On Wednesday night, the nation turns to Las Vegas with the third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump taking place at UNLV. We caught up with three political reporters at CNN to see where they like to dine on one of their frequent visits to Las Vegas since Nevada is officially a swing state with its six electoral votes.
First up, CNN politics reporter Sara Murray, who has been covering Donald Trump. She has a favorite place for sushi, outstanding tacos and of course a French bistro.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
I have to admit that most of the time I spend in Vegas is for work. But even when I'm there for CNN, I always try to squeeze in a good meal and Vegas never disappoints.
Normally I do not order sushi in landlocked states. It's a little bit like choosing the fish option on a flight. Fish just do not belong here. But Vegas is different. The sushi is incredible, whether it's Blue Ribbon Sushi, Mizumi or Sushi Samba. I usually end up choosing between the three based on the group I'm dining with and what kind of vibe we're looking for.
Tacos El Gordo. One of my fellow traveling campaign reporters introduced me to this spot and I'll probably be indebted to him forever. Tip: Do not eat these right before you go hiking in Red Rock Canyon. These tacos are delicious but they are not fitness fuel. I'm speaking from experience.
Bouchon. This is one of those places that just works whether you're traveling with friends, family or on business. The atmosphere is elegant but calming and the food is consistently delicious.
What dishes are most memorable?
Sushi Samba — One of the reasons I love this place is because, in addition to fantastic sushi, they have so many veggie options to layer with your meal. The first thing I'm going to order — always — are the shishito peppers. They're great for sharing and, let's be honest, haven't we all eaten enough edamame? Follow that with the heirloom tomato salad. The cilantro-jalapeño dressing makes this dish infinitely more exciting than a traditional tomato salad. I hate picking a favorite sushi option because the options are infinite, but my go-to is probably the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and lemongrass.
Tacos El Gordo — The tacos here are so flavorful, so perfectly spiced that it's hard to go wrong. But my personal favorite is the Adobada because I like a little kick to my tacos. So far I haven't been able to work up the courage to try the Cabeza tacos, but I'm working on it.
Bouchon – Get the pommes frites. You will think, "Oh, I should be healthy and get a salad." You are in Vegas. By all means, get your salad or whatever. But get the frites. And who says pastries plus pecan smoked bacon don't equal brunch? At Bouchon, they definitely do. That pecan smoked bacon will have your mouth watering before the server even sets it on the table.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Let's just address my sushi indecision here. First of all, Blue Ribbon Sushi is getting nixed from the running anyway. I'm a little bit sad to see it morphing into Blue Ribbon Brasserie, but I can't wait to try their new offerings. Sushi Samba is great for a festive group looking for a party atmosphere. But I think Mizumi has a more intimate atmosphere that's ideal for smaller groups or a business dinner.
The reason all of these places are so great, though, is if you're with a group you can truly sample your way across the menu. As a girl who hails from the Midwest, I spent most of my life not even eating sushi! From my view, Vegas is a place for big, family-style dinners. And the more adventurous options on the table, the better.
Tacos El Gordo — OK, OK, I know I just endorsed family-style dinners, but you can't do that for every meal. Tacos El Gordo is the perfect solution. Sometimes the line snakes across the restaurant, but the food is so delicious you'll inhale it in about five minutes.
Bouchon — I love that Bouchon is tucked far away from the casino floor. We all love Vegas. But sometimes, even when you're in Vegas, you need a break from Vegas. The service at Bouchon is impeccable — whether we show up with children, five laptops or all of our luggage — their staff has always been lovely and accommodating.
Any other dining tips?
It would pretty much be a sin NOT to mention In-N-Out Burger, right? After a late night in Vegas that inviting sign right off W. Tropicana Ave. feels like the only cure sometimes. Let's just leave it at that.