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.
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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.
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.