Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gamble your first $100 no risk

Sorry, that great promotion has ended. No trip to Arizona Charlie's this Xmas for me anyway.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Drinks to Consider

When you can get drinks for free, you might want to experiment a little rather than just have another boring lite beer.

Some places will not bring you all the possible drinks, but it never hurts to ask for something new. Last trip I started trying the Rusty Nail and it was fun.

Here are some suggestions:

here are more lists of drinks:

SCOTCH and the CIGARS that go with it:


Best, worst:

When it comes to the best and worst drinks, has compiled a list of drinks to avoid and drinks that are better for you because of less calorie content and sugar.

The best five:

Spiked lemonade. Lemonade gets a mature makeover with a splash of vodka. Begin with fresh lemon juice, add vodka and low-calorie sweetener. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint.

Fresh fruit calpirinha. This Brazilian drink is made with sugar-cane alcohol and includes lots of fresh fruit. It's not popular around here, but it is on the list.

Bloody Mary. Spiked tomato juice with seasonings is an excellent low-calorie bar option. Garnish with a lime wedge and a celery stick.

... and soda. The "clearer" the drink, the better for your waistline. Clear spirits mixed with club soda are your best bets. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Light beer. There's no doubt that nothing beats an icy beer. Light beer contains almost half the calories of other beer.

The worst five:

Pina colada. Almost 400 calories in this drink.

Frozen margarita. Loaded with sweeteners and artificial flavorings.

Planter's Punch. Lots of sugar and artificial juices.

Screwdriver. Vodka and orange juice sound harmless but OJ at 80 calories plus 200 for vodka and you're getting up there.

Vodka tonic. Although colorless, the tonic has about 150 calories per 8 ounces. Try the diet version. Jo Ellen O'Hara's column appears each Wednesday in The Birmingham News. She can be reached by e-mail at

Note on Caipirinha

What is this? Caipirina is Brazil?s national cocktail.

Pronunciation is kai-pee-reen-yah
Ingredients are lime, sugar and cachaca (ka-sha-sa), a popular alcoholic beverage in Brazil that is distilled from fermented sugarcane juice and has an alcohol content of 38 to 51 per cent. (sounds pretty high..)
Available at least at Bellagio or at Mirage Samba.
Price is around 10 to 19 for a glass. (10 flavours to choose from)

Since cachaca is not readily available,
Some substituted rum for cachaca and that become caipirissima.
Some substituted vodka for for cachaca and that become caipirosca.

The original cocktail is sour and tastes like lime juice with alcohol.

Jager Caipirinha
Jager (a spirit made from a blend of herbs, fruits and spices ? instead of cachaca, which explains the pungent smell and herbal taste)

Apple Caipirinha
Made with Souz Apple, tastes like Zappel minus the fizz. Sour yet plesant.

Peach Caipirinha
Peach juice with alcohol. It is sweet, with a strong peachy taste and has bits of chewy aloe vera jelly.

Chocolate Caipirinha
Sweet, sour and chocolatey all at the same time.

Cachaca is substituted with vodka and the result tastes like vodka lime.

Vanilla Caipirinha
White, milky and sweet, it has a slightly sour taste and is not too heady.

Lychee Caipirinha
Riding on the popularity of lychee martini, it tastes very similar to the martini version, except that is slightly sour.

Strawberry Caipirinha
Strong strawberry smell and flavour, and tastes slightly sweet with a twist of sourness.

Cointreau Caipirinha
The strongest of the lot, this drink is hard-hitting with a tinge of sweetness

What is Vegas like in December?

Last year I washed my car in my yard the day before I left for Vegas. The temperature was in the 50's and Vegas was about 5 degrees warmer. I have never really needed much in the way of warm clothing, but by December our Northeastern bodies have adapted to the cold. One year I had just a sport coat and I bought a nice fleece scarf at the Drugstore because my neck was cold. This year I have a new light jacket I am bringing. Often I don't want to carry that with me to the casino.

Here are some comments on what it is like around Christmas:

Three sources for finding free wifi⊂=0&id=6

Look to left hand menu and click on "The List"

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wow! Some trip report

If you want to see all the possibilities in a trip in and around Vegas check out this fellow's trip report complete with some of the finest photos I have ever seen. It is absolutely the best I have ever seen.

Actually, the full site is quite a work. It includes videos too of spots in Vegas.

Restaurant coupons sells coupons for restaurants all over the country. They have quite a few for Vegas including my favorite Irish Pub McMullan's. You pay say $5 for a $25 coupon.

Sometimes the regular prices are reduced for a limited time. If you join, they will send you notices of sales. Or this site will also keep track of the dates when you can get 20% to 50% off the price. That really makes a nice coupon. But you ahve to be conservative and make certain you are going to to to the restaurant you have chosen. You lose if you don't use.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Want to read a good gambling writer?

I've been reading Mark Pilarski's internationally syndicated gambling column and using his BJ cardsfor years. He is smart and has a lot to teach the new gambler. Here is his website if anyone is interested:

A subscription to his column by e-mail is free. It is question and answer format.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is Downtown Vegas worth a Visit?

Here is an entire thread answering that question and I've included my remarks there also. If you are in Vegas for just a few days, you have to decide whether to journey to the downtown area which is older, with smaller casinos, but has a great canopy that connects them and a light show considered a tourist attraction. It is, however, a ride, sort of like going from Schenectady to Albany on a bus along Central Avenue. In between are seedy areas, wedding chapels, pawn shops. Well, check out this thread for details and opinions as you plan:

and if you crave more opinions, don't miss the link in one post that takes you to another entire thread with the same question debated over six full pages. It is like reading a book on Downtown.

Here is another long list of possibilities:

And if nothing downtown seems worth the trip, maybe the thought of a deep fried twinkie or oreo would motivate you:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Suggestions on things to see and do

Here are some compiled suggestions of things to see and do on the strip. Make a note of what catches your fancy and you won't forget to look for it:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Want your picture taken with a lion?

I have never really liked the lion exhibit at MGM except when I went with Jill at feeding time and had those huge male lions with their mouths open just inches from my face (separated by glass of course, I'm not kid Cory afterall). But Having a picture taken with a live lion might be an option in December if the cubs are the right age. You can monitor cub progress here:

Like cars?

Here are two car experiences.

NOTICE: The Drive which was listed here closed on Nov 19th.

2. At the Imperial Palace is a wonderful car museum which is free if you grab some coupons. I'll have some, so ask me. There are all sorts of cars and this would be perhaps the last time to see them. All the cars are on sale and as they sell, the casino puts in another car from their massive stored collection. A former owner used to collect these beauties and used the casino as a way to show them. He died. See the video here:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Some of you were interested in pools. Here is a site that explores the issue but there really are no good choices for sitting by the pool let alone swimming.

The Orleans has indoor jacuzzis, but they separate the boys from the girls. To get a free trip use the coupon from the funbook. See me if you need more than one coupon.

There may be an outdoor jacuzzi still heated in the winter. I'll be checking. Keep an eye on this post.

Shuttle from airport

You can cab to the Orleans, but I take one of the shuttles from the airport. If you plan to also take a shuttle back to the airport, it is cheaper to get a round trip ticket. Coming back is the time to pay for a cab if you get nervous about time because the shuttle can take a little longer if they have other hotels to stop at.

Here are a few opinions:

I 've queried this site for other estimates and the guess is from $15 to $20 including tip:

There are a number of lines and they wait for you right outside the baggage claim area, but if you walk a little way past the first ones and turn the corner, you can get my favorite. They are cheaper and usually faster. Their name is Las Vegas Limo but the shuttle is a bus. You can print a coupon that will give you the price of $4.50 to the Orleans, but actually that is their regular price at least today even with no coupon.

and as long as we are talking about transportation, here is a site with every means of transportation in and around Vegas.

Tipping Suggestions

Vegas workers depend on tips. Tipping is more a part of the Vegas culture than it is at home. Here is a site that sets some good guiderules.

Personally, I tip only a dollar per drink order. I never feel forgotten. I get alcohol and a bottle of water. Generally, the waitress is back long before I want a second.

I leave $2 a day for the maid. I think that they have the hardest job and are the hardest working. I also like a good relationship with someone so close to my stuff.

In a restaurant I tip as we do at home but add in the cost of the meal the value of the coupon. In a buffet I tip one dollar per person.
There are lots of discussions and debates on the boards. Some overtip. Some tip not at all.

One good piece of advise is to have a few one dollar bills always at hand. At table games, even live poker, you are allowed to tip with chips.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Birthday Offer

Anyone have an actual birthday during the month of December?

The Orleans will give you a pile of points, worth $6.50 which is almost a free buffet just for telling them it is your birthday and playing until you earn 1 point on your player's card. The Gold Coast will do the same even if you have already done this at the Orleans. Same with the Barbary Coast. Doing all of them when they also have a 50% point sale on food would yield quite a bonus

Other birthday offers on this thread:

George Wallace reviews

George Wallace is a favorite comic having his own show for quite a while at the Flamingo in Vegas. Many have seen him in late night television.
He is often featured in the 2 for 1 deals at the 2 for one ticket places, so he is a good last minute choice for a night when you want a show.

Debbie is going to go at some point. So I thought I would post some discussion and reviews.

Here are ratings from the current time and going back a few years. They are mixed. Actually, I was surprised to see so much negativity recently. I hope he is not tiring and losing his edge or getting too complacent with his success.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Carrying Money

Carry with you the money that you want to gamble. Using an ATM card will cost you more than you want to pay for the transaction.

From a recent post:

"Never use an ATM machine in a casino, unless you are prepared to pay the price" warns a consumer advocacy group.

Las Vegas Casinos and several major airports ranked the highest in service fees to use an ATM machine. A recent survey of the strip found the majority of the machines charge anywhere between $4 and $6 for each withdrawl- and this does not include the fees you may incur from your bank.

The casinos are buying into the philosophy that people withdrawl more when the service fee is high. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but what is known is that the ATM will be the only machine most tourists will use that will actually pay off.

Personal checks are useless; no one will take them. Traveler's checks are the best bet deal and can be cashed easily in any casino. I carry all my gambling money in traveler's checks. I like it best when I never have to cash any of them. Those of you in the Teacher's Credit Union can get Traveler's Checks for free. Don't hesitate to get $1oo denominations.

Even if you carry your bankroll in safe Traveler's Checks, you may end up with a huge amount of cash if you hit a jackpot. You can get money locked up at the casino if you hit it big. Remember, when you win and do all that shouting, there are people around you listening. If you are carrying large sums of winnings ask to be escorted to your car. Avoid the bus and take a cab.

For all purchases your credit card will work easily. Bring at least two. Calling the credit card company and letting them know you are going to Vegas will preclude them deciding to stop your card until you assure them that this new activity in a risky location does not mean the card has been stolen. Proving you are who you say you are is not always an easy task on the phone. I once had to beg to get a little gas on my card coming home from Atlantic City. Now I call before I go.

I also carry my wallet in my front pocket and walk with my hand on it.

Zerox your driver's license or passport before you leave. Write down the phone numbers of the credit cards companies you use. Store the Traverler's check numbers and this information somewhere besides your wallet.

Generally, hotel rooms are safer than streets. I have never had anything stolen, but last trip I played poker with a young fellow who had $800 taken by a pick pocket. Leave expensive jewelry home, or if you need it for a fancy night out, lock it in a safe box at the hotel for the rest of the week. Always better safe than sorry.

CLOTHING and Packing suggestions

Anything goes in Vegas from the most casual shorts or ripped jeans to the most outrageous glittery creations or just plain classy dress up clothes.

Well, almost anything anyway:

Winter evenings will be cool enough for a light jacket. I like to have a scarf. I suppose for a woman (or a couple) a purse covers this, but I often travel alone and often on the bus from place to place for many hours. In Shakespeare's time men carried "purses," but if you have seen the Seinfeld episode, it is hard even in this increasingly androgynous society, for men to carry anything like that. Pockets in clothing are very useful, but I now take a comfortable bag to carry things I buy, free gifts, coupons, coupon magazines, strategy sheets, medicine, tums for after a rich buffet, camera, phone, journal. I don't like even small backpacks. I have a long strapped bag with a zipper so it ifts under my poker chair when I gamble without things falling out.

Pack a small roll of duct tape. It is great to repair things and can be used as emergency shoe liner if the blisters occur. I always laugh at myself when I pack one and then feel so Boy Scout prepared when I need it. I also pack a couple small dollar store clips so I can clip the curtains completely shut if I want to nap in daylight hours.

From the Vegas trivia calendar:

"Be sure to include body lotion, moisturizer, lip balm, eyedrops, and a good hair conditioner. The desert winds dry out your skin, eyes, and hair in a hurry, even in winter."

My advice is to bring an underpacked suitcase so you have room to take the things you buy home with you. I actually pack a large suitcase inside of a very large suitcase so I have just one to check on the way there but can use two on the way home. You have to be careful not to exceed the weight limits, usually 50 pounds per piece of luggage.

Planning for feet is essential. Vegas means walking, and walking in dry air. I bring a tube of creamy vaseline and grease my feet each morning after my shower.

Bring comfortable walking shoes or sneakers and as many extra socks as will fit in the corners of the suitcases. If you buy new walking shoes or sneakers for the trip, break them in before you go.

Bring those little round blister protectors and some tape. They work wonders to keep you going when the blisters come.

Pack a small roll of duct tape. It is great to repair all sorts of things and can be used as emergency shoe liner if the blisters occur. Needle and thread and a few buttons and pins.

Here are the things I have found useful in the past:

printed strategy for video poker
Black jack strategy cards
small journal to keep notes for trip reports
fun books and coupons from the last trip
cell phone and charger
phone numbers printed separate from the cell phone
post card addresses
coupons and offer letters for the hotel deals
printed confirmation of flight and hotel and show and car bookings
( I saved 10$ last trip by having my printout for Dollar)

small binoculars for seeing close up at the shows
a few loose dollars for tips before you get to the casino

Traveler's check numbers packed separately in suitcases and one list left at home on the dresser or with your emergency friend. Also bring and pack separately the phone numbers for the credit cards that go on the trip.

(By the way, a call to your credit card company telling them the dates you will be charging in Vegas might preclude them canceling your card due to "unusual activity" I had one canceled after I tried to use it in a buffet in Atlantic City. I call them the same day I make that final hotel room confirmation by phone to be sure hotels have my hotel room at the right price. Twice I found they had booked me at a higher price. Once they did not have me at all))

A backup for identification: passport or driver's license xeroxed and stored in a separate location, or an old driver's license, or a duplicate.

Tiny bottle bottle of Frank's hot sauce. A few bags of good tea.

Cell Phones

I hate all phones, but in Vegas a cell phone is almost a necessity. Casinos are impossible places to find anyone. You can be just a few feet away and not see the person you want to find because all the bells and whistles and lights are a distraction. The casino areas are huge and they are constructed to be totally distracting.

Also calling home on any Vegas payphone will cost you a bundle. I left my charger home one trip and called Elizabeth once. The cost of the call was $75.

Bring a cell phone. Send me the number now and I'll put you in mine and send you my number too. Do that in a separate e-mail not here in comments.

Also remember that there are no clocks in Vegas so having the correct time on your watch or the cell phone is very useful.

Gambling 101

Most first time gamblers risk their gambling on slots. While they are the easiest to figure out, they are not the best bets. You have to watch to see that you do not have to play maximum coins in order to get the full pay. For small gamblers look for slots that do not have huge jackpot payouts. You have more chances then for smaller wins.

All gambling books recommend deciding ahead of time how much money you are willing to put at risk and setting stop limits. Divide the money up by the days you are there and then quit if you lose that portion. If you win, don't keep gambling until you lose all that budgeted money. If you hit big, cash out and quit. In the long run you cannot win money on slots. But in the short run, a jackpot can make you a big winner if you quit while you still have some of it left. It is not the casino's money. Once you have won it, it is your money.

Not all slots are the same but it is impossible to tell which pay better or worse. Slots downtown or off the strip are generally better payers.

Table games have better odds than slots. Unlike slots most table games require some study of strategy and practice before you go to Vegas. However, Craps and Roulette are two that require no learned strategy. Craps provides the best mathematical bet in the casino; roulette offers the worst odds of any table games.


While a craps table and the speed of the game is intimidating to new gamblers, it need not be. The easiest bet is actually the best bet to make. The complicated bets have higher house advantages. A pass line bet will give the casino $1.41 to $0.18 (per hundred dollars wagered) depending on how much money you use for free odds. Compare that to slots that take more like $8.00 per hundred dollars wagered. Or compare to the State lottery that takes $50 on every hundred wagered.


Roulette takes $5.26 on every hundred dollars wagered. It was very popular in Europe, and the game was played with different rules. Our own Saratoga Canfield added another number in favor of the house; he added the double zero and called it the American wheel. He called it the police number because that rake was used to bribe Saratoga policemen. There is one $5 roulette single zero wheel at the Stratosphere. Playing without the double zero makes the casino rake $2.70 per hundred dollars wagered.

The worst casino bet is Keno. There the casino advantage is $25 per hundred dollars wagered or less. If you must play this game, the Orleans has the better odds, but the game is a complete rip off even if it is 100% better than a state lottery and equal to horse rate betting.

Video poker can be a good bet but you have to learn a strategy and each game is different. you also have to learn to read the pay tables so you can recognize a full pay machine from a short pay machine. At the Orleans the Double Bonus 10/7 machines (They pay 10 for full house and 7 for flush) are some of the best in Vegas. With perfect strategy they actually give the player a small advantage. But that strategy is counter intuitive and requires hours of practice.


The smartest Vegas tourists watch other people gamble and see the free attractions.

But there are a few ways to get a huge edge on the casino if you are a first time visitor. These are lost leader attractions. Some casinos offer $10 of free play. Others honor matchplay coupons. With a matchplay coupon you make a $5 bet and the coupon is worth another $5 if you win. You have a huge advantage for that one bet only. Finally, there are coupons sometimes for free money for first time gamblers. My friend Jill took one $10 free money deal and gambled on penny slots all afternoon. When she quit she could cash out for $6. That was her profit. That was all she gambled all week so she left a $6 winner.


All gambling winnings are supposed to be reported as income. No person giving you tax advice would tell you otherwise. That would be illegal. There two ways the government collects these taxes. On small winnings they depend on your honesty. Larger winnings, over $1200 require the casino to give you a form that you fill out and that informs the IRS that you have won that money. If you are playing table games, he government paperwork is generated whenever you cash in more that $9000 in chips at one time. If you hate paperwork, don't cash in more that that at any one time.

For a detailed discussion see:

The best gambling advice on games as well as some free games to play and see how things work is at this site:

All that being said, there is always the economic principle of "utility" that suggests things are worth what pleasure they give us. When you go to a restaurant and pay $18 for what you could fix at home for $6, you enjoy the experience. It is the same with gambling.

A friend of mine recently went on a 9 day trip to Maine paying $120 a night for a bed and breakfast. At that rate, I figured my actual expenses for room and breakfast in December and calculated that while I am in Vegas, that would give me $3750 to lose gambling and our vacations would cost the same.

If you want a totally risk free experience, come fish bluegills with me. There when you lose it costs nothing, and when you win you take home supper.

Important Health Concerns


Vegas is a very, very dry place.
You will dehydrate.
You probably will not notice it.
It can be dangerous.

It is extremely important that you drink water regularly. Plain water. Water with alcohol or caffeine or diet soda additives will add to the process of dehydration. Water will reduce dehydration.

At the same time, ironically, there are practically no drinking fountains in Vegas. You should carry a little bottle of water with you. If you are gambling, water is free for the tip to the waitress. One good habit: every time you order a free alcoholic drink, order a bottle of water with it. That makes the water free, and you can take it with you when you quit gambling. The bars will give you water if you ask. Vegas water is not the tastiest, so bottled water or fruit juice in the room is very helpful when you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night or to start your process of hydration in the morning.


Vegas is all walking and standing. Even if you took a cab from casino to casino, you would have to walk long distances inside. A single casino can be as big as a shopping mall. Blisters come easily. Have good walking shoes or sneakers and plenty of changes of socks. I grease up my feet in the morning with vaseline and that precludes blisters. I also pack some of those little blister pads and tape so if I am careless, and blisters appear, I can keep walking anyway with the blister protected.


I hear so much hype about restrictions on medicine on airplanes. On the plane you cannot take liquids unless you have prescription in your name. But pills are no problem. Anything can go in your carry on. It is so much easier to bring what you need than try to find a drugstore in Vegas. You will not be around very many drugstores. Aligator Mudgriff Dan reports that there are some on the strip:

"There Is a Walgreens drug store across the street from the Stardust Casino. Also there's is another drug store(Walgreens I think) farther north on the strip, still on Las Vegas Blvd.. I think on the corner Charleston and Las Vegas Blvd. There is also 1 that is susposed to be built next door to the Venetian Casino. However, I do not know if it has been built yet. There was a sign there saying a Walgreems was going to be built there. The last time I was in Las Vegas."

Still, they are at best few and far between.

Some people also swear by a vitamin mixture invented by an elementary school teacher called Airborne. It is supposed to reduce colds and other difficulties when flying. Rite Aide has a duplicate for $3 less. I'll include a site that argues it is all a scam, but I figure if it works as placebo and I don't get sick, what the hey.

Add tums and a traveler's diarrhea med to your list of essentials. Some pain reliever is good too. I use aspirin for nights when I drank too many free ones. Aspirin and guzzling a large bottle or two of water precludes hang over. Most of the uncomfortable feeling of hang over is due to dehydration.

And so we are back to the beginning of this post.

And in addition this note on dryness:

From the Vegas trivia calendar:

"Be sure to include body lotion, moisturizer, lip balm, eyedrops, and a good hari conditioner. The desert winds dry out your skin, eyes, and hair in a hurry, even in winter."


I probably am not the best source of food information. I'll include some links that discuss places. I tend to go the same places over and over and I eat wherever I have a comp. I am especially weak on expensive retaurants. I rarely go to them. That being said I can give a useful over view.


The three buffets usually mentioned as the upscale examples are Bellagio, Paris, and Alladin. Alladin is considered the best value. Paris is very good. Bellagio is good but overrated I think. In all three you pay much less for lunch than supper and have as good a selection of things to eat. So that is the time to go. The buffet trick is to go just before the supper hour, get a table, and then take a walk and come back s they start to put out the crab and other supper specialties. In that way you get the supper for the lunch price. 10/2006 note - We will have to watch the Alladin. Right now it would be a terrible choice because they have moved just part of it to a temporary location while they renovate. They are losing status, but once the renovation is complete, they should be good again. They might even be a little cheaper for a while, or offer coupon specials to get back their regulars. Construction should be done by November.

Here is some sense of what is good at the Paris buffet:

If you like seafood and suishi there is a new seafood buffet on the Harmon side of the Aladdin. For under $30 you could eat all the seafood you can imagine prepared in a vey nice manner.

AVERAGE: The Orleans is a fine average buffet with plenty to eat and a price that makes it much less painful. During September they have been having a special of $7 for lunch and supper. That is really cheap. Gold Coast is also a good average buffet. In each place you have to avoid days when the price goes up for seafood or steak or Sunday Brunch. I really don't think that you get that much better a choice of foods and you pay someimes double. I'll create a chart.

DOWNSCALE: I like Terrible's Buffet for breakfast but it is a good walk from the strip. With a coupon I can get breakfast for $2. I also like the cheapest supper buffet in town, the Plaza. It is very basic but suits me. I don't like the Sahara except for fruit in the morning. Imperial Palace has a very bad reputation too.

SEAFOOD: The Rio seafood buffet is highly recommended. I have not eaten there but everyone raves about it. They have a couple buffets. Their regular buffet is over priced I think even with coupons.

My favorite buffets is Main Street Station. It is midpriced and very good. There are even some Hawaaian specialties. The Golden Nugget Buffet is also good but the lines are long. I eat there after a poker session so I get a pass to the beginning of the line and a free meal.

Cafes and Restaurants

In general the food on the strip is more expensive than off the strip. So if you plan your mealtimes so as to avoid the expensive places, you will do better. There are still some good deals in Vegas, but just wandering and eating at random you will encounter more expensive options. You pay a little for being unplanned.

That being said, here is a restaurant often recommended. It is a bit upscale but you can eat and watch the fountains across the street if you plan it right;

Mon Ami Gabi
Mon Ami Gabi is the indoor/outdoor restaurant at Paris. With an outdoor patio fronting the Strip, it’s one of the few such venues in town and likely the best. “It’s very French,” commented a guest we brought who’s traveled to Paris for many years. “It reminds me of dining on the Champs- Elysées, only it’s the Las Vegas Strip out front and a smaller Eiffel Tower above.” Indeed.
The atmosphere is the key, but the food also makes the grade. Classic appetizers, such as French onion soup ($7.50), country-style pâté, and a charcuterie plate (samples of pâtés and other meats) are priced from $7.50 to $13. Sandwiches, including the classic French steak sandwich with frites (fries) go for about $13. There’s also a choice of crêpes, quiche, fish dishes, steaks, and a macaroni and cheese entrée for $12. Choose from an array of French desserts ($8) to go with coffee.
Lunch is the cool thing to do here—for the hip European vibe. The portions are huge, the play is to choose one item per person (appetizer or entrée) and split ’em, then add dessert and coffee if you like. The charcuterie plate and a steak sandwich, along with a single dessert and coffee (or a couple glasses of wine), for example, make a perfect lunch for two that will cost under $50 with tip.
Lunch is served from 11:30 am to 4 pm daily, dinner from 4 to 11 (midnight on the weekends). They don’t take reservations for outside seating, so be prepared for a possible wait. The outside bar is a prime spot to grab a drink (and you can eat there, too).
While you’re there, pick up an enrollment card for the associated Frequent Diner Program. Mon Ami Gabi is part of a big fine-dining network that includes the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, and Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! in Las Vegas, along with several restaurants in other cities (primarily Chicago).

A bonus to dining at Mon Ami Gabi is having a prime seat for the Bellagio fountain show directly across the street. However, the shows don’t begin until 3 pm, so you might want to schedule your lunch for around 2:30. You can also go for dinner, of course (the show is even more spectacular at night). The Gabi bar is worth visiting, whether you eat there or not. Order a drink and watch the show.

Just a couple blocks off the strip is Ellis Island. They have a steak special for about $5 that is just wonderful and considered the best deal in Vegas. The steak is a fine cut of meat and is served with potato and all the green beans you ever wanted as well as a salad. Their other food is good too, but I know less about that because I am always eating the steak. It is 24 hour special but not on the menu. You have to ask. Microbrews here are $1.50 in the restaurant, $1 at the bar. Free of course for players. The casino is very downscale. Nothing fancy here.

It used to be that an inexpensive prime rib was the big deal in Vegas and those specials are still around. I like to catch them when I can. Downtown the Golden Gate diner, Careful Kitty's at El Cortez and the California all have good ones at decent prices.

Binion's cafe is nice for late night dining.
The 4 Queens Magnolia Room has nice food. I also like their microbrew samplers.

If you go to the Gold Coast in the afternoon with the free drink coupon from the Orleans funbook, you can buy a hotdog with everything including sauerkrat for 75 cents near the sportsbook and wash it down with a free beer while you watch the Royal Dixie Jazz Band play.

Many of the casinos, including the Orleans have Graveyard Specials which run from midnight until 6 AM. Steak and eggs might be $1.95.

The Wild Wild West has great hamburgers but you really need a car to go there.

Most of you will be at the Orleans so here is a link discussing all the restaurants there:

A block behind the Orleans is a fine Irish Pub with some of the best home made potato chips I ever ate.


These are not really very convenient but Vegas does have some healthy places to eat if that is an issue.
Go Raw Cafe

2381 E. Windmill Ln., 702/450-9007
2910 Lake East Dr., 702/254-5382

Do you want to know where the real vegans eat? Not Las Vegans. We’re talking about the hard-core vegetarians who shun not only meat, but also dairy and eggs. Finally, here’s the answer to the many requests we get to recommend a good vegetarian restaurant in Las Vegas. Not only is this a vegan restaurant, but it’s also totally raw (nothing is cooked). You’ve never seen a menu with so many quotation marks: “Cheese” is made out of almonds; “fries” are made out of avocado slices dipped in bread crumbs; “sausage” is made from walnuts; “salmon” is described as the “chef’s flavorful creation.” The ingredients are exclusively grains, nuts, seeds, and organic produce, prepared with raw organic oils. The “neat loaf” ($12.95) for example, is made from mushrooms and nuts.
So how’s the food? In a word: different. A lot of imagination goes into the preparation, which is about as good as it can get, given the limitations. It’s cheap too—the main dishes are all under $15. And for those of you for whom birdfeed alone just isn’t gonna get it, there’s one great out: the house salad with creamy garlic dressing ($11.50). This is one wild and tasty platter of greens, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, and your fellow diners won’t be able to say you were afraid to try something.
3620 E. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89121
PHONE: 702-450-9007
HOURS: Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

I'm copying a long post I made elsewhere after visiting Vegas. Unfortunately there aren't many options but maybe this will help.

7250 W. Lake Mead Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, 89128
PHONE: 702-942-1500
HOURS (LUNCH & DINNER): 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
HOURS (MARKET): 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Health food stores are my Disneyland. Though most stores are independent, companies like Wild Oats are bringing health foods to the mainstream. Wild Oats is the same size and has the same general set-up as regular grocery stores, only the food is organic, the medicines are alternative, and the shampoo is natural.

The Cafe serves all organic food; not all of the food is vegan, but there are still plenty of options. The food is served deli-style; you can either take it to go, or you can sit down in the store to eat. Choices include vegetarian, bean, millet and meat burritos, macaroni salad, Marci's potato salad and Sharon's pasta salad, plus an assortment of veggie drinks and fruit smoothies. There is something for everybody here, and prices are on the low end.

3620 E. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89121
PHONE: 702-450-9007
HOURS: Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The raw food movement goes beyond veganism; raw foodists are so called because they eat no food that is cooked above a certain temperature. They eat this way for the health benefits, not because they feel sorry for plants, by the way (in fact, some people eat raw meat). Though I am not a raw foodist myself, all food served The Raw Truth is 100% vegan, so my family and I decided to try it. Now, I love fresh vegetables, but my family would rather eat pizza and wings, so The Raw Truth was quite an adventure for them. The Raw Truth serves traditional dishes like meat loaf, pasta, lasagna, bread, and pizza - only the ingredients are primarily vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Dishes that normally require cooking are prepared using a dehydrator (all of the food is safe to eat because there are no animal products in the ingredients). If you are not used to raw cuisine, I suggest starting with something familiar, like nori rolls, tabouli, cookies, salad, and fresh juice.

1100 East Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89104
PHONE: 702-737-7282
HOURS: Monday - Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rainbow's End is both a health food store and a cafe. Boca, black bean, and gardenburgers, mock egg salad, tortillas, sandwiches, veggie lasagna, stir fry, and fresh-squeezed juices are just a few of the menu items. Prices at the health food store are slightly higher than Wild Oats, but prices at the cafe are about the same as Wild Oats' deli. The food is all vegetarian; even so, my non-veg family enjoyed it.

4147 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
PHONE: 702-731-6030
HOURS (MARKET): Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
HOURS (RESTAURANT): Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Entree prices range from $8.95 - $10.95; most sandwiches are $6.95. Vegan dishes include tabouli salad, fresh salas, hummus, baba ganosh, falafel pita, stuffed grape leaves, combination plate, falafel plate, and various beverages, including at least two dozen different teas.

And one more discussion:


Surf this threads for lots of comments and discussion. One post gives four other such hreads:


El Sombrero. The oldest Mexican Restaurant in Vegas. Located between the Stratosphere and Downtown across from the Gamblers Gerneral Store) No fancy Yuppie Casino atmosphere, just a hole in the wall in a seedy area. (Still safe during the day and night) If the location/atmosphere bothers you, You can get the food to go too. The food is a bit spicey, not expensive (Huge portions) and yummy! Lunch time is very popular.

We stop by there at least once every trip.

Las Vegas' oldest Mexican restaurant opened in 1950 and is housed in a small, nondescript building on South Main Street. It's a location that no restaurant should be able to survive in. Nonetheless, El Sombrero has thrived here by feeding locals a simple Mexican menu full of fiery salsas, fresh tortillas and spicy chiles, both colorado (red) and verde (green).

The Food
Both house-made salsas (mild tomato or hot smoked chipotle) are made fresh daily and regulars claim that they are positively addictive. Portions are huge, but nothing on the menu tops $10, making this one of the cheapest meals in town. Many people opt for the take-out menu, but if you're staying in the restaurant, drop a few coins in the Mexican jukebox to highlight the mood.


Michoacan (pronounced mee-cho-ah-CAHN) is a state in central Mexico famous for its lakes, scenery, and exquisite food. The Spanish word lindo means pretty or beautiful.

Javier Barajas, the owner of Lindo Michoacan Restaurante, learned to cook when his grandparents, Timoteo and Ninfa, sent him to study at the seminary in Michoacan. At the seminary a wooden revolving service door (the torno) separated the nuns in the kitchen from the priests and students in the dining hall. Through the crack in this door, Javier developed a friendship with the Mother Superior.

After a few months, Sister Anita asked Javier if he would come to the kitchen everyday to help the nuns lift and move the heavy pots and pans. She noticed right away that Javier was quick and eager to learn. Before long, she was teaching him to help with the food preparation as well. He spent years mastering the secrets of Michoacan cuisine.
Now Javier and his family bring the great food and cultural traditions of Michoacan to Las Vegas. In Mexico, they say, "If you want good food, go to Michoacan." In Las Vegas, we say, "If you want good food, come to Lindo Michoacan."


Lots of coupons for this one.

Here is a link to other to food discussions:


Just as we were pondering what to run as our next Reader Poll, someone did our job for us and sent in this question. Following the great response to the "must-see" survey, this seemed like a fitting successor, so please send in your favorites via the QoD submission page.

No special rules or restrictions apply: It can be any dish or side, as cheap or high-end as you like, just something that you’d recommend to a visitor because it’s consistently exceptional, or unique to Las Vegas, or super value, or a special-occasion splurge, or reminds you of your mom’s cooking, or is as good as you ate on a trip to New York/France/China/wherever, or even is just something simple that you look forward to when you visit because you like the venue and enjoy the service.

To inspire you, here are some suggestions from the LVA staff:

* The Ellis Island $4.95 complete steak dinner was the choice of both Deke (Senior Editor) and Laurie (Production Coordinator). "You’d think I’d be sick of the steak after having to come up with something different to say about it every month for the past 64 months in a row, but I’m not. I eat it all the time and still think it’s the greatest meal deal in Las Vegas, Nevada, the U.S., the world, the solar system, and possibly the Milky Way. The 150 steamed clams in garlic sauce I was served in Panama City recently -- for $3.50 -- is a close second." (Deke) "It’s a Top 10 favorite, as well as mine!" (Laurie)

* "Since two people have already gone for the Ellis Island steak, I have to pick the 99¢ shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate. What the heck -- it’s only been around for 47 years." (Anthony – Publisher)

* "I really like Garduno's (the one at the Palms is good, but the one at Fiesta Rancho is better). I like the basic stuff -- Nachos Tradicionales ($7.75) and the Carne Tacos Tradicionales ($9.95) -- but my husband’s a little more adventurous and tries new things all the time; last time he had the Mexican Chicken Stir Fry ($11.95) and said he'd order it again." (Sasha – Editor)

* Dale (Web Developer) picks Diamond China, 3909 W. Sahara. "Their wonton soup is killer. And the fresh whole shrimp (I am not sure what it’s called) is absolutely wonderful."

* "Hot and sour soup at Diamond China: I’ve been conducting an international survey for some years now and this one’s still in a league of its own. But seeing as Dale pipped me to the post in picking Diamond, I’m going to cheat and also choose the Nam Kao Tod appetizer ($7.95) at Lotus of Siam: minced sour sausage mixed with green onion, fresh chili, ginger, peanuts, crispy rice, and lime juice. Unique and delicious!" (Jessica – Web-Content Manager).

* "My pick's the Pacific Rim Fondue for Two ($62.00) at the Melting Pot, 8704 W. Charleston. I just took my daughter there for her birthday treat and we loved it." (Audrey – Receptionist)

* "At the Silverton's Sundance Grill, they serve a country-fried steak that's a really good-sized chicken steak with corn on the cob, gravy, and mashed potato. It’s just wonderful and the price is reasonable ($8.95). But then again, maybe I haven't got around that much!" (Andrew - IT dept.)

* "Hugo's Cellar at the Four Queens: The last time I went I had the beef medallions with mushrooms. My date had the king crab legs and raved about them. Prices range from $20 to $40 per person, without wine." (Becki - Office Manager)

* "I'll go for the lamb chops at Hugo's Cellar. The room is completely old-school cool and kitschy, the service is excellent, they have their own sommelier, and they prepare their chops better than any other restaurant in town that I've tried." (Bethany - Marketing Director)

* "For value-for-money, I'd recommend Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens at 1775 E. Tropicana (next to the Liberace Museum). Last time I went there I had the Eggplant Parmigiana ($10.99), which comes with a mountain of spaghetti, side salad, and as much French bread as you can eat – I had to take a doggy-bag home for my son!" (Gail - Data Input)

* "I think Slots-A-Fun still has $1 beer and a foot-long hot dog for $1.50, but then again, the place never appealed to me." (Gary – Accounts ... of course!)

* "Known in close circles as 'hangover soup,' Vietnamese Pho is the perfect remedy for those days where you need some inner healing. It's not just a noodle soup: It's a physical and spiritual experience that will invigorate, refresh, and soothe your affliction. Get the Pho Tai (beef noodle soup) or Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup). Add basil, bean sprouts, chili peppers, a squeeze of lime, and all the hot sauce you can handle. Feel as the previous night's poison is released via your sweating brow! Altogether, it's a torrent of flavorful deliciousness. As far as venues go, I'd recommend Saigon Fragrance Vietnamese Noodle House, 3650 S Decatur Blvd." (David - Web Site Director)

* "My must-eat in Vegas is the chicken pot pie from Hash House A Go Go (6800 W. Sahara). My reason for that choice is because it's very tasty! It's also such a big portion, I know I'll have leftovers for the next couple of days." (Boston – Shipping)

* "I would have to say the seafood buffet at the Cannery. I can't remember the price, but I know it was relatively low-cost for the quality and choice of food." (Howard – IT dept.)

* And finally, a suggestion that comes directly from the venerable "beer is food" school of thought: "I would have to choose the Black Mountain Ale from Barley's Casino and Microbrewery in Henderson. It's a mild, slightly sweet, dark beer, similar to a porter and, in my opinion, if you were to suckle on the breast of Mother Earth, this is the nourishment you'd receive. A fine brew! And it's also available in jugs to take home with you." (Rob – Shipping)


The old San Remo was known for its 24-hour prime rib deal, served first for $3.95, then $4.95, and finally $5.95. Now the casino that took its place has resurrected the meal special. Hooters is serving a $5.95 prime rib available 24 hours in the Dam (coffee shop). The sign on the marquee is the only reference to it; it’s not on the menu. This may be because there isn’t much to it: Just a piece of meat and a potato. No vegetable, no salad, no roll. You can add a good garden salad for $1.95 (discounted from the standard $3.95), which creates a more proper prime rib dinner for $7.80. What you get is decent, but better suited for a lunch than a dinner (you can get the prime rib with eggs and toast for breakfast for $7.95).