New York Pretzel and Auntie Anne’s, Las Vegas

Happy 4th of July to you Americans out there. I figure it’s appropriate that I start my Las Vegas trip posts today. But I bet you didn’t think my first post about Vegas was going to be about pretzels, did you?

We landed in Vegas and by the time we had our rental car and checked into the MGM Grand hotel it was past 9 p.m. Now, Vegas is a 24-hour kind of town, but we were exhausted and only wanted a snack. So instead of having a full meal we decided to take advantage of some coupons I had found online and pick up a couple of pretzels.

New York Pretzels is scattered in a few of the different Strip hotels, and seems to be connected to Nathan’s Famous. These initial pretzels were from the location inside the New York New York hotel. The staff were efficient and friendly. I decided to go for one salted pretzel and – to change things up a bit – one jalapeño and parmesan pretzel. The salted pretzel was gorgeous: fresh out of the oven, buttery and soft, and with the perfect ratio of salt. It had a golden crust and super soft bread inside. It reminded me of pretzels that I ate years ago during a visit to New York.

The jalapeño one had been sitting under the warming lights for a little while and wasn’t hot anymore. The pretzel itself was a little dry, but the flavour was quite good and they had enough jalapeños to satisfy but not too many that you’d burn your mouth off. I would have loved to have tasted this one freshly baked.

salted and jalapeño parmesan pretzels from New York Preztels in New York New York

salted and jalapeño parmesan pretzels from New York Preztels in New York New York

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Lemony fresh lemonade

Today I went to the giant bulk store, Costco. I try to only buy what I need, as sometimes good prices on giant packages of food can be too tempting and it usually takes me a while to use them all. This is all well and fine for non-perishable items, but for bags of vegetables or fruits, it’s not a good thing.

Sometimes, I can’t resist buying something I know I probably shouldn’t.

That’s why I walked out with a giant bag of fantastic looking lemons. I know, it’s out of season and I’m not buying locally. But I live in the Alberta prairie, and all our citrus comes from somewhere else anyway.

What do you do when you have more lemons than you know what to do with? Make lemonade of course.

I used a recipe from the great site Simply Recipes, and the result was a wonderfully tart drink and a kitchen smelling of lemons. Half of the batch is already gone, so I’ll probably make more tomorrow. Heaven knows I still have enough lemons for probably 2-3 more batches.

Perfect lemonade
From Simply Recipes

1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)

Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Serves 6.

I used the lesser sugar measurement as I prefer lemonade that isn’t too sweet. The comments on the Simply Recipe site has some great tips for variations on this recipe too, like raspberry lemonade or alcoholic versions. I think the Simply Recipes version of pink lemonade is a great idea to try too.

Edited to add: Frozen raspberries or strawberries make a great substitue for ice cubes, and give the lemonade a bit of extra flavour!

Fatburger, Edmonton

One of the problems (and sometimes a benefit) of living somewhere that is not one of the bigger cities (Vancouver, Toronto, New York, etc.) is that you don’t always get local locations of big chain stores or restaurants.

I heard about Fatburger a few years ago when doing some research for a trip to Las Vegas, but didn’t have enough time to make it one of my stops at the time. So when I heard that the first Fatburger here had opened back in December, I put it on my “to-do” list.

The line up was long, even though it was a weekday and the location is at the edge of the city (next to Ikea), far from the tradional lunch time office crowds.

The place is designed to look like a retro 1950s burger joint, complete with a jukebox. All beef burgers are made with AAA Alberta beef, and everything looked like it was cooked to order.

Fatburger lemonade

Fatburger lemonade

The lemonade was from a fountain, but the restaurant provided lemon on the side to add additional flavour. Continue reading