Category Archives: Las Vegas

Las Vegas | Downtown

I did a little more wandering around Downtown Las Vegas on this trip since I noticed quite a bit of renovation along East Fremont from my hotel room. New arty shoppes and restaurants seem to have exploded in the past couple of years. And now, the Container Park, which is part retail, part climbing and sliding entertainment for kids.

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Further afield I noticed gaggles of 20-somethings coming out of what look like warehouses but after chatting up a few, I found out they’re converted residential units. None of the 20-somethings I talked to work for Zappos, the obvious business headquartered in downtown, instead they were students, and entertainment industry workers who wanted a more progressive community away from The Strip.

It seems they have it now and momentum is growing. Good on them.

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Las Vegas | Triple George

A few years back I had a birthday party at Triple George Grill, an event fondly remembered by all. Or at least what we could remember after martinis at Golden Nugget, martinis at The Fremont followed by even more martinis at George. Downtown Las Vegas had just started to branch out, Golden Nugget had just completed its zillion dollar renovation and you could walk East Fremont without stumbling over too many drunks passed out on the sidewalk.

I was curious how George had fared the recent uptick in downtown so I popped by for lunch. Short answer – they’re doing well.

Atmosphere
George evokes an earlier, rat-pack Las Vegas with its enclosed booths, soft lights, polished wood tables, weighty silverware and servers clad in black jackets and white shirts. While the patrons may be dressed completely up or down, the environment is distinctly grown-up and sophisticated.

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Food
Steak, seafood and Italian classics. If you want creative fusion, vegan or low-fat – go elsewhere. Since it was near freezing I wanted something warm and filling; Chicken Parmigiana was on the specials menu and that appealed.  Sauce is always key for me and Italian dishes. At George the sauce is thick, slow-cooked tomato but brightened considerably with fresh oregano, lemon and a little fresh garlic zing; light on the salt. Lightly breaded and fan-fried chicken had a smattering of fresh mozzarella, chopped basil,  grated parmesan and of course, the sauce.

I laughed when I tried to cut the chicken with the big ominous knife the brought me since a little fork pressure was enough. Ridiculously juicy, very flavourful, with just a slight crunch still in place from the breading – a total win. Obligatory side fettuccine and nice olive oil-sauteed medley of zucchini, yellow squash and carrots – you know, for decoration.

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Drink
George has a good collection of wine, old-world cocktails and occasionally they create something new. I wanted the new, ‘Salted Caramel’ Martini but I wanted it dry-side. Not a challenge for them, instead of mixing the sweet caramel liquor into dry vanilla vodka, they simply drizzled a little of the caramel on the bottom of the glass first, then laid on the vodka. It  was delicious and for me the balance was correct, a little  sweet caramel, a lot of dry vanilla and a hint of salt around the edge.

Service
Personable but not intrusive, good gauges of pace and mood, effortless accommodation of special requests.

Price
Lunches are medium-range (Chicken Parm – $13, Salted Caramel Martini -$10). Dinners are definitely less expensive than what you would pay for the exactly the same quality on The Strip. However, they can still run $20-50 a plate, high-dollar cuts of beef and lobster weighing in at the expensive side.

I’ve only been to George twice but I was equally impressed with them in a group of 15 and solo. Service is stellar  and their food offerings are consistently delicious. Since I’m still a little smitten with downtown Las Vegas and I have some hiking to do on the nearby Mary Jane Trails, no doubt I’ll be making another appearance at George soon.

Lunch: December 2014

Triple George | 201 N 3rd | Vegas, 89101

Las Vegas | Mob Museum

Since Zappos CEO landed in downtown Las Vegas, anchoring his business headquarters and home there, its seems the young and trendy are following his lead. I never saw downtown Las Vegas in its previous heyday but I do remember the time when it fell out of favour with conventional tourists and was a haven for the biker set. The bikers are still there but the many multi-million dollar renovations of old hotels, rapid expansion of east Fremont St. with quirky art shoppes and restaurants, tells me they have company now. Juxtaposition of bikers, hipsters, retirees and adventurous suburbanites is making downtown a melting pot. And  very interesting.

The Strip may still be a destination but it is no longer the only destination in Las Vegas.

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I stayed at The Grand (previously Lady Luck) and the Mob Museum’s massive  facade highlighted in purple light definitely caught my eye from the glass catwalk between towers.

Its not an homage to the likes of Gotti and Capone, rather its a detailed and fascinating chronicle of the battle between the law enforcement and organized crime in Las Vegas from the early days, as the gambling industry formed, up to present day. While the focus is on the history of that battle, interspersed are some interesting stories about Las Vegas’s past; Howard Hughes, Atomic testing, Hoover Dam and more. There are small bio’s of the 100 ‘most wanted’ including their origins and ultimate fates.

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Its ironic and somewhat poetic that the museum is hosted inside the building where the feds prosecuted the mafia. Even more ironic is that one exhibit seats you in the wooden seats of the actual courtroom where cases were tried and you watch footage from those cases on three panels behind the judge’s podium. You might not have been alive when those cases went down, but now there’s a way to experience them.

Mob-8-LRESSpread across three floors, most exhibits are equal parts text and video display. Some are more interactive, like the machine gun ‘tester’, which seems to attract college boys like a magnet. The displays are decently spaced and often compartmentalized in separate alcoves to minimize congestion.

You can easily spend 2-3 hours here if you interested in the history and you like to read, otherwise about 1- 1.5 hours should be fine. Fair warning,  this museum is insanely popular and crowds here intensify significantly in the afternoon, causing cloggage at the more interactive displays and making navigation problematic. Best to go as early or as late as possible.