: Didn’t learn until recently that Vegas is known as the “ninth island” of Hawaii since many native Hawaiians have settled in Southern Nevada. Which explains why there are so many Hawaiian restaurants in Vegas. And you can grab a quick taste of Hawaii here in Chinatown at the worldwide chain Mochinut which serves the Mochi donut—a union of Japanese rice cake (mochi) + American-style doughnuts that originated in Hawaii.

DEREK HOUGH’S CREATIVE VISUALIZATION: Dropped into Derek Hough’s “No Limit” show at the Venetian. There were of course the insanely great how-did-they-do that? dance moves. And then there was Hough as uplifting motivational speaker…someone who creatively visualized himself right into a packed high-end showroom on The Strip.

: On a recent hot Thursday night, there were cool grooves at the opening bash for the The Sand Dollar Downtown, at the Plaza Hotel, with sets from Billy Gibbons, Franky Perez and John Popper. This sharp-looking + excellent-sounding space is the second Sand Dollar location—the original one is still rocking in Chinatown. Thanks to marketing guru Eric Gladstone for the invite and Chris Vranian for letting me use your ace live shots. 

“CITY OF MUSIC FESTIVALS”: Like  a buffet that keeps adding new food stations, the jammed Las Vegas festival calendar continues to expand Vegas is “a town that could add City of Music Festivals to its already-bursting résumé,” writes Brock Radke in the recent  “Fest Love” cover story of Las Vegas Weekly. This publication, expertly edited by Spencer Patterson, keeps pointing me in the right directions when it comes to restaurants, shows + other cultural happenings. Read about it here:

OUTSTANDING ALLEGRO AT THE WYNN: Really nice to have a top-shelf Italian restaurant like Allegro at Wynn Las Vegas which we’ve now been to twice before shows at the Encore Theater Their Caesar salad is one of the best around, and we followed it with their artfully prepared Foccacia Pizza (mozzarella, cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers) and the Potato Gnocchi, with an excellently blended pork, veal + beef bolognese, burrata cheese + pine nut pesto. Couldn’t finish the pizza—no way—so they packed it up for us in this fancy box that will be hard to throw away.