Archive for October, 2009

Garth Brooks Las Vegas tickets on sale tomorrow

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas will host special performances by Garth Brooks beginning in December.

Country superstar Garth Brooks is ending his retirement in a deal with Steve Wynn where the singer will perform a  limited number of engagements at the Encore Theatre in Las Vegas.  The all-acoustic performances begin with a single weekend in December and will continue on select dates throughout the term of the 5-year arrangement.

The price for tickets (said to be a point of discussion between Wynn and Brooks) is a very “reasonable-for-Vegas” $125 plus a $5 service charge and a $13 tax to equal a total of $143 and go on sale this Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 a.m. Pacific (9:00 a.m. MT, 10:00 a.m. CT and 11:00 a.m. ET). Tickets are available by calling 702.770.1000 and online at the Wynn Las Vegas box office.

The following weekend dates have been released with all performances happening at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas Resort:

December 200911 – 13

January 2010:  1 – 3 and 22 – 24

February 2010:  12 – 14 and 26 – 28

Performance times are:  Fridays – 8:00pm; Saturdays – 8:00pm & 10:30pm; and Sundays – 8:00pm.

More information about ticketing can be found on the official Garth Brooks website plus there’s lots more info on the deal in a good article on CMT News online:  “NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Garth Brooks Goes Back to Work.”

You can check out room rates here for  Encore at Wynn Las Vegas and for Wynn Las Vegas where we found rates ranging from $235 on up with a $75 resort credit.  There are lots of options nearby including TI – Treasure Island Hotel and Casino ($101 – $139,) or The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino and The Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino at the Venetian for $219 per night each plus slot credit of $50 and dining credits as well.

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Save these dates for Vegas “gift” days

Monday, October 19th, 2009
Harrah's will host the "Great Gift Wrap Up"

Harrah's will host the "Great Gift Wrap Up" from November 12 - 16, 2009. Another event happens at Caesars Palace in December.

If you’ve been playing Las Vegas this year and using your all-important players club cards, you’ve probably been racking up “gift points” at lots of casinos up and down the Strip.  Now is the time to make plans to cash in those annual points by attending the big “gift-o-rama” events held each year by the various participating casino companies.  Make your room reservations now since you must be there in person to cash in your points and these special shopping days bring in lots of visitors to Vegas.

Here are the dates and venues for this year’s big gift giveaways in Las Vegas:

Harrah’s Entertainment will be hosting their fourth annual “Great Gift Wrap Up” on November 12th – 16th, 2009 at Harrah’s Las Vegas and again from December 3rd – 7th, 2009 at Caesars Palace.  Go to for details plus a look at this year’s merchandise catalog. You can even get your point total.

MGM Mirage’s popular “Holiday Gift Shoppe Event” will be taking place at participating Las Vegas properties from November 28 – December 13, 2009.  Check out this special event at the company’s site and click on the “Holiday Gift Shoppe” logo for gift ideas and a special count-down clock.

Grazie Club members can cash in the points they’ve earned by playing at both the Venetian and Palazzo resorts during the “Grazie Gifts” Holiday Shopping Extravaganza in November.  From November 20 – 29, 2009, players here can choose from such high-end names as Tag Heuer, Ralph Lauren, Coach and more in exchange for their points.  Get the details on this event at and click on the “Grazie” tab then select “Grazie Gifts” as your destination.

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Halloween hotel rates in Vegas are “scary good”

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
New York New York in Las Vegas celebrates Halloween with great room deals and the "Zombie Precinct" attraction.

New York New York in Las Vegas celebrates Halloween with great room deals and the "Zombie Precinct" attraction.

There’s still plenty of time to book a trip to Las Vegas for Halloween weekend and with rates this good — weekend rates, at that! — we can’t find any reason not to go.  I have been going to Vegas for Halloween for years and I truly cannot remember when I last saw rates this low! Book these hot deals on Strip hotel rooms and you’ll still have plenty of cash left over for a really good costume and lots of Halloween candy, too.

Last-minute deals on Las Vegas hotel rooms include this smokin’ offer from MGM Grand: The “Halloween Treats” room offer includes a $35 beverage credit good at hotel hotspots like Studio 54 and one of our favorite spots for an intimate drink, the elegant Rouge Lounge, PLUS 2-for-1 buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner at their Grand Buffet. Check out these amazing rates:  $67 for Thursday, 10/29; $110 on Friday, 10/30; just $118 on Saturday 10/31 and $84 for Sunday, 11/1.  Use this  link — MGM Grand — and Promotion Code “MKT329” to get this great deal.

Across the street, check out New York New York “ZOMBIE PRECINCT” Oct 8 – 31, 2009 and the hotel’s big Halloween weekend promotion that includes: Park Avenue Strip View Room Weekend, 2 Haunted Bridge Admissions, 2 Rok Vegas Nightclub Admissions, and 2 Roller Coaster Passes (*See site for additional details and restrictions). Oct 9 – 31, 2009. Use Promo Code: ZOMBIEWE (Exp 10/29/09) and get it all starting at just $199 per night, 2 night minimum.

Other really great deals include the Flamingo Las Vegas ranging from $41 on Thursday to $109 on Saturday night; downtown favorite the Golden Nugget from $58 to just $99 for the weekend nights; and mid-Strip Harrah’s property, Paris Las Vegas, for rates from $56 to the $136 tab for the Saturday night stay. These and other best deals on Las Vegas hotel rooms are available online at at: Great Vegas Hotels from $20!

*All rates quoted are pre-tax and do not include any hotel fees or add-ons.  Check each deal for any fine print or other restrictions.

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STRIPSTEAK merits prime spot on any “Top Las Vegas Steakhouses” list

Friday, October 9th, 2009
In-house aging is one key to the juicy tender steaks at STRIPSTEAK LV.

In-house aging is one key to the juicy tender steaks at STRIPSTEAK LV.

I recently had lunch with a friend of mine (a professional food writer and guest reviewer here) who made the most spot-on comment I’ve ever heard when it comes to Chef Michael Mina’s food: “The man is a wizard with potatoes!” So, you’re thinking if this is a review on STRIPSTEAK LV, why do I care what the chef does with potatoes? It’s the meat that matters not the sides. Well, in this case, while the steaks are more than worthy, it is definitely the spuds that make for a memorable meal. And, did we mention that said spuds are free? No kidding, these crisp crunchy beauties come courtesy of the chef… au gratis… n/c.

First, the restaurant itself: Located at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, the space is sleek and edgy with enough hard surfaces to make sound somewhat of an issue if you were hoping for an intimate dinner for two.* But keep in mind, the sound bouncing from walls to ceiling comes from people having fun! This is a great spot for celebrations like bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday bashes and other group events or for couples looking to dine in a high-energy atmosphere. (We had a terrific time chatting away with the couple at the table next to us who also happened to be from Phoenix. Yeah, it’s that kind of place.)

This trio of spectacular fries is presented au gratis with dinner at STRIPSTEAK.

This trio of spectacular fries is presented au gratis with dinner at the winning STRIPSTEAK LV.

The fries: Okay, back to those marvelous complimentary potatoes. After ordering drinks (wine for P.B., a draft for me) and dinner, the server brought out this very cool serving stand filled with three tubs of perfectly cooked-in-duck-fat fries – herb-flecked, paprika-dusted and saffron garlic – along with three dipping sauces: housemade ketchup, perky BBQ sauce and our hands-down favorite, a luxurious truffle cream sauce I would’ve eaten with a spoon! The serving is so large we couldn’t finish it but, oh, how we tried.

Dinner: For an appetizer, we chose to share the Maine lobster fritters, a dish we unfortunately wouldn’t order again. The batter was too heavy for the delicate seafood flavor to come through and the bacon mentioned in the menu description seemed to be AWOL from our dish. In hindsight, we would have merrily munched on the fries with our drinks and ordered a salad to share with the yummy warm potato focaccia (served in a cast iron skillet) before the main course. For our steaks, we chose the American Kobe beef – the Rib Eye ($64) for P.B. and the Rib Cap ($65) for me. (STRIPSTEAK also offers Japanese A5 Wagyu beef at Market Price.) Chef Mina’s steaks are heralded for their cooking method which entails a long slow-poach in clarified butter and then a quick turn on a high heat (think 1,000 degrees!) grill. The process renders a steak that is meltingly tender inside with a beautifully crusty exterior. As we expected, our steaks were superb. As a side, we shared a de-lish mountain of creamed spinach topped with crumbled bacon bits. (Note to self: next time we eat here, we walk back to our room at the Bellagio.)

Well-marbled and perfectly cooked -- the rib cap American Kobe steak.

Well-marbled and perfectly cooked, the rib cap American Kobe steak is a terrific menu choice.

Dessert: Overkill for sure but the “Beignets with Macallan 18-Year Butterscotch Pudding” were just way too tempting to resist and we’re so glad we didn’t. Plump, fluffy pillows of warm donut dipped in scotch-flavored caramel pudding…uh, what’s not to like? (Do be aware that the liquor really comes through in this decidedly “adult-flavored” dessert.)

Service and other highlights:

Excellent, attentive service even on a busy Saturday night during prime time dining hours of 8 – 10 pm.

Another freebie courtesy of STRIPSTEAK — A bag of gourmet dark-chocolate-drizzled caramel corn made in-house sends you out the door.

I have to say that I knew we were in for a great meal when Las Vegas local, UNLV professor and famed foodie, Patti Shock, highly recommended the place to me via Twitter. (If you are interested in food and Las Vegas you should follow her.  @PattiShock)

The best: We used a $25 certificate purchased for $2 at (use coupon code “FOUR” and the link below) to pay for part of the meal.  At the restautant, be sure to present it early on so they have time to validate the certificate before the check comes.

definitely merits a top spot on our list of “Best Las Vegas Steakhouses.”

(*Looking for a romantic spot to dine? Try Fleur De Lys or Mix In Las Vegas, both located at Mandalay Bay and both participate in the certificate program.)

Save 80% off on every $25 Gift Certificate order. Use code “FOUR” and pay just $2 through 10/12/09 only at


Springer brings America’s Got Talent Live! to Las Vegas Strip

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas will play host to this year’s top acts from summer’s popular “America’s Got Talent” reality entertainment competition in a live stage show beginning Wednesday.

Starting October 7 and continuing through December 13, tabloid TV host (and, I kid you not, former Cincinnati mayor and Ohio congressional candidate,) Jerry Springer, will emcee the new variety show. Headlining the show is former chicken catcher now million dollar show winner, singer Kevin Springer, who will star in the new production along with other favorite acts from the show. (We thought the best acts from this year’s show were Recycled Percussion and the weirdly-named Acrodunk.  And, really, are we the only ones who thought opera singer, Barbara Padilla, had a great back story but as an opera singer isn’t exactly what we consider a “Vegas act?”)

Springer will host the 10-week run of America’s Got Talent Live!, with shows running every Wednesday through Sunday at Planet Hollywood’s 1300-seat CHI Showroom. Tickets range from $64 – $104 but we have seen mailers from PHo touting 2-for-1 ticket deals with certain room packages.  Or check out this deal from i4Vegas — Planet Hollywood from $69 per night!

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