Latest draft blog post is on Kyle Blair, Sammy Solis, and Cory Vaughn. I’ll be on Baseball Tonight on ESPN Radio tonight in the 10 pm EST hour, and on Mike & Mike on Wednesday morning at 8:10 am EST. I recorded 45-second previews for M&M on the four AL West teams, which will air some time over the next two weeks.
You’ve asked about this week’s chat (maybe Friday, definitely not the usual time on Thursday) and a podcast (still working on it, so Jason and I will probably bootstrap one in the short term). Thanks for bearing with me.
I spent under 48 hours in Vegas last week and mostly went to places I’ve already talked about here (in December 2008) or in chats. I only have one truly new place to recommend an inexpensive breakfast spot in a strip mall a mile or two west of the Strip, called The Maple Tree. The concept is to serve the food you’d find in a New England diner or bed-and-breakfast, although I think it’s fair to say it’s more straight-up American breakfast. The one distinctive item I had was the maple muffin, a very light, airy pastry like an angel food cake with a pronounced maple flavor and none of the heaviness of a typical muffin. For the meal, I did a sampler so I could at least taste the pancake (fluffy, but a little bland without the syrup) while also getting the usual eggs, meat (a kielbasa sausage that was seared on the outside and therefore cold at the center), and country potatoes. Everything is cooked to order – in fact, I heard the waitress ask the cook why he only does one plate at a time, which is inefficient but meant I knew what I was getting was freshly prepared – and all that food ran only about $13 including tea.
Jason Churchill and I went to craftsteak on Friday night – and no, per diem didn’t quite cover it – which was my first time there since 2004. It was as spectacular as I remembered it, especially the 24-hour braised short rib, which is one of their signature dishes. (Granted, I’m not sure that 24 hours of braising, if that’s what they’re really saying, is necessary, but the dish is amazingly tender). For sides, we went with the mushroom risotto – a lot creamier than a typical risotto, and a little more al dente than a truly authentic one, but still plus courtesy of the mix of perfectly-sauteed wild mushrooms – and the asparagus, which was probably over a half-pound before cooking and flavored with fresh thyme. With two entrees and two sides, no booze, no dessert, the pre-tip bill was over $100, so I could easily see two people with big appetites and strong livers racking up a $200-250 bill no problem.
Churchill and I also hit two places where I’d eaten on that last trip, with both matching their previous reports. We went to Firefly with a crowd – there were six of us – so we ended up with a few items I hadn’t tried before. The tuna tartare was fair, good-quality fish but not all that flavorful outside of the mango/avocado accompaniment, but the merguez (spicy lamb sausage) was outstanding, and while I skipped the lamb chops the sauteed lentils that came with it were good enough to be a menu item in their own right. We also did lunch at Lotus of Siam, which is currently expanding but still open for business; the khao soi was somewhere between a noodle dish and a tom kha gai (soup), with sweet and spicy flavors brought to life by the assortment of pickled vegetables served alongside it.