Tuesday, 3 March 2015

TENDER Steak & Seafood

TENDER Steak & Seafood restaurant is located at the casino level in our hotel, the Luxor, at Las Vegas, Nevada.

Last night, prior to the Carrot Top show, we dined at TENDER.

This is an American fine-dining restaurant. Its reputation was reflected in our bill, which came to about $240.

In the restaurant's cocktail bar we enjoyed a Tanqueray gin & tonic and an Elite Margarita cocktail.

The ambiance is elegant, refined, quiet, and opulent. Leather Chesterfield sofas prevail.

We were seated at a curved banquette.

M and I both had the Exotic Mushroom Soup (creamed organic exotic mushrooms and micro-herbs).

This was very good indeed. It reminded me of my own home-made mushroom soup at home, in fact.

Our main course consisted of a trio of fine beef medallions, which must have been about an inch thick.

They comprised Wagyu Kobe-style beef, bison (Osso Buco, Durham Ranch, Wyoming) and another cut which eludes me.

We also had one portion of Petite Maine Lobster Ravioli (braised de-shelled petite lobster in lobster Alfredo sauce with lobster ravioli).

Grilled asparagus in lemon olive oil and Yukon mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and chive completed the feast.

We had a bot of Braida Moscato D'Asti Piemonte 2010 ($50).

This is a fairly expensive establishment, the dearest meat being the Japanese Kobe Wagyu beef (A5 grade, 8 oz) at $115.

We took our leave thereafter and made a beeline for Carrot Top.

Las Vegas: III

Our trip to the Grand Canyon was cancelled by the helicopter company yesterday due to adverse weather conditions.

However, it has been re-scheduled for today. I gather that the distance from Vegas to the Grand Canyon is about 280 miles.

Last night we were entertained by Scott "Carrot Top" Thompson at a show in our hotel.

This is one seriously funny man and he received an ovation at the end of the show.

The weather has been similar to an average summer day in Northern Ireland.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Las Vegas: II

This afternoon we visited the Shark Reef aquarium at Mandalay Bay resort, Las Vegas.

Marine creatures ranged from hammerhead sharks to piranha fish and exotic lizards.

Tonight we attended a performance of the the Criss Angel Believe show in the Luxor hotel, Las Vegas.

This proved to be another spectacular show by the famous magician and illusionist.

The 2,000 seat theatre was full.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Las Vegas: I

Our flight- on an American Airlines Boeing 737- took five or six hours to fly from New York City to Las Vegas.

There were no free meals or alcoholic drinks, though soft drinks were complimentary.

The flight arrived about eight-thirty in the evening, three hours behind New York.

We took a cab from the airport to our hotel, the Luxor.

This is a huge establishment, comprising 4,407 rooms (including over 430 suites).

It is shaped like a pyramid and has 30 floors.

Our room - a large suite on the top floor - contains a lounge area, dining area, kitchen, home entertainment system, spacious bedroom, double bathroom.

The theme pertains to Thebes in Egypt during pharaonic times.

We hope to take a trip to the Grand Canyon.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

New York: III

Today we fly from New York City to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Last night we attended a wonderful Broadway production of The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre.

We managed to get very good seats in the Orchestra section.

The music, puppets, singing, props and acting were all spectacular.

The Lion King is probably one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Friday, 27 February 2015

New York: II

We breakfasted again at Junior's this morning.

Unsurprisingly the portions are large. I had the classic egg benedict and M had ham and cheese omelette.

My egg benedict was served with home fries and M gave me a slice of her tomato.

Coffee is limitless, of course.

Thereafter we purchased a hop on-hop off bus ticket and enjoyed the sights of New York.

We alighted at the iconic Empire State Building and took one of the lifts up to the top.

The ESB was built in 1931 and, at 102 storeys, still remains one of the tallest buildings.

Tonight we've booked seats for The Lion King musical.

Carrick Lodge


The Musgrave family may be said to have begun their connection with Belfast at the beginning of the Victorian era.

James Musgrave's father, Samuel Musgrave, was a general practitioner, who began there in 1799. Dr Musgrave was about twenty when he started his practice.

His wife was Mary Riddel, a daughter of William Riddel, founder of Riddel & Company, Donegall Place and Fountain Street, Belfast.

The Musgrave firm was an off-shoot of the Riddel establishment.

The Musgrave family consisted of a dozen children.When Dr Musgrave died at Lisburn ages 66 in 1834, the family soon removed to Belfast and lived in Upper Arthur Street.

By 1852 they were living at 1 Donegall Square South; and, after this period of residency, they moved again to Drumglass House, Malone Road, which they built ca 1855.

As young men, the brothers Robert and John Riddel were in partnership with their uncle, John Riddel, at 54 High Street in Belfast.

With their brother James they founded the firm Musgrave Brothers and opened the establishment on the 30th May 1843 (which later became Richard Patterson’s of 59 High Street).

Here the ironmongery trade was carried on successfully until expansion of business brought the manufacturing lines and, from 1860 onwards, this branch was conducted at the Ann Street Ironworks until a limited company was formed.

John and James Musgrave were the principals, Robert having died in 1867. From this time forward the firm of Musgrave & Company Ltd created what was a new industry which attained world-wide fame with the manufacture of stoves, heating apparatus, stable fittings and high-class ironwork.

John R Musgrave was the chairman and director, and represented his brothers' interests in the company. The expanding business now removed to new works at Mountpottinger.

About 1854, the other brothers, Henry and Edgar, started the wholesale tea and sugar business.

The Musgrave family were benefactors of the city of Belfast and its institutions: Sir James, when he retired, devoted a large part of his energy and abilities to developing the Port of Belfast, the possibilities of which he foresaw, the great scheme which he devised and which he lived to see completed.

His name is forever linked with the Musgrave Channel which he did so much to further from the time he was elected chairman of the Harbour Board in 1897 until a year before his death in 1904.

In recognition of these services the dignity of baronetcy was bestowed upon him.

He also proved himself a firm friend of Queen's College (now University), where he founded the chair of Pathology which bears his name.

Like his brother James, Henry gave many benefactions to the City.

When the estate at Carrick, County Donegal, was acquired a similar bold policy was adopted.

The Musgraves' old-fashioned courtesy and graciousness of manner, combined with a distinctive style of dress, gave the impression that evoked a link with the early Victorian period.

Their unbounded generosity to charitable, educational and other worthy institutions will secure for them an imperishable memory.

THE LODGE, Carrick, County Donegal, is a five-bay, two-storey, former country house or hunting lodge, built ca 1867 and extensively altered and extended ca 1910, having a central advanced single-bay projection to the main elevation.

The main central block is flanked to either side (east and west) by lower wings having advanced gable-fronted single-bay two-storey terminating blocks with crow-stepped parapets over.

A two-storey range of outbuildings is attached to the rear (north) of the terminating block to the west.

Carrick Lodge was extensively renovated about 1990, following destruction by fire in 1970.

It is now in use as a private home.

This substantial former country house or hunting lodge/retreat retains some of its early character and form despite modern alterations.

The symmetrical front elevations is notable for the good quality "Tudoresque-style" cut stone surrounds with mullions to the window openings, hood mouldings to the ground floor openings and particularly by the striking crow-stepped parapets over the advanced blocks to the centre and terminating either end.

The crow-stepped parapets are reminiscent of the Scottish Baronial architectural style, an architectural idiom that was popular during the Victorian period, and into the first decades of the 20th century, but relatively rare in County Donegal.

These crow-stepped parapets were added as part of extensive alterations and extension to the house, around 1910, when the recessed wing and advanced gable-fronted terminating block to the east, and the projecting central gable-fronted bay were added.

Prior to this, the house was a modest and plain two-storey building.

Carrick Lodge was destroyed in a fire about 1970 and remained derelict until extensive renovations two decades later.

It was originally built in 1867, when the Musgrave family purchased extensive lands around here in that year) and apparently replaced or incorporates an earlier house on the same site built sometime between 1836-47.

The Musgrave family had their main residence at Drumglass House, Belfast, which suggests that Carrick Lodge was originally built as a hunting lodge or retreat.

It was the home of James Musgrave (later a knight and a baronet) and John Musgrave in 1881, who were both Justices of the Peace; and of John Musgrave in 1894.

Although altered, this building is a striking feature in the dramatic landscape to the west of Carrick, and is an addition to the built heritage and social history of the local area.

It forms a pair of related structures along with the attendant gate lodge to the south.

The simple outbuilding and former walled gardens to the rear, and the gateways and boundary walls to site add to the setting and historical context.

First published in March, 2013.