Popsugar Must Have Box – February

It is time for the February review of the Popsugar Must Have Box. I received my February box on Valentine’s day and boy was I happy to see it. I had been anxiously watching its travel to me, it is always weird to see it go past where it needs to be and then come back to my town. So I decided randomly to check my mailbox a day early from what the tracking said it would arrive just in case and there it was; upon removing it from the mail box I noticed a nice one inch sized hole in the box, so that had me concerned that something may have been broken.  While my experience with customer service and getting items replaced has been good it is just never fun to deal with a damaged item. Luckily for me nothing was damaged inside and it was just a superficial wound.

Below is a photo of everything that came in the box: (I’ll go trough the items counter clockwise below)

©Blurred Lines

©Blurred Lines

Let me start with the first item on the left which is from Brokedown Clothing. I was so excited to see something wrapped up from them because the scarf that was in the September box was seriously the best item I have gotten and I have been using it all the time! I was really hoping for another scarf to be honest so I was anxiously unwrapping it and I unwrapped an after shower wrap or spa wrap as it is called on their website.  I received the white one and my first impression was that the fabric is really soft, the down side is that the fabric on the inside is not the same material that is on the inside, it isn’t really ruff on the inside but it certainly isn’t as soft as the exterior. I will admit even though the item is good in theory its quality has me on the fence, it is a bit thin so it has me a bit shocked this item costs $84 on their website; there is a direct link to them below in the cost breakdown. Truthfully it feels more like the $25 – 35 range not almost a hundred dollars, so this is defiantly something I would never purchase on my own. Now while I like this item the downside is it doesn’t fit me because I am plus size and wear an 18-20 oh and I have boobs.  I am going to keep this around because I am on a weight loss journey so maybe it will be useful once I am down a few sizes. They did include a coupon code for 30% off an order not sure I will use it, but I do absolutely adore the gray scarf I got in September so maybe I will get one in a different color.

The next item up is Connoisseurs Gel Jewelry cleaner, at first I was a bit disappointed but then it dawned on me that I have been needing a jewelry cleaner and I never remember when I am at the store to get one. I gave this a shot over the weekend on my gemstone ring of blue topaz & peridot, this was in desperate need of a good cleaning.  And boy did this cleaner shine up my ring it had me staring at like I just got it.  It did take two cleanings to get it just right but I think this has more to do with how I cleaned it the first time I missed the side stones a bit.  This will be something that I will definitely keep on hand and would consider purchasing in the future.  It was easy to use and didn’t irritate my hands or leave any funny smell on them.

The next item is Revlon’s Just Bitten Lip Stain in Crush (item above the conversation hearts; these were a special extra) I really liked this item it went on smoothly and had a nice minty smell to it.  The only downside was that it was just not my color it went on too dark for my comfort.  I noticed some other people got a light pink color which I would have rather had.  Luckily for me my mother has a more olive skin tone so dark lip colors look good on her and I passed it on to her.  She also really liked this and it now resides in her desk at work for those days when you forget to apply lipstick and need a pick me up before a meeting.

Then we have the Nicholas Sparks book Safe Haven; now I have never read a Nicholas Sparks book before but I have seen a couple of the movie adaptations of his books. I don’t think I realized how many of his books have become movies until I looked up his website and honestly I didn’t even realize that he wrote The Notebook; I guess that is what I get for just not paying attention to the original story.  As a bonus with this book there is a code for a free song from the movie soundtrack. The funny thing I did notice is that the movie adaptation covers of his books basically are just a couple almost kissing which is kind of funny looking and I am sure I am not the only one who noticed this.

Now to the sweet stuff in side this box there was Mariebelle Chocolate Tresor Box; I received the dark chocolate pearls. These are really yummy and I am not a fan of dark chocolate but I think because they are so small they don’t taste as strong as dark chocolate does. As described they could be used on desserts which is true, I think they would make great cupcake or cake decorations because they do look like little chocolate pearls. This statement leads me into the fact that this particular item is no longer available on their website so that part is really a downer that if I wanted them I couldn’t get them. Their website does have a nice view of their chocolate selections and they do look yummy and if I ever make it to New York I would swing by their shop in Soho and check out their chocolate in person.

And last up is the Hanky Panky rolled thong, now the color is truly awful it is this golden yellow color but the lace was soft and pretty.  What I found interesting about this is again it was a one size fits most, I get that they can’t really get sizes for everyone and that I am sure it will cost more but it was a bit disappointing to see that it was one size fits most. But for the sake of the review I did try it on and it did fit me, as a reference I wear between an large or extra-large panty normally it all depends on the designer and style.  So I could see if you were a small this would fit really high up on the hips & stomach and may even be too big for some depending on how tiny you are. Even though it did fit me I found the style to be weird it is cut really high on the hips and has a low v in the front which with a one size fit most style I could see how on everyone this is going to fit differently because while it was low on me this may be because of my size and will fit differently on each person. A bonus item with this panty was a coupon for 15% off an order and a free nail polish if you spend over $75.  This was the one time where I think they should have given us a coupon for a free panty so we could have chosen a size or color of our liking, because really my pasty skin does not look good in yellow instead of sending us an actual panty.  I think I would be more inclined to use the coupon to try them out.

Cost Breakdown of the box:

Breakdown Spa Wrap: $84

Connoisseurs Gel Jewelry Cleaner: $9.95

Safe Haven Book: $7.99

Revlon Lip Stain: $8.99

Mariebelle Tresor Box: $12.00

Hanky Pany Thong: $20.00

Grand Total of $142.93

My overall impression of this box is that it was good, not great but good; my cost was $35 so certainly price wise I got a great deal.  It defiantly is a step up from last months (which you can read my review here), it feels like they put a little more thought into the items and how they relate to each other for that particular month.  It really did feel like February where there is romance, chocolate and lingerie. I also liked that for once there were not a bunch of coupon codes in the box for items that were not included this was a huge upgrade in the box’s potential.  I was never a fan of those codes because they always seemed to be a waste for me. This month’s box does have me still on the fence because while I liked the items on their own; nothing was really that exceptional but it did make my mind up that I am going to keep my subscription for another month and see how it goes.  I guess that is why I have a month to month subscription.

Feel free to leave me a comment below about your experience with the box or if you have questions about any of the boxes so far I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this subscription.  Also if you are interested in giving Popsugar Must Have Box a chance for yourself use the code REFERFRIENDS for $5 off your first box.  If you want to help me earn points towards a free box use this link as a referral.

Crockpot BBQ Ribs

I came across this idea of cooking ribs in the crockpot on of course Pinterst.  The new mecca for food, crafts, clothes you wish you had and your dream wedding. It will suck you in with all the delicious food and normally I just pin these foods and say I am going to make them and rarely go back.  But seeing this idea I just knew I had to make them. So I went out and if you know me personally you know that I hate grocery shopping so the fact that I decided to go just to buy ribs is saying something! The pin I came across lead me here and I used her recipe as inspiration to create the ribs to my liking.

Close Up - Just out

BBQ Crockpot Ribs

2-3 lbs Pork Loin Back Ribs

1 1/2 – 2 cups BBQ Sauce – use your favorite store bought or homemade sauce

Chili Powder

Sage

Onion Powder

Garlic Salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

**Now I didn’t put measurements of the spices because truthfully I am a firm believer of trust your taste buds and eyes which means apply to your liking, some people like more chili powder some like less. I eyeballed it to my tastes and I would say I used 1 tablespoon on each slab of ribs of everything except the garlic salt, this I would say is only 1/2 tablespoon per slab.**

The night before gather up your spices and unpackage your ribs; leave the membrane on to help keep things together. (the long slow cooking will make this tender and perfectly fine to eat) On a large cookie sheet lined with tin foil apply the seasonings to your liking on both sides, be sure to rub it the seasonings into the meat; you want everything nicely covered. Once you have seasoned the ribs to your liking cover your tray with tin foil and refrigerate until you are ready to put them in the slow cooker.

Seasoned Ribs

The next morning get your slow cooker out and unwrap your ribs. For this recipe I am using a 6 qt oval crockpot. You are going to then place you ribs with the meat against the stoneware standing on end thickest part on the bottom (mine where pretty much the same thickness so I just stood them up with the meat against the outside). There will be a hole in the middle of the crockpot this is ok. Also it is ok if they over lap a little but try to keep them all against the stoneware as much as possible. Once you have them in the crockpot take your favorite BBQ sauce and pour the sauce over the top of the ribs to it runs down the back and front of each slab. It is ok if not every section of the meat is covered.  Just make sure you have a nice ring of sauce across the rib tips that are pointing up.  While things heat up the sauce will melt down and through the ribs making everything delicious. You will also notice that towards the end of the cooking time the sauce will fill the empty space in the center and be bubbling away.

In Crockpot

At this point you are ready to go, just put the lid on and set to low and cook for 6-8 hrs. I first checked on them at about 6 hrs because my crockpot runs hot and decided to let them go to 7 hrs, which turned out perfect. You should see that the meat is pulling away from the bones especially on the ends of the rack.  I pretty much use this tip no matter how I cook ribs.

Just out

Once your ribs have cooked up all nice and tender remove them gently from the crockpot with tongs, mine were so tender that they did come out in pieces. Once out of the crockpot baste them with a little extra sauce and serve.

I dished mine up with a side of oven roasted asparagus; which is one of my go to side dishes because it is so simple. Place asparagus on a tin foil lined baking sheet drizzle it with olive oil and season with garlic salt, onion powder and dill. (adjust seasonings to your favorite flavors) Put the pan under the broiler on high for 3 -5 mins, watch carefully to not over cook.  The asparagus should be bright green and still a bit firm which gives it a nice bite.

I hope you take the chance and give this recipe a try, don’t be scared to use your favorite spice rub that you picked up at your local grocery store or if you have a tried and true spice rub mix that you make break that out for these lovely crockpot ribs. Cooking should be fun and recipes are just guidelines.

Popsugar Must Have Box

I am fairly new to monthly subscription boxes. I can’t even tell you how I came across Popsugar’s box, but a few months back I came across their website talking about their first month of the program. I thought what a great idea a package in the mail with a wide variety of products to try and full size products at that. It took me a few weeks but I decided I would sign up and give it a try. They listed on their site that the first month was $30 with their $5 off coupon. Also if I was not completely satisfied with my box I could return it and get my money back. So what the hell I thought, I like getting mail and now I will actually be getting more than just grocery ads in my mailbox and if I am really that disappointed I could get my money back. All of this was just 6 months ago, which brings me to why I decided to write this post. I am struggling with this subscription now, I mean it is a great value, for $35 a month I get approximately $100 or more in products that are fashion, food, fitness & home related. (granted when I first signed up it was $150, that was a short lived price and they quickly switched to $100 min value)

But here I am, I just received my sixth box from them and I am just blah. I don’t even have a better word for it, just blah. I don’t exactly hate what I have received but they haven’t been that great either.  It has been this blah feeling for the last 3 boxes. Below is a picture of the January box once it was opened.

Freshly Opened

Freshly Opened

Every month the items come packaged surrounded by hot pink tissue paper and sealed with an enjoy sticker. I don’t have any pictures of this presentation because honestly I am just impatient and by time the box shows up I am just ready to dive in and forget to stop and photograph it until I am all done looking at everything. Each box also comes with a booklet outlining what is going to be included inside, now I do find this informative to try to understand their reasoning, but in reality it is a spoiler. Don’t read this until the very end, because once you read the first paragraph listed on the front you know know exactly what is inside. Ok, ok yes you can see what is inside in the photo above but really not everything is visible.

Here is everything laid out and I will go over my reactions to each after the photo.

Jan Must Have 1

First and most obvious is the stability ball; now the focus of this box was fitness and freshness of the new year, so I totally get why they included a piece of exercise equipment. Now I don’t hate this but I already own a stability ball, it is deflated and in my garage. Granted I did just recently decide that I need to add some different exercises to my routine so I was going to blow my ball up if I could find the pump. But this is one of those things that most people already own if they wanted to own one. I did blow it up and it is a good size for me, but the pump I found to be cheaply made. I had a hard time connecting the nozzles to the end of the pump because the plastic nozzle wasn’t threaded the same as the metal on the pump so it was just half screwed together and at an angle. Oh and if you want a work out just pump up a stability ball, because I spent almost an hour pumping away and I still could never get it to the right stiffness. I feel like it needs more air, but after that long of pumping I was bored with it and decided that I should just get on the treadmill instead.

Here is a close up of all the little items that were in the box:

Jan Must Have 2

The included items are Popbar Hot Chocolate on a Stick in Dark & Milk chocolate, Jet-Puffed Vanilla Mallow Bits, Epicuren Discovery Lip Balm & the Remix Timebomb watch. The items located at the top of the photo are Think Thin Bars & Casetagram gift certificate these items are considered special extras which is why I am listing them at the end.

Let’s start with the Popbar Hot Chocolates, now I haven’t had a chance to try these yet and honestly I may give them to my parents to try because I personally am not a hot drink person, I like things with ice no matter how cold it is outside. But I have to admit I feel like this is a really cute idea and I would have rather seen these in December’s box especially with the peppermint poles we received. In actuality the tea from December should have been swapped with the hot chocolate because tea is more in line with the healthy ideas and freshness of the new year. When I think of hot chocolate I am thinking sitting around the fire with family during the holidays not hey let’s get fit by drinking hot coco. So really this just seemed kind of off for this box.

Next up the Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits, now yes this was included because how can you have hot chocolate without marshmallows at least this is their reasoning for throwing these in this months box. Which of course is very cute and I will be using these but not for hot chocolate but for baking, I did see a cookie recipe a little while ago that called for these and now that I have them it will give me a reason to give the recipe a shot. Because this is one of those items I don’t think I would purchase unless I had to so it was kind of nice to get them in this box.

The Epicuren Lip Balm has tee tree oil in it, so if you aren’t a fan of that smell then this lip balm is going to be too much for you at least at the start. Because of the tree tea oil it can smell like medication and not something that I would want to have on my lips all day long. I am not a fan of pot balms, I don’t like having to use my finger because then I am always looking for a tissue or towel to wipe my finger off. This type of application has never appealed to me, I would have preferred a lip balm in a tube or stick. Especially since just two months ago we received a pot lip balm as well. So with two strikes against it before I even tested it out I was seriously hoping that it was going to feel amazing on but it didn’t it felt waxy and a slight gritty texture. Now the scent of the oil did go away shortly after application, which is good.  So overall this balm will not be used when I already own things that are better.

Then we come to the final item of the box (excluding the extras) which is The Remix Timebomb watch. All I can say first off is wow how old do you think your demographic is? We are not teenagers in high school looking for gel watches that we can interchange with different colored bands. Oh and to up the kid factor it lights up?! This piece just seemed so off and not at all like they really took us consumers into thought when picking it out. I mean if you are going to make a box about the start of the new year and want it to be healthy, fresh & fitness related why would you pick this watch? Why not something that actually kept track of the time you spent working out or even a pedometer to track our steps. I would have to say that 90+% of the people signed up for this subscription I am sure have cell phones so we can check the time there; heck they even remind us when our appointments are. So the idea of using this to make sure that I am on time is so out of the ballpark. Honestly this is more than likely being donated to charity unless one of my friend’s kids want it.

Now a quick bit about the extras; in this box we got three different Think Thin bars I am looking forward to giving them a try, I have been trying to have these types of bars on hand throughout the day when I need a healthy filling snack. I just have a few already in my desk at work that I want to eat up before I give these a go.

The last item in the box was a gift certificate to Casetagram for $15 off of a personalized iPhone or iPad case. I did download the app so I could see what it was about, and the iPhone cases are $34.95 & the iPad cases run $54.95. While this idea seems cute and I wouldn’t mind having one but just to redeem this I still have to shell out $19.95 for a cell phone case and since I just shelled out money to purchase the current case on my phone I don’t see myself using this code any time soon. I have to admit I think it would have been better if they gave us a 50% off any case just so that we could experience their product. I think I would be more inclined to use it for a case for my iPad. These types of certificates are not uncommon in the Popsugar Must Have Boxes, and honestly I have run into trouble trying to redeem one in the past and the others required some form of additional payment to use so I have honestly given up trying to redeem any of them.

Here is the January box breakdown of the item’s cost:

Stability Ball – $39
Popbar Hot Chocolate – $6 ($3 per bar)
Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits – $2
Epicuren Lip Balm – $10
Remix Timebomb – $45

Using these totals my box value came to $102; if I include the extras the total becomes $123

Now I did only pay $35 for my box which basically is the cost of the stability ball alone, but the overall feel of the box to me makes this not worth what I paid for it. This really felt to me that at one point they received a bunch of different items and this was what was left over and they just had to get rid of them so they threw it in a box and called in January. It was like there was no thought process of how the items relate to each other as well as to us the consumer. They really missed the mark on this month, which added to the fact that the last three boxes have felt like misses as well it has me toying with cancelling my subscription. I don’t know if it is because the subscription has grown so much and they just cannot keep up with demand so they are slacking when it comes to the item selection or there just isn’t enough time to plan the boxes out because they need so many more. But they really need to step it up before they start loosing their subscribers. Even though I am considering stopping my subscription I do think I may stick it out through February’s box and see if it steps up a notch and then make my final decision. But to be honest this seems to be my response each month so I guess in one way they have me hooked because they keep getting my money.

What do you think of this subscription? Do you want to give it a try? Or are you signed up for a monthly box that you just absolutely love and want me to know about, leave a comment below and tell me what you think!! And if you want to give popsugar a try go to this link and use the code REFERFRIENDS to receive $5 off your first monthly box, this code is only valid for new subscribers.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated in any way in regards to this subscription or review.

Weiss Deli & Bakery

 
2744 N. Green Valley Parkway
Henderson, NV 89014
 
702-454-0565
 

While at work the other day we were trying to decide on some place to go for lunch, because of course where you are going for lunch is something you discuss instead of actually working.  We wanted something different from our normal go to places; not that they aren’t good, they just get a little old after awhile.  So while searching that very popular review site that rhymes with help for places near my address I found Weiss Deli & Bakery.  This deli is located in a strip mall on the corner of Green Valley Parkway and Sunset, near Trader Joes.  Honestly I have been over here and have never noticed this place before.  We got there around 11:30 am and there were two other parties seated so we had our choice of seats; at first this made me weary because it is always weird to eat in a place that is empty.  A waitress at the end of the restaurant waved us to the back to take a seat in her section; because this is a seat yourself kind of place.  Even though I had been a bit skeptical with the lack of patrons that all shortly changed through our lunch as every booth and table except for the one behind us began to fill up as it got closer to noon.

They did have a wide range of deli favorites from corn beef sandwiches to matzo ball soup; this soup was very popular I would say because I saw about 5 bowls travel past our table to the ones around us.  I decided to go with something I have never had before which was called “Ceily’s Stack”.

©Tasting LV

The Ceily’s Stack is two potato latkes stuffed with braised brisket topped with Muenster & Provolone cheeses and then drizzled with brown gravy sauce and sour cream.  I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised on how good this actually was.  I mean it certainly isn’t the prettiest thing to look at but everything worked really well together.  The braised brisket was really the shining star, it was perfectly tender and juicy with a great beef flavor.  I would come and just have brisket and the brown sauce if it is on the menu.  The brown gravy sauce was exactly what you would expect from a good brown gravy it had great beef flavor and it really worked well on this dish.  They put a good amount of cheese on this dish which as a cheese lover is fabulous and it was melted perfectly.  Now the description says that this dish comes with sour cream which I did not receive and I do think that this would have added something to the dish, because after a few bites it needed either more gravy or something else to dip each bite into, and sour cream has that tangy bite already and if it was paired with the brisket and latkes it would have added another layer of flavor.  Now I am not sure if I am just not a potato latke person; because I have never had them before, but to me they were a little too soft and flavorless.  To me they got lost in each bite, I think I would have liked them more if they were a bit crunchy to give this dish some texture.  Towards the end of the dish I just pushed the latkes to the side and ate the brisket, cheese & gravy.  I would say that if you want something different and are a fan of the latke then give this one a shot, just be sure to ask for extra gravy.

Next up was the Veggie Melt:

©TastingLV

The veggie melt is served open faced or closed and is a roasted portabello mushroom, sauteed spinach, roasted peppers, tomato, caramelized onions and cheddar-jack cheese on top of grilled rye bread, this also came with a choice of fries, cold slaw, potato salad or fresh fruit.  My mother ordered it with the side of fruit and received two wedges of cantaloupe, a strawberry and two orange slices.  This was a lot better than most sides of fruits where you get a couple cubes of melon and some grapes.  I had a couple bites of this sandwich and it was also really good, granted at first look it looks like it was put in the oven just a little too long to melt the cheese, but it worked out.  Again they were not shy with the cheese so for the cheese lover this is a good place to eat.  The veggies were cooked well and the portabello was nice and meaty, not over roasted so it still maintained all the goodness of a protabello.  But for me I really enjoyed the spinach it wasn’t over cooked and melded really well with the flavors of of the rye bread, then you got the creamy texture of melted cheese.

As you can see the portions are surely on the large side, and what is shown above is nothing compared to some of the items I saw go past our table.  The sandwiches are piled high with meat, definitely not for the faint of heart.  I know that I will be back to try other things on the menu because the food was worth it.  I do think the service was ok, not really slow or fast either.  My soda was only refilled once and that was at the end of the meal while my mother’s ice tea was filled up a few times throughout lunch.  But in all honestly this is what I kind of expect when I go to a diner/deli the home town feel where they run on a different time than everything else around.  Our waitress was chatting with all her tables, a few of which I think might be regulars, which is a good sign, because obviously they are doing something right when they have regulars they actually recognize.  On the decor side of things it isn’t the nicest place, it is in an older building and it shows.  On the walls are artwork that if I am not mistaken were for sale by local artists, I take this as a nod to the art supply store right next door.  I do think in some way the fact that it isn’t all gussied up is what makes it feel like a true deli, something you would find on the corner in New York or Jersey a place that locals flock to because they know that the food and people are what it is truly all about.

Hash House A Go Go

 

Hash House A Go Go at the Imperial Palace
 

I happened to be going to the Imperial Palace to see a show the other night and before hand we decided that we should get some dinner at the Hash House.  I have been to their other locations in the valley so I knew what I was in for.  The reason I say know what I was in for is because they serve giant plates of food.  You will see what I mean below in the photos.  I am going to dive into the food and then after talk about the restaurant itself.

First up was the chicken and biscuits; it is seared chicken breasts on top of biscuits & mashed potatoes all topped with a veggie cream.

©TastingLV

Now on the menu description it says chicken breasts, which to me means a plural; so I thought there would be two on my plate, but it only came with one.  Now in reality one is plenty as you can see because it is a mountain of food as is, but if you are going to describe two there should be two.  Now the chicken was cooked well and had a mild flavor, the mashed potatoes that it sat upon were kinda dry and could have used some seasonings because to me it was a bit bland.  The biscuits were either a bit over baked or they have been sitting out because the crust was a bit hard and stale and on top of all of this the veggie cream sauce that was poured on top was cold.  So this was weird when you have warm potatoes, chicken & biscuits then cold sauce it was very unappealing.  So I would definitely skip eating this dish.

©TastingLV

This is one of their stuffed burgers it is cheddar cheese, bacon & avocado stuffed in between two beef patties.  Well as you can see it certainly is a sight to be seen.  The burger is too big for the bun as you can tell, my friend had to eat the burger off the sides before she could really begin actually eating dinner.  While it is a lot of burger that’s really all it was, a lot of beef, she said that the stuffing ingredients were lost inside with everything that was going on beef wise.  She mentioned that it was a little undercooked and not seasoned as well as it could’ve been.

Overall I feel like they are trying too hard to maintain this image of having super huge food that they are cutting corners when it comes to quality.  Just because they have been featured on a couple TV shows and they know that this alone is why most people will go out of their way to go here.  Maybe they feel like they can slack on the details, but this is no way to gain followers and return guests, by letting things like cold and bland food hit the tables.  I will be honest and say that I am making this statement based off my last encounter with this restaurant in the M Resort as well as this experience above; because I had a similar experience during this trip as the one before at the M, bland & cold food.  While I understand that some quality can be lost when you have a busy service, but this was not the case for my trip that night, there was plenty of empty tables in the whole restaurant and plenty of people running around and even gathered together chit chatting.  Our waitress seemed very uninterested in us, I asked for lemons for my water and never got them, it just seemed like she had some place better to be the entire evening.  I think the only time she seemed halfway interested in us was when she dropped the bill at our table.  So honestly I would say this is a place to skip if you are looking for the details, but if you have friends or family in town and they really want to try this place because they saw it on the Food Network or the Travel Channel then I would say OK but go to the one on Sahara, I had a better experience there than the other two locations.  Just be aware that you could get cold and bland food.

Settebello Pizzeria

 

140 Green Valley Pkwy
Henderson, NV 89012

702-222-3556

http://www.settebello.net

I had a friend recommend this pizza place to me a few months back, but it seemed like we just were never in the mood for pizza when we got together or in the area to swing by.  So last week I had a craving for pizza and since their location is close to my office I headed over there for my lunch break.

They state that their pizzas are the traditional Napoli style pizzas, using only specific ingredients based off of tradition and baked in a brick oven only fueled by wood. If you would like to read the full history about the ingredients & technique click here to go to their website, sorry there was no direct link to their about us page.

Settebello is located in The District in the southwest part of the valley, you can’t see it from the street because it is located on the inside of the shopping center, so it could easily be missed if you didn’t already know where you are going.  Upon entering we were quickly seated and for a Thursday afternoon it wasn’t too busy.  Despite the fact that they were not busy it did take awhile for someone to come over and take our drink order.  But once our waitress did show up she was very friendly and quickly went over how their pizzas differ from what we are use to since it was our first visit here.  The pizzas are only cooked for a few minutes in the hot brick oven and they tend to be a lot softer and cannot hold up to a lot of toppings so she advised us against altering their pizzas by too much.  Each pizza is approximately 12 inches around and could easily serve two if you have a small appetite or got one of their antipastos to share before hand.  The waitress also informed us that they do not slice your pizza unless you ask them to, since this is the traditional way to be served.  I can honestly say that I have never encountered pizza not being sliced before being served but I also haven’t been to Napoli.

I apologize up front for the half eaten pictures even though I had been taking notes before we got the food once it showed up we just dived right in before I realized I didn’t snap a picture, guess that is one downside to good company you get engulfed in the conversation and forget that you are doing a food review blog.  Oh well I did manage to remember before more than half was enjoyed.

First up my pizza:

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I ordered the emelia pizza it was a white pizza so it does not come with their crushed tomato sauce, instead it is going to have a cream sauce. This pizza has prosciutto cotto, panna (Italian cream), mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, basil & extra virgin olive oil. The crust has a nice chewy bite with a nice charcoal flavor from the wood burning oven. Because it is cooked at high temperature it allows the exterior of the crust to get a nice crunch while staying soft and chewy on the inside. The center of the pizza was a lot less sturdy than what most people are use to, so I can see why they would shy you away from putting too many toppings on your pizza. I decided to go with a pizza without red sauce so I was trying something out of my normal pizza box. I was very glad that I did, the panna had this wonderful sour note that blended perfectly with the sweetness of the prosciutto and the smoothness of the mozzarella.  I did ask for a side of their balsamic vinaigrette that came with the insalata to dip my pizza in, this added another lovely level of flavor.  Even though I only dipped the whole pizza in the vinaigrette a couple times it was a perfect addition to dip the crust in, almost like having bread before the meal.  If you come here and you want something a little different I would recommend this one.

Next up my folk’s pizza:

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My parents ordered the settebello pizza it has crushed tomatoes, pancetta, roasted fennel sausage, pine nuts, mozzarella, basil & extra virgin olive oil. This pizza normally comes with mushrooms but they ordered it without them.  This was also another lovely pizza, the red sauce had a nice tangy bite of a good red sauce and the crust was exactly the same as the white pizza above.  My step-dad quickly devoured this pizza and said that it was good, even though he would’ve liked a little more meat.  I preferred the flavors of my white pizza, but for a more traditional pizza I would go for this one.

My mother ordered the insalata (not pictured) to have in addition to splitting the pizza with my step-dad, she was very unimpressed with it. It was field greens with 3 large shavings of parmigiano reggiano, pepper & the balsamic vinaigrette. She said that for $5 there should’ve been at least some tomatoes, she would advise against spending the money on this particular menu item.  The vinaigrette was the only good part and it is what made me ask for it on the side for my pizza crust.

For our lunch our bill came to right under $50 including tip; we got 2 pizzas, 1 salad & 3 sodas which comes to around $16 a person, this may not fit in to a lot of people’s lunch budgets but I would say that I don’t feel like I wasted my money.  I was satisfied when I left, and for most of us this is big thing you want to feel like you got your monies worth when eating out.

Overall I wasn’t overly impressed with Settebello, the service was a bit spotty it seemed to me there was a lot of running around but not a lot of people helping those that are seated.  But when you did get their attention and let them know you needed something they were quick to get it out to you, so to me that part was very good.  Also while there are plenty of food options it was just ok.  Even though I enjoyed the flavors of my pizza and the crust, I don’t think I am going to be sitting at home and have a sudden craving for their pizza specifically.  That being said if I was nearby shopping and was craving pizza I wouldn’t hesitate to stop here.

Spicy Tuna Sushi

 
10345 S. Eastern Ave. #190
Las Vegas, NV 89102
 
702-722-2424
 

Spicy Tuna Sushi is located in the southeast side of the valley just past St. Rose Parkway and has quickly become one of my favorites in Las Vegas, they have a wide range of sushi rolls, shashimi & entrees that would please anyone.  They are located in a strip mall right next to a Trader Joes.  If my friend hadn’t taken me here I don’t think I would’ve known the place existed.  When you walk in right in the center of the room is the sushi bar with the chefs working away behind it.  Along the sides of the restaurants are these tiny private booths, which I love because it is a lot more private and you can really just focus on your friends or family.  It is a little dark inside because the floors are black and so is the ceiling but each of the booths do have their own light.

I went here with my friend over the weekend she suggested a few days before that if I need a sushi fix this was the place to go, and we just happened to be on this side of town that day.

We were seated quickly in one of the side booths, the waitress took our drink order and before she could get two steps away another server brought us each a small cucumber salad with a spicy dressing as well as a bowl of edamame to share.  After our day out in the sun we were starving so we ordered five rolls!  Well really I ordered the 5th roll because I just couldn’t help myself, they all sounded so good.  We got the Aloha roll, Double D Special, Monkey Special, Sun Devil Roll & Tempura Roll.

First up the Aloha Roll: (I apologize for the glarey photo there was no way to get a good picture in the light of the restaurant with red tuna on a red plate)

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The Aloha roll is crab, cucumber, avocado & fresh tuna.  This was a very simplistic and delicious roll, the tuna was very fresh and really made this roll.  I did have to add wasabi and soy to really make it pop and if you are like me who prefers pieces of tuna over minced up spicy tuna this is one I would suggest.

Next up we have the Double D special:

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The Double D special roll is shrimp tempura, crab, cucumber, spicy salmon & avocado on top served with orgasm sauce.  This was also really good, the spicy salmon on top was just the right amount of spicy, but you loose the salmon flavor with it being minced up.  The avocado did cool down the spicy and blend well with the shrimp and crab that are rolled up inside.  The orgasm sauce isn’t pretty to look at it but it has great flavor and I ended up keeping it on the side to dip the aloha roll in instead of soy sauce.

The next one we had was the Monkey Special:

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Now the monkey roll was the most interesting of the night it is a fried banana, topped with a crab mixture and then there is a slice of tuna and it is all topped off with a drizzle of eel sauce.  I was surprised on how much I liked this one.  I mean really it sounds strange with fried banana, but it really works.  The sweetness of the banana counteracts the sour of the crab mixture and the sauces on top.  Really I could’ve just eaten a bowl of the crab mixture that was inside this roll, it was so light and refreshing.  The biggest problem with this is that it is hard to eat, especially with chop sticks it will easily fall apart and you have to eat it in sections.  I would certainly order this one on my next trip here, and I would suggest that you take the chance on the weird banana roll and go for it.

Next up was the Sun Devil Roll:

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The Sun Devil roll is smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado, ebi & spicy crap all fried and served with yum yum sauce.  This was one of my favorites of the night, it was just the right amount of spicy and the yum yum sauce was the perfect match to this roll.  You got a nice kick of spice and then the flavor of the smoked salmon, it wasn’t too prominent just enough to know it is there and honestly it could’ve used more for my taste.  If you want something that is spicy I would suggest this roll, it isn’t overly spicy so don’t expect it to burn your mouth it is just the perfect balance.

Last up is the Tempura Roll:

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The tempura roll is eel, crab, avocado & cream cheese deep fried then it is drizzled with eel sauce.  This was my other favorite roll of the evening.  The eel sauce was perfectly sweet and really help elevate the flavor of the eel and crab inside.  If you like fried rolls this is one to be sure to get, you won’t be disappointed.

They do have over 80 rolls on their menu so it may take you awhile to pick what you want, but to start with look to any one of these and you won’t be disappointed.  The only reason they are not getting a five star rating is that at the start of the meal we waited a long time to get our order placed.  Our waitress was busy up front talking to the hostess to notice that we had decided and wanted to order.  Another server that came to the table next to us ended up taking our order.  After this though they were quick to clear our plates through out the meal and refill our waters.  The one nice thing about most sushi places is that their entire wait staff seems to help with food deliver and plate clearing the same goes for Spicy Tuna.  The rolls did come out to our table quickly, one at a time with to me just the right amount of time in between.  Definitely put this place on your to try list for sushi in the valley.

Joe’s New York Pizza

 
 
 
7580 S. Las Vegas Blvd. #105
Las Vegas, NV 89123
702-897-1717
 

I stumbled across Joe’s New York Pizza on my lunch from work a few weeks back, it is located on Las Vegas Blvd in front of the Premium Outlets.  When you walk in it is a small pizza joint and you walk up to the case of pizzas on display and order by the slice for their no delay lunch.  They do have other menu options like whole pizzas, salads, calzones, subs & pastas.  Once you pick out your slice or slices they will put them in their rotating oven and warm them up.  The choices of pizza seem to change per visit so you can always get something different.

On this trip I ordered their lasagna pizza and the super meaty, their pizzas are mainly served on a thin crust, but there are a couple that do have a thicker crust.

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The slice on the left is the lasagna slice.  The lasagna pizza is ricotta, ham, sausage, meatballs, mozzarella, parmesan & oregano.  I really liked this pizza the ricotta was perfectly smooth and added a lovely flavor to the meats & mozzarella cheese.  I personally took off a piece of the crust and spread the ricotta around so that I got a little bit in each bite because it worked so well with this pizza.  My only complaint is that I think it could have used an extra turn or two through the oven, to be hotter, it was warm but needed more heat.  I would not hesitate to order this slice again if it’s on display on my next visit.

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The super meaty on the right is pepperoni, sausage, ham, meatball, topped with bacon & mozzarella.  This was another good pizza all the meats work well together but it did need more cheese.  The sauce had great flavor and the crust is nice and crispy and it too has great flavor, kind of salty & sweet which works well with all the toppings.  This slice could’ve used another turn through the oven too and it would’ve been perfect.

Next up we have the antipasto salad.

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The antipasto salad is made of field greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, green pepper, mozzarella, pepperoni, ham & croutons.  You get a nice size salad, the only thing that would’ve made it a better was that instead of pepperoni it was salami.  But over all this was a very filling salad and could easily be shared between two people and then get a slice of pizza and make a nice quick lunch.

If you are in the area and looking for a good slice of pizza this is a great place to stop at.  Our bill came to $27.34 w/tax.  This was for three people and we got three slices of pizza, the salad and 2 large drinks, so for me the prices are really reasonable for a lunch meal that is quick and satisfying.

Retro Bakery

 
 
7785 N. Durango Dr. #130
Las Vegas, NV 89131
 
702-586-3740
 
http://www.retrobakerylv.com
 

This is an adorable little bakery out in the northwest of the valley, N95 & Durango to be exact.  You could stop here on your way to Mount Charleston because you have to drive right past the exit, and you would enjoy every minute of it.  It is locally owned and operated by a husband & wife team, which I love because in my experience when you are at a small business like this you get an extra level of customer service than if you are at a chain.  They care more about the people that walk through their doors and it really shows.  They are taking a summer break where they will be closed June 24th – 29th just to give you a heads up if you want to give them a try soon.

They serve a broad selection of cupcakes each day as well as flavors that run just for a limited time or on specific days only.  You can go here to check out their menu directly on their website.  They also have a selection of daily cookies that seem to change up to match their client’s wants.  They can also do custom cake orders with advanced notice you can check out their facebook page for photos of their work here.

Below is a picture of the 4 flavors we got this last weekend going clockwise around the plate starting at the top: Peanut Butter Cup, Big Kahuna (limited flavor), Monkey Tail (monthly flavor) & Chocolate Fountain.  My friend and I cut them up so we could try a little bit of everything and not feel too guilty about eating so many, but really it is a cupcake how can you feel guilty eating a cupcake?

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First up Peanut Butter cup; chocolate cake topped with peanut butter buttercream.  The star of this cupcake was definitely the peanut butter buttercream, it was like eating whipped up peanut butter, it had this deep rich peanut butter flavor that was just perfect.  But when it came to the chocolate cake they lost me, it was dry and lacked any deep chocolate flavor.  I really like in my chocolate cake to be moist and full of chocolate flavor and theirs really didn’t hit that bar, so for me it was all about the frosting.  I ended up just eating the frosting from my section because it really was that good.

Next up the Big Kahuna; coconut cake topped with pineapple buttercream & decorated with a sugar surf board.  The coconut cake was perfectly moist and had a nice texture with just the right amount of coconut flavoring.  The pineapple buttercream was a bit on the sweet side for me, but it paired nicely flavor wise with the coconut.

Next we have Monkey Tail; banana cake topped with nutella buttercream & decorated with a banana chip.  Out of all the flavors we tried this one was my favorite.  The banana cake was baked perfectly so it was perfectly moist, had a delicate crumb and a balanced banana flavor.  It reminded me of banana bread but a lot less dense.  The nutella buttercream on the other hand needed more nutella flavor, it to me just tasted like buttercream frosting.  But despite the lack of nutella flavor it still paired very well with the banana cake so that does make up for it.

Last up the Chocolate Fountain; chocolate cake, topped with chocolate buttercream & then dipped in chocolate ganache.  I was truly looking forward to this cupcake all week and I have to admit I was let down.  I was expecting this chocolate explosion upon first bite, but honestly for me it was just blah.  The chocolate cake again was dry and lacked chocolate flavor, and the buttercream to me had an odd taste; I want to say almost acidic, like it needed more sugar because there was non-sweetened chocolate in the base.  Then the chocolate ganache was a nice touch but it got lost in the buttercream for me and I couldn’t really taste it.

Despite the few misses here and there this is still a top notch bakery and I wouldn’t let them deter you from trying them.  Because they carry such a wide range of flavors, there are a lot of options and it may just take a couple trips to figure out your favorites.  From a previous trip there I would recommend getting the Milk & Cookies and the Coffee & Donut flavors a shot, these were both very good and were baked perfectly.

I Love Burgers

 

 

6605 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
 
(702) 675-7800
 

I am a huge fan of the cheeseburger, I often joke that if I had to choose one item to eat forever this would be it.  So I was kind of excited to make it over to I Love Burgers, I mean the title says it all.  They are located in the back of Town Square and could easily be missed, since not a lot of things are open right by it.  This is the type of place where you order when you walk in then you pick your seat and the food will be delivered separately, I thought it was an actual sit down restaurant so this was a bit of a surprise for me.

The menu is pretty straight forward, the only thing I found interesting was that they had columns for pricing they had a classic & more to love, I had to ask what the difference was because there was no information.  Turns out the classic is a 5 oz patty and the more to love is a 7 oz.  You would think this would be on the menu and it wouldn’t be something we would have to ask, but maybe that is what they ultimately want for the customer to ask questions.

They did have a pretty decent selection of burgers as well as meat choices, you can get chicken, salmon & veggie.  They also have a variety of shakes, that I was able to watch get made from my seat and they all looked delicious.  I was focused on the burger so I didn’t order one, but if I go back I will give one a shot.

I went for the Inferno Burger; angus burger, pepper jack cheese, roasted jalapeños & habonaro-jalapeño mayo.  I must be a kid a heart because I couldn’t resist getting tator tots on the side.

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If you are looking for a spicy burger this is for you, but I was disappointed that the jalapeños that topped the burger were not actually roasted like they were described on the menu but were actually raw.  I ended up picking off pieces of jalapeño because it was overpowering everything.  I couldn’t taste the meat, mayo or cheese because all I got flavor wise was jalapeño.  Now I know ordering a burger that is covered in jalapeños it would taste like them, but when basically all I am eating is jalapeños it really distracts from the actual meal.  If the jalapeños had actually been roasted this would’ve been better and actually enhanced the burger.  Plus the roasted jalapeños would be a bit tamer and sweeter in a sense which would make it more palatable meal overall.  The tator tots were cooked perfectly and really helped when I needed to cool down my mouth.

My friend went with the standard which was just a basic burger with lettuce, tomatoes & onions with a side of the natural cut fries.

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I didn’t try any of the plain burger but it looked really good, and my friend enjoyed it.  The fries were cooked perfectly also.  But truthfully this place is nothing special.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to go here, but if I was in the mood for something casual I would certainly not be turned off of going here while in town square.

Overall I will say that it is a bit pricy for what you get.  For my 7 oz burger the cost was $7.99 and to add the tots & small soda it was an additional $4.00.  So it made my total meal $12.96 w/tax.  Considering that it is “fast food” I am not a big fan of spending $13 on my meal when I can go to a drive-thru and get basically the same meal for about $5 less and get a way bigger drink.  That being said I do think that I will go back because I would like to try the I Love Bacon burger because it sounded interesting and a bacon lovers dream and maybe it is what I should’ve went with from the beginning and maybe my trip would’ve been better.

I would say that if you are in the neighborhood and want something fast, because in town square there are limited choices on fast food, this would be a decent choice.  Overall it had potential to be a good burger and I would think it is worth a second chance.