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The trouble with the Lakeside Grill is ELV can’t get excited about it. The food is good. Real good. The vegetarian* food is even better. Everyone from Wynn designer Roger Thomas to Executive Chef David Walzog have busted their humps to update the old Daniel Boulud Brasserie space, and provide a top shelf casino/hotel dining experience.

But that’s the problem. Continue reading “A LAKESIDE Lament”

One Cool Cake for One Cool Dude

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Jackie Gaughan, Downtown Vegas Icon, celebrated his 90th birthday on October 24th, but ELV’s staff has been so busy with its usual sybaritic pursuits that we forgot to officially wish him a happy one….and post these snaps of one über-cool cake (made by the Luxor pastry chefs as a tribute to him and his operation of the El Cortez hotel since 1963).

Some fun facts about the El Cortez:

> It is the only hotel and casino in Vegas never to have changed its facade (as in: get a facelift).

> It had 59 rooms when it opened.

> When it opened in 1941, it was considered to be too far out of town to be profitable.

> The hotel’s signage is also original.

> Between the months of October and May, it has the best Florida stone crabs in town…at the best price. (Fridays and Saturdays only)

El Cortez
Address 600 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Opening date 1941
Theme Ranch
No. of rooms 364
Total gaming space 45,300 sq ft (4,210 m2)
Casino type Land-Based
Owner Jackie Gaughan
Previous names none
Years renovated 1963, 1980, 2006, 2008
Website www.elcortezh

One über-cool cake befits one über-cool dude…so Jackie, these two are for YOU!

GIORGIO RISTORANTE…and Piero Selvaggio

When Piero Selvaggio first opened Valentino in Santa Monica in 1972, he will tell you he knew very little about Italian food and absolutely nothing about Italian wine. By the time he and Chef Luciano Pellegrini opened Valentino in The Venetian nine years ago, ELV (and many others) will tell you he was widely considered the best Italian restaurateur in America, and that probably no one, outside of Italy, knows more about Italian wine.

Selvaggio’s personal and professional pilgrimage began on the southeastern coast of Sicily. He and his family moved to Brooklyn in 1963, and six years later, he was a very young man with a lot of ambition and no prospects. So where did he head? Well, to Las Vegas of course! Yes, even in 1969 it seems Vegas was the land of plenty for expatriates and nomads looking to make their mark on the world. As the French would say: plus la change, plus la meme chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same).

Continue reading “GIORGIO RISTORANTE…and Piero Selvaggio”