If you haven’t checked out Vegas Streats the second Saturday of the month, you should definitely hit it soon!
It brings together all things fun, cool and hip in one location: food trucks, culture, art, fashion and music, all along Jackie Gaughan Plaza outside the El Cortez Hotel & Casino, 600 E. Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Deejays and bands spin and play indie rock, hip-hop, house music and dubstep. This week, DJ Zo, Kind Conrad, Earwaxx, Radio Ramone and more will be there. Graffiti artists create work (the legal kind!) right in front of your eyes. If that’s not enough, streetwear brands sell their wares, including Hippoe Esthetics, Pharmacy, Tunay, Feature and a bunch of others.
If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that food trucks are the hottest thing going right now. Fill your belly with Slidin’ Thru, Sausagefest, Pop’s Philly, WTF Pizza, Papi Churro, Tasty Bunz and several others. There’s something for every taste, and these are no “roach coaches” – the food is fresh and delicious.
The festivities run 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the weather should be absolutely perfect – it’s still not too hot to be out at night downtown. The crowd is the best, too! Join us!
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One of the many benefits to living in Las Vegas is all of the performers who come through. In any given month, we can see classic rockers, rap artists, country singers and jazz greats. I have pretty eclectic musical tastes, so I get excited about a lot of them.
The next few months will bring a dizzying assortment of acts to the casinos and venues around town. Santana’s been at House of Blues regularly for a while and is on the schedule at least through November. Snoop Dogg is at the Hard Rock this Saturday (May 12, 2012), and new wave oldsters the B-52s will be there on June 9. You can catch Garth Brooks most weekends at the Encore. The Fremont Experience’s Rock of Vegas Summer Concert Series will feature a lineup of eighties hair bands and icons like Vince Neil of Motley Crue (May 26), Dennis DeYoung of Styx (June 9) Night Ranger (June 22), Warrant and Skid Row (July 21), Bret Michaels (Aug. 4) and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister (Sept. 1). Practice your head banging! Also, the Vans Warped Tour, with a lineup of up-and-comers, will be at the Luxor Festival Grounds on June 20.
Not to mention, Las Vegas has some of the best deejays in the world and attracts the top visiting deejays to our world-class clubs. It’s a great place to be!
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I think everyone who’s been to Las Vegas has seen a Cirque du Soleil show, and if you live here, you’ve probably seen at least a few. I’ve seen some I loved and some that were kind of a dud, to be honest. So if you can only attend one when you’re here, which should you see?
There’s a huge buzz now – no pun intended – around Absinthe, and it’s totally deserving. It’s not in a big, glitzy auditorium like most: It’s set in a small tent outside Caesar’s Palace. Critics love it and it’s also getting rave reviews on social media. It’s a combination of acrobatics (of course) and a circus-style variety show. Some have compared it to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Warning: the adult themes are NOT for youngsters or the easily offended! There’s an amazing burlesque singer who takes nearly everything off, and the material gets pretty raunchy. The host, The Gazillionaire, and his sidekick, Penny Pippets, swear profusely, and the jokes can be vulgar. They target audience members with their off-color humor, too, so if you sit in one of the front few rows, be prepared to be the butt of a joke – and anywhere you sit, know that you’ll laugh your butt off!
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Rock and Brew: A Beer and Music Festival that went from 6:30-11:30 p.m. Friday (May 11, 2012) at the Hard Rock Hotel Pool attracted serious suds lovers. This was the second annual event, and it’s half about the beer and half about the music.
The beer part was pretty extensive, with more than 100 samples from breweries including Joseph James, Ellis Island, Banger Brewing, Guinness, Red Hook, Red Stripe, Craft Brew Alliance, Nevada Beverage, 3 Monkeys, Wirtz Craft Beer Division, Kona, Gordon Biersch, Diageo Beers, Barley’s Brewery, Riley’s Brewery, PBR Beer Portfolio, and the Lee’s Liquor Beer Party Pit.
Entertainers were Play for Keeps, Summit Grove, DJ Sousay, Michael Uriarte, American Cream, and the host, Las Vegas’ Queen of Comedy “Cherise.”
This festival was also for charity, benefiting the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Beverage Club, which educates students on various aspects of the beverage industry. This was their largest fundraiser of the year, and proceeds go back into programs for college students, faculty and alumni. I’ll toast to that!
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I don’t eat a lot of stuff that’s bad for me, but I do occasionally get a craving. And when I do, I want to make it count, so I look for the best! Las Vegas has a seemingly unlimited number of places to eat sweets, but one of my top picks is Vosges Haut-Chocolat in Caesar’s Palace.
This chocolate emporium on the street level of the Forum Shops is famous for bringing the mouthwatering combination of bacon and chocolate to the masses. Now that that’s a little mainstream, I go for the exotic truffles. One is made with absinthe, Chinese star anise, fennel and pastis. Another has ginger and wasabi.
The bars are out of this world, too. Check out the Woolloomooloo: roasted and salted macadamia nuts, Indonesian coconut, hemp seeds and deep milk chocolate. Yes, hemp seeds! Don’t worry; they won’t get you goofy.
Vosges also makes the most exquisite cocoas. I sometimes get an urge for these even on a hot day. The Aztec Elixir Couture Cocoa, with ancho and chipotle chilies, Ceylon cinnamon, Madagascar vanilla bean and cornmeal with dark chocolate, is simply to die for. And it’s vegan! In fact, they sell gluten-free and sugar-free chocolate, too. It’s all of the highest quality, and mostly organic. I like that it’s a “green” company, too, with attention to the most efficient production, packing and shipping methods. That way, when I’m being a little bad, I can still feel a little good about it, too!
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You don’t have to be a gearhead to love and appreciate fine automobiles, and one of the most awesome places on Earth to do so is at the Auto Collections in Las Vegas. It’s on the fifth floor of the Imperial Palace.
The Auto Collections bills itself as the world’s largest classic car museum, with more than 250 classic cars on display in the 125,000-square-foot showroom. And most of them are for sale! You never know who you might see browsing here, shopping for a new acquisition for their collection. But you don’t have to be a collector – this is one of the top tourism destinations in town.
Cars used in popular films and owned by famous people are on display, along with excellent examples of newer and older classic models. They have Ford convertibles from the 1940s, Cadillacs from the 1970s and a sweet 1994 Jaguar XJ220 with only 735 original miles. It held the record for highest top speed of a production car (217 mph) until the McLaren F1 came out in 1994, according to the Auto Collection web site. Wow, what I wouldn’t give to drive that just once!
The museum is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, so it’s easy to fit into your schedule as you’re cruising the strip.
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Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a great way to experience the club scene in Las Vegas is with the Las Vegas Club Crawl. They go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Sure, you can go out on your own, but the Club Crawl is like your personal tour guide and concierge all in one. They take you two four or five clubs in one night, with total VIP service. All entry fees and some drinks are covered, and best of all, no waiting in line! Yup, you waltz right up to the door, where security is waiting.
In addition to having a great time at the clubs, you meet a lot of interesting people on these. Sometimes there’s 100 or more in the group from all age ranges and from all over the country and the world!
Each week, they post online which clubs they’ll hit. This Thursday (May 10), it’s Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer, Coyote Ugly, Foundation Room, Cathouse and LAX. Foundation Room is especially nice due to the views, and Cathouse, with its Moulin Rouge feel, is Vegas sexy all the way.
Let me warn you: There can be a lot of walking. I carry a bag big enough to stuff some flats in it, and I change in between while we’re hoofing it to save my feet for the dance floor. After all, “crawl” is just a term; you don’t want it to be literal!
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Have you been to see the movie Titanic in 3D yet? I have! It was one of my favorite films of all time, and it was even better in 3D!
But you know what’s completely intense? The real-life Titanic exhibit at the Luxor Hotel and Casino. It has four-and-a-half stars on Yelp, and a lot of people say it’s one of the best attractions in Las Vegas. The exhibit includes big pieces, like the impressive Grand Staircase and a huge chunk of ship that drives home how massive it was. But some of the most moving artifacts are the smaller ones, like plates, silverware, jewelry, clothing, money, a still-full and corked bottle of Champagne, and bottles of perfume that still hold their scents after being buried at sea for 75 years – you can inhale the aromas through a hole in a Plexiglas case. It’s stunning how well preserved so many of the items are.
It’s a little spooky in a way, though. At the beginning, they give you a card with a passenger’s name, and at the end, you can check the list to see if your person survived or not. A lot of people report hearing and seeing strange, possibly paranormal activity while in the exhibit.
I hear an Australian billionaire is building a Titanic II and plans to sail from England to New York in 2016. As fascinated as I am by this, I’m not sure I’d buy a ticket … would you?
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Food lovers from around the nation invaded Las Vegas last Thursday through Sunday (May 10-13, 2012) for Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit. The tickets sold out fast!
It kicked off at 11:30 a.m. Thursday with a lunch at Spago at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace celebrating the restaurant’s 20th anniversary. Wolfgang Puck himself was there, as well as Adam Rapoport. All weekend long, celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay, Guy Savoy, José Andrés and Alain Ducasse hosted brunches, lunches and dinners. I wish I could go to all of them!
If I had to pick one event, I’d say go to the Grand Tasting 7:30-10 p.m. Friday night at the Garden of the Gods pool oasis at Caesar’s Palace was the Grand Tasting at 7:30 p.m. It brought together 50 award-winning chefs serving up samples, along with more than 100 fine wines and spirits from around the world.
The Celebrity Chef Poker Tournament started at 10:30 p.m. Friday at the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan. You could pay to watch or play with some your favorites, and it was for a good cause: Proceeds will benefit Communities in Schools and Vegas Roots. Fun, food and charity – all the ingredients for a great event.
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Early May is a great time to be in Las Vegas because the nights are perfect AND because we look forward to Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo parties. This year, they fell on the same day, so the Strip was jam-packed!
The sports books were all slammed with people placing bets, of course. I couldn’t believe I’ll Have Another won! What a great name, especially on Cinco de Drinko.
But my friends and I were a little tired of all the craziness on the Strip after the Derby, so we decided to head out. We didn’t want anything too wild, but we love our margaritas, cervezas and Mexican food on this holiday. (OK, so it’s not a real Mexican holiday, but we like to celebrate anyway!) Several Stations Casinos, which mostly locals frequent, have Mexican restaurants, so we headed to one for their Cinco specials.
They had Coronas for $3.50, a bucket of four Coronitas for $8, and margs for $5 to $8, depending on ingredients. I especially liked the Emerald Margarita for $7 with Midori melon liqueur. Not to mention, we scarfed down some mini torta sliders, Mexican pizzas and crispy tacos, all for a screaming deal. I don’t normally indulge like that, so I said “buenas días” to the gym pronto on Sunday morning. But it was totally worth it!
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