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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Climbed a Mountain and Ate (all) the Desserts


As promised, the second half of my fantastic voyage to Las Vegas! Lindsey and I did something sort of crazy on Saturday morning...we woke up "early" so we could climb a mountain! I'm not 100% sure what or how Lindsey went about convincing me that climbing a mountain was a great idea...something about "amazing views" probably played into it...but we stopped in at Baby Stacks first to fuel up for the hike!

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The view from the top - not too shabby!
Lone Mountain has a height of 3,312 feet; the hike we did was about a mile (and I can't remember if that is in total or a mile up and a mile down...whoops...) and you gain an elevation of 500+ feet in a short length. Most of the hike was up...up...up! The mountain was also rather deceiving; just when it seemed like I'd reached the summit and I'd come over the top...the mountain would level out for a moment and then jut upwards again! The mountain played this game three times and every time this would happen, I wanted to scream!

Hiking the mountain was a challenge - I will not lie. At one point, I told my sister that I was tapping out and I plopped myself down on a pointy rock. However, a gentleman came along a few minutes after I'd tried to quit and mentioned this was the first time he'd made it as far as this and he was determined to make it to the top...and something in what he said motivated me; that and the fact that he told me the trail leveled out again soon, ha-ha! I continued my climb and after about fifteen minutes, I made it to the top where my sister was waiting.

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Las Vegas from the top of Lone Mountain.
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Posing on the way down with the creepy rock face...ha-ha!
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Looking back at the mountain from the bottom - can't believe I made it to the top!
The reward for making it up and down the mountain? We had afternoon tea planned at the Mandarin Oriental! A few months ago I read an article on Travel & Leisure about the top ten places to have tea in the US and the Mandarin Oriental was on the list..so I mentioned it to my sister and we scheduled our visit. The tea was all the way up on the 23rd floor in the Sky Lobby with spectacular views of the Vegas Strip, the suburbs of Las Vegas and the mountain range and desert in the distance. The setting for the tea was certainly spectacular!

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The Mandarin Oriental - the Sky Lobby is located where the strip of window is...on the 23rd floor!
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Monkey Picked Oolong & the jams & clotted cream for scones! Yum!
Given that the tea was hosted at the Mandarin Oriental, it seemed to be a traditional afternoon tea with an Asian flair. It was one of the more unique teas I've experienced...starting with the seating, which was on couches and small chairs grouped around small, short tables. It wasn't the most comfortable of seating options - I think I'd have actually preferred just sitting cross legged on the floor; however, I wasn't given that option! I also had on a dress, so that wouldn't really have played out so well!

I chose Monkey Picked Oolong for my tea - it didn't have a very strong flavor and initially I wasn't certain how well I liked it. The subtle flavor grew on me but I still wish that I'd chosen something different because we were only allowed one pot of tea. The savories were fascinating - Curry Chicken Salad in a Sesame Seed Cone, Egg Salad Creme on a Croissant, Black Forest Ham Sandwich and Salmon Tartar with Cream Cheese on a Brioche Bun. I'll be honest - I was hesitant about *most* of these but I tried them all - my favorite was the Curry Chicken Salad; I ate the Salmon Tartar without the slice of (raw) Salmon and I picked my way around the Egg Creme on the Croissant...ha-ha! 

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Pastries on top, scones in the middle & Savories on bottom!
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The gorgeous desserts!
Lindsey and I devised a plan for making our way through all the lovely treats - we ate two savories, a scone, two more savories, a second scone and then ALL the pastries last! The scones were blueberry and buttermilk and were very tasty; a little more dry than I would have preferred, but they still had good flavor and the blueberry and strawberry jam and clotted cream added a lot to them! The desserts were glorious - how could they not be - look at them! There was a Lavender Dark Chocolate Tart, a Raspberry Rose Tart, a Blackberry Layer and a Mango Passion Fruit Bombe; my favorite being the wee and beautiful Mango Passion Fruit Bombe, the flavor was outstanding! 

We certainly enjoyed our tea and we were glad we gave it a try; however, we came to the same conclusion that nothing beats our very favorite tea room - Coach and Horses Tea Room!

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A quick snapshot after our tea - we were told the gold wall "really popped".
We ended up being so completely stuffed after our tea...so we hung around the house for a bit and then ended our evening catching a showing of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; which we both really enjoyed (I know I did...I'm pretty sure Lindsey did...she said she did, ha-ha!)

Sunday morning I joined Lindsey at the church she has been attending and afterward we tried a fairly authentic French crepe restaurant called La Maisson de Maggie; I had a crepe Marion that had pesto and mozzarella cheese and was mostly delicious...I wasn't 100% sure about the buckwheat flour used for the crepe, but the flavor of the pesto and mozzarella still managed to work it out enough to be tasty! The real treat was the Strawberry and Nutella crepe that Lindsey and I split - it was made with wheat flour and was absolutely delectable! 

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The parasols at the Wynn - so pretty!
Sunday afternoon after lunch we went down to the Strip to peruse a couple hotels - the Wynn and the Bellagio; the Bellagio always has absolutely gorgeous floral displays in the Conservatory and I'd never been in the Wynn. I decided I really loved the Parasols that highlighted a cafe overlooking a waterfall and pool...had we not already eaten, it would have been a perfect spot to grab lunch!

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A sister picture (that's a bit dark) but still cute!
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The floral carousel at the Wynn
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The Conservatory at the Bellagio...
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Gorgeous floral arrangement(s) fill the Conservatory!
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The theme was...Japanese...I believe; although I'm not certain exactly what holiday/seasonal theme it was meant to convey.
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So beautiful...and very calming...
One of the other motivations for visiting the Bellagio on Sunday afternoon was to check out Jean Phillipe Patisserie; I have been following the head pastry chef on Instgram for about six months and could not wait to sample at least one of his creations! The Patisserie also has the world's largest chocolate fountain...and who doesn't want to see that at least once in their life? The pastries and desserts at the Patisserie were the most amazing thing(s) to look at and while Lindsey and I had initially vowed to get two a piece; one for now and one for later, our resistance broke in front of that display case and each got three! 

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Look at all that chocolate...
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Lemon Tart, Blueberry Cupcake & Raspberry Intense Cake!
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Almost too beautiful to eat! 
We each ate a pastry while relaxing at a table in the Bellagio and then carefully navigated our way back to the car carrying our precious pastry cargo! We relaxed for a large part of Sunday afternoon, had a face time session with our sweet Momma - it was Mother's Day after all - did Rapid Pick Up at Panera for dinner and both went to bed pretty early! 

Monday morning dawned bright and windy; I got my things packed up and ready to fly home. Lindsey and I grabbed a delicious lunch at Five Guys before I found myself winding my way through the ridiculously long security line, boarding my flight and winging my way back across the continent to home! It was a wonderful trip and I'm so very glad I got to spend four...almost five awesome days with my best little sister!

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Being chased by the sunset on the way home...


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