Check in and Check Out Austin this Holiday Season

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Book a Food Fixe in Las Vegas and fantasize about champagne wishes and baklava dreams in Istanbul

By Melinda Sheckells | @melindasheckells 

[Editor’s Note: Wanderful Wednesday is filmed at the Jackie Gaughan Suite at El Cortez Hotel & Casino Downtown]


The Local Deal

In need of a staycation? Try the Foodie Fixe from MGM Resorts, available at Bellagio and Aria. This inclusive dining add-on showcases curated menus at various resort restaurants.

Guests start by visiting Book My Foodie Fixe and reserving a minimum two-night stay, then for $130, brunch and dinner are both included for two guests every day of the stay. Enjoy prix fixe menus at restaurants, including Bardot, Catch, Salt & Ivy, Jean Georges Steakhouse, PRIME Steakhouse, Mayfair Supper Club, Spago, Lago or Sadelle’s Café.

At each restaurant, multi-course menus highlight guest favorites, signature dishes and more. Wine pairings are also available.

The Regional Check In

There’s always so much to explore in Austin, a city that never sleeps, just like Las Vegas. Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt is located in the heart of Rainey Street and features music inspired art work, industrial details and a stellar restaurant and bar called Geraldine’s. Booking a stay here isn’t just the average hotel night, it is an experience to remember and a fun way to get away. This year, they are doing a Friends-Giving specialty holiday cocktail menu inspired by the television show Friends. Each of the six drinks is themed after a character. One dollar from each drink purchased is donated to No Kid Hungry. This year’s drinks include the How You Doin’ (Joey), A Sarcastic Comment (Chandler) and the I’m Breezy (Monica), among others. They also are renting socially distanced igloos at their South Pole holiday pop-up bar where you can toast your own marshmallows, drink hot and frosty holiday libations and request classic Christmas albums. 

A Sweet Dream Trip

The Shangri-La Bosphorus Istanbul recently revealed an unrivaled amenity, the world’s first Baklava Butler–serving the pistachio treat in an incredibly unique way. Guests can experience the exclusive Baklava Butler upon arrival with an ornate key, which they will receive upon check in. Dressed in traditional and stylish Turkish uniform, the Baklava Butler serves the decadent dessert tableside with Maraş ice cream made of clotted cream. Dating back to the Ottoman Empire, the dessert was served to royalty. The baklava from Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul is baked to order from a specialty shop in Gaziantep, known as the birthplace of baklava and Turkey’s Pistachio Capital. While other types of baklava use rosewater and cinnamon to enhance the taste, bakers in Gaziantep use a simple blend of honey, phyllo pastry, butter and crushed pistachio. It costs about $33 per box.

To see where in the world is Melinda Sheckells, follow her @melindasheckells

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