When you think of Las Vegas I’m sure your first thought is gambling and slot machines. But did you know it’s also a foodie lovers paradise?!? The strip is jam packed with endless restaurants owned by celebrity chefs like Giada and Gordon Ramsay to name […]
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I have been saving this post for a rainy day! And it’s literally been raining for a week here in Buffalo. I feel like I’ve been cleaning up muddy puppy feet 24/7. It’s the last of my Vegas posts from my vacation last May. I […]
Back in May, we spent a week in Las Vegas! Yep! A whole week!! I absolutely loved every second of it…..because we paced ourselves. Vegas is so much fun because everything is open literally 24/7. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the excitement because there’s so much going on all at once AND you’re going to want to do it ALL!! A typical Vegas trip goes as follows: Day one you’re uber excited and drinking mimosas at breakfast; Days 3-4 you look exhausted and start wearing your sunglasses indoors. It’s happened to the best of us! Trust! But with a little advanced planning and a whole lot of under eye concealer, you can look fresh and well rested through the whole week!
This was Day 6 of our trip. We ate a great breakfast at The Buffet at Aria then spent the afternoon at the pool at our hotel (the MGM). We headed up to the room to freshen up before heading out to dinner at Holsteins Shakes and Buns at the Cosmo. Holsteins is basically all-American favorites, burgers and milkshakes, but on crack! Take for instance their bamboozled shakes, the most epic boozy freakshakes that you’ve ever seen! We went with their classic, the Fat Boy, which consists of candy bar vodka (yes! that is a real thing!), reese’s peanut butter cups, pretzels, rainbow sprinkles, fruit loops, oreo cookies, and butterfingers, topped with whipped cream, a chocolate covered pretzel rod, a rainbow twist pop, cotton candy, and rimmed with vanilla frosting, and micro jaw breakers. I don’t know how they fit it all in but somehow they do and….its….AH-MAZING!!! I don’t think anyone in the world could make a better milkshake!!
Add to that, their top notch burger menu, with burgers ranging from salmon, to beef, to lamb! You can get something classic or you can go with something extraordinary. We chose the latter. I went with the aptly named Gold Standard, a dry aged beef sirloin burger, complete with smoked bacon, aged goat cheddar cheese, tomato confit, bay arugula, and garlic-chive aioli. Dare I say best burger of my life?!? The fries didn’t disappoint either!
My hubby chose the Nom Nom, a kobe beef burger, topped with cheddar cheese, potato chips and thousand island dressing. Oh and did I mention the fresh buns??? I like big buns and I cannot lie! We did our best to finish this feast but came up a little short. These things were massive!!
After dinner we wobbled ourselves over to the circus tent outside in front of Caesar’s to check out what’s being billed as the BEST show in Vegas right now! The BEST show in Vegas??? Those are some pretty big shoes to fill but let me tell you Absinthe did not disappoint!!! Not one bit! Be warned….you’re going to need to check your inhibitions at the door! Basically if you’ve ever been offended by something on Facebook, then this show is not for you. The show is hosted by the Gazillionaire, think sleazy snake-oil salesman with bad teeth, a bad suit, bad hair, and bad shoes, and his insanely vulgar assistant, Penny Pibbets. It follows the traditional variety show format, featuring burlesque performers, sideshow performers and various international artists, who will shock and amaze you at every turn!! It’s almost like a spinoff of Cirque du Soleil, but a million times more X-rated than even their best attempt at risqué. It’s vulgar, it’s obscene, it’s politically incorrect, but it’s hilariously entertaining, and quite possibly the most fun you’ll have in your entire life! And just because you’re sitting in the audience doesn’t mean you’re off limits. Be prepared to be the butt of the Gazillionaire’s jokes or to participate in the show!
The show is performed in the round on a stage that is only 9 feet wide and is meant to be up close and personal. There’s really not a bad seat in the house! We sat at Table 19. Yep! We got a whole table all to ourselves which was so refreshing after being jam packed into the Colosseum for Celine Dion. There was plenty of leg room here to stretch out folks!
Our seats were the very last row but the view was just fine. You can see the view from our seats down below. The theater is not huge so we had no problems seeing the stage, even from the last row! In fact the way the show is performed, I would much rather sit here! Most of the acts take place right where that green curtain is hanging, which means if you’re sitting in those front rows, you’re going to be looking up the whole time. Also there is a point in the show where they bring out a plastic sheet to cover up those first few rows, so unless you’re looking to get wet, our seats were perfect!
Now the only thing better would be these seats!! They were directly to the right of us! How nice would it be to take in a Las Vegas show in a nice, big, plush, comfy chair??? Further down they also had a shuffleboard table for larger groups. At one point in the show, two of the performers started their routine atop that very table. Talk about a view!
Or you could opt to go for this unique seat that was directly to our left, a bathtub turned couch! These were labeled as K seats directly to the left of table 19. We also had people to our left sitting in barber chairs! I’m telling you guys, this show is completely different than what you’re used to!
Without giving too much away, I’ll just give you a sneak peak at one of the variety acts. The performers are so close, those first couple of rows could literally reach out and touch them. There was a guy from Nashville that was my absolute all time favorite!! His act revolves around a bathtub and boy they sure don’t make em like they do in Nashville, do they girls??? And just a few weeks ago we were watching America’s Got Talent and recognized the rollerskating couple from the show……of course they had on a lot more clothing!
We’ve seen a lot of shows in Vegas, including the improv comedy shows, Mystere, Blue Man Group, Zumanity, David Copperfield, Legends, Keith Urban, Carrot Top, and Celine Dion, to name a few, and this by far blows them all out of the water. I would 100% go to see this one again!! If you’re in Vegas and looking for a hysterical, heart pounding, show with a whole lot of “sass”, Absinthe will deliver all that and more! It is Sin City after all, right?!? And be sure you order their signature drink at the bar, absinthe, or course!
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Last May we spent a whole week in Las Vegas!! Vegas is my absolute favorite vacation destination. It’s constantly changing and evolving. There’s so much to see and do….and EAT! In my opinion, it’s hard to find a bad place to eat in Vegas. They […]
As soon as you walk into the front doors of the Cosmo, you’re eyes are instantly affixed on the Chandelier Bar, glimmering in all of it’s sparkling glory! You can’t help but stare at it. It twinkles and changes color right before your eyes. Somehow […]
We spent a week in Las Vegas this past May. Some people feel like a week in Vegas is too long, but I actually feel like it’s not long enough. There is literally so much to do! I’ve probably been about 20 times (this was our 3rd trip together) and every time I go I try to do new and different things that I haven’t done there before. My husband has never really gotten the chance to experience downtown Las Vegas so for this trip we decided to check it out. When people think of downtown, they think of the Fremont Street Experience and old hotels, but there is SO much more!! So on Mother’s Day while everyone else was brunching, we constructed this DIY downtown Las Vegas bar crawl.
The easiest, cheapest way to get downtown is by bus. We stayed at the MGM Grand so it was definitely not walkable and I can’t even imagine how much a cab ride would cost. There are 2 buses to choose from, The Deuce or the SDX. They’re easy to tell apart because the Deuce is a double decker bus and the SDX is just a single. We rode both throughout the week, but opted to take the Deuce downtown. You can purchase a 2 hour bus pass for $6, a 24 hour pass for $8, or a 3 day pass for $20. You can purchase passes from a ticket vending machine found at most bus stops and it’s good for both the Deuce or the SDX. Be sure to hang on to your pass and keep it in a safe, easily accessible place. The Deuce offers 4 stops in downtown Las Vegas. We got off at the second stop the Fremont Street Experience (on 4th St), located at Carson and 4th.
I had a list of places that I wanted to visit in mind ahead of time so I had all of the addresses on hand and ready to go. Then I would just enter the address in my Google Maps app on my cell phone and switch over to walking directions. Easy as pie…or in this case…DONUTS!!
Our first stop was Donut Bar just two short blocks away! This place is a downtown Las Vegas MUST!!! On Sundays they are open from 8AM until Noon and they DO sell out so you’ll want to get there early!! The menu changes daily so even if you’ve been here already, it’s worth a second trip. This is their second location, the original one can be found in San Diego, CA. They are the most award winning donut shop in the USA, and have also been named Top 10 Donut Shops by USA Today and Thrillist. How’s that for credentials? My sweet tooth is my Achilles heal so I was beyond excited to start my day here! The entrance leads you straight into the line and places you in front of a glass showcase featuring all of the donuts available for the day. They also have a menu overhead with all of the flavors written on a chalkboard. I found out that I am more of a look and drool type of person when it comes to picking my own donut. The quick moving line is almost a bad thing! I need more time! Let me look a little bit longer. But…I want them ALL!!! Finally we opted to go with these two gems…The Big Poppa Tart and a Creme Brûlée donut. Straight through the back door will lead you to the cutest little outdoor patio. Oh and did I mention the staff was super friendly too! I guess I would be more cheery if I was surrounded by that many donuts every morning. Future career goals???
The Big Poppa Tart donut is a must! This thing was HUGE!!! And…I got the last strawberry one that day!!! Look at all that jelly filling deliciousness oozing out. You definitely need to put this one on your donut bucket list!
The creme brûlée was equally impressive! The top was caramelized to perfection. It was pretty special when we broke into this one! The top was the perfect thickness and easy enough to crack into, revealing the most satisfying custard filling inside. The prices are pretty magical as well, The Big Poppa Tart will set you back $4 and only $2 for the Creme Brûlée. You really can’t go wrong with either one, but I’m guessing that every donut at Donut Bar will leave you just as happy. And next time I’m in Vegas I will definitely be visiting again to find out!!
From there we headed to Container Park. The entrance is about a 5 minute walk from Donut Bar. This place is pretty neat and definitely unlike anything I’ve ever been to. It’s an open-air shopping center filled with boutique retail shops, unique restaurants, and live entertainment that can only be found in downtown Las Vegas. All of the shops or restaurants are situated inside shipping containers, hence it’s name Container Park. The containers are stacked up 3 levels high in some parts and a gigantic Swiss Family Robinson inspired treehouse play area can be found smack dab in the middle of everything.
Look for the oversized preying mantis sculpture! This guy moves and blows fire out of his mouth at night!
Our first stop was Bin 702. We were just going to grab a few drinks, but after hearing the owner describe one of the sandwiches to another customer, we couldn’t resist grabbing a snack! We split the Brie grilled cheese. It was loaded with apples, thyme, toasted almonds, wildflower honey, and tons of brie all melted together to form the perfect sandwich! My hubby chose his standard cold Bud Light and I went with a crisp and delicious Seattle Cider. The atmosphere was so chill and laid back here and the owner and head cook even offered recommendations for our bar crawl. This place is awesome! You can eat inside or relax on the outdoor patio. Just go there!!
Next we found Oak & Ivy right across the park. This place is a craft whiskey cocktail bar that offers unique hand crafted drinks with high quality ingredients, and homemade garnishes. The whiskey selection is expansive and top notch! I went with the Bare Necessities, a bananas foster inspired cocktail. It was to die for! We sat outside on the patio, sipped our drinks, and enjoyed the nice breeze. Isn’t that how all vacations should be spent?
Downtown Las Vegas has such a different vibe from the strip! It’s artsy, it’s hip, it’s unusual. You’ll find all sorts of sculptures and art exhibits scattered throughout the side streets. There are also lots of unique businesses and signs and just so much to look at. This sign really spoke to me!
Our next stop landed us at Atomic Liquors, less than a 5 minute walk from Container Park. According to local lore this place is the oldest surviving freestanding bar in Las Vegas and a viewing point for the bomb tests conducted in the desert in the 1950s.
Our bartender, Katie was super sweet and pointed out some of the original pieces in the bar. Regulars included Barbara Streisand (she has an honorary stool there today), the Smothers Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin (The Rat Pack). It’s even rumored that Jimmy Hoffa was known to drop in from time to time. The bar stools are super plush and overstuffed. You’ll want to stay here all day!
If the dive bar atmosphere isn’t enough to get you excited, the affordable drinks definitely will, especially if you’ve spent time drinking on Las Vegas Blvd! I went with the Strawberry Fields a mix of gin, campari, ginger, basil, and strawberry. Or try the F-bomb! It’s the official shot of the National Atomic Testing Museum.
Next on our list was Therapy. Just 4 and a half short blocks away, this place was the complete opposite of Atomic Liquors and the furthest thing from a dive bar. It’s not what you would expect to find at all in downtown Las Vegas. They have upper and lower level seating available as well as a 32 foot bar.
This place was fabulous on the inside with lots of light coming in from the front windows. The perfect place to grab drinks, a great meal, or even just a few small plates to share!
We split the Life’s a Peach cocktail, a mix of Bourbon, Peach Vodka, Mint, Peach Shrub, and Lemonade. So refreshing on a 90 degree Vegas day!
The menu ranges from items like Oxtail Empanadas to Chicken and Red Velvet Waffle Sliders. We couldn’t resist the Fried Mac and Cheese Croquettes served with bacon tomato jam and Sriracha aioli. It’s such a fancy adult version of fried mac and cheese. Mmm! Out of this world!!
Just two storefronts down, you’ll find Evel Pie. OMG! The smell of the pizza in this place was amazing!! We did’t eat here but it’s definitely on my radar for next time. This place is chock full of Evel Knievel themed memorabilia. It feels like a wild and exciting slice of American history so it’s only fitting that you can order pizza by the slice with awesome names like Cheesy Rider and Balls to the Wall. We snagged 2 rounds of super cheap Bud Lights, sat at the bar and people watched out the front window.
Just around the corner we wandered into Carson Kitchen, an urban casual eatery, inside the re-purposed mid-century John E. Carson Motel. They only accept walk ins here, no reservations. We were lucky enough to get sat at the butcher block bar, an open counter facing the kitchen. It’s like having front row seats to all the action! This place also boasts an outdoor rooftop patio and bar, as well as a courtyard with a fire pit. Oh and did I mention it’s right next door to Donut Bar!! Is it too soon to go back???
The menu is Iron Chef alum Kerry Simon’s take on American comfort food. Nothing comforts me more than a fruity glass of Sangria. I love it when my Sangria has blackberries!! This one had raspberries too! SOOOO good!!
We ordered two of their most popular social plates, Crispy Chicken Skins with smoked honey and the Bacon Jam with baked brie and smoked baguette. The Chicken Skins came out first and boy were they fantastic!! The breading on these bad boys was just so flavorful. And the honey dipping sauce added just the right amount of sweetness to balance it all. My husband was so funny! About half way through he realized what we were actually eating. Yes, we are those people that try to be healthy (but not on vacation) and normally peel the skin off our chicken. So this was a deep fried version of that part that we normally skip! Did I mention he has high cholesterol? No, I’m not trying to kill ya babe! Just a little vacation indulgence!! It really was a priceless moment though. I wish you could have seen his face when he connected the dots!! And then there was the bacon jam….ohh…bacon jam…how I love you so! This little show stopper is a bacon relish that you can pretty much spread on just about anything. It was the perfect mix of sweet, a touch of tart, and lots of bacon flavor to round out the rest. And it comes out piping hot!! It’s pretty much sacrilege to go to Carson Kitchen and NOT try one of these two dishes. I hear the Veal Meatballs are amazing as well.
Carson Kitchen had us stuffed so we took a sloooooww walk back towards the Fremont Street Experience. They had live music playing under the LED canopy so we stopped and listened to a song or two before making our way to Hogs and Heifers Saloon. This place originated in the meatpacking district in the NY and rose to fame in the early 1990s and opened in Vegas in 2005. H&H is the quintessential all American dive bar. Southern rock is blasting on the stereo, hundreds of bras line the bar ceiling, and the all female bartending crew yell at customers through megaphones and dance on the bar. As we jammed to the music and enjoyed a nice cold one, we realized we recognized two of our fellow bar patrons. They were the girls that were sitting in front of us on the plane ride to Vegas! What are the odds??? Get me to a Roulette table ASAP!! They remembered us too and we enjoyed a little reunion over beers.
We had time for one more stop so we scooted on over to Pizza Rock, just a few steps away from Hogs & Heifers. Pizza Rock features gourmet pizzas in a variety of styles from Tony Gemignani, 12 Time World Pizza Champion. We devoured the Napoletana-style Margherita Pizza a blend of San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella Fior de Latte, basil, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, which won the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy. The 12 inch charred crust is cooked in a 900 degree wood fired brick oven. Get there early because they only make 73 of these per day! Other contest winning pizzas include the the Sicilian-style Burratina Di Margherita (Burrata cheese, cherry tomatoes tossed with basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction), which won the Gold Cup Pizza Championships in Leece, Italy and the Cal Italia (Asiago, Mozzarella, imported Gorgonzola, sweet fig preserve, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano and balsamic reduction), which won the Gold Medal in Food Network Pizza Champions Challenge. These guys really know their pizza!! You can’t get more authentic than that unless you travel TO Italy!!
And then sadly, our time was up! There are lots of other great spots to hit up downtown like The Griffin, Beauty Bar, Commonwealth, Heart Attack Grill, the Mob Museum, Frozen Drink Alley, and many more! We definitely have plenty of reasons to go back!!
We had tickets to see Carrot Top at the Luxor at 8PM so we had to catch the Deuce back to our hotel to freshen up before the show. We caught the bus at the bus stop next to the Golden Nugget and rode it all the way back. Speaking of Carrot Top….O.M.G.HILARIOUS!!! He is definitely a must see in Vegas!! Tickets start at $55 plus service charge making it a steal as far as Vegas shows go. We literally laughed the entire time. It’s not a large venue, we sat in row K which is 11 rows up (there are 13 rows in total) and we had no problems viewing the stage. Of course, Carrot Top did come around mid show to pass out shots to some of the viewers in the first few rows, which adds some excitement for those sitting closer. If you want to laugh until it hurts, Carrot Top is the definitely the guy that can make that happen!!! By far, the funniest show I’ve seen in Vegas….ever!
If you’re looking for more Vegas fun check out our Why Absinthe Really is the Best Show in Vegas and Eggslut, Beerpark and All Things New York, NY Las Vegas posts!
Don’t forget those Vegas trip essentials!