are not very helpful, and you can expect to be in and out of the studio in less than half an hour. My friend was very excited to get her university graduation pictures taken at Artona, but left the studio feeling extremely disappointed. She went on a weekday, and the studio wasn’t very busy; just a couple of other people there getting their pictures taken. However, she felt very rushed as the photographers moved her from room to room, and after taking three composite pictures for her, they asked her to pick one that will go on the wall. She did not like any of them, and when she told the photographer that, he asked her why she didn’t like any of them and forced her to pick one. Also, when she was ordering her photo package, they charged a delivery fee of $12 (if I remember correctly). This is an outrageous price just for them to deliver the photos to you, so she phoned and asked if that fee can be waived if she picked her order up in person. The answer was no. I find that to be ridiculous.

Evangelos Photography on the other hand is not so nice in the looks department, and does not have a nice waiting area like Artona (In fact, there is no waiting area at all). It’s a small studio with only a few rooms and a couple of tiny change rooms. Well, that’s alright, looks shouldn’t matter if everything else is okay. The service there was great but in my honest opinion this studio is very sneaky with their pricing too. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the owner and a $45 deposit was requested. This deposit is refundable but if you don’t ask for a refund or order photos within 60 days, you don’t get your money back even if you order photos after the 60 day period. That’s my first reason for disliking this studio. Why are they taking the $45 deposit in the first place? I am sure UBC paid them generously (out of our tuition money) for the composite photos to be taken, so it makes no sense for them to ask for a $45 deposit and then refund it (Oh, and don’t forget, they charge you $1.75 if you pay that deposit with your debit card!). The service at this studio was good though; I did not feel rushed as we moved from room to room and they took five photos at different angles for us to pick from. In total, I spent almost an hour at Evangelos compared to the half an hour you get at Artona. When it came time to order photos, I noticed that they charged a $7 service charge to each and every order you make. I ordered two separate orders on the same account and I was charged $7 twice (they don’t give you the option of combining two orders into one). I think service charges should just be included in the price of the photos or packages, since those are already so overpriced in the first place, but to charge me twice is just sneaky and unnecessary.

I understand that these photo studios are businesses and that they need to make money too, but I am pretty sure that the schools have already paid an enormous sum for our pictures to be taken. Also, they technically have a monopoly since we are required to go to their studios without the option of picking any other ones. Do they really need to go to the extent of getting more money from us? They know that we have no choice but to order pictures from them, since we can’t get these pictures anywhere else, and yet they still ding us with a bunch of fees and charge us sky-high prices for photos.

In the future I am going to open my own photo studio and hire Kabocha as my photographer. Taking graduation photos shouldn’t feel like this. You shouldn’t feel rushed and you shouldn’t feel scammed. Yet that was exactly how I felt (and I’m sure there are many others who felt the same way)! This is just my honest opinion.

The Buffet at Wynn

The second buffet that we visited was The Buffet at Wynn. I have heard many good things about this buffet, and I was excited to try it out for myself! I really like the decor in the lobby of Wynn. I would love to stay at Wynn except that it’s a bit far from the strip and pricey too.

The lobby of Wynn

A beautiful cafe in Wynn with a view of a large man-made waterfall

After taking pictures of Wynn, we finally made our way to the buffet, greeted by a long line-up of course. After waiting for an hour, we paid $37.95 (+$3.07 tax) for the holiday brunch. (Next time I am not going to Las Vegas during the holiday season.. I don’t think the food is any different for a normal brunch versus a holiday brunch… Except for the ridiculously inflated price.)

Interior of the Buffet at Wynn

The interior of the buffet was very pretty. The main colours used were mint green (my favourite colour) and cantaloupe. The roof was glass so natural sunlight could come through and brighten the place up naturally, which made the whole place feel spacious and less oppressing than the buffet at the Bellagio.

A large selection of foods at Wynn's buffet

There were many different types of food to choose from, such as Italian, American and Japanese. They make fresh omelettes as well, with your choice of fillings.

Cocktail shrimps, scrambled eggs, macaroni & cheese, bacon, cucumber salad, edamame, spicy tuna roll, and kimchi.

They did not have a large selection of sushi; only three different kinds. They weren’t that well made either, but I wasn’t there to eat the sushi anyway since I get enough of that back in Vancouver. The spicy tuna roll was very good though!

Freshly made omelette, more sushi, and smoked salmon.

The omelette was delicious, and so was the smoked salmon. Kabocha loves sushi, and even though there was only a small selection of sushi at Wynn, she still enjoyed it.

Some breakfast items such as french toast, silver dollar pancake, and Belgian waffles.

The pancake was good, I did not like the french toast because they added cinnamon to it, and the Belgian waffle tasted alright.

Fruit cup with pink grapefruit sprinkled with mint and brown sugar.

Large choice of desserts

Marshmallow pops

I personally felt that all the desserts were too sweet. The only thing I liked was the vanilla flavoured ice-cream. They scoop the ice-cream into cute little ceramic cups too!

Desserts

Large selection of ice-cream flavours

After we were done the desserts, we saw that a table beside us had a plate of king crab legs. King crab legs for brunch? It was probably because it was afternoon already and they were starting to bring out food from their dinner menu.

King crab legs.. Yum!

These king crab legs were really good! The ones at the Bellagio were icy and cold, but these tasted fresh and not icy at all.

It’s said that Bellagio’s buffet used to be number 1.. Until Wynn came along. I totally agree with that! I would choose Wynn over Bellagio any day. Wynn’s decor is modern, the food is fresh, and king crab legs for the price of brunch is an added bonus! Now they just have to improve on the desserts (for my next post I’ll be writing about the Wicked Spoon, the buffet at the Cosmopolitan.. now THEY know how to make desserts!) :)

 
Buffet (Wynn) on Urbanspoon

The Buffet at Bellagio

Happy 2012 everybody!! I am back from a 5 day trip down to Las Vegas and I must say that I really miss it, even though everything was so pricey there. On the second night we went to Bellagio for dinner. Pudding told me that Bellagio’s buffet was the best, so I was very excited to try it out. Upon arrival, we found out that because it was the holidays, the price for dinner increased from less than $40 per person to almost $50 per person. Next time I know not to come during Christmas break… All the prices are elevated to reflect the increased popularity of Las Vegas as a tourist attraction.

Line-up in front of The Buffet at Bellagio

After waiting for an hour, we were finally admitted. By that time, there was only an hour left before they stopped serving more food, so we were a bit rushed for time. I have heard that the best part of this buffet is the king crab legs, and so the first thing I got was the legs. However, they were a pretty big disappointment. Yes, they are expensive stuff and they were delicious since I have never tried them before, but they were so icy that I was only able to eat a bit before my stomach was too cold and I had to get something hot to eat.

King crab legs and salad

More food

Sushi

Desserts

I just want to mention that these photos were all taken by my sister (Kabocha) and that the plates of food were also her’s.

Overall I was not extremely impressed with The Buffet at Bellagio. It was not horrible, but definitely not worth the $50. The king crab legs were too icy, and there wasn’t a super large selection of foods that interested me. The desserts were too sweet and the decor of the restaurant needs updating. At least the server who cleared our plates and gave us drinks was really nice.
Buffet (Bellagio) on Urbanspoon