THE OTHER SIDE OF VEGAS Shows and Dining Are Also Creating Winners
THE OTHER SIDE OF VEGAS Shows and Dining Are Also Creating Winners
Zumanity is the most provocative of the Cirque series which continues to raise eyebrows and drop jaws among audience members since a “refresh” in 2015. Anyone who tries to ascertain a cogent storyline from the cabaret-style scenes will come up dry so show publicist Jeff Lovari encourages audiences to free their mind and simply indulge. It’s made that much easier with gorgeous physiques to appeal to almost every taste.
Brandon Pereyda is one of the show’s biggest stars. His near-naked act gives the most goosebumps and his chiseled face topped by his signature red Mohawk covers the marquee at the New York New York Hotel and Casino.
Born and raised in Las Vegas, Pereyda has performed world-wide and notes the appeal of joining a Vegas audience from his perspective on stage. “People are here to party and have fun,” he says. “They want to let loose so the audiences are more uninhibited and have a lot more energy. Many have been day drinking already so they’re louder here than normal.”
In response to the enthusiasm, Pereyda says he ups his game as a performer. “I flirt with everybody in the audience whatever the gender,” he says with a grin. “I love that because it catches them off guard. I’ll wink at a girl and then also flirt with her boyfriend and make them both wonder. Maybe I’m into both of them. Maybe I’m into everything. It’s about being progressive and pushing the boundaries and having fun.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, shows like Donny and Marie Osmond are much less provocative but still hugely entertaining. In their tenth year on stage at Flamingo, the wholesome brother-and-sister duo sing, sway and slapstick during their 90-minute variety show without intermission. Equally impressive is that Donny and Marie, 59 and 57 respectively, keep pace with their back up dancers.
The same dedication is being channelled in restaurants across Vegas as the culinary scene keeps pace with the shows and casinos. Chefs such as Matt Piekarski of Hexx and Nicole Brisson of Carnevino are upping their game like the ever-increasing stakes at a poker table.
Piekarski says that the local food scene is maneuvering through its best evolutionary cycle yet. The dynamic young chef says that as the city settles down after its celebrity-chef obsession which was a pushback of the buffet era, the focus is now shifting to its rightful place: on the food. He is certainly doing his part at Hexx, part restaurant and part craft chocolate maker located in Paris Las Vegas Hotel. “Chocolate is the number one most-recognized flavor in the world,” he says. “And we take it super seriously.”
Piekarski does not have a sweet tooth but says he still appreciates the nuances of the flavour of Hexx’s specialty: dark chocolate. He is evidence that even those without a craving for chocolate can satisfy themselves at Hexx. He describes the espresso-like nodes of Venezuelan chocolate like a wine connoisseur savouring a merlot. And he and his team are meticulous about roasting and grinding the beans to perfection, creating a fuller flavour than your average chocolate. The bustling dining room offers up savoury menu items that incorporate Hexx’s big seller. Candied cocoa nibs find their way into the Simple Salad, cocoa butter is an option with the steaks and the burger is served on a white chocolate bun.
Further north, Brisson is elevating the Vegas steakhouse into a new tier one filet at a time as Carnevino’s culinary director. “You hope that you have return business and you want to make sure when they’re back in town they’ll return and even bring friends or clients,” Brisson says. The push for return business is a unique position in a town where one-time only patrons come in such droves that they can often suffice small-minded restauranteurs keen to pay the immediate bills.
“We offer a steak that is unique and distinctive in flavour and texture and that you cannot always find on the Strip and we think people will come back for it,” the confident chef asserts, referring to Carnevino’s on-site dry-aging programme.
In its tenth year of operation, Carnevino impresses with its vaulted ceilings and masculine yet comfortable décor. Popular dishes include the classic Florentine porterhouse, grilled octopus and cauliflower side dish prepared with lemon and bagna cauda (a hot broth bath).
Patrons benefit particularly from Brisson’s inherent drive to prove herself as a woman chef in the city’s male-dominated kitchens. “It comes down to really hard work and that’s a lot of hours, a lot of passion and constantly improving every day, you can’t stop,” she says. “If you’re not moving forward and changing things and getting excited, you’ll be upset and then bitter.”
JW Marriot Las Vegas : The Antidote to the Strip
As an alternative to the opulent resorts of the strip, the JW Marriot Las Vegas helps incorporate relaxation and restoration in an otherwise super-charged vacation. Sprawling manicured grounds are flanked by two towers of rooms and grand suites.
“It’s unique to Las Vegas to have outside areas where you can relax and stroll,” says Kaci Feldman of the hotel’s sales team. Next door to the hotel’s lively casino, Spa Aquae with a secluded adults-only pool helps to smoothen the edges that wired visitors can develop from the grating buzz of the Strip.
And though miles from the centre of Vegas’ action, the JW Marriott is well aware of the culinary buzz taking shape. The hotel recently converted a tired dining room into the chic and airy Hawthorn Grill Steakhouse with views and a terrace that capitalize on the lush grounds.
The dishes, by executive chef Joe Swan, include American classics such as crab cakes, the BLT wedge salad and of course superbly-grilled beef. Swan explains that dining at the Hawthorn now is ideal given the Hawthorn is at its sweet spot: still new but finding its groove.
“Overall I think the restaurant design and concept has been very well received,” says Swan. “Now that we have been operating for a few months we’re looking at making some seasonal menu changes and tweaking a few dishes based on feedback.”
Swan adds that the restaurant’s target which include locals helps the property’s long-term return patron strategy.
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Las Vegas – vibrant, noisy, megalopolis of people and frenetic energy – which bills itself as "The Entertainment Capital of the World", is an internationally renowned major resort city famed for its 24-hour casinos and endless entertainment options. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings. In addition, the city's metropolitan area has more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world, and is a global leader in the hospitality industry. Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world!
Largely desert and semiarid, Nevada is a state in the Western, Mountain West, and Southwestern regions of the United States of America. It is the 7th most extensive, the 35th most populous, and the 9th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Nearly three-quarters of Nevada's people live in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area where three of the state's four largest incorporated cities are located. It's capital is Carson City. Nevada is officially known as the "Silver State" due to the importance of silver to its history and economy. It is also known as the "Battle Born State", because it achieved statehood during the Civil War (the words "Battle Born" also appear on the state flag); as the "Sage-brush State", for the native plant of the same name; and as the "Sage-henState". Nevada borders Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast and Utah to the east.