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Yes, Vanderpump Cocktail Garden is officially open at Caesars Palace, with a blowout Saturday night bash as the centerpiece to the festivities: Think Lisa arriving to her party amid trumpets blasting on a royal chaise (!) carried by royal guards (!!) with her Pomeranian on her lap (!!!). Also in attendance were Lisa's husband Ken Todd, daughter Pandora Vanderpump Sabo; a throng of Vanderpump Rules cast mates including Tom Tom's Tom Schwartz and Tom Sandoval, soon-to-be-wed Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright, Stassi Schroeder and boyfriend Beau Clark, and Lala Kent and fiance Randall Emmett; and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Camille Grammer.
After chatting with those notables on the flower-decked carpet, I headed inside the venue to finally experience it after so much anticipation. Past the lush garden space — actually an indoor patio-esque area carved from within the Caesars Palace casino — and beyond the Roman columns flanking the entrance, I was surprised to find the venue smaller than I expected.
Because of Lisa's larger-than-life persona, and her venues' outsized reputations, I expected a sprawling nightclub — but it's actually an intimate environment, all opulence and charm, but not overwhelming or cavernous at all.
It truly feels like a tranquil escape from the madness of the casino environment, including a rowdy sports book and the sprawling Forum Shops mall just down the hall.
Once sidled up to the bar, I tried the finished version of a cocktail I'd tasted during an advance menu tasting at Tom Tom in Los Angeles. I might have picked this drink anyway for its cheeky name — “Checkmate Bitch," a reference to an iconic RHOBH moment — but the wheel of dried pineapple dusted with pink glitter as a garnish sealed the deal.
The drink, served in a tall cut-crystal glass over ice, is comprised of Stoli hot vodka, chaco jalapeño vodka, fresh pineapple, grapefruit liqueur, vanilla citrus angostura bitters, and pink peppercorns. My Bravo colleague, Caitlin, ordered the same drink. And when we scooped up our pair of cocktails at the bar, the server told us the rule is that when you toast, you have to say, “Checkmate, bitch!” So we did — and the little ritual made the flavorful, fruity, slightly spicy cocktail go down even smoother. (Almost too smooth, you might say — ours were gone before we knew it, so future patrons have been warned to mind their consumption.)
Other cocktails on the menu include the “Matcha Matcha Man,” Vanderpump vodka, matcha, fresh mint, lemon, ginger liqueur, aquafina; the “Vanderpink" margarita, made with Casamigos blanco, fresh lime, hibiscus, white peace, and orange liquor; and another drink worth ordering for its name alone: the “Cold Blooded,” a blood orange Old Fashioned with Knob Creek Caesars Palace Barrel Select, fresh blood orange, and angostura bitters.
And then there was the food...
Yes, there are goat cheese balls. But there's also so much more to choose from on a menu filled with plenty of colorful, vegetarian — and very photo-ready — dishes. We started with a farmer's market vegetable board, in all the colors of the rainbow — with green edamame topping a dollop of pretty purple beet hummus. And have you ever seen vegetables so stunning?
Out next came ahi cones, served like ice cream in fancy gold sleeves. By the time the grilled cheese with whipped brie and gruyere and Asian pear arrived, I struggled to accommodate more food. But I had to push through, because... dessert, obviously.
Expect to see this sweet treat all over Instagram in the future: The Vanderpump rose cake for two, a rose infused sponge cake, with strawberry buttercream — a pink-on-pink confection topped with an edible flower. Perfect for a date night, or perhaps even an impromptu, regrettable wedding night. (Paging Nick Cage?)
Speaking of questionable decisions, I confess: I might have devoured the entire Vanderpump cookie board. (I blame the fact that it was just too pretty not to eat.) Intended, presumably, for a group larger than one (but you do you), this picture-perfect dessert consists of a primarily pink-accented and glitter-dusted assortment of decadent cookies, raspberry rose marshmallows, truffles, macarons, and strawberries with chocolate sauce for dipping.
Because when it comes to any project Lisa touches, the name of the game is decadence, opulence — and pink. Lots and lots of pink.
So if you're on board for that kind of night out — and a very good chance of running into Lisa or someone from the Vanderpump Rules crew — you're going to want to book a Vegas trip to experience Vanderpump Cocktail Garden for yourself, stat.
Now... who's in?
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