Las Vegas Cools Off With $1000 Gold Leaf Sundae; Toilet Cocktails
This time of year, the temperature in Las Vegas stays around the century mark so finding ways to stay cool while the gambling luck stays hot is crucial.
Staying in the hotel pool or air-conditioned casino is one option, but if cooling the insides is what's required, some Sin City hot spots offer cooling beverage desserts that still have that only-in-Vegas vibe.
For instance, if your luck has been good and you've got $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket, Serendipity's, a New York-based ice cream restaurant with a location on the Vegas Strip smack dab in front of Caesar's Palace, has something perfect: an ice cream sundae that costs a whopping $1,000.
Nope. That's not a typo.
It's called the "Golden Opulence Sundae," and features two scoops of high-end ice cream: a scoop of Tahitian vanilla bean and a scoop of Ecaudoran chocolate, along with in-season exotic fruits, imported chocolate truffles, various micro-mints and an orchid made from sugar.
However, the selling point (and the thing that justifies the whopping price tag) is gold, according to Michael Wolf, Serendipity's chef de cuisine.
"The sundae is topped with a flower made of white chocolate that's painted and dusted in gold dust," Wolf told AOL Weird News. "We also use real gold leaf that has been pounded so thin that it's edible."
So what wine goes with gold leaf, anyway?
"Well, depending on the age of the person ordering the sundae, we offer a bottle of champagne with this," Wolf said.
To add to the conspicuous consumption, the Golden Opulence Sundae comes with a gold spoon that the purchaser gets to take home as a souvenir.
"If there is more than one person eating the sundae, we'll bring out extra gold spoons, but they only get to keep one," Wolf said.
Although the Golden Opulance isn't ordered that often, Wolf estimates he makes about a dozen a year.
The people who order a Golden Opulance have one thing in common: a thousand clams to blow on an ice cream sundae. But other than that, Wolf says they all have a different reason for indulging.
"We get wedding proposals, anniversaries, hot shots trying to impress their gals. It doesn't fit one category," he said. "My favorite story was the kid who came in on December 27 with a wad of cash," Wolf said. "He said, 'I want a $1,000 sundae. This is my Christmas gift.'"
High-end ice cream is also the order of the day at the RM seafood restaurant at Mandalay Bay.
The restaurant offers a 16-flavor dessert challenge where patrons get 16 different one-ounce servings of one-of-a-kind ice creams and have to figure out the name of each flavor.
At $18, it's a relative bargain compared to the $1,000 sundae, but what it lacks in expense it makes up for in difficulty, according to head chef Anthony Fusco.
"The flavors range from simple infusions with fruits or herbs, spices and seasonings, to some savory flavors," Fusco said. "It's something we have here to express our creativity."
Creative is right. The flavors change frequently, but a recent sampling included lavender, chocolate Guinness and even Sriracha, a hot sauce.
"A lot of this is seasonal, depends on what we have coming out of the ground," Fusco said. "And, of course, whatever inspires us through the course of the year."
Each person who takes the challenge gets a sheet with 16 circles, arranged four in a row.
"Everything changes, except vanilla bean," Fusco said. "That's the guide."
The taster -- or tasters -- sample each flavor and write down what they think it is. At the end, the waiter corrects the sheet and gives the score.
(This reporter took the test and failed miserably: a D-minus. The most humiliating aspect was failing to recognize vanilla).
Ice cream is a great way to cool off, but sometimes something more adult is in order.
And since many people who come to Vegas end up with their head in the toilet after drinking too much, Rock And Rita's at Circus Circus decided to cut out the middle man.
They serve specialty cocktails in little ceramic toilets, and the drinks have clever names befitting their porcelain containers.
For instance, there is the "European," a sweet drink similar to a June Bug, made with coconut and banana-flavored rum and melon liqueur with lemon-lime soda and pineapple juice. The drink is very yellow, which is why the bartenders emphasize the "pean" when they serve up the drink.
The No. 2 drink is called "The Crapper." While this cocktail made with light rum, crème de cacao and coconut cream is delicious, also looks like the best-tasting clogged toilet you've ever slurped.
The other toilet-themed tipples are the 2000 Flushes, which has rum, vodka, gin, Blue Curacao, lemon lime soda and sour mix; and the Porcelain God, which combines citrus vodka, mango rum, and tequila along with a pomegranate-flavored energy drink.
Rock And Rita's opened a year ago and co-owner David Tuttleman says toilet cocktails have been a longtime dream of his.
"It's been done in Asia and I always wanted to do it," he said.
The cocktail commodes that the drinks are served in are very popular, he says.
"I can't keep them in stock! I buy them by the trailer," he said, laughing that a drink called "The Crapper" has been so important to his cash flow. "People actually tweet pictures of it."
But Tuttleman doesn't think he's reached the end of toilet cocktail technology.
"I'd like to find a way to have a flushing sound when people drink from it," he said. "That's coming."
Although the drinks have been popular, Tuttleman says he hasn't seen anyone use them as a prop for a wedding proposal.
"However, there was a family that came here on their son's 21st birthday and they hid the keys to a new car at the bottom of the drink," he said.