After crossing the border into Arizona on Day 3, we got our first taste of the institution that is In-n-Out Burger.  For those of you not fortunate to have sampled In-n-Out’s delicacies, they serve burgers, shakes and fries.  They’re made-to-order, so they’re fresh and hot.  They also have a real beefy flavour, more home-made burger than Big Mac.

On first inspection, the menu looks somewhat limited:

However there’s a hidden menu that is available on request.  Enter the animal fries!

Animal Fries

Animal fries are completely disgusting.  And completely delicious!  Picture if you will french fries (they’re NOT hot chips, for all you Aussies and Kiwis!) topped with cheese sauce, grilled onion and the pink stuff on top is also the sauce on their burger – its semi-sweet, a little bit mayo-ish and a little chunky.  They have a ridiculous amount of kilojoules, which I found out later when we returned to California (where energy levels of foods must be displayed on menu boards).  But they were sure tasty!

Another memorable burger chain we sampled was Fatburger, with delightful names such as ‘Baby Fat’ and the outrageously large ‘Triple King Fat’.  These were the best burgers we had on the mainland (although only needed a Baby Fat), and you could buy a beer for $2 to accompany your burger.

A different sort of fast food chain we went to was a chain selling Asian-style food called Panda Express.  Similar to your foodcourt Chinese joints, the dishes had lots of (much needed!) vegetables and semi-decent potstickers.

Moving on to Vegas (baby!!), we had our most memorable (and the best quality) meal of the trip.  We certainly paid for it, but in my opinion worth every cent.  A work colleague recommended we try one of Thomas Keller’s establishments.  So on our second night, off we went in our new Hugo Boss suit (Matt) and Vegas-style glittery wedge shoes (me) to the Venetian to dine at the French bistro Bouchon.

Greeted by great service, a gutsy Cali pinot and bread that wasn’t sweet (could it be, real sourdough?!), we enjoyed cauliflower veloute, creamy, silky and delicious.  Following this, I had a devine slow-cooked aged beef, roasted tomatoes, Swiss chard and black truffle jus (it was a special, so I didn’t catch the name) and matt enjoyed Gigot d’Agneau: roasted lamb with spring peas, Swiss chard subric, glazed turnips and garlic-infused lamb jus.

After that, we had possibly the most delicious dessert I’ve ever tasted.  We ordered a creme caramel, which was delicious, but didn’t hold a candle to a special of the day, simply titled bouchon.  In French, bouchon translates to ‘cork’.  As such, dessert was 3 cork-sized brownies, salted caramel house-made ice cream and caramelised banana.  I will not even begin to describe how delicious this was.  Amazing.

And with a click of the sparkly shoes, a large, rude-shaped frozen cocktail and a trip in a ‘spaceship’, Vegas (and Nevada) was over as soon as it began.  Viva Las Vegas!!