Access Vegas Insider Vibe – February 2, 2000

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This Issue: Rio Seafood Buffet

Curious about a restaurant, event, or other Las Vegas attraction that looks fun? Let us review it for you first! Suggestions are always welcome at:

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DO YOU TRAVEL? Get your faxes, email, voicemail, and even set up conference calls from home or on the road right from your computer. Check and receive from your computer or by phone! All this for only $9.95 a month at

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LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

FOUR DIAMOND ROOMS – Las Vegas now has more AAA Four Diamond rooms than any other U.S. city with the addition of Treasure Island to that status. The others are The Mirage, Bellagio, Golden Nugget, Desert Inn, Caesars and the Las Vegas Hilton (all of which we book at ). Story at In addition, Caesars is looking at adding a new tower to capitalize on their views of Paris and Bellagio as well as their prime location. Story at

BINION’S STEAK – update: the infamous late night steak is now only served 11 PM to 5 AM Sunday through Thursday night, and they price has been raised to $4.99 As much as I love downtown, unless you are staying downtown skip it and head over to Ellis Island just behind Bally’s at Flamingo and Koval (about a 10 minute walk from Ballys). This local’s casino is newly remodeled, clean, friendly and offers a similar steak special 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for $4.95 (if not on menu, ask for it). Plus, you can sample the microbrews they brew right at the casino. We still do highly recommend the $5.95 prime rib served noon until midnight in the coffee shop of The Plaza hotel downtown. Great meal for the money!

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY – was a huge success despite the fact that the game ended up right on the number which resulted on many bets being refunded. Story at

SPEAKING OF GAMBLING – on sports, a number of members of the U.S. Congress have introduced legislation to ban betting on college athletics. Of course, we know that NO betting on amateur athletics EVER happens anywhere outside of Nevada. NEVER. It wasn’t that long ago that Washington quit telling us to drive 65 miles an hour on desert freeway and now this. Obviously, we are less than pleased and while we have no intentions of turning this into a political newsletter, we will follow this and give you the opportunity to write your representatives if you enjoy betting sports here in Las Vegas. Story at

MEGABUCKS – More information on the women who won the $34,959,458, her options on how to take the payout, and her plans for the money at

RUN OF THE HOUSE – How would you like to be a fly on the wall at casino management and board meetings with unrestricted access to interview just about anyone you wanted to? Pete Earley was granted just that by the Mandalay Bay Group. He also interviews people ranging from cabbies to hookers in his quest to give us the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the “new” Las Vegas. Review is at and you can purchase it from Amazon for 30% off at

LAUGHLIN – from time to time, we get asked about this little jewel on the shores of the Colorado River 90 minutes south of Las Vegas. A recent Jeff Wolf article primarily focused on the SCORE off-road racing series but also talks about Laughlin itself later in the article at

WILD WILD WEST – Las Vegas is often thought of the “cowboy west” but few people make it past the neon. Which is too bad, because the desert is a beautiful, fun, calming place. Sandy Valley sits 45 short minutes from Las Vegas along the CA / NV border. It is still pretty much the middle of nowhere and the Sandy Valley Ranch offers trail rides ranging from half-day to overnight. Story at Note: 2 years ago, I was over there and found out that they don’t have a service station in Sandy Valley. So fuel up before you go!

Winner: Renee Borden of Providence, RI won the Rio beads. The winner of last week’s t-shirt never responded. So, you all have another chance at it this week!

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Quick Concert and Show Notes:

See which shows are playing during your stay and book reservations EVEN if the tickets aren’t on sale yet. Let ShowVegas takes care of all your needs directly online! Search by dates at

Michael Paskevich reviewed every showroom in Las Vegas recently. Not the shows, but the actual rooms themselves. Interesting facts to know at

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BUSINESS TRAVELERS: Keep the boss happy and pocket some cash! Pick from the from the 120+ destinations offered at for booking business travel. Get the guarenteed low rates, and YOU get to pocket the $25 rebate at (you must book during this month). Do you book rental cars? Try and access the best rates from the major companies.

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$27 for a buffet. No kidding. And that used to be for lunch or dinner until they dropped serving lunch last week. Is it worth it? That depends how much do you like seafood and how much can you eat.

The Rio Seafood Buffet (not to be confused with the regular Carnival World Buffet) is a seafood lovers delight. If it comes out of the ocean, they have some! Varieties of clam dishes, scallops, shrimp, oriental seafood delights, oysters, halibut, and swordfish in lanostino sauce to name a few.

Add in all the you-peel shrimp and crab legs you could eat. Then go get your choice of white fish, mussels, calanari or scallops with your choice of vegetable grilled to order . Got the kids along? Various breaded and fried fish as well as french fries were available. Someone doesn’t like fish? They were carving prime rib, serving BBQ steak and there was a fair amount of pasta, Mexican, and other more traditional buffet fare, all of which was top-notch quality.

The desert? I always judge the quality by the cheesecake, and I couldn’t finish the whole slice. Very good! The service was attentive, and for those so inclined a fairly substantial wine list was available as well as other adult beverages.

So what’s the verdict? When compared to what the same quantity, variety, and quality would cost in a traditional restaurant, you can’t go wrong for the money. Especially when you toss in desert, you couldn’t get this anywhere else for under $30 a head. However, for an upscale dining experience, it was a little too buffet-ish for my tastes. The surroundings were pleasant, but nothing special and no nicer than half of the other buffets in town. The music was a little too uptempo loud. There was a line at the desert bar because they served each person individually.

Unless you just don’t want to leave the Rio or you adore seafood, take the 5 minute ride over to Bellagio which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dinner runs $4 cheaper than the Rio Seafood Buffet and the atmosphere is more upscale, quiet and relaxed. While not having the huge selection of fish, Bellagio features a nice seafood variety, including PEELED shrimp. Plus, their desert bar is comparable but self-serve so you don’t feel like a child at Halloween or have to wait in line. You can view our Bellagio buffet review at

The Rio Seafood buffet is open 4 – 10 PM on weekdays and until 11 PM on weekends. Admission is $27 per person every single day.

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D.áLee of Casper, WY writes:

>My husband & I spent 4 nights recently.á We stayed in a very nice room
>at the Golden Nugget.á We usually go at least once a year and have
>stayed at that hotel that went under, Excalibur, Rio, and Palace
>Station.á The hotel and restaurant staff were exceptional and nice (!)
>compared to our previous stays.á Some folks don’t like the downtown
>atmosphere, but we found the savory more than made-up for the
>unsavory.á Upon returning home a letter from the Golden Nugget
>establishment came and invited us back.á What a class act.á The
>Nugget’s buffet is back in action (it was temporarily closed, during
>the stay), but we did manage to fit in the dinner buffet.á Our server
>was a young gentleman from Peru who took the time to connect with us &
>we welcomed him to come see the Tetons of our home state.á However, I
>included his tip on our room’s ticket which was credited with a $25
>food & bev allowance.á Well, I didn’t realize until we got home that
>the serving staff may not get the tip in this manner.á 1000 apologies
>to our server who so sincerely gave us delightful hospitality.á Anyone
>who has the chance make-up for our shortcoming, will you?

The Golden Nugget is the class of downtown. Perhaps not the best gaming rules, but 11 other casinos are within a 5 minute walk if that is important to you.

Jean H. of Waukesha WI writes:

>I thought Wayne Newton made an interesting statement when I saw him on
>TV over New Year’s Eve.á They were interviewing him about his upcoming
>long-term gig at the Stardust and he said: I believe that when people
>come to Vegas they want to know who is in town while they visit.
>Since entertainment, like every other industry, has it’s cycles–I
>believe we’re going to see a come back of more single entertainers and
>a moving away from the large production type shows.
>When I heard him say this, I really felt Mr. Newton had hit the nail
>on the head.á I know that when we visit, the first thing we do is go
>to the web and see “who’s going to be in town”, whether its a
>comedian, band/music act, special sports event or whatever!á Mostly,
>though, we’re interested to see what “headliners” are going to be
>there.á We often do book these events, if it’s someone we really want
>to see.
>When we look back on all our various entertainment venues we’ve see
>over the years, the only one I’ve really not cared for was a major
>production show–now not playing anymore.
>I do hope that the entertainment gurus of Las Vegas listen to Mr.
>Newton–and give the public what they want—more headliners!á What do
>you think?á Know of any statistics to prove me right or wrong?

Wayne is building up his own show, which we hope to check out soon. We certainly try to list in advance who will be here and how you can get tickets, but for now production shows appear to be going very strong. We have an updated list of coming events (including headliners) at courtesy of Las Vegas tourism legend Billhere. While you are at that page, make sure to sign up for his free newsletter. It is informative, and generally covers different ground than we do here.

Chuck and Charleen wrote:

>Our son recently was married at the Little Chapel of the Flowers.á The
>minister did a nice job of adding some personal comments to the
>program even though the process was rushed.á The photographer did a
>less than acceptable job on the outside pictures.á They were too far
>away from the bride/groom and/or others and many of the pictures were
>not in proper focus.á For the money invested the pictures proved to be
>less than professional.á A bad rap for such a business.
>In making plans for this wedding and related reception we contacted a
>lot of the hotels that you recommended.á We found them very pricey in
>terms of lodging and very expensive in terms of a reception.á We did
>make contact with the Super 8 Motel on Koval Avenue and encountered an
>extremely helpful sales manager by the name of Diane Webber Work who
>went out of her way to arrange for block room rates, arranging for a
>private reception in a large banquet room to accommodate 40+ wedding
>participants and with her own money secured a wedding cake.á We were
>extremely impressed with the staff of Super 8 and with the staff of
>the adjacent Ellis Island who catered our wedding reception.á The
>staff of both places were extremely accommodating and friendly.á We
>highly recommend them for the quality of service provided and for the
>costs of their banquet food items and lodging.
>We did enjoy our visit to a variety of the other hotels and casinos
>where we took in several shows and eating establishments.á I must add
>that the worst buffet we encountered was at the Riviera where the food
>tasted like it was a week old.
>Your city has a lot to offer and we hope each of the establishments
>and the taxicab services recognize that they have a lot to offer and
>that all should make every effort to market the city with a positive
>attitude similar to what we encountered at the Super 8 and the Ellis
>Island Casino.

It’s always tough to suggest hotels for people. We have readers that stay downtown and won’t pay more than $30 a night for a room, and others who won’t come to town if they can’t get the Mirage. Our suggestions also generally take into account that fact that most people prefer to stay on the Strip, although we are certainly fans of Ellis Island.

For those considering getting married in Las Vegas, please understand that these weddings are “in and out” type of deals. It’s almost like an assembly line. If you want something more, contact Jon Jacobs over at — tell him we sent you and he will give you a discount. He’s arranged weddings in helicopters, up on Mt. Charleston, Red Rock Canyon, and weddings to accommodate various size groups. Plus, he knows every chapel in town and isn’t tied to any one of them. Making the most of your day is his #1 concern, and he can put together a great package for almost any budget.

As for buffets, the Riviera has to be one of the worst for the money. Go to the Sahara buffet if money is an issue, otherwise the new Stardust buffet is actually pretty good if you are up that direction.

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at Please include your name if you wish to have it published (stating your city is optional). Also, guest article submissions are welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc. if accepted.

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GET A LIMO AND GO IN STYLE! – You might not fly in first class, but leave you can leave the airport that way! Or, imagine taking a limo ride down the neon-lit Las Vegas Strip. Find limo service rentals anywhere in the world – no cost or obligation! Request multiple quotes so you can save time & money by clicking to

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THIS WEEKS POLL – “How many times a year do you visit Las Vegas?” Let’s hear your opinions at — results will be published in next weeks issue!

What is your favorite nightclub in Las Vegas??

Utopia 0%
Studio 54 (MGM) 11%
C2K (Venetian) 11%
The Drink 0%
RA ( Luxor) 33%
Trax (Palace Station) 0%
The Beach 22%
Club Rio 22%


Note: You may enter every contest, but only one entry to each. Please note the expiration date and only enter if you will be in town and can use them. The 10’th entry in each contest will be the winner (unless otherwise noted or link to outside contest). Just sent a blank email to the specified email address — we’ll get your mailing address from you only if you win. Also, please do not enter if you have won within the past month.

LAS VEGAS 2000 – t-shirt. One size fits all. Enter at (contest closed)

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Have a request for a review? Boggled when you come to town and see the hundreds of dining, attraction, and show opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to hear about! Unlike the tourist magazines where all of the “articles” are really paid ads, we give you the honest scoop. If you appreciate this service, please consider booking your rooms and rental cars for ALL destinations with us at You get secure ordering with the convenience and savings of booking online!

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All contents copyright 2000 Ted Newkirk
February 2, 2000

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