Las Vegas, the city of pole-dancing, huge production numbers, guys and dolls, and guys dressed as dolls.
The recession has hit Las Vegas in more ways than can be counted by a roll of the dice. But don't let that deter you from blowing your expense account at the fine restaurants on or around the strip. The Food Channel didn't; it just did a "Raves & Faves" Vegas tour.
Fortunately, while busy extolling sliders -- one of its "trends in action" -- the Food Channel missed some of my favorite spots in Sin City:
For authentic, south of the border fare, I like Lindo Michoacan, where the menudo is killer. Chef and owner Javier Barajas says he treats everyone like family -- and no, that doesn't mean we all get to sleep together in a one- bedroom, third-floor apartment with black velvet paintings and beads for doors.
Wine bars are another big trend with big tabs, but for moderately priced wine-by-the-glass, try Nora's Wine Bar & Osteria. Nora's has the latest in wine-dispensing technology -- no, not a busty babe in a brassiere, but the Enomatic System, a marvel that dispenses samples of all the wine you'd love to try. Or at least can still afford after you've had your massage down the street.
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Another bargain taste of old Las Vegas: Ellis Island Casino & Brewery. This grind joint has all the comforts of home, including cheap-ass beer and a ten-ounce, gristle-top sirloin. For under ten bucks you can grab dinner and a date for the evening.
New friends who mingle together tend to stay together -- at least for the night -- and that holds true if you're going to the Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge. This standby on the strip features a fireside lounge where statuesque servers in cocktail garments bring drinks in hurricane glasses, including the signature, 64-ounce Scorpion. It's recommended for five or more people to share -- but the liquor is quicker for two.
Vegas, baby, Vegas.