Category Archives: Restaurants

Sprinkles: Sweet Convenience

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Sprinkles at the Linq

My love for cupcakes is already well-documented in this blog. They’re “cakes for one,” essentially, and what single person doesn’t appreciate the ability to buy something in a single-sized package? So I always perk up a bit when I see a store devoted to cupcakes wherever I go.

There used to be a great little cupcake place on the Street of Dreams in the Monte Carlo (which I believe closed–sob). The Downtown Container Park has CupKates. And the Linq has Sprinkles. But Sprinkles has a bit of an edge, in my opinion, because here, you can get your cupcake fix 24/7 thanks to the most ingenious invention known to humankind: The cupcake ATM. Continue reading

Sambalatte: At Last, a Good Strip Coffeehouse

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My kingdom for a good coffeehouse.

Hi, my name is Gray, and I love coffee. So much so, that I wrote a love poem about coffee in college for my poetry workshop. I read it during a poetry night at–where else? Our local coffeehouse. It was a big hit with the owners, as you can imagine.

I also love Las Vegas. You know this. But if there’s one thing the Las Vegas Strip has been missing in all the years I’ve been visiting, it’s a great coffeehouse. Coming from a city known for its great coffeehouses, I find this baffling. Doesn’t everyone love a good coffeehouse? Where else do you read the newspaper? Or meet friends? Or plot world domination?


I couldn’t have said it better myself

Don’t get me wrong: I like Starbucks iced coffee very much. And I appreciate the fact that there’s a Starbucks every twenty feet in Vegas, so when I’m struck by sudden caffeine withdrawals, I can get a quick fix. But the atmosphere at most Starbucks shops leaves a lot to be desired, and it’s generally not a place I want to spend much time.

Most resort “coffee shops” are what I’d call a “restaurant” and the “cafes” are more like bakeries with limited seating. Coffee stands and shops tend to be crammed somewhere in a high-traffic spot just off a casino where peace and quiet–not to mention seating–is hard to come by.  It’s like they really don’t want customers hanging around too long. “Take your coffee and move along, bub.”

When I want to enjoy a good cup of coffee, I don’t want to drink it on the run; I want to linger over it. I want to sit somewhere with a little peace and quiet, where I’m not feeling rushed, where I can read or people-watch and savor the coffee flavors as they roll around my tongue. To me, that is the quintessential coffeehouse experience, and that’s something that has been sadly missing from my Vegas experience–until now. Continue reading

Vegas Shorts

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A random photo for random reviews. How fitting.

You might think that I review in full everything that I see, do and experience in Las Vegas, but you’d be wrong. There are often times when I have every intention of writing a review about something when I return home, but by the time I get around to doing it and look at my notes, I realize I have almost nothing to say about it. Maybe just one thing about the experience really stood out. . .and you can’t exactly write an entire blog post with a couple of sentences, can you?

But then I thought, hey, people write whole books full of nothing but vignettes. Why couldn’t I pull together a collection of my one-off thoughts about some things and create a blog post out of it? It’ll be like an anthology of one-paragraph reviews. So, without further ado, here you go: A small collection of my shortest “reviews” ever:

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Swallow a Cloud at China Poblano

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China Poblano

Lame cell phone photo of China Poblano

China Poblano restaurant at the Cosmopolitan, for those of you who don’t know, is a hybrid that serves both Asian and Mexican food. The first word is pronounced “Cheena” rather than the way we pronounce the country for reasons that escape me. I’ve got to admit, this place confounded me for the first couple of years The Cosmopolitan was open. Was it a Chinese restaurant, or a Mexican restaurant? Was it a restaurant going through an identity crisis? I didn’t know what to think of it. So it wasn’t a priority for me to try until I heard Tim and Michelle rave about it on their Five Hundy By Midnight podcast one day. They made it sound so amazing, I knew it had to go on my list. Continue reading

The Burger Bar: It’s a Burgerpalooza!

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Burger Bar

The Burger Bar at Mandalay Place

Normally, I’m opposed to the restaurant trend of charging $12 or more for a simple hamburger. Unfortunately, in a city like Las Vegas it’s unavoidable (unless you’re willing to settle for a pseudo-burger at McDonalds). But if it’s going to cost me $12-20, it damn well better be a great burger and a great experience. Which brings me to the Burger Bar.

I’ve eaten at Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas twice now. The first time, I was with friends, so I was totally focused on our conversation. I couldn’t tell you a thing about the food, service or atmosphere of the restaurant based on that meal. Instead, I went back on my most recent trip–solo this time, so I could really focus on the experience of eating here. Continue reading