Monthly Archives: November 2014

Kiss Begins First-Ever Las Vegas Residency at Hard Rock, Only a Little Awkward

Rock legends Kiss got off to a bit of a rocky start for their first-ever Las Vegas residency, which runs at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino through Nov. 23, 2014.

Kiss arrived at their residency kick-off by helicopter, and were enthusiastically booed for arriving an hour late. Fans, many of whom had waited two hours for the debut performance, were covered in dirt from the helicopter landing.

Kiss Las Vegas residency

Tickets are going at a brisk clip. They start at $49.50.

The rough start didn’t deter members of the “Kiss Army” from giving the band some love as they dove into their greatest hits in a show with ample production value.

Here’s a look at a portion of the Kiss show at Hard Rock.

Not too shabby for a band with members in their 60s still doing the same crowd-pleasing schtick they’ve done for 40 years.

The Kiss set list includes “Detroit Rock City,” “War Machine,” “Lick It Up,” “I Love It Loud,” “Do You Love Me,” “Love Gun” and “Black Diamond.” An encore features “Shout It Out Loud” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.” Kiss is playing a total of nine shows at the Hard Rock. Find out more.

Golden Corral Touts “Las Vegas-Style Desserts” Which We’re Not Sure Is a Thing

There are about 500 Golden Corral buffet restaurants in the U.S., including in Las Vegas, and now the chain is trumpeting its “Las Vegas-style desserts.”

Which we’re not sure is even a thing.

Thanks to loyal reader Kellee for sending this item our way.

As an example of its “Las Vegas-style desserts,” Golden Corral shows off an array of cupcakes, pies, Jello, pudding, tarts and carrot cake. All of which we’re fairly sure Las Vegas didn’t invent. Other than the tarts, but that’s possibly offensive, so nevermind.

Golden Corral desserts

We’re not seeing the Vegas, but maybe that’s just us.

This isn’t the first time a company has tried to piggy-back on the Las Vegas brand, of course. There are innumerable shows around the world that say they’re “Las Vegas-style entertainment.” There’s also “Las Vegas-inspired fashion,” “Las Vegas-style destination resorts,” and many casinos that can’t hold a candle to Las Vegas casinos brag about having “Las Vegas-style gaming.” (Tip: Lower your expectations.)

Golden Corral made headlines in Las Vegas when it showed some large brass ones by opening a franchise, back in December 2013, in the city known for its stellar buffets.

While desserts in Las Vegas may be world-class, there’s nothing that jumps to mind as being particularly Las Vegas about cupcakes and carrot cake. Nice try, Golden Corral. At the very least, you’ve got Las Vegas-style hype down pat.

We Security Breached the Crap Out of White Castle at Casino Royale

We have no idea why, but the opening of a White Castle on the Las Vegas Strip is one of the most-anticipated events in the history of ever.

White Castle at Casino Royale is scheduled to open by the end of 2014. Or is it? We asked ominously.

First, a look at the fancy new Walgreen’s and expanded Denny’s (the nation’s most profitable) at Casino Royale. No security breach here, as the work can be seen from the sidewalk outside. Which is where most sidewalks are kept, come to think of it.

Denny's Walgreens

Yes, we’ve been reduced to writing about Denny’s, Walgreen’s and White Castle. We blame the Millenials.

You can’t miss the newly-expanded Denny’s as it sports a massive, color-shifting fork.

Denny's fork

Early forks were considered “pronged monstrosities.” Which, we might add, would make a great band name.

Next to the over-sized fork, you can see the exterior of the future White Castle at Casino Royale, replete with scaffolding, a sight as exciting to this Las Vegas blog as lap dances and construction walls, and not necessarily in that order.

White Castle Las Vegas

This should count as a security breach. There was a fence. Sort of.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky.

The White Castle space is as locked down as it gets in Las Vegas. There are 12-foot tall construction walls that run the entire length of the casino, plus strategically installed plastic sheeting above that, attached firmly to the ceilings. Zero access, even with a drone. Mission impossible.

Then again, doing the impossible is this blog’s middle name. Which, as you can imagine, is very confusing on our tax forms.

In the casino’s food court area, there was a tiny hole in the plastic, about 14 feet up, we couldn’t resist breaching, hard.

White Castle Las Vegas

We probably should have told you to lower your expectations.

No major revelation here, other than the fact there’s a lot of work to be done before White Castle can open for its surprisingly rabid fans.

After exploring the restaurant perimeter for, oh, an hour, we discovered another tiny opening in the plastic, again 14 feet up. It was just off the casino. What we’re saying is for you, our hapless blog reader, we risked being blacklisted by White Castle. Here’s an exclusive look. At not very much.

White Castle

There’s a chance Casino Royale’s White Castle is being built by sloths. Possibly union sloths.

It’s never easy to gauge how long a Vegas restaurant will take to launch. Many are bare bones one week and open the next. It remains to be seen if White Castle will open on schedule.

Since we’d already risked Tasing and a body cavity search, we thought we’d point our camera in the direction of Casino Royale’s table game area. To our dismay, there is but a lone remaining craps table in the casino with what we believe are the best craps odds (20x odds) on the Las Vegas Strip.

Casino Royale

Curse you, change.

At one time, there were four craps tables at Casino Royale, and even then it was tough to get a spot most nights.

Oh, the times they are a changing at Casino Royale. Bigger Denny’s. New Walgreen’s. New White Castle. And a serious reduction in craps tables.

By the way, Casino Royale isn’t even the Casino Royale anymore! Since last year, it’s been the Best Western Plus Casino Royale, because that rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Craps sadness aside, it’s great to see some new life at Casino Royale. The casino is the last of a dying breed on The Strip. The hooch is cheap, the dealers are surly and soon, there will be tiny, square burgers. Which we plan to breach a dozen of the first day White Castle opens. The things we do for you.

Pasta Pirate Restaurant Closes at Downtown’s California Casino

A fairly-beloved restaurant at downtown’s California casino, Pasta Pirate, has been sent to Davy Jones’ Locker.

Pasta Pirate closed

One of these things is not like the others.

The restaurant closed recently, sans announcement or fanfare.

Pasta Pirate

Pirates were known for their amazing pasta. Especially the pirates who were also birds.

Pasta Pirate has a loyal following, but apparently not one large enough to keep the restaurant in operation.

Pasta Pirate has been walled off, along with the casino’s main cashier cage.

Pasta Pirate restaurant

Sorry, no photos are allowed in casinos. Or else we’d show you the above photo. Which we’re not doing. Because rules.

It’s fairly uncommon for a casino to wall off its main cashier cage, but it’s a great way to discourage players from cashing out!

Pasta Pirate

A temporary cage near the keno parlor will serve all your garage redemption needs, whatever those might be.

In the meantime, there’s an “intimate” temporary cashier near the casino’s keno lounge. Which we just said in that photo caption. You were skimming again, weren’t you?

Cashier cage

In technical terms, the temporary cashier cage is adorbs.

There’s also a cage on the casino’s second floor, very close to our favorite ice cream shop in all of Las Vegas, Lappert’s Ice Cream. Which might end up being the best casino cage relocation ever in the history of thighs.

California casino cage

We have reason to believe this is now the main casino cage, but have been unable to confirm it.

The reason the new cashier cage will be downsized is because the former Pasta Pirate space will be expanded and replaced by another restaurant, this time featuring Asian cuisine.

We hear it will be a “Asian-influenced upscale noodle bar.”

The new joint hasn’t been given a name yet. An Asian restaurant seems a good fit for the Cal, as many of its customers are from Hawaii.

Word has it the new restaurant will be up and running in December.

Pasta Pirate California

Yes, we have a construction wall fetish. Don’t judge.

While chatting up members of the California staff, we also heard rumblings 2015 will bring a new bar to the casino floor (the existing casino bar will be closed). The only detail we could extract is the new casino bar will be “long” and run nearly the length of the casino. There’s apparently no name for the new bar yet, but we trust it won’t be “Longbar,” as The D already has that locked up.

Thanks to our friends at Royal Flusher for sending this tip our way. We look forward to getting our noodle on when the new restaurant opens.

In a Stroke of Marketing Genius, High Roller Observation Wheel Offers “Free Mustache Rides”

It’s the most overtly sexual marketing campaign in recent Las Vegas memory: The High Roller Ferris wheel is offering guests “free mustache rides” during the month of November.

We’re not kidding. And, yes, this blog’s jaw has spent the better part of the afternoon on the floor as a result.

Mustache rides High Roller

Offering mustache rides is ballsy, even in Las Vegas, where marketing is known for pushing the limits.

Our hero Tim Dressen, of the must-listen Five Hundy By Midnight podcast, pointed us in the direction of this risque offer, and we still can’t believe the High Roller went there.

Caesars Entertainment owns the High Roller Ferris wheel at the Linq shopping promenade, and because its customers tend to be older, Caesars is pretty conservative in its marketing messages. We know, this blog used to work there.

Here’s the exact text as it appears on the High Roller observation wheel’s Facebook page: “Grow those ‘staches. Free #MustacheRides throughout the month of November when you donate $5 to Movember USA!”

We’ll overlook the fact somebody might not have the firmest of grasps when it comes to the definition of “free.” That’s missing the point.

The High Roller is flat-out saying riders will receive complimentary oral sex in the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. Talk about an elevated level of customer satisfaction!

And people laughed when this blog provided tips for having sex on the High Roller observation wheel. Doesn’t sound so far-fetched now, does it? (Our post has had 38,000 views. Conclusion: People are freaks.)

High Roller

It’s easy to find the High Roller. Just look for the big O.

While there’s some peril in using such a saucy euphemism in a marketing campaign, the buzz it’s already created surely offsets any potential risk.

Good for Caesars for pushing the envelope. It should be noted, of course, that envelopes require licking. We’re just saying.

BurGR at Planet Hollywood Serves One Millionth Burger

Recently, none other than celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay hosted an event to celebrate a milestone at his BurGR restaurant at Planet Hollywood. BurGR has served a million burgers since opening in 2012.

Gordon Ramsay

Somebody was having a great hair day. Thanks to Patrick Gray at Kabik Photo Group for the pic. Hey, we can’t be everywhere.

BurGR has some of the best burgers on The Strip, so this blog has personally accounts for a hefty percentage of those million burgers. See three burgers we loved.

BurGR

The “Hell’s Kitchen” burger is one of the restaurant’s most popular.

Along with the burgers (including 228,226 of the aforementioned “Hell’s Kitchen” burgers), BurGR has served 47,484 orders of Roasted Jalapeno Poppers (warning: one of your poppers will have seeds in it, so you may want to wrap your tongue in flame retardant material), 108,128 pudding shakes and 446,980 sides of fries, according to a news release.

Ramsay BurGR

BurGR is one of the few restaurants in Vegas as good as its news releases say it is.

BurGR is one of three Gordon Ramsay restaurants on The Strip. There’s also Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace. Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips will open at The Linq shopping promenade soon. Read more. Feel free to get there early so you can get in line right behind us.

Congrats to all the folks at BurGR, including the hostesses and waitresses, a photo of whom we won’t be sharing here, because we’d like to continue to have a girlfriend.