Las Vegas Correspondence – February 2019

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Diamond Jack celebrated his first Chinese New Year when he was living in Lake Tahoe. It was the Year of the Monkey and the celebration immersed him in Chinese culture and food and he has been celebrating this colorful and traditional holiday ever since. This is the Year of the Pig and its lucky numbers are 2 and 9.

To get into the mood of the holiday, head over to the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace to view the massive 950-lb Chinese dragon steel display (22 feet long by six feet wide by12 feet high) covered in 30,000 red and amber LED lights. A legendary creature in Chinese mythology and folklore, the dragon is a traditional symbol of power, strength and good luck. The custom-designed dragon, near the interior casino entrance to The Forum Shops from Caesars Palace, sits upon a lush red carpet surrounded by hand-painted wood pillars, gold fencing and red velvet ropes. It will be on display through Feb. 28.

Your Valentine is special, and Diamond Jack is suggesting a meal at the award-winning Top of the World restaurant on the 106th floor of the Stratosphere Hotel to show her/him how special you are. That’s because the revolving restaurant has been completely remodeled to complement the 360-degree views of the Strip and surrounding mountains. The modern décor joins a new menu by Johnny Church, corporate executive chef, and Pawan Pinisetti, executive chef of Top of the World. The dining room tables reflect the sky and accentuate the colors of the mountains.

Steaks and seafood items include a 14-ounce Wagyu ribeye from Tajima Ranch, a 2.5-pound Maine Lobster, Rosen Farms Colorado Lamb Chops, Wild-Caught Cold Water Prawns from the Indian Ocean, and Ora King salmon fillet. A new wine menu has nearly 300 selections, including hard-to-find boutique selections. Top of the World is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and from 4 – 11 p.m. for dinner. 702-380-7711. www.topoftheworldlv.com

The Senility Prayer: Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky

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Where to go and what to do for the Chinese New Year in Las Vegas

Are you celebrating the Chinese New Year? Well, don’t be confused. February 5th is the official Chinese New Year date although the New Year starts January 21st and ends February 20th. For 2019, it is proclaimed the Year of the Pig. In Las Vegas, Chinese New Year activities, entertainment, food, and decorations are a huge deal!

The New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. The Spring Festival actually begins January 1st running through January 15th which is the hope of new beginnings with the cold abating and fresh starts with warmth approaching. It’s hard to imagine a Spring Festival in the winter time, unless you live in our part of the country; but there you go!

There are numerous ways to celebrate in Las Vegas. You won’t be able to miss the unmistakable “red” in every hotel on the Strip. You will find Chinese horticultural and sculpture displays along with a 90 foot long dragon and multiple lion dances throughout Wynn and Encore Hotels.

And, while you are in that area, the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels have their own celebrations going in their Atrium, Garden and Grand Canal Shoppes areas. They have a 16 foot tall golden pig which weighs around 3,000 pounds. You will also see the traditional red everywhere and pig statues around the complexes. They will be featuring the dragon and lion dance parades with music and entertainers.

The Grand Canal Shoppes will be handing out red envelopes with store coupons, chocolate coins or gift cards to guests during their fan dance and entertainment event. This will take place only on February 5th.

The Bellagio always has an impressive conservatory display and this season is no exception with their ornate characters and colors highlighting the holiday. It is a must see and hard to imagine all the hours and work that goes into their seasonal and cultural artistic displays.

The Linq will have a 4 day celebration kicking off on Wednesday, February 6th at 5 p.m. and running through Saturday, February 9th. They will have performances with dancers and acrobatics, lion dances every night at 6 p.m. and giveaways with a special light show at The High Roller.

 

Chinatown Plaza holds their annual celebration with a 150 foot long dragon dance, food, exhibits, lion dance, martial arts and dance performances. While you are waiting for the performances visit their restaurants and shops including their indoor mall. They will be holding a raffle with drawings for $1,000 and $500. Only 1 entry per person and you must be present to win. The event is on Sunday, February 17th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is located at Wynn Rd. and Spring Mountain Rd. (west of The Strip).

While you are in the Chinatown area if you have not already dined at Chinatown Plaza be sure to travel a little farther west on Spring Mountain and try out Sparrow & Wolf for completely different menu choices. The place is smallish so you should make a reservation if you plan on dining after 6 p.m. But, the food is worth the trip! Chinatown clams, sweet potato dumplings, duck confit, bone marrow with beef dumplings. I could go on and on. If

Hearth baked lasagna at Sparrow & Wolf

you are a little hesitant to choose an entrée try their Tasting Menu which will give you a variety. Or, share the wealth of your selections with others by splitting your meal. They will also assist you with pairing your meals with wines and drink creations that compliment your food choices. Tip: If you go onto Yelp while you are there you can get a free glass of wine. They are located just west of Arville Street.

If you are in between meals and need a sugar high snack try Ronald’s Donuts which is a couple of blocks past Sparrow & Wolf. They have some of the best Vegan Vegas donuts. You wouldn’t even know they were Vegan unless someone told you!

Will you be Downtown or staying away from the Strip? There will be a parade at the Downtown Container Park on Saturday, February 9th. Their Spring Festival Parade kicks off at Noon at Fremont Street and 11th Street. The parade ends at the Park.

The local’s hotels, Rampart, Suncoast, Gold Coast and The Orleans will also have their Chinese decorations and specials on food during February. Ping Pang Pong and Noodle Exchange at Gold Coast, Ondori Asian Kitchen at The Orleans and Peng Zu at Suncoast are all restaurants where you can get your Chinese fix. They don’t want you to miss the action or the fun of the holiday and are frequented by the locals.

— Pauline Cimoch

 

Bellagio Art Gallery Explores Mirror Room and Lights

Though April 28, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is presenting two installations by renowned artist Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity and Narcissus Garden.

The Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity is a room of infinite, shimmering LED lights and mirror-lined spaces. Visitors stepping into the enclosed room become immersed by an array of lights igniting a mirage on every surface representing the eternal cycle of life. The light cycle inside the Infinity Mirrored Room lasts 45 seconds.

    Narcissus Garden has been re-installed in various settings since its creation more than 50 years ago. This iteration is comprised of 750 stainless steel silver globes, which create an infinite lake distorting images of reality reflected on the surface of 12-inch orbs.

New Sadelle’s Restaurant Opens at Bellagio

Sadelle’s, SoHo’s vintage-style restaurant from Major Food Group, opened in Bellagio overlooking the resort’s conservatory. Major Food Group’s other Las Vegas dining experience, which opened in 2015, is Carbone at Aria.

Sadelle’s brings an elevated perspective to all-day dining daily opening for breakfast at 6 a.m. and segueing through lunch and dinner until midnight with approachable cuisine usually found in cafés and bakeries.

The 10,000-square-foot environment envelops guests with a combination of colorful pastels and touches transporting diners back in time to a grand café along an old European boulevard.

Design highlights begin with an impressive entrance featuring a bakery cart, crystal chandelier, herringbone parquet floors and paneled blush walls. The main dining room can shift seamlessly from a bright airy lunch spot to an intimate nighttime destination.  The elevated bar-and-lounge is highlighted by a demilune bar, clamshell lounge chairs and serpentine sofas. A private dining room offers a nod to Art Nouveau with the upholstered walls having a feathery botanical print and the carpet radiating a starburst pattern.

Smoked Burgers & BBQ Opens at Forum Shops at Caesars

Designed and operated by Hospitality Boulevard, Smoked Burgers & BBQ is now open at The Forum Shops at Caesars. The menu consists of BBQ favorites with a twist prepared with West Coast flare along with handcrafted cocktails including shaken specialties. Signature dishes include: World Famous Pig Candy; Loaded BBQ Nachos; Smoked Chicken Wings; Buttermilk Fried Chicken Blueberry Sliders; Louisiana Hot Link; Smoked Pork Sandwich; Chopped Beef Brisket; and Salted Caramel Banana Pudding.

Bonnie Springs Being Sold

Here goes another piece of the Vegas Valley’s history with Bonnie Springs being sold to home developers. Originally built in 1843 as a stopover for wagon trains going to California along the Old Spanish Trail, Bonnie Springs Ranch lies in the heart of Nevada’s  Red Rock Canyon about a half hour from the Strip. The ranch was opened to the public in 1958 as a tourist attraction. Over the years the destination added a restaurant, petting zoo, Old Town, and much more.

The proposed plan is to build around 20 homes and to duplicate some things available to the public, such as a restaurant, country inn and event barn for weddings.

— Jackie Brett

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