Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

France and Ev’s Vegas Vacation

Over Labor Day weekend, Evan and I went to Vegas. It wasn’t a party-and-gamble type trip — in fact, neither of us gambled a cent. We were there for an occasion — Evan’s best friend Adam’s wedding.

Adam and Evan

Adam and Evan

When Evan headed to Vegas on Thursday for the bachelor party, I didn’t quite know how to picture his group of friends. A huge contingent from his high school in Syracuse was there — so much so that everyone was calling it their 10-year reunion. I had a great time meeting all of them — we live pretty far away from where Evan grew up, so it’s really interesting to see glimpses into that part of his life.

Being in the wedding party, Evan had a lot of different responsibilities while we were in Vegas, so while he was busy rehearsing for the wedding, getting his tux and running other errands, I spent my time sitting by the pool and wandering around the casinos and malls, feeling pretty overwhelmed by how large and noisy everything was. I’ve been to Vegas quite a few times, but its immensity always seems to get to me.

Evan toasting the bride and groom

Evan toasting the bride and groom

The rest of the weekend seemed to be a blur of dinners, drinks and dancing. The wedding was nice, and Evan gave a very sweet toast to Adam and Rosie, where he talked about growing up with Adam. He made everyone laugh when he shared that Adam had asked him for something sexy to say in Spanish to his bride when they were first dating. Who knows, maybe the cheesy Juanes song lyric Evan gave him was what brought them to their wedding day.

Adam getting a little surprise on his way to find the garter

Adam getting a little surprise on his way to find the garter

Rosie also surprised Adam by blindfolding him before the garter toss and letting their roommate Bucky toss her train over his legs and take her place. He wasn’t expecting that one at all.

Feeling the updraft at the Hoover Dam

Feeling the updraft at the Hoover Dam

On Sunday, about 10 of us went to visit the Hoover Dam. It’s really massive, and creates a rather wild updraft. We all spent time hanging our heads over the side and feeling the wind, and I spent a lot of time trying to prevent a wardrobe malfunction with my dress. I was only partially successful, and ended up having a Marilyn Monro moment mid-dam. Thankfully some of the girls had hair clips, and we tried to tighten up and weigh down the skirt.

Sunday night, Evan and I got tickets to see Santana at the Hard Rock. Boy, does he put on a concert! It started with a ton of energy that lasted for 2 hours straight — they really didn’t take any breaks between songs. Lots of people were dancing, and we really enjoyed all the amazing music.

In all, it was a great weekend. Evan got to catch up with old friends and I got to meet most of them for the first time. We did some typical Vegas things, going to clubs and casino bars, and we also got away from the madness at least a little bit by going to some off-strip restaurants and the Hoover Dam. We also got our room at the Luxor upgraded to a suite, which was quite cool.

You can check out more photos from the wedding and Hoover Dam on Evan’s site.

Thanks, Adam and Rosie, for having us be a part of your wedding and helping us have a great time in Vegas!

Learning to Make Tamales in Vegas

Friday, Evan and I headed out to Vegas to visit his friend Adam, go to Adam’s girlfriend’s birthday party, and just get out of LA for a bit.

I never knew Vegas could be so relaxing: We stayed at Adam’s house, we only went into one casino, and we never drove down the strip. We had some relaxed dinners, made about 300 tamales for Rosie’s party, and learned how to make gourmet jello shots.

For me, making tamales was one of the high points of the weekend. I’d never made them before, and I was very happy to learn with Rosie’s family in the kitchen. We started with premade masa in giant bags, various meats (pork, beef and chicken, all cooked and seasoned before I arrived) and corn husks soaked in water.

We got into an assembly line: one person washed the corn husks to make sure they didn’t have any hairy tendrils left; another person made balls of masa into little pancakes, then put some meat in the middle, folded the pancake over and pinched the ends closed; another person took the finished masa-meat pockets and folded them into a corn husk, by first wrapping the husk around the sides of the mixture, then folding up the bottom of the husk, while leaving top end still open.

I stayed on husk-folding duty until it was time to make some veggie tamales — for those, we put strips of potato, carrot, green peppers and queso fresco in the masa pocket.

When the tamales were all prepared, we arranged them, open end up, in giant steamers on the stove, poured in boiling water, and steamed them for a few hours. Surprisingly, they stayed hot for hours after they were done cooking.

The tamales were a hit at the party, and we got some leftover veggie ones to bring home — thanks for the care package!

Note: I know I should just take my own pictures so I can stop staying this, but photos of the tamale-making process should be coming soon.