Vegas Now

What and Where to See, Do, Eat and Stay in Sin City

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - By David Danzig

What and Where to See, Do, Eat and Stay in Sin City

More than just a city, more than just an ex­pe­ri­ence, Las Vegas is its own liv­ing, breath­ing or­gan­ism; a shapeshift­ing pulse of en­ergy that morphs into some­thing new and dif­fer­ent each day and night. In­deed, this is a travel des­ti­na­tion that feels per­fectly suited for any­thing you de­sire and it’s con­stantly chang­ing. Here are some must do’s of the mo­ment:


Shows hap­pen Vegas that could only hap­pen in Vegas, for both sheer scale and spec­ta­cle. Start with a lit­tle magic from Mat Franco, the im­mensely lik­able 31-year-old ma­gi­cian who won NBC’s Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent. Franco per­forms a nightly show that feels grounded and real; as op­posed to dis­ap­pear­ing the Statue of Lib­erty or an air­plane, it’s more “real magic,” the sort of sleight of hand where you are cer­tain you can fig­ure it out...but you can’t. It’s just that good. Just re­lax and en­joy your stun­ning dis­be­lief at The LINQ Ho­tel & Casino in The Mat Franco The­ater.

Al­most as fit­tingly bizarro as Las Vegas it­self, The Blue Man Group, an iconic piece of per­for­mance-art cen­tered around 3 blue mu­si­cal mutes, re­sides fit­tingly in­side the lu­mi­nous pyra­mid of the Luxor Ho­tel and Casino.

Staged in­side a cus­tom the­ater de­signed for max­i­mum au­dio/vis­ual ef­fect, the per­for­mance cel­e­brates hu­man­ity through mu­sic, tech­nol­ogy, hu­man con­nec­tion, and hu­mor. There is noth­ing on earth like this show. I saw the show in New York City back in the 1990s and it has evolved sig­nif­i­cantly since then. A guar­an­teed crowd-pleaser for any age.


While the de­lights of the strip are be­yond com­pare, some­times you just need to get out of town. Book a flight with Papil­lion Tours, the old­est Grand Canyon he­li­copter sight­see­ing com­pany, and within a short time of leav­ing your ho­tel, you can find your­self 4000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon on a pri­vate plateau sip­ping on cham­pagne. Soar over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West in a state-of-the-art EC130 he­li­copter with wrap­around win­dows and find your­self stand­ing at the bot­tom of one of the seven nat­u­ral won­ders of the world in the morn­ing and then back pool­side or at a black­jack ta­ble by the afternoon.


With more award-win­ning chefs per-capita than just about any­where in the world, food tourism in Las Vegas is just about as big as gam­bling. Any visit to Las Vegas de­mands a steak din­ner; you will be hard pressed to find a bet­ter one that at Del Frisco’s Dou­ble Eagle Steak House. This Vegas in­sti­tu­tion just off the strip just un­der­went a $2 mil­lion dol­lar ren­o­va­tion and feels Old School yet fresh and mod­ern at the same time. Start with seared Hud­son Val­ley foie gras or charred oc­to­pus and move into some of their mag­nif­i­cent dry-aged steaks like the 32 oz. “Dou­ble Eagle” 45-day dryaged dou­ble-bone prime rib­eye, a be­he­moth of fla­vor­ful mar­bled beauty. Also save room for their sig­na­ture But­ter Cake with but­ter pecan ice cream, one of the great­est non-cho­co­late desserts known to man.

For a Big Fat Greek Din­ner, dive into Es­tia­to­rio Mi­los, ar­guably the most renowned Greek res­tau­rant in the world. Start with the sig­na­ture Mi­los Spe­cial, pa­per-thin zuc­chini and egg­plant that are fried and then stacked up and served with house­made tzatziki sauce and graviera cheese saganaki. Then pe­ruse the in-house seafood mar­ket for your flown-in-di­rect­lyfrom-the-Mediter­ranean fish. Hyper-fresh red mul­let, do­rade and bronzini are then per­fectly cooked and some then fileted ta­ble­side. Sit on the ter­race over­look­ing the strip, ac­cented by ro­man­tic lanterns and a unique mist­ing sys­tem dur­ing the sum­mer for the full ex­pe­ri­ence.

In a sea of all-you-can-eat sce­nar­ios of Vegas, noth­ing com­pares to the Wicked Spoon in the Cos­mopoli­tan of Las Vegas, a buf­fet bac­cha­nal not only with epic por­tions but top-tier gourmet qual­ity. Brunches are epic here: red vel­vet pan­cakes, eggs benedict and French toast with Chan­tilly cream are but a few of the seem­ingly lim­it­less op­tions. Grab the bot­tom­less bev­er­age pack­age for an ad­di­tional charge and sip mi­mosas along with your feast (for a 2-hour pe­riod). Hang around for din­ner and de­vour sushi, carved meats like pork shoul­der as well as ta­ble af­ter ta­ble of multi-eth­nic noshes and a leg­endary dessert spread.

Not only is Chef Jose An­dres a 3-time James Beard Award Win­ner but also a No­bel Prize nom­i­nee for his work with Puerto Rico af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma. With China Poblano, Chef An­dres de­cided to bril­liantly of­fer Chi­nese and Mex­i­can food, noo­dles and tacos, side-by-side on the same menu. This is not a forced fu­sion but a de­light­ful co-ex­is­tence of great dishes in their tra­di­tional ex­pres­sion where one mo­ment you can be de­vour­ing ta­ble­side gua­camole and a blue corn que­sadilla, the next show­ing on steamed Chi­nese BBQ pork buns and fried shrimp won tons. These are two cuisines you’d never imag­ine had much in com­mon un­til you ex­pe­ri­ence them ex­e­cuted flaw­lessly and served in se­quen­tial cour­ses. The hardest part is choos­ing be­tween the chur­ros or the mango sticky rice for dessert.

Un­til re­cently, Blue Rib­bon in Las Vegas was a sushi-cen­tric con­cept but now it’s trans­formed into an homage to the hip­ster brasserie mo­tif that made the orig­i­nal in New York City a leg­end. Re­sid­ing in the Cos­mopoli­tan Ho­tel, the new menu fea­tures an eclec­tic mix of global com­fort food de­lights from a Chi­nese Pu Pu plat­ter to Rus­sian caviar to mat­zoh ball soup to paella to their iconic fried chicken. And just be­cause it’s pure over-the-top Las Vegas, be sure to or­der the “The Cos­mopoli­tan,” an epic cold seafood tower served with its own bot­tle of crisp cham­pagne.


Like a tran­quil oa­sis set in the heart of Sodom and Gamora, The Four Sea­sons Las Vegas hides in plain sight, float­ing above the melee and dis­creetly oc­cu­py­ing the up­per floors of the Man­dalay Bay Ho­tel at the end of the strip. En­ter the ho­tel through its pri­vate ex­te­rior en­trance or go in right off the casino floor through covertly la­beled en­trances with your spe­cially coded key. Up in the rar­efied air of the top floors, en­joy sump­tu­ous ac­com­mo­da­tions and be­spoke ser­vice while drink­ing in birds-eye views of the twin­kling lights of the strip and the vast ex­panse of the Mo­jave Desert.

Papil­lon Tours. Photo cour­tesy of David Danzig

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