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Mitch’s Las Vegas Discoveries+More

  • I’m now working in Las Vegas, where SRO will have a presence in addition to Los Angeles and Nashville, and I’ll be dividing my time between here and Los Angeles (the company‘s headquarters). Rana and I are living in Summerlin North, adjacent to Red Rock Canyon and 15 miles from the Strip and airport. When things get back to normal in this world, I’ll be in L.A. regularly for meetings and events, with Rana joining me on various trips to see family and friends.  Wishing everyone good health + (sanitized) sanity in the days ahead…
    — Mitch Schneider, 3/27/20


  • Where to go? What to eat? In a city of endless possibilities like Las Vegas, here are five places which definitely hit a sweet spot.

    Taqueria Casa del Sabor: This westside Mexican eatery on Sahara Ave is the brick-and-mortar offshoot of popular food truck downtown. It’s a terrific spot to try an huarache (consisting of anoblong-shaped masa base, with refried beans, meat, cheese and salsa) anytime (it’s open 24/7).

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    Laguna Pool House and Kitchen

    The Caesar Salad, with the scene- stealing Parmesan cracker, tastes as good it looks at this beautiful pool-adjacent spot on the sixth floor of Palms Place.

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    Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux: The pickle-on top hamburger sliders are perfectly soul-satisfying at this eatery at Harrah’s—it’s the Vegas outpost of the Baton Rouge-originated restaurant with a Louisiana-centric menu.

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    Krung Siam: The Cognac-marinated steak is an instant standout at this stylish Thai gem on Spring Mountain Rd—one of my favorite culinary streets in America. And, like Lamoon (another recommended Thai eatery on Spring Mountain), it’s open to 2:00am (yes!).

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    BRERA Osteria:

    Located in the fabulously lit St. Mark’s Square in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, this Vegas branch of the downtown L.A. Italian restaurant smartly offers an “everyday brunch” menu (until 4pm) with their distinctive take on the frittata. This healthy and heavenly textured creation brings together steamed spinach, Asiago cheese, San Marzano tomatoes, spinach, and stracciatella.

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  • “Las Vegas Mixtape” Column
    “A Vegas Tight Ten”

    Might Las Vegas be to the 2020’s what Paris was to the 1920’s? Consider Vegas’ array of top-chef restaurants, the various Cirque du Soleil and Spiegelworld productions, the abundant music superstar artist residencies, and the growing number of outdoor music festivals.

    Don’t leave out the EDM clubs with the major DJ’s, the immersive art experiences, the innovative modern hotel design, and the “Atomic City” vintage cool architecture. Plus, there’s all the marquee name comedians who appear here. Vegas simply can’t be beaten as a world-class electrifying city. And speaking of comics (see Kathy Griffin below), here’s my “tight ten.”

    Sadelle’s at Bellagio

    The secret to achieving world peace may well be found in a bite of “Strawberry Tall Cake.” If all the world leaders were fed a piece of this soft and creamy creation—on the menu at Sadelle’s at Bellagio—there might not be any more wars.

    The opulent NYC-originated eatery (which opened in 2019) is also known for its divinely presented three-level “Sadelle’s Tower,” with Scottish salmon, bagel (baked in house), tomato, cucumber, and capers. There are also the dreamy views overlooking the pool and Bellagio’s dazzling Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Add in the mood-elevating experience of being served by a gracious staff wearing old-school salmon-colored tuxedo jackets and green ties, and you won’t ever need therapy again.

    Kathy Griffin, Mirage Theatre

    It was absolutely breathtaking to see Kathy Griffin at the sold-out Mirage Theatre in her first show in five years.  Griffin was greeted with a thunderous and lengthy standing ovation before her act began, and later she name-checked her famous friends—Stormy Daniels and Sia—who were seated in the first few rows.

    In a 90-minute-plus seamless set, Griffin was as bold, defiant, and hysterical as ever. Her performance was both a compelling personal and comedic triumph. She walked us through—and found the humor in—her five years of hell, marked by lung cancer (which she acknowledged has somewhat weakened her speaking voice), pain med addiction (she’ll be three-years sober on June 25), PTSD, a three-day stay in a psych ward (where she learned there was no concierge to assist her), and the death of her mom.

    Plus of course Griffin fended off lawsuits and death threats from the MAGA and QAnon followers for posing in 2017 with a mock-severed head of Trump. “That’s me, the face of Isis,” she cracked, rolling her eyes, and adding, “I would never cave to these suckers.” Griffin is truly one of comedy’s greats. Seeing her perform was like watching a masterful trapeze artist defy gravity. Long may she fly. She returns to The Mirage on October 6.

    Firefly Tapas at Hughes Center

    When you don’t know exactly what you want to eat, tapas are a good way to go, and it helps that Firefly Tapas is open every day from 9:00am to 11:00pm. The long-running (20 years) and moderately priced Spanish eatery is in a new, bigger location on Hughes Center Drive (off-Strip) with multiple rooms, an outdoor patio, and imaginative, colorful décor.

    On the night we dined there after 9:30pm (when restaurant choices are limited), it was delightful to move from the scene-stealing Patatas Bravas—“roasted red potatoes, aioli and spicy tomato jam”—to the smoked salmon toast, beet salad, and fish sticks. With its outstanding varied menu, Firefly is still a thrill.

    The Beverly Theater, Downtown

    It’s hard not to be impressed by Vegas’ newly built crown jewel, The Beverly Theater. It’s both an art house cinema where every seat is truly a great one, thanks to its smart design, and it doubles as a musical performance space. The downtown venue has elegant modern mid-century design and an upstairs outdoor terrace (called Segue) where a jazz ensemble plays for free on weekend nights.

    I made two visits to The Beverly during its brilliantly curated multi-day program of music documentaries. I saw “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” which paints an intense portrait of the complex King of Rock and Roll via “interviews with family, musicians, and cutting-edge Black and queer scholars” (per the synopsis). It slayed, as the kids say, as did the revelatory “What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?” It’s about how the superstar band fell from grace after they were essentially blackmailed by the US government to tour behind the Iron Curtain; by accepting this “deal,” the band’s Canadian lead singer, David Clayton-Thomas, avoided having his green card revoked. Upon their return to the US, the all-important counterculture media—without knowing at the time why the band did this tour—trashed the band for being a tool of Nixon, which led to the dissolution of the group’s most successful lineup.

    Pepper Club at The English Hotel, Arts District

    If I was on death row, the following four dishes would comprise my last meal request, courtesy of The Pepper Club inside Todd English’s boutique English Hotel. Start me with their Cucumber Salad with ume vinaigrette, and plum sea salt. Bring on the Crispy Rice, consisting of coconut rice, spicy tuna, avocado, micro greens, and 23kt edible gold flakes. Seduce me further with the Orange Miso Salmon, plated with bok choy, mushrooms, serrano rings, fried garlic, and orange miso glaze. Then please take me right up to heaven with the Yukon mash and crushed wasabi peas dish that’s known as Wasabi Creamy Mash.

    The flavors and textures from this meal, which we enjoyed on their sprawling outdoor patio, are still dancing in my head, so I’m giving a major thumbs-up to the restaurant’s wondrously conceived and skillfully executed “Asian Ocean Fusion” menu.

    “OPM” at The Cosmopolitan

    You’ve got to hand it to the Spiegelworld folks. With their three hit Vegas shows—”Absinthe,” “Atomic Saloon,” and “OPM” (formerly known as “Opium”)—they’ve perfected an absolutely winning, hyper-paced, and seamlessly choreographed mix of the imaginative and the naughty. And they throw the best parties in town. At The Cosmopolitan, home to both “OPM” and Spiegelworld’s “Italian American Psychedelic” restaurant Superfrico, Spiegelworld honored the so-called “Star Wars Day” (May 4) with a “modified take on the show’s romp through space” (their words). This was followed by an open-bar bash with Superfrico’s terrific “Ultimate Pepperoni Square” pizza (love that “pickled chili”). Some came attired in “Star Wars” costumes; others simply dressed to the nines.

    The show itself was mesmerizing, teeming with jugglers, body contortionists, acrobatic dancers, and sexy arial acts, with a dose of magic and wickedly funny sexual humor. Bonus point: hearing “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs smartly integrated into the show’s musical mix.

    Moia Peruvian Restaurant, near Downtown

    Everyone needs a Comfort Food Night, and for mine, I chose the new Moia Peruvian Restaurant over on Bonanza Rd. I went for the excellent steak with the pasta and pesto sauce—and I didn’t look back. My guests also happily threw caution to the wind by choosing the Pollo Saltado entrée that came with both rice and French fries. You can do the same and (why not?) add in a side of their soul-satisfying beans.

    Next time, I plan on surrendering to the Duo de Arroz con Mariscos y Cerciche, a seafood combination with sweet potatoes and Peruvian corn. Remember, this is your night to indulge, and Moia is the place to do it.

    Iggy Pop at the Palms’ Pearl Theater

    “I’m worth a million in prizes,” sang Iggy Pop at the Pearl Theater. Damn right. The man whose “Lust For Life” is stadium size delivered a thrillingly ferocious show from start to finish. Even though the Godfather of Punk is somewhat hindered by a twisted spine, the 76-year-old performer remains a “streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm,” to quote his poetic lyrics from the lethal chestnut “Search and Destroy.”

    The gig was packed with other highlights including “T.V Eye,” “Nightclubbing,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and a surprise cover of Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side.” At one point, Iggy asked the sold-out throng—“If I was hitchhiking, would you pick me up?”—before launching into “The Passenger.” Hell yes, Iggy—please get in the car and show us the “city’s ripped backsides.”

    Upcoming shows at The Pearl include Keith Sweat August 4 and 5.

    Dam Roast House & Browder Bookstore, Boulder City

    For a perfect Sunday afternoon in Vegas, try leaving it—for historic Boulder City, a gambling-free small town located around 25 or so miles southeast of Vegas. We stopped into antique stores like Goat Feathers Emporium and the charming Dam Roast House & Browder Bookstore which serves exceptional coffee. The iced Spumoni Latte—a blend of pistachio, cherries, and chocolate—and the vanilla-and-lavender-flavored Day Dreamer Latte lifted us immediately. Their vegan banana bread and blueberry scone also hit the right pick-me-up notes on a lazy afternoon.

    Next, we drove through the mountains overlooking Lake Mead and crossed into Arizona. I want to return to Boulder City to not only eat tapas at Casa Don Quixote, but to pick up a copy of the book “Cartel Wives,” which I neglected to buy at the bookstore.

    Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria & Bar in Summerlin

    In a city where are at least hundreds of happy hour deals, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out why the one at Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria & Bar is consistently packed weekdays between 2:00pm-6:00pm. Their pizza is transcendent—they “proudly serve the same pizza made famous at a quaint little place in Brooklyn, DiFara Pizza”—and the price is more than right.

    At a recent happy hour, I ordered the 12-inch “DiFara Special,” with DiFara sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, grana Padano, and basil. It’s ordinarily $14, and it was half off—costing only $7. That, my friends, is cheaper than most fast food. Plus the eatery boasts a “$9 menu and 50% off all beer, well drinks, and wine by the glass” for happy hour.

    Dom DeMarco’s also has one of the best outdoor patios in the city, recently upgraded with a new pergola that has ceiling fans and a portable air conditioner, so you won’t melt like cheese this summer.



  • There’s no shortage of fantastic food in Vegas town. Here are five places, and photos of their standout dishes, worth checking out right now.

    Tin Wo Han at the Palms
    Roma Deli on West Sahara
    Sin Fronteras in Summerlin 
    Louie Louie in North Vegas
    • Toscana at Eataly/Park MGM 

    Steamed dumplings with shrimp + chives at Tin Wo Han at the Palms.

    Peperoni Ripieni: Stuffed bell pepper with beef, sausage, peas, ham + rice Roma Deli, on West Sahara.

    Burrito: rice, beans, cheese, crema, salsa, onion/cilantro at Sin Fronteras in Summerlin. 

    Japanese-Mexican fusion sushi Louie Louie in North Vegas. 

    Pizzetta Di Zucchini E Burrata at   Toscana at Eataly/Park MGM.





    When it comes to Mexican food, my wife Rana Bendixen is ultra discerning. Fortunately, for our Valentine’s Day dinner last night, I picked a restaurant—Leticia’s Cocina & Cantina at the Santa Fe Station Hotel—that delivered on all counts, starting with their just-perfect chips + salsa. 

    I felt like I scored a culinary winning lottery ticket by ordering the Pescado al Pastor: seared sea bass with adobo sauce, served with tossed greens, arroz poblano (which was a white casserole rice with cheese) + habanero mango salsa. 

    Rana kept it simpler, ordering what she described as a deeply satisfying burrito with potato, cheese + refried beans with a side of their wonderful cilantro rice. 

    I already dig Leticia’s groovy offshoot—the casual Mexican eatery known as Letty’s in the Arts District—and it feels good to now be in love with the eye candy-rich + price-friendly mothership where authenticity rules the day. Plus the waiters treated us like royals. Will be headed back for their Sunday brunch—the tres leches French toast sounds dreamy.

  • 2/14/2023

    When the weight of the world becomes overwhelming, there’s a quick fix: a visit to the Red Rock Canyon Overlook. And with free parking, a few picnic tables, and a user-friendly hiking trail, all your needs are covered.  


    “I got a room at the top of the world tonight/And I ain’t comin’ down”—“Room At The Top,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


  • Proper Eats Food Hall at Aria


    Las Vegas is not only “Los Angeles East” but “New York West” too, given the array of restaurants from both cities with outposts here. 

    The 25,000-square-foot Eat Your Heart Out food hall at the soon-to-open (fall 2023) Durango Casino in the southwest part of the city will have these eateries from L.A.: Irv’s Burgers, Uncle Paulie’s + Ai Pono Cafe (actually from the OC). And from NYC, there’s Prince Street Pizza.

    Meanwhile, over at the new Proper Eats food hall at the Aria, there’s Wexler’s Deli from L.A. + Egghead from NYC. 

    Lucky me. Having grown up in the Bronx before spending the second chapter of my life in L.A., I’m saving lots of $$$ in travel expenses by experiencing LA + NYC food right here in Vegas for my third chapter. 

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    January 6, 2023

    When you have coffee with Lonn Friend, you never know who’s going to show up. So cool to meet L.A. transplants—Stryper guitarist Oz Fox, spiritual medium/intuitive advisor Brandy Rosenberg and photographer Steve Cook—yesterday at a fave place of mine, Patisserie Manon, in Summerlin. We’re all in this photo including the eatery’s resident mannequin. Lonn may not be on social media these days, but he remains a fantastic connector!

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    Raising my glass to another Summerlin fine dining restaurant—the new Spiedini Fiamma at the JWMarriott, which opened in early October.

    With its outstanding “Italian comfort classics” (in a world gone mad) by Chef Paula Smagacz, a beautifully designed main dining room + super-attentive service, the eatery seems destined for success.  

    Friends and I started with three solid appetizers—the bruschetta, shrimp scampi + meatballs with ricotta—and segued into the veal marsala, chicken piccata + salmon entrees, all served with linguini. We topped the meal off with the finely prepared tiramisu and know that we’ll be back soon to try the lasagna, lobster ravioli + pizza. 

    Looking at the menu, I have my eyes firmly on the enticing prosciutto + fig pizza with arugula + parmesan cream sauce. 

  • 10/11/22

    Can’t think of a better way to spend a late afternoon than winding down at the dreamscape known as Ada’s Wine Bar at Tivoli Village in Vegas. On a recent day there, my glass of 2020 Chardonnay, Moillard Chablis (Burgundy, France) was perfectly paired with shareable plates like Red Pepper Hummus, Peaches & Prosciutto + the  Chef’s selection of “cheese, honeycomb + Marcona almonds.” 


    Owner James Trees (Esther’s Kitchen, Al Solito Posto) always knows how to supply the magic + an imaginative edge at his eateries, and Chef de Cuisine Jackson Stamper definitely lit up my taste buds. 


    It was also terrific to catch up with Vegas PR/marketing guru + author Eric Gladstone (“Anything But Nirvana”), with whom I used to work when he was a rock critic in L.A. in the 90s. 





    Hey, that was fun. 

    Drunk on the fountain of youth, Aerosmith last night lit up the Dolby Live venue at the Park MGM with their supersonic dirty blues. Tyler delivered his trademark mojo, Perry breathed fire, and there was plenty of eye candy spectacle. Thanks to the band’s camp for the hospitality—those were fantastic seats! Their “Deuces Are Wild” residency resumes November 19.  

    It was a terrific night out starting with dinner at the hotel on the Stripside patio of Eataly’s La Pizza e La Pasta. We split the Insalata Tricolore + a home-run pasta dish—Vesuvio Con Asparagi E Guanciale—which lured us in with this hyper-specific description: “Afeltra Volcano-shaped Pasta di Gragnano IGP, San Carlo Guanciale, Asparagus Sauce, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pecorino Romano Zerto.”



    Having never tasted one before, I’m now all about this bombolone, which was my lunch yesterday at the new Zeppola Cafe in St. Mark’s Square at The Venetian.  I told the gal working behind the counter that I absolutely loved this Italian cream-filled doughnut, and voila…she gave me, for free, one to go plus two other treats. Now how’s that for hospitality?

    This is the first Vegas outpost of the Zeppola Bakery in midtown NYC, and I trust they will find great success here. This is truly a cool + inviting dessert spot (with inside + outside seating) at the seductively lit St. Mark’s Square, where it is always magic hour.

  • 9/2/22

    Support indie businesses—that’s how to make our neighborhoods great!

    Here are three local places I go to for their food + colorful ambience: Xiao Long Dumplings + The Taco Stand, both in Chinatown, and the Neon Feast-endorsed “fit-friendly” Bronze Cafe in Summerlin/Desert Shores.

    See you there…

    Xiao Long Dumplings, Chinatown

    The Taco Stand, Chinatown

    Bronze Cafe, Summerlin/Desert Shores


  • 8/1/22

    There are so many top-shelf Italian restaurants all over Vegas—Al Solito Posto (Tivoli Village), Don Vito’s (Southpoint Hotel), Esther’s Kitchen (Arts District), Aromi (Summerlin North) + Allegro (Wynn Hotel). There’s also the hip + subtly elegant Limoncello on west Sahara; its sprawling four-room interior, huge ceiling and fish market-style seafood display instantly captivate. 

    Every time we’ve been there (at least five since it opened in November 2019), the food is finely prepared—and it’s soulful too, thanks to Executive Chef Eric Gaitan from NYC. The eatery hit another home run last Friday night when we dined there with friends. Each entree more than delivered the goods—Homemade Lobster Ravioli (with a light brandy sauce), Pappardelle Bolognese, Penne Vodka + Pollo Parmigiana. Limoncello gets it right every time. 

    We ended the meal on a sweet note—the Tiramisu + Crème Brûlée were both dreamy—and headed out into the summer Vegas rain, which definitely felt oddly wonderful to former Angelenos like us. 

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    Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted what’s right under your nose—and I’m definitely guilty of that. So it took us a long minute to visit Italian eatery Aromi, which is only a mile from our doorstep in Summerlin North. Debuting in April 2021, it’s located in the former Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen space and in the same plaza as Ohlala French Bistro. 

    The dinner’s scene-stealer was definitely the visually arresting Squid Ink Spaghetti with Lobster, Scallops + Arrabbiata sauce, an unbeatable combination of flavors + textures. We also had the beautifully plated Pan-Seared Scottish Salmon with Roasted Vegetable Flavored Forbidden Rice and Citrus Sauce. Executive chef and founder German Castellanos knows how to create wondrous food that pushes back against an unforgiving world. He has impressive stripes, too, as “Chef de Cuisine” at Valentino at The Venetian where he was key to their 12-year run. 


    We’ll be back soon to this neighborhood gem (which includes a wine bar), where the ambience is inviting and the waiters are friendly + sharp. Next time, we’ll definitely leave room for dessert by Castellano’s partner + Valentino alum, pastry chef Alessandro Stoppa.




    Sometimes you need a good ‘60s pop rock fix as a reminder of the glory days of don’t-bore-us-get-to-the-chorus AM radio. So there was no way I could pass up seeing The Grass Roots at the Golden Nugget Showroom—an intimate + excellent-sounding room, with a rich Sinatra history—this past Friday night.

    The Grass Roots played a satisfying hits-stacked show with joyful melodies + high-flying harmonies that especially hit a sweet spot on immortal songs like their first top ten hit “Let’s Live For Today,” Heaven Knows, “Temptation Eyes” + their first hit, the Dylanesque “Where Were You When I Needed You,” which was jokingly introduced onstage as “an anti-love song” (it was penned by Steve Barri with the band’s first lead singer, P.F. Sloan).

    The Grass Roots were totally locked in as a musical unit on this night. While there are no original members in this lineup, it was personally chosen by Rob Grill, the band’s most identifiable lead singer + longest-serving member who joined in the mid-60s + played in the band until 2009. Two members—lead guitarist/backing vocalist Dusty Hanvey + keyboardist/backing vocalist Larry Nelson—joined in 1984. Drummer Joe Dougherty was recruited in 1984, and bassist/lead vocalist Mark Dawson, as valuable as Timothy B. Schmit is to the Eagles, entered the fold in 2008. Dawson’s high tenor voice didn’t disappoint, and his bass lines were strong, reminding you how impressively rhythmic the band’s classics are.

    There will always be some controversy about bands who tour with no original members. Say what you will, but The Grass Roots convincingly honored the band’s legacy in front of a packed room, not only on the classics but on lesser-known hits like “Lovin’ Things” and “Baby Hold On.” It was a good music history lesson teeming with uplifting pop rock songs that ruled the airwaves when the world was seemingly less heavy.

    Fortunately, there’s another opportunity to see The Grass Roots in Vegas this fall. The band announced from the stage they will return November 4 to the Golden Nugget.

  • 7/1/22

    What a treat to hear one of my favorite songs, “Whenever I Call You Friend,” performed twice in one week by its writers: Kenny Loggins at the Wynn’s Encore Theatre + then Melissa Manchester at the gorgeous cabaret-style Myron’s at downtown’s Smith Center, an impressive art deco palace.  


    Melissa was my very first client in PR starting in 1979, and I’ve worked with her intermittently through the years (although not currently). My first biz trip in fact was to Vegas in 1980 when she headlined the Riviera Hotel’s showroom. 


    So here it was, 42 later, and Melissa was strong as ever in this stripped-down performance in front of a packed crowd (the first of two sold-out shows in one night). Her soulful vocals soared. Her song choices illuminated her artistry + her life. Her between song patter was witty + tender.    Her musical accompaniment was spot-on. And the onstage visuals really enhanced the show by highlighting the songs + her key career moments. Plus she looked beautiful + was outfitted in a sparkling David Josef creation. 


    Melissa has achieved so much artistically, and the show accented all of it: her soulful NYC singer-songwriter “Midnight Blue” roots + her pop affinity, from the big ballads, to her song collaboration with Loggins, and to the pop-dance hit “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.” Her heartfelt tributes to the Great American Songbook were also outstanding. She grew up on the music of Judy Garland + Ella Fitzgerald, and she gave shout-outs to them. 


    Some of Melissa’s originals are worthy of placement in a newer Great American Songbook.  Like the compassionate + supportive “Come In From The Rain,” her enduring hit penned with Carole Bayer Sager. The song is both specific + compellingly open-ended. When Melissa sang it on Saturday night, I thought about how divided America has become and how the song’s lyrics can also be viewed (to my mind) through the lens of someone who’s lending a helpful hand to an ailing country. 


    It’s a long road

    When you’re all alone

    And someone like you

    Will always take the long way home

    There’s no right or wrong

    I’m not here to blame

    I just want to be the one

    To keep you from the rain

    From the rain”


    Melissa noted from the stage that there’s a new album on the way: “RE:VIEW,” a stripped down re-imagining of her classics imbued with the kind of rich, seasoned vocals she displayed at Myron’s.


  • 6/28/22

    Every bite counts at Casa Playa at Wynn Las Vegas, the colorful, dazzling + elegant Mexican eatery at Wynn Las Vegas, where we ate for the first time this past Thursday night before seeing Kenny Loggins at the Encore Theatre. Emblematic of executive chef Sarah Thompson’s “coastal cuisine” was the next-level succulent Shrimp and Green Rice Epazote (the latter an herb used in Mexican cuisine). And then there were the magically spiced Chicken Tinga Enchiladas Crema. We knew instantly we were in for a good meal when the chips with three salsas were the best we’ve had in Vegas. And I must mention the side of those meaty Frijoles De Olla Black Ayocote Beans, which was heaven right there in a pot.



    A friend and former PR colleague, Todd Brodginski, passed away yesterday. He loved all things French, so my wife Rana Bendixen and I celebrated his memory last night at our neighborhood French restaurant, Ohlala French Bistro, in Summerlin North. It was our first time there, and its warmly lit ambience + French musical choices (including “La Vie De Cocagne” by Jeanne Moreau) set the scene for the perfect Brie Croquettes served over arugula salad. Both entrees—Sole Meuniere (pan seared sole in brown butter with garlic, capers, lemon + parsley) and Sauteed Salmon (plated w/ butternut squash purée and arugula + kalamata olive salad)—were outstanding. We toasted Todd with an excellent glass of Chardonnay and remembered all the good times—there were many, happy to say, including being with him in the photo pits at Coachella + Stagecoach. He was always quick to help the media and loved having an upfront position to see some of the world’s greatest artists.



    There’s a lot of reasons to cheer on the newly reopened Palms Casino Resort—the first resort in Vegas now fully owned + operated by a Native American Tribe—after a two-year pandemic closure. 


    Chief among those reasons is the massive multi-room Greene Street space, with its colorful + imaginative eye candy including whimsical apocalyptic-chic decor. Really perfect, then, that downtown’s adventurous + acclaimed Vegas Test Kitchen has taken over the space Fridays + Saturdays through the end of July with rotating guest chefs. 


    It was an honor to be invited to a media preview dinner ahead of its last Friday official opening, with chef Josh Bianchi helming the first weekend and unveiling a memorable four-course “Rustic American Italian” dinner. 


    The artfully prepped antipasto board—with roasted + pickled vegetables, pepperoni croquettes, and focaccia with salsa verde aioli—was a home run, segueing into the silky Thai Snapper Crudo, with fava beans + a wild mushroom agrodolce. Both dishes set the stage for the outstanding entree, the tonnarelli (typical egg pasta shaped like spaghetti), which nicely hung onto the spot-on sausage sauce. Bianchi’s menu was topped off with his Strawberry Rhubarb Pavolva, a meringue-based tart-and-sweet creation that instantly felt like summertime, perfectly matched to these triple digit days.  


    The VTK prix-fixe menus are hip, tasty + moderately priced at $59, and the Greene St. space is the perfect venue for them. Go here for the VTK schedule at Greene St:

    : 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.



    The world may be going to hell in a hand-basket, but there’s Donny Osmond to remind us of a seemingly more innocent time. And he does this really well at his Vegas residency at Harrah’s Showroom. No surprise. He’s been performing in Vegas since he was seven-years-old, as he noted from the stage, starting with the Osmond Brothers, when they opened for Sinatra + Presley. 

    Donny embodies a slick Vegas show-biz Americana and has fun with it. At 64, he’s an ace all-around entertainer who delivers the goods: he sang well, he danced, he was self-effacing, he expertly interacted with the packed audience, and his new rhythmic pop songs (from his, unbelievably, 65th album, 2021’s Start Again) fit nicely alongside his solo and Osmond Brothers hits. 

    The choreography was sharp, the lighting dazzled, and the production didn’t lag. Plus the archival TV footage and images of old album covers were well-integrated throughout. I noticed on one of the album jackets a track listing that included “Sit Down, I Think I Love You,” a Stephen Stills song by the Buffalo Springfield (not in this show’s set list). He recorded the tune for a 1971 solo album. Who knew? 

    Dates for Donny’s show at Harrah’s are listed online through November 2022. It’s definitely a feel-good night out, right down to the finale’s confetti blast. Whenever the end of the world rolls around, I want to go out wearing Donny Osmond’s sequined jacket.



    If you drive down Charleston Blvd. in Summerlin looking for Vintner Grill, good luck because you won’t find it. Which is annoying if you haven’t been there, but if you’ve dropped in before, you might feel a certain smugness about knowing its hideaway location, nestled among a few office buildings just north of Charleston. 

    The restaurant is comfortably elegant, modern + spacious with multiple areas in which to dine plus there’s a big outside patio. It should be pointed out that Vintner Grill is gorgeously lit, and there’s something to be said for restaurants with sympathetic lighting. Who doesn’t want to look ageless, especially when the pandemic has messed with all of us?

    This was our second visit to Vintner, and it was absolutely packed on a Thursday night. The menu—“American dishes infused with flavors from Spain, France and Italy —is instantly inviting + imaginative, and the well-trained servers sell it well. 

    The two appetizers we had are highly recommended: pan seared crabcakes, with tarragon cream sauce, and the oven-roasted beets with lavender goat cheese. You can easily detect the chef’s playfulness touch, which was also evident in the braised lamb bolognese with black pepper tagliatelle, truffle ricotta + grated nutmeg. The other entree—Mediterranean sea bass with meyer lemon buerre blanc—was perfectly tender + subtly hit the right notes. 

    Noting how fresh + flavorful the appetizers + entrees were, it would’ve been criminal to leave without ordering dessert, and the mix of textures in the apple pie tart with caramel sauce + ice cream was dazzling. It’s the kind of life-affirming dessert that should be served to dictators in order to make them rethink pressing the nuclear button. 



    Always a treat to drop into the Aria in the City Center section of The Strip—the dazzling city-of-light glass towers there put me in a cool New York state of mind.  


    Then there are the hotel’s signature restaurants like the gorgeously designed Lemongrass where the elegantly tasty Thai food includes standout dishes like the Eggplant Claypot, Black Pepper Shrimp and Drunken Noodle Seafood. 


    In the lobby after dinner, we admired the floating cloud fixtures hanging from the ceiling—the eyes painted on them peacefully watched over everyone going about their business. 




    When the world gets on your case, there’s one dish I’d recommend to make things instantly right:  Portuguese Wok Fried Rice, courtesy of veteran Chef Lam at Chinglish Cantonese Wine Bar. It’s dreamy + velvety and more than lives up to its description on the menu: “Coconut milk custard with chicken and vegetables over a bed of egg fried rice. Brûléed under the broiler.” With smart + fun food like this, everything that was hassling you fades away. 


    It was also easy to fall under the spell of two appetizers we ordered there recently: the Poh Poh Chicken Dumplings (chicken, chive + mushroom) + the lightly breaded, crunchy + immediately addictive Green Beans Deep Fried. 


    Chinglish has a hip, stylish ambience, but at the same time there’s an appealing relaxed vibe. This is a family restaurant proudly run + owned by Chef Lam, his wife Anna, daughter Kitty + her husband Ken. (They also own the adjacent sister restaurant Kosher Chinglish.) 


    Chinglish definitely benefits from its Boca Park location in the Summerlin area where it stands out. And with other menu items like the Braised Tofu with Shiitake Mushrooms and the Char Siu Lollipops (“slow roasted boneless pork shoulder basted in a honey glaze”), we’ll be back soon to try them, even when the world isn’t hassling us.

  • 4/25/22

    We headed last week to the newly remodeled Latin eatery Chica at the Venetian. I mean, how could we not go after receiving a $75 free credit via the Chica newsletter? It directed us to download the In Kind app + receive the 50 Eggs Hospitality Group Credit (this free-money special lasts through month’s end). 


    So with $75 to play with, we stepped into Chica’s visually playful interior  + jumped headlong into Chef Lorena Garcia’s magical menu with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico,  Argentina + more Latin countries. 


    I was instantly seduced by an insanely great non-alcoholic drink— “Cranberry Fizz: Cranberry Cordial, Lemon, Egg White, Soda Water”—which set the tone for what was to come. We started with “Lorena’s Arepa Basket with Beet, Cilantro, Black Bean, Cheese, and Nata Butter.”  From there, the hits kept coming—in the form of the “Spit-Roasted Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken Pollo a la Brasa Style, Plantains, Watercress, Aji Verde & Ají Amarillo Sauce,” which was full-on flavorful + succulent, and the two sides we ordered:  the “Wood Fire-Roasted Heirloom Carrots, with Avocado Yogurt, and Sunflower Seed Dukkah” plus the “Huancaina Mashed Potatoes.” 


    For food, ambience + service, Chica is hard to beat. To top it all off, the parking is free at the Venetian/Palazzo…which is something us Vegas locals take serious note of. 



    YouTube screen grab from her current Netflix special, “Look At You”

    It’s definitely Taylor Tomlinson’s moment, and the packed audience at the Wynn’s Encore Theater in Las Vegas this past Saturday night showered the 28-year-old southern California comedian with non-stop love. 

    The star of two Netflix stand-up specials and intelligentsia coverage in the New York Times and Vulture has already been through life’s ringer, losing her mom to cancer when she was eight and riding the mental health roller coaster with depression, night terrors and panic attacks. Tomlinson’s shows offer insight and comfort, especially to folks who’ve been dealing with these issues. Taylor’s advice to herself and her audience is right there in the name of her current theater tour:  “Deal With It.” 

    She also resonates with her young audience who face the humiliation of being single in a cruel dating app world. Funny, too, to hear her lampoon the boredom that can creep into longtime marriages.

    Tomlinson is smart, funny and commanding, hitting all her targets with rapid-fire precision. No guerrilla-style humor or political commentary here. 
     She’s an artist who aims to please, having sharpened her craft on the church comedy circuit (as part of her conservative Christian upbringing) before ascending to the national arena and “going dirty.”

    Tomlinson is also fearless and vulnerable. From the moment she walks on stage, she masterfully gets you on her side. She is clearly pissed off, and you want to cheer her on as she works through her own issues. Because of her tight professionalism, you don’t get the sense that this sky’s-the-limit star is going to unravel in front of her audience. There’s this show to finish of course, and another one to do in another city.


    April 13, 2022

    Big thanks to Ava Berman + Carlos Adley for inviting me this past Saturday night to see Shannon & The Clams at their sprawling + massively cool Fremont Country Club in downtown Vegas. The vocal harmony-rich Oakland, CA quartet packed out the venue + lit it up with their crazy + playful hybrid of garage, surf, garage, girl group, psych and doo-wop. You definitely can’t pull the reins in on the band, whose latest album “Year of the Spider” marks their sixth, and the crowd was absolutely ravenous. For those who haven’t been, the venue (across from the El Cortez Hotel in a giant brick building that once was the home of Metro Police) has been key to the redevelopment of the East Fremont Street area. Hats off to Ava and “Big Daddy” Carlos, who are not only visionaries but really nice people. Long may they run and keep Vegas vital. 

  • 4/11/22

    How cool is it that Las Vegas is home to The Burlesque Hall of Fame, the world’s only museum dedicated to the history + art of burlesque? 

    And like many nonprofit museums, it depends on contributions from folks who believe in the art of the “Tease.” 

    That’s the name of the burlesque revue that raised money for the museum this past Saturday night at the packed The Space—a performance/event venue located in a warehouse area in the shadow of The Strip. 

    And what a sensual, electrifying + ultimately life-affirming event it was, with one beautiful, colorful + sexy performer after another throughout the never-dull two-hour show. And as the 76-year-old iconic burlesque performer Lovey Goldmine (a ‘70s headliner in Paris and L.A.) noted from the stage—during what was a lively history lesson “interview” conducted by the lovably bawdy emcee + burlesque performer Blanche DeBris (wink)—the neo-burlesque movement triumphantly differs from the past in its celebration of body diversity. 

    So let’s raise our collective glasses to women of all shapes + sizes who proudly celebrate themselves in the face of societal pressure of how women should look. This is a revolution whose time has come, with a singer like Lizzo breaking down boundaries, removing some of the power from those who hold the reins in the advertising world + ultimately making the world a much better place.

    Head over to The Burlesque Hall of Fame in the Arts District, whose neon sign outside is as sizzling as the museum’s “several thousand pieces including costumes, stage props, photos, sheet music, magazines, manuscripts, and personal effects from performers at every level of fame.”

    Next up is the “The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend” at the Orleans Hotel June 2-5. It’s billed as “four days of incredible fun, learning and performance, and a fundraiser for The Burlesque Hall of Fame.” 

    And long live The “Tease,” which returns to The Space July 16. 

  • 3/29/22

    To celebrate our two-year anniversary of living in Vegas, I wanted to pick a restaurant that connected our adopted city to our former L.A. home. So happy we chose Best Friend at the Park MGM. It’s the out-of-this-world Korean fusion restaurant from L.A. chef Roy Choi whose Kogi food trucks put him on the map. The eatery’s signage—a fun salute to those tacky yellow strip mall signs—instantly brought a smile, and after walking through the separate bar + merch area, we were led into a spacious dining room filled with dazzling iconic L.A. images + waiters funnily dressed-down in L.A. casual wear. We decided to go all in for the pricey-but-worth-it Chef Menu. The complimentary buttered Hawaiian Rolls segued perfectly into the Banchan Sampler, the signature Kogi Tacos, the spicy Slippery Shrimp, Kimchi Fried Rice, and the like-butter Garlic Chicken + Kalbi platter. And then…the one-two dessert punch: the Medjool Date Cake, served with toffee + caramel ice cream, and the Mango Cheesecake with sorbet, and guava whip, both of which were seductive + captivating. Afterwards, it was real nice to walk through the hotel’s commendably smoke-free casino, with the taste of a terrific meal lingering in our mouths + minds.



    There are many vegetarian + vegan choices here in Vegas, and Saffron, the Vegetarian Eatery in the totally happening Chinatown, goes to the top of this list. 


    Expect innovative + deeply satisfying fine cuisine in a gorgeously stylish + massive dining room which completely envelops its patrons. I’m ready to move in!  The restaurant’s location—in a non-descript strip mall—belies the magical elegance you’ll experience once you walk through the door, and that’s part of the fun. 


    Our waitress knowledgeably helped us curate our dinner when we asked her to make sure that none of the dishes we wanted were too similar. How could we not start with the Cha Lai Money Bags which she suggested? The eatery is donating all proceeds from this cinematic-looking appetizer to @chailaiorchid and @daughtersrisingthailand to “save the elephants + end trafficking and exploitation in Thailand.” 


    Next, we moved on to the dreamy Floating Gyoza Dumplings with pan-seared sweet potato, shiitake mushrooms + more.  Our two entrees—the Singapore Noodles with tofu, vegan fish sauce + curry spice,  plus the Saffron Red Curry with eggplant, chickpeas + more—were both home runs. Saffron puts so much care into the food they prepare; this relatively new Vegas gem did not disappoint in any way. 


    *Note: We arrived late to eat, so the ambience photos are from closing time.*



    Coming up on nearly two years of living in Vegas, we’ve started to explore restaurants in the southwestern part of town. Like Locale Italian Kitchen on Blue Diamond Road in the Mountain’s Edge area. It’s a stylish + moderately priced Italian eatery where the food is imaginative + soulful.  We started with their Poached Pear Salad (with candied pecans + goat cheese) and moved on to the Pan Seared Salmon (with roasted tomato purée, fried leeks + crispy brussells sprouts) + Red Snapper Putanesca (with sautéed spinach, capers, olives + tomatoes) + a side of smashed fried potatoes. Both entrees were distinctively flavored, with the Putanesca the most striking. Why stop there? The creamy pudding with a salted caramel topping was as sublime as it sounds + we floated home on the 215 to Summerlin North, knowing that we’ll definitely return.

  • 3/2/22

    As one of rock’s most in-demand vocalists (Apocalyptica, Deadland Ritual + Scars on Broadway, in addition to his own solo recordings) Las Vegas native Franky Perez brings the magic with his impressively throaty + evocative pipes.

    With the Franky Perez Band, the singer-songwriter-guitarist-percussionist has been gigging at venues around town, including the Chrome showroom at the Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino. His current show combines a soul + blues-rock revue of cover tunes with his own rock presentation of self-written songs. Perez will be back there twice this month (March 11 + 18).

    Performing two sets at the Chrome this past Saturday + over the course of two hours, Perez mixed soul firepower + singer-songwriter introspection. His tight four-piece band with standout lead guitarist Christian Brady was pumped up with three horn players and, for the revue part, two sexy female dancers to further light up the stage.

    Perez, looking Rat Pack-esque in a shiny dress shirt for the first part of the show, opened with blues standard “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” which he recorded for the “Sons of Anarchy” soundtrack (his version currently has over 4 million Spotify streams). You could immediately feel Perez’ power + charisma as he dug his heels in deep, as he also did on smart choices like “Hard To Handle,” “Mr. Pitiful,” “The Letter” + show-stopper “I Know I’m Losing You.”

    Perez also shined on his own material, particularly the hard-hitting bluesy “Run Down Nasty” (from his 2020 album) and his 2021 single “The Great Divide,” a moving + timely acoustic-driven love song with lines like “Love like we’ve never loved before/Kiss like we’re going off to war.”

    Perez ended the night with a perfect one-two punch: a high-energy cover of his favorite song, Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” which also served to underline Perez’ Vegas roots, and a fierce cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post.” Meanwhile, look for Perez to release a new solo album later in 2022.






    Pop stars are eternal, always playing on endless loops in our minds. And tribute concerts to the dearly departed—not to mention holograms of them—can be fun, if they’re done well. Like the newly rejuvenated MJ Live Show which I saw this past Thursday night at the @troplv having moved from its previous home at The Strat. The show feels more powerful + commanding in the Tropicana showroom. 


    Of course, MJ‘s body of work is stellar, and the hits (you know them all) kept coming in this vibrant + quick-paced show, with an excellent MJ impersonator who does not disappoint, a three-piece backing band and eight dancers. The choreography is killer, right down to MJ’s moonwalking style which still startles. 


    The show intentionally has no fancy visual frills like film footage; the focus is on the performance itself—after all, it’s billed as the “Michael Jackson Tribute Concert.” Show stoppers include the self-reflective “Man In The Mirror,” the celebratory “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5, complete with ‘70s period costumes + wigs, and the Jacksons’ funk-fest finale “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).”


    Looking at MJ during the show’s most intimate moments, you could see his eyes closed, under the spotlight—seemingly at peace, as if frozen in time—free of tabloid madness, lawsuits + mounting bills. 



    There was a whole lotta love + respect in the room earlier this week for Al Mancini who has launched Neon Feast. It’s a free + essential Las Vegas dining app—curated by chefs, critics + pros like Al himself—that plugs you right into the Vegas food scene on + off The Strip. The event at SoulBelly BBQ in the Arts District was jammed—not surprising since Al has done so much to shine a light on what makes eating out in Vegas truly special. His reviews at the Las Vegas Review Journal, where he had a long run, played a part in luring me to move here.


  • 2/22/22


    The new Harlo in downtown Summerlin can be added to the list of Vegas’ outstanding five-star restaurants. A spacious, dream-like dining room awaits inside where everyone can look 10 years younger. We never go to steakhouses, but friends invited us and we were impressed. The fancy “potato purée with Normandy butter and cream” is the stuff that dreams are made of. 




    Had a fun time checking in on (former clients) Chicago this past Wednesday at The Venetian for opening night of their latest residency. As the band noted from the stage, it was exactly 55 years + a day since they first formed (2/15/67).

    For two hours, the packed crowd was with them the whole way. The 10-piece band with three original members—vocalist/keyboardist/acoustic guitarist Robert Lamm and horn players James Pankow and Lee Loughnane—played a seamless set that merged their progressive rock beginnings (“I’m A Man”) + early lyrical idealism (“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”) with their melodic pop leanings (“Colour My World,” ‘80s hit “Hard Habit To Break”). 

    Lamm’s deep rich voice can still light up “Saturday In The Park”; horn players Pankow and  Loughnane, both in their ‘70s, breathed fire into their instruments; and new tenor vocalist Neil Donell (who joined in 2018) impressively hit the high notes in the songs with former member Peter Cetera’s vocal stamp. 

    It was a night about sheer musicality, joyous harmonies + high-energy—really well done. Their Venetian engagement runs through February 26. 



    Fun times last night on Valentines Day at the always bustling Shanghai Plaza in Chinatown. Never had Malaysian food before, so we tried the Banana Leaf Cafe. With his “blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European recipes,” Chef Lee brought the magic on all levels, with a vibrant + deeply satisfying mix of flavors + textures. Thumbs up on those Curry Puffs, the Chilean Seabass,  Banana Leaf Curry Chicken, Hokkien Noodles + the “Three Treasures” mix of eggplant, okra + string beans (plenty of leftovers for tonight!). It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without dessert, so we brought home some excellent cream-filled buns from the 85C Bakery Cafe at the plaza.

  • 2/11/22
    There was no shortage of breezy melodies, smooth high harmonies + tight musicianship last night when The Wind Jammers docked at the Santa Fe Station Hotel. They’re a popular Vegas attraction—musicians with credits specializing in covers of ‘70s AM pop hits including songs that would become branded as “yacht rock.” The showroom was packed, the masks were off (the mandate ended yesterday), and the music of the Little River Band, Pablo Cruise, Kenny Loggins, Gino Vannelli + more (Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Hall and Oates) was duly celebrated—like punk, alt rock, nu metal, etc. never happened. It was a fun escape from a complicated world, anchored by sheer musicality spotlighting six alternating lead vocalists. The Wind Jammers set sail again February 24 at the Santa Fe Station Hotel.


    The perfect place for a secret rendezvous? Try Sushi Takashi in Chinatown. Their spacious booths are like mini-caves where no one will find you anytime soon.  Once inside, you can’t go wrong with their wide-ranging menu which includes excellent fusion rolls + “Japanese tapas,” particularly with names like “Bites of Heaven,” “Death Note” + “Forgot Name.” Sushi Takashi is located in the Cathay Hills Plaza, where there’s another gem: Rincon de Buenos Aires, an Italian deli + Argentinian restaurant all in one. 


  • 1/28/2022

    You never know what you’re going to see if you look up. Which is what I did sitting in the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino lobby, where there are so many paintings on the ceiling—and the effect was positively dizzying. They’re right near the entrance to the Delirious Comedy Club. Went there to see four comedians including Vegas-based Kathleen Dunbar who came onstage to a recording of “T.N.T.” by AC/DC and was explosive from the get-go. With her lethal mind + mouth, she blisteringly/lovably railed against everything including the unfortunate effects of aging. 

    I began the evening at the revered eatery Honey Salt in Summerlin, currently #1 on the Eater Vegas Essential Restaurants list. Started with the traffic-stopping Beets & Ricotta Salad with pumpkin seed brittle + pomegranate molasses. Moved onto the outstanding Scottish salmon, with beech mushrooms, beluga lentil ragout + carrot top pesto. And from their smart + substantial Vegan menu, we had the excellently flavored Vegetable Curry with basmati rice + chickpeas + papadums. Honey Salt definitely brings the magic.


  • 1/24/22

    With the real world really bumming people out more than ever, the virtual world is holding lots of interest these days. There’s so much chatter about the Metaverse, NFT’s, etc., for which video games + holograms have helped set the stage. So with that in mind, I decided to check out the “The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert” residency at Harrah’s.

    Whitney did not disappoint. Her crystalline voice (with “original, never-before-released live vocal tracks woven throughout”) swooped + soared. She didn’t miss a note, didn’t forget a lyric, and got a loud standing ovation from the packed audience on a Thursday night. It was exactly this version of Whitney—moving + grooving + elegant, with no lines on her face—that everyone wants to remember.

    She danced, bowed + changed costumes, with her centerstage hologram seamlessly appearing + disappearing throughout the show. And her in-between song patter (via show recordings from when she was on planet Earth) was warm + inviting, if surreal. Supported by a four-piece live band + six dancers, virtual Whitney opened with her 2019 posthumous collab with EDM artist Kygo, “Higher Love” (her original recording of it from 1990 had only been available in Japan as a B-side). From there, it was hit after hit, with the funky “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” How Will I Know” + “I’m Every Woman” eclipsing (for me) the ballads.

    This was high-end “virtual entertainment,” and all of it, including the staging + lighting, was done really well. So what is the in-the-clouds Whitney thinking about all this? Probably that this was a hassle-free gig with no pre-show nerves or career anxiety about where her next hit is coming from.





    Had a terrific old-school Vegas Sunday. Started out downtown at The Mob Museum, coming up on its 10th anniversary this February. Then we headed  to the east side for dinner at Casa Di Amore…”Vegas the way it used to be,” in its own words.

    The four floors of the Mob Museum, on the site of the first U.S. Courthouse and Post Office in Vegas, expertly tell the history of the Mob, Prohibition bootleggers and organized crime’s hand in creating Vegas. Our visit to the museum was well-timed—America took its last drink 102 years ago yesterday (1/16/1920) before Prohibition took effect the following day.

    Next up: drinks + dinner at Casa di Amore, which instantly stole our hearts. It’s a beautifully lit dining room/bar with tufted banquettes and a vocalist/pianist + drummer conjuring a Rat Pack aura, plus slide show images throughout of classic Vegas. And the food delivered old school thrills. We had Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread, Baked Clams Oreganata, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Chicken Piccata—and finished it off with an excellent cannoli. Love this place!



    If I didn’t already live in Las Vegas, I’d move here for The Golden Tiki alone. Arguably the best bar on planet Earth, it’s a dazzling multi-colored tropical kitsch paradise shot through with owner Branden Powers’ punk rock sensibility, right down to its priceless display of shrunken heads of geniuses like Charles Bukowski, John Waters, Divine + more. And then you have the smart + fun DJ Professor Rex Dart who masterfully hopscotches across multiple genres + eras while giving you a valuable musical lesson. Rana Bendixen and I got to experience all this last night with visiting New York journalist Darren Paltrowitz, whom I met for the very first time after many years of working with him, and his beautiful wife Melissa Paltrowitz. We slid into the Tiki (in Chinatown) for three hours of tropical drinks + laughs after dinner down the street at Xiao Long Dumplings, whose melt-in-your-mouth soup dumplings are a beautiful thing.  A perfect night out in Vegas!



    Checked into the “Blue Hotel” last night with Chris Isaak for the first of his two weekend shows at the Wynn’s Encore Theatre as part of his Holiday 2021 Tour. The “San Francisco Days” singer + songwriter remains suave + romantically tortured, not unlike Bryan Ferry, and can still reel you in with his rich, deep voice, and haunting  “Wicked Game” and “Somebody’s Crying” falsetto.  An adoring audience cheered Isaak’s gems + smart holiday-themed covers like Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper.” A masterful performer with his longtime dexterous band, Isaak kept the fun going with excellent covers of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” and James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy,” plus his priceless comedic stage patter. And couldn’t take my eyes off his sparkling + embroidered black suit that he designed. ? 

  • Above: Death Valley Girls

    Above: Trail of Dead

    Still buzzed from this week’s volcanic Trail of Dead/Death Valley Girls show at Backstage Bar & Billiards, the terrific venue in downtown Vegas which is connected to the larger Fremont Country Club. Been following the psych rock of So Cal’s Death Valley Girls ever since hearing their 2018 Stooges-inspired song “Disaster (Is What We’re After),” the video for which stars Iggy Pop. Fronted by charismatic vocalist and guitarist/keyboardist Bonnie Bloomgarden, DVG are three gals + one guy—they’re both menacing + playful onstage, a combo that definitely works. Also really dug the long-running …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead from Austin, with their transfixing wall-of-sound three guitar army like a modern Lynyrd Skynyrd. Long live inspired noise!

  • The new Superfrico—at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas—definitely makes good on its “Italian American  Psychedelic” branding. It’s an imaginative + creative fun house—an excellent Italian restaurant-bar-meets-art gallery meets-performance art space, with theatrical stage lighting throughout, roving surrealist performers and a DJ (Kat Matutina, aka DJ Pickpocket) spinning lots of throwback dance music like Evelyn “Champagne” King and the SOS Band. Everything was a home run—the Chicken Parm, the Sicilian Salad, the Branzino Piccata—including the let’s-live-now desserts. We went all-in for the Tiramisu (coffee, mascarpone, lemon, espresso crumble) + Banana Walnut Tartufo (miso caramel, torched meringue).  It was an elevated experience—one of our best nights in Vegas.

  • 12/13/2021

    There are many restaurant gems—one after another—here in Vegas’ massive Chinatown which covers three miles. Like Rincon De Buenos Aires, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary. It’s a warm and intimate Argentinian restaurant + Italian deli, located in the Cathay Hills Plaza, with transcendent baked spinach empanadas, lemon-rich chicken piccata (pictured), pizza, flan and tiramisu…all under one welcoming bi-ethnic roof. Had my eye on the Pizza Napoletano, with ham, tomato slices, red  peppers + olives, which was staring back at me from a nearby table. Next time!


    Terrific to see L.A. Guns roll into Vegas this past weekend with SRO PR clients Budderside—two bands from Hollywood, CA—for a pair of packed shows at Count’s Vamp’d on Sahara. Budderside, fronted charismatically by Patrick Alan Stone, came on strong with its alt-rock, metal + grunge blend and songs from their 2021 debut album ‘Spiritual Violence’ plus new single “Too Far” that dig deep into mental health turmoil. L.A. Guns delivered the goods as well. With Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis still at the helm, they remain appealingly tough + skillful, and it felt good to hear their  blunt sing-a-longs “Sex Action” and “Kiss My Love Goodbye” alongside tunes from their new album ‘Checkered Past.’ It was a perfect + satisfying double bill…

  • 12/2/21
    Last night was a perfect one to see comedian + actor Eddie Griffin; it  marked the birthday of his hero—Richard Pryor—which he noted from the outset. As part of his ongoing residency at the newly remodeled + atmospherically hip Sahara Las Vegas, Griffin dug his heels deep into racial injustice, vaccination mistrust, religious hypocrisy + more (he grew up unhappily as a Jehovah’s Witness). With drink in hand, Griffin remains freewheeling, outrageously funny + enlightening. He can make some folks feel uncomfortable, but I think they’re better for it. We started the evening by admiring the vintage Sahara hotel photos in the lobby before segueing into the excellent + stylish Uno Mas Tacos. Really nice to see a taco with Impossible meat on the menu. Extra points for that, not to mention their beaded lighting fixtures. ?



    Master chef James Trees owns three restaurants here in Las Vegas that are at the top of the list: Esther’s Kitchen, Al Solito Posto and Ada’s Wine + Tapas.  Now Trees’ soul-satisfying creativity lights up Mozz Bar, his Italian sandwiches food counter at Resorts World’s impressively sprawling food hall. Try the eggplant Parmesan sandwich, with pomodoro sauce, mozzarella, basil + arugula, on a soft house-made sesame roll—it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. Definitely putting Mozz Bar into my regular rotation.



    It’s not hard to find, but you do have to be on the lookout for it: Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den, the speakeasy at Resorts World. Walking through the massive Famous Foods Street Eats area, you’ll see a sign for Ms. Meow’s Mamak Stall + then a sexy hostess will lead you behind a hidden door where everything is glowing + the lighting is sympathetic. There are fancy cocktails, including one that’s called Ghost Kitty with Bombay Sapphire Gin + banana juice + rice milk. It’s a cool intimate place, tucked away from the food hall + casino crowds, with modern design + traditional Chinese touches + even mini disco mirror balls. Definitely worth a visit—and if you like cats…

  • 11/9/21

    With their layered harmonies, warm acoustic guitars + ringing electrics, America brought the goods last night to the packed Golden Nugget Las Vegas. Gerry Beckley‘s “Sister Golden Hair” achieved lift-off, with one of the most transcendent choruses in pop music, and Dewey Bunnell’s “Sandman”—written in part from conversations with returning airmen from Vietnam—is as haunting as ever.

    The band, a longtime Schneider Rondan Organization client, is now in their 51st year + still going strong. They count the Beatles, Beach Boys + CSNY among their influences, as Dewey discusses in the new issue of Goldmine: The Music Collector’s Marketplace in his “10 Albums That Changed My Life” piece.

  • 11/5/21

    Sometimes you gotta go into the rabbit hole of desserts. And last night we did just that, Hong Kong style, at the Vegas outpost of the Asian worldwide chain SweetHoney Dessert, located on the second floor of sprawling Shanghai Plaza in Chinatown. You can’t go wrong with their soft and creamy strawberry soufflé pancakes or the coconut soufflé pancakes combo, while sitting outside on their terrace with the Palms Hotel (which will hopefully reopen in 2022) off in the distance.


  • Scored a last minute ticket this past Friday night to see Tommy James and the Shondells at the packed Golden Nugget Las Vegas, one of my favorite venues in town. Really satisfying gig—the ‘60s pop-rock icon jumped headlong into “Draggin’ The Line” and closed with “Mony Mony” before an encore including “Sweet Cherry Wine.”

    With a muscular + tight six-piece band behind him, his voice was still thrillingly resonant. For me, it was especially cool to see James do his signature hit “Mony Mony” having heard Billy Idol perform his excellent version a week before at the Cosmopolitan. The hits kept coming: “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” “Crimson & Clover” + more.

    These songs were all released on Roulette Records, which was controlled by scary Morris Levy as a front for the Genovese crime family. This is all part of James’ 2010 page-turning autobiography “Me, The Mob and the Music,” which he said onstage was finally close to being made into a big Hollywood movie.


  • 10/27/21

    Always fun to drop into Hash House A Go Go on Sahara…between their “twisted farm food” with monster portions (I had the relatively sane sundried tomato, basil + goat cheese egg scramble) and the best music in town (I heard Spoon, Curtis Mayfield, Ramones, T.Rex + Killers while there yesterday). Couldn’t resist taking the heavenly churro waffle to go!

  • 10/25/21

    Still a thrill to see Billy Idol—badass + sincere—light up a room. “I want to thank you for making my life so fucking great,” he said onstage this past Saturday night at the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan to a packed crowd as part of his residency there.

    His widescreen punk rock, dressed up with glam and hard rock, still dazzles. The fist-pumping hits kept coming, along with three new songs from his new EP, ‘The Roadside,’ one of which, “U Don’t Have to Kiss Me Like That,” was instantly anthemic. It was pure joy to hear Idol’s menacingly husky voice, matched with the fierce, eloquent guitar runs by Steve Stevens and the sturdy rhythm guitar of Billy Morrison. The two song-encore sealed the deal: a sparks-flying cover of “Born To Lose” (by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers) and then…”White Wedding.” It was my first time seeing Idol (a former client) since 2014 when he released the “Kings  & Queens of The Underground “ album, for which SRO PR handled the PR including a memorable L.A. Weekly cover.


  • 10/17/2021

    Had a real good time seeing Rod Stewart last night at Caesars. The highlights for me were the quietest ones, like “Reason To Believe” and “I Don’t Want To Talk About It.” It was my first time seeing Rod since 1991 on the tour supporting the ‘Vagabond Heart’ album, for which Levine/Schneider handled the PR. It was his 167th show at Caesars (as he noted), and he remains forever young.


  • Cool how the new Las Vegas Weekly shines a super-appetizing light on the Spanish tapas scene here, including places where we’ve been/love (Pamplona + Firefly… swipe left to see Rana and me recently outside the latter) and others we need to check out (like Valencian Gold). LVW also zeroes in other non-Spanish eateries serving tapas, like Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen (right where we live in Summerlin) with its Thai delicacies including those crazy-addictive potato curry puffs. 



  • 9/10/21

    Thanking Las Vegas Weekly for pointing us in the right direction…to the newly opened Chef Kenny’s Asian Vegan Restaurant on Flamingo. We had quite a feast there this week: starting with tasty dim sum (BBQ pork steamed bun, shrimp dumpling) before moving onto to the instantly memorable entrees: Salt and pepper shrimp, Yee Shang Egglant and the House chow mein. The food was a home run on all levels—an exciting addition to the loudly buzzing Vegan food movement in Vegas. Colorful ambience, too—and the price is right. We’ll be back! (CC: Vegans, Baby by Diana Edelman)

  • 8/7/21

    In an L.A state of mind last night, we headed to Bordergrill at Mandalay Bay. Judging by how scintillating the Vegan Relleno and Chicken Poblano Enchiladas tasted, chefs/food visionaries Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken haven’t lost their touch at all when it comes to merging authentic + creative cuisine. Back in the day, Rana and I used to go to the first Border Grill which opened in 1985 as a 35-seat eatery on Melrose Avenue. 

  • 7/9/21

    Last night my wife Rana Bendixen and I had the pleasure of being in the company of Ava Berman and Carlos Adley, owners of Fremont Country Club and Backstage Bar & Billiards, over dinner at the Chart House, which has a serious aquarium, inside the Golden Nugget Las Vegas. Ava and Carlos are absolute cultural visionaries who are pivotal to the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas and beyond.

  • 6/30/21

    Walking around the newly opened Resorts World last night, it was terrific to feel the unique spirit of Los Angeles, all under one roof. There’s Fred Segal, Wally’s, Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream, the soon-to-open Mulberry Street Pizzeria and L.A. chef Ray Garcia’s Viva, where his creative Mexican cuisine delivered on all counts including those transcendent chorizo and potato taquitos.

  • 6/13/21

    Had a blast last night at the long-running “The Rat Pack Is Back” at the Copa Room inside Tuscany Suites & Casino, conjuring an era of alcohol-spiked performances by virtuosos armed with truckloads of ribald humor.  “I love Vegas like Sinatra loves Jack Daniel’s,” as Dean Martin notes on the album “The Rat Pack: Live At The Sands.”

  • 6/2/21

    People need people, right? Thanks to everyone who came out last Wednesday in Las Vegas for the 3:00 PM happy hour meet-up. It was a fantastic turnout with new + old friends including  L.A. folks (some who live here, some who don’t) + Schneider Rondan Organization clients. Good vibrations were in abundance along with drinks + soul-satisfyin’ pizza at the super accommodating Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria in Summerlin. Definitely planning on making this a regular thing.

    Back row, from left: 

    Tour/road manager Adriane Biondo, singer Brendan Shane (The Nocturnal Affair), writer Lonn Friend,  guitarist Bruce Kulick (Grand Funk Railroad), singer Megan Ruger (The Voice), keyboardist Michael T. Ross (Raiding the Rock Vault), bassist Scott Snyder (Great White). 

    Front row:

    Manager Paul Geary and me


  • 4/12/2021

    It was a lazy + super sweet Vegas Sunday. Started in Chinatown at Take It Easy Roasters which has a traditional Colombian bakery. The “dalgona matcha”—honey milk topped with a whipped matcha meringue garnished with fresh cracked sea salt + chocolate shavings—was transcendent. Same goes for the vegan + gluten-free banana bread loaf with seared pecans, plus the bunuelo with cheese. Next up: the Arts District, where we stopped into the antique store Main Street Peddlers before heading back to Chinatown to wander around the sprawling food paradise, Shanghai Plaza, to check out future possibilities. Headed next to Pamplona Cocktails & Tapas Las Vegas, an off-Strip eatery on Sahara that surpassed all expectations + was priced right. Roasted beets salad with mushroom, goat cheese. Roasted potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and oil.  Shrimp in chili garlic oil with white wine. Homemade beef meatballs in Spanish tomato sauce with green beans. Couldn’t say no to dessert. The fried brioche bread with Spanish custard, caramelized sugar + cinnamon powder was sweetness to the square root of infinity.

  • 4/5/21
    Rana + I had a perfect Vegas Sunday, starting off at the eclectic Gäbi Coffee & Bakery in Chinatown where the “honeydew latte” tasted as surreal + delicious as it sounded. Headed next to the fun + smart  Charleston Antique Mall on Decatur Blvd…then moved on to dinner at the top-shelf + well-priced Lemongrass at ARIA (pad Thai, black pepper shrimp, sesame chicken). Friendly waiters in chic uniforms + dazzling lighting fixtures in an epic dining room (plus a gorgeous bar area) add to the experience. Walking around the eye candy-rich Aria lobby is always a treat, and we then got in extra steps next door at the massive, high-end  The Shops at Crystals. Didn’t have to pay for parking once…thank you, Vegas!


  • 3/25/21

    Celebrated nearly one year of living in Las Vegas last night by going out on the town and supporting businesses…with my wife Rana supplying the abundant polka dots. Started with an early dinner at the fairly new Main St. Provisions in the The Las Vegas Arts District before heading to the Delirious Comedy Club at the nearby Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino where it was a real treat to be in the audience for the first time in over a year. The restaurant’s throwback cool ambience, and its imaginative take on modern American comfort food was soulful and tasty. We had the shrimp + rice grits, the charcoal oven burger with apple smoked walnut cheddar + demi sauce, and the braised greens in an “oat milk white wine broth, crispy shallot and pumpkin oil” (say what?). Over at the club, there was a bigger crowd than I thought there would be—around 75 people, with socially distanced seating…folks laughing while masked…hardly easy I imagine for the three excellent comics (separated by 12 or so feet from the front row) who couldn’t see the facial expressions of those they were entertaining.

  • 3/6/21

    Pleasures abound at many excellent off Strip restaurants in Las Vegas, and the massive Limoncello Fresh Italian Kitchen on Sahara is among those leading the pack. We returned for a second time this past Friday night, and the Pappardelle Bolognese and Gnocchi Norma sautéed with eggplant hit our sweet spots, not to mention the limoncello (kindly offered to us complimentary by owner Giuseppe Bavarese). It’s a grand + fun place to eat, with subtitled black-and-white movies projected on the back wall, their fresh fish on display and subtle cocktail lounge disco sounds.

  • 2/24/20

    And the hits kept coming last night…in the form of one soul- satisfying plate after another at 8 East, chef Dan Coughlin’s Pan Asian eatery inside the new Circa hotel/casino in downtown Vegas. We’ll definitely be back for  more of those ginger chicken dumplings, pork belly bao, Tokyo crepe, sizzling noodle, and stir fried green beans. Afterwards, we walked around the Circa, with its iconic Vegas Vickie neon sign, not to mention the go-go dancers lighting up the casino floor (their black masks suggested something other than life during a pandemic). Stepped outside the hotel’s doors to the Fremont Street Experience…a total sensory overload a la “Blade Runner” with eye-popping light shows displayed on the massive LED canopy that runs around four blocks…whew!

  • 2/7/21

    Checking in from the massive art installation + entertainment space Area 15 + having lunch (Singapore Noodles) there at acclaimed chef Todd English’s new food hall,  The Beast. Taking my hat off to all of the creatives who have made this what may be one of the most exciting places on Earth.

  • 1/28/2021

    This is a Chinatown gem that folks have pointed me to: the palatial and artfully appointed Gäbi Coffee & Bakery. Ordered the quite mesmerizing Butterfly Latte: Butterfly Pea Tea, Steamed Milk, Banana Pure.

  • 1/12/2021

    Really digging the Chinatown area of Las Vegas, the 3-mile stretch of shopping plazas just west of The Strip. Not only for its vast array of Pan Asian restaurants, but for hipster spots like the Golden Tiki bar and cool non-Asian restaurants too that we’ve yet to try like Taquito Street, Taco Stand, Mas Por Favor, and Sparrow + Wolf.  Lots to recommend like the imaginatively prepared Thai food + those seductive chandeliers at Lamaii; the eclectic LaMoon (coffee + desserts +  Thai specialties); and the Asian pastries at Diamond Bakery + Crown Bakery. Next on the list to try: Take It Easy, the coffee-anchored spot with cheese-filled Colombian breads, plus the cavernous Gabi Coffee and Bakery. 


  • 12/13/20

    Bounced around downtown Vegas yesterday, hitting the Fremont East District…that’s the restaurants/bars area which the late visionary Tony Hsieh “helped turn into a destination neighborhood” (Eater)…also dropped into the Hsieh/Downtown Project-conceived Downtown Container Park, where all the retail stores + restaurants are housed in metal cubes + shipping containers (took home excellent food from the Pinches Tacos there). Marvelled, too, at the nearby hotel signs for the iconic El Cortez Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas and the new Circa Resort & Casino.

  • 12/7/20

    Good time yesterday in the Arts District: memorable pepperoni pizza at Good Pie…fun displays at Main Street Peddlers Antique Mall…a “welcome” sign outside Hudl BrewingCo…and an anti-shrine to plastic water bottles at the Recycled Propaganda art gallery/retail store (look closely).

  • 11/30/20

    With the indoor capacity of Las Vegas restaurants + bars reduced to 25% right now, my wife Rana + I went out last night to support two local businesses. We started with excellent dim sum at Orchids Garden (they serve it all day) + then moved on to the best bar in the land: the  tropical-themed The Golden Tiki in Chinatown, with a very smart DJ, Rex Dart, spinning smokin’ rarities from different eras that extended the buzz of our drinks (the tequila-driven “Tiki-LA Sunrise” + the cachaca-fueled “Strawberry Batida”). Both the restaurant + bar closely adhered to social distancing + masking-when-necessary rules, for which we applaud them.

  • 11/24/20

    Proud to be a member of the The Neon Museum Boneyard—for me, the happiest place on earth.  A recent addition to museum—which preserves classic Las Vegas neon— is the towering Hard Rock Café guitar sign. Back in 1990,  I was at the Hard Rock Cafe’s opening with then-client Aerosmith when they went up in a cherry picker to christen the sign and then performed in a tent outside. The Hard Rock Hotel subsequently opened in 1995 and closed this past February to make way for an eventual Virgin Hotel. “Baby, things change…” to quote Dwight Yoakam. 


  • 10/16/20

     Missing all the Indian restaurants in the San Fernando Valley since leaving there this past March, Rana and I were seriously jonesing for Indian food in our adopted home of Las Vegas. Last night we got an excellent fix at Mint Indian Bistro—chicken tikka (pictured), aloo gobi, bhindi bhaji, potato samosas, aloo paratha—and it tasted like the Indian eateries in Tarzana and Woodland Hills.  Major thumbs up for the service and ambience, too. 


  • 10/11/20

    You’re looking at heaven on a plate—enchiladas with breakfast potatoes and vegetables—courtesy of chef Jose Aleman at his restaurant Sin Fronteras. Last night Rana had these next-level enchiladas, and I did the soul-satisfying huarache with chicken. Thanks to Las Vegas Weekly for the heads up. 

  • 9/25/20

    Really great things are happening and predicted for the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas. Now let’s support + frequent all the Covid-affected businesses so they can hold on through the “storm.” Outstanding “Downtown Rising” editorial + photos by Las Vegas Weekly

  • 9/9/20 Letty’s de Leticia’s Cocina

    Seems like we’ve been following Frida Khalo here in Las Vegas, or is she following us? There she was again last night at the newly opened Letty’s de Leticia’s Cocina in the Arts District, reminding us, in her immortal words: “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” We celebrated her spirit with outstanding gorditas, torta Cubano and Mexican grilled corn with crema + queso cotija. We gotta go back and try the potatoes/cheese taquitos + chicken tinga empanaditas.


  • 9/2/20 Frank & Fina’s Cocina

    Fell in love last night with the deservedly long-running Frank & Fina’s Cocina in Las Vegas. Soulful albondigas soup, followed by organic soy chorizo + sweet potato tacos, topped with cilantro, avocado and cotija cheese. We’ll be back! 


    8/30/20 Hattie B’s

    Missing Nashville + all my good friends there! So I stopped in yesterday to the Cosmopolitan where Nashville’s Hattie B’s has an outpost at the Block 16 Urban Food Hall. (I originally got turned onto Hattie B’s by SRO PR’s Lyndie Wenner who heads our Nashville office.) Dived into those crunchy chicken tenders plus the pimento mac & cheese + Southern greens. No room left for the banana pudding, but…there’s always tomorrow.

  • 8/26/20 Tivoli 

    I seek out nirvana wherever I can find it. Last night it was in a dreamy chocolate tart at Leone Café at Tivoli Village.


    8/14/20 Arts District

    Bounced around the Arts District last night in our recently adopted Las Vegas hometown. Started with excellent tacos + tostadas at Casa Don Juan (a shrine,  inside + out, to Frida Kahlo), window shopped at the vintage stores (Antique Alley Mall, Retro Vegas), picked up a menu at the all-vegan Tacotarian, and walked by other eateries we gotta try like Esther‘s Kitchen and Cornish Pasty Co


  • 8/1/2020

    Flew to Paris this afternoon for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi…glorious AC inside and 111 degrees out there on The Strip… Interestingly, the temperature today in the real Paris is 100°…

  • 7.26.2020

    Sending everyone flowers on this Sunday! Courtesy of the fantasy-rich Wynn Hotel...home to artist Jeff Koons’ “Tulips” installation.

  • 7.20.20

    Masks of the times—with Rana’s love for Scottie dogs. Out last night at “8 Noodle Bar” inside Red Rock Resort for exceptional Asian fusion food (moderately priced, too). Officially now addicted to their Mochiko Chicken (Crispy Chicken, Pickled Cucumber, Carrot, Daikon, Spicy Sauce). The Pork Belly Bao Bun was pretty magical, too. We’ll be back.

  • 7/4/2020 Las Vegas Weekly

    Happy 4th of July! Another standout cover from @lasvegasweekly. They do high-quality, glossy slick covers…every week there’s another terrific one that I look forward to.


    6/30/20 Smash Magazine

    Picked up a copy of the March/April issue of the local Smash Magazine, looking longingly at all the cool shows I missed at the Brooklyn Bowl here due to the pandemic. I would have been at these gigs—Hot Chip, Orville Peck, Asking Alexandria (with Hyro The Hero) and American Aquarium—if not more.


  • 6/27/20 Eggslut

    Having moved to Summerlin three months ago, I was feeling a little homesick today for Los Angeles. Headed over to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and had the Fairfax sandwich at the Vegas branch of Eggslut. It worked wonders!

  • White Castle, 6/11/2020

    Nice surprise! White Castle in Las Vegas, connecting me immediately to my Bronx roots (the White Castle on Boston Post Road near Allerton Avenue).

  • Tarantino’s Vegan, 6/6/2020

    Last night Rana and I checked out the excellent off-Strip Italian Vegan eatery Tarantino’s here in Las Vegas: imaginative food (“Chick’n Parmesan” and lasagna with “beef crumbles” and “almond ricotta”) with ultra-positive ambiance.

  • Arts District (cat mural, T-shirt photos), 5/26/20

    Kicked around the mural-rich Las Vegas Arts District yesterday, stopping into the Recycled Propaganda art gallery + store (smart message T-shirts) and dining on the patio at the Latin eatery Makers & Finders.



    Stay Fresh and Wash Ya Hands graffiti, 3/29/2020

    Pandemic graffiti in front of the Majestic Repertory Theater in the Arts District of Las Vegas, our new home. Rana and I today drove around there and cruised up and down the ghost town Strip. Then we headed west to downtown Summerlin to pick up food curbside at Shake Shack. Times like these are made for fried food…

  • I love the lighting fixtures in Las Vegas + photographing them—they mesmerize me. Here are six of them:

    Planet Hollywood (The Strip)

    Golden Nugget (Downtown)

    AZILO Ultra Lounge (Sahara Hotel)

    Pepper Club (inside The English Hotel in the Arts District)

    Sahara Hotel (The Strip)

    The Dorsey Cocktail Lounge (The Venetian)

    Finally, while this is not a lighting fixture, I was instantly attracted to the classic and lovingly revitalized neon sign Vegas Vickie inside the Circa Hotel downtown.


Lighting It Up In Las Vegas

I love the lighting fixtures in Las Vegas + photographing them—they mesmerize me. Here are eight of them: Planet Hollywood (The Strip) Golden Nugget (Downtown) AZILO Ultra Lounge (Sahara Hotel) […]

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