Presumably, you only have one birthday a year, so when our friends in the office asked where we’d like to have our birthday lunch, this blog immediately said, “Italian.” Which, granted, is more of a “what” than a “where,” but it was our birthday, so cut us some slack.
An easy choice in the realm of Las Vegas Italian restaurants was Rao’s (ray-ohs) at Caesars Palace. First, it’s hearty, old-school Italian. Second, employee discount.
It makes our mom happy when we have salad, so we sometimes have a salad.
Our table shared a house salad ($13) and Caesar salad ($15). You kind of have to get the Caesar salad because you’re in, you know, Caesars Palace.
Food fact: Big slices of cheese are always better than sprinkles of cheese.
This blog ventured far out of its culinary comfort zone and ordered spaghetti ($22, but it doesn’t sting as much after you taste it). We’re adventurous like that.
There you've got both your "al" and your "dente." And some green stuff for Mom.
Naturally, you have to get the Rao’s meatballs ($15), too. They’re right up there with the meatballs at Old Homestead Steakhouse, also at Caesars Palace, and Martorano’s at Rio as the best meatballs in Sin City.
There's a reason certain things become traditions.
Our lunch companion ordered the Piadiana ($15), a thin crust pizza sandwich with Buffalo mozzarella, parma prosciutto (Italian for “fancy ham”), sliced tomatoes, roasted peppers and arugula.
Insider tip: If you’re ever having a down day, just say “arugula” five times. You’re welcome.
Someone else ordered the Penne Vodka ($26), with San Marzano tomatoes, diced Italian ham, vodka and a “touch of cream.”
Penne for your thoughts. Note: Sometimes, we see what we did there, and still don't laugh.
Rao’s was very thoughtful and presented us with a birthday slice of cheesecake, considered by some to be the best cheesecake in Vegas.
This disappeared in under a minute. This is why one should dine alone.
Cheesecake got its start in ancient Greece. In one of the earliest mentions of cheesecake in literature, Cato the Elder’s “De Agri Cultura” includes recipes for two cakes for religious purposes: libum and placenta. Placenta is most like our modern cheesecakes. (In Latin, “placenta” means “cake.”) Hey, we don’t make up the useless information, we just report it. Here’s the original recipe.
When we think of Rao’s, a few (far more appealing) words come to mind: Flavorful. Comforting. Authentic. Satisfying.
Oh, and did we mention Rao’s has Christmas decorations year-round? We dig that.