Earlier this month Jake and I took a little trip out to Vegas for all off-Strip eats! We ended up going mid-week which yielded a cheaper hotel room and much less traffic to deal with while in Vegas. We stayed in Downtown Vegas and didn’t venture onto the Strip even once!
We stayed a block away from Fremont Street at the Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino. Hotel rooms were about $45 a night (for a Monday-Wednesday stay). I always book my travel through Expedia and it dawned on me I had a ton of points saved up that I had never bothered to use before. I cashed them in for this trip and our room ended up being only $14 a night! Heck, the resort fee per night was more than our room fee. Crazy!
The Downtown Grand is pretty posh for a Downtown Vegas hotel. It’s much smaller than the casinos on the Strip but I think that makes it feel a little cozier.
They have pretty much all the typical gaming types available – slots, table games, etc. I spied this slot machine when we were walking through the casino and was excited to play it later! I didn’t win but the puppies on the machine were so cute!
We headed up to our room which was on the 14th floor. We got a room right next to the elevator which has never happened for us before. While it was a quick walk to get to our room, you do hear a bit of extra noise in the hallway from people using the elevator. We got into our room and I noticed the TV was on and welcoming me to the room. A nice little touch!
Our king sized bed was cozy and the room was tastefully decorated in greens (bonus points for the green).
The bathroom had a nice sink and a shower with a glass door. Or rather, I should say, the shower had a glass opening since there wasn’t really a door… or a curtain. It was just a glass partition that I felt was not nearly long enough. If the shower were deeper or wider or longer than perhaps the glass partition would work but it just felt like they never completed the shower. There was a breeze whenever we took a shower! It was weird.
We didn’t do the $20 trick this time (Jake’s reasoning was that we didn’t need an upgrade and we could use that money on a meal instead) so we didn’t get a fancy view or anything like our like stay. If I looked all the way to the left, I could see parts of Fremont Street.
And here’s the view looking all the way to the right. Not bad, I peeked out a few times during our stay.
Since our hotel was pretty close to Fremont Street, you definitely hear a lot of street noise during your stay. The maids left earplugs in our room but we weren’t too bothered by the extra noise. It was also nice being within walking distance of a few restaurants and Fremont Street. Sure, the Strip has a lot of stuff “within walking distance” but it always feels like you have to walk forever to get to the next casino. Things are a lot closer together in Downtown Vegas!
Here’s a recap of a few of our off-Strip eats in Vegas to give you some ideas of what to hit up on your next trip.
[cachapas / $6]
We first tried Cachapas back in February at Viva Las Arepas. These are kind of like a Venezuelan corn pancake that is filled with cheese! It’s grilled and has lots of oozy melted cheese. You must try it with the cilantro garlic sauce on top to give it an extra boost of flavor. Jake and I love dish and wish we could find it here in San Diego!
[cal italia personal pizza / $7]
Our first night in Vegas we ended up going to a baseball game for the Las Vegas Area 51s (great name, right?!). It wasn’t too awful since it was nighttime and we were able to spend some time there before hitting up the late night happy hour at Pizza Rock. Pizza Rock also just happened to be across the street from our hotel! From 10PM until closing time they have a special late night happy hour. They have menu items for $4, $5, or $7. Jake and I shared the $4 meatballs and also each got our own personal pizza for $7 each.
Jake got the “Tony 2 Times” pizza which had sausage, salami, pepperoni, and mozzarella. It normally comes with mushrooms but he asked for them to be removed.
I got the “Cal Italia” which had asiago, mozzarella, gorgonzola, sweet fig preserve, prosciutto di parma, parmigiano-reggiano and a swirl of balsamic reduction all over the top. I loved the combination of flavors on this little pizza! It had a bit of salty-sweet thing going on with the sweet fig preserve and the prosciutto contrasting each together. I also love the tang from the gorgonzola! The crust was the best part – it was light, airy, chewy and really delicious with all of the toppings. Definitely a winner!
The next day we headed out to a place called Flock & Fowl. This is Chef Sherdian’s 2nd restaurant after Fat Choy (which is another off-Strip restaurant that we love with delicious bao buns that we visited last year). The speciality here (if you couldn’t guess from the name) is chicken!
[thai caramel chicken wings with crispy garlic / $5.99 for 4 pieces]
We really enjoyed the chicken wings from Fat Choy and decided to try the version here. We were not disappointed!! These wings were quite meaty and perfectly fried with a glorious crunch and texture. The crispy garlic adds a nice touch of flavor while the thai caramel adds a nice bit of sweetness to the already delicious wings. I couldn’t get over how good these wings were and almost wished we had ordered the 8 piece… but luckily we didn’t since we had more food to eat. I would easily put these wings in my top five “best wings I ever ate” category.
[hainan chicken rice with chinese sausage and fried chicken skins / $9.99 + $1.99 each for the sausage and skins]
We also tried the speciality here – the Hainan Chicken Rice. You can get the chicken cooked in one of three ways: poached, fried, or roasted. We went for the poached chicken and added on some chinese sausage and fried chicken skins. Each plate comes with three housemade sauces. The one of the bottom is a ginger scallion sauce, the middle is a house made soy, and the top one is a house made chile sauce.
The chicken was incredibly moist and SO tender. It looks like it’s plain but it is FAR from plain! I loved how tender the chicken was and it was enhanced by using the sauces. I tended to dip into soy and the ginger. The ginger sauce was killer – I loved that stuff! The chicken rice was also really delicious and our whole plate was elevated with those delicious sausages. The chicken skins were on point!! They were so crispy and delicious without being too greasy. We loved this whole meal!
I love playing bingo and we went out to Summerlin to Red Rocks Casino to play a few games of bingo. They have a dispenser machine (like for food) filled with bingo daubers. I paid a little extra to get a dauber with glitter ink because I love glitter! You get complimentary beverages which include alcoholic beverages from the bar inside the bingo hall. It was in the afternoon so there were probably less than 20 people.
The thing that sucked was that they call out the numbers FAST here. They don’t “preview” the next number like they do here in San Diego and Jake and I had a lot of trouble keeping up. If I had known that beforehand, I would have gotten us packs with fewer bingo cards. I did actually end up winning though! But six other people called bingo at the same time so I only got $8 bucks. But I’m still a winner!
After doing a few errands (like going to Sambalatte to get some delicious bottled Brazilian cold brew to take home) we headed over to get some Pinkbox Doughnuts. Right next door to Pinkbox was a pizza place called Northside Nathan’s Detroit Pizza. Jake and I only recently became aware of Detroit Style pizza since Little Caesar’s has started to advertise their deep dish pizza as “Detroit style”.
Per Wikipedia: “It is a square pizza that has a thick deep-dish crisp crust and toppings such as pepperoni and green peppers, and is generally served with sauce on top of the cheese. The square shaped pizza is the result of being baked in a square pan, which is often not a pizza pan. Rather, industrial parts trays are often used, which were originally made to hold small parts in factories. The crust of a Detroit-style pizza is noteworthy because in addition to occasionally being twice-baked, it is usually baked in a well-oiled pan to a chewy medium-well-done state that gives the bottom and edges of the crust a fried/crunchy texture.”
[6″ one topping detroit deep dish pizza / $7.50]
We felt it was a sign to go there since it was next door to our destination! We decided to share a small one topping Detroit deep dish pizza. We got it topped with bacon. We didn’t get it as a “true” Detroit style since we got it with the toppings on… well, the top of the pizza. Apparently in Detroit they put the toppings under the sauce.
OMG… check out this golden crust on the pizza!! I really really really adored this crust! It totally had that “fried”-like texture. It was a crispy and buttery bottom which a satisfying crunch. The rest of the dough is a bit chewy and the cheese was perfectly melted on top. They used a really nice bacon for the topping that gave it a lovely flavor. This will definitely be a repeat stop for a future trip to Vegas!
Pinkbox Doughnuts! The location in Summerlin is 24 hours if you need a donut fix. Their donuts are all showcased like prized jewels here.
We ended up getting a buttermilk bar, a peanut butter and jelly, caramel cheesecake, key lime, hazelnut mocha, and a maple bacon bar. We went overboard on the donuts and these taste much better when they’re fresh. The buttermilk bar was amazinnnnnng and I wished I had had more stomach room to try them all right away since they didn’t taste quite as good later on when I actually did try the rest (oops, my bad). I’d got back and just eat buttermilk bars though, for reals.
Jake and I on Fremont Street! We totally got $.99 cents margaritas and walked around. Awwww yeah.
We walked the full length of Fremont Street and then went past Fremont to the Downtown Container Park. If it’s after 9PM you have to be over 21 years old, FYI. There was a guy carding everyone at the entrance.
There’s this neat giant praying mantis in the front of the container park. His antennae are lit up with fire and every once in awhile he moves and fire sprays out from his antennae.
The whole complex is made out of shipping containers. I thought it was neat to see how they were stacked on top of each other. Most places were closed at this time of day and we just went in to walk around.
Our last stop in Vegas was at SkinnyFats! The interesting thing about the menu at SkinnyFats is they do a take on a dish two ways: the “Skinny” healthy way or the “Fat” happy way. It’s up to you to choose which route you want to go!
[spudghetti / $8.95]
Jake got an item from their “Things in Bowls” menu (heh). This is potato noodles (?!) with bacon, shredded cheddar, and sour cream. Normally there are green onions but he asked for none of that. I think it would have been better with the green onions but then again I adore green onions.
So this dish… man… this is definitely a weird-unique dish and something I’ve never seen before! I mean… potato noodles? What? Gnocchi is made out of potato but this is completely different. It looks like pieces of hash browns that aren’t sticking together. It tastes a little bit like partially cooked hashed browns as well… but in a good way? I didn’t like the dish at first but as I ate it, it started to grow on me and I ended up liking it. It’s kind of like eating hash browns treated as a baked potato but nothing is crispy. It’s kind of weird that I liked it since I love crispy stuff but it worked for me. Jake couldn’t quite get past the “raw” taste of the potato.
[steak eyes / $11.95]
I went for their take on biscuits and gravy which has country fried filet mignon medallions with biscuits and eggs. I didn’t like having the eggs on top so I moved those suckers over immediately. This was a pretty good dish but not quite mind blowing. I felt it needed a bit more gravy and I didn’t like it all together like this. The filet mignon tasted a little over fried but it was still good. I think I liked Jake’s crazy Spughetti a little more, surprisingly! The gravy was tasty though. I probably could have just had the biscuits and gravy alone and been happy!
That’s it for our off-Strip eats in Vegas! There’s so much more to Vegas than just the Strip and I hope you decide to visit and off-Strip restaurant on your next trip to Vegas. If you know about any off-Strip restaurants in Vegas I should try on my next visit, please let me know in the comments!
If you want to see our Funko Pop! Hunting adventures in Vegas, please go and check out my new blog at This Geeky Life!