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Monthly Wine Dinners at Giada are Worth The Money

Where: 3595 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 29, 2015 at 8:00 PM | by | ()

For $200 per person, it better be one of the best meals of your life. Speaking from experience, when it comes to specialty dinners, Giada at The Cromwell puts its money where its mouth is. Or its mouth where its money is. Or they have really good food. You know what I mean.

The signature restaurant from Food Network empress Giada De Laurentiis has been putting out top of the line cuisine since it opened just over one year ago. The new Monthly Wine Dinner Series is an excellent way to showcase the skill levels of all departments of the eatery.

As mentioned, it will cost you two hundo, but what youíll be getting, at least judging by past dinners, is a stupendous five course meal with specific wine pairings courtesy of Allegrini Estates. You can expect menu items such as antipasto featuring some of Giadaís greatest hits, a clean arugula salad and Giadaís best-selling lemon spaghetti with shrimp, which is one of the greatest California/Italian mashups youíll ever taste. Plus more.

Along with food and drink, diners will take home a signed picture of the restaurantís namesake, and some of her favorite recipes including one for Giadaís scrumptious lemon ricotta cookies. At the preview dinner, De Laurentiis made a surprise appearance, talked to the diners and gave them all signed books.

Now, in honor of Giada, we rounded up all the ways that Giada loves Giada at this restaurant in a photo gallery below. It's ok, G. We love you too!

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'50 Shades! The Parody' at Bally's is Still Worth It

July 23, 2015 at 3:36 PM | by | ()

Chelsea Phillips-Reid is in the middle.

I still stand by my earlier article. Now that Iíve seen this show a couple of times, I can say this: youíre likely to have a lot of fun at this nutty musical parody of the book thatís changed our entertainment landscape in a big way, whether we want to admit it or not.

Typically, I judge a show by several factors: My initial reaction, aka how much fun I had the very first time I saw it, the setting of how I saw it, and how far along the show was in its own timeline. If I go to a media event and already know half the cast, then that is clearly a particular set of circumstances I realize will not be experienced by 99.27% of other people who see that show.

Also, I am often there for opening night or the grand opening. Iíll never do a review of the actual soft opening because thatís just mean. Performers, producers, etc. all need time to get into their roles, get used to the venue, blah, blah, blah. The thing Iíll never forget though is how genuinely excited (or not) I was after that first taste.

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Valentino Really is Opening Up Right Next to The Bellagio Front Desk

Where: 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 21, 2015 at 6:35 PM | by | ()

I'll take a deluxe room and a side of fancy shoes.

In case you were wondering, Valentino really IS opening up adjacent to the Bellagio front desk. Hermes was already across from the check-in area facing the bell desk on one side and facing Petrossian lounge on the other side.

Now Hermes and Valentinoís storefronts are staring each other down, enemies in the same hotel lobby, vying for shoppersí dollars. It threw me off when I heard another shop was opening inside of the Bellagio lobby because, as a luxury property, with a gorgeous lobby complete with the Fiori di Como flowers by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, the lobby already had a lot of pretty things to look at.

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Just One Dish: Traditional Potato Cakes At Ri Ra

Where: 3930 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89119
July 16, 2015 at 5:48 PM | by | ()

Sometimes, a full restaurant review just won't do. Perhaps, there wasn't time for an A-Z meal. Maybe we just don't want to spoil it all. Or, a dog ate our good pictures. There may still be that one dish worth writing about. A new one, an old one. A newsworthy one or a memorable one (for better or worse). It might be the one dish, or drink, out of the whole experience that gets us to return. Or, stay away.

I love Irish music and the vibe at Mandalay Placeís Irish pub Ri Ra makes it one of my favorite spots even if Iím not the traditional Irish pub fan, at least food and drink-wise. I donít care for Guinness nor bangers, but Iím all about the mashÖed potatoes that is. Ri Raís Traditional Potato Cakes appetizer ($10) is one of my favorites.

Served as two large patties on top of fancy lettuce, this appetizer eats like a meal. Itís much more of a fried mashed potato concept that something crispy all the way through like hash browns. While crispy on the edges, the soft texture inside is a nice contrast. Filled with potatoes, Irish (duh) cheddar and green onions, this dish covers all of the major bar food groups: potatoes, fried stuff and cheese.

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Just One Dish: Brussels Sprout Hearts at Cleo

Where: 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 14, 2015 at 7:10 PM | by | ()

Sometimes, a full restaurant review just won't do. Perhaps, there wasn't time for an A-Z meal. Maybe we just don't want to spoil it all. Or, a dog ate our good pictures. There may still be that one dish worth writing about. A new one, an old one. A newsworthy one or a memorable one (for better or worse). It might be the one dish, or drink, out of the whole experience that gets us to return. Or, stay away.

After hearing from my vegetarian friends how delicious Cleo at SLS was, this omnivore was quite curious. When I go out for a nice meal, itís either Italian or a typical steakhouse dinner of steak and some sides. Potatoes are a vegetable, right? I do love most vegetables but I wouldnít normally choose a restaurant just for its veggie reputation.

Iím so glad I went out of my comfort zone because the meal I had at Cleo, which was recently sold to The One Group, was easily one of the ten best Iíve had in Vegas over a decade of overeating here. While the seasonal mushroom flatbread, spanakopita and mushrooms with puffed rice all were worth returning for on their own, the Brussels Sprouts Hearts from the mezze section of the menu were surprisingly great. They are $9 for a fairly large bowl that was a good size to share with a friend.

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Divas Is Movin' On Up... One Floor During Linq Renovations

Where: 3535 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 14, 2015 at 11:30 AM | by | ()

Assuming you caught our update on Jeff Civillicoís new digs over at Flamingo, you might have noted the part where we said his temporary move was due to renovations of his former showroom at The Linq. If youíre keeping score at home, that means Divas Las Vegas, the show Civillico used to share a stage with, will be displaced as well.

✨ Tonight was our last night performing in the Linq Showroom, formerly the Imperial Palace. This was a classic Vegas...

Posted by Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas on Monday, July 13, 2015

The Facebook page of Frank Marinoís Divas Las Vegas posted a photo of The Linq Showroom after the showís very last performance in that room. Not to worry, both the showroom and the show will go on. The theater is getting a complete renovation and Divas will be sashaying back in all its feather boa-ed glory once the upgrade is complete.

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Ask VegasChatter: Where To Eat The Best Vegetarian Buffets

July 10, 2015 at 5:25 PM | by | ()

The pansy may not be standard at Wicked Spoon but the elevated vegetarian is a staple, including the Caprese with balsamic "pearls."

VegasChatter reader @rosspb asked for our thoughts on the best vegetarian buffet. Without having tried them all and given the fact many buffet menus change from day to day, this is a tough one to answer. Iíve made it through a decent number of them over my time in Vegas and I researched a few others so hereís my best attempt at a qualitative and quantitative breakdown.

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The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Showcases Picasso's Printmaking Processes

Where: 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 10, 2015 at 1:10 PM | by | ()

The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art has traded Faberge eggs for several series of Picasso lithographs and linocuts plus several paintings.

Though there are several Picassos down the casino floor at Bellagioís Picasso restaurant, this collection features 43 works on view together for the first time in the U.S., including one thatís never been seen before, 1928's "Profile of a Woman With Blue Hair." The oil painting is from his estateís private collection and this is the first time it is being shown publicly.

This ďPicasso Ė Creatures and CreativityĒ exhibition centers on his painting and printmaking from 1938-1962. The exhibition was initially supposed to have one other later piece from 1971 but it did not end up being included. In a rare opportunity to see a bit more of Picassoís printmaking processes, three of the plates he used for the making of some of his series of linocuts and lithographs are also on display so guests can see how layers were cut away and new colors were applied to morph the block as he progressed through the series of images.

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Blackjack Tables Down At MGM Grand's Whiskey Down

Where: 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 7, 2015 at 6:41 PM | by | ()

Whiskey Down at MGM Grand got a recent mini-makeover. VegasChatter reader @paperposter sent us this photo showing the gaming loungeís transition to more of a piano lounge vibe.

Joining the ranks of The Bar at Times Square at NYNY and Napoleonís Dueling Piano Lounge at Ballyís, the 24-hour bar features a pair of dueling pianos.

Gaming fans need not worry too much just yet as there are still three of the six blackjack tables in the venue. Who knows if this is a sign gaming will move out of the lounge all together or if MGM Grand just wanted to diversify its entertainment options. I canít imagine serious players being able to keep the count focus with Billy Joel songs being banged out in the background.

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FWIW: The Buffet at Treasure Island is Surprisingly Good

Where: 3300 Las Vegas Blvd, [map], 89109
July 2, 2015 at 3:35 PM | by | ()

Last weekend was one of several firsts for this duck. I joined a friend at the Treasure Island Buffet and Mystere, both of which Iíve somehow escaped in a decade in Vegas. The TI Buffet was a lot better than I expected. Yes, I admittedly went in with moderate to low expectations.

Various seafood dishes and lobster bisque.

There were several surprises I havenít encountered at other buffets. One was an interactive salad station. Iíve seen prepared salads offered as well as the standard build-you-own options but never a station that mixed up guest-selected items so everything could get a nice even distribution of dressing. As somebody who loves to start buffets with an elaborate salad, this was pretty exciting and tasty too. There was even sliced chicken so I could make a full-on cobb.

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La Gloria Fills Out The Forum Food Court at Caesars

Where: 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 1, 2015 at 2:00 PM | by | ()

The straw is usually coated too but we wanted to ease into the spice, just in case!

The Forum Food Court at Caesars Palace is complete. Well, as complete as anything can be in the dynamic restaurant landscape of Las Vegas. The eighth and final spot is filled as Mexican restaurant La Gloria celebrated its grand opening last week. The taco stand with cocktails features the ďstreet foods of MexicoĒ (thatís its tagline) and has rounded out the food courtís offerings.

As a fan of several of the previous food courtís tenants (mainly the decent yet expectedly overpriced pizza and an above par BBQ joint), Iím fairly pleased with the transition. Sometimes you are looking for a quick bite and now thereís a good mix of regional favorites from other parts of the country like Graeterís Ice Cream, well known in Cincinnati, and Brooklynís Di Fara Pizza, plus ever-expanding chains like Earl of Sandwich and Smashburger.

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Ask VegasChatter: Where To Get A Nice Bargain Dinner In Vegas

June 25, 2015 at 3:43 PM | by | ()

Gnocchi a la Bolognese at d.vino.

A reader asked for a reasonably priced dinner spot to celebrate her husbandís 40th birthday. Here are a few of our suggestions. Sound off in the comments with your own ideas for a nice meal that wonít hurt their wallets too much.

If youíre ok with making appetizers into dinner rather than have a full meal, happy hour at Level 107 at Stratosphere offers delicious food and half off prices. Daily from 4-7, you can enjoy buy-one-get-one martinis and half off food. The roasted tomato fondue ($8 at HH pricing) is the dip youíll want to put on everything you ever eat going forward. Black angus sliders ($8 at HH pricing) have a nice flavor burst from horseradish butter. The lollipop chicken wings ($7.50 at HH pricing) are also a must.

There are also apps like shrimp and lobster cocktail, lamb lettuce cups and banh mi sandwiches. As you can see, this is far from your average happy hour fare. The drinks are solid too with the lemon drop being my favorite (two for $15 at HH pricing). The real bonus here is the view. Enjoy a 360-degree view of Vegas from the 107th floor of the hotelís tower.

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