BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW by Jackie Brett
THE HALAL GUYS OPENS AT CAESARS PALACE: The New York City staple, The Halal Guys, opened its second Las Vegas location and first on the Strip inside the Forum Food Court at Caesars Palace. It is also the first halal restaurant of its kind to open inside a United States casino resort. The Halal Guys is open for lunch, dinner and late into the night. The menu features signature sandwiches and platters with a choice of chicken, beef gyro, chicken and gyro combo or crispy falafel. Meals including vegetarian-friendly dishes are made to be customized with toppings, smooth hummus, smoky baba ghanoush, golden fries and more. Guests can drizzle or drench their meals with white sauce or spice things up with the fiery hot sauce and there’s baklava for dessert.
EVEL PIE CELEBRATED ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY: The all-American, Evel Knievel-themed pizzeria Evel Pie celebrated its first anniversary last week and debuted the restaurant’s newest exclusive Evel Brew “Ales on Wheels,” made by local Las Vegas brewery Tenaya Creek. The fun environment features memorabilia, pinball machines, Dogtown Skateboards and a statue of the daredevil. Evel Pie’s newest pizzas include the gluten-free deep dish “Olivia Gluten-Free John” topped with marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and Sicilian sea salt and “Viva Las Vegan” with marinara sauce, vegan cheese and veggie toppings. Evel Pie is located downtown at 508 East Fremont Street, and open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m.-2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday to 4 a.m.
NEWEST FOODIE TOUR REVOLVES AROUND ELITE STEAKHOUSES: The local Lip Smacking Foodie Tours keeps growing. Its newest adventure is the Ultimate Steakhouse Experience, which is a plush high-rollers tour characterized by personalized service and grand showmanship. Three premier venues are highlighted: Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, the revered restaurant in the Palazzo by illustrious restaurateurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich; Bazaar Meat, the sleek establishment in the SLS Hotel by world-renowned Chef Jose Andres; and Jean Georges Steakhouse in Aria by the legendary French Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Along with dining at three preeminent steak restaurants in one outing, this foodie adventure also includes: an exclusive wine pairing at every stop culled from elite producers’ top-rated vintages; VIP service with immediate seating; tableside service as chefs carve, garnish and plate dishes while explaining each preparation; learning history and anecdotes about Vegas from an expert tour guide; and private luxury transportation. The tour is $799 and for more opulence, the tour can be further customized to include a private tasting of bourbons, scotches or specialty cocktails.
CHINA LIGHTS FESTIVAL PLANNED AT CRAIG RANCH REGIONAL PARK: The Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co., Ltd., in cooperation with Zigong City and the Sichuan Provincial Department of Commerce and sponsored by Boyd Gaming and the City of North Las Vegas, will debut a world-class China Lights lantern festival at Craig Ranch Regional Park as part of a cultural trade mission. The campaign goal is to hold 100 light shows in 100 cities worldwide to spread Chinese traditional culture. From Jan. 19 through Feb. 25 and overlapping with Chinese New Year, Craig Ranch Regional Park will be illuminated with 40 larger-than-life lantern displays, comprised of more than 1,000 components using state-of-the-art LEDs and animation. The festival will also include cultural demonstrations and displays, traditional Asian and western dining options, and nightly live stage entertainment. Adult tickets are $20 and youth and seniors $12.
*** WRANGLER NATIONAL FINAL RODEO HIGHLIGHTS***
Country music star Gary Allan will return to The Joint at WNFR host property Hard Rock for two shows on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8 and 9 at 9:30 p.m. Allan is currently finishing up work for his upcoming EMI Nashville release and most recently revealed his new single, “Mess Me Up.” Tickets start at $39.50.
“Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas” will appear in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Dec. 5, 8, 9 and 10.
South Point Showroom will host the WNFR Buckle Ceremonies every night following the day’s competition Dec. 7-15 at 11 p.m. The nightly go-round winner in each of the seven WNFR events will be presented with a prized buckle and review the night’s action with hosts Flint Rasmussen and Randy Corley. Event is free and open to the public.
The South Point Exhibit Hall will hold the annual CINCH Western Gift Show for 11 days Dec. 7-17. More than 150 vendors will be displaying the best in Western apparel and accessories, tack, leather goods, animal health, ranch and farm equipment, and equestrian related home décor, gifts and jewelry. Event is free and open to the public.
The Priefert World Series of Team Roping (WSTR), the second richest equine event in the world, will take place in the South Point Arena Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 9-17. The event which began in 2006 as a recreational diversion for cowboys during the NFR has grown into the richest team roping event in the world. Thousands of teams will compete in Las Vegas for more than $11 million dollars in purse money. Event is free and open to the public.
On Friday, Dec. 8, the top 50 Saddle Bronc world competitors will ride the next generation of world champion bucking horses during the World Bronc Futurity in the South Point Arena. All the bucking horses will be sold immediately after they are placed. Tickets start at $18.
Some autograph signing opportunities: Harrah’s Piano Bar Jack Daniel’s Riders, Rocky McDonald and Beau Hill, Dec. 8 and 9, 11 p.m. to midnight; Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Harrah’s Jack Daniel’s Riders, Rocky McDonald and Beau Hill, Dec. 8 and 9 at 10 p.m. – Saddle Bronc Riders Dec. 15 at 11:30 a.m. – and Miller-Coors riders Dec. 15 and 16 at 10 p.m.; Garden Bar at Flamingo MillerCoors riders Dec. 9 and 15 starting at 10 p.m.; 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar at Flamingo MillerCoors riders Dec. 9 and15 starting at 11 p.m.; and TAG Bar at the LINQ Hotel MillerCoors riders Dec. 15 from 1-3 p.m.
***HOLIDAY SHOW NEWS***
All time best-selling female artist Mariah Carey will return to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace with her acclaimed Christmas concert series “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on Dec. 14, 16, 17, 20 and 22. Among Carey’s additional upcoming projects is the all-new animated movie “All I Want Christmas is You” produced and narrated by her.
The current holiday “Legends in Concert” show is running through Dec. 30 at the Flamingo. New in the show is a tribute to George Michael as the show’s opener, followed by Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston and Elvis portrayals. Each character performs one holiday tune in their set as the superstar artist. In addition, each night a different choral group opens the show and sings in the finale. The band’s sensational tribute to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo” (“Carol of the Bells”) is made even brighter by a different dance troupe each night performing their own original routine. The show is always fresh with new dance routines and costumes every time a new artist is brought into the show.
Australia’s Human Nature put a holiday “twist” to their new show “Jukebox” for a limited engagement Dec. 1-3, 13-17, and 20-23 at The Sands Showroom inside The Venetian. The foursome’s best-selling CD, “The Christmas Album,” includes holiday tunes they’ll be singing while they’re backed by a seven-piece band and dancers. Tickets range from $49.95 to $99.95 for the 7 p.m. performances.
In the Access Showroom at Aliante, there will be holiday cheer with “All-4-One Christmas” on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15-16 at 8 p.m. Grammy Award-winning band All-4-One is best known for their chart-topping hits “I Swear,” “I Can Love You Like That,” “So Much in Love,” “I Turn to You,” and “Beautiful as You.” The show will feature the R&B band’s best-loved hits, as well as new and traditional holiday songs from their Christmas album. Tickets start at $30.
SANTA TAKES TO WATER: Underwater Santa will be appearing with his helpers inside the giant Aquarium at the Silverton on Saturdays and Sunday in December from noon-1:15 p.m. and 2:15-3:30 p.m. It’s a fun sight to behold. The Black Canyon River Adventures’ annual Rafting with Santa experience returns Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24. The raft for the 12-mile journey along the Colorado River will be piloted by jolly old St. Nick and his helpers. The tour departs at 10 a.m. There will be gifts for each passenger and a boxed lunch. Cookies, hot chocolate and holiday music will be at Willow Beach Marina where the trip ends. Cost ranges from $97 for adults to $58 for children ages 5 to 12.
98 DEGREES PERFORM HOLIDAY HITS AT STAR OF THE DESERT ARENA: Band members Nick and Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons, and Justin Jeffre best known as 98 Degrees reunited this year to release their second Christmas album “Let It Snow” as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first release on Motown records. The pop group is headlining the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm, Nev., just 25 miles south of Las Vegas with their “At Christmas” tour on Saturday, Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $20.
NEON MUSEUM HOLDS SPECIAL PHOTO WALKS: One of Las Vegas’ most photogenic venues, the Neon Museum offers Photo Walks in the Neon Boneyard. Sessions are timed to coincide with the “golden hour” of sunset and allow up to 13 individuals access. During that time, hobby photographers may bring all of their chosen equipment and shoot photographs of the sign collection for personal use. The next dates are Dec. 6, 13, 21, 27 and Jan. 2, 12, 18, 26 with times varying by between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. Cost is $50 and $35 for Nevada residents, students, active military, veterans and seniors.
BUDWEISER CLYDESDALES VISIT SOUTH POINT: The public has an opportunity to meet the famous Budweiser Clydesdales on Thursday, Dec. 21 from noon to 6 p.m. at the South Point Hotel. The free event includes photo opportunities with the horses, complimentary hot chocolate, candy canes and draft Budweiser beer, and entertainment by Wes Winters. Santa Claus will be in attendance and a photo booth will allow for a commemorative photo.
***MORE HOLIDAY NEWS ITEMS***
Opportunity Village’s annual Magical Forest, which is a fundraiser, is open nightly at 5:30 p.m. through Sunday, Dec. 31 and closed Christmas Day. The holiday wonderland is glowing with millions of twinkling lights, nightly entertainment, treats, rides and endless cheer. General admission is $12 for adults and $10 for children 4- to 12 years old.
The 50-foot decorated holiday tree at the Fremont Street Experience has its annual lighting ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 5 p.m.
Santa Claus will be roaming the Topgolf venue greeting guests and taking photos on Saturdays, Dec. 9, 16, and 23 from 1–4 p.m.
The F.I.O.R.E. Christmas Luncheon featuring live entertainment with Gary Anderson and his Rain-dears will be held Thursday, Dec. 14 at 11:30 a.m. at the Italian American Club. Tickets are $25 and there will be a $100 grand prize for the Ugly Sweater Contest.
Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation are collecting new, unwrapped toys and gift cards for their 16th annual “Fill the Fire Truck Toy Drive” at any local fire station and select Walmart locations across the valley every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 17.
WINE, SPIKED COFFEE, CRAFT BEER AND HOLIDAY SPECIALS: Rock ‘n’ Roll Wine’s next Plugged-In event is Friday, Dec. 8 at Gary Allan’s show at The Joint inside the newly renovated Hard Rock. Guests can enjoy the show from the 3rd floor VIP perch or up close and personal on the floor. Tickets are $50 and include six tastings from a selection of more than 12 hand-selected wines. Downtown bar and eatery, Park on Fremont, has a new spiked coffee menu available for the cooler season. New $10 alcohol-infused coffee beverages include the S’More, Pumpkin Spice and Salted Caramel.
Cabo Wabo Cantina inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood is celebrating the holiday season with a specialty $12 Mistletoe Magic cocktail with Sailor Jerry Rum available through Sunday, Dec. 31.
Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sports Book at SLS is hosting Chicago’s original craft beer company Goose Island Beer Company for its December “Tap Takeover.” The Midwest brewery is offering five draft beers including: Goose IPA; Green Line Pale Ale; Halia; Goose Summertime Kölsch; and limited release 2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout Original. Beers are $9, $15 and $27 for 14- 25- and 50-ounce drafts. On Tap Takeover Tuesdays, the 14-ounce draft is two-for-one.
MOB MUSEUM NEWS: The Mob Museum downtown has been earning awards and recognition after just five-and-a-half years in existence. Earlier this year, the museum earned accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition conferred upon U.S. museums. In the 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards, the museum ranked No. 20 in U.S. Museums.The Mob Museum will hold its monthly Community Safety Forum on Traffic Stops – Rights and Responsibilities on Sunday, Dec. 17 from 2-3 p.m. Attendees will learn the protocol officers use in routine traffic stops. A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer will address the types of laws, including constitutional, federal, state, county ordinances and city. Attendance at the event includes Free Museum admission; registration is required. Also, The Mob Museum will be open Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
***ABOUT TOWN TIDBITS***
“Masters of Illusion,” the hit CW television series and America’s largest touring magic show, will debut a live stage show in the Jubilee Theater at Bally’s on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $49.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, chef and restaurateur Mario Batali will host “A Decade of Deliciousness: Mario and Friends Celebrate Carnevino,” five-course dining event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse at The Palazzo beginning with cocktails at 7 p.m. in the Taverna. Joining Batalli will be fellow chef luminaries Paul Kahan, Nancy Silverton, and Michael Symon, Batali’s co-host on ABC/s, “The Chew.” This culinary experience is $380.
Aliante is holding free Tuesday Sock Hops in December from 5-9 p.m. with live entertainment.
Television personality, actor and designer Carson Kressley, best known for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” recently took in his former co-star Jai Rodriguez’s comedy “Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man” at Paris. The show was a surprise smash-hit in New York City, before making its Las Vegas debut with reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson and Rodriguez earlier this year.
The National Atomic Testing Museum will host scientist, author and UNLV professor Dr. Francis Cucinotta on Friday, Dec. 8, for his lecture, “Radiation Risks for Space Travel,” beginning with a meet-and-greet at 6 p.m. followed by the lecture at 6:30 p.m. Of all workers exposed to radiation globally, none face greater exposures than astronauts. Tickets are $5 and free for museum members
TWO SHOWS AND TOY DRIVES ON DEC. 7: Local hip hop/rap artist, Mike Xavier, and friends including his son Jaylyn Thai are sponsoring a holiday toy drive on Thursday, Dec. 7 at The Arts Factory located downtown at 107 E. Charleston Blvd. to benefit Help of Southern Nevada. Entry to the all-ages show is a toy or gift card donation and guest RSVP at www.MikeXavierMusic.com to attend. Les Kincaid’s Wines Du Jour event, which airs live on radio from 7 to 8 p.m., on Thursday, Dec. 7 at Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, will also be the annual toy drive. The cost to attend the wine show is $25 and this time guests are required to bring an unwrapped toy(s) or cash/check donations for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. You need to RSVP to email@example.com.