We met very near the chandeliers we had joked about. I had just given my car over to valet and entered the Paris Las Vegas when there she was. My best friend.
Timing couldn’t have been better, and given the sea of people, nothing short of a miracle that we found each other at all.
Rewind to Christmas.
Santa brought me a cold/flu of some sort. Wasn’t that nice? I got through the day, and kept a smile on my face – but the day afterwards, I stayed in bed.
I never do that.
Crawl onto the couch when I’m feeling under the weather – yes. Stay in bed all day? Nope.
I had no choice. My head felt like I had angry bees with sledge hammers in it. Someone must have also sneaked Rice Crispies into my sinuses and ears.
I was SO determined not to miss my lunch date on Friday that I let my fever run. (We have fevers for a reason no? The body’s way of fighting whatever has invaded our body?) I hydrated and coughed and even had that sexy gravely voice. Joking aside, I haven’t felt that rotten in years, and I was starting to fear I would miss seeing my friend for our annual get together.
I had posted my status on Facebook – to which my friend’s mom commented: Don’t get Lisa sick!
That made me smile – such a mom thing to say – and if my fever hadn’t broken, I would not have taken the chance of doing just that.
But break it did!
I still felt about 40% of my usual self, but excitement cloaked my lack of physical energy with a mental enthusiasm.
Off to Vegas I went.
The red roped entrance to the only way you can get to the restaurant is manned by a very well dressed secret service looking gentleman – with an earpiece and shiny badge.
Lisa advised we had reservations and we were escorted to the elevator.
It wasn’t until the doors closed and we began our ascent, that Lisa joked “I hope you’re not afraid of heights.”
But I was still cloaked in excitement – and impervious to such phobias in that moment.
The elevator stopped – doors opened and …
“Are we on the right floor?”
We were. This is the first thing you see!
Lisa and I are huge chef/food fans. If they had said we could sit in the kitchen, I’m sure we both would have leapt at the chance.
But then we would have missed the amazing table we were seated at.
The very right side corner in the top of the above picture was to be our spot.
The bottom photo shows an advertisement for the restaurant – which, also happens to be our table.
Best seat in the house.
Directly across from the Bellagio fountains.
We were brought menus that weren’t read for a while – too much to talk about!
But hunger won out. We decided to start with appetizers, well, an appetizer and an entree that we decided would also be an appetizer.
Our drinks arrived first – I had the most amazing concoction … Cucumber Lemonade.
Who thought that up? I’m glad they did.
Bread and then a tiny vessel (I’m sure it has a proper name) of cauliflower puree with rice cracker seed ‘balls’ was placed in front of us.
It was like cauliflower pudding. Cold and adorable and delicious!
The appetizers followed – Cold Foie Gras Torchon (Duck prosciutto, fig compote, Brioche) and an Assortment of French Cheese (with Walnut Raisin Bread and Apricot Chutney.)
I was leery of the fig compote – I’m not a fig fan. But I was absolutely going to try everything! I’m SO glad I did. It was incredible!
(Lisa made me eat my micro greens too.)
More chatting – catching up … the staff kept coming by but I wasn’t letting the food go. I know neither of us wanted to rush the time together, but I also didn’t want to rush the culinary experience! I was determined to savor each bite.
Eventually we let them take the plates (not without me asking for the remains to be placed in a box that would come with me.)
I had the Baked Crepes. Filled with Artichokes, Roasted Tomato Coulis and Basil.
Lisa ordered the Aged Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Potato Gratin and Vegetables shared the plate with that.
Every bite was delicious – and yes, I made it over to Lisa’s plate too.
There was nothing to box from the entrees. Plates were cleaned.
More chatting – and the fountains had started doing their fountainy thing.
You can imagine, there was so much to look at and so much to talk about – but we did eventually get around to dessert.
The Creme Brulee and Triple Chocolate Cake with Creme Fraiche.
The cake was deceiving – it looked like fudge! Seemed as if it would be dense, but our forks slipped right through and how they made all that chocolate so light and airy had to be some molecular gastronomy trick.
I had been escorted to the bathroom earlier (Yes, it was ‘that’ kind of fancy – “Pardon me, where are your bathrooms?” “May I show you?” Why yes, yes you may.) and told Lisa we had to go back before we left.
So after reluctantly prying ourselves away from the table – we went to freshen up and of course, take some photos.
We took ‘selfies’ to a new level at the fancy vanity.
Oh, and the top left was while we were waiting for our table, and the top right was taken by our very sweet bus boy.
We definitely needed to walk some of that lunch off – so we almost made it to the elevator when I remembered my cardigan was on the back of my chair. Retrieved that and past the kitchen we went – glancing longingly at the behind the scenes action – then down the Eiffel Tower into the belly of the Casino.
We walked outside for a bit – then back inside to explore Paris.
It was getting late in the afternoon – I live in a different time zone and knew I still had to navigate the Vegas roads to find my way to a Freeway I was familiar with before the sun got any lower in the sky.
(That’s a whole other post – Vegas drivers are bonkers! I was shaking at one point – with people taking the 75 mph signs as a minimum, not a limit. Barreling down on me, as I squinted at upcoming signs to watch for my exit – which, I missed. I learned a) I’m pretty sure I need glasses and b) If I ever do win the lottery, I’m hiring a driver for long trips on scary fast roads!)
Tangent over – let’s get to the difficult part.
Goodbyes are hard.
Lisa stood with me in Valet – and for some time after I had my car and was trying to merge into the exit lane. This became comical as she stood beside my car on the sidewalk as cycle after cycle of green/red lights afforded me only inches of movement.
I finally turned onto the strip and looked over my shoulder to see her in the crowd – but could not.
Giant sigh – sad heart.
We talk almost everyday – she knows everything there is to know about me. The good the bad – and the things we only ever tell one person. And considering how willing to share I am, you know those things are deep and very private.
She makes me laugh, she knows my likes and dislikes, my hopes and dreams – and she encourages them or brings me back to reality – depending on the situation.
And yet, I only get to see her once a year.
And I was not going to let a fever take this day away.
I feel a little silly – my eyes watering while I type those words. I just miss her you know?
I miss my friend.
And I’m so glad I got to share such an amazing experience with her.
So until next year – I love you Lisa. And thank you for crossing one of my bucket list items off.