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As we approach mid-April, farmers’ markets are flush with spring produce, baseball season still holds promise and our pockets are heavy with annual tax rebate checks. This year, why not manifest your culinary destiny by spending that government-issued Monopoly money on one truly spectacular meal? Whether you fancy a foraged feast in the Pacific Northwest or full-tilt hedonism in Las Vegas, now is the time to eat heavily and carry a big check.

Joël Robuchon LV
Gault Millau’s Chef of the Century has been providing a vaguely tsarist experience on the Strip for more than ten years. His opulent, three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino serves seasonal, 18-course tasting menus on plush purple banquettes for $425 per person, exclusive of wine pairings (pricing available on request) or gratuity. The courses are subdivided into thematic “services,” comprised of three smaller dishes highlighting an ingredient such as black truffles or sea urchin, and desserts include a mignardises trolley with more than 40 sweets. 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109;

Eleven Madison Park
Whether you are hanging next to Jimmy Fallon at the bar (note: he will laugh at his own jokes) or seated in the elegant, Art Deco dining room, Eleven Madison is irresistible. Call exactly 28 days in advance to reserve a seating for Daniel Humm’s $225 tasting menu, which launched in 2012 and remains relevant today. The kitchen is notably conscientious about all dietary restrictions real or imagined, and the 15-plus courses can include everything from house-smoked sturgeon to sous-vide cauliflower. 11 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010;

Willows Inn at Lummi Island
Noma-trained boy wonder Blaine Wetzel was 24 when The New York Times and Bon Appétit began lavishing praise on his produce-driven tasting menus on tiny Lummi Island (population: 822), part of Washington’s San Juan archipelago. A meal at Willows Inn is both a fiduciary and temporal investment. Upon arriving in Seattle, one must drive 100 miles north, take an eight-minute barge (yes, barge) to Lummi, and spend $175 per reservation. Wine and juice pairings, the latter of which includes freshly squeezed gooseberry, sorrel and elderflower, depending on the season, are an additional $45 to $65. Every ingredient Wetzel uses is sourced from within a few miles of Willows Inn and featured in dishes like roasted endives with wildflowers, or black cod with beach plants. 2579 West Shore Drive, Lummi Island, WA 98262;

Because dining out during the workweek is for serfs, save your government spending for the weekend menu at Saison, Joshua Skenes’s three-Michelin-starred San Francisco temple to seasonality. The 18-course menu starts at $398, a considerable increase from the $248 ticket attached to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday seatings. Wine pairings are an additional $298 per person, but why not go for it? It’s not like you have to work in the morning. 178 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA 94107;

Like many things related to sushi, the atmosphere at Beverly Hills’s Urasawa is quiet, serious and referential. Despite intermittent controversy and fluctuating critical favor, most Angelenos contend that Masa acolyte Hiroyuki Urasawa’s 13-year-old restaurant merits such veneration. Reserve a spot at his elegant cypress tasting bar, where the kaiseki-informed tasting menus start at $395 before tax, tip or beverages, and see what all the (hushed) fuss is about. 218 North Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90210

Christopher Kostow’s vegetable-forward tasting menus at the Restaurant at Meadowood feature more than 20 courses.

Restaurant at Meadowood
Likening chef Christopher Kostow’s vegetable-forward tasting menus to crudité is like calling James Harden “kind of good at shooting.” The New Napa Cuisine pioneer has three Michelin stars and specializes in seasonal menus that are light on protein and inspiration-heavy. Splurge on the counter menu, which starts at $500 and features more than 20 courses of spring flavors like asparagus with raw shaved clams. Gratuity and bragging rights are included; wine pairings will run you an additional $350 and are not inclusive of service. 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574;

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