Four Queens: Fremont Street Experience without the Fee

Four Queens MarqueeIf you love the Fremont Street Experience like I do, then one great way to stay in the heart of it is to book your room at 202 Fremont Street – The Four Queens. The Four Queens offers small (by Vegas standards) clean, comfortable rooms with all the expected amenities for a very reasonable price, right in the heart of Fremont. The casino has a classy old-school vibe, yet still contains some of the newer games. There are plenty of good paytables for video poker enthusiasts. You get Hugo’s for upscale, romantic (ladies receive a rose) basement dining, and Chicago Brewing Company for great pizza and beer.

I stayed on a gambling comp, which are easy to come by. Just give them a little play with a player’s card at either Four Queens or Binion’s and you’re likely to get comped or discounted room offers for the Four Queens. That said, even the going rate to the general public is quite reasonable. Midweek rates are showing for $37/night with your third night free throughout the month of July as of this writing. Some nights on the rate calendar are as low as $29.

Four Queens BedMy “Standard Deluxe” room included a comfortable queen bed, flat screen television, coffee maker, electronic safe, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. There were two desks with chairs for work and a clock radio on the nightstand to wake me in the morning. All the basics. The bathroom was adequate with one sink and a tub. The shower head was high enough for a six footer to use without too many contortions. Toiletries were limited to soap, conditioner and shampoo. All were adequate but not fancy.

On this particular trip I decided to go against all the advice I have read online and book a low floor in the North Tower. The common advice is to either request a high floor or the South Tower in order to avoid the noise from Fremont Street keeping you up at night. I figured it’s Vegas… why would I be trying to sleep before 1am?

Four Queens BathroomSo, I will preface this with a word of warning – if it is important to you to sleep between the hours of 6pm and 1am, then you should definitely follow conventional wisdom and avoid these rooms. However, if you love the Fremont Street Experience and you plan to be up during the Viva Vision show anyways, then a room like mine on the sixth floor of the North Tower facing Fremont Street affords a pretty amazing experience.

View from the 6th floor of the Four Queens North Tower

View from the 6th floor of the Four Queens North Tower


If you’re up high like the room I had on the eleventh floor on a previous trip, you look down upon the framing and scaffolding of the Viva Vision screen… it’s not a pretty sight. Furthermore, the screen actually blocks your view of all the cool casinos on Fremont. You might hear the Viva Vision shows, but they’re on the opposite side of the screen, so you see nothing more than a few flashes of light. However, my room on the sixth floor looked right out on Fremont Street. I could see the full length of the screen with very little obstruction, and the music was loud enough to penetrate the window to my room. It was like having a luxury box for the Viva Vision shows!

I’m pretty sure this is the best view you can get of the Viva Vision shows from a hotel room. I took these video clips of the Doors and Bon Jovi shows from inside my room:

Another advantage of the North Tower at Four Queens is that these rooms are the closest rooms to Fremont Street of all the hotels. It takes about fifteen steps to reach the sidewalk from the North Tower elevators. So, if you’re out having a good time on Fremont and want to make a trip back to your room, it’s quick and easy. I find that to be a big advantage staying downtown as I’m often popping back up to the room to change camera batteries, grab a drink, or use the bathroom.

So, grab a room at the Four Queens and ask for a low floor in the North Tower. You get a decent clean room with all the amenities you need, a short walk to and from the Experience, box seats (your room) to the Viva Vision shows, all inside a classy old-school casino with good video poker, good restaurants and beer. You get all of this with no Resort Fees and no “Fremont Experience Fee”. I’d call that a win!

Update (11JUL13): The name of the “Fremont Experience Fee” at the Golden Nugget has been changed. It is now referred to as the “Downtown Destination Fee” and includes a coupon book for local attractions.

Website: www.fourqueens.com

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Vegas StrEATS Festival: Road Food!

Vegas StrEATS entranceOn the second Saturday of each month from 6pm – 1am, just across Sixth Street from the El Cortez, is a fantastic community event with local bands, djs, artists and food. Admission to the Vegas StrEATS festival is free, and it’s easy to come and go throughout the night, sampling the wares of the various food trucks.

Since we first discovered the great gourmet food trucks of Las Vegas, we’ve made it our mission to try out some of the most highly recommended trucks and share our experiences with you. In the last few months we caught up with Bad Ass Coffee downtown by the courthouse and Fukuburger outside MadHouse Coffee.

Vegas StrEATS trucksChasing around the trucks is fun, but having them all gather together in one place is even better! Especially when I happen to be staying across the street. If only I had an unlimited appetite I could try them all!

I had to return to Bad Ass for a frozen mocha, and say “hi” to John, the truck’s friendly wild-eyed proprietor. After that, I followed his suggestion and hit up Sin City Wings. John was the one who convinced me to try out Le Thai on East Fremont. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

Later on, I finally got my hands on some of the famous Big Easy Balls at the Sauced truck. More on that coming soon.

Vegas StrEATS DJHere are a few things you should know before you head out to the StrEATS festival for an eating adventure:

  • There is a gate, but admission is free. They check bags, so leave your weapons and contraband at home.
  • There are no tables, no seating. Be prepared to eat on your feet, and order accordingly.
  • Drinks are available (beer and shots) at a single beer tent towards the front.
  • You also get local artists, local musicians and local DJs. Plan to hang around a while and take in some local talent!
  • The lineup of food trucks, musicians and artists varies from month to month – it’s never the same experience twice!

Website: www.vegasstreats.com

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Radio City Pizza: Grab a Slice on Fremont East

RCP-entranceThe Fremont East district is heavy on bars, but short on food options. Le Thai is a great option if your looking for something exotic and spicy, but where do you go for old-fashioned American drinking food? Look no further than Radio City Pizza at 508 Fremont St East.

Radio City offers cheese pizza by the slice for $3.25, and there’s a long list of toppings they will add for just fifty cents. If you’re real hungry you can get a full pizza made fresh for $16.50 with $1.50 toppings. Garlic knots ($6 for five knots) are chewy and loaded with garlic, a great starter if you don’t mind the inevitable garlic breath. Their buffalo wings and meatball appetizers are also quite popular.

RCP-Cheese-SliceI know that what constitutes “good” pizza is a highly contested issue, so I won’t give my personal opinion, just a description:

RCP’s pizza is thin-crusted, but it’s not quite fold-it-over NYC style as one might suspect – given the name of the place. Instead, it’s more like the Italian bakeries on the North Shore of Boston make it… it has a crisp bottom, chewy middle and a sweet sauce under a layer of cheese that is cooked just to the point where browning starts, leaving just a hint of glistening oil.
Radio City Pizza Ham Slice
Toppings are of good quality and they give you enough to get a taste in each bite. All the slices start out as cheese, toppings are added when you order. Of course pizzas with toppings will be a little better if you order a full pizza so that it’s made fresh. Also, the more recently your slice came out of the oven the better it will be, so if you’ve got the time it might be worth waiting for a new pie to be made.

While you wait, you can enjoy the nice patio out back, with open-air dining, watch some sports on the numerous tvs, or kick back with a craft beer (taps when I was there included Sierra Nevada Pale, Magic Hat #9, Goose Island Honkers, Pyramid and Pabst). Cocktails are also available – half the bar seems like an homage to Ciroc vodka.

RCP-open-air-seatingRCP is open until midnight weekdays and 4am on the weekends – perfect for a late night bite. If you want your food quick, just belly up to the bar in front, but when the temperature is right, the best experience is hanging out in the open air patio out back.

Website: www.radiocitypizza.com
Radio City Pizza on Urbanspoon

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Rachel’s Kitchen – Al Fresco Dining Downtown

Rachel's Kitchen EntranceRachel’s Kitchen is a small local chain with four locations in the Las Vegas area, the newest of which just opened in Suite 160 of the Odgen Building at 150 North Las Vegas Blvd. Lunch (burgers, sandwiches and salads, with fresh juices and smoothies for the health conscious and a decent selection of beer and wine for the rest of us) will probably be their most popular meal. Breakfast is, however, what I went there to check out.

Rachel's Kitchen Dining AreaWe arrived at 9:30 am on a Saturday and the place was mostly empty. Rachel’s is a bright cheery space with a counter where you place your order and tables where you can relax while your food is prepared and delivered. We were in line behind a couple of guys from Las Vegas Fire and Rescue who were picking up a large order to bring back to the station, probably a good sign.

We ordered a hot mocha to share, I had the French Toast ($7.50) and my girlfriend ordered the Breakfast Burrito ($7.25). We were given a number to place at our table so our order could be delivered. We chose to take advantage of the mild weather and dine on the patio.

Rachel's Kitchen French ToastThe mocha arrived in a to-go cup. It was hot and was good, but really more of a hot chocolate. If you’re like me, and you want more coffee than chocolate flavor in your mocha, you better ask them to go easy on the chocolate. To be fair, I have this issue with most places that serve “mocha” drinks.

My french toast with fresh fruit was very nicely presented, and it tasted as good as it looked. It was made with a sweet bread and had strong flavors of cinnamon and vanilla. It was served with cut fresh fruit and syrup on the side. All the fruit was good, but the highlight was the pinapple, which tasted very fresh and juicy.

Rachel's Kitchen Breakfast BurritoI couldn’t resist tasting my girlfriend’s breakfast buritto. Inside were scrambled eggs, fresh salsa, fresh guacamole and cheese. Very nice! All wrapped in paper and cut in half, this would make a great breakfast on the go. It came with a side of home fries.

We found the staff to be very friendly, and overall the food was quite good. It’s great to have another restaurant downtown with outdoor seating. During our meal we were approached by a man looking for some change, otherwise it was quiet and peaceful watching the world go by from our table on Las Vegas Blvd. So place your order and take a seat out front, as long as you don’t mind being approached by a beggar or two. It might remind you that you’re in a real city, and not just an adult Disneyland.

Rachel's Kitchen Delivery Bicycle

  • Rachel’s Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch fare from 7am-7pm Mon-Thu, 7am-8pm Fri/Sat.
  • Local delivery is available (via bicycle!) from 10am-2pm. $20 minimum, $2.50 fee.
  • Rachel’s has three other locations: 3330 Hualapai Drive, 9691 Trailwood Drive and 2265 Village Walk Drive (in the District, Henderson)

Rachel's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
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Park on Fremont – A Peek Down the Rabbit Hole

Park_on_Fremont-behind-the-barMaharaja Hookah Cafe, at 506 Fremont Street, has finally been replaced. The new gastropub that takes its place, called Park on Fremont, had it’s grand opening at the end of March. A few short days later (after the crowd dissipated a bit) we wandered in to take a look. I’m not sure what they’ve been smoking in there since the hookah lounge closed.

Park on Fremont Men's RoomOur visit was a short one, but I can tell you a few things: The food coming out of the kitchen looked good, and diners seemed happy. Cocktails are served in mason jars. The decor is unique and interesting. There’s Lewis Carroll inspired artwork everywhere, there’s a mounted deer head with copper assault rifles for antlers (I can’t make this stuff up), and behind the bar is what can only be described as a twisted taxidermist’s collage. Even the restrooms are wildly decorated. Music leans towards 90′s grunge. It’s all a bit of a trip.

I dragged my girlfriend in here for a beer after a couple of happy hour cocktails across the street at Downtown Cocktail Room (liquor before beer, you’re in the clear). We sat at the copper topped bar, admired the copulating birds in the taxidermy display, and gaped at the beer list. Park on Fremont has the strangest beer list I have ever seen. Most bars either carry a bunch of the standard macro-brews (Bud, Coors, Corona, etc.) and maybe one or two of the bigger microbrews/imports (Newcastle, Sam) or they carry almost exclusively micros, with maybe one or two macros. Not this place. This is the something-for-everyone beer bar.

Park on Fremont Beer ListWhether you’re a gangsta looking for some Colt 45, a hipster looking for a PBR, a hop-head looking for Dogfish 120 minute IPA or a Belgian beer snob looking for a glass of Chimay Cinq Cents – this place has what you’re looking for. There are roughly sixty beers on their list, some 40′s, some cans, some bottles and some drafts. The only organization to the beer list is that drafts are stacked at the end – not that the drafts are marked or anything, they just seem to all be in the bottom right corner of the list. Otherwise there’s Schlitz next to the Chimay, Moosehead next to Young’s. It’s chaotic.

Our friendly bartender brought us our beers (a Tetley’s ($6 pint can) and a Shift ($5 12oz can), cracked open. No glass was provided. We paid, tipped and left after just one beer. No doubt we’ll be back, though. I’m eager to try out the food, and this place has, by far, the broadest selection of beers downtown. I look forward to doing some additional “research” for a full fledged write-up sometime soon. Stay tuned.

Park on Fremont Tables

  • Park of Fremont opens at 11am daily.
  • There are no prices on their drink menus, so ask before you order if you’re watching your budget.
  • I am not a fan of Bloody Marys, but I understand this place has a killer version, made with bacon infused vodka. Give it a try and click “Leave a Reply” to tell us all about it.

Website: parkonfremont.com
Park on Fremont on Urbanspoon

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The Lady Silvia

Lady Silvia EntranceAs someone who has never smoked, it took a while for me to get used to casinos and bars in Las Vegas. While I am all for freedom of choice and believe that a smoker should be able to choose whether or not they want to smoke, it is honestly hard for me to breathe smoke-filled air. I tend to get an allergic reaction to smoke, complete with stuffy nose and watery eyes.

So, when I heard about a smoke-free bar in Las Vegas I had to try it. And this bar is definitely worth a try – though it is more than a little hard to find. The address of the bar, 900 Las Vegas Blvd, is actually different from the physical entrance. If you want to enter the bar then you need to go to 140 Hoover Ave. One big clue is to look for the small parking lot with the Lady Silvia sign. It’s right across from the entrance.

Lady_Silvia-roomWhen you enter you are greeted by a dark hallway with bathrooms to the left. Ahead is the door to The Lady Silvia – a large, bright modern room lined by a bar on the right and a large seating area to the left. The bar is sleek and modern, framed by two TVs that were playing a Truffaut film (The 700 Blows) last time we were there. The seating area, on the other hand, resembles an old Victorian study with a modern twist. Bookshelves line the walls and comfy Victorian style chairs and sofas make up seating areas.

Lady_Silvia-PinxtosAt Happy Hour (the only time we’ve been there) the bar tends to be filled with locals who, from what I can tell, live in the adjacent apartments or condos. It comes off as more of a local hang out – kind of like the tv show Cheers, Vegas style. While the bar is open at 4pm, Happy Hour starts at 5pm and goes until 8pm Monday through Friday. The specialty cocktails are $6 and they serve pinxtos (similar to tapas) for $2/piece. There are also beer and well drink specials but, if you are going to go out of your way to come here, you should really try the cocktails!

Lady_Silvia-Cocktail2They have a wide array of premium liquors, bitters and cordials for making interesting drinks. Some of the Signature cocktails we have tried and liked are the Surrealist, the Lady Silvia and the Impressionist. The Surrealist stands out as being one of the only drinks made with green chartreuse that we’ve actually liked. I am always impressed by a place that can make a good cocktail using Green Chartreuse, since it’s strong herbal flavor often makes it hard to blend with other liquors.

We have yet to go to The Lady Silvia at night but that is mostly because we are usually downtown enjoying the free shows later in the evening. They look like they have some interesting entertainment, though, like the house and underground techno night they have on Sundays.

Lady Silvia BarYou can check out their website here: www.theladysilvia.com. And if you are looking for something to do that’s minutes away from downtown, you should check them out.

Lady Silvia on Urbanspoon

Breakfast Downtown – Du-Par’s Restaurant

DuPars-menuThis excellent breakfast place is located inside the Golden Gate casino, directly across from The Plaza. There are quite a few restaurants offering breakfast downtown but if you want a good, hearty breakfast this is your best bet.

The restaurant is fairly tiny but has a cozy, diner-type feel. The waitstaff is friendly enough and, while it is often crowded, we have not yet had to wait for a seat.

Eggs, muffins or pancakes are all good choices. I like the omelets, while my boyfriend prefers the (rather large) pancakes. I was impressed that they even attempted to grill a muffin for me. I guess that cutting a muffin in half and grilling it with butter is a Northeast thing, but they made a reasonable attempt at it.

DuPars-pancakesWe also ended up having dinner here once because of it’s convenient location across from the Plaza (where we were staying). I ended up having meatloaf and some pie, both of which were quite good. However, while there are tons of choices for dinner in Vegas there seem to be few decent (and easy to get to) breakfast places. For that reason, I think I will continue to make this a breakfast stop.

As for prices, I found them to be similar to what I pay at home in the Boston area, which I think is a bit expensive for Vegas. But I happen to be okay with paying a bit more for quality and I think Du-Pars is worth it.

Website: www.du-pars.com
Du-Par’s Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Le Thai: An App, Two Entrees and a Lady Boy

Le_Thai-EntranceThis little restaurant located just outside the downtown canopy may not seem like much at first glance. In fact, I walked by it many times on our trips to Vegas. It’s dark exterior and tiny size made me think it was just some random take-out restaurant.

When my boyfriend told me about the really good Thai restaurant we should check out, it never occurred to me that he was referring to the same tiny little place I had walked by so many times. I admit, I was dubious. I should know by now that Las Vegas has a lot of hidden gems – yet sometimes I still need to be reminded.

Le_Thai-Wall-ArtWe came here later on a Friday night and I was worried we wouldn’t get in. The place appears miniscule from the outside and I could tell there were already a lot of people seated. The hostess was apologetic, claiming they only had outside seating. She thought this might not be acceptable since it was cold (in the 50s) outside. Being from New England though we were willing to ‘brave the cold’. She seemed relieved and said something about how nice it is when people are laid back. We were then led through the main part of the restaurant and back to the ‘outdoor seating’.

The main part of the restaurant was dark and small with a lot of small tables. It didn’t appear overly cramped though, like some small restaurants I have been in. The outdoor seating area was a bit more spacious, with tables in the center of the room and seating along the walls. Though they refer to it as outdoors, it is more like a large patio area with walls and a bamboo ceiling. Heating units throughout kept it at a temperature that was almost too warm for me. Definitely not the outdoor seating I was expecting.

We had to wait quite a few minutes for a server but I didn’t mind. It gave us some time to look over both the food and drink menus. When our server did come he was very friendly and even joked around with my boyfriend. He was more than willing to answer any questions and, when asked about the ingredients in one of our dishes, he willingly went back to the kitchen and asked the chef about it.

Le_Thai-Spring-RollsSo, on to the best part – the food. I had to go the traditional route (since it was our first time here) so I chose the Spring Rolls and Pad Thai with a Thai Iced Coffee. I tend to order these items the first time I go to a Thai place with the idea that if the most popular dishes are good then the rest of the food is worth trying. And these things did not disappoint. My coffee was just the right balance of sweet and strong. A lot of places tend to overdo it with the cream but that was not the case here. The spring rolls came out quickly and were crispy and fresh with a nice sauce. The Pad Thai was large and had a lot of good flavor without being greasy.

Le_Thai-Shrimp-Pad-ThaiLe_Thai-Thai-Beef-Noodle-SoupThe boyfriend got Thai Beef and Meatball Noodle Soup and the Lady Boy cocktail (Mekhong Thai Whiskey, ginger ale and lime). I tried the soup and it was incredible. It was full of tasty, savory beef to the point where I would call it more of a stew than a soup. This was the dish that we asked the waiter more about. We found out that the tenderness of the beef was the result of a 3 day process. I thought the Lady Boy was okay though I am not a fan of lime. The boyfriend described it as a lighter, more natural tasting whiskey sour.

Good service and delicious food – this is definitely a place I would like to return to. It is very convenient when you are looking for a place to eat downtown as it’s open until 12am during the week and 2am on weekends. You may need to make a reservation if you want a table at a peak time.

It looks like they have a website in development but right now the best place to go for more info seems to be their Urbanspoon page.
Le Thai on Urbanspoon
Le_Thai-foodmenuLe_Thai-drinkmenuLe_Thai-drinkmenu2Le-Thai-Lady-Boy-Cocktail

Eat Downtown: Eat Came First

Eat_Downtown-entranceEat Downtown is a hip, vibrant breakfast and lunch spot at 707 Carson Avenue, just a couple blocks over from the El Cortez. Standing on the corner of Carson and Seventh, in front of the place, one only wonders where the hip, vibrant community is to go with it. Well, the Downtown Project promises there soon will be one, and it’s already got a culinary head start.

Once inside, you see bright whites, reds, and silvers, dark woods and masonry. There is a floor to ceiling mural on one wall by Krystal Ramirez that simply repeats “I will see you in the flowers” over and over again in cursive handwritten script. The kitchen is open, with a breakfast bar in front, lined with aluminum barstools. White tables carry real cloth napkins and are surrounded by simple red chairs that are more comfortable than they look. It feels clean and energetic. The music plays a little louder than most breakfast spots, and when I was last there, seemed to be leaning towards 90′s Seattle rock. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard Pearl Jam in a breakfast joint.

Eat_Downtown-Open-KitchenThe dishes at Eat are a little pricier than other downtown breakfast and lunch offerings, but for that little bit of extra cash you get fresh premium ingredients, and beautiful presentation. You can peak into their open kitchen and see your food being prepared with care. If the crowds I have seen when dining here are any indication, downtown is going to need a lot more restaurants like Eat if Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project dream comes true.

The thing to get here is the breakfast foods, and to get breakfast, you must place your order before 11 am – at least during the week. They seem to be very particular about this. Even if you are seated before eleven, you will not be able to order off the breakfast menu one minute past eleven o’clock. Think of it as motivation to get an early start to your day. On the weekend you can sleep in a little bit, as they serve a separate Brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday from 8am until 2pm.

On my first visit I arrived too late for breakfast and wound up trying their Killer Grilled Cheese with Kick-Ass Tomato Salad ($9) from the lunch menu. The tomato salad was very fresh and flavorful, but the grilled cheese left me a little flat. The ingredients were quality, it’s just that the sandwich was dominated by the bread, rather than the gooey cheese I was anticipating, and the sandwich as a whole was a little dry. It wasn’t bad, but I guess with a name like “Killer Grilled Cheese” I expected to be wowed. Not this time. Thankfully, I decided to return for breakfast.

Eat_Downtown-BeignetsFrom the breakfast menu, the Made to Order Beignets with Seasonal Jam and Vanilla Mascarpone ($8) were perfectly presented, but fell a little short of the world-famous beignets that I’ve had in New Orleans. The jam and mascarpone were fantastic, but the beignets themselves were a bit dry and scone-like rather than fried-doughy like I had anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly cleared the plate, but I was glad we’d ordered some of their smooth, medium-bodied Coffee ($3) to wash them down.

Eat_Downtown-Truffled-Egg-SandwichThe Truffled Egg Sandwich ($11) is as delicious as it is beautiful. A large, soft, buttery croissant is loaded with eggs, cheese, mushrooms, chives and delicious thick sliced bacon. I needed to eat it with a knife and fork, but that’s a small price to pay for what I’m pretty sure is the best breakfast sandwich I have ever had. This is worth getting up early for. Yeah, it’s that good.

Eat_Downtown-pancakesOn my most recent trip to Eat (a Saturday Brunch), I ordered the Golden Brown Pancakes with Chicken Apple sausage and maple syrup ($9). There’s only one restaurant I know of downtown that has a reputation for amazing pancakes, but I decided to try these anyways. Well, once the word gets out there will be two. I wouldn’t have believed it if someone else told me, but the pancakes at Eat are even better than that other downtown restaurant. Slightly crisp and buttery on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside, Eat makes the perfect stack of pancakes, every bit the equal of Du-Pars on their best day.

Eat_Downtown-real-maple-syrupWhat elevates the pancakes at Eat even further is the little jar of real maple syrup they give you on the side. There is no “pancake syrup” or “maple flavored” anything that tastes as good as the real thing, and that puts Eat over the top. I’m really surprised that they don’t make a bigger deal of this on the menu. The sausages were also good, but kind of an also-ran next to the pancakes. They’re sweet, mild and were cooked thoroughly without a hint of char.

My girlfriend ordered Two Eggs Any Style with Smoked Bacon, Chive Smashed Potatoes and Toast ($10). Her eggs, ordered over medium, were cooked perfectly, accompanied by two thick bacon slices, a good portion of home fries, toast and a split fresh strawberry for garnish – nice touch! Care is taken in the presentation of every dish. The extra effort makes the experience feel that much richer, and the food look that much more enticing. I expect this sort of chef artistry at a posh dinner restaurant, but at a breakfast joint with $10 entrees it’s quite special.

Eat is currently the only restaurant of it’s kind downtown, and it’s quite a bit more “revitalized” than the neighborhood that surrounds it. Chef Natalie Young delivers where it counts with good food across the board and a couple of standouts to keep people coming back. When people look back on the rejuvenation of downtown and ask which came first, the vibrant urban eateries or the vibrant urban community the answer will be clear: Eat came first.

Tips:

Eat_Downtown-Check

  • If you’ve never had real maple syrup you are in for a treat, but you should know that you don’t need nearly as much of it as you would the fake stuff. The little jar they give you might not look like much, but it’s more than enough.
  • If you plan to split the check, be sure to bring cash. If they are busy, and they pretty much always are, Eat requests that customers use only one credit card per table.
  • A rarity in Las Vegas, the on street parking in this area is metered. Bring a few quarters if you are taking a car.

Website: http://www.eatdowntownlv.com
Eat. on Urbanspoon
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Golden Nugget Rush Tower – Downtown Luxury

When I first started going to Vegas I was a bit enamored with the beautiful luxury properties that were available. This probably has to do with the fact that the average hotel room in my hometown of Boston is about $150 – and that is hardly top of the line. So I was very excited to find out that $150 in Vegas could get me entry level rooms at such places as the Palazzo and the Venetian (and at one point even the Wynn). Over time, as we ventured out and got to learn more about the city, we stopped staying on the Strip and  I slowly forgot about the ‘luxury’ rooms I used to love staying in.

Golden_Nugget_Rush_Tower-desk

But I was pleasantly surprised when we decided to try out the ‘new’ Rush Tower at Golden Nugget. We had stayed in some of the older rooms, which I felt were nice but nothing to write home about. It was when we were offered a discounted rate based on our previous stay that we decided to do something different and try out one of the newer rooms (opened in 2009).

The first thing you notice when you enter the Rush Tower (which you can do from both the separate outdoor entrance or by going through the GN casino) is the 75,000 gallon tropical aquarium that appears behind the check in desk in the large, modern lobby. This technically belongs to a small restaurant/bar that I have not yet tried called Chart House but the overall effect on the first time visitor can be impressive. In fact, we took some first time visitors to see the lobby on our last trip and they stood there for 5 minutes gaping.

Golden_Nugget_Rush_Tower-sitting-areaThe rooms themselves remind me a lot of the entry level rooms at the Palazzo – though they cost quite a bit less and are a bit smaller. The furniture is modern, yet comfortable and decorated in soothing, earthy colors. A basic Rush Tower Deluxe room (pictured) includes a king-sized bed, a 42-inch tv, an iHome stereo and sectional couch. The bathroom includes two sinks and a large soaking tub, with a separate toilet room.

Golden_Nugget_Rush_Tower-bedIn addition to their own entrance and valet, guests can also enjoy some of the great Golden Nugget amenities – like the shark tank and pool. I am not even a fan of pools in general yet I love the pool at the Nugget. It has a great lounge area and an amazing slide that brings you down through their shark tank and into the pool. If you are ever in the Nugget you should go and check it out – security is usually willing to let people in for a quick look if you ask politely and they are not busy.

I would definitely recommend the Rush Tower to anyone looking for a little bit of luxury in downtown Las Vegas. I find it to be especially effective if you’re trying to convince someone who has only ever stayed on the Strip that downtown can be just as classy.

Golden_Nugget_Rush_Tower-bathGolden_Nugget_Rush_Tower-bathroom
Golden_Nugget_Rush_Tower-toiletGolden_Nugget_Rush_Tower-vanity