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I used to live in Las Vegas.  Ah Vegas, such a different time in our lives in such a different place.  Out on the western edge of the Las Vegas Valley is an ENORMOUS planned community called Summerlin.

My wife and I bought our first home in Summerlin back in 2001.  We bought a condo right on a TPC golf course.  Of course, we were part of a condo association, but we were also part of the SUMMERLIN NORTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION.  They are the Galactic Empire of western Las Vegas.  When we moved in, we were given a voluminous book larger than an annotated Bible with the rules and regulations we were expected to abide by.

There used to be little code enforcement trucks prowling the neighborhood, looking for nefarious signs, and illegal gas grills.

There used to be workers whose job was to literally scrub the curbs along the road.  It was all very clean, very pleasant, and very Orwelllian.  Everything was nice…TOO nice.  Getting fined for enjoying gas grilling was a step too far!  So we moved to a Las Vegas neighborhood without a homeowners association.

In our new neighborhood, I found a crack pipe (is that one word or two?) in our driveway.

Police helicopters with searchlights hovered over the nearby freeway at night.

We realized soon after our daughter’s birth, that the Midwest is a fine place to raise a daughter, and moved back home to St. Louis.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, I was reminded of our days in Summerlin when the family visited Winghaven last week for dinner.  Winghaven seems to be a fine community, but you get the feeling that it’s just a bit TOO nice.

Llewellyn’s Pub is located in “downtown” Winghaven, and we spent a pleasant evening on their outdoor patio, safely gated from the dangers that surrounded us in Winghaven.*  Llewellyn’s Pub is a Welsh themed pub with several locations throughout the STL area, and I have to say, I had my best experience in their Winghaven location.

*I had to chuckle at the “gang” of unruly Upper-Middle-Class-Middle Schoolers who gathered on their BMX bikes and skateboards outside the gates of Llewellyn’s patio.  They loitered, they rode in vaguely threatening circles, they went home at sundown.

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Enough about the ambience.  It was a pleasant evening, and I did enjoy a Blue Moon while waiting for all of our party to arrive.  Our waitress was very nice, and put up with our lingering at a table throughout the evening, waiting for my very pregnant sister-in-law and her husband to arrive.

As an appetizer, we ordered the Welsh Rarebit.  This is a cheese sauce, flavored with Guinness, traditionally served on wedges of toast.  I tried to make it once a few years back, after an episode of Good Eats, and was unimpressed.  However, Llewellyn’s Rarebit was savory, with a hint of Guinness, and a nice strong cheddar flavor that tasted great with the toast and beer.

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For dinner that evening, I ordered the bangers and mash.  I have to say, I was intrigued by the lamb sausages, and thought I’d give it a shot.  Although, I didn’t go pure Celtic, since I replaced the mashed potatoes with waffle-cut sweet potato fries.  There is little I won’t do for waffle cut fries.  Also, how can people not like sweet potatoes?  It is a dessert vegetable.  That is all.

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It was a wise decision for a couple of reasons.  First off, Llewellyn’s lamb sausages (bangers) are SPICY!  I loved the flavoring, but found the sausages themselves to be rather dry.  I’m not sure if they were overcooked, or if there is just little fat content in the sausage that leads to their dry texture.  However, this was OK, since they were smothered in a rich, flavorful brown sauce.  I thought the sweet, salty, perfectly cooked fries were a good complement to the hot sausages.

Overall, the dishes were a bit hit-or-miss.  My wife had a turkey cottage pie, and although she was told there weren’t many mushrooms, there were quite a few.  She was not a fan.  My son had the standard kids’ pizza, and it was OK.  My daughter ordered a rosemary chicken flatbread, and it was quite the hit at the table, with its chunks of chicken, olives, rosemary, and blend of cheeses.  As we left that night, I realized that I found Llewellyn’s to be a great fit for Winghaven.  Llewellyn’s is vaguely Celtic, with a semi-authentic pub area which sits in a fake downtown in a very pleasant (almost too pleasant) corner of the St. Louis area.

If you’re there, try the Welsh Rarebit, eat the Bangers and Mash…but stay safely in the gated area, or the Winghaven Eaglets (My name for the Upper Middle Class Middle School Gang) may mildly menace your pleasant day.

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