Saturday, December 19, 2015

Guy's Baltimore Kitchen Review

Guy Fieri has a few restaurants in Las Vegas. Recently I had a chance to check out one of his non-Vegas locations - Guy's Baltimore Kitchen at Horseshoe Baltimore.

I'm guessing Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen and Bar is pretty similar to the Baltimore version. The appetizer I had is a Baltimore exclusive though, the Maryland Crab Fondue which was excellent.

For my entree I wasn't too adventurous and just had a burger. It was mediocre at best, and overpriced as expected. I even think the waiter messed up my order as the burger I got had slightly different toppings as the one I ordered.

So Guy's Baltimore Kitchen was pretty predictable in my experience. Expensive, perfectly fine bar food. The Maryland Crab Fondue was really good though, and I would consider a return trip just to order that again.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Sheldon Adelson buys Review-Journal

After a few days of intrigue surrounding the mysterious purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the buyer was finally revealed to be Sheldon Adelson. The Las Vegas Sands (parent company of Venetian and Palazzo) owner and CEO paid $140 million for the newspaper.

Adelson is known for his political views, so the newspaper's purchase is likely more about influence than profits (if there are any). It's somewhat surprising that Adelson would choose to buy a Las Vegas newspaper though. Most of his company's profits come from overseas.

The RJ likely already aligned with Adelsons political views. It's known to lean a little to the right, causing Democrat Harry Reid to openly bash the newspaper.

Some people are speculating the $140 million purchase price was more than the newspaper is worth. Sheldon Adelson likely doesn't care though. He's one of the richest people in the world - his Las Vegas Sands shares are worth almost $3 billion.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

More Las Vegas Bowl Controversy

Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl - which already had some controversy over ticketing - just got ratcheted up a notch. At a pre-game dinner banquet on Fremont Street - Utah player Seni Fauonuku called out BYU for being dirty. It was a move reminiscent of a heavyweight fight, fitting for Vegas.

The video clip is making the rounds on various sports shows around the country. Coincidentally (or maybe not?) the publicity generating event took place outside of The D, home to publicity king Derek Stevens.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Zarkana Closing for Convention Expansion

Zarkana - the Cirque du Soleil show at Aria - will be closing next year. The final performance is expected to be on April 30, 2016.

The show closing makes way for a $154 million expansion of Aria's convention center. The glass-enclosed venue will allow Aria to take advantage of its relatively close proximity to The Park and new Las Vegas Arena.

Zarkana has been running at Aria for just over 3 years. It replaced the also ill-fated Viva Elvis, which ran for only two years shortly after the hotel's opening.

I'm not sure if the quality of these particular shows was just bad, or if there's something about Aria itself that makes it a bad place for a show. I'm thinking its the latter. Aria's upscale modern motif seems to lend itself better to a convention center rather than a Cirque show.

I've always kind of wanted to see Zarkana, and now that it's closing I might have an extra incentive to actually do it. I'll be sure to post a review if I happen to catch one of the final performances.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

MLB shows Hypocrisy in Rose Banning

Pete Rose was once again denied admission to the baseball hall of fame when MLB commissioner Rob Manfred handed down a decision to maintain his ban from baseball recently.

The MLB's stance on Rose is just the latest in a line of examples of professional sports leagues enacting hypocritical attitudes towards gambling.

While Pete Rose can't be part of the baseball hall of fame because of gambling, MLB currently has no problem allowing casino advertisements at their ballparks, including this one prominently displayed during the World Series.

You can bet (see what I did there) that baseball has also benefited greatly from the rise in Daily Fantasy leagues such as DraftKings and FanDuel. MLB isn't rushing to ban those though.

Part of the reason for MLB's judgement against Rose seems to be the fact that he's chosen to live in Las Vegas. Rose addressed the media from his "Hit King Throne" at the newly opened Pete Rose Bar and Grill on the Strip:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Jubilee Ending after 34 Year Run

Jubilee at Bally's - the last of the classic Las Vegas showgirl spectacular shows - will be closing early next year. The final performance is expected to be on February 11, 2016.

The announcement came just days after the news that longtime Jubilee manager Fluff LeCoque had passed away at the age of 92 on December 10th.

The classic showgirl spectacular was a dying breed that will likely go extinct once Jubilee closes. The other longtime running spectacular Les Folies Bergere closed in 2009 after running at the Tropicana since 1959.

I had a chance to see Jubilee a few years ago. I enjoyed the show, but it was clearly outdated and not well attended. A 2014 revamp of the show fell flat, seemingly not doing anything to improve attendance.

It's interesting how "the showgirl" is one of the most iconic symbols of Las Vegas, but the actual show won't exist anymore.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

How Much is The Mirage Worth?

Back when the Mirage was rumored to be for sale there was a lot of discussion about how much the sale price would be, and how it would compare to other similar properties, say Cosmopolitan for example.

With Phil Ruffin's $1.3 billion offer to buy the Mirage rejected, we can determine that it would be worth more than that.

Cosmopolitan sold for $1.73 billion back in 2014. Although MGM Resorts has repeatedly stated that Mirage is not for sale, I would think they would need an offer of around that figure to raise their eyebrows.

If I had to place a value on Mirage I would place it right around that $1.73 billion mark. Now this is an unscientific estimate. I haven't dug into the financials like I probably should have, but I think it would be a fair price for the Mirage if it were ever to be on the market.