Eating Our Way Through ... Foxwoods
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> Team 2: Marisa Dragone and Mackensie Griffin
This all-female tag team dined like trencherwomen but managed to break up the day with a visit to Foxwoods’ Grand Salon Spa for a facial (Mackensie’s first ever) and Chocolate Pedicure.
Veranda Café. We opt for breakfast at Veranda, a generic-looking, open and bright restaurant with oversized windows facing the surrounding hills. Marisa orders challah French toast, which is yummy, even without maple syrup, but the (canned?) fruit piled on top is unnecessary. Mackensie likes the bagel-and-lox platter, with cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato and egg. We’re both pleased to find minipackets of Bonne Maman preserves on the table (it’s all in the little things). Veranda’s buffet ($15.95) has all the usuals—fresh fruit, bagels, danish, pancakes—plus an omelet station.
Hard Rock Café. After checking out the stylish goods in the retail store, we settle in the ZZ Top corner and, getting in the mood, Marisa decides on a Southern Rock cocktail (JD, SoCo, Chambord, Smirnoff, sweet & sour mix and Sierra Mist). We order a veggie burger platter (Mac) and nachos (Marisa) and relax to the music. The burger is surprisingly good for a meat-oriented restaurant. The plate of nachos arrives with guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream. The nachos are plentiful and not smothered in goop.
Noodles. In a corner just outside the Rainmaker Casino (very popular with the Asian crowd) is Noodles, an express Asian restaurant serving a variety of Korean, Vietnamese, BBQ and, well—noodles. The decor is minimalist modern and quite nice for the inexpensive, cafeterialike eatery. It’s 4 p.m. and we could use a nap, but instead we unbutton our jeans and order more food. Chinese donuts sound enticing but turn out to be tasteless fried dough. The pork dumplings are very good, though, especially with the cherry-flavored dipping sauce. We share Bun Bo Hue, a steaming dish of noodles, broth and beef served with sprouts, bay leaves, lime and onion.
Scorpion Bar. Evening falls and the dining drama heats up. The décor in this ‘tequila cantina’ is a cross between Mexican and goth, with black walls, iron-grated windows, dark-wood paneling backlit in red, crosses, skulls and candles. We seat ourselves in a black snakeskin-upholstered banquette and each order a “Miss B-Haven” martini (for “bad girls”). They arrive in sugar-rimmed martini glasses and taste like Jolly Ranchers. For accompaniment, we hone in on an order of taquitos and a tuna ceviche martini. Highest grades, however, go to the PuPu Platter, consisting of quesadillas, chicken wings in a sweet and hot glaze, fries made with yucca plant, fresh flautas and nachos sprinkled with mild and creamy queso fresco.
Shrine (MGM). Shrine is MGM’s ultrachic pan-Asian gem. Enter upstairs for dining, downstairs for clubbing. Decor is intense, with red lanterns, black furniture and wide columns speckled with gold leaf suggesting pagodas. Cozy banquettes line the catwalk overlooking the nightclub down below. We decide to take a side road for our last fling of the day, going with four appetizers: an Avocado Salad . . . Deconstructed, Lobster Rangoons, Fried Calamari Crunch, and lettuce wraps. The avocado . . . well, you can see it in the photo below. The calamari is cooked perfectly, and the peanut crunch on top is nice. But our favorites are the perfect Rangoons (crisp wonton pillows filled with creamy lobster purée). The pace of our meal of appetizers is nice; we don’t feel rushed at all, but we have to admit that the day at last has caught up with us. In a good way—very good, actually.