Full disclosure: I live in Las Vegas. As much as I enjoy traveling, I found myself here in my hometown this week. As often happens, I made plans to do something on Saturday evening with my friend Rob. As always happens, Rob charged me with finding something “fun and different” to do on our night out.
Rob seems to consider me his personal cruise director when it comes to our outings. Usually, I’ll find a concert for us to attend, or maybe a visit to downtown Fremont Street where we ride the zip line or just have a few drinks and people watch. This time, with Rob’s birthday approaching, I wanted to go the extra mile.
I looked though the Las Vegas options with Gray Card. We’d already visited the Mob Museum and I knew Rob wasn’t the adventurous type who’d want to go skydiving. What Rob really likes is food. Enter Finger Licking Foodie Tours.
Finger Licking Foodie Tours, which offers Gray Card members a discount on their tours, is exactly what it sounds like. You go on their website, choose the tour & time you want, use your Gray Card promo code during checkout, and they do the rest. It’s a self-guided tour of three restaurants where you’ll be treated as a VIP as you are immediately guided to your table and served samples of each restaurant’s specialty dishes. Because Rob and I enjoy the over-the-top vibe of the Fremont Street area, I chose the Downtown tour. They also have other tours on and off the strip for those who might enjoy a tour in a more subdued, or maybe a fancier part of town.
Finger Licking Foodie Tours states on their website that “Half the fun lies in the anticipation and the surprise, so we purposely don’t divulge destinations in advance”. After registering online, I got an email from them within minutes, so that’s when I found out where we’d be going, but I didn’t give Rob those details. They’re right, the surprise element was totally part of the fun! I won’t spoil it for you by telling you where we went either, but I will tell you that I had only heard of two of the three places before. One was a venue I had really been wanting to try but was never able to get a reservation. Excellent!
The first stop was that restaurant I’d been wanting to try. We walked in, I gave my name and we were whisked to our waiting table. No need for menus or ordering, our server just started bringing out plates… and plates… and plates. My thinking that we would be getting tiny sample portions was way off. The crispy chicken skins with smoked honey, cauliflower with béchamel sauce and the watermelon & feta salad were all amazing, but the kicker were the “Devil’s Eggs” with crispy pancetta and caviar. My goodness. Usually when Rob and I are craving eggs, we go to Denny’s for the Grand Slam Breakfast. This was NOT Denny’s.
We took pains to NOT clean our plates knowing we had two more places to visit. We grabbed a couple of doggie bags and were about to walk out the front door when our server recommended we use the back door and walk though they alley to get to our next stop. We took her advice and were so glad we did! Even as Las Vegas locals, we never had any reason to cut through the alleys of downtown. Now, because of this tour, we found ourselves in what you could almost call a street art museum. Who knew these back alleys were so colorfully decorated with paintings, drawings, spray painted poetry and poignant statues?
We’d have to come back to do some more exploration. We had our 2nd stop in 5 minutes. It was a funky local eatery catering to both locals and tourists with a giant bar downstairs and tables scattered around the bar as well as upstairs. I had stopped in here for a beer once but had never tried their food. Again, we were brought straight away to our table and served their signature red velvet (read: BRIGHT red!) waffles with maple syrup and pickles (really!). Alongside that, we enjoyed other specialties like their mac & cheese bites and a Mediterranean salad with this smokey orange vinaigrette dressing that I could have happily drank straight from a glass. No time for that though, we had places to be.
At this point, the self-guided tour allotted us ten minutes to explore Container Park. We walked past it but have both been in there numerous times. If you’re visiting our city and have never been, it’s worth even more than those ten minutes to check it out. We used those 10 minutes to walk around the block a few times to try and walk off some of what we’d already stuffed our bellies with. Then, it was off to stop three.
Rob and I agreed that stop three was our favorite. Again, we were shown promptly to our table, this time, by the restaurant’s owner. He was very nice and happy to answer all our questions, but he wouldn’t give me the recipe for the out-of-this-world potato gnocchi with fried kale, mushrooms, and thick parmesan sauce. If heaven existed on a plate in downtown Las Vegas, it would be this dish. Or no. Maybe it would be the Banoffee pie they served for dessert. If you’ve never had Banoffee pie, you need to get to Las Vegas, take the downtown Finger Licking Foodie Tour and try it. Your life will never be the same.
I guess my life will never be the same either because Rob told me he will never settle for Denny’s again.
If you find yourself in Las Vegas, please make use of your Gray Card and give Finger Licking Foodie Tours a try. Just remember to get there hungry, and to stop to read the poetry in the alley.