Posted in Me to you

Viva Las Vegas

Two months ago, I made my first trip to Las Vegas and my first trip back to the US in a VERY long time! If you’ve been following my Instagram page you probably already know how I fell in love with the city, and the fact that it NEVER sleeps, like literally! You can get almost anything anytime of the day.

I got to experience different sides of the city. The glamorous lights from all the fabulous hotels on the famous Las Vegas strip, wild encounters, phenomenal shows, awesome food and its HUGE casinos!

Vegas casinos are guaranteed to make you lose track of time with its endless gambling options and hypnotizing galore. It was everything I imagined it would be, especially the crowd and that drive that even non-gamblers get to experience once they set foot into any of the strip’s big hotels and the casinos are the first thing you see, not the lobby or reception, it’s all about CASINOS! My stories from this part of the trip could go on and on.

ADVENTURES

We had another fun experience during our stay in Vegas taking a hot air balloon ride across the Nevada desert! This was something I’ve always wanted to try but was kind of worried about it being flown around in a basket with 10 other people and as the date got closer I’d get more anxious, but I would totally recommend you try this at least once in your life. We went with one of the biggest tour operators there ‘cleverly’ called (Vegas  Balloon Rides), our pilot was very friendly and actually funny with all his Matthew McConaughey impressions. The ride itself was very relaxing, smooth takeoff and landing and gave us this beautiful view of the city overlooking the sun as it rose over some mountains in the Nevada desert.

 

THE FOOD

Now that your day has officially started, it’s time for BREAKFAST! If you know me at all, you’d know this is my favorite meal of the day. I tried 3 breakfast spots in sin city. My first day there, I treated myself to a fancy breakfast with a hint of fine dining to it at the Bellagio Cafe overlooking the beautiful patio at the Bellagio hotel (one of the city’s biggest hotels and home of the iconic Bellagio dancing fountain), I tried their Maine lobster omelet which was just divine! Stuffed with asparagus and SO MUCH mozzarella.

 

Our second breakfast destination was at the classic All-American diner, Denny’s. It’s been literally years since I ate there and I was just feeling nostalgic, and I’m glad I did. I had one of their breakfast combos with a classic sunny side-up eggs with bacon and hash browns and a ‘side’ of pancakes. Now to call them a ‘side’ is a true understatement with how HUGE they were, but most definitely delicious and worth every calorie. My buttercream pancakes were stuffed with chocolate chips and topped with peanut butter cream and chopped nuts!

 

My last breakfast in Vegas was actually the one I was most excited about, and just could not leave without trying, that was at Eggslut. And you’re definitely going to remember that forever, and not just because of the clever name 🙂 Eggslut (located at the Cosmopolitan) basically makes these awesome little breakfast sandwiches in some of the best brioche bun I’ve ever had. The line was crazy for the place, so when I finally made it to the cashier I thought ‘I’m probably not coming back here anytime soon’ so I ordered 2 sandwiches, which left me feeling a little more than full. I had the ‘Cheeseburger’ which consisted of a ground Angus beef patty topped with a fried egg, caramelized onions, bread & butter pickles, melted cheddar and dijonnaise! My other sandwich was the ‘Fairfax’ which has delicious soft scrambled eggs, chives, caramelized onions, cheddar and sriracha mayo, so basically all the ingredients I love in one heavenly little bun.

 

Now that breakfast is off the table, I’ll get to some of the other food we had in our 4-night stay in Vegas, most of which were quick bites that we grabbed before or after heading out to another Vegas adventure. Starting with Chipotle, a place that just can’t do wrong with their signature monster burritos and burrito bowls. Or that time we had these mouthwatering wings at 2 am at Buffalo Wild Wings after a long night of Vegas fun.

 

Another American classic is Five Guys, which is not exactly a Vegas tip as it’s pretty much all over the country and considered one of the most popular burgers around, but I just could not leave out of this post. Super fresh ingredients, delicious ground beef patties and their special fries that make life seem a little better. Not to mention their insane milkshakes of course.

I was craving some fried chicken, like some big super crispy, super bad for you GOOD! Popeye’s seemed liked the obvious choice, but maybe a little too obvious. Thanks to my Uber driver’s recommendation, I thought I’d try out Blue Ribbon. Which was everything I wanted. I tried their Kelly sandwich with mac & cheese (which was ok I guess) and their super foine sweet potato fries! Definitely a place to try.

This next sushi place was probably the only place on my ‘Places to eat in Vegas’ list that I actually got to try, and I’m glad I did! The place is called Jjanga Steak & Sushi, they’re known for their exquisite sushi and the sushi burgers in specific which I had only saw on Instagram until that moment. The sushi was pretty good, burrito was ok, even tried their Korean fried chicken skewers which were a little bland for my taste. However, the sushi burger I tried was SO GOOD! It was called the ‘Bulgogi burger’ Starting with a Korean style thin sliced beef BBQ, crab, avocado, cucumbers, eel sauce & something called yum yum sauce; it sounds like a lot in 1 sandwich and it probably is, but it just works so perfectly together A fellow foodie friend was nice enough to tell them I was coming over, and they kept bringing us complimentary starters and desserts, which were just as awesome!

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Now another must-do in Vegas is the entertainment, which is a no brainer really. There are SO MANY shows to choose from, whether it’s live music, magic shows or Cirque Du Soleil (yes they are their own category). When it comes to the music and magic shows it’s really about personal taste & preference, but cirque shows need to be part of the itinerary, at least one of them. I tried to see as much as I can in the few day’s I was there, I went to one of their biggest shows ‘O’ at the Bellagio, a huge production with a very talented cast and there’s water, acrobats, comedy and dancing, a true spectacular! I also went to Mystère at the Stratosphere, which I actually liked more as it was performed in a more intimate venue and just amazing, especially the funny parts were actually funny.

We booked one of the oldest shows in Vegas ‘Penn & Teller’ through Viator.com but we found out the show got canceled that night as we were getting into the theater to pick up our pre-booked tickets, tickets which we never even got refunded for thanks to Viator’s awesome customer service. Anyways, we were about to lose an afternoon due to this mess, so we did a quick search on other shows playing at the same time that we could catch and ended up at ‘MJ Live’ at the Stratosphere. This show was beyond expectation, an impeccable performance by Jallas Franca, who did an AMAZING Michael, with the look, dancing, singing and charm. A night well-spent indeed.

​Now to the grand finale, the cherry to my sundae and my last memory of Las Vegas, was seeing Britney Spears perform at her Vegas residency show ‘Piece of me’. I won’t be dwelling much on this, but it was EPIC! It was like all the posters I had on my wall growing up came to life for a magical 90 minute high I will never forget.

 

GENERAL TIPS

You know how sometimes (more than you’d like) things go wrong on a trip? Luggage get lost, wallet gets stolen or problems with reservations? Well, my little hick-up of the trip was my phone screen cracking on my first day there 🙂 It was cracked so bad that I could literally not see anything on there. I need to give a shout-out to this place called ‘Gadget Mates’ which really helped me out in fixing my screen. They were efficient, quick, followed-up afterwards and the guys at the store were so cool they even recommended some places to eat at 🙂 Thanks again guys!

If you do go to Jjanga Steak & Sushi, make sure you go to the one at Fort Apache Rd, because there’s another place with the same name but has no sushi burgers or burritos.

Do a little pre-trip research about the kind of shows you wanna watch or clubs you wanna party at, because there are a lot of options and the good ones will most probably need booking ahead. Whether it’s shows/concerts or special nights at clubs especially when they have a big guest DJ.

One last tip, make sure you have your own ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ moment. Doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you enjoy it 🙂

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Posted in Me to you

Dating a food blogger

I’ve been a food blogger for 2 years now. I’ve met a lot of people who share the same interests and passion for food and food photography, and glad to call some of them my friends. Before I start, I just need to clearly state that food bloggers are not ‘important’ nor do they seek special treatment, at least that’s the case for me. They might do this for different reasons, but the main reason is their utmost passion for FOOD!

This is a bit different from what I usually blog about, actually it’s completely different 🙂 I thought I’d shed some light on the ‘life of a food blogger’ in a light –not so serious- way. Instead of boring you with a long article about how and why food bloggers do what they do, how they’re perceived, and all that, I thought I’d make a simple –but fun- Pros & Cons list, and the topic today is ‘Dating a food blogger’

 

shutterstock_2574127211) Attending events

Pros: You’ll get to attend fun events, restaurant openings, exclusive launch parties…etc. might find your photo featured on big social media networks.

Cons: You probably won’t have the chance to enjoy it with your partner, as he/she will either be having their picture taken (that’s why they were invited) or just really busy struggling to take as many pictures of the food with 20 other bloggers there doing the same thing.

 

shutterstock_5507222052) Special date nights

Pros: You partner will know the best places to eat, might even have some sway with the owners, guaranteed to have a nice dinner date.

Cons: No matter the occasion, they WILL want to take photos of the food before you THINK of touching it. It’s just in their blood.

 

shutterstock_3954545923) Home cooked meals

Pros: Your partner being the foodie he/she is will want to experiment new recipes and create new creative things in the kitchen, perhaps you’ll often get a nice home cooked dinner and some cookies every now & then.

Cons: The trial and error process is exhausting and takes forever, and when he/she finally gets it right, you’ll have to wait as they take the ‘right picture’ with the right ‘setup’ of whatever dish they made, not to mention taking another one with their phone for that instant Instagram story/Snapchat, and trust by then, it won’t taste as good.

 

shutterstock_6681267164) Presence of a professional camera at all times

Pros: You never have to worry about the bad lighting on your camera phone, and guaranteed to always have nice photos when you’re out with your partner.

Cons: Don’t flatter yourself, the camera is really there for the food, especially the unexpected spontaneous shots that can happen anytime of the day. If you don’t believe me, check the photos on the camera, I guarantee 1 photo for you against 5 photos of food (if not more).

 

shutterstock_5666114025) Sharing interests with your partner

Pros: It’s healthy & fun to have something in common with your partner, something you’re both passionate about and willing to give ‘some’ time of your day doing.

Cons: They’re way more into it than you are, so much that you either lose interest in the ‘foodie lifestyle’ or slowly become a food blogger yourself, just so you can maintain the relationship.

 

shutterstock_1869069446) And of course, the elephant in the room FREE FOOD!

Pros: Need I say more? Its food and its free.

Cons: It’s not always good food, actually, most of the time you’d wish you had paid for food instead of the $%&#% you were served. But who am I kidding, it’s still FREE.

 

Leave a comment and tell me if you think you’d want to put up with this 😉

Posted in Me to you

The Start

For those who don’t know me, I thought I’d share a little more about myself and how I got to creating this food blog.

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve had a passion for photography & music. I would always spend my allowance on cameras and developing films (not that old btw).

Throughout the years, I’ve gotten to use better and bigger cameras, all on an amateur level, my subjects got to change as I grew older and experienced more of their world.

For the past 2-3 years, I’ve combined 2 of my passions; food & photography 🙂 and started to take photos of food, whether at a restaurant or cooked at home. And as an OCD person, styling and making it look good was a challenge.

People started responding and admiring my photos, telling me I should do this for a living, which I still don’t see happening for various reasons; like I’m not a professional food photographer/stylist. And my favorite photography subject has always been sceneries and nature, as you can see on my Instagram @omarslens

  
 About 5 months ago, I started an Instagram account (@omarsfood), to share my food pics and focus on that. I’ve been very lucky with the response, started to get a lot of followers, small restaurants started reposting my photos and inviting me to try out their new menus, and as short time went by, the restaurants got bigger & the invites got cooler and now I’m getting invited by the biggest marketing & advertising agencies in town, to attend big events and openings for they’d want social media influencers (a word I hate btw) to show up.

  
That’s pretty much how it all started for me, I would love to one day become adequate enough to make a living out of doing something I love.