06 Apr How “The Mindy Project’s” Ike Barinholtz Eats Las Vegas
By Alex Lau
Spending a weekend in Las Vegas eating like a professional food critic on someone else’s dime sounds easy, right? Maybe not. Ike Barinholtz, co-star of The Mindy Project, was tasked to test-drive a dozen of Vegas’s newest spots, from downtown’s Carson Kitchen to both Giada’s and Guy’s mega restaurants to Bazaar Meat, where he toured the showy dry-aged-meat locker.
“There was prime rib that had been aged since World War II and, you know, woolly-mammoth ribs,” Barinholtz says.
Click here for a photo slideshow of Barinholtz’s epic weekend.
Click here to listen to the Bon Apptit Foodcast, in which Barinholtz regales us with stories from the weekend.
He didn’t go into this weekend blindly; he had a methodical (if cautious) plan of attack: “I was going to take one bite of everything, but that instantly went out the window,” says Barinholtz, who recently lost 25 pounds.
“I wasn’t gonna skinny-actress this.” Of lunch at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen, he says with a laugh: “They brought out this burger with, like, two patties, cheese, bacon, mac and cheese, ham, a roast chicken, and a human baby.” The experience was so decadent, his wife, Erica Hanson (a “CPA-type person,” he says), had to remind him what was at stake.
“Over and over she said, ‘Take it easy. Remember what we’re doing here.'”
So how did he do? Here’s his hour-by-hour diary.
Day 1: Saturday
Barinholtz and his wife fly from L.A. to Las Vegas, leaving their baby at home with a sitter.
“Not having to turn around and apologize to people because your baby is crying is a treat.”
He destroys gyro tacos and a plate of deviled eggs at Carson Kitchen.
“I’m not even a fan of deviled eggs,” he says.
“They’re something you might see an extra on Mad Men eating. But these came topped with caviar and bacon.” As for the restaurant’s location, “Downtown Vegas is like an Old West town—a little more spread out, and there’s no Eiffel Tower in the middle.”
Gyro tacos at Carson Kitchen.
Dessert is a Cinnamon Toast Crunch doughnut filled with cereal-milk custard at O Face Doughnuts.
“It seems like the characters in Pineapple Express created that one.”
Barinholtz takes a nap at Aria Resort.
“As you get older, you do need to lie down after a big meal. We fell asleep as hard as we could—for 17 minutes.”
In recovery mode at Aria Resort.
“I’m not a 1-percenter. I’m a man of the people. But I do love caviar” (in this case with super-cold, super-smooth Beluga vodka from Russia.
“The server told us how much a bottle cost, and I clutched my chest. It tasted like Fiji water!”). After downing fistfuls of roe at the Bellagio spot Petrossian, Barinholtz is treated to a sensible plate of _finger sandwiches, which makes him laugh: “The sandwiches were adorable. But you’re following caviar and some of the best vodka I’ve ever had. It’s kind of like the Rolling Stones opening for your cousin’s band.”
Feeling (and looking) fancy at Petrossian Bar.
Predinner drinks at Oak Ivy, where “they had a very nice hipster bartender whose mustache was, I think, connected to his suspenders. We had two whiskey-based cocktails called Whiskey Fizzers or something. They had, like, 266 ingredients in them. I love a good fancy cocktail, but sometimes you just want a whiskey.”
The Whiskey Smash cocktail at Oak Ivy.
Barinholtz eats almost everything at Jos Andrs’s new steakhouse, Bazaar Meat: more caviar, suckling pig, and foie gras cotton candy. He is initially skeptical of Andrs’s famous foie gras dish, until he takes a second to think about it.
“It’s light sugar combined with rich fat. It’s the single greatest thing in the world.”
The one-bite foie gras cotton candy at Jos Andrs’ Bazaar Meat.
“It was at this point my wife fell into a food coma. R.I.P. Meanwhile, I ate tacos made from salmon skin and the best ramen ever at Yusho. It had every single ingredient on the planet in it.”
He does as the Romans would: Negronis at the Lobby Bar at Caesars Palace, pizza from the outpost of Brooklyn’s legendary Di Fara, and blackjack.
“Bartender Tony Abou-Ganim made me my 50th cocktail of the day. I was enjoying myself, even though my face said ‘acute liver failure.'”
Day 2: Sunday
Exercise! “I’ll turn into Orson Welles—minus the genius aspect—if I don’t exercise.” Running on the Strip is impossible. Barinholtz does 100 push-ups in his room instead.
The couple drinks their breakfast at Bound at the Cromwell. World-renowned bartender Salvatore Cala_brese serves up whiskey cocktails because, well, “Why not?”
At her new spot, Giada, Giada De Laurentiis combines two of Barinholtz’s favorite things in the world: carbonara and pizza.
“I would like to nominate Giada for a Nobel Prize.”
Barinholtz hopes the carbonara pizza at Giada will soon be available for delivery—in L.A.
“Our last stop was at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen Bar for a lemon sorbet palate cleanser, but they gave me a crazy burger and an avalanche of fries instead. I ate it.”
For his final meal in Vegas, Barinholtz didn’t mess around, with an overstuffed burger from Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar.
So How’d He Do?
We gotta be honest, we were worried about Ike and Erica, but they killed it. Actually, we got full just looking at the pictures of all the food and drink. C’mon, they ended their trip with breakfast cocktails, more pizza, and a burger the size of their kid’s head. So, Ike, if the acting thing doesn’t work out, we’ve got a job for you.
See Ike Eat: Check out more photos from his big fat weekend
Vegas, we’re coming back for you! This year’s 9th annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Apptit is April 23-26 and will star big-name chefs (Vongerichten! Ramsay!) and late, late nights at places like Aria, Caesars Palace, and Bellagio. We’ll see you there, right? Check out vegasuncorked.com for more info.
Article originally appeared here.