It’s been an amazing, decade-long run, but Bradley Ogden restaurant closes at Caesars Palace on August 5, 2012.
Ogden’s family, friends and numerous culinary protégés gathered at the acclaimed restaurant on July 28 for a celebration and farewell cocktail reception.
"Salut!" to a culinary icon, Bradley Ogden.
One of the best send-offs to Bradley Ogden we’ve seen comes from Las Vegas food critic Al Mancini. He asked for those in attendance at the party to give their thoughts about what Bradley Ogden has done for the Las Vegas culinary scene. Read the comments here.
Last chance to devour one of the most famous burgers in Sin City.
The best way this blog could think of to say “farewell” to Bradley Ogden is to kind of do what we do. Specifically, here’s a photo gallery of food we had at Bradley Ogden restaurant recently. Ogden’s take on complex, but accessible, American food will be missed, as will the chef.
Of all the made-up national “holidays,” National Cheesecake Day (July 30) is certainly one of the tastiest. Here’s our list of six places in Las Vegas to celebrate National Cheesecake Day in style.
1. Rao’s at Caesars Palace
Oh, there are other things on the menu at Rao’s Italian restaurant at Caesars Palace, but why not just skip to the cheesecake, already?
2. Lobster ME at The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood
Again, it’s mostly a lobster place, but you won’t be able to resist the Cheesecake Lollipops at Lobster ME.
Two great things, cheesecake and sticks, together at last.
3. Central at Caesars Palace
Central restaurant’s cheesecake is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, you won’t have too long to look at it, because it’ll be gone before you know it.
You'll wish you had more mouths. And hands. And forks.
4. KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers at Harrah’s Las Vegas
KGB at Harrah’s is really embracing National Cheesecake Day with deals on their NY Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Cheesecake ($6 each). But that’s not why they’re on this list. They’re on this list because they have a Cheesecake Shake. We haven’t personally tried it yet, but let us repeat this again: Cheesecake. Shake.
This may not be the Cheesecake Shake. We are a Las Vegas blog, not a fact-checker.
5. Strip House at Planet Hollywood
Strip House restaurant at Planet Hollywood serves up a generously-sized cheesecake, at least according to the photo they provided. We’re inclined to believe their cheesecake is great because everything else we’ve tried there is.
It's like a delicious skyscraper. Or something.
And our sixth Las Vegas place to celebrate National Cheesecake Day…
6. Fremont Street
What, you thought we were just talking about THAT kind of cheesecake? You celebrate National Cheesecake Day they way you want, and this blog will celebrate National Cheesecake Day the way it wants.
It's still Vegas, baby.
What’s your favorite cheesecake joint in town? Let us know in the Comments section so we can do our due diligence, gluttony-wise.
You’d think this question would’ve come up sooner, but today we realized we had no idea why blackjack is called, you know, blackjack.
Pay up, baby!
So, here’s the low-down. When the game of “21″ was introduced to the U.S., gambling establishments offered bonus payouts to promote the game. One of those bonuses involved a special, 10-to-1 bonus if the player’s hand ended up being an ace of spades in addition to a “black jack,” or a jack of spades or clubs.
While the bonus went away, the name given to this particular combination of cards stuck and eventually became the name for the most popular casino card game in the world, “blackjack.”
Jordan Michael Geller is a man obsessed. His obsession has led to amassing the world’s largest collection of Nike shoes, and he’ll soon be sharing his record-smashing collection in a new “ShoeZeum” at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas.
Oh, he's just getting started.
The ShoeZeum is expected to open by Labor Day weekend (Sep. 1, 2012), and will take up a dumbfounding 7,500 square feet in the long-vacant space formerly occupied by Jillian’s, a restaurant, arcade, bar and music venue.
We got an exclusive peek at the new museum space and chatted up Geller about his astonishing collection.
This work-in-progress museum is a shoo-in for some serious Sin City buzz. See what we did there?
For starters, the museum will feature more than 2,500 pairs of shoes. The collection is so large, in fact, maps will be provided to guests to get the most from their visit. The ShoeZeum will be divided into 23 distinct exhibits.
An automatically-this-blog’s-favorite Las Vegas section, for example, will include things like Nike Dunks inspired by UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and other shoes inspired by playing cards.
Yes, there are Nikes inspired by playing cards. We did not know that.
Another exhibit will be devoted to shoes based on the theme of beer, wine and alcohol. Possibly also our favorite. Decisions, decisions.
The collection includes shoes inspired by snack foods, “The Ugly Duckling,” the Muppets, the San Diego zoo, hemp, every conceivable holiday (Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, Valentine’s Day among them), Sea World, comic books, birds, flowers and just about anything else you can imagine.
Speak with Jordan Geller for a few minutes, and your mind will reel at his encyclopedic knowledge of Nike culture and history. He’s not affiliated with Nike, he’s just kind of crazy-enthusiastic about their shoes.
“I’m the biggest shoe geek in the world,” admits Geller.
There's a lot of Nike knowledge in that brain.
At times, you’d think Geller is speaking another language, such as when he rattles off things like, “We’ve got vintage waffles from the ’70s, the Air Max 1, Light and Stab and 90, Hyperdunks, Huaraches and Flight 89s.” We’re not entirely sure how he fits all this into his head, but it’s endlessly fascinating, and we’re not even a “sneakerhead” (the name given to extreme sneaker enthusiasts).
Perhaps the best way to get the Jordan Geller experience is to see it in action. Here, he gives a tour of the ShoeZeum at its former location in San Diego. Fair warning: There’s a 41% chance your brain will ‘splode.
Here’s another great video of the attraction being packed up for its move to Las Vegas, and another video showing where the shoes were kept during the transition to the new ShoeZeum. Let’s just say Geller is quite, um, meticulous. (Translation: It’s like an episode of “Hoarders,” but with incredible organization and purpose.)
Of course, if you have the world’s biggest Nike collection and your name is Jordan Michael Geller (yes, that’s his real name, and it was given to him some time before the basketball player hit the scene), you can’t not have an entire wing of your collection devoted to Air Jordans. Geller says, “This is where sneakerheads lose their minds.” The ShoeZeum boasts 26 years of shoes from the Air Jordan signature line, a whopping 500 pairs.
Jillian’s arcade ticket redemption counter will now be transformed into a sort of Michael Jordan shrine.
Coming soon! Prediction: Basketball fans are going to eat this up.
The journey to having the world’s biggest Nike collection began during Geller’s second year of law school (yes, he’s also an attorney), when he went to a swap meet. There, Geller met a vendor selling Nikes for $20 a pair. At the time, Geller had $300 to his name. He talked the vendor down to $15 a pair, got 20 pairs, then posted them on eBay. His $300 turned into $800 and he was on his way. He used his profits to buy more shoes, sold them, re-invested his profits, and so on.
The vast majority of the shoes in the collection were acquired, pair by pair, through individual purchases on eBay.
While the Nike shoe collection itself is staggering, one of the real selling points of this new downtown attraction is definitely Geller himself. His passion is contagious. He’ll be very hands-on when the museum opens, describing himself as a sort of “Nike Willy Wonka.”
Geller notes, “When I used to give tours to people, to people who really knew what they were looking at, there were times when they had to sit down. We had to stop the tour because it was too visually stimulating.”
Why are you standing around for photos, Jordan? We want our Nike museum, already.
What do the folks at Nike think of Geller’s collection? They’re huge fans. In fact, when a smaller version of the museum was in San Diego, the company’s CEO and creative team flew in from Beaverton, Oregon for a tour.
Geller says, “I think it’s similar to the way Kevin Costner’s character in ‘Field of Dreams’ converted a cornfield into a baseball field. He built it and had his boyhood heroes show up and play ball. People are passionate about Nikes and sports and pop culture. All those things are captured by these shoes. My hope is that if I build this place, people will come.”
One of the more remarkable aspects of the Nike collection is that even if you aren’t a “shoe geek,” the sheer size and scope of it makes it completely fascinating and inspires goosebumps.
Some one-of-a-kind athletic shoe art.
At the moment, Geller has signed a relatively short-term lease, unsure whether the museum will remain downtown or if another venue on the Strip might be its ultimate home. Our first thought? What a great fit for the Linq development project, what with special attention being paid to Gen-X and Gen-Y (ages 21-46) visitors. We’re just saying.
A microbrewery, Banger Brewing, is tentatively slated to move into the ShoeZeum space at some point, but it’s unclear when that might happen, and probably not before 2013. So, for now, Geller is confident his life’s work will entertain and delight downtown, adding another quirky draw to a rejuvenated downtown and Neonopolis.
Trivia: In the world of shoe collecting, the term used for mint condition shoes is "dead stock." We had no idea how much we don't know about shoes.
The ShoeZeum at Neonopolis is located at 450 Fremont Street, right next to the Heart Attack Grill.
Tickets for the family-friendly ShoeZeum are expected to run about $10. More news to come!
You never know who you’ll bump into when you’re in Las Vegas.
Yesterday, while roaming The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, we stumbled into an autograph signing with none other than former World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association heavyweight champion of the world, Leon Spinks.
Gratuitous Olympics tie-in: Spinks won the gold medal for boxing (light heavyweight division) at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
The Field of Dreams sports memorabilia store hosted the champ’s visit.
Who’d Spinks defeat to become world champion? None other than a 36-year-old Muhammad Ali. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.
The fighter’s famous, gap-toothed grin might be gone, but the affable boxer hasn’t lost the spark that made him a world champion.
Krave Nightclub, a popular gay club at The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, is pulling up stakes and moving to downtown Las Vegas at Neonopolis.
The new nightclub, to be named Krave Massive, is expected to be the world’s largest gay nightclub and will open in a space formerly occupied by movie theaters.
Trust us on this one. You haven't fully partied in Vegas until you've partied with drag queens.
The folks behind Krave also run Drink & Drag, a fun new drag queen bar, bowling alley and billiard room, also located inside Neonopolis. Neonopolis is located on the northwest corner of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.
Plans for Krave Massive claim it will have five themed dance rooms, three bars, a comedy club (tentatively called Tickled Pink) and a performing arts theater. Also slated is an outdoor pool area.
The new Krave Massive club is expected to open in December 2012, with no word yet on when the Krave at The Miracle Mile Shops will shut its doors.
The colorful Gordon Ramsay is, of course, known for his roughly 68 popular reality shows on the Fox network, including “Hell’s Kitchen,” “MasterChef” and “Kitchen Nightmares.” This blog’s Tivo is working overtime just to try and keep up. Note: The shows haven’t yet improved our ability to cook, but they’ve certainly expanded our vocabulary!
Trivia: Back in he early 1990s, Gordon Ramsay worked with Chef Guy Savoy who's restaurant is also at Caesars Palace.
Ramsay’s new restaurant at Caesars Palace will have a “lively and approachable English pub-style setting,” and the menu will feature British pub food like fish and chips, roasted chicken and “bangers and mash,” whatever those might be. Hey, if Chef Ramsay likes them, we’re pretty sure we will, too.
The new restaurant will also have a wide selection of craft and microbrews from around the world, with more than 40 beers on tap.
The decor of the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill will have some traditional London red telephone booths in the mix, and the restaurant will have a patio area that extends out into the casino floor. The restaurant will have a vintage-style lounge, a private dining room and will seat close to 300 people.
This blog loves it some 1) Vegas newness, 2) Gordon Ramsay, so, you know we’ll be there. If for no other reason than to find out what a “banger” is.
Sixteen years after it opened at Harrah’s Las Vegas, the oft-overlooked Range Steakhouse continues to serve up a dining experience with an emphasis on quality food, feisty cocktails, a welcoming atmosphere and old-school, customer-first service.
A bit of a departure from the rest of Harrah's. You'll get used to it.
Some Vegas visitors are actually surprised to learn there’s a top-notch steakhouse hidden inside Harrah’s. The signs for The Range aren’t in-your-face, and the restaurant and bar are accessible via a discreet elevator just off the hotel’s casino floor, so many passersby don’t even realize it’s there. Once inside, however, you’ll wonder how (and why) you’ve missed it.
Booze with great views. Yes, we just made that up.
Recently, the restaurant began serving a colorful collection of specialty cocktails this blog felt compelled to investigate personally. Yes, all nine of them. These are the kinds of sacrifices we are willing to make on your behalf.
The Lemon Meringue Martini tastes exactly like, well, take your best guess.
The cocktails include the Lazy Wrangler, Home on the Range, The Adios, Sweetest Hangover, Blush, Aviator, Signature Sangria, The Range Mojitos and martinis, including the Lemon Meringue Martini (pictured seductively above).
It's the Adios. Which, in Spanish, means, "Do not judge my alcohol content by my flamboyance."
All the specialty cocktails run $12, which isn’t horrible when you consider several of them will get your guppies swimming again. Whatever that might actually mean.
The Range Mojito. And, yes, we're as surprised as you are that any of these photos are even remotely in focus.
While not the most flashy of the cocktails, the Home On The Range cocktail (below) will put hair on your chest. It may also put hair on your bowling ball. Which, while peculiar, will make perfect sense once you taste it.
It's a Vegas vacation in a glass. Just without the buskers.
Another new addition to the restaurant’s offerings is a “$7 Before 7:00 p.m.” menu, created specifically for its lively bar and lounge area.
The “$7 Before 7:00 p.m.” summer tasting menu includes Beef Satay, Seared Scallops Oscar Style, bruschetta and Duck Spring Rolls. Also of note is the happy fact well cocktails, draft and bottled beer and glasses of wine are 30% off before 7:00 p.m., too.
The bruschetta's picture perfect, and not just because this blog took the picture, for a change.
If we had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the seared scallops, even though this blog is not a real scallop or seafood person.
The scallops are seriously under-priced, but don't tell them we said that.
Aside from all these tempting treats, there’s a specialty dessert we’d be remiss not mentioning. Bonus: If you order it, you’ll be the cool kid in your party because it’s not even on the menu.
Behold the Flaming Volcano. Which, unlike some over-hyped things in Las Vegas, actually lives up to its name. Specifically the part about flames being involved.
Please don't try this at home. Unless you live in a kiln.
The Flaming Volcano is unbelievably good vanilla ice cream encased in a Nestle candy shell, drizzled with a raspberry sauce. But wait, there’s more.
The whole dessert is doused with chocolate ganache and a Bacardi 151 blend, then set afire. It’s one part show and one part, “Do not get between this blog and the Flaming Volcano, thanks.”
It's hot. It's cold. It's OMG.
Topping off all these great deals at The Range Steakhouse is a true dedication to treating every customer like a high roller.
Our waiter, Jimmy (below), has been with the restaurant since the day it opened. He takes for granted that he knows his job so well he not only kept us from bursting into flames during the table-side preparation of the Flaming Volcano, but he can also gesture to any item in the restaurant’s menu without looking.
Thanks for not letting our dessert singe our eyebrows, Jimmy.
Oh, like we weren’t going to squeeze in one more photo of a cocktail. Have you ever even read this blog before?
The Blush is a rush. Seriously, we should be a professional writer.
So, The Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s Vegas is awaiting your arrival. This hidden Vegas gem is worth a look. And taste. Especially that taste part.
It appears serious “condragulations” are in order for female impersonator Frank Marino and friends. Marino’s show, “Divas Las Vegas,” had its 1,000th show at Imperial Palace on July 21, 2012.
A thousand shows is a piece of cake. Well, technically, cupcakes, but you get the idea.
Frank Marino has performed in Las Vegas for more than 27 years, making him the longest-running headliner in the city.
The perpetually sassy and entertaining Frank Marino.
Marino plays host (hostess?) for the evening’s entertainment, tossing out expertly-delivered and ever-evolving comedy material throughout the show that showcases the talents of 17 featured celebrity impersonators. Every time Marino exits the stage, he reappears soon after in a seemingly endless array of gowns.
If you do the math, that’s 17 costume changes for Marino per show, which means in his Imperial Palace run along he’s made 17,000 costume changes. Amazing.
Guests can rest assured they’ll never see the same show twice, because aside from Marino constantly updating his material, the acts in the show are always changing, too. The show includes female celebrity impersonations of beloved stars like Cher, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Bette Midler and Madonna, but has also recently added numbers by Rihanna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.
We didn't confirm the accuracy of this Dolly Parton impersonator's dimensions. We are a Las Vegas blog, not a dimension-confirmer.
The most recent addition is a Katy Perry impersonator doing “I Kissed a Girl.” Which, given the context, is not only a gender bender, but also a bit of a mind bender.
A Katy Perry impersonator or the NBC logo, you decide.
The show and its performers never take themselves too seriously, and it’s a non-stop romp of lip-syncing, lavish costumes and award-winning choreography by a group of talented male dancers. Males who are dressed as males. Please try and keep up.
There are hot guys for the guys, hot guys for the girls, and guys dressed as girls for the girls and guys. What's so complicated about it?
A highlight of the “Divas” shows will always be the heart-tugging segment featuring Charles Aznavour’s song, “What Makes a Man a Man,” where one of the divas (below) transforms into a man, onstage. This blog has yet to not get a little weepy during that one.
"What Makes a Man a Man" should get its own Tony Award.
Learn more about Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas show at the Imperial Palace, and enjoy a few more highlights from the show’s 1,000th performance in our exclusive gallery.
What began as a massive field of 6,598 players vying for poker’s most prestigious prize has been whittled down to just nine.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) recently announced its “October Nine” who will battle it out (starting Oct. 29) for the No-Limit Hold’em Championship at Rio Las Vegas, as well as a first-place prize of $8,527,982. Yes, exactly $8,527,982. That extra $82 is to tip the valet.
It's time to hire accountants, fellas.
Thanks to Joe Giron at the WSOP for the pic. Related: Think getting nine poker players to look at the camera is difficult? Try photographing six dogs playing poker.
Although the WSOP draws players from around the world, 83 countries in all, the Main Event’s final nine are nearly all Americans, with the sole exception being a Hungarian. (Chanting “USA, USA, USA!” at this juncture would be entirely appropriate.)
The October Nine are, in order of chip count (most to least): Jesse Sylvia, Andras Koroknai (from Hungary), Greg Merson, Russell Thomas, Steven Gee, Michael Esposito, Robert Salaburu, Jake Balsiger and Jeremy Ausmus.
We were not kidding.
Catch up on all the WSOP drama on ESPN. Coverage begins July 31, and will continue in two-hour blocks each Tuesday for 16 weeks, and Main Event final table coverage will commence Oct. 30.
Visit the official WSOP site for all the details. And please ignore all the stuff we clearly cut and past for this blog post. We are very busy interviewing showgirls and stuff.
It’s official! After weeks of preview performances, “Surf the Musical” is making a splash (sorry, first and last surfing-related pun) at Planet Hollywood.
On July 17, 2012, Las Vegas entertainers galore turned out to celebrate the show’s world premiere with a glitzy red carpet flash-fest. (Camera flashes. Why, what were you thinking?)
"American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks, currently performing an extended run at Bally's Las Vegas.
“Surf the Musical” is a brand new, Broadway-scale stage show featuring the timeless music of The Beach Boys. The show boasts about 30 hits, including songs from deep in the Beach Boys oeuvre (yes, “oeuvre,” this blog is fancy). Read more.
"Peepshow" and "Holly's World" co-star, Josh Strickland.
With the help of The Beach Boys catalog, “Surf the Musical” takes audiences to California in the 1960s.
The story follows Tanner (played by Marshal Kennedy Carolan), who leaves his hometown to pursue his dreams in the big city. When he returns home, he decides to recapture the love of his girlfriend Brooke (Lauren Zakrin), who’s changed a lot in the process, including hooking up with the town bad boy. Drama and dancing and singing and bikinis and drag races and rides on Ferris wheels ensue.
Melody Sweets, one of the stars of "Absinthe" at Caesars.
It was great to see so many veteran Strip performers turning out to support the new musical on the block. Some of these performers and their shows are kind of competition to “Surf the Musical,” as well as each other, but the Vegas entertainment community tends to be a close-knit one, and everyone turns out when the curtain goes up on a new show on The Strip.
Among those in attendance were Frankie Moreno (headliner at the Strat), Carrot Top (Luxor), magician Nathan Burton (Flamingo), Marc Savard (comedy-hypnotist at The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood), BMX pro Richardo Laguna, Travis Cloer (“Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas) and others.
Carrot Top. But he also answers to "Scott."
Hard bodies were in plentiful supply as cast members from Chippendales (Rio Las Vegas), Fantasy (Luxor) and Thunder Down Under (Excalibur) turned up the red carpet heat.
The men of Chippendales at Rio Vegas, sporting some snappy beachwear.
Also on-hand was pop notable Debbie Gibson, most recently of “Celebrity Apprentice.” We liked her a lot, and found her to be charming and fun-loving on the red carpet, for what it’s worth.
Number of red carpet photographers who started singing the Debbie Gibson hit, "Only in My Dreams": Several.
The show’s director, Kristin Hanggi (below), was taking the red carpet frenzy in stride, probably because she’s had some experience being in the limelight. She also directed the hit, “Rock of Ages,” the Tony-nominated Broadway production recently turned into a feature film.
"Surf" director Kristin Hanggi. We'd like to think the cherries are a reference to slot machines, but that's probably just us.
Listen to director Kristin Hanggi and lead actress Lauren Zakrin in an interview on KNPR.
After the show, guests partied the night away at nearby Gallery Nightclub, not far from where “Surf the Musical” and “Peepshow” share a theater. (Note: “Surf the Musical” is family-friendly. “Peepshow,” while musical, not so much.)
Learn more about Surf the Musical, and catch this new musical extravaganza at Planet Hollywood.
Enjoy scads more photos in our exclusive gallery from the “Surf the Musical” red carpet. Some of the faces you’ll recognize and some you won’t, but either way, it’ll kill some time before you have to get back to doing something more productive.
Actor Eric McCormack (pictured below), of “Will & Grace” fame, shared some funny anecdotes in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine, illustrative of the fact, “Fans Say the Craziest Things.”
Eric McCormack currently stars in TNT's drama, "Perception."
One of the more entertaining stories took place in Las Vegas, so we had to share, in McCormack’s own words.
“The most educational moments are what I call the build-up/beat-down. The restaurant hostess in Vegas who screamed, ‘I’ve seen every episode a thousand times, you are my total, total favorite!’ ‘Thanks,’ I blushed. ‘I have a reservation.’ ‘Oh, my God!’ she cheered, then looked down at her list. ‘Name?’ I stared back at her. ‘You…don’t know my name?’ She shrugged. ‘I don’t read the credits.’”
There’s been a lot of anticipation building around Cee Lo Green’s residency at Planet Hollywood, but we’ll have to wait a tad longer to see what the unpredictable performer’s got up his Liberace-inspired sleeves.
Because of the taping schedule of Green’s NBC show, “The Voice,” he’s moving back his “Cee Lo Green is Loberace” series of shows at Planet Hollywood until Feb. 27, 2013.
Cee Lo Green is the one on the left.
Green commented, “As we move into the third season of ‘The Voice,’ with my dedicated commitment to the filming schedule and love for my role on the show, I will need to postpone the opening of ‘Loberace’ to early 2013. To all my fans who have already purchased tickets, please accept my sincerest apology and I hope you can still join me in Vegas next year, so I can properly and finally introduce you to my brainchild, ‘Loberace’! Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Ticket-holders for the postponed performances can get an exchange or refund at the original point of purchase. New show dates will go on sale Aug. 1, 2012.
Some Cee Lo Green trivia: He was recently featured on the cover of Fast Company magazine, being named to its list of “100 Most Creative People in Business.”
Cee Lo is one cool cat.
Among his recent non-”Voice” endeavors have been working on his memoir, creating a new take on the Meow Mix jingle, reuniting with Goodie Mob, as well as collaborating with Christina Aguilera and Vicci Martinez.