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Viva Las Vegas 2019

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Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen – Caesar’s Palace – Las Vegas, NV

With the announcement that future Hell’s Kitchen seasons will be shot on location at his restaurant and filming done at a sound-stage at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, I figured why not stop by the Vegas Strip location. Chef Gordon Ramsay was in and around the area as they are currently filming, so it was interesting to see the setup and how the staff were doing. The ambiance is top notch and they make you feel as though you are in the middle of the show without being cheesy or cheap. I was lucky enough to be seated right in front to get the feel of being in the kitchen and observe all the action going on. The service was impeccable from start to finish, and food was awesome. I had lobster risotto, pan seared scallops, Caesar salad, beef wellington, and an AMAZING sticky toffee pudding.

Chart House – Golden Nugget – Las Vegas, NV

Situated on the extremely eccentric and eclectic Fremont Street where anything you can imagine, you just might see in person, is Chart House inside the Golden Nugget. The setting of the restaurant is absolutely stunning with a 75,000 gallon aquarium surrounding the dining area. From start to finish I was impressed with the meal. The service was perfect and personable, and the food was delicious. I had the lobster bisque, calamari with fired veggies and a side of kimchi sauce that was to die for when added to the appetizer, grilled octopus, and a Chart House prime rib with a side of king crab legs and an order of sautéed mushrooms.

Sam Woo BBQ – Las Vegas, NV

Sam Woo BBQ is a favorite for Hong Kong-style Chinese foods in a casual, no-nonsense setting on the famous Spring Mountain Road in the Chinatown section of Las Vegas where you can get any Asian delight your heart desires. We were treated like family and service was friendly and efficient during our visit. I had the BBQ platter which was roasted duck, roasted pork, and bbq pork and also had their Mongolian Beef and shrimp fried rice. The duck was REALLY good and the both pork items were delicious as well. The Mongolian Beef was tasty. The shrimp fried rice was nice. Only thing I would ask for would be for larger shrimp my shrimp were too tiny and they could have been cooked a little more and seasoned better.

Official Summer of 2015 Atlantic City Report

Official Summer of 2015 Atlantic City Report

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To many the Jersey Shore is the go to destination for summer vacation success. I was lucky enough to visit The Wildwoods, Brigantine, Ocean City, Cape May, and my latest stop Atlantic City all this summer. I saved my visit to AC last this way I could experience well established successful shore points before I gave this supposedly struggling city who is trying to become a family resort a try without spending one single dollar gambling.  

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This much is for sure. Ocean City, Cape May, and for most intents and purposes The Wildwoods have all the facilities, businesses, feeling of safety, and the science of providing a good time down to a science. Brigantine was very enjoyable as well, but this city provides a whole different beach scene then the others with no boardwalk to highlight so I will leave them out.

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Now on to Atlantic City. It has been at least a decade since I have stayed overnight in this city, let alone an entire week. Many things have changed. Some for the good, some not. First the good. Their are more high end dining destinations around town since the last time I was there. Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill’s meal was fabulous and the Beef Wellington is a must paired with a few Innis and Gunn Original pints to wash it down. Landshark Bar and Grill was a joy to visit, had better food than expected and the margaritas were the perfect way to wash it all down while watching the waves. Eastwind at Resorts provided a very personable service experience with better than average Asian food with a front row seat of the boardwalk’s hustle and bustle while eating. The Irish Pub was the perfect getaway from the glitz, glamour, and neon signs for a down home hello, affordable meal, and pint served with a smile. I noticed more families than I have ever seen walking the boards and in the casinos. There seemed to be a nice shopping experience at the outlets. The Atlantic Ocean was clean and clear, and the beaches were utilized much more than in the past.

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Now the bad. Family friendly dining spots, destinations, accommodations, or things to do besides the Steel Pier were almost non-existent. The boardwalk would benefit from a stronger police presence. Aggressive panhandlers and those with substance abuse issues permeated public areas leaving visitors with a sense of diminished safety. Sadly the beach was completely littered with cigarette butts. The much publicized revival of a pier now called The Playground had more empty retail and dining space than occupied. I was refused service when I asked for it at a restaurant because I sat myself, even though I stood at the entrance for ten minutes while they just looked at me. The sight of so many empty casinos and tasteless boardwalk vendors was a bummer.

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You could say the negatives sound terrible, but even with Atlantic City’s flaws, the entire family had a great time, made the best of every situation, and I had one of the best times I have ever had in AC without spending one cent gambling. I think we all know more casinos is not the answer for this town. If they work hard, put their minds towards transforming into a true family tourist area, push politics to the side, and spend money wisely, I see no reason why they can not be one of the East Coast’s premier vacation destinations. In fact I’d bet on it!

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