10 Infernally Baffling Things About Las Vegas, Unbaffled

Las Vegas can be confusing at times. As a public service, we’ll now endeavor to unconfuse some of the more confusing things in Las Vegas.

1. Frankie Moreno vs. Frank Marino

Las Vegas performers Frankie Moreno and Frank Marino have very similar names, so visitors often get them mixed up, despite some obvious differences. Frankie Moreno performs at Stratosphere. Frank Marino is a female impersonator at The Linq Hotel & Casino (formerly The Quad).

Frankie Moreno Frank Marino

Frank Marino is the one with more lip liner.

2. Palm Restaurant vs. Palms Hotel

While you might think so, the quite excellent Palm Restaurant (in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace) has nothing whatsoever to do with the off-Strip Palms Casino Resort. There will be a quiz.

Palm Restaurant

The Palm Restaurant. Try the chicken parm.

Just to keep you on your toes, within the Palms hotel is a boutique hotel, Palms Place.

Palms Hotel

The Sky Villas, on top of the Palms’ Fantasy Tower, are some of the most expensive in the world.

3. Caesars Palace vs. Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Palace is a Las Vegas resort owned by a company called Caesars Entertainment. Take care, because people will often use “Caesars” to refer to the hotel or the company. Caesars, the resort, has much better food.

Caesars Palace

Remember, Caesars Palace doesn’t have an apostrophe.

Caesars Entertainment has been in the news a lot lately. Probably not in a way it would like to be in the news. Read more.

Caesars

Yes, this tattoo actually happened.

4. Carnaval Court vs. Carnival World Buffet

Two of Caesars’ offerings (see how confusing that can be?) are Carnaval Court, an open-air bar and club outside Harrah’s Las Vegas, and one of the best buffets in Las Vegas, Carnival World Buffet.

Carnaval Court

Many a Las Vegas memory has been created and completely forgotten at Carnaval Court.

Carnival World Buffet was the undisputed king of Las Vegas buffets until others took the limelight, like Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and Bacchanal at Caesars Palace.

Carnival World Buffet

The Rio’s buffet serves up 1,200 pounds of crab legs each day.

5. The Park at New York-New York vs. Park on Fremont

This is another example of two things that sound similar but which are quite different. The Park is the name of a new pedestrian promenade at New York-New York and Monte Carlo. The Park will serve as a connection between Las Vegas Boulevard and the new MGM-AEG arena. Downtown, however, there’s a restaurant and bar called Park on Fremont.

MGM AEG Arena

Construction at the MGM-AEG arena site is well under way.

We’re thinking that for clarity’s sake, they should have called it Drink on Fremont.

Park on Fremont

Park on Fremont is a gastropub, whatever those might be.

6. Club Casino Royale vs. Casino Royale

Just about everyone’s heard of Casino Royale. The confusion comes in because at Monte Carlo, there’s a gift shop called Club Casino Royale. The shop specializes in Monte Carlo souvenirs and Las Vegas-themed merchandise.

Club Casino Royale

Nowhere even remotely near Casino Royale.

The Casino Royale casino is opening a new White Castle restaurant soon. Yeah, everybody’s freaking out.

Casino Royale

Casino Royale is a throwback to a time where value and cigarette smoke ruled The Strip.

7. Planet Hollywood Hotel vs. Planet Hollywood Restaurant

This one’s tricky! There’s the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, currently the home of Britney Spears and Gordon Ramsay. But there’s another Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Specifically, the Planet Hollywood restaurant in the Forum Shops at Caesars. (This would explain the seemingly out-of-place Planet Hollywood sign outside Caesars Palace.)

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood was formerly the Aladdin. Elvis and Priscilla Presley got hitched there.

There’s no Planet Hollywood restaurant at Planet Hollywood. Hey, nobody said this would be easy.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood restaurant at the Forum Shops. We were not aware Planet Hollywood International also owns Buca di Beppo restaurants. We should get out more.

8. Bally’s vs. Bally Technologies

Again, close, but unrelated. Bally’s Las Vegas is a hotel resort at the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard. Its claim to fame is it’s the location of the last classic showgirl show in Las Vegas, “Jubilee!” Bally Technologies is a slot machine manufacturing company with no showgirls whatsoever, unfortunately.

Bally's Las Vegas

Bally’s was formerly the MGM Grand. Brain full yet?

Bally Technologies was recently purchased by a competitor, Scientific Games, for $3.3 billion. Yes, dollars.

Bally

The company that purchased Ballys Technologies, Scientific Games, is controlled by billionaire Ronald Perelman, who this blog would very much like the blog to adopt it.

9. Linq Promenade vs. Linq Hotel

The Linq shopping center is between Flamingo Las Vegas and Linq Hotel & Casino. The Linq Hotel & Casino is a new name for an old hotel. As we mentioned, the Linq Hotel was previously called The Quad (for about two years, long story), and before that it was the Imperial Palace. The Linq shopping promenade is home to the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, the High Roller. (A bit of possible confusion there, too, as there was once a High Roller roller coaster atop the Stratosphere. It closed in 2005.)

Linq

The Linq Hotel got its start as the Flamingo Capri motel, back in the day.

The Linq promenade has numerous restaurants, as well as Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley and entertainment venue. But mostly a giant Ferris wheel. We may have written about it before.

Linq

Look for O’Sheas. It’s namesake casino closed in 2012. The new O’Sheas is one of the most popular parts of The Linq and also The Linq.

10. Hard Rock Hotel vs. Hard Rock Cafe(s)

Wrapping up our list of baffling things in Las Vegas is the Hard Rock. Which one, you ask? Great question. First, there’s the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Pretty straightforward. However, outside the Hard Rock casino is the Hard Rock Cafe. On The Strip, near M&M’s World, is another Hard Rock Cafe. So, if you’re meeting up with friends, take your pick, but make sure you’re headed to the same place.

Hard Rock Hotel

The Hard Rock Hotel is known for its rock memorabilia. The Hard Rock name is believed to have been inspired by The Doors.

The Hard Rock Cafe at the Hard Rock Hotel can be spotted by this big-ass guitar. There’s another protruding from the hotel.

Hard Rock Cafe guitar

This Gibson guitar is 45 feet tall. The designer of the guitar was Les Paul, a guitarist and luthier. A luthier is someone who makes lutes or other string instruments. Because it’s not useless information if it wins you a bar bet someday.

Here’s the Hard Rock Cafe on The Strip.

Hard Rock Cafe

It appears this Hard Rock Cafe on The Strip is doing something inappropriate to Denny’s.

Hopefully, we’ve been able to sort out some things in Las Vegas that require sorting and unpuzzle some things that cause puzzlement for Las Vegas visitors. If you have more examples of baffling things about Las Vegas, we’d love to hear them.

BLT Burger at Mirage Las Vegas Serves Up More Than Just, Y’Know, Burgers

Sure, BLT Burger’s titular burgers are some of the best on The Strip, but this popular restaurant at the Mirage is far more than a one trick pony.

BLT Burger Mirage

To find BLT Burger from the casino, head toward the Race & Sports Book, go past California Pizza Kitchen and the Carnegie Deli and hang a right at Rhumbar. Or just wing it. You’re bold like that.

And, yes, we used the word “titular” right off the bat so we can focus our short attention span where it belongs—on BLT Burger’s flavorful fare and libations.

BLT Burger Las Vegas

Our next band name: The Flavorful Fare and Libations.

Why, here’s one of the libations now.

BLT Burger

This is a beverage of some kind. Backlit for drama. Because that’s how we roll.

BLT Burger occupies a space which was once an enclosure for white tigers. Now, it’s home to American favorites, familiar but with some interesting culinary twists.

The restaurant comes from French chef Laurent Tourondel who has worked with many renowned chefs, several of whose names we can even pronounce. Read more.

The “BLT” in BLT Burger stands for “Bistro Laurent Tourondel,” referring to the chef’s original restaurant in New York City. Hey, somebody has to know everything.

BLT Burger

The servers had us at “condiment.”

BLT Burger is a member of the BLT family of restaurants, and is affiliated with BLT Steak at Bally’s Las Vegas, under the umbrella of ESquared Hospitality.

BLT Burger

Seating, as they say in the business, is ample. If there’s a wait for a table, try making a beeline for the bar. Great for solo diners, too.

But enough of the information that will someday win you money on a foodie game show. Let’s dive into the menu. Not literally. You could put an eye out.

The menu at BLT Burger is accessible, even to those of us who wouldn’t know smoked Gouda from a chickpea.

The offerings are familiar but will also surprise and delight more adventurous palates. We started with the Ahi Tuna Spring Roll, with herbs, avocado, cucumber, spicy mayo, pickled ginger, wasabi and soy lime dressing.

BLT Burger

Told you it was more than a burger joint.

The mini lobster rolls are listed as “Starters” on the menu, but they’d pretty much be the star of the show in other restaurants. They’re made with brioche bread, fresh Maine lobster, lemon tartar sauce and Old Bay coleslaw, whatever that might be.

Lobster rolls

Define “mini.”

We washed down the appetizers with fries, of course.

BLT Burger

These may have been the sweet potato fries. By this time, we we’re also diving headlong into the cocktail menu.

Next up, the main event. The burger. We went for the I-80. (On the menu, this burger doesn’t have a name so much as a street sign. You’ll see what we mean.)

This perfectly-cooked burger packs a slew of flavor, with peppercorn-crusted bacon, smokey sweet BBQ sauce, caramelized onions and sharp cheddar cheese.

BLT Burger

Everything you want in your burger, except for gold bullion. But that’s sort of a weird thing to want in a burger if you think about it.

The burgers at BLT Burger are 100% black Angus burgers, a combination of sirloin, short rib, chuck and brisket. We know this both because of our expansive knowledge of burgers as well as the fact that’s what it says on the BLT Burger menu.

See the aforementioned menu here.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the milkshakes at BLT Burger, as they make BLT Burger worth a stop even if you’re not necessarily looking for food.

The milkshakes have colorful names like Nut Job, Monkey Business, Mother Fluffer and Twinkie Boy (our childhood nickname, by the way). Those are the virgin milkshakes, but there’s also a robust selection of spiked milkshakes as well, like Grandma’s Treat, Night Rider, Fuzzy the Bear, Malibu Barbie and The Tucan.

We opted for the All Nighter, with Tia Maria (a dark liqueur with Jamaican coffee beans), Bailey’s Irish Cream (an Irish whiskey and cream-based liqueur), espresso and coffee ice cream.

BLT spiked shake

Since it’s Las Vegas, you might want to take “All Nighter” thing with a grain of salt, if you get our drift.

A variety of craft sodas, adult floats and house cocktails round out the beverage menu. Oh, yes, we’ll be back to work our way through the list soon enough.

BLT Burger has an appealing interior, and an open kitchen so you can see some burger flair. Or perhaps we should say “flare.”

BLT Burger

This is where your flame-kissed BLT burger gets its kisses.

BLT Burger is easily one of our favorite burger places on The Strip, with a casual atmosphere and friendly staff.

The prices are about what you’d expect for a hotel on The Strip. The Mirage Web site says the average check is $22, but that “average” must include a lot of people who ordered only ice water. A typical bill is more likely to be $30-40 a person.

BLT Burger bar

If you sidle up to this bar, you’ll be able to watch your burger being made. Oh, and you’ll be closer to the hooch. We probably should have mentioned that part first.

BLT Steak is definitely going into our regular burger rotation, and we’re only moderately embarrassed to say we have one of those. If you have thoughts about BLT Burger, we’d love to hear them, especially if you agree with us.

Scroguard Should Be A Vital Part of Any Las Vegas Adventure

There are certain things you just have to have in Las Vegas. Cash. Comfortable shoes. The phone number of a good bail bondsman. Now, there’s another vital addition to your Las Vegas must list: Scroguard.

Put simply, Scroguard is a product designed “to cover the skin in the genital area not covered by a condom to reduce skin-to-skin contact in the scrotum and pubic region.” And, no, we are not making this up.

Scroguard

How is Howie Mandel not a spokesperson for this product? Yet.

This stunningly one-night-stand-friendly product is disposable and washable, made of premium quality latex, is lightweight and fits waists up to 48 inches.

We noted there’s no mention of possible girthiness challenges in the Scroguard product description, but we’ll get past it. Customers, we mean. Customers will get past it.

Here’s a fascinating, borderline disturbing, but probably safe for work video illustrating the benefits of: 1) Scroguard and 2) having a larger budget for the production of promotional videos.

Scroguard, a word this blog is still not entirely comfortable typing, is a steal at just $19.99, and “shipping is discreet.” Oh, and if you’re delusionally optimistic, buy in bulk and save; $49.99 for three, $89.99 for six.

We’re thinking this is the greatest invention since Liquid Lapdance underwear.

The biggest potential downside of Scroguard we’re seeing is the possibility the participant in your “main event,” upon seeing your Scroguard contraption, may bolt from the room while simultaneously phoning the authorities. But other than that, your pubic region is golden.

Find out more about Scroguard at the official site.

Mirage Las Vegas Celebrates Its 25th Birthday

Mirage Las Vegas is 25 years old! The hotel-casino opened on Nov. 22, 1989.

Mirage Las Vegas volcano

Mirage Las Vegas. It’s the volcano one.

The Mirage was built by resort mogul Steve Wynn, and its opening was a turning point in Las Vegas history. Journalist Steve Friess wrote a great item in Las Vegas Weekly about “How the Mirage Remade Las Vegas.” You should read it.

Mirage Mermaid

This mermaid statue is one of the most-touched things in Las Vegas, other than this blog’s sister.

A remarkable revelation in the Las Vegas Weekly story is about the fact the Mirage nearly happened in downtown Las Vegas, rather than on The Strip. After his success running the Golden Nugget, Steve Wynn wanted to build the Mirage “across the railroad tracks on a plot of Union Pacific land that’s now home to the Clark County Government Center.”

Wynn offered the railroad $50 million for 50 acres, but the railroad wanted twice that for the land. Wynn balked and the rest is history.

Mirage lobby

Behind the Mirage’s registration desk is a 53-foot-long aquarium. It’s gorgeous and calms the nerves of people in line to check in.

The Mirage is one of the most iconic hotels in Las Vegas, having been featured in a slew of movies, including “Vegas Vacation,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Volcano” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Which we knew off the top of our Wikipedia.

Mirage Carnegie Deli

This is sandwich from Carnegie Deli at the Mirage. It’s a special 25th birthday sandwich. And that’s the story we’re sticking to.

When the Mirage was built, it was the most expensive hotel-casino in the world. It cost $630 million. Which Steve Wynn pretty much keeps on his person these days.

In the Mirage’s first full year of operation, it made $800 million. By comparison, Caesars Palace made $300 million. So, yeah, it was pretty much a home run.

Love show

“Love,” an homage to The Beatles at Mirage, is one of the best-reviewed Cirque du Soleil shows in a town where you can’t walk 15 feet without tripping over a Cirque du Soleil show.

At one time (from 1990 to 2003), the Mirage was known for being the home of “Siegfried & Roy.” That storied run didn’t end particularly well, as you may have heard. The hotel’s Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat remains a draw, despite the fact a dolphin attraction has no business being in the middle of a desert.

Puppetmaster Terry Fator also performs at the Mirage. He had to pull a lot of strings to get that job. (Related: We’ll be here all week.)

We’d like to congratulate the Mirage on its 25th birthday, specifically by putting it over our knee and spanking it. Unless that’s weird. If so, then nevermind and enjoy our photo gallery of the Las Vegas Strip’s first mega-resort. There have been others, but you never forget your first.

Mirage Las Vegas

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Sources Confirm Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones Will Join Rock in Rio USA Music Festival Line-Up

Some heavy hitters have already been announced for 2015′s Rock in Rio USA music festival in Las Vegas, but we’ve exclusively confirmed two more legendary acts are joining the line-up: Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones.

Two confidential festival insiders (one at MGM Resorts, one at Rock in Rio USA) independently confirmed Springsteen and The Stones will take part in the festivities expected to draw 300,000 people over the four days of the event.

Rock in Rio USA happens May 8-9 and May 15-16, 2015.

Bruce Springsteen

The first song Bruce Springsteen ever learned on the guitar was “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles.

With the news of these two additions to the Rock in Rio 2015 roster, the event is shaping up to be the most impressive live music festival in the history of Las Vegas.

The original Rock in Rio festival happened in Brazil in 1985 and the 14 installments of the festival were attended by 7.4 million people, not a single one of whom consumed any sort of illicit drugs. Or we might be completely making that last part up.

Other confirmed Rock in Rio USA performers include Bruno Mars, Linkin Park, Taylor Swift, Metallica, No Doubt, Ed Sheeran, Joss Stone, John Legend, Rise Against, the Deftones and others.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones song “Gimme Shelter” was featured in the movie “Casino.” Hey, we’re a Las Vegas blog, we weren’t going to mention that?

There’s no word on when “The Boss” and The Rolling Stones will be officially announced (the full roster is likely to come out in January), but this particular Las Vegas blog believes waiting for official announcements is for babies. Why is Rock in Rio USA waiting to announce Springsteen and The Stones? The festival team clearly understands drama, along with the fact Sin City was built upon the art of the tease.

View the Rock in Rio USA line-up so far.

Beyond the musical luminaries appearing on the festival’s six stages, Rock in Rio USA will feature “streetscapes” (think Disney’s Main Street, U.S.A.) representing Brazil, the U.S. and U.K., as well as a Ferris wheel and zip line.

The 37-acre festival site, called “City of Rock,” is at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, across the street from SLS Las Vegas (formerly the Sahara) and near the Stratosphere.

Rock in Rio USA

There’s a 41% chance we’ll be viewing the Rock in Rio USA festival from the roof of SLS Las Vegas. Just saying.

Here’s a virtual tour of City of Rock.

Rock in Rio 2015 tickets are already on sale.

Explore the Rock in Rio Web site to get a better feel for the music and entertainment juggernaut coming to Las Vegas in 2015.

Rock in Rio USA is poised to be a tectonic shift in Las Vegas entertainment. Like shrimp cocktails were back in the day. But with less cocktail sauce and more rocktail sauce. Which we’re pretty sure isn’t actually a thing.

Rock in Rio 2015 tickets are already on sale.

World Series of Beer Pong Moves Brew-Fueled Mayhem to Riviera Las Vegas

The World Series of Beer Pong, which has long called Flamingo Las Vegas home, will move to the Riviera for its annual festival of extreme liver damage and trash-talking.

The event will be Jan. 1-5, 2015, and contestants from around the world will compete for a $50,000 grand prize. Yes, American dollars.

WSOBP

Archaeologists believe beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations. The World Series of Beer Pong is sort of a step in the opposite direction.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the World Series of Beer Pong.

In case you never attended college, beer pong is played with two-person teams, each at the end of an eight-foot-long table. Each side of the table has 10 16-ounce cups, filled with water. (Yes, water. They were going to call it the World Series of Water Pong, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it.) The teams take turns tossing ping-pong balls into the cups of the opposing team. If the ball goes in, that cup is removed. The first team to eliminate its opponents cups wins.

World Series of Beer Pong

Lots of women compete in the World Series of Beer Pong. Insert your own ball-handling joke here.

While the use of water instead of beer may sound like a buzzkill, trust us, beer is consumed in ample quantities. The event organizers switched to water in 2014 to avoid showing beer on-air during TV coverage.

Making the competition extraordinarily fun is the fact teams often dress in costume, sometimes offensively so. Also, a big part of the beer pong experience is verbal intimidation. Watching the World Series of Beer Pong is not only entertaining, you are likely to also learn a few new words.

Beer Pong World Series

When you don’t have cleavage to distract your opponents, you have to get creative.

Registration is now open for this year’s festivities. Registration starts at $500 per player and includes a four-night stay at Riviera.

Sound steep? An astonishing $500,000 in prizes has been awarded at World Series of Beer Pong competitions since the organization’s inception.

World Series of Beer Pong

As if you needed further proof there are some things you can’t unsee.

The World Series of Beer Pong is a uniquely Vegas event, so let the good times froth.