Mexican cocktails

Greek Food Festival, NASCAR, Autumn Foodie & Art Fests

In Vegas VIP Scene-ery by Jackie Brett

BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW

contributed by Jackie Brett

RESTAURANTS OPENING IN DECEMBER: LA-based chef Roy Choi’s original restaurant concept Best Friend will debut restaurant renderingat Park MGM at the end of December. Choi explains the venue will be a capsulized look at Koreatown and bring LA food to what Choi dubs “Los Vegas.” Diners will enter the restaurant through the Liquor Store with merchandise. Factory Place Hospitality Group will open The Factory Kitchen at The Venetian in December, marking the second for the downtown Los Angeles Italian trattoria. The space will be transformed into a 152-seat restaurant with touches of the eatery’s signature orange and forest green colors, reclaimed wood tables, concrete walls, art deco-style light fixtures, and perimeter plush grey banquettes. The Factory Kitchen is the outcome of a long-standing friendship between Matteo Ferdinandi, CEO of Factory Place Hospitality Group, and chef Angelo Auriana.

CANOPY OVER FREMONT STREET WILL BE RENOVATED IN 2019: Most important in Las Vegas is to stay updated, fresh and relevant. The Fremont Street Experience will follow this philosophy next year when it begins a $32 million renovation of the Viva Vision video canopy in February. The result being unveiled on Dec. 31, 2019, will expose an upgraded attraction which will be seven times brighter with four-times the resolution and allow the LED display to operate 24-hours a day. The world’s largest single video screen located downtown spanning five city blocks will also be incorporating new digital content and interactive elements, such as The Key, an app enabling visitors to post personalized messages on the screen and to vote for the next song or video to be played.

‘WHY DON’T WE’ WILL MAKE TOUR STOP AT THE PALMS: On their 2019 North American headlining tour, new pop sensations Why Don’t We will include a stop at the newly renovated Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms on Saturday, March 23,musical group 2019, at 7 p.m. Ticket range is $35.95 to $79.95. The breakout quintet’s tour will support Why Don’t We’s debut just-released, full-length album, “8 Letters.” A worldwide phenomenon, the album topped charts in more than 20 more territories around the globe. Members of the group range in age from 17-20 years old.

WALDORF ASTORIA DEBUTS ON THE STRIP: The 392-room, high-rise Mandarin Oriental is now the luxury brand, Waldorf Astoria. The property remains an upscale nongaming hotel with elegant guest rooms and suites, grand views, restaurants, spa and perfected service. Next summer, the company will initiate a guest room restyle. Mandarin Oriental opened in December 2009 as part of the CityCenter complex.

MORTON GROUP’S GREEK SNEEK IS OPEN AT MGM GRAND: Greek Sneek, a new Greek menu itemsrestaurant and bar by Michael and Jenna Morton, is now open at the MGM Grand serving fresh, authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails. Inspired by the maze of narrow streets in the old country, Greek Sneek is accessible through a hidden corridor next to CRUSH. The restaurant, which opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, accommodates approximately 120 seated guests. Other Morton Group’s restaurants in Las Vegas include: CRUSH; La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway at Wynn; La Comida downtown; and MB Steak by brothers Michael and David Morton at the Hard Rock.

IT’S TIME FOR GREEK FOOD AND CULTURE: The family-friendly 46th annual Greek Food Festival will be held Sept. 14-16 at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, located at 5300 S. El Camino Road. This event celebrates Greek culture, history and heritage by featuring authentic cuisine, shopping, traditional live music, folk dancing performances, tours of the church, and a Kids Fun Zone. Trivia note, St. John the Baptist held the first Las Vegas Greek Food Festival on March 23, 1973, at the Stardust Hotel. The 1,000-ticket raffle this year is for $25,000 in cash or a choice of a Mercedes Sedan, Harley Davidson, or Sport Boat, and other prizes. The annual 26.2-mile Torch Relay Run fundraiser is held in conjunction with the Greek Food Festival. This year, monies will benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Southern Nevada in memory of 12-year-old Michael Manteris, who was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia, AML. Money is raised by people running a one-mile leg and obtaining pledges as well as folks donating directly. The Torch Relay Run will start at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 at Tivoli Village and end at 7 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Greek Church Grounds, where the Lighting of the Torch ceremony will officially kick off the festival. Festival hours will be: Friday 3-11 p.m.; Saturday noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Adult admission is $7. Children 12 and under, active military, police officers and their immediate family with ID are free. A three-day pass is $12. Parking is free.

BOY GEORGE & CULTURE CLUB, THE B-52S VISIT DLVEC: Grammy Award-winning legends Boy George & Culture Club and The B-52s will headline the Downtown Las Vegas Eventspop singer in blue hat Center (DLVEC) on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins will be the special guest for “The Life Tour” honoring 80s nostalgia and classic hits. Tickets start at $29. This year marks a new era for Boy George & Culture Club, as they work on their first new music in 20 years. The tour will celebrate some of their biggest hits and be a time to hear some new songs. Nearly 40 years and more than 20 million albums into their career, The B-52s remain one of rock music’s most enduring bands. Original group member of British 80s’ group the Thompson Twins, Tom Bailey will perform with his all-female band and showcase songs from his new album being released this year.

‘HEMP-TORCHING’ CEREMONY HELD FOR CANNABITION: Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman presided over a recent “hemp-torching” ceremony in place of a traditional ribbon-cutting for the opening of hemp museum groupCannabition, an immersive cannabis museum opening at Neonopolis downtown. Cannabition, the world’s only cannabis-themed experience of its kind to date, will feature elaborate cannabis-inspired installations following the path the cannabis plant takes “from seed to high.” Guests will be able to interact with numerous multisensory exhibits and be able to pose beside Hunter S. Thompson’s iconic “Red Shark” Chevrolet Caprice and with the world’s largest bong at 24-feet-tall affectionately known as “Bongzilla.” There will be entertaining, educational and photogenic exhibits exploring the historic, botanical, wellness and lifestyle aspects of cannabis.

BORDER GRILL OWNERS DEBUT BBQ MEXICANA: Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, who are renowned chefs and Border Grill restaurant owners, are adding to their hospitality empire with their new BBQ Mexicana, a quick service smoked dishes concept now open at Mandalay Bay. The location is across from Border Grill and adjacent to the resort’s convention center. BBQ Mexicana is a convenient takeaway counter also offering margaritas, aguas frescas, and beers to-go.

PRONTO BY GIADA ADDS WEEKEND BRUNCH: Celebrated Chef Giada De Laurentiis’ second Las Vegas restaurant, Pronto by Giada at Caesars Palace, now offers a traditional sit-down brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The brunch features five expansive stationsrestaurant dining counter along with table-side service, and a basket of Pronto signature mini-pastries. Brunch is served in the wine bar and retail area, which is modern, light and bright. Cost is $49 and $20 for kids. There is an extensive beverage program at the wine bar with packages themed around regions and costs varying from $15 to $50. The restaurant’s fast-casual side is open from 6 a.m. to midnight, and the wine bar features 40 wines by the glass from 11:30 a.m. to midnight.

FLY LINQ PREPARES FOR NOVEMBER OPENING: Tickets are now on sale online for Fly zip line constructionLINQ, the Strip’s first and only zipline scheduled to open this November at The LINQ Promenade. Fly LINQ will feature 10 side-by-side ziplines, capable of simultaneously launching all riders. Riders in a seated or superhero position will be launched from a 114-foot-tall tower, travel 1,121 feet through The LINQ Promenade, and land at another tower near the base of the High Roller observation wheel.

POLICE ACADEMY STAR MICHAEL WINSLOW WILL HEADLINE THE SPACE: Michael Winslow, the star of “Police Academy” is known for his vocal gymnastics capable of creating 10,000 sound effects. He will be appearing at The Space located at 3460 Cavaretta Court just west of the Strip on Friday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. man tipping hatWinslow can make endless sounds from barking dogs and wet sneakers to roaring jets and the jarring scratch noises made on a chalkboard. The artist is also a master of accents. Winslow has appeared in many movie and television shows including “Space Balls” and “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” The opening act will be Will Edwards, the creator and host of “WE Funny Comedy Show” and creator, executive producer and host of “The Will Edwards Show,” a Las Vegas late night variety talk show. Tickets are $30 online.

INAUGURAL FALL NASCAR RACE WEEKEND AND TROPHY: After years of trying, a second NASCAR race will hold its inaugural weekend in Las Vegas this week, Sept. 13-16. The event weekend will include the first South Point 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race, which will be the first race of the playoffs for the top 16 drivers. Las Vegas is now the only track with two triple-header NASCAR weekends. Leading up to the inaugural big race, South Point has the official trophy, which will be Photo: Jeff Speerawarded to the winner on Sunday, Sept. 16, on display. Designed by national award-winning artist Christina Amri, who has been creating custom glass work for resort’s owner for more than 35 years, the one-of-a-kind carved crystal trophy weighs 58 pounds and measures 31 inches high and 21 inches wide. The detail on the making of the three-dimensional design trophy is a story by itself. In addition to the action on the track with three other races, the weekend will include a NASCAR Burnout Boulevard event on the Strip on Thursday from 2:30-3:15 p.m., NASCAR playoffs party at the Fremont Street Experience, and a free concert by country star Cole Swindell at the Fremont Street Experience on Saturday at 7 p.m. There will be a Q&A at South Point in the showroom on Thursday from noon-1 p.m. with all 16 playoff drivers; a race ticket is required. There will also be a plethora of driver appearances around town and a diverse lineup of free music planned for Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage.

GREAT AMERICAN FOODIE FEST RETURNS TO SUNSET STATION: The Great American Foodie Fest, which was founded in 2012 as the Las Vegas Foodie Fest, will return to Sunset Station Oct. 4-7. This food-centric event highlights specialty food vendors and gourmet food trucks from around the country which have been featured on the Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel. Recently two Cooking Channel’s show “Carnival Eats” and “Carnival Kings” showcased the festival. This year a Craft Brew Experience and totally 80s-themed entertainment has been added along with the carnival rides, games, eating competitions, arts/craft and retail vendors, and more.  Presale general admission online is $8 or $10 for a Day Pass at the gate. The Craft Brew Experience, which includes a Four Day Pass plus 10 tastings (4oz.) from a variety of 24 Craft Brew stations, presale is $25 and $30 at the gate.

DATES AND NEW LOGO ANNOUNCED FOR ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL: Insomniac new carnival photohas announced next year’s dates for the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), North America’s largest dance music festival, will be May 17, 18 and 19. The massive three-night dusk-to-dawn music event will again be held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ticket sales will begin online on Friday, Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. PST. Last year was the inaugural Camp EDC, which was sold out and will return this year providing a fully-immersive camping program situated next to the Speedway. At the heart of Camp EDC will lie the Mesa, a bustling hub of entertainment, activities and amenities including daytime pool parties, a curated guest speaker series, group classes for exercising the mind, body, and spirit, etc.

BOULDER CITY HOSTS ANNUAL ART IN THE PARK: The 55th Annual Art in the Park, which is one of the largest outdoor juried art festivals in the Southwest and the largest fundraiser for the Boulder City Hospital Foundation, will take place Oct. 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wilbur, Bicentennial and Escalante Parks. There will be 300-plus fine art, fine craft and traditional craft artists selling original artwork as well as live demonstrations, music and raffle giveaways.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL MUSIC & ART FESTIVAL HAPPENS DOWNTOWN: The sixth annual Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival three-day festival taking place Sept. 21-23 covers 18 blocks downtown and features marquee musicians, chefs, artists and speakers. The area will be transformed into an open-air art gallery. The official host hotel will be The Downtown Grand, where three exclusive daytime concerts will take place as rooftop pool parties at the hotel’s Citrus Grand Pool Deck.  The Life is Beautiful artists appearing include: Grammy-nominated producer Elderbrook on Friday; atmospheric pop sensation Sir Sly on Saturday; and Cold War Kids on Sunday. Doors open at 10 a.m. Tickets are limited on Eventbrite.

CORKS ‘N CRAFTS HOLDS NEW EVENTS AND CLASSES: Corks ‘n Crafts in Downtown Summerlin, a recently opened new modern DIY craft and sip studio, is offering a variety of themed events and crafts such as: Wine Wednesdays; Roses & Rosé; Coasters & Croissants; Monday “Not” Football; One October; and Crafting for a Cause. Also, Corks ‘n Crafts will air all Vegas Golden Knights second season games with viewing parties and a variety of optional VGK-inspired crafts. Food and drinks are available with no crafting necessary to attend.

FAST TRACK DINING SPECIALS

Rí Rá Las Vegas at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place will host a Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day party on Monday, Sept. 17 from 9 p.m. to midnight featuring $5 Guinness draft specials, live music from John Windsor and giveaways. From Friday, Sept. 11 to Monday, Sept. 17, Rí Rá will offer an Irish-inspired menu with 20 percent of the proceeds benefitting HELP of Southern Nevada. El Dorado Cantina at 3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive will celebrate Mexican cocktails National Guacamole Day and Mexican Independence Day taking place on Sunday, Sept. 16 with food and drink specials available all weekend Friday-Sunday, Sept. 14-16. Guacamole lovers will have four tableside guacamole dishes available for $10. In addition, a Tricolor Tequila Flight, with red, white and green tequila tastings will be $15, or each shot will be available for $5. The authentic Mexican restaurant and bar is open 24 hours daily. Freed’s Bakery featured on Food Network’s “Vegas Cakes” series is showing support for Las Vegas’ future home team with Raiders-themed cupcakes available in-store or for delivery throughout the 2018 sports cupcakesfootball season. In addition, fans of all professional football teams can have their favorite team’s logo on cupcakes with 48 hours of notice. Each themed cupcake is $3.25, or $34 per dozen. On Saturday, Sept. 15, Fine Entertainment’s venues – ameriCAN at the LINQ Promenade, PBR Rock Bar & Grill at Miracle Mile Shops, and Rockhouse at the Grand Canal Shoppes, will celebrate the 12-round middleweight world championship rematch between Canelo Álvarez and Gennady Golovkin with an all-new shot showdown. Beginning at 5 p.m., guests cheering for Golovkin can purchase a shot of Hennessey and those favoring Álvarez can purchase a shot of Chivas Regal for $5 each. Ferraro’s Italianpancakes on plate Restaurant & Wine Bar across from the Hard Rock on Paradise will partner with Umani Ronchi Winery featuring high-quality Italian wines for its next Taste & Learn event on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $65 inclusive. National Pancake Day on Wednesday, Sept. 26 will have all PT’s Taverns with 60 locations in Nevada celebrating by offering its buttermilk pancake plate for $2 all day.

9TH BRIDGE SCHOOL HOLDS ZAPPOS’ KIDZ STREET FESTIVAL: The 9th Bridge School downtown will host its 3rd annual Kidz Street STEAM-inspired block party presented by Zappos on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Lot at the Western in downtown will be transformed into a family-friendly, community-focused block party…part festival, part day camp, with various activities and games reflective of the school’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) based learning curriculum. The festival is a fundraiser and aims to showcase the premier early childhood to elementary school. Early bird all-access wristbands for unlimited rides, games, and activities are $35. Tickets and wristbands will be available the day of the event with $5 entry, $1 tickets for rides and games, etc.