Luxe Life Blog
Strip Scribbles: Who’s hot, who’s not in 2nd edition of 50 Essential eats
Restaurant critics and authors John Curtas, Max Jacobson and Al Mancini wrapped up their final list for Eating Las Vegas: 50 Essential Restaurants at a weekend secret meeting after seven months of discussion. I’ve learned that seven restaurants have been added to the second edition -- and thus seven have been kicked off the coveted lists. I also know that the Top 10 has almost been decided -- and also with several shakeups and new entries.
The biggest shock in the new book will come from the expanded veto section where the three critics argue and disagree vehemently with one another over what restaurants won’t make the list. One of the authors at dinner at Marche Bacchus told me: “The veto section is intense. It should be up from a mere seven to 15 or 16. It’s the major mud-slinging portion of the book, and even the normally reserved Max takes off his gloves to tell Al and John what he thinks of pretentious opinions, while Al continues to fight for people who want excellent-yet-approachable food.
“The toughest part was letting go of several great restaurants. A few went to the veto section because one author insisted they were worthy of retaining. The other choices were just universally accepted as ‘no longer as essential’ as they were last year. We’re thrilled that seven months after the first edition was published, 49 of our essential 50 are still must-visit Las Vegas restaurants. Sadly, Alex at the Wynn was closed. The first edition is still the best and most up-to-date guide available for the Las Vegas restaurant scene. But this city changes by the week, and we wanted the next edition to be as current as any guidebook can be.
“All three of us still love all of the restaurants in the 2011 edition, but a lot of new places have emerged at the same time as many old places have upped their game. The competition is just getting stronger, and we have to reflect that fact. We’ve finally come up with a list that’s ready for us to begin work, but it won’t close until the book goes to press early fall. We probably won’t stop arguing until that day!”
*Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl has surprised a British football team with a five-day trip to Las Vegas, and it’s a fascinating story to tell as the 30 players and executives of Leyton Orient arrive here today and tomorrow for fun in the sun. To say that the lowly Leyton team from East London was not highly rated would be an understatement. They were David fighting Goliath but got farther than ever before in the FA Cup chase. Then they had to face the killer Arsenal team, and an all-expenses paid trip here if they vanquished the leaders was offered.
They didn’t, but they did tie the game with all of Britain cheering them on. The trip was called off, but Robert, who also owns a rival British soccer team, stepped in and gave it to them. They’ll be his guests at his Planet Hollywood at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace on Thursday and then Buca di Beppo on Friday, and they’re staying at Planet Hollywood, which Robert sold to Caesars Entertainment this year.
*Flamingo headliners Donny & Marie Osmond signed copies of their first studio album in 30 years at the resort casino’s gift shop this afternoon. Donny & Marie, recorded by Buddy Cannon, Kenny Chesney’s producer, features songs written by Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Carole King, Carole Bayer Sager and our pal David Foster. Richie and Gavin DeGraw also perform on the new album.
*Las Vegas singer Brian Evans, wrapping his yearlong Maui concert series, has released “At Fenway" that he wrote and recorded for the Boston Red Sox. YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill has now lip synced the song as a follow-up to his San Francisco Giants video that drew more than 2 million views.
Brian, who hails from Beantown, is working on his debut album and shoots the video this summer with William Shatner as the home plate umpire. Red Sox fans such as Steven Tyler, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have been approached for the video.
*Congratulations to Marc Savard and his show Comedy Hypnosis on celebrating their 1,000th performance. The hypnotist moved here in 2003 and after the milestone took his cast and crew -- plus the audience -- to a party at Saxe Bar in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile. During the run, Marc’s had 11,459 hypnotized participants performing as 9,686 Irish dancers, 216 Kung Fu Masters and 1,000 Voodoo boy bands; 27,918 musical “air guitar” instruments played; 5,651 “lollipops” licked; and 6,127 porn star identities created.
*Congratulations to Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace for being named by Conde Nast as one of the Top 100 Resort Spas. Qua’s Sleep Health treatment was spotlighted in the awards issue as one of the top new industry trends, a restorative treatment that combines a soothing aromatherapy massage with guided sleep meditation hypnosis lasting 110 minutes for $280.
*Platinum-selling Selena Gomez and The Scene make a tour stop with record label mates All-Star Weekend at Mandalay Bay on Sept 10. Selena, who was part of Justin Timberlake's fundraising concert last October at Planet Hollywood, stars in Monte Carlo out July 1 and is in production with her Disney TV series Wizards of Waverly Place. The UNICEF youth ambassador who is dating some pop singer named Justin Bieber is releasing her third album this summer, too. Will The Biebs be here to watch the show after the couple’s torrid Maui makeout photos surfaced?
*Broadway shows are heading to Las Vegas next year when the downtown Smith Center for the Performing Arts premieres its debut season. The lineup is The Color Purple, Marty Poppins, Memphis, Wicked and Million Dollar Quartet starting April 3 and running through Oct. 7, 2012.
It’s summer solstice, the longest day of the year, so expect wilder parties than usual with pre-2011 NHL Awards celebrations at Lavo at the Palazzo with the Los Angeles Kings and Gallery Nightclub at Planet Hollywood with the Anaheim Ducks. … Todd Paul, Marc Price and Zach Risen start a three-night run at The Improv at Harrah’s, then NHL Awards host Jay Mohr takes over for three weekend nights with Tom Segura. … Duo DJ Nervo begin their residency at Blush in the Wynn.
Legalized fighting on horseback? Yes, the 400-year-old sport has been reborn at South Point Arena, and we have a stunning photo gallery of the Ultimate Jousting Championships that will blow your mind. We’ll also report any last-minute additions to the NHL Awards at The Pearl in the Palms.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.