The popular “CSI” TV series franchise is making a comeback, and Las Vegas will be the setting for its next incarnation.
CBS has ordered “CSI: Vegas,” a spin-off (sequel, technically) of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”
The original “CSI” premiered Oct. 6, 2000, begging the question, “Where in the holy hell did those two decades go?”
Every TV show should have a colon and the word “Vegas.” Examples include “Vega$: Vegas” and “Las Vegas: Vegas.”
“CSI: Vegas” will mark the return of fan favorites William Petersen (Gil Grissom), Jorja Fox (Sara Sidle) and Wallace Langham (David Hodges).
New series regulars include Paula Newsome, Matt Lauria, Mel Rodriguez and Mandeep Dhillon, whoever they might be.
The original “CSI” ran for 15 seasons, which is about 170 in TV series years.
The logline for the new show tracks with what you might expect: “‘CSI: Vegas’ opens a brand new chapter in Las Vegas, the city where it all began. Facing an existential threat that could bring down the Crime Lab, a brilliant new team of forensic investigators must welcome back old
friends and deploy new techniques to preserve and serve justice in Sin City.”
While the original “CSI” was set in Las Vegas, the show rarely shot here, and Las Vegas was little more than a backdrop, often used for second unit shoots, mostly exteriors of streets and buildings.
The prime location for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was Santa Clarita, California, as the area has similarities to Las Vegas.
Visual similarities. Santa Clarita is a lot less fun than Las Vegas, obviously.
Las Vegas needs more large bodies of water, apparently.
We’d love to see more “CSI: Vegas” shot in Las Vegas this time around.
Come on, cast members. Where would you rather hang out, Las Vegas or Valencia? Um, hello.
It’s unknown if a renewed interest in “CSI” could resurrect the “CSI: The Experience” attraction that closed at MGM Grand due to the pandemic.
We look forward to another round of crime-solving adventures with the “CSI” crew, and we trust Sin City’s fingerprints will be all over “CSI: Vegas.”
Resorts World has confirmed what you’ve known for months because you follow us on Twitter, ahem, Zedd will be a resident DJ at Zouk Nightclub and Ayu Dayclub.
Zedd’s real name is Anton Zaslavski. The shorter name saves him a ton because his business cards are smaller.
If you’re asking, “Who or what is a Zedd?,” you’re old and are not living your best life.
That said, we also have no idea who Zedd is. Hey, we don’t have to know things to share scoop about them! Two months before Variety and Billboard and the Las Vegas Review-Journal and such.
Q. Do we have to make everything about us? A. Do you know anything about this blog at all?
Anyway, Zedd is a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning artist, DJ and producer.
Translation: He’s expensive AF.
Which makes it awkward, because nobody’s really sure this business model for Las Vegas nightlife works anymore.
If you follow Las Vegas nightlife at all, you heard about the implosion of Kaos at Palms. The venue paid approximately one bajillion dollars for Marshmello, and while the DJ drew crowds, the casino lost money.
Cardi B was reportedly paid $300,000 for each of her 15-minute performances at Kaos. Unsustainable.
It’s worth noting one of the guys involved in Kaos, Ronn Nicolli, will now oversee nightlife at Resorts World. There’s already chatter about some behind-the-scenes drama. Red flags abound.
Vegas is about to get Zouked.
Beyond Kaos, a number of other Las Vegas nightclubs have closed in recent years, including Intrigue at Wynn, Hyde at Bellagio and 1OAK at Mirage.
Genting Group, owners of Resorts World, has deep pockets, but how deep?
Tiesto is expected to be another resident headliner at Resorts World. Again, Tiesto can pull crowds, but he earns an average of about $290,000 per show.
That said, Resorts World will certainly benefit from pent-up demand as Las Vegas rebounds from the pandemic, at least for awhile.
Competition is going to be fierce for those nightlife dollars, and hopefully Resorts World can use headliners like Zedd and Tiesto to entice guests to the resort, then keep them around with other amenities like restaurants. (Exactly what didn’t happen at Palms, which we believe won’t open again under the current ownership, Station Casinos.)
Resorts World will not be lacking in restaurants. Learn more.
Here’s Zedd making Selena Gomez famouser.
Unconfirmed, but Resorts World is expected to open July 4, 2021 with a soft opening about a week prior.
Setting aside any business concerns, we are ready to “oontz” and twerk and spend way too much on bottles of Gray Goose again, or whatever the kids are doing now! Let’s go!
We’re rooting for Resorts World to be a huge success, and nobody can say they aren’t swinging for the fences.
Saltgrass Steakhouse took a minute to open (thanks a lot, pandemic), but delivers on its promise to be a casual alternative to fine dining without skimping on quality.
Yes, the addition of Saltgrass means Golden Nugget is one of the rare Las Vegas resorts that boasts two steakhouses. The other is Vic & Anthony’s, one of our favorites in Las Vegas.
There are more than 80 Saltgrass locations in the U.S., but this is the best one, because Las Vegas.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to add a second steakhouse at Golden Nugget, it actually makes smart business sense (Golden Nugget is owned by bajillionaire Tilman Fertitta, owner of Landry’s, so they know something about restaurants), and customers are eating it up.
Vic & Anthony’s has a fine dining vibe, while Saltgrass is decidedly much more casual.
Please note we made it through several paragraphs before sharing a cocktail photo. One does not live by meat alone.
One of the most appealing aspects of Saltgrass is the value. Prices are a third, or even a half, what a typical Las Vegas steakhouse costs (and downtown steakhouses already provide a good deal of value), without sacrificing anything in the realm of food or service.
For example, the nine ounce filet is $34.49. In most Las Vegas steakhouses, filet’s (typically eight ounces) run $50-60 and more.
In this price range, it’s almost like getting a two-for-one coupon every time you dine at Saltgrass. We’re in.
Saltgrass knows steak like we know people skim blog posts and just look at the pictures.
The benefits of being able to wear jeans and T-shirts to a steakhouse can’t be overstated, of course.
Let’s just say we are not a collared shirt person. Restaurants are lucky we even wear pants.
Good luck trying to unsee that.
What we’re trying to say is Saltgrass has whipped up the perfect recipe for a successful restaurant in Las Vegas. Unpretentious atmosphere, less cheddar for your cheddar. Or something.
Yes, there’s a bar. Have you ever been to a Las Vegas restaurant before?
A big thanks to Saltgrass for inviting us in for a media tasting, so we could check out a greater variety of dishes than we normally would.
For starters, we are a bread person, and the bread at Saltgrass was one of the highlights of the meal.
The maker of the bread at Saltgrass should immediately be made the star of a TV series where they yell at other, less talented, bread makers.
We got to sample a bunch of sides along with our entree, and all were delicious, including one or two vegetables we may have accidentally eaten.
Why mac and cheese isn’t considered a vegetable we may never know.
We did not try the mushrooms. How is that even considered a food? Weird.
We even tried the Range Rattler (shrimp stuffed inside a giant jalapeno), one of the most popular appetizers according to staff. We don’t usually venture into the jalapeno world, but these had just the right amount of kick without causing sterility, so that’s a win.
Our range was definitely rattled.
The filet was prepared to perfection, served on big slabs of wood rather than plates. We are happy to report there were no splinters.
Guests can order a dinner or Caesar salad with their steak for just $2.99. Find another Las Vegas steakhouse with prices like that. We’ll wait.
The menu also features salads, sandwiches, Country Fried Chicken and Steak and other meat-based options. Seafood includes fried shrimp, Atlantic Salmon and Salmon Oscar.
Desserts options aren’t expansive, but you won’t have room for them, anyway. It can’t hurt to get an order of carrot cake and cheesecake to share with the rest of your table, however.
Cheesecake and carrot cake are favorites among cowpokes on cattle drives. And cougars.
Saltgrass has put together an impressive roster of specialty cocktails. Many have a sort of “It’s time to party in Vegas” feel, but the restaurant has covered all the bases on your favorites.
There’s only one thing that could improve the Frozen Crown and Coke, Captain Morganwise.
Saltgrass sits in the former home of the Grotto Italian restaurant. Grotto has been relocated closer to the hotel’s Carson Tower (near Chick-fil-A) and what was previously Lillie’s Asian Cuisine.
Saltgrass fills a niche, and will definitely be in our rotation of favorite downtown steakhouses, a list that includes the aforementioned Vic & Anthony’s, Andiamo at The D, Barry’s at Circa, Triple George at Downtown Grand, Hugo’s at Four Queens and Oscar’s at Plaza.
Cain’t miss it.
With the prices Saltgrass, in addition to dining credits from our play at Golden Nugget, it’s likely we’ll dine there even more frequently than our usual go-to places, and the cravings for the bread have been relentless since our visit.
Visit the Golden Nugget Web site for more details about Saltgrass Steakhouse, a winning new downtown steakhouse for those times when you’re not in the mood to dress up, and want to save some bucks for Top Dollar and Wheel of Fortune.
What an incredible time to be alive. While “reading things in a blog” can be useful, through the technological miracle of podcasting, we can also “have word sounds shoved into our earholes!”
In that spirit, episode 120 of the Vital Vegas podcast is live!
The show features an in-depth chat with the producer (he prefers “Impresario Extraordinaire”) of “Absinthe,” Ross Mollison.
Producer Ross Mollison, pre-pandemic. Currently, he’s quarantined in Australia, but still suitably sassy.
“Absinthe” recently reopened (again) at Caesars Palace, and Mollison’s other Vegas shows, “Opium” at Cosmo and “Atomic Saloon” at Venetian, will be back soon.
Also on the show, Circa owner Derek Stevens talks about the sale of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network) to DraftKings.
We do not know what a “DraftKings” is, but it’s a great time for them to revamp the name of VSiN. And to add a space to Draft Kings while they’re at it.
Financial details of the deal haven’t been made public, but insiders share Stevens reportedly got $6 million in DraftKings stock for his $1 million investment (a 10 percent stake) in ViSN. Unconfirmed, but let’s just say he doesn’t seem too broken up about the deal. (The VSiN studio at Circa, pictured above, isn’t going anywhere. There’s another one at South Point.)
As if that weren’t enough exclusive rum for your Las Vegas daiquiri, we’ve also got the scoop about Resorts World’s incredible line-up of restaurants.
You also won’t want to miss our “Top 20 Nicknames for Las Vegas Bartenders.” You know, the things people call bartenders when they step up to the bar.
On second thought, let’s just list them, already.
Top 20 things Las Vegas bartenders are called when someone steps up to a casino bar:
Hero (mainly used by us)
Yes, these are mostly used for male bartenders, but that’s because: 1) Casino bartenders are mostly male, 2) We don’t want to encourage sexist terms like “babe,” “honey” and “sweetie.”
Of course, the show is full of useful nuggets and inside scoop you won’t find anywhere else. That’s just how we roll. And by “roll,” of course, we mean “ramble.”
Bonus: We finally figured out which side of the microphone we’re supposed to talk into. Miracles happen!
Speaking of miracles, we’ll also regale you with our night of big video poker wins, including a royal flush and $4,000 hand pay for four aces with a “kicker.”
Some people look at porn. We look at this.
There’s so much Vegas, you’ll need an expandable waistband.
We’ve been sharing restaurant scoop out of Resorts World for awhile now, but that was just the tip of the culinary iceberg.
Insert your favorite “just the tip” joke here.
Seriously, though, holy crap, it’s a lot of restaurant newness, and we are champing at the bit to masticate our way through the expansive roster of eateries.
Lucky Cat is excited to welcome guests to Resorts World while also making them purchase lint brushes.
Resorts World’s line-up of restaurants is truly mind-boggling. We have no idea if this collection of offerings is even remotely sustainable, but at this juncture, skepticism is taking a back seat to exuberance.
Here’s the rundown, which we dutifully pretty much copied and pasted from the Resorts World news release, albeit with more snark, as is required by Nevada state law. Oh, and also with 40 percent less P.R. fluffery. You’re welcome.
Resorts World Signature Restaurants
Yes, it’s technically, “¡VIVA!,” but we don’t play by society’s rules. Viva is a Mexican restaurant from Chef Ray Garcia. Garcia is an L.A. import, best known for Broken Spanish.
“Viva,” in Spanish, means “take it easy on the beans.”
This restaurant from Genting (owners of Resorts World) will offer authentic Cantonese cuisine, seafood and “exceptional dim sum.” We didn’t say we’d take out all the fluffery. Besides, Exceptional Dim Sum would make a decent band name.
Even with the mutant monkey, we like the feel of this place, already.
Here’s one for the sushi fans, this “Japanese bistro” will also feature yakitori and teppanyaki dishes, plus sake. Which we probably should’ve said up front, because saki. In Japanese, “kusa” means grass or herb. “Nori” is seaweed. So, “seaweed grass”? We’ll just stick with Kusa Nori.
Our source said it would be “Brazza,” but close enough. Brezza (“gentle breeze” in Italian) comes from two culinary veterans, Nicole Brisson and Jason Rocheleau. We love Italian, so this tops our list of Resorts World restaurants we’re most moist about.
A second concept from Brisson and Rocheleau, this cafe will “bring alive the spirit and flavors of Europe” with tapas, cheese and charcuterie and pastries.
Yes, Zazu was a character in “The Lion King.” Zazu means “movement,” for what it’s worth.
Resorts World Casual Restaurants
This venue is the first-ever ice cream shop from the folks behind the L.A. hotspot, Craig’s. We were the first to share (wait for it) the scoop the brand was coming to Las Vegas, so it’s already on our good side. Vegans are sure to appreciate these guilt-free scoops, pints, sundaes and shakes.
“Cashew milk” doesn’t even sound that gross. See more.
Sun’s Out Buns Out
Our source gave us some solid scoop on this one! This egg-centric restaurant will offer egg dishes all day, every day. Which is sort of weird, but we love the name so much, they get a pass. Think Eggslut at Cosmopolitan, but good.
Not a fan of eggs, but love the chairs from “Men in Black.”
Tacos El Cabron
Tacos El Cabron, out of San Diego, will have Tijuana-inspired Mexican cuisine like street tacos, street corn, burritos and bowls. For the record, there’s a huge difference between street tacos and tacos. The biggest difference is marketing.
A name so great, how bad could the tacos be?
This offering comes from Billy Richardson, whose other restaurant in town, Holstein’s at Cosmopolitan, makes us suspect Marigold will have a following from day one. Marigold will have burgers, lobster and house-made desserts.
Richie Palmer’s Mulberry Street Pizzeria of Beverly Hills
This place wins the award for longest restaurant name at Resorts World. It’s pizza!
The Kitchen at Resorts World
It sounds like this is the resort’s 24/7 cafe. The international menu will have burgers, pasta and wok-fried noodle dishes as well as a buffet option.
Hey, function over form makes sense for a casino cafe. Resorts World has set the bar very high for interior design.
This grab-and-go spot will have sandwiches, snacks, wine and small-batch sodas, 24/7.
Pool Dining and Bars
Resorts World Las Vegas will have four food and beverage options across its 5.5-acre pool complex. Venues include Agave Bar & Grill (Mediterranean), Bites (snack bar) and two full-service bars. One of the bars will have cornhole and life-sized Jenga, further proof we don’t have to be snarky about everything.
Bars & Lounges
Dawg House Saloon & Sportsbook
Another offering our sources nailed, thank you! The original Dawg House is in Nashville, and this classic Nashville sports bar will boast live music and dancing, beer, cocktails and American pub fare.
Remember when live entertainment was a thing? Let’s bring that back. We promise not to be annoyed.
Starlight on 66
Promising sweeping views of The Strip, Starlight on 66 will sit 66 floors up. The lounge will showcase fine and rare spirits, cocktails and small plates. With all the money Resorts World is investing in its lounges and restaurants, it’s surprising they couldn’t get bigger plates. We kid! Can’t wait to check out these views. And cocktails. Not necessarily in that order, of course.
Assuming Resorts World has no fourth floor, or 13th floor, or any floor in the 40s (it’s a superstition thing), this should lounge should technically be called Starlight on 55. Just saying.
Oh, like we’re going to let that weird-ass artwork just slide by. Do you know this blog at all?
We’re pretty sure this is a tiger eating another tiger that’s eating a chipmunk eating a crow. It’s the “Inception” of WTF.
Crystal Bar will be on the casino floor and serve handcrafted cocktails and curated spirits. We, for one, demand our spirits be “curated.”
Casino & Lobby Bars
Guests won’t have to look too hard for hooch. Bars throughout the resort include Baccarat Bar, High Limit Bar, Conrad Lobby Bar and Crockfords Lobby Bar. Conrad and Crockfords refer to two of the hotel brands inside Resorts World.
What a collection of restaurants! Color us impressed.
This was just the latest batch of restaurants and bars at Resorts World.
Resorts World previously announced Famous Foods Street Eats (a massive, Asian hawker-inspired food hall), Fuhu (an Asian vibe food experience of some sort), RedTail (a “social gaming” bar with shared plates, beer pong, darts and pool), Gatsby’s Cocktail Lounge (a fancy lounge named after Leonardo “Gatsby” DiCaprio) and Wally’s Wine & Spirits (you know, wine and spirits).
Just in case you worried the other 46 sources of liquor at Resorts World were insufficient.
Resorts World is pulling no punches (and sparing no expense) in its commitment to deliver some serious OMFG moments when the resort opens this summer. Rumors are swirling about what the opening date might be, but it could be as early as mid-May.
Las Vegas is a dining mecca, and from the looks of it, Resorts World is ready to reinforce that status with a drool-conjuring list of temptations not only for the palate, but all the senses.
We already have a crush on you, Starlight on 66ish.
We’re all ready, Resorts World. We love your unwavering belief there’s pent-up demand for Las Vegas, and for places that tickle our “wow response” again. The skeptics can suck it, Las Vegas was built on big ideas and leaps of faith. And lap dances, but mostly big ideas and leaps of faith!
Let’s gormandize again. Let’s Resorts World.
You can totally steal that line for your advertising, Resorts World. No charge. Although, if Craig’s has vegan chocolate chip ice cream, we’ll take a pint of that. Not mint chocolate chip. We aren’t a weirdo.
Las Vegas has a new casino resort, Virgin Las Vegas!
Virgin officially opened at 6:00 p.m. on March 25, 2021, with all the appropriate hoopla.
Here she is, the long-awaited Virgin Las Vegas, formerly the Hard Rock casino.
Big guitars are out, modern desert is in.
It’s been a wild ride for Virgin as it’s transitioned from Hard Rock.
In a case of uncanny timing, Hard Rock closed Feb. 3, 2020, just a month before all Las Vegas casinos shut down due to the pandemic. A couple of preliminary reopening dates were set, but were pushed back as the pandemic dragged on.
Now, the doors have flung open at Virgin and we can finally get inside!
They’re not sex swings. You are so predictable.
We’ve visited Vigin twice since it opened, to get a feel for the place, and it’s certainly unlike any other casino in town.
Many have commented on the “Austin Powers vibe,” and there seem to be more feminine flourishes than in a typical Las Vegas casino. No, we’re not entirely sure what that means, but when has “understanding something” ever been a requirement for including it in one of our blog posts?
Opening night was a little crazy, but we got acclimated during on our second visit, and enjoyed dinner at one of the more buzzed-about new restaurants, Night + Market.
We love having new restaurants and bars to explore, although, not necessarily in that order.
Here’s a better look at the menu for Night + Market at Virgin Las Vegas.
Our favorite part of Night + Market was our Talesai Mai Tai.
Disco balls for a little drama!
We figured you’d also want to get a feel for Virgin, so we did a quick walk-through of the resort.
We didn’t venture outside to the pool complex, but it isn’t done yet, and isn’t expected to be completed until May.
Here’s our hastily slapped-together video of Virgin Las Vegas. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Rather than bore you with “words,” we’ll just share a few random thoughts about Virgin to keep the photos from slapping together.
There are several new restaurants (including Casa Calavera and the aforementioned Night + Market), some holdovers from Hard Rock (Nobu, Pizza Forte), and a couple of rebranded dining spots as well.
Kitchen at Commons Club has many of the same faces as when it was Mr. Lucky’s.
In fact, most of the staffers you’ll meet at Virgin once worked at Hard Rock. It lends to a family feeling, and we found the service to be quick and friendly throughout the resort.
We had a burger at the counter at Kitchen, and it was solid. We would pass on the creme brulee next time, despite the lovely presentation, including white chocolate lips.
We’re sort of a creme brulee snob. Somebody has to be.
On opening night, none other than Pauly Shore sat next to us at the Kitchen at Commons Club counter. That was surreal to say the least.
Moving into the casino, let’s get the carpet out of the way, for all the casino carpet enthusiasts, of which we are definitely one.
Law of unintended consequences in effect: The carpeting makes dice difficult to spot when they fly off the craps table.
There are also casino chip enthusiasts, so let’s get those out of the way as well.
Come on, Mohegan Sun, please make the $1 chip a tad more collectible.
Fun casino chip fact: If you look closely at the chips, you can see denominations of $25 and up have RFID technology (the little dots). Presumably, at $5 and lower, the cost of including these devices doesn’t pencil out.
We should also take care of the cocktail waitress uniform enthusiasts. You know who you are.
Thanks for playing along, ladies. We look forward to the maskless versions of you.
While we’re in the casino, we should mention the TITO (ticket in, ticket out) redemption machines don’t give coins. You get another voucher to take to the cashier cage. Not a fan, but this practice is increasingly popular in Las Vegas casinos. Some offer the option to donate coins to charity. Virgin doesn’t.
Even if we have to trek to the cage, those quarters add up.
Yes, everything in the casino has Mohegan Sun on it. That’s because Mohegan Sun manages the casino at Virgin.
Mohegan Sun at Virgin Las Vegas is the first native American casino in Las Vegas, and this first foray is seen as a sign the tribe may give casino ownership a shot down the road. Others, like San Manuel, have also expressed interest in owning a Las Vegas casino.
As for the Mohegan partnership, pretty much the whole resort is carved up like that, with deals for each element of the business. This helps insulate the owners from risk, and lets specialists (in gaming, restaurants, entertainment) do what they do best. For example, the hotel portion of the resort is operated by Hilton.
These deals seem to have been seamlessly integrated, so there’s cohesion throughout Virgin, despite different entities running each part of the resort.
The dice tables were getting a lot of action when we played, and table minimums are reasonable.
Let’s dice. Yes, “dice” can be a verb. It can also be an expletive, trust us.
We even tried a couple of sucker bets, including Repeater Bets. We even won. Once. After a few minutes of calling it a sucker bet, the dealers began playing along. It feels like these folks are happy to be back to work, so it adds to the energy and fun of the casino.
We like these repeater bets. We like these repeater bets.
It’s worth mentioning Virgin has a single zero roulette table ($50 minimum) in high limit.
The fewer the zeroes, the better the odds. Long story.
One of the hidden gems of Virgin Las Vegas is a little video poker bar inside the high limit table games room. The bar is called Heat, and it’s easily our favorite place to settle in for some free cocktails and video poker with reasonably good pay tables.
Oh, look, our personal ATM.
There’s no way to cover an entire resort with two visits, so there are many more amenities not mentioned here.
Before we hand you off to our girthy photo gallery, we’ll say our overall impression of Virgin is quite positive. We need to hit Casa Calavera and the steakhouse to round out the dining offerings, and we look forward to checking the venues that haven’t reopened yet (like the pool and theater) when they come online in the next few months.
The resort’s sportsbook, for example, is finished, but isn’t expected to take wagers until May for some reason.
Virgin has some challenges ahead given its off-Strip location, as did Hard Rock.
We’re 34% sure this used to be Smash Bar.
The place is undeniably distinctive, and opening with no resort fees, no parking fees and free WiFi will appeal to some travelers.
Virgin is the first Las Vegas casino to open since Circa downtown. It has a social feel, with lots of open spaces to just sit and hang out, rare for casino resorts. It’s an awkward time to open a resort that encourages human interaction, but there will be a time when commingling is a thing again, and it feels not too far off.
We have high hope for Virgin, and hope our collection of poorly focused images will give you an idea of what to expect during your next visit.