On this week's show, 5th Street Sports resident soccer experts Nick Geber and Nick Webster preview the upcoming World Cup, which begins next week. With the English Premier League and Champions League on recess, Geber and Webster shift their focus to preparations for the world's most popular sporting event, which takes place in Russia. The first 20 minutes includes a lively discussion about what's happening in soccer, followed by 45 minutes of World Cup "bracketology." This show aired live on Friday, June 8, 2018. Stay tuned to 5th Street Sports for a pre-game series of shows this coming week which gives picks, predictions, and a few surprises. Note: Host Nick Geber comes on live video at the 1:10 mark.
This week's show featured an exclusive interview with Johnny Kampis, author of the recently-released book "Vegas or Bust: A Family Man Takes on the Poker Pros." Kampis wrote about his experiences and aspirations, playing in the World Series of Poker. Note: Kampis appears at the 1:12 mark into the broadcast. The program also featured a lengthy discussion about the ongoing NHL and NBA championships, as well as some thoughts about World Cup (soccer), coming up in two weeks. Nick Geber hosted the two-hour show, and was joined in studio by Frank Perez and Nolan Dalla, along with resident handicapper "Oklahoma" Brian. This show originally aired on Saturday, June 2, 2018.
Are we watching a modern miracle on ice? The NHL's Las Vegas Golden Knights have been called the greatest underdogs sports story in history. No one -- no fan, nor any expert -- expected an expansion team made up of castoffs from other hockey clubs to be competing for the most coveted trophy in the game, the Stanley Cup. Pre-season odds on the Golden Knights winning it all in their first year were as high as 300-1. So, are the Golden Knights the greatest underdog story in sports history? The answer is probably -- yes. Other notable sports upsets we remember took place within a single game, a playoff series, or perhaps weren't quite as outlandish as first thought. It's inconceivable that a new team, including untested players, coaches, and management would rise so quickly to the pinnacle of their sport. Here's a short list of the most cited "great upsets" in American sports history. Where do you think the Golden Knights rank? VOTE HERE ON TWITTER. Some other great sports upsets: 1969 -- Baseball's New York Mets go from worst to first ("Miracle Mets") 1969 -- AFL's New York Jets upset NFL's Baltimore Colts as 16-point underdogs. 1980 -- USA Olympic Hockey Team ("Miracle on Ice") 1983 -- North Carolina State upsets Houston in college basketball championship 1990 -- Buster Douglas stuns "Iron Mike" Tyson and takes Heavyweight Boxing crown 2008 -- NY Giants ruin New England Patriots perfect season and win Super Bowl
Raymond Davis always says exactly what's on his mind. That's for sure. The founder and ringleader of RealGrinders (check them out on Facebook) joined the crew of 5th Street Sports in studio for a full hour where he talked about what RealGrinders means to the poker community and its 17,000+ members. We also discussed the upcoming World Series of Poker. Davis saved his best material for last when he shared an amazing Phil Ivey poker story. Don't miss this segment of last Saturday's show, which premiered on May 19, 2018.
The majority of voters think so, according to a recent poll conducted on Twitter. Based on the poll results, more than 2 out of 3 voters (67 percent) believe there are either enough casinos already, or too many casinos in the United States. Despite a poll targeted at a pro-gambling demographic, a whopping 44 percent expressed a belief there are "too many casinos." According to public data, there are currently 508 licensed casinos operating inside the United States. However, at least a dozen states have no form for casino gambling, whatsoever. Hence, these results were surprising. This poll was conducted over Memorial Day weekend.
We at 5th Street Sports wish to take this opportunity to remember the brave who gave the ultimate sacrifice, this Memorial Day 2018. Please take a moment today to remember, revere, and respect those who are no longer with us.
Saturday's program included several hot topics, including the upcoming NHL Stanley Cup Finals, the Champions League Final (won by Real Madrid for the third consecutive year), the World Series of Poker (which starts later this week), and the possible casino workers strike on the horizon. Nick Geber hosted the two-hour show. He was joined in studio by Frank Perez and Nolan Dalla. Oklahoma Brian and Brian Wilson were also featured as guests. The show's final segment included some sage betting advice from resident handicapping expert Frank Perez, who provided about 15 minutes worth of helpful betting tips. We expect to make this segment a regular feature in each show. This week's broadcast was a radio-only version which originally aired May 27, 2018. LISTEN TO THE FULL BROADCAST HERE
5th Street Sports readers and followers have spoken out -- loud and clear. You don't like, nor trust, sports handicapping services, a.k.a. "touts." Here are the recent poll results from Twitter taken from a question posted on May 17, 2018:
What is your opinion of sports betting "tout services" (people/companies who sell picks for money)?— 5th Street Sports (@5thstreetsports) May 17, 2018
Given a national tidal wave of retailer bankruptcies and thousands of store closures, why does the Las Vegas Strip defy all odds and increasingly look like the new Mall of America? Las Vegas used to be called “Sin City.” Now, it’s “Shopping City.” The iconic decorative fountains outside in front of Caesars Palace are now obscured by a pop-up retail store hawking Samsung smartphones. The pirate ship at Treasure Island has been torn down and hauled away, replaced by a lousy barbecue joint with a mechanical bull. Every casino along Las Vegas Boulevard has a shopping mall or is connected to a shopping mall. Indeed, everywhere you look up and down The Strip, there’s a trendy retail store or chain restaurant. Sales pests leap out of nowhere, begging to clean your jewelry or talk you into a miracle skin cream. Shopping has become so pervasive that it’s become increasingly difficult to find the way into a casino amidst a disorienting maze of overpriced clothing stores, perfume shops, gourmet burger bars, and kiosks selling
junk knick-knacks that nobody needs. Playing cards used to symbolize the Las Vegas experience. Now, it’s credit cards.
Even off The Strip, several so-called “outlet malls” packed with hundreds of retail stores cater almost exclusively to tourists. Near downtown, there’s a giant complex called Premium Outlets (which just announced plans to start charging to park, begging the question — who pays for parking just to shop?). South of Mandalay Bay, there’s an even bigger shopping outlet known as Town Square. Just south of that mall is another outlet mall named Las Vegas South Premium Outlets. Parking is still free there, at least for now.
Even the swarms of visitors who drive into Las Vegas from the west can’t escape the shopping craze. What’s the first thing you see when crossing the California-Nevada border? Not a casino. Answer: The Primm Outlet Mall. Who in the hell drives four hours from Los Angeles across the desert to swerve into Nordstrom Rack? Hmm, I guess there are no stores left in California.
Las Vegas doesn’t need Gamblers Anonymous. We need Shoppers Anonymous.
What’s truly baffling is this trend defies absolutely everything that’s happening across the rest of America. Retailers just about everywhere are in very serious trouble. More than 10,000 stores affiliated with national chains closed down last year. Retail bankruptcies are at an all-time high. More than 50 retailers have gone out of business just within the last year.
Toys R Us is bankrupt. Perfumania is bankrupt. Rue21 is bankrupt. Payless Shoes bankrupt. RadioShack is bankrupt. The Limited is bankrupt. Gymboree is bankrupt. Vitamin World is bankrupt. Aerosoles is bankrupt. Styles for Less is bankrupt. That’s the short list. READ MORE
K-Mart is about to be bankrupt. Sears is about to be bankrupt. JC Penny is about to be bankrupt. SteinMart is about to be bankrupt. Burlington is about to be bankrupt. Men’s Warehouse is about to be bankrupt. Joseph A. Bank is about to be bankrupt. That’s another short list. READ MORE
These are even worse times for shopping malls. They simply aren’t being built anymore. Not with Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, and other retail giants offering far better value and easier convenience. Who wants to visit a mall and walk three miles to grab a few things when one megastore offers the same thing at a cheaper price — plus a hot dog and drink lunch for $1.50?
Of course, the real culprit in the demise of malls and retail stores is online shopping, and more specifically the explosion of Amazon. E-shopping has revolutionized consumer culture. It’s far easier to find the perfect replacement part or the ideal sweater on a home laptop and then have it delivered to our doorstep. No doubt, Amazon will continue cutting into the market share of brick and mortar retailers, which will increasingly find themselves following K-Mart into bankruptcy court.
So, given what’s happening everyplace else, why is Las Vegas such a mystifying exception? It makes no sense. It defies all logic.
Clearly, these retail stores on The Strip don’t offer any bargains. The prices for goods and services are usually much higher in casino malls than back at home. Sure, tourists will buy t-shirts and souvenirs. That’s to be expected. But who flies to Las Vegas on their vacation to purchase a smartphone? Or, a bottle of perfume? Or, a pair of pants? Or, a pair of sneakers? Or, any of the other millions of products for sale at a considerable markup?
One plausible theory is that most Las Vegas visitors expect to lose money. Hence, rather than blowing $1,200 at a craps table as the tourists used to do, by splurging on an $800 iPhone and $400 handbag instead, at least there’s something left to show for the act of self-indulgence.
Still, I can’t shake the undeniable fact that at least some (albeit small) percentage of gamblers depart the casino with more money than they started with. A very tiny number might even get rich. But everyone who walks into a shopping mall and then buys something loses money.
Why is Las Vegas so different when it comes to retail shopping? I can’t explain it.
Thoughts and feedback are welcome.
Correction / Update: I’ve been informed the Samsung store at Caesars is now gone. So, don’t rush there to buy the new Galaxy S9.
Note: This article originally appeared at nolandalla.com on March 27, 2018.
5th Street Sports proudly presents an exclusive interview with Doyle Brunson where the poker great talks about one of his favorite passions -- great movie westerns. Nolan Dalla sat down recently with Doyle at Roma's Deli in Las Vegas to discuss the best westerns ever made and why some films, like Doyle himself, stand the test of time. This project began a few months earlier when Doyle approached Nolan and proposed a dinner to talk about -- not poker and gambling -- but westerns. A date was set and Doyle then created his list of "60 Greatest Movie Westerns." Doyle originally intended to create a list of just 20 films, but couldn't stop once the creative forces were unleashed. The interview in its entirety runs about 90 minutes and includes a countdown of Doyle's favorite movies and what he remembers about each selection. The complete show will be released soon, exclusively at 5th Street Sports. Here's a short two-minute promo of what to expect. We thank Doyle for his time and his passion. Thanks also go to Andrew Geber for filming and editing the segment.
Writer's Note: This is the second of a two-part series. Taste is subjective. Especially when it comes to food and eating out. I love classic French cooking but hate nouveau cuisine. I love cheap local eateries but loathe fast food. I adore butter bombs, spices, onions, and garlic and garlic and more garlic, but won’t touch a green pea or a mushroom. I drink wine daily but never order wine in restaurants. I demand everything to be fresh and try to avoid frozen or processed foods, but I can devour a half gallon of ice cream in a single sitting. I go through spells where I eat strict vegetarian and then turn into a werewolf the next week. I’m willing to spend good money on fine food. But I’m always cost-conscious. In fact, every culinary decision I make is based on value. Is this worth the money? Do I feel like I got the best end of the bargain? If so, that’s a restaurant I’ll return to many times. You can always find a good meal for $50. You can always find a great meal for $100. But find me a fantastic meal for $20. That’s where I want to go. Yesterday in PART 1, I listed five great comfort meals in Las Vegas — priced at less than $20. Continuing on with PART 2 here are five more recommended lunches and dinners….and then some: Sliced Smoked Beef Brisket at Rollin’ Smoke Barbecue Wherever I go, I’ve discovered great barbecue joints are often located in the shittiest areas of town. Las Vegas is no exception. Rollin’ Smoke is off Industrial Road, on Highland Drive, two arteries in the bowels the casino district. Nestled in dingy strip mall beneath a busy expressway, Rollin’ Smoke opened for business about ten years ago and has since become one of those hidden food havens everyone seeks out. It’s now a locals’ favorite. This isn’t a hangout where you’ll find tourists. Instead, expect to see casino executives and construction workers lining up faithfully at a busy lunch counter to place their orders. Rollin’ Smoke offers the standard barbecue options — consisting of pork, beef, chicken, sausage. Drinks are serve-yourself, with the added southern charm of pre-sweetened ice tea. Lunch/dinner platters are served on metal trays with wax paper. Seating is mostly picnic tables, with thick rolls of paper towels at the centerpiece. The floors are concrete. Not a great place for a first date, unless you’re from Little Rock. But what great barbecue. Rollin’ Smoke serves meats cooked up Texas-style, although ownership would bristle at the slanderous classification. Indeed, restaurant walls are saturated with Arkansas memorabilia, including a giant state flag and trophies of real (dead) Razorbacks. A Razorback is a feral pig and the proud nickname of the University of Arkansas football team. I’ve sung the “pig sooie” battle cry many times after eating at Rollin’ Smoke. My favorite entre is the Sliced Smoked Beef Brisket, priced at $10.99 for a half pound of heaven. The full pound costs $18.99. Each entre includes a side dish and the baked beans make for the perfect kicker. Rollin’ Smoke’s brisket is unique in taste because it’s given a dry rub of peppery spices before many hours of slow heat and smoke. After it’s been sliced and served, the peppery edges make a merely good barbecue divine. It’s one of the best beef briskets I’ve ever enjoyed. You’ll be picking peppercorns out of your teeth two hours later. Ah, the memories. The rest of the menu (including ribs) is a very good show, but not quite at the pinnacle of the brisket, which is the undeniable superstar. Overall, this a joint where you go to eat and expect nothing else. A deliciously-satisfying meal with a drink plus tax rounds up to about $17, and that’s with a buck tip to the nice young man who takes away your tray and wipes down the picnic table for the next hungry customer. [Note: Rollin’ Smoke took over Billy’s Barbecue on West Tropicana, which was also very good. I have not had the chance to try this location since Rollin’ Smoke bought them out, but I presume it’s equal to what’s served at the flagship location next to The Strip] Kibbi Platter at Khoury’s Mediterranean Khoury’s Mediterranean is a popular Lebanese restaurant in Village Square, at the corner of West Sahara and Fort Apache. This location has been open slightly more than a year after spending a decade hidden away in the far southwest corner of Las Vegas. This is another local gem, virtually unknown by tourists. Khoury is one of the most popular surnames in Lebanon. The Khoury’s are a local Las Vegas family and can often be seen them working side by side in the kitchen or running the floor. Pictures of the smiling Khoury family decorate the walls. This isn’t just a restaurant. It is a display of pride. Marieta and I have dined at Khoury’s 60-70 times over the past decade, including celebratory New Years Eve dinners. We’ve enjoyed just about everything listed on the menu. For those unfamiliar with Lebanese cooking, two highly-recommended dishes are the Kafta Kabob and/or the Kafta sandwich served with fresh cut fries. My favorite dish is the Kibbi platter. This classic recipe consists of spiced ground beef rolled into a golf ball-sized clump sprinkled with fresh pine nuts. Next, an outer cask of bulger wheat engulfs the tasty treat inside and then the entire fist-sized ball is deep fried. The wheat, pine nuts, beef, and spices blend to absolute perfection. If that’s not enough flavor, then a house-made yogurt side sauce makes for dipping. Kibbi platters are served with a side of whole grain rice, with a tinge of olive oil and a fresh salad of your choice. The Tabbouleh is marvelous here, but I usually opt instead for the house Khoury’s salad, which is ecstasy for garlic lovers. This is a tongue-burning joy. All entrees also include a generous pie-dough sized portion of Lebanese pita, which is freshly-baked in a brick oven. The bread always comes out piping hot and is puffed out like a balloon. Khoury’s even serves fresh butter (no cheap margarine). Add a tall glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade as the perfect topper. Incredibly, the Kibbi platter with all the accompaniments is priced at a marvelously affordable $13 for lunch and $18 for dinner (which consists of a much larger portion). Either option is a slam dunk bargain and a great meal. You will become a regular, for sure. Give Khoury’s a try. Here’s my write-up, “The Best (and Worst) Mediterranean Restaurants in Las Vegas,” published in 2015. Trout Almondine at Kings Fish House (Green Valley Ranch) Trout Almondine is my favorite dish. I’ve had it hundreds of times in far too many restaurants to count. The best Trout Almondine is served in the very finest restaurants in New Orleans, and I’ve been to every one of them (some multiple time). If I have a foodie fetish, you can probably tell — it’s for Trout Almondine. [Note: Almondine is also commonly spelled “Amandine” or “Almandine”] The classic French-Louisiana recipe calls for fresh rainbow trout (commonly shipped from Idaho in this part of the country). The fish is seasoned, then doused in flour (or cornmeal), and then pan seared in olive oil and sprinkled with toasted almonds (sometimes it’s fried). Finally, the fully cooked boneless trout filet is basted in a Beurre Blanc sauce, which means “white butter.” The downside to being a
hopeless food snob Trout Almondine aficionado is maturing into a spoiled-rotten brat. Guilty as charged. There are many unacceptable Trout Almondine options around the country, and Las Vegas offers only a few choices which I grade as passable. Put this way, I can count them on one hand.
The very best Trout Almondine priced at less than $20 is served at King’s Fish House, in the Green Vally Ranch retail district, next to the casino in Henderson. Large and often noisy, with optional outdoor patio seating, King’s appeals to just about everyone.
Coastal dwellers won’t be impressed, perhaps. But given we’re in the middle of the desert, it’s tough to find fresh fish and decent seafood, unless you’re willing to shell out $100 someplace on The Strip. King’s is the far more accessible and affordable option, which includes the widest variety of foods from the sea.
King’s does Trout Almondine right. It’s the best recipe (for the money) I’ve tasted outside of New Orleans. For $18 (lunch), a nice portion of fresh fish is served, along with the two side dishes (no ala carte here — nice to see a restaurant refusing to nickel and dime guests for the extras). My favorite accompaniments include the buttered corn, which is sliced right off the cob and then seasoned, along with garlic spinach served in a small iron ramekin. That way, I can order the spinach and brag that I tried to eat a healthy meal.
King’s also offers the best San Francisco-style sourdough bread in the city, which is airy fresh and served with real butter. I’m also quite fond of their house specialty drinks, best of all the Agave Sting — silver tequila, fresh lime, Jalapeño, basil, and pineapple….poured on the rocks with a chili salt rim. It’s amazing.
Read more about my obsession with Rainbow Trout here: “Who’s Been Pilfering my Rainbow Trouts?”
Enchiladas (or Tacos) at El Segundo Sol
El Segundo Sol is the creative brainchild of master chef Terry Lynch, responsible for making Mon Ami Gabi (Paris Casino) one of the most popular restaurants in Las Vegas. Lynch’s attention to the slightest detail is self-evident in every drink or bite or taste. I’ve listened to Lynch talk affectionately about food for hours, going into painstaking detail as to why he selected a specific type of rice to accompany a dish. His cooking classes aren’t just fun foodie events. They are spiritually-infused sermons, transformational experiences filled with culinary and cultural enrichment.
Lynch departed Las Vegas about a year ago to launch a new restaurant in Japan, but his mark remains indelible. El Segundo Sol is a Mexican restaurant located right underneath Maggiono’s, at Fashion Show Mall across the street from the Wynn/Encore. But don’t look for Tex-Mex and margaritas made with an industrial powder mixer. Instead, El Segundo Sol uses classic recipes and natural ingredients popular in Jalisco and Yucatan.
I remember Lynch once ranting about the depreciated peppers grown in the United States and served in most traditional Mexican restaurants. So, his kitchen insisted on the far zestier peppers imported from central Mexico shipped to flag-plant authenticity. Homemade cheeses and sauces served here don’t rely on the cheapest local dairy. This restaurant relies on a fresh supply of superior products from the great Straus Dairy in Sonoma (California). Yes, you can taste the difference.
Everything on the menu is excellent. For $7.95, two homemade corn tamales with a creme fraiche sauce nearly lifts the bar of expectation to an impossible height. However, if forced to pick and chose, I’d go with any enchilada dish (cheese, chicken breast, or slow-braised beef), which offers a spectacular combination of flavors at a reasonable cost of $17.95.
Enchiladas are served on an oval-shaped platter and come with an original black bean recipe combined with their signature cilantro rice — which is the best rice I’ve ever tasted. Thanks again, Terry Lynch for sampling 40 different rice varieties first before settling on this gem of a taste. What really pushes this dish over the top are the two sauces, one red and one green. They are served in small tin cups and can be applied sparingly or generously, according to taste. It’s a waltz for the taste buds.
If enchiladas aren’t your thing, then go for the tacos instead, which are served roll-your-own style. It’s just about as good.
El Segundo Sol is the best Mexican-themed restaurant in Las Vegas and a definite reason to drive down to The Strip. Parking beneath the mall is free and just steps away from the front entrance. Moreover, the restaurant continues its tradition of monthly cooking classes (Saturday mornings) and special dinners, which are a bargain since a four-course meal and multiple margaritas are always included.
One more helpful hint: Request a table inside, since the music can be loud on the terrace and it gets hot in the summer. It’s much nicer in the back.
Addendum: This dish would be my favorite, but it’s not regularly on the menu. It’s shrimp basted in achiote, with rice, beans, and homemade corn tortillas. Read more about El Segundo Sol in my review with lots more photos I took, published in 2014: Restaurant Review: El Segundo Sol
Andre’s Burger (Hamburger) at Andre’s Bistro and Bar
I can hear the laughter now. I’m recommending a visit to famed chef André Rochat’s restaurant — and suggesting a hamburger?
Yes, I am.
The trick is to visit Andre’s between 3 pm and 6 pm on Monday through Friday, which is the Happy Hour. Many outstanding dinner items are discounted, some as low as half price. Specialty cocktails are also discounted.
We’ve enjoyed Andre’s only a handful of times (it’s still relatively new) and came away on each occasion with the satisfaction we received first-class food and service at economy prices. It’s like dining at one of the snooty rip-off restaurants on The Strip at a fraction of the price, and with smiling waiters sans all the attitude.
The Cheese & Charcuterie Board normally priced at $22 is discounted to $15 during Happy Hour and is an exceptional appetizer to share. This is a smorgasbord of tastes to be experienced. In fact, everything we tasted here was either very good or great. Presumably, excellence is consistent throughout.
Oh, but back the hamburger. We ordered two burgers on the shiny brioche bun, topped with imported swiss cheese, red onion marmalade, and truffle mayonnaise. We each inhaled our own small basket of duck fat fries (a house salad can be substituted instead). The burgers were delicious. Especially after scarfing down everything on the Cheese & Charcuterie Board.
The price of the Andre’s Burger, as shown in the photograph above? Try this: $7
It’s half-priced from the usual dinner cost — which is $14. I asked the waiter what’s the difference between the $7 burger and fries and the $14 burger and fries. He replied: “Nothing — except $7.”
Obviously, Chef Andre makes almost no money on this deal. But one expects that we loyal guests will order something else with a higher profit margin. I’m certainly willing to oblige the generosity, by trying out and ordering more menu items, visiting repeatedly, and giving this new establishment my highest recommendation.
Also worth trying — for dessert, I strongly recommend the Chocolate Walnut Gateau which is a chocolate-glazed caramel walnut torte, with crème anglaise for $8.
I have some concerns about Andre’s due to its far-out location, in the same mall area where Khoury’s Mediterranean used to be. This is a drive for most of us, even for those living in the southwest area of Las Vegas. That said, Andre’s Bistro and Bar is worth driving the extra mile.
Note to Self: In a future series of articles, make a list of the best Happy Hour bargains in Las Vegas.
Foodie Lovers Encore: Five More Great Comfort Meals in Las Vegas worth trying at least once:Gumbo or Jambalaya at Lola’s — A Louisiana Kitchen (Arts District location) Lola’s is the most authentic Creole-Cajon restaurant in Las Vegas (don’t be fooled by Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House at MGM-Grand, which is twice as expensive and not nearly as good). A big bowl of hearty Gumbo ($12) with a side of hot Leidenheimer’s Garlic Bread ($2.50) is the very definition of the perfect comfort meal. If you want to go a little spicier, then the Jambalaya will certainly make you return for more. Top of the experience with Lola’s homemade banana pudding, which is made fresh daily ($5). The perfect way to spend $20. Note: Lola’s opened a second location a few years ago, on Town Center in Summerlin. I’ve been there once and the menu appeared to be identical. Chicken Francese (Northern Italian Style) at Pasta Mia One of my favorite dishes is Chicken Francese which is served widely around the country and in most traditional Italian restaurants. What most places miss, however, is the ideal pairing for the breaded chicken cutlet, which is atop capellini (angel hair) pasta. Do not order this dish any other way! It must be served “Northen Italian Style.” I’m spending myself broke trying to educate America on how to make this dish correctly. The unique blend of flavor and texture comes from the egg batter around the cutlet, which absorbs the tangy lemon and butter sauce. When the cutlet is layered across the angel hair as the base, the cutlet remains firm (not soggy). Moreover, the nest of angel hair absorbs all the flavors of the sauce and becomes a symphonic culmination of aroma, texture, and taste. Pasta Mia, in the corner of a strip mall on Flamingo across from the Rio gets it right. But give the waiter strict instructions so no mistakes are made. The house salad with a thick garlic dressing is fabulous. When I die, I want to be embalmed in that dressing. Kubideh Kabob at Zaytoon’s I wanted to include at least one restaurant which is ideal for carryout. Zaytoon’s is a market and deli with a small restaurant attached, consisting of about ten tables. The interior is pleasant, but it’s better suited for to go orders. It’s located in the middle of a strip mall near the corner of Durango and Spring Mountain. Zaytoon’s is Persian/Iranian. Even though the kitchen is small, the menu is quite extensive, consisting of most classic Persian dishes. Non-Middle Easterners are likely to opt for the beef kabob, known as Kubideh. This popular specialty is served with two 10-inch ribbons of pressed and seasoned ground beef with parsley, after being skewered on metal rods over an open flame. The kabobs are blanketed across a heaping pile of rice, with is slightly buttered and texturally ideal. The charcoal-colored Persian seasoning sprinkled over the beef is highly recommended. A half grilled tomato and a quarter onion are served on the side. All meals come with pita bread. Kubideh costs $10.99. Also recommended to order a Shirazi Salad, which is a delicious mix of cold cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, and parsley marinated in lemon and olive oil. One of the best take-out meals in the city for around $15. Clam Chowder at The Chart House (Golden Nugget) Where should you go when you’re not really hungry, but still want something good to eat? So far, I’ve tried to avoid chains and casino restaurants because they’re usually unoriginal and pricey. One notable exception is The Chart House, an ideal Downtown Las Vegas seafood destination inside the Golden Nugget Casino. Take a seat at the bar and order a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder, especially if you’re not too hungry but still want something filling. The chowder is priced at just $7 at lunch — and $9 at dinner. It’s a delight. For me, great chowders are all about the three “T’s” — taste, temperature, and texture. This classic New England specialty fires on all cylinders. The diced potatoes are slightly firm. The clam count is generous. The broth isn’t too thick (often the sign of a cheap chowder). It’s also slightly peppery. I have no idea of this is by design, but each time I’ve ordered the chowder here, it seemed to contain tiny specs of sand, as if to subliminally suggest to diners — this is fresh right out of the sea! It’s also a generous portion served steamy hot. This is the best clam chowder in a city not known for many affordable seafood options. Photo caption: Me, doing my "research."
This week's show was a three-hour action-packed broadcast filled with lively discussion and great guests. In the first hour, sportswriter Bill Ordine (The Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, PhillyGambles.com) gave us a live update from the roof of Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, just an hour before the running of The Preakness. The second hour was dominated by the lively presence of Raymond Davis, the proprietor and promoter of RealGrinders.com, which has become the "everyman's" poker community. Davis was joined on-air by Brian Wilson, who joined the conversation for the first time as a guest. Oklahoma Brian also came on and provided some interesting thoughts. The final hour, a free-for-all segment known as "The End Zone" rattled way off topic from last week's controversial Supreme Court decision which might lead to much wider legalized sports gambling in America, as Frank Perez, Nolan Dalla, and Nick Geber came to verbal blows over what the decision could mean for gamblers and communities. This show aired live on Saturday, May 19, 2018.