Tag Archives: food

Feel No Pain: Get Uncork’d in Las Vegas

For the next four days you can attend the largest foodie event ever held in Las Vegas, if not the Western world: Vegas Uncorked, sponsored by Bon Appetit.

The event officially kicks off at 4 p.m. today when French superchef Alain Ducasse performs the champagne uncorking with a saber at his Mix restaurant and lounge atop The Hotel at Mandalay Bay.

The festival takes place May 6-9, with the signature event being a “Grand Tasting” ($175) on May 7 at the Garden of the Gods in Caesars Palace.  That event will feature chef Hubert Keller serving.

Not everyone has the chance—or wherewithal—to dine at the restaurants of chefs such as Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Bobby Flay or François Payard, but they all will be there (along with about 60 other celebrated chefs) displaying and offering up their delicious wares.

Among the events on May 8 are the Ultimate All-Star Interactive Luncheon ($195) at Encore; Culinary Theater: All the Kitchen’s a Stage ($95) at RM Seafood; and the Wine Immersion Experience ($75) at Bellagio.

The lineup of celebrated chefs who have Las Vegas restaurants includes Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Paul Bartolotta, Julian Serrano, Todd English, Luciano Pellegrini and Charlie Palmer.

Tickets are going fast; please go to www.vegasuncorked.com for further information.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, news, Uncategorized

Project Dinner Table Launches in Las Vegas

There is no shortage of delicious, multi-course meals or acclaimed chefs to prepare them in Las Vegas, yet now a new dinner series is bringing something different to the table.

Project Dinner Table debuts April 24 and aims to showcase Las Vegas produced ingredients in a unique setting.  The inaugural meal invites discerning, community-minded diners to take one of about 150 seats at the table—yes, the table; there is only one but it’s very long—and enjoy a six-course meal at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Orchard in North Las Vegas.

The menu is prepared by Sensi chef de cuisine Roy Ellamar and includes a salad using Overton-based Quail Hollow Farms greens, grass-fed beef (from Bar 10 in northern Arizona) served with vegetables grown at the Las Vegas Gilcrease Orchard.

Part of the proceeds from the $150-a-plate meal will support Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada, and the venue and chef will change with every monthly installment of the series.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

$67 Million Memorial Day Weekend Party in Las Vegas

Lavish spending and, hopefully, getting a great return on the investment, is the whole idea behind the replacement of the porte cochere at Wynn’s Encore with Encore Beach Resort and Surrender nightclub in Las Vegas, including new outdoor seating for Switch restaurant as well. 

The changes, funded by Wynn Resorts Ltd., all kickoff starting on Memorial Day weekend.

The beach club features a 60,000-square-foot pool with 40-foot tall palm trees and three tiered pools.  Bungalows and cabanas are part of the chic design experience, along with a restaurant and poolside gaming tables.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Company Kitchen & Pub Morphs into Las Vegas Lounge

Pure Management Group has announced its intention to convert Company Kitchen & Pub House at the Luxor in Las Vegas into Company Lounge, “a casual nightlife venue.” 

This is the second such change for the 11,000 square-foot venue, which opened in November 2007 as Company American Bistro. Originally helmed by Chef Adam Sobel (formerly of Restaurant Guy Savoy, currently executive chef of RM Seafood), the über-chic, ski lodge-inspired venue’s opening celebrity investor lineup included such Hollywood luminaries as Nick Lachey, Nicky Hilton and Wilmer Valderrama. Following Chef Sobel’s March 2008 departure—as well as that of Top Chef’s foam-of-famer Marcel Vigneron—Company briefly shut down to transform into the more approachable, American tapas iteration. 

A PMG representative reports that the Company Lounge schedule has cut back from the resto’s Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m.-late, to just “Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings.”

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Recipe Bandido Steals Away in Las Vegas

Rodd Wilbur isn’t your ordinary chef.  In fact, he’s not a chef at all.  But what he “relishes” – he prefers “cloning” – the secret recipes for popular dishes made by restuarant chains like McDonald’s, Applebee’s and KFC.  Then, to make some scratch, he writes books to show how you too can make the yummy stuff. 

Wilbur started with the Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie theft, coming up with a recipe that was a variation on the Nestlé Tollhouse classic and tasted remarkably close to Debbie Fields’ moneymaker. Then he moved on to more savory exploits. For his second recipe, he reverse-engineered the Big Mac. That special sauce? It’s basically Thousand Island dressing! 

A former TV news reporter, Wilbur, a Summerlin, Nevada resident, now works full-time cloning recipes for his cookbooks, which are for sale on QVC and have been featured on Oprah and Live with Regis and Kelly. He’s really not a chef or an innovator; he’s a casual-dining cloner, and success means tasting just like the real thing. 

“I want it to be exact,” Wilbur says as he gets to work on recreating a batch of cous cous salad from the Houston’s chain of restaurants. “I don’t want to make it better; I don’t want to make it worse. I don’t want to make it less fat. I don’t want to do anything to it except exactly duplicate it.” 

So far, Wilbur has exactly duplicated enough recipes for nine cookbooks. His 10th, 17 recipes shy of completion, should be out in September. The book will be called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3. “Alternate title: The Greatest Cookbook Ever Written,” Wilbur jokes. 

Since publishing his first cookbook in 1993, Wilbur has sold close to 5 million copies of his cookbooks, all of which tackle well-known recipes from fast food or casual dining chains and break them down for cooks to re-create at home. 

His 1,000th recipe — the one most requested by visitors to his website — was Olive Garden’s chicken and gnocchi soup, or as Wilbur describes it, “really good shit.” 

Flipping through the pages of his books is like looking at a greatest-hits menu from chain restaurants: Buffalo Wild Wings’ Caribbean jerk sauce, the Cheesecake Factory’s Bang-Bang Chicken and Shrimp, Chili’s lettuce wraps, KFC’s biscuits. 

And Wilbur has all kinds of tricks for figuring out what goes into the dishes that people crave. Sometimes he asks for a seat at the bar or near the kitchen, so he can watch how desserts or dishes are assembled. Other times he claims to be a strict vegetarian or vegan, so he can find out if a dish contains chicken broth or animal fat. When Oprah Winfrey challenged him to create the Jack Daniel’s grill glaze from TGIFriday’s before appearing on her show, Wilbur faked an allergy so the restaurant would give him a list of the ingredients. 

Wilbur just loves his role of playing recipe investigator, hunting for clues and then putting the recipe pieces together until he’s completed a culinary puzzle that tastes fresh off the line.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas Announces New Restaurants, Celebrity Chefs

If Las Vegas isn’t already home to the finest restaurants and chefs in the world, now there’s more of ‘em! 

The restaurant lineup at the sleek new $3.9 billon Cosmopolitan hotel-casino of Las Vegas has been announced.  Four of the five have strong New York ties; the other will be operated by acclaimed Los Angeles chef David Myers of the restaurant Comme Ca. The others: Bruce and Eric Bromberg’s Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill,  Costas Spiliadis’ Estiatorio Milos, Scott Conant’s Scarpetta (Conant was previously attached to Fountainbleau), and Steakhouse STK.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

New Daytime Partying Comes to Las Vegas

To many, partying into the wee hours of the morning in Las Vegas is just part of the seductive intrigue.  But, why not opt for a change to your modus operandi and try an opulent brand of new daytime partying? 

The 9 Group, renowned for superb dining, nightlife and lifestyle experiences, presents a provocative and innovative new dayclub affair known as High Society at Nove Italiano in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, premiering 1 p.m. Sunday, April 11.   

Creating a posh atmosphere filled with life’s little luxuries in the middle of the afternoon, High Society offers partygoers a place to mix and mingle among Las Vegas’ nobility while indulging in high-end libations, decadent brunch and vivacious entertainment.   

Upon entering, Nove Italiano will envelope guests in a complete sensory experience – from sophisticated interior decor, to aromatic food and thirst-quenching beverages, to the incomparable energy created by resident DJs Zen Freeman and Mark Stylz spinning on the turntables.  Atop the Palm’s sky-scraping 51st floor, Nove Italiano’s guests will indulge in some of the city’s most spectacular views, and enjoy ever-changing exuberant entertainment, including roaming live musicians and a live painter offering complimentary tableside guest portraits. 

The brunch menu at High Society combines rich tastes and traditional favorites at various stations including the salad, fresh fruits and fish stations, as well as a build your own frittatas station. Fare also includes warm items on the griddle or hot plate such as Italian sausage and pepper hash, crispy pancetta and chicken apple sausage, a variety of poached eggs served with crab cake, spinach and bearnaise sauce, pancetta, ciabatta, drizzled with a Hollandaise sauce or long cooked greens mixed with a fontina cheese and fonduta. Other warm items include a variety of pizzas and Panini sandwiches. Guests can pair brunch with $99 bottles of champagne and half bottles of spirits. 

High Society will start at 1 p.m. every Sunday at Nove Italiano. The buffet brunch is $30 per person. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to attend. Admission is free and table reservations are strongly recommended. For more information, VIP tables and bottle reservations, visit www.novelasvegas.com  or call 702-942-6800. 

Nove Italiano is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.  For additional information, please visit www.novelasvegas.com or call 702-942-6800.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Uncategorized

Three-Day (!) Wine-O Festival Kicks Off in Las Vegas

The 36th annual UNLVino wine tasting extravaganza in Las Vegas  is back, starting on April 8, for an incredible three days of non-stop Champagne, sake and wine tasting action, and also to drum up some much appreciated funds for UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration’s Food and Beverage Management Department. 

To kick it off, UNLVino presents Bubble-Licious, a celebration of all things sparkling at Caesars’ brand new Garden of the Gods pool complex. 

Here are the three locations and times: 

Bubble-Licious: Thurs., April 8, The Garden of the Gods, Caesars Palace, 7-10 p.m. 

Sake Fever: Friday, April 9, Palms Pool & Bungalows, The Palms, 7-10 p.m. 

UNLVino Grand Tasting: Saturday, April 10, Bally’s Ballroom, 2-6 p.m. 

Tickets are available here.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Chefs Battle for Best Chef of the Year honors at James Beard Awards

Three Las Vegas chefs are battling for the coveted title of Best Chef of the Year Southwest in the 2010 James Beard Awards, and several other Strip chefs are represented in the Oscars of the food industry, as well. 

The finalists were announced last week in New Orleans, and the winners will be announced May 3 at New York’s Lincoln Center. 

The three Best Chefs of the Southwest finalists are the off-Strip Saipan Chutima from Lotus of Siam, Claude Le Tohic from Joël Robuchon at MGM and Rick Moonen from RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay. 

Michael Mina from MGM, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio and Aria is recognized twice in the prestigious awards: His RN74 in San Francisco is nominated for Best New Restaurant, and his self-named restaurant, also in the City by the Bay, is nominated for Outstanding Service, competing against Robuchon’s restaurant at MGM Grand.

Robuchon’s MGM pastry chef Kamel Guechuda is up for the Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year. 

Chef Tom Colicchio, well known to foodies here for his Craft at MGM and as host of Bravo’s Top Chef, is nominated as Outstanding Chef of the Year for his original Craft in Manhattan. 

Two other New York chefs with outposts in Las Vegas will also battle in the Outstanding Restaurant Award category: Mario Batali, who has restaurants at The Venetian and Palazzo, has been nominated for his Babbo in New York City and Daniel Boulud from the Wynn for his Daniel in Manhattan. 

Timothy Hollingsworth, former Venetian chef for Thomas Keller Brasserie and now at Thomas’ French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., has been nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year. 

In other Las Vegas chef news, Todd English from Bellagio and Aria was nominated for Best TV Special for Food Trip With Todd English, as was The Venetian and Palazzo’s Emeril Lagasse who will go head-to-head with English in the TV category for Emeril’s Culinary Adventures: Napa

And architect and designer David Rockwell, who has masterminded numerous Las Vegas restaurants, Crystals at MGM’s CityCenter and the show Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, will be inducted into the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Loses Celebrity Chef Restaurant Charlie

Las Vegas is once again losing one of its celebrity chef restaurants. Charlie Trotter has closed his two-year-old Restaurant Charlie in the Palazzo in Las Vegas. 

Trotter, who is a Chicago institution, won his first Michelin star at his seafood-centered Las Vegas restaurant. The sushi bar inside the restaurant, Bar Charlie, was selected as one of the nation’s best sushi spots by Bon Appetit last year. 

Alas, the finances just weren’t working out for the Las Vegas restaurant that gave a valiant performance.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Willing to Trade Buttery Popcorn for a Granola Bar at the Movies?

The head of Sony Pictures said earlier this week that movie theaters should offer healthier snacks to help fight obesity and give audiences a broader range of food choices.

With the movie industry achieving record revenues last year, despite a record recession, Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive officer for Sony, told theater owners at their annual ShoWest convention this week in Las Vegas that a survey by the studio at 26 theaters nationwide found that two-thirds of movie-goers said they would be likely to buy healthy concessions if available. 

The survey found that 60 percent of parents thought that healthier concessions would enhance the moviegoing experience and that 42 percent of parents would buy concessions at theaters more often if healthier choices were offered, Lynton said. 

“I don’t mean close the window for popcorn, soda and candy. Audiences love them and should always be able to buy them at your theaters,” Lynton said in the keynote address as the four-day movie convention opened. 

“I can almost imagine the Romans eating popcorn and drinking Coke at the Coliseum 2,000 years ago. Or the Greeks munching on Sno-Caps at the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens,” said Lynton. 

But “by bringing healthier snacks into your concession stands, you would be helping our country meet an urgent public health need,” Lynton said. 

According to Lynton, healthier food selections suggested by those surveyed include fruit cups, vegetables with dip, yogurt, granola bars, baked chips and unbuttered, air-popped popcorn. 

Lynton said the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, launched by former President Bill Clinton and the American Heart Association to fight childhood obesity, has offered to help advise theaters on healthier concession items.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Lots of Sagging Hooters Up for Sale

The popular hot wings (served, of course, with a side of scrumptious waitress eye-candy) restaurant and bar chain is having financial troubles galore and is aggressively looking for prospective buyers.

And that’s not the half of it:  In February, a Las Vegas man confessed to a kidnapping in the Hooters parking lot and later trying to burn the body, according to a Las Vegas Metro police report. The report said the victim, Prisma Contreras, had gotten off work early at the Mad Onion restaurant at the Hooters Hotel and Casino and was abducted from the parking lot in her jeep. 

Police said suspect Richard Freeman Jr. confessed to the murder and that he and suspect Gregory Lee Hover were trying to find a prostitute when they spotted Contreras and used a gun to kidnap her. The report said Hover sexually assaulted the victim and tried to strangle her with twine. But when that didn’t work, he stabbed her repeatedly and then cut her throat, police said. The pair then tried to burn the body and the jeep in the desert near Boulder City, but was unsuccessful. Both suspects have been charged with murder. 

Adding insult to the gorey death, their sales have continued to sag due to the recession and in the past usually NOTHING was sagging at good old Hooters.  Now, analysts say the huge chain is actively shopping around and trying to sell the conglomerate for at least $250 million. 

Likewise, the Hooters Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas isn’t doing at all well either, to which the Hooters restaurant chain receives a royalty fee for the use of the name.    In fact, the New York Post recently claimed the Hooters Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas is the primary culprit to blame for the company’s financial woes. According to the newspaper, the Las Vegas businesss was recently in default on $144.5 million in long-term debt. 

This isn’t the first time Hooters has faced financial troubles. Hooters Air, their passenger airline, was only flying high for about three years, from 2003 to mid 2006, before going belly up.  

Las Vegas Backstage Access has learned from inside sources the chain will shutter its doors by the end of March and very soon someone will snap up the Hooters chain before it further goes tits up — after all, it’s an American institution.

Hooters of America, Inc. is the Atlanta-based operator and franchiser of over 450 Hooters restaurant and bar locations in 43 states in the United States and more than two dozen countries. The restaurant chain, which trades on female sex appeal, owns 122 units.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Top 10 Best Steak Joints in Las Vegas

Have you ever had a porterhouse aged for 260 days?  If you’re willing to put up the platinum to cover the costs, the Carnevino at the Palazzo in Las Vegas is willing to serve up the meal and in addition to the steak you’ll have Iron Chef Mario Batali’s pasta and access to one of the greatest Italian wine lists on the West Coast. 

Or maybe you’re more in the mood for skirt steak from Top Chef Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak at the MGM Grand served with vegetables from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.  

But all the best places in town don’t come with a celebrity chef and television spotlight.  Nero’s at Caesars, formerly the Spanish Steps, offers Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms and executive chef Eric Damidot prepares what could be the perfect Bearnaise sauce. 

Here are the top 10 steak joints in Las Vegas: 

1.  MOLTO MARIO’S ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE  The best steak in town? The answer is simple. If you’re a connoisseur of aged beef, order one of the 6-to-8-month-old, dry-aged beauties from Molto Mario’s Italian steakhouse in The Palazzo. At the Palazzo Las Vegas, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-789-4141. 

2.  CUT is all about variety in a lineup of carnivorous delights. For a price, it will put before you three cuts of the best steaks in the world: A-5 true Kobe (Wagyu) beef from the Kagashima Prefecture in Japan; prime, hormone-free, corn-fed sirloin from Nebraska; and 35-day dry-aged beef from Illinois. Those steaks are presented in raw form first, perfectly trimmed, and ready to tempt you off that low-cholesterol diet you’ve been struggling with. At the Palazzo Las Vegas, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-607-6300. 

3.  CRAFTSTEAK The trouble with ranking Craftsteak in any steakhouse competition is you could eat here forever and never think about ordering a piece of beef. The vegetables (many trucked in from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market) are some of the most pristine anywhere, and chef Matt Seeber has a fine way with fish as well — making this a steakhouse even vegetarians can love. At the MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-891-7318. 

4.  DELMONICO Along with Prime in the Bellagio, Emeril Lagasse’s bastion of beef in the Venetian was among the first of our great meat emporiums. As with Carnevino, all of this top-shelf beef (and Cajun specialties like killer crab cakes and N’Awlins gumbo) are available at lunch. Sometimes the Bam Man can go overboard with his caloric creations, but there’s no denying the perfection of his dry-aged rib eye, matched with one of super-sommelier Kevin Vogt’s wines from the Wine Spectator Grand Award list. Caesar salad lovers should note this one is made tableside (the way it should be), and is one of the best versions around. At the Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-414-3737. 

5.  STRIPSTEAK  If butter basting is your thing, then Michael Mina has got the cut for you. The conceit here is to sous-vide (vacuum poach) the meat at a low temperature before finishing the cuts over a wood-burning grill. This results in a rib eye or porterhouse that is as tender as these cuts can get.  At Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-632-7414. 

6.  PRIME The guy whose name is on the door — Jean-Georges Vongerichten — comes to Vegas about as often as I go to a monster truck rally, but this place has bred some serious talent over the years — including molecular wizard Wylie Dufresne and Kerry Simon. Rob Moore (now at Jean-Georges Steakhouse in Aria) has supervised the stoves over the past five years and even with his departure, you can be assured this place will rarely miss a beat. It may be the most expensive steakhouse in town, but it is also the most beautiful, and the six-peppercorn-encrusted strip steak (and the short ribs and the veal chop), along with outstanding side dishes, keeps Prime in the pantheon of perfection. At Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-693-7223. 

7.  NERO’S  Once called the Spanish Steps, a steakhouse has been located on this corner of the sprawling Caesars casino as long as we can remember. Now called Nero’s, it serves some of the best dry-aged steaks in town. The Black Angus beef comes from Creekstone Farms — one of the top purveyors of hormone and antibiotic-free beef in the country — and are better by far than the steaks in better-known places. The New York strip competes with the best in town, but we love the chateaubriand, served with a nice vegetable assortment and a perfect Béarnaise sauce that is so good, you know there’s a Frenchman — in this case corporate executive chef Eric Damidot — behind things in the kitchen. At Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-731-7731. 

8. SW STEAKHOUSE The room has never been one of our favorites — huge, open and with all the charm of a bus station inside the Wynn — but there’s no denying the succulence of the steaks, or of chef David Walzog’s tasty sides. That big open space and stupid, intrusive Lake of Dreams light show does nothing to deter the crowds though, which show up every night for dinner. Before coming to Las Vegas, Walzog made his name at Strip House in New York, where he perfected his potatoes rosti, signature creamed spinach, truffled creamed corn and lots of other things to make your heart beat faster. At Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-248-3463. 

9. N9NE Military-jet afterburner decibel levels and wall-to-wall poseurs do nothing to deter the throngs who pack this place nightly in hopes of spotting an Ashton here or a Gaga there. The food is secondary to the scene, but doesn’t have to be. The Kobe burger is top drawer, and the kitchen is justifiably proud of the crab-stuffed ‘shrooms, fried rock shrimp, colossal lump crab cake and braised beef ravioli with melted root vegetables. We also love the super-charred steaks (grilled at 1,200 degrees) and could spend all night sitting at the bar watching hotties do their celebrity-spotting in between bites of our sirloin. At the Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Road, 702-942-7777. 

10.  THE STEAKHOUSE AT CIRCUS CIRCUS  Another forerunner of our plethora of prime rates a wave for longevity (24 years), dry-aging its beef on premises, and for cooking the steaks just right over super-hot mesquite charcoal. Its biggest drawback is that you have to walk through the seedy, low-rent, no-tell-motel smells of the Circus Circus to get to it. Once inside, all of that will be forgotten as you tuck into a superior steak, in clubby, masculine surroundings, for 10 bucks less than the same piece of meat costs in swankier digs. At Circus Circus, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-794-3767.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, Uncategorized

Asian Festival & Tradeshow in Las Vegas on March 5

This huge Asian cultural event takes place in Las Vegas on Friday, March 5, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., to promote and celebrate the rich Asia Pacific Culture through entertainment and activities including a fashion show, Asian talent showcase, cultural performances, and live concerts by local and international talents, community recognition awards, and more. 

Hungry?  Eighteen food vendors will be on hand representing the authentic cuisine of the Asia Pacific will be serving mouth watering dishes to the crowd. 

AFT is an event that gives manufacturers, distributors and retailers a chance to meet and network with the consumers and attendees to promote and sell their products and services. 

The event is in Las Vegas at Town Square, 6605 Las Vegas Boulevard South.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

College in Nevada Offers First Dining Card

The College of Southern Nevada has launched its first Dine About Card to raise much needed funds for student scholarships and educational programs.

The $20 card is sponsored by Metro PCS and provides cardholders with exclusive monthly dining offers and discounts at a host of Las Vegas restaurants, ranging from fast food to primo gourmet dining. 

A sampling of participating restaurants include Hash House A Go Go, Pizza Hut, Panda Express, Sonic, Ricardo’s, La Scala Ristorante and Jamm’s.  A full list of restaurants is included with the card at the time of purchase.

The dining card is good through Dec. 31 and includes offers such as free appetizers, free desserts, two-for-one entrees or special pricing on specific menu items.

The card can be purchased at www.csnfoundation.net or by calling 702-651-5947.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Celebrate National Pig Day in Las Vegas

The ‘lil deceased oinkers are finally having their long overdue special day in Las Vegas.   To celebrate, you’re invited to attend any of Famous Dave’s locations in Las Vegas and enjoy all the delightful squeals of National Pig Day on Monday, March 1.  For showing your concern, you’ll receive a free lunch-size pork sandwich for anyone who comes in wearing pink.

Each location will also will be holding a contest where the general manager will pick the best pig costume from 5 to 6 p.m., and the winner will receive a $100 Famous Dave’s gift card for having to go through the dress indignities.

Locations in the Las Vegas Valley are 1951 N. Rainbow Blvd. (702-646-5631), 4390 Blue Diamond Road (702-633-7427), 9695 W. Flamingo Road (702-871-5631), and 2630 E. Craig Road in North Las Vegas (702-399-8000).

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Free Food for Starving Las Vegas Residents that Pay Their Rent on Time

It’s seen prominently throughout Siegel Suites’ advertising in Las Vegas: “Live Here. Eat Free.” The free-food concept is simple. Daily food vouchers for a meal at the Golden Grill at downtown’s Gold Spike—which Siegel Suites owns—are given to tenants who pay their rent on time. Stay a week and it’s five vouchers; two weeks, 10.

Siegel Suites has 16 Las Vegas locations and gives away a whopping 15,000 free food vouchers a month. 

The program will also soon expand to the Barcelona hotel-casino, one of Siegel’s recent acquisitions, when that site’s restaurant is remodeled later this year.

As altruistic as free food may sound, it’s still a solid marketing tactic. Siegel Suites residents are introduced to a Siegel gaming property via the token hot dog or grilled cheese sandwich plate. Of course, giving away food and drink to lure in gamblers is as Vegas as neon. And it’s just one of many ideas that owner Stephen Siegel likely has for putting bodies in front of slots at the Gold Spike.

Siegel and his investors have put some serious cash into the Gold Spike, about $5 million and counting. It’s an effort that seems to have gone beyond a labor of love to more of a labor of, well, labor. Underneath every decayed layer peeled back at the old property, Siegel admits, lies another layer that could eat up more time and money.

The trials of renovating an old property have pushed back the project’s completion about six months, to the first quarter of this year.

The Golden Grill has been updated with a modern-diner look. The menu is standard American-grill fare: burgers, wraps and a $4.99 prime rib. But the Siegel Suites vouchers are tied to a limited menu tucked between salt and pepper shakers and sugar packets. The menu has a single offering for each day. Items tend to be less exciting—chicken fingers, BLTs and hot dogs to grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti with marinara—but still perhaps worth the price of a bus fare.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news

Death by Chocolate in Las Vegas

Willy Wonka has nothing over Max Brenner, or should we say Oded Brenner, right, the real Max Brenner.

Brenner, the epitome of the consummate professional sweet tooth, whips up a cavity-inducing array of pure chocolate decadence including such entrees as chocolate pizza, chocolate quesadillas, chocolate s’mores and, if that is not enough to smash competition, their utterly chocolate extravagance called The Sticky Caramel Chocolate Concoction. 

The Israeli-based premiere chocolate-to-die-for chain of Max Brenner stores, owned by the Strauss Group, now has worldwide domination squarely in their sights, planning to open this summer an enormous branch store in the Forum Shops in the Caesars Palace mall in Las Vegas, facing the H&M flagship store. 

The chocolate bar alone will spread over two floors and 9,310 square feet including more than 200 seats and a bar with 12 stools and bar tables. The Las Vegas branch will also offer a chocolate shop and a room for private parties of events of up to 45 people. 

Another Max Brenner branch is also expected to open soon in Boston, in the Restaurant Row area. It will spread over one floor measuring 5,844 square feet in size and will include about 150 seats as well as a full-service bar with stools, a chocolate shop and, yes, even a chocolate restaurant. 

According to Giora Bar-Dea, CEO of Strauss-North America:  “This year we began implementing our strategy to build Max Brenner as an international brand.  The opening of new branches in central Las Vegas and in Boston is aimed at introducing the brand in the West Coast of the United States and strengthening our international exposure, with the goal of opening additional branches in the continent.” 

About $5.35 million was invested to open both branch stores. 

The new branches will join the chain’s 30 branches worldwide: two in Manhattan, 18 in Australia, two in the Philippines, two in Singapore, and six in Isreael, the company’s headquarters, which houses 15 staff people, led by founder Oded Brenner. 

The Max Brenner chain was established in 1995 by Oded Brenner and Max Fichtman, and is now owned by the Strauss Group after it was acquired by Elite in 2001. The chain’s global sales turnover is $32 million annually.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Foodies Offered 50 Percent Discount

One of the focus areas of Las Vegas Backstage Access is fine dining, so it’s a big deal when supermarket food can be purchased at a 50 percent saving– that leaves more money in the budget for dining out at lots of cool Las Vegas restaurants! 

Today, Friday, from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Star Theater in the Greek Isles Hotel, 305 Convention Center Drive a launch party is being held for the Las Vegas Food Co-op, operated by The Verve Foundation, where multiple vendors offer a monthly menu of food items at a tremendous value.  There are no membership fees or monetary qualification to join.

The free kickoff party features The Sturdy Band, Imagine Dragons and A Crowd of Small Adventures.  A cash bar and menu is available. 

Food can be ordered online at www.thevervefoundation.org with credit cards.  Or, to pay with cash or food stamps, people may call the foundation office at 702-425-3951. 

Food orders placed can be picked up the last Saturday of each month at the foundation’s Las Vegas warehouse, 7850 Dean Martin Drive, Sutie 503.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Harrah’s Entertainment in Las Vegas Going… Retail

Harrah’s Entertainment is reportedly seeking a building permit for a three-story, 72,000-square-foot Strip-front build-out on the southwest corner of Paris Las Vegas. That space, which now has a fountain and an outdoor dining area, would get a retail store, new restaurants and a nightclub.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Ready, set, GO to Denny’s for FREE Grand Slam tomorrow!

Denny’s is doing it again.  They’re offering their FREE Original Grand Slam®, Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. everywhere.  (And don’t forget to visit Denny’s for a Free Original Grand Slam® on your birthday.)

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Guy Fieri’s ‘Roadshow’ Rocks into Las Vegas Today

It must be the pits constantly traveling around the country, especially at the holidays.  But for the Food Network Star (“Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives”) at least it’s old home week in Las Vegas today.   High-energy spiky-haired chef/restaurateur/author and TV personality Guy Fieri, a UNLV alum that loves the university, will be bringing his 16-person road crew and their $150,000 stage/demo kitchen to put on his audience participation rock ‘n’ roll style “Guy Fieri Roadshow” to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. today. 

Los Angeles-based DJ Cobra will spin all the punk, rock and metal music. 

The tour kicked off in Lowell, Mass., on Nov. 17 and by the time today’s Las Vegas date wraps, it will have hit 21 cities in 30 days. 

At each stop of the tour, Fieri teams up with local chefs and culinary students to celebrate the alluring combination of food, drink and fun.  In Las Vegas, his opening act will be executive chef John Gremo of UNLV’s hotel college, who was a colleague of Fieri’s during their student days at the university. 

For his segment of the show, Gremo will prepare pan-seared Nantucket diver scallops served on wild mushroom and fennel ragu, topped with truffle oil, roasted red pepper, roasted tomato capers and a tomato tapenade and covered with wild greens and assorted micro greens.   Hungry yet? 

Accompanying Gremo will be some his culinary students, UNLV mascot Hey Reb and a few UNLV cheerleaders.  

Assisting at the show will be students in the ProStart culinary programs at Silverado High School in Las Vegas and Carson High School in Carson City, California.  The students will prep food ingredients before the show, and help out behind the scenes during it. 

Tickets are from $35 to $150.  For more information, please call 702-632-7600.

2 Comments

Filed under entertainment, food, Music, news, Performances, travel, Uncategorized

Go Ahead, Splurge on a $750 Cupcake in Las Vegas

Forget about having a dinner fit for king- how about just ‘settling’ on a $750 cupcake in Las Vegas? 

The Sweet Surrender cupcake and candy store opened today in The Palazzo in Las Vegas.  It brings together remarkable pastry chefs and the finest ingredients to create irresistibly indulgent treats. Cupcakes, cookies, lollipops, toffee, licorice, hard candies and dipped treats, are just some of their many indulgent treats to satisfy any discerning sweet-tooth. 

The shop’s variety is wide and sweet-tooth satisfaction endless with the crème de la crème of Sweet Surrenders offerings being only for the most passionate cupcake lover: the $750 Decadence D’Or.  It’s a sumptuous cupcake, handcrafted from the most exclusive, rich, and enterprising ingredients around the globe.  One luscious ingredient is the Palmira Single Estate Chocolate derived from the rare and fragile Porcelana Criollo bean and cultivated to its fullest state of richness exclusively at the Valrhona plantation in Venezuela.  Complementary to the Palmira Single Estate Chocolate is Tahitian Gold Vanilla Caviar- the world’s most labor-intensive agricultural crop.  This fruit, after it is ripened for nine months, then hand-harvested, cured, sweat, dried, and hand-split, is obtained only by tedious manual extraction; it is truly a delicacy, both in taste and exclusivity. Topping the Decadence D’Or is the masterfully smooth Louis XIII de Remy Martin Cognac, 100 years in the making, and edible, metallic gold flakes, each painstakingly hand-placed.  Finally, once baked to perfection, this grand dessert is encased in a stately, hand blown sugar Fleur-de-Lis and presented on a handmade exclusive elegant crackled-gold glass curved plate and bowl. Your palette never had such a royal treatment! 

Chef Long Nguyen, executive pastry chef of The Venetian and The Palazzo is the visionary genius behind all the exotic cupcake flavors and Chef Johann Springfield, head baker makes the cupcakes a reality.  In addition to the exclusive specialty cupcake Decadence D’Or Sweet Surrender carries: Red Velvet, Lemon Strawberry, Chocolate Ganache, Carrot, Black Forest, Strawberry, Coconut and Chocolate Fudge cupcakes. 

Sweet Surrender, located on The Palazzo casino floor next to guest elevators, is open Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. through 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. through Midnight.  Special orders can be placed directly by calling 702-607-0753.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news

Michelin Three-Star Chef Masayoshi Takayama to Open First Las Vegas Restaurant

Michelin three-star chef Masayoshi Takayama — who opened Ginza Sushi-ko in Los Angeles in the ’80s, transplanted his temple of sushi from a mid-Wilshire Los Angeles strip mall to a second-floor aerie off Rodeo Drive (where Urasawa is now) in the ’90s and moved to New York to open Masa and Bar in 2004- is set to debut his first Vegas venture on Dec. 17: another Bar Masa and Shaboo, a shabu-shabu restaurant. 

He joins fellow three-star chef  Pierre Gagnaire of Paris (who opened Twist, his first restaurant in the U.S.) as well as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michael Mina, in the $8.5-billion CityCenter on the Vegas Strip.   

“It’s a new, gigantic building where I get to create my idea, my style,” Takayama says. “It’s more than the food. Very different from Ginza Sushi-ko style.” 

It’s also very different from Bar Masa in New York; the Las Vegas outpost — inside the Aria Resort & Casino — is about three times the size, decorated in high Strip style with 15-foot doors of teak and copper, curved red leather banquettes and arched ceilings. 

Takayama calls it coming full circle. On his first trip to Los Angeles from Tokyo, he got off the plane and drove directly to Las Vegas to see “flat land.”  

The menu for Bar Masa in Las Vegas will recall the one in New York, with Japanese small plates such as spicy cod roe pasta with purple shiso flowers; duck with foie gras; sizzling spicy octopus; or grilled eel with rice. (He says his fish will still be from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo.) 

The more-intimate 52-seat Shaboo is located inside Bar Masa, serving omakase (tasting menu) shabu-shabu at tables equipped with individual induction heating elements for cooking beef flown in from Chiba prefecture.

1 Comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Mist Lounge in Las Vegas to be Resurrected as Gilley’s Saloon in TI

The cozy Mist Lounge in Las Vegas, located just off the Treasure Island casino floor, has closed awhile back, ending its memorable six-year run.   Now, a new nightclub and restaurant is planned in its space. 

The Lounge has been sold back to former Frontier, now TI (Treasure Island) owner Phil Ruffin, who plans to create his hallmark sawdust-on-the-floor country nightclub Gilley’s at TI in the former Mist Lounge space. 

TI Vice President of Hotel Sales & Marketing Don Voos confirms that Mist will indeed become home to the rebirth of the nostaligic, countrified Gilley’s Saloon– with a little help from its neightbor, Pizzeria Francesco’s that will be demolished  and merged in with the new space. 

“We will be building a new Gilley’s Saloon & BBQ restaurant,” says Voos.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Wanna Learn to Roll Sushi in Las Vegas?

If you’re like us at Las Vegas Backstage Access, you love dining on sushi, it’s just that if you partake often it leaves a big dent in your wallet.  Well, here’s your opportunity to learn to roll sushi and save money in the process. 

Hachi located inside of Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd. in Las Vegas is offering a sushi rolling class at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 for $85 per person, plus tax. 

You’ll be learning from the best- executive chef Linda Rodriguez, and her husband and chef de cuisine, Martin Swift, and head sushi chef Fernando Luna of Hachi, who will combine to teach the yummy class. 

Rodriguez was the first female chef to have studied under famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa. 

The two-hour class will offer each participant his or her own work area with all ingredients conveniently at arm’s length. 

For more information or to make a reservation, please call 702-797-7054.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Betcha Can’t Down this Las Vegas Rippa of a Burger!

Designed like an artsy roadhouse (or are all longhorn skulls just blown glass?), this eco-friendly Las Vegas burger joint serves juicy piles of dry-aged, hormone-free Hereford beef with never-frozen accoutrements: homemade pickles delivered daily, from-scratch ketchup, and farmstead cheeses (American, Cabot cheddar, Brie, goat, and you-name-it). burger

Their saloon-style bar innovatively serves up Vitamin Water cocktails or, if all that heath-food c__p is not for you, take a guzzle of their booze-loaded milkshakes with straws made from a biodegradable corn-based polymer — along with the shake, the straw will go straight to your hips.  And the good thing about it all- their food has no MSG- and they have wheelchair access. Imagine that. 

But the good gets even better.  They have recently issued a gastronomic challenge of unmatched giganto proportions: Finish their four-pound Extreme Burger with fixings and the pound of fries that come with it in an hour and the burger will be renamed for you.   Think of it like streets being named for the deceased… 

Recently, competitive eater Ron Koch of Las Vegas reportedly finished the meal – lounging with a respirator now – in 27 minutes, having it promptly and aptly named the “Undertaker.”   It included six patties, weighing a half-pound each, cheese, bacon, Portobello mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, burger sauce, spicy mustard, herb mayo and ghost peppers (aka naga jolokia peppers, confirmed by Guinness World Records to be the hottest chili in the world) and served on a sweet egg bun no less. 

But all records are meant to be broken, right?   Their new challenge features 11 patties (if the math is right, that’s a little shy of eight pounds) and consume not one, but three pounds of greasy fries of the good cholesterol kind.  Down about 11 pounds of food in an hour and the burger will be renamed for you – – or perhaps you could negotiate your choice of headstone at the grave site of your choosing?

The good news is that even if you don’t finish in an hour or all of it, the bill still will total $30. 

Now, really, is this an epic feast your arteries can be denied? 

To test your eating prowess, just head down to LBS Burger restaurant located inside the Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., in Las Vegas. Call if you dare- 702-835-9393.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Joey Chestnut Sets World Meatball Eating Record today in Las Vegas: stuffed 6 pounds down in 10 minutes!

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut became the first-ever Martorano’s Masters Meatball Eating Champion today, Sunday, Nov. 8, at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  Chestnut devoured 50 meatballs in the 10-minute Major League Eating (MLE) sanctioned competition. The 6.25 pounds of meatballs eaten in 10-minutes set a new world record in the meatball discipline. The contest featured a star-studded field of Major League Eaters and celebrities all vying for a $1,500 first-place prize and title of Martorano’s Meatball Champion.JoeyChestnut

When asked about the key to his victory, Chestnut quickly pointed to the quality of the meatballs. “The great taste and high quality of the meatballs were evident in every bite,” said Chestnut. “I am honored to have name my forever associated with Martorano’s world-famous meatballs.” 

The competition proved to be fierce with Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti finishing a single meatball behind Chestnut’s total of 50 to finish in second place and win $750. Diminutive 105-pound Sonya Thomas ate 42 meatballs to finish in third place ($500), while rookie upstart Ben Monson ate 38 meatballs to finish in fourth place and win $250. Henderson, Nevada native Rich “The Locust” LeFevre, 65, came out of retirement to compete in his hometown and ate 33 meatballs to finish sixth.   

 “Watching the best eaters in the world eat bowl after bowl of my meatballs was a real compliment,” said Steve Martorano. “It was very important to me that they enjoy the meatballs during the championship and I am proud my meatballs could satisfy the appetites of top Major League Eaters.” 

Playboy cover model and new starlet of Fantasy in Las Vegas, Angelica Bridges, also got in the act and competed at Martorano’s on Sunday. Bridges, who was recently honored by Maxim margazine as one of the “50 Sexiest Women in the World,” was the thumbs up crowd favorite in her competitive eating debut, where she ate 10 meatballs totaling more than a pound of food.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Uncategorized

Tommy Rocker Puts On His Rockin’ Shoes Again in Las Vegas

Tommy Rocker has been a Las Vegas club/restaurant owner and long time musician and entertainment fixture for decades- probably singing more Margaritaville ballads to locals and out-of-towners then Jimmy Buffet himself — and plucking more feelin’ good tunes from his guitar than his patrons drank Margaritas at his Cantina in Las Vegas. TommyRocker

So, it was no major surprise that about four years ago, during a talk after one of his trademark Saturday open-mic shows, Tommy Rocker (real name: Thomas Greenough) spun yet another euphoric and repetitive tale about how he was going to turn his Tommy Rocker’s Cantina into an adult club.  At which juncture, most patrons just so fit to call for another drink. 

Remarkably, he’d held a topless-club license for years but had never taken advantage of using it to ostensibly draw in the big bucks. Then, about a year and a half later, in the summer of 2007, Rocker converted mere bravado into action, turning the one-time Parrot Head emporium on 4275 Dean Martin Drive, just south of The Rio into a gentlemen’s club.  

But soon he found that even the lure of silicone boobies wasn’t enough to make him visit his business often, which was his usual modus operandi.  Inactions and neglect eventually translated into a suffering balance sheet, badly in need of life support and more than just mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, no matter how sexy the giver. The adult club was a good idea, in theory, but so not Tommy. 

So Rocker decided to give up on his “gentlemen’s club” and switch back to his old open-mic, live music beach-club format that was attended regularly by a standing-room clientele. 

“A couple of months ago, I found myself thinking, ‘I hate this bar. I hate coming here, and I own the place.’ I realized then it was time to change it back,” says Rocker. 

And not any too soon.  On Sept. 9 Tommy Rocker’s Cantina & Grill, received 19 demerits including violations for slimy and spoiled mushrooms. 

Under his new business name, Tommy Rocker’s Mojave Beach Bar & Grill, he’s not only vowed to clean up his food act but has scheduled a comedy night (Cozy’s Comedy Corner, the first Friday of every month, inadvertently giving First Friday more competition), his own sing-along show Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. and country night with Seth Turner at 8 p.m. Wednesdays, followed by open mic with Las Vegas singer/songwriter Joey Vitale. 

The grand reopening and 20th anniversary for Rocker’s business in Las Vegas is Oct. 3. 

This is a good thing. This is a very good thing. Tell your friends.  The conga line forms to the left.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

M Resort Spa Casino Hosts Inaugural Italian Festival in Las Vegas

The M Resort Spa Casino is continuing their “foodie” tradition by bringing back a Las Vegas favorite.  After serving as the setting for the 2009 season of Bravo’s Top Chef,  the Marnell family, M Resort owners, are hosting their Italian Festival poolside at the Villagio Del Sole.   The event is scheduled for October 17 and 18th from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.   Admission is free. 

The first Italian Festival was held 17 years ago at the Marnell family’s Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.  It quickly became a locals’ favorite, bringing thousands of people to the Rio’s two-day event.  

“I’m looking forward to starting a new tradition with it [The Italian Festival] here at the M…I hope people bring their whole family and enjoy great Italian food and entertainment in an unbelievable setting,” said Anthony Marnell III, Chairman and CEO of the M Resort Casino Spa. 

Guests at the Italian Festival will be able to sample calzones, pizza and more prepared by local restaurants as well as the M Resort’s own world renowned chefs.  There will be Bocce tournaments and grape stomping and spaghetti eating contests.  But if nothing else, the trip to the Henderson hotel would be worth it just to sample the dessert table – stacked high with cheesecake, biscotti, Italian ices, cannoli and spumoni.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

B.B. King Brings Thrilling Blues Club to Las Vegas

BBKingThe “Thrill is Gone” no longer as the King of Blues brings his popular restaurant, bar and nightlife venue, B.B. King’s Blues Club, to Las Vegas. The namesake that made Lucille famous is set to open winter 2009 at The Mirage.   With very few blues clubs in Las Vegas, this club will be a welcome addition.

From early morning to late night, B.B. King’s Blues Club will serve the best in Creole cuisine fused with that southern comfort touch. Palates of Las Vegas visitors and locals alike are sure to be awakened by signature items such as Fried Dill Pickles, Gumbo Ya Ya Straight from the Bayou, Lip Smacking Ribs, Southern Fried Catfish and Banana Bread Pudding.   

And it doesn’t stop with the food- the drink concoctions are just as tasty and full of soul – from the Boll Weevil that’s sure to pack a punch to the Wang Dang Doodle that the women will love. 

It is an all-in-one experience as B.B. King’s Blues Club offers music seven nights a week from funky and fast to soulful and smooth. Come for dinner and experience the tunes that emanate from the in-room stage. As the night progresses, so will the tunes as guests turn to the dance floor to dance the night away. The house bands at B.B. King’s Blues Club surpass the standard of what many know to be a house band, and friends of the King are likely to stop by at any time to join them and jam the night away. 

B.B. King’s Blues Club at The Mirage will be located across from The Beatles Revolution Lounge and next to Samba Brazilian Steakhouse. The 558-seat venue will feature four bars; one outside looking into the club and three inside, all with great views of the stage and entertainment. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining; open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends or until the last man (or woman) is left standing. The signature retail section of the famed blues club will be open all hours for patrons to take home some soul, including T-shirts, glassware, guitar picks and more. For more information: www.bbkingclubs.com

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Dine Way, Way Up in the Las Vegas Sky- No Walls!

Las Vegas always loves hosting the unique, out of the ordinary experiences – even crazy stuff – for our visitors and Las Vegans like.  Now Las Vegas fun doesn’t have to stop before dinner, but can continue all the way through it- way, way up in the sky! DinnerInTheSky

An unforgettable dining experience is being offered by Dinner in the Sky at 2800 West Sahara Ave. in Las Vegas, where 22 dinner guests dine suspended over 160-180 feet in the Las Vegas air!  The guests sit comfortably at a Sky Table, dining on fine food prepared by Sky Chefs while enjoying spectacular views of the Las Vegas valley and skyline. 

Twenty-two Formula One race car style seats with five-point harnesses are affixed to the perimeter of a 17-foot-by-30-foot platform. Diners take their seats and a “Sky Chef” and three “Sky Waiters,” who assist in the final food preparation and serving of dishes such as “Sky-High Chicken” or “Over-the-Top Filet,” stand in the middle of the platform. 

Chefs prepare and serve the food in the air. Diners have no floor beneath them, though they do have foot rests. Diners can also turn their seats 180 degrees. 

The five-star dining experience happens by the use of a 250-ton, hydraulic, telescoping crane that reaches up to 183 feet into the air, smooth as riding on an elevator. The platform and seats weigh seven tons, are held by eight cables and need a really strong wind to make it scarier than exhilarating– the entire apparatus is rated to be safe in winds up to 35 mph. 

Dinner in the Sky, open from 3 p.m to midnight six nights a week, costs from $200 to $500 per person. It is costlier if, for instance, diners wanted to take their “flight” — term for going for a sky-high dinner — during sunset. 

Each dinner guest is always treated to extra special VIP treatment.  They offer pick up and drop off at your hotel, a red carpet reception, complimentary photography and access to the Sky Lounge, a fun and festive place to party down or just relax before and after your flight. 

The lofty dining idea was first conceived in Belgium, but now has spread to Canada, China, and more than a dozen other countries around the world.  

Las Vegas was the first and still is – for now – the only place in the U.S. to experience the unique dining experience.

Now the high-hanging gastronomical business wants to expand and open a new Las Vegas location smack dab on the Las Vegas Strip in the burned-out remains of the Trump building sales office across the street from the Wynn properties, just north of Fashion Show Mall.  

Obviously, his neighbor, casino mogul Steve Wynn is not at all hep into the idea, thinking it will draw people away from his current Wynn and Encore Las Vegas establishments. 

Terry Murphy, who spoke on behalf of Wynn Resorts at the July 21 Planning Commission meeting, said “this is just not acceptable in terms of what the Wynn is asking for in their neighborhood.” Wynn Resorts complained that Dinner in the Sky is a “carnival-like attraction.” 

The owner of Dinner in the Sky chuckled at the “carnival” characterization. 

This Wednesday, August 19 the Clark County Commission will review the proposal. 

The owner says that if he can move to the Strip, he expects the number of Dinner in the Sky employees to increase from 15 now to about 80 by the end of the year.

He also says Steve Wynn will be pleasantly surprised once he sees it up and running. 

“We’ll have patrons who will pay $200 to $500 per person, and those are the kind of people you’d think he would want to visit his hotel across the street,” he said.

For more information or reservations, please call 702.257.7303 or 1-877-4SKYDINE or visit http://www.dinnerintheskylv.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Eva Langoria Parker & Todd English – – Hungry in Las Vegas

Eva Langoria Parker of “Desperate Housewifes” fame and star chef Todd English are teaming up on a Latin-themed steakhouse planned for the new CityCenter in Las Vegas.  ToddEnglish

The restaurant will be a spinoff from Beso in Hollywood and is planned to open later this year when the CityCenter opens.  Jonas Lawrence, formerly of Rokbar in Miami, is the managing partner for the celebrity venture. 

English, whose Boston-based Olives restaurant chain includes an eatery at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, will feature his Latin take on flatbreads, along with yummy tacos and chili-rubbed steak.  He also is planning a British pub at CityCenter. 

Langoria Parker will contribute her guacamole recipe and tortilla soup to the menu. 

Though not officially confirmed, there is talk that Victoria Beckham, wife of British soccer star David Beckham, will also be a partner in the venture.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Skinny is Out, Fat is New Trend in Las Vegas

If you think lifestyle in Las Vegas, consider a person getting in their car, puffing on a cancer stick to go down a block to our neon lit McDonald’s for a super-duper Big Mac combo.  Or hunkered down with their mouth wrapped around aMcDonalds huge greasy pizza.  At least that’s the conclusion drawn from recent surveys of the nation’s most fit cities. 

Las Vegas didn’t come in last place, but they really tried.  Las Vegas came in 42nd place in a field of 50 cities, behind the leading fittest American cities of Washington, D.C.(first), Minneapolis-St. Paul (second), and Denver (third). 

The Fitness Index results from the American College of Sports Medicine ranked the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. using criteria such as the percentage of people who are obese, how often residents ate fruits and vegetables, how many smoke, and how much public space there was. 

Those findings came on the heels a few months ago from a survey in Men’s Fitness magazine, which ranked Las Vegas as the fourth fattest in the nation. 

To add insult to injury, the National Alliance of Mental Illness released their state-by-state findings in March, giving Nevada a “D” grade overall for dealing with the associated issues, and an “F” grade in some key categories. 

I don’t know about you, but writing on this stuff makes the staff of Las Vegas Backstage Access very hungry for some fast-food.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

The Bard Takes Up Sin City Digs

“A Taste of Shakespeare” – a new venture from the Las Vegas playhouse and Springs Preserve that presents  bite-sized 15-minute versions of the classic plays – is planned for the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas on May 23-25.  shakespeare

The outings will also feature food, wine tastings and performances by the rejuvenated Henderson Symphony Orchestra.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, travel, Uncategorized

DISH Las Vegas Culinary Fundraiser on April 3

In the depression of the 1930s, soup kitchens and breadlines were the primary sources of nutrition for a large portion of the country.  Now, in the recession of 2009, organizations like Three Square in Las Vegas are serving as disbursement hubs for donated foods and trying to keep meals on the tables of lower to middle class families in Southern Nevada. 

To support Three Square, local Las Vegas chefs and entertainers will be participating in DISH Las Vegas – a first time fundraiser at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve on April 3. 

Planned to participate will be Chef Kerry Simon, Chef Rick Moonen, Chef Peter Sherlock, Chef Rock of Hell’s Kitchen, Carrot Top, George Wallace, Clint Holmes, Louie Anderson, Susan Anton and UFC Fighters. 

The one-day event will include an art exhibit of personally designed plates, exceptional food, wine and musical entertainment.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Monster Hunger? Try the 2-foot, 6-pound Las Vegas “The Bomb” Burrito!

Call it a stimulating stomach bailout…a Las Vegas casino café,  the NASCAR Café at the Sahara Hotel & Casino, is burritorewarding patrons who can put away their 2-foot, 6-pound burrito with a most logical prize – free unlimited rides on their roller coaster that runs in both forward and reverse.  Talk about an upchucking experience…

The offer comes with one caveat, though: Those who accept the challenge but can’t finish “The Bomb” burrito have to take a picture with an extra small, pink T-shirt that says “Weenie.”

The NASCAR Cafe at the Sahara Hotel & Casino began selling their cheese-and-guacamole slathered monster burritos on February 26 for $19.95.   No word on when the offer will end, so hurry on down there when you haven’t eaten in a week.

Those who can finish the monstrous entree get it for free, along with two unlimited coaster passes and a T-shirt proclaiming they “Conquered the Bomb.”

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Suds Gush at Sin City Brewing Company in Las Vegas

Economy got you down?  Well, head down to the Flamingo in Las Vegas come this March and you will have a new place to drown your sorrows.  

The Sin City Brewing Company has plans to open its second Las Vegas location inside the Flamingo.   (The brewery’s original location is inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas.) 

The new Las Vegas-based microbrewery will be located near the hotel’s guest entrance and valet area and have an outdoor patio area adjacent to the Flamingo’s 15-acre pool and wildlife complex.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Booze, Go-Go Dancers, & Business Mix at Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Show

Did you know that vodka comes in 80 varieties? Booze, go-go dancers and serious businesses mix together at the Las nightclubVegas Convention Center during the annual Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, March 1-4, 2009.  

Last year’s event attracted over 20,000 industry professionals who had a difficult task of staying focused while testing products 9-5.  With ice-carved bar stands and bottomless shot glasses, the showfloor is a magical place to bump into Jack Sparrow in character- or a pair of D cups.

Nightclub and bar operations knowledge galore will be mixed and served up at this year’s show. Leading bar and nightclub industry executives, owners and innovators from around the world will be on hand to discuss creative ways to drive business growth and profitability.  

Master of mixology “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff will be presented a Lifetime Achievement Award on March 3.    In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, Nightclub & Bar will also name the winners in five additional categories, culminating in their Five Star Awards.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, travel, Uncategorized

Free Entertainment in Las Vegas: Fremont Street Experience

fremontstreetIn the 60’s Vegas was known for the Rat Pack, showgirls and inexpensive entertainment.   Today the $180 per person ticket for some of the best rated Strip shows is above the budget of many tourists looking for a way to get the most value for the dollar.  Perhaps that explains the interest in the Fremont Street Experience:  A no-cost spectacular that blends elements of classic Las Vegas with current technology in comfortable old-Vegas style. 

When the Fremont Street Experience was first proposed the idea of creating a pedestrian mall under a lighted canopy was not just considered risky, but ridiculous.  However, with an eye to revitalizing the downtown area and giving a boost to Las Vegas landmark hotels like Binon’s and the Golden Nugget, the city council closed a four block stretch of Fremont in 1994 and began the process of creating a unique historic Las Vegas visitor opportunity. 

Now you can step off Las Vegas Boulevard at Fremont and step into the Neon Museum – a collection of neon signs from bi-gone casino’s and hotels.  There is a selection of inexpensive curb-side and casino restaurants to choose from and hourly presentations on the Viva-Vision canopy providing free viewing.  Different bands perform each week for free on the central sound stage.  That’s also where specialty events take place several times a year, including the annual New Years Eve celebration that is jam packed with wall-to-wall partygoers. 

Please check out the Fremont Street Experience calendar for the Viva Vision schedule and for a list of hotel/restaurant options and check online for package discounts available throughout the year.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, Performances, travel, Uncategorized

MGM Grand’s L’Atelier de Joel Robucho Restaurant Garners Multiple Culinary Awards

L’Atelier de Joel Robucho located at the MGM Grand Hotel has been recognized with a AAA Four Diamond Award, a 2009 Michelin Star, and a 2008 Wine Spectacular Award of Excellence.  Unlike most fine dining restaurants, the lateliercounter service design allows diners the chance to see the food being prepared while enjoying a variety of tasty entrees. 

In 2008, Chef Joël Robucho was recognized as the ‘most starred’ chef with a total of 18 Michelin stars awarded to his restaurants in Tokyo, Paris, Monte Carlo, London and Las Vegas.  

But even before this latest round of accolades, Robucho was renowned for his culinary excellence.  When Robucho was 36, he opened a restaurant in Paris and only three years later received his first Michelin guide three-star award.   He has been acknowledged as one of the chef’s who put an end to the pretentious and pricey menu’s that had become common place in most high end restaurants.  His skill in the kitchen earned him the title of “chef of the century” in 1990 by the Gualt-Millau,  After a brief hiatus from the dining world in the mid-90’s, Robucho rejoined the culinary world with interests in a variety of restaurants located worldwide.  

“A good dish”, Robucho says, “is like a good wine has a strong attack and a long finish.  Now days, a lot of dishes have a strong attack, but a while later you can’t even remember what it was you ate!” 

This isn’t a problem at the L’Atelier Las Vegas.  Their signature dishes include Pommes Puree (mashed potatoes), La Caille au Foie Gras (free-range quail stuffed with foie gras) and Le Rumsteak en Tartare et ses Frites a L’ancienne (steak tartar). 

The dress code is business casual; the prices have earned L’Atelier a ranking on a number of  ‘most expensive dining’  lists.    Currently the MGM Grand has several online offers that include discounts at on-site restaurants including 30% off for Mastercard purchase and room/gift card discounts.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

‘Power of Love’ Celebrity Fundraiser for Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas

A gala celebrity fundraiser to benefit the planned Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas will be held on February 28, louruvotime TBA.   The event will feature cuisine of chefs Todd English and Wolfgang Puck, auction, and a long-awaited performance by Siegfried and Roy.  Admission is $1,500 per person or tables can be reserved.  For information, contact the Bellagio at 702-263-9797 or www.keepmemoryalive.org

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Resorts Continue to Build in Las Vegas

Despite our economy, there still is much casino and hotel room construction going on in Las Vegas. In fact, nearly 13,000 hotel rooms remain under construction in 2009.

The $2.9 billion Fontainebleau mega-resort is planned to open late this year.  It features 3,815 rooms and suites; 27 restaurants and bars; a 7-acre pool deck with four pools; a 350,000-square-foot shopping area called the Runway; and a spa with 55 treatment rooms.  That’s a mouthful.

The Silverton Casino Lodge is undergoing a $130-million expansion including adding pools, a high-limit gaming salon and 800 slot machines.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino expects to add 950 guest rooms and expand the pool, while adding more meeting space.

The $1-billion M Resort is heading toward a March 1 opening of its 390 guest rooms and a 100,000-square-foot pool that gives the feel of being in a canyon.

Finally, construction continues on Las Vegas’ 900-lb gorilla, CityCenter, an $8.6-billion development slotted to open in late 2009.  Hotels in the project include the 4,000-room, 61-story Aria Resort & Casino; a 400-room Mandarin Oriental, the first in Las Vegas; and Vdara, an all-suite condo/hotel project with more than 1,500 units. Structural issues have delayed the opening of CityCenter’s Harmon Hotel.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday Mr. Las Vegas Casino Mogul … Happy Birthday Steve Wynn

One thing is certain:  Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn really craves his birthdays, making them a weeklongstevewynn extravaganza.  Saturday night during the gala Encore opening Harry Connick Jr. was the featured entertainer that joined a star-studded crowd in celebrating the 67th birthday for Steve Wynn.   The highlight of the evening’s performance was when Connick sang Frank Sinatra songs,  “Luck Be A Lady,” and “Here’s to the Losers.”   Steve Wynn loves anything to do with Frank Sinatra.

harryconnickjrEarlier on Thursday, Wynn called up Connick and they dined at Encore’s Sinatra restaurant.  Then on Friday Wynn called up Connick again and they hooked up for dinner with Donald Trump, Neil Diamond, and others. 

Wynn’s real birthday is Tuesday and the rumor is that Wynn plans to spend it in the posh Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Miss Indiana Katie Stam Crowned Miss America in Las Vegas

Culminating at least a year of preparation, and followed by weeks of pre-pageant festivities in Las Vegas, on Saturday evening, January 24, Miss Indiana Katie Stam was crowned the 2009 Miss America at the pageant broadcast live from the Planet Hollywood Theatre for the Performing Arts.  katiestam 

Norm Clarke, entertainment columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, reported that the number of free tickets given away to fill the 7,000-seat theatre for the event was in the thousands. But, even so, a jump in the TV ratings is anticipated when voting results are tallied.

Stam, a 22-year-old communications major from the University of Indianapolis, whose platform was promoting community service, called it “a dream come true.”  

During the question-and-answer session that followed, Stam gushed to the media about what an exciting year it has been, with Barack Obama becoming the first African-American president, adding “and now I’m Miss America.”

The fresh-off-the-farm, church-going beauty tactfully thumped first-place winner Chastity Hardman, 24, of Georgia to take home the $50,000 scholarship and the right to represent the Miss America organization through 2009. 

After walking the runway with her new crown and bouquet of roses, the new Miss America quickly pointed out that she loves breakfast food and can’t live without laughing. 

Many Miss America contestants had eating on their minds and in their agenda, attending many eating fests while enjoying Las Vegas.

Days before the 2009 Miss America Live! Pageant, saucy Miss Massachusetts Alicia Zitka, 22, of West Springfield, quickly dispelled the stereotype pageant image of having to adhere to a strict diet. 

 Thankful she was wearing and evening dress and not shoe-horned into a swimsuit, the talented Miss America dance contestant was a quick study when she learned to prepare Italian food- and then ate with gusto her high-caloric creations. 

 Her January 17 pageant outing was to the Buca di Beppo restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Zitka was accompanied by 51 other ravished Miss America contestants.  “I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook fine Italian food,” said a beaming and hungry Zitka, a University of Massachusetts – Amerst student, as she received cooking tutelage from Buca di Beppo executive chef Michael Miyahara.  

Providing a brief food profile to accompany her impressive pageant credentials, Zitka revealed, “My real favorite food is chicken noodle soup.  I’ll eat it anytime- when it’s snowing outside, and even on hot days.”  Then she added she wasn’t fond of eating fancy seafood, though.  Guys take note for your blackbook.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Bobby Flay’s Restaurants in Lawsuit: Employees Allege Wage Cheating

A new lawsuit accuses some of celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s restaurants of cheating workers.bobbyflay

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court by current and former employees, names as a defendant Bold Food LLC. The company owns or operates Bar American and Mesa Grill NYC in Manhattan.  Another restaurant is in Atlantic City.

Bobby Flay’s Bold Food LLC also owns the Mesa Grill in Las Vegas. 

The lawsuit claims Flay’s company violated the wage and hour laws by engaging in improper tip-pooling practices. It also says the company failed to pay proper overtime pay and failed to reimburse employees for some expenses.

It’s one of a string of similar lawsuits filed on behalf of employees of New York restaurants.  No management comment provided if more lawsuits in other locations will be forthcoming.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Top Five Picks for Chinese New Year Celebrations in Las Vegas

Currently, about 7 percent of Las Vegas guests come from Asian markets.  But when you combine the visiting chinesenewyearpopulation with local Asian residents, it is hoped Las Vegas businesses will get a much needed boost from the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox – which officially begins on January 26. 

Here’s our Las Vegas Backstage Access Top Five Picks, listed sequentially:

  • 1) Jan. 22 – Charleston Heights Arts Center is hosting the film “The Road Home” at 6:30 p.m. at 800 S. Brush St. $3 admission. 702-229-6383
  • 2) Jan. 25 – Green Valley Ranch will host the second annual Chinese New Year’s concert and party- acrobats, magic show, Chinese folk dance, Kung fu demonstrations, and more. 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway. 702-686-9255
  • 3) Jan. 26 through Feb. 28 – Bellagio Conservatory will feature its Chinese New Year’s show with 15-foot-long botanical ox made from more than 10,000 living Alternanthera; an 18-foot-toall Chinese God of Wealth and Fortune, I-Ching coins, and more. 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Free.
  • 4) Feb. 8 – Chinese American Chamber of Commerce is having their 15th annual New Year’s celebration from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza, 4255 Spring Mountain Rd. $3 adults; $1 children ages 6 to 12, younger are free. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend, so best to arrive early.
  • 5) Last, but not least, the Lohan School of Shaolin will present several authentic lion dances throughout the Las Vegas Valley during the Chinese New Year season. Please call 702-364-5875 for locations and times.

1 Comment

Filed under art, entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, travel, Uncategorized

Kudos to Las Vegas Top Chef Eugene “Gene” Villiatora

eugene1Las Vegas chef Eugene “Gene” Villiatora was eliminated, sadly, from the “Top Chef: Season 5” episode that aired on January 7.  Villiatora, originally from Hawaii, served up Whole Red Snapper with Daikon Fettucini, in an episode that introduced Toby Young as a member of the judges table.  Young, restaurant critic of the Evening Standard magazine, replaced the recently married Gail Simmons.

Villiatora made it to the half-way point of the New York- based competition and was routinely praised for making an effort to offer dishes that weren’t mainstream.  On Chef Tom Colicchio’s BravoTV blog he said, “…what was nice to see was his willingness to take risks and push the envelope.”

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, travel, Uncategorized

Welcome to our Las Vegas VBA Blog

 

Vegas Backstage Access has launched live on the Web:

http://www.BackstageAccessVegas.com

Whew!  It was quite a long and challenging ride.  But it was well worth it.  Lots of careful thought and design planning time and effort went into our branding and launch. 

We’re all about writing and photographing on the Las Vegas entertainment, lifestyle, food, art, and travel scene. 

Feel free to read, write and submit anything you might think others in the journalism and photojournalism profession might enjoy.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, Performances, travel, Uncategorized