What a weekend. Miss Love, Dillinger, and I drove down to Mohegan Sun, New England’s largest casino, for an evening of food, fun, and a killer opening party to celebrate their new bar, the Vista Lounge. Vista lounge and dance club officially opens on July 28th (this weekend!) but we were invited to a party featuring Jenny McCarthy as a host, along with a pumped dance floor and a selection of delicious cocktails to try.
We arrived famished and, after checking into our sweet hotel room, ran down to Pepe’s for a quick bite to eat before the party. This was technically Miss Love’s official New Haven-style pizza deflowering, so we had our fingers crossed for an authentic experience. Honestly, I don’t know how they did it, but this pizza was perfect. It was exactly like the kind you’d get in Wooster Square, minus the lines, annoying tourists, and surly service. Witchcraft, I tell you. That, and a killer brick oven. Crispy and charred on the crust and bottom, with a bubbly, thin crisp and a bounty of homemade toppings. This is what all pizza aspires to be. I’m a Pepe’s fangirl, but god, it is so obvious why this is the best pizza in the world.
Obviously, there was an endless fountain of Foxon Park on tap, too. Ah, Connecticut. These are the things that I love. The pie we split, sausage and summer tomato, doesn’t come slathered in their spicy, sweet tomato sauce, but the roasted tomatoes and anise-spiked sausage are absolutely worth getting.
And then we changed into our party clothes and requisite party tee and headed to the dance! The new lounge looks amazing. Spanning two floors of secluded nooks, private blackjack tables, bar stools, and alcoves, all centered around a massive dance floor and blanketed by a functioning planetarium, the power and noise belies its intimate size. Oh, and Jenny McCarthy was there. She, however, was extremely popular and in demand from people taller and louder than I, so the best photo I managed to wrangle of her was a photo of someone else taking a photo of her on their iPhone. Watch out, Diane Arbus, I’m ‘a comin’ for yooooou!
The club was rocking and bopping and pumping and grinding well into the evening while the world gambled at our feet. We were kings and our libations, dessert-themed and surrounded by endless bowls of chocolate. A few notable potables: the Vista Signature Cocktail, with prosecco, lillet, Pama, Solerno, and lime juice. This was my first brush with both Pama, a pomegranate liqueur, and Solerno, but I suspect we’ll be seeing more of each other. This was zesty and not too sweet, with a lively bite and gentle effervescence. We also loved the melon cosmo, though the tart cranberry threatened to overwhelm the melon vodka.
And of course, the dessert martinis. Martinis in that they’re served in a martini glass, dessert in that they’re sweet and sexy and go down easier than actual cake. The salty chocolate-covered pretzels went well- perhaps a little too well, with the chocolate cake martini, a balanced example of the fatal attraction that vodka and chocolate have. Pictured above is the Tiramisu martini, with a butterscotch kick like an amped up coffee.
The party was wonderful, filled with decadent snacks (birthday cake-flavored chocolate-covered Oreos! Homemade turtle candies!) and great music. Halfway through, we found that we were in desperate need of food to balance all the drinks we’d been having.
And what better treat to indulge in than Krispy Kreme? At midnight, the store was still pumping out fresh, glistening doughnuts for all. We brought a selection back to the room- another first for Miss Love! Clockwise from the top: key lime pie, a freshly fried glazed doughnut, chocolate with chocolate cream, strawberry jam with sugar, and two marshmallow-creme filled. So perfect.
This new Key Lime doughnut was silky and tangy, with a wonderful spiced streusel topping.
We stopped back at the party to enjoy a few more drinks and then decided to take a swim, because, hey, there’s no better time than 1AM to do some laps, right? What we didn’t know was that we’d unknowingly wandered into another dance party in the pool area, filled to the brim with guys in suits and girls in bridesmaids dresses. With our t-shirts, repurposed gym shorts, and sandals, it was like a scene out of Pulp Fiction. (“You guys look like…what do they look like, Jimmie? “Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.”) We took a seat in the hot tub and let the party come to us.
Finally, after some thirty-odd people jumped into the pool in their clothes, we were all herded out. The next logical thing to do was to have a snack. So we made brunch reservations, ate the last of our doughnuts and pizza (somehow over 9,000 times better cold) and slept, ready to meet the new day three hours later, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Find out what we did with our hangovers tomorrow! Hint: it involved lobster for breakfast…
Thanks again to Mohegan Sun for having us to photograph and write about the party. They went above and beyond and let us stay the night, comped our food, drinks, and hotel, and showed us a great time. I was so excited to do this and can’t wait to come back!