secret vegas experience

Turrell VegasArt fans, culture fans, James Turrell fans — now there is something for you all in Las Vegas. Hidden atop the Louis Vuitton store in Crystals Mall (an arresting piece of commercial architecture in its own right by Daniel Libeskind) is the appointment only, permanent light installation entitled, Akhob by the aforementioned James Turrell. And best of all, it’s free!

Appointments run every hour on the half hour for a maximum of 6 people. You are toured through the posh store where you’ll take in titanium chandeliers, modern sculptures by artists of note, vintage signature trunks and private shopping rooms before being whisked up to the third floor where peace, tranquility and introspection await.

Not necessarily what you’d expect to find in Las Vegas or a Louis Vuitton store. But the 25 minute cycle of this immersive light installation is all of these things and more. In fact, it is the perfect respite to the debauchery of the Vegas Strip where it lives.

And don’t miss the smaller Turrell installation in plain sight at the other end of the mall — a nice complement to this grander experience hidden away and only for those in the know. For appointments call:  702.730.3150

image courtesy: Louis Vuitton

ice cream challenge

16 flavorsToday’s Contender:  RM Seafood’s Ice Cream Tasting
Location:  Las Vegas, Nevada
Flavors:  French Vanilla plus 15 mystery flavors

This is the ultimate ice cream challenge — 16 flavors, 20 minutes, you guess them all and it’s free!  But don’t think it’s so simple. The flavors are all over the map, some straight forward and common, others kinda out there. I won’t divulge any of the flavors we tasted, just in case they repeat them (flavors change every three days). The only constant in every tasting is the French Vanilla (a darn good French Vanilla at that!) which sits in the upper right hand corner so you have your bearings on the accompanying sheet provided to record your guesses. And guesses many of them will be.

In the past 4 years RM Seafood has been doing the tasting, only a handful of folks, including one 12 year old girl, have gotten them all correct — we came close missing only one altogether but eking by on a couple of others with guesses in the vicinity but not spot on. So be prepared to fork over your 20 bucks in the end. That’s pretty cheap entertainment by Vegas standards for a fun-filled end of meal group activity.  Of course, you could always turn it into a diner against diner competition and venture a little wager . . . this is Vegas after all.

burger battle: las vegas

Burger Bar

Bachi Burger

 

vs.

Celebrity Chef, Hubert Keller, is offering up good all-American style burgers plus, at his Burger Bar in the Mandalay Bay. Made from good quality meats (you choose from Angus, hormone free, lamb, buffalo or Kobe) the burgers are large and offer a nice ratio of meat to bun, sadly not of the homemade variety. They’re juicy but not too messy, and come accompanied by your standard piece of lettuce, sliced red onion, and jarred pickle spear, with squeeze bottle ketchup and mustard at every table — other condiments are offered but cost extra.

Topping choices are plentiful and some provide a gourmet and expensive twist like foie gras or grilled lobster. Fries come skinny or fat, regular or sweet potato. The milkshakes, too, are loaded with choices:  8 chef’s concoctions or a build your own experience of ice creams, toppings, fruits, sauces and even liquor if you want. I found the Black & White Shake to be overly indulgent and much too sweet with it’s swirled chocolate sauce, chunks of cookie dough and gobs of chocolate whipped cream but with a shake on nearly every table, clearly people love them.

Burger Bar

Bachi Burger

 

 

vs.

Burger Bar has something for everyone be they budget minded (you can easily eat a satisfying meal for under $20) or high-roller. Perfect for the Las Vegas crowd.

A note on service:   I sat at the bar and somehow my order never made it to the kitchen. Another server at the bar noticed my long empty place setting before I even had to say anything. My burger then showed up in a flash and the manager comped my meal as he should have. 

Bachi Burger, a little strip mall joint far off the Vegas strip, is doing something much different than your standard tourist fare and is well worth the $20 cab ride to what seems like the middle of nowhere. Asian Fusion burgers with toppings like fried egg, fish sauce, enoki mushrooms, kim chi, lemongrass aioli, and more . . . are artfully put together in mouth-watering combinations and are served up on freshly baked, wonderfully fluffy buns.

I can’t say enough about the burgers. They are staggeringly good. One bite and, “Oh my God!” were the first words out of each of our mouths. And it didn’t end there . . .

The menu offers up a host of surprises and we couldn’t resist starting out with the Peking Style Duck Steamed Bun sliders. Yum!

The fries — we tried two variations, sweet potato fries served with a yuzu citris dipping sauce and truffle parmesan fries accompanied by a fresh tasting sun dried tomato aioli — the fries were thin and perfectly crispy but those sauces, they were to die for!

As long as we were at it, we ordered a milkshake for dessert. They offer just 3 flavors:      1) Peanut Butter Chocolate  2) Red Velvet  3) Strawberry Guava. At the waitress’s recommendation we went for the Strawberry Guava. It was thick and creamy, fresh tasting and perfectly indulgent all at the same time. Mmmmm. Mmmmm.

And the winner is . . . without a doubt, by a mile, not even close . . .

Bachi Burger470 East Windmill Lane, Las Vegas