Access Vegas Insider Vibe – May 3, 2000

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This Issue: Paradise Garden 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:

LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

SPEED – The new roller coaster at the Sahara is open for business! It’s linear-induction motors bring it to a speed of 70 mph as it goes through a loop and straight up the Sahara marquee. Full story at

MICHAEL JORDAN – is coming to the big screen. The really big screen! The Luxor is showing “Michael Jordan to the Max” in it’s IMAX theatre. They have also added a new IMAX 3-D film called Galapagos: The Enchanted Voyage”, a voyage to the archipelago of Ecuador. Full story at

SO YOU WANNA BE A GAMBLER – It takes more than watching a couple of old John Patrick tapes to beat the house. I should know — like many, I moved here dreaming of making the casinos pay. And they did. The first two years here, I was well in the black sports betting and counting cards at blackjack. I also realized that I would never have the kind of bankroll to make a full time living at it (especially considering the stress of trying to play blackjack without getting caught and the long hours required to handicap even football).

If you have the self-discipline to do well at either of the above, you have what it takes to do even better in just about any other field. Still, we all want to beat the house and Las Vegas Weekly has a great article on the nitty gritty of professional gambling at

WORLD SERIES OF POKER – The infamous yearly tournament held at Binion’s horseshoe is underway. Friday evening on The Discovery Channel (11:00 PM Pacific — check your local listings) is an hour long special on this one-of-a-kind Las Vegas event. Well worth checking out even if you have no interest in poker.

AIRPORT CHECK-IN – The MGM has set up a check in desk right at the airport! You can get your room, have them take your bags, and arrange a ride to the hotel on their shuttle ($10 with luggage, $7 without). Early reports tout this as being quite the timesaver. Full story at and MGM discount rooms are available at (MGM link).

RESTAURANTS – Aqua, the beautiful restaurant at Bellagio is reviewed at Z’Tejas is a local’s fave a short cab ride from the Strip on Paradise. Z’Tejas review at

I LOVE YOU – virus hit today, affecting those who use Microsoft email programs. For the record, there is no chance of catching a virus because you are on this mailing list. Viruses like “Melissa” and “I Love You” spread by sending themselves to everybody in your address book once they infect your computer.

Your email addresses are kept securely on file at, the company we employ to handle our mailings. This is also the reason why you need to follow the instructions at the bottom of the newsletter to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change addresses.

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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

Hard Rock – Don Henley on July 10. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

Las Vegas Hilton – Dwight Yokam and Keith Urban on June 9-10, and Engelbert Humperdinck July 11-16 and Pearl Jam on Oct. 22. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

Mandalay Bay – Toto on May 26, Cheap Trick on July 3, and Hall and Oats on July 21. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Mandalay Bay discount rooms are available at (Mandalay Bay link).

MGM – Marc Anthony on June 16, and Blink 182 with Bad Religion on June 24. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and MGM discount rooms are available at (MGM link).

FEATURE STORY: Paradise Garden Seafood Buffet

We’ve had an unusually high number of requests for info on this buffet, as well as hearing some great things about it. So, tonight we got over there to check it out. After a 25 minute wait in line around 8:00 PM, we were in and quite impressed from the get-go.

My biggest complaints about Las Vegas buffets are the atmosphere. Even the $27 Rio Seafood buffet is noisy, very little to look at, and background music that is too loud (archived at ). Not the case here! Almost every seat has a view out into the wildlife habitat, home to a flock of live Chilean Flamingos as well as African penguins, swans, ducks, Koi, goldfish and turtles plus exotic vegetation viewed from the dining room through 2 stories of glass.

The lighting (after dark) is subdued, with background music almost unnoticed. Service was very prompt, with our coffee cups never getting below half empty and plates removed by the time we were back from the buffet line.

Being exceptionally bright and professional, I managed to misplace the menu that a chef was kind enough to get for me after my meal, but this buffet had everything you should expect from a seafood buffet and then some. Two types of fresh green salad as well as a host of other cold salads shared a large center island with the other side filled with crab, shrimp, two types of oysters, lobster, and more — all you care to eat.

At one end of the buffet were rolls, bread, chips and salsa, at the other 3 varieties of fresh sliced melons. The serving line had the more traditional salmon, fried shrimp, and even a fish lasagna. (I’d love to tell you what kind — I’m going from memory here — I’m sure the menu specifically noted it). Also featured were a healthy variety of both the usual and less common fish delights.

Yes, you can bring that one guy who “hates fish” because the traditional buffet fare was present and accounted for. Garlic mashed potatoes, carved turkey and roast beef, and Chinese and Mexican dishes help round out the fare.

Desert was self-service, which I prefer. I hate waiting in line for the best part of the meal! As you know, I judge a desert area by it’s cheesecake. Three varieties and it wasn’t the cheap stuff! They also had a vast assortment of cakes and pies of virtually every variety. For those on a sugar restricted diet, they had one of the better “no sugar added” selection I have seen at any buffet.

Despite the modest price, nothing was second rate. This is the traditional casino loss leader, giving you value far beyond what you pay in both food and atmosphere. I’ll be going back! The Paradise Garden Buffet is located in the Flamingo Hilton and is open from 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM 7 days a week. Cost is $15, which includes tax. I’m sure that lost menu will show up first thing tomorrow …

Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Scenic Southwest Tours – by plane, bus, or even helicopter! You’ve seen the glossy ads in the tourist brochures. You’ve thought about it. You come all the way to Las Vegas — why not see one of the some of the most famous landmarks in the world! Don’t by tricked by web sites & magazines that offer discount tours. Taxes, park fees, permits can almost double the price. Our prices are inclusive – no hidden charges! Best Las Vegas Tours


Micki from Huntington, NY wrote:

>Hi!á Love your newsletter…á I’m so glad I subscribed to it.á My
>husband and I are coming to Vegas the end of May.á We usually do nice
>dinner & show at night and were wondering if anyone knows how the
>restaurants are at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel.á We are seeing Notre
>Dame de Paris (Hunchback of Notre Dame musical) and were interested in
>eating there as well.á We are particularly interested in the very nice
>restaurant located in the Eiffel Tower (French rest.).á Would
>appreciate any response.á Many thanks.

We have not seen Notre Dame nor dined at the Eiffel Tower restaurant yet. Reviews on Notre Dame are mixed. Reviews on the Eiffel tower restaurant all have one theme — nice but OVERPRICED (even from what it offers). Since you want an upscale dinner, make your way across the street to Bellagio. The walk is just a few minutes, and beautiful as you trace the edge of the lake. Picasso is one of only 19 Five Star restaurants in the U.S., although virtually any dining selection at Bellagio won’t let you down.

Satnick in NJ wrote:

>My husband and I just returned from our first trip to
>Vegas and loved it. We stayed at the Luxor and treated
>ourselves to a jacuzzi room in the pyramid. It was
>lovely and we enjoyed it. We toured most of the hotels
>although we could not squeeze everything into 4 days.
>We ate at Emeril’s New Orleans Seafood and enjoyed it
>but thought it was a little overrated. The food was
>good and the staff excellent but felt more like a
>chain restaurant and banking on his name than we had
>anticipated. I wouldn’t go back again but don’t regret
>the experience as we are Emeril fans.
>We saw a real Vegas style show at Bally’s called
>Jubilee. It was quite entertaining and we both enjoyed
>it more than we thought we would.
>We also went downtown and had fun. Be prepared that
>this a different element than the strip and more of a
>party atmosphere. I was not thrilled with the Fremont
>Experience light show and wouldn’t have cared if we
>missed it. I did enjoy the “boardwalk” kind of feel
>that was there.
>The best experience was a helicopter ride to the Grand
>Canyon. We had a beautiful day and felt incredibly
>lucky to land in the Canyon and see all that we saw.
>Although it is pricey, it was well worth it!
>All in all, it was GREAT trip. If I return (I hope), I
>would like to stay more centrally located on the
>strip. We stayed at the south end and didn’t get to
>some of the northerly hotels. Thanks for all the tips
>and information before our trip!

H. Hollis of Denver, Co. wrote:

>I visited Vegas about a month ago and I will never stay at the
>Stratosphere ever again!á We have stayed twice and this past one was
>very disappointing and I even wrote the Hotel with a list of 9
>complaints and have yet got any reply from them.
>Whatever you do don’t use the phones in your room to make a long
>distance calls unless you have a card; we were charged over $5.00 A
>MINUTE!á All of the employees were so rude, they were not friendly at
>all.á We never felt welcome there.á The Dealers were the worst!á The
>only thing that has improved was the buffet.

We are sorry to hear that. It does bring up the subject of what to do if you have a bad stay and here are some general rules to follow:

1. Don’t be scared to talk to someone in charge (restaurant manager, pit boss, etc). Sometimes they will do something then and there to make it right.

2. Write the hotel and complain! If it is legitimate, they have been known to send you vouchers for free rooms, or at least free food to get you back in the door (hoping your next experience will be better).

3. Constructive, concise criticism is always appreciated. If you can remember the name of the person and date you got the bad service, they take you more seriously that some guy who’s mad because he lost all his money, upset his wife, drank too much, fell asleep in the sun …

We hope your next stay is better!

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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.


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 20’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.

Hard Rock Hotel “Slot Player” souvenir key chain — Enter at (contest closed)

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All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
May 3, 2000

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