Vegas Bright writer Kelly Lamrock returns with two excellent food recommendations that are available at The Mirage.
Flying to Vegas from the East Coast means certain benefits and certain challenges. It’s a long process – nine to twelve hours in transit – so I usually do full weeks in Vegas. On the upside, I can catch an early morning flight, sleep on the plane, and with the time change arrive at noon and make my first day in Vegas a full one.
The result of this travel plan, though, is that it takes a couple of days to become completely predictable with my internal clock. Sometimes, I wake up earlier than most and clearly won’t be sleeping. Sometimes, I can prowl the tables until the wee hours. It’s vacation, so I don’t resist much. That also means sometimes, a guy wants breakfast as the first meal of the day, or the last meal of the night. This often leads me to the cafes at my home resort.
Amidst all the branded chains and celebrity restaurants, the Mirage has a couple of cafes that are simply solid restaurants. Most resorts have one – usually 24 hours, varied menu, generally just good versions of well-known American dishes. They are the places you go for the comfort of a club sandwich at lunch or a late-night grilled cheese to soak up some liquor before bed. And they almost always do breakfast anytime.
I thought I’d share with you two excellent options at the Mirage that I discovered because of my flexible breakfast schedule in Vegas – the poolside Paradise Café and the new 24-hour Pantry.
Up by 7 one day, I decided to check the news from home over a proper breakfast. The Mirage pool area is one of my favorites, with its palm trees, waterfall, and tropical motif, so I headed for that area. The Paradise Café, with its pastels and light woods, fits the theme nicely. It had a relaxing vide and was well laid-out so that there was plenty of space between tables.
I ordered a mango mojito to start the day (hey, there’s juice in there, don’t judge) and looked at the menu. The drink came quickly and had fresh mint and real squeezed lime. It had a texture of pureed mango and not just strained juice, and it definitely added to the vibe of the place.
I ordered a breakfast wrap and chose pancakes as the side. These are basic comfort foods, but they were well-executed. The wrap was baked crispy and set off the eggs and avocado beautifully, with just enough salty bacon crunch to be perfect. It was really one of the best breakfast wraps I’ve had. The pancakes were a huge side, and what I could finish was very good – thick and fluffy and warm.
The whole experience was a great start to the day and a walk on the Strip. The staff was friendly and attentive and I left Paradise Café with the tone set for a great Vegas day.
Pantry was a place I saw often. The country restaurant-themed space is between the casinos and the room, so that homey counter and chalkboard of specials was a constant sight of my week at the Mirage. It was new, but it looked inviting. Mid-stay, as I crawled back from a three-hour, break-even-but-keep-the-drinks battle with the pai gow tables at 1:30 a.m., the invitation turned into a more stubborn growl in my addled mind.
Pantry does breakfast with noticeable enthusiasm – the menu sections are “Breakfast” and “Eat This If You Don’t Want Breakfast”. My inner growl was suddenly demanding breakfast. My inner growl is not a dietician, but it is keenly aware of hangover avoidance. So I gave in and sat at the high chairs at the counter, which was great for people watching.
Pantry gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up from me and my inner growl for blueberry pancakes and bacon. The bacon was done so that it was crispy, but crumbles/melts on impact when you bite it. The pancakes were bigger and flatter than those at the Paradise Café but featured perfectly done blueberries – still intact and juicy, but yielding immediately when you bite them. And both places knew to offer real, warmed, maple syrup and not maple-flavored “syrup” that causes Canadians to lecture people on their life choices.
I know many writers here appreciate the 24-hour cafes of Vegas that do comfort food well. I can say that the Mirage has two of them.
[Photo Cred. Kelly Lamrock & @LasVegasJunkie]