The Lion King at Mandalay Bay – 50 Million People Can’t be Wrong

The next time you’re thinking about what shows in Vegas to see, go with a choice 50 million people worldwide have made–The Lion King at Mandalay Bay. It is a winner of over 70 awards, including a Tony and Grammy. The classic story of Simba trying to avenge his father’s death and defeat evil brother Mufasa is told with flair and passion. Tickets are more expensive than the average Vegas show, but if you search hard for a good deal, you can find it and be more than satisfied that it’s worth it. It will close on December 31, 2011, so time is of the essence. 50 million people can’t be wrong! For more information on the Lion King, including show information and ticket prices, click here.

Speaking of information, it can all be at your fingertips with the Vegas iPhone App, which includes all the latest restaurants, shows, nightclubs, and more. Don’t forget to head to Vegas on a Budget, What to Wear in Vegas, Stories from Vegas, Where to Eat in Vegas, Vegas Hipster, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Italian Food in Vegas – Battista’s Review

Vegas restaurant Battista's

There are many Italian restaurants in Vegas, but Battista’s may just have the edge over the competition, in both authenticity and longevity. Battista’s has been family owned and operated and serving authentic Italian food in Vegas for more than 30 years. Veal, pasta, spaghetti, meatballs, and much more await you, all prepared with the finest ingredients and the best knives you can find online, click here to learn more about knives history. Wines are from all over the world, including (of course) Italy, California, and Germany. An accordion player adds to the atmosphere during your meal as well. You even get a cappuccino at the end of your meal!

We ate here last week and would recommend it to anyone that loves good food; it is simply phenomenal authentic Italian, and the portions are huge!

Battista’s is located being the Flamingo Hilton at 4041 Audrie Street, and it’s open nightly for dinner from 5-10:30pm. You can find more information on Battista’s at their web site HERE.

Best Burgers in Vegas

In-N-Out may be the best burger in Vegas, and we have a list of all of them

We love to chow down on some great food, and who doesn’t love a good burger joint? We’ve been all over Vegas and tried out the best places to get a hearty meal for burger freaks, and the following list (in no particular order) includes just some favorites:

In-N-Out Burger

Multiple locations dot Nevada, California, and Arizona for a reason, and that reason is a simple, fantastic burger that nears no equal in price or in taste. Their menu hasn’t changed since Elvis was still alive (although there is a “secret menu”), and yet, they are always busy, no matter the time of day. There is a location near the Luxor, and a few others around the city as well. This is a burger for everyone, and the locals love it too.

The Rib-Eye Burger at Aria Las Vegas Aria Las Vegas (Skybox Bar and Grill)

If you are into steak burgers, this is your stop. Horseradish, steak sauce, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, and great sports on the big screen are all included. Click the link above and use the promo code AR503PA (Exp 10/31/11) to get a great deal to head and check the burger out.

The BOA Burger at BOA Steakhouse in Caesars Palace

We like to try new things on burgers, and this is what the BOA Burger is all about. Camembert cheese and onion rings on top of a fat burger patty? We’ll take it! There are a lot of options for food at the BOA Steakhouse, but this is one of the best. Click the link above for rates low as $99 a night at Caesars so you can get your burger on and not break the bank.

BLT Burger at The Mirage

This is a simple burger with the best ingredients, very carefully prepared to ruin your post-BLT burger experiences at fast food joints. It’s that good. It’s a modern atmosphere that gives the impression of more than just a casual burger joint, and that impression is well-founded.

These are just some of the great food options in Las Vegas. Be sure to check out our Restaurants section if you’re still hungry!

Fuse InTune Earbuds Review

InTune Earphones

Intune Earphones

While we were at CES 2011 we came across Fuse Intune Earphones.  Since we lost a set of earbuds on the flight out were were inclined to stop at every earbud dealer.  After our stop at the Nvidia booth, we found a very nice display from Fuse.

Fuse has different brands of earbuds, from the “Skullcandy” kid friendly to the colorful.  It is not uncommon for people to buy the best looking earphone with out even listening to them.

After perusing their wares, we found the InTune brand, which tunes their earphones to the type of music you listen to.  They have Pop/Easy Listening, Jazz/Classical, Rock/Blues/Country, and Rap/Hip Hop.  Each set has a different driver that is designed for that type of music.  The packaging helps you define which earphones best suit your genre by a graph of the sound curve on the box.

We listened to them all many times over.  They all produced different sound curves.

What we realized during our listening experience is that we do not listen to one type of music.  The Pop/Easy Listening had too much mid range, the Jazz Classical didn’t have an tonality, the hip hop had too much bass and not enough highs.  Our end result was to get our hands on the Rock/Blues/Country Version because they best fit all of our listening needs.

The rock/Blues/Country had the best overall sound and the EQ setup was just a little bit of a smiley face, the way we like it.

The cable doesn’t keep any shape, which is good.  I wrap my earphones around three fingers and push the jack through and that is how I leave them until next time.  The cable is a bit sticky, not like glue or tacky, but you cannot pull them out of your pocket very easy.

The downside to all the earphones, is that they have a hard time getting set in your ear.  I noticed, I reset the earbud in my ear at least once if not twice during a listening session.  They also feel heavier so that may be the problem with having to re-seat them.  The longer you wear them, you get used to them, but I felt like I needed a break from them after a long session.

Currently I use them for writing and listening to music and they are now my go to earphones, or the ones I do not wish to lose, so I keep them in a safe place.

Overall we found these earphones to sound better than the Logitech earphones we looked at earlier in the day, and we even went back to the Logitech booth to compare.

One thing we did mention to the Fuse company was their packaging did not set them apart and it would be hard to compete against the flashier type of advertising.  But with a $24.99 price tag, they are worth the purchase.

The Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace

The Auto Collection at Imperial Palace

The Auto Collection at Imperial Palace

The Auto Show at the Imperial Palace
We had a chance to visit the auto show at the Imperial Palace and had quite a good time looking at all of the cars. There are a lot of cars, trust us. These are some of the best preserved and well maintained cars we have ever seen. They needed more BMW’s though. Every Classic make was represented, from original Mercedes to Johnny Carson’s car.

Do not be fooled this is located on the 5th floor of the Imperial Parking garage and it is located way to the back, but it well worth it. You have to snake around to the left of the Imperial Palace Casino and head towards the back, when you pass the gift shops and it opens up a bit there is an elevator to the right next to a ramp. The elevator ride could have been better, it was slow and we stopped at every floor. Our initial thoughts were it was going to be a joke and have about 5 cars and be located in an open parking garage, boy were we wrong!

The garage is setup just like a car show and it is walled in and air conditioned. It doesn’t feel like a garage when you are walking around. There is a lot to see here and it will take some time if you are a car enthusiast. They do have a pretty big gift shop and it is well stocked.

They literally have over $100mil worth of cars on display. If you have the cash they are all for sale. We counted at least 250 cars on display as we walked through.

The Rio Las Vegas Hotel Review Nov 2007

Rio Las Vegas Review

Here is the review of my latest stay at the Rio Las Vegas.

I made my reservation over the phone and the prices were in the $300 range for the weekend, but as a frugal shopper I checked the web the day I was supposed to arrive and the prices had dropped to $145 a night. They tried to say that we could not switch because of the cancellation policy within 72 hours. I had to argue a bit but finally got them to give me the new rate and not treat it as a cancellation. This is pretty much rule #1 check the rates periodically before you leave to see if there is a better deal. During my reservation I specifically asked for the Masquerade Tower on a high floor, strip view and a king bed. I even made sure the reservationist had all that information in my record, by calling back to make sure the first agent had put this in.

When I arrived at the Rio and checked in, I did the $20 trick (if you don’t know what this is just ask us). The lady behind the counter was oblivious on what the $20 meant, which is another story all together. So we started to complete our transaction and she had us down for the wrong tower and I asked her to check for any notes in our reservation, she found them and fixed the reservation and I was off to my room, The room ended up being the wrong side of the building giving me a mountain view, so I traversed back to the front desk to get the room I requested, but they only had a room with two queen beds and the front desk lady said she would put us in the queue for a room change the next morning. Rule #2: Always get what you asked for and complain if you do not or the New Vegas will take advantage of you.

As a side note:
I personally like the Masquerade Tower. The Masquerade Tower is shaped like a crescent moon and I like staying on the outside curve of the building facing the Las Vegas Strip because of the view and the rooms are bigger.

When I finally got in my room here is what I found:
The TV didn’t work
The phone didn’t work, it only had the old pulse dial (There was no way to fix it)
Many lights were burnt out in the bathroom
The bathroom was in need of a good cleaning (which is why I’m giving it such poor toilet ratings)
The door-jam near the shower was rusting very badly
The Bathtub grout needed a good cleaning, grout cleaning products always smell a little weird don’t they? Also
The sectional couch had no support, the cushions were flat.
They have an advertisement for Jim Beam on the side of the building, like they really need any more money. This helps for privacy but takes away from a clear view out the window. It felt like I was looking out a very thick window screen

Rio Las Vegas Review Rio Las Vegas Review Rio Las Vegas Review

Right away I called maintenance, wait the phone doesn’t work, but the phone by the elevator did. So I called about the TV and a maintenance person was dispatched and showed up an hour later only to come in my room and literally bang on the front a/v ports on the TV until the message “please insert the a/v device” went away. So I turned the TV off and back on and the same message appeared, so he proceeded to beat on it some more, yes he was hitting it with his palm. The message went away again, I turned it off and on, and viola it was fixed. I said to the maintenance person, “I would never of thought of beating on the TV to get it work, but at least I know how to fix it in the future”

The other two items, the phone and burnt out lights, I addressed with the front desk. They said they would get a maintenance person up there to fix it, it was never fixed but we found a new toothbrush on our counter, go figure…

We did receive a message from the front desk about our room upgrade, but the phone didn’t work so we couldn’t get to the message without some assistance, but it was all for not since the Rio was now sold out, yea right!

Another Side Note:
Earlier this year I stayed in the newly renovated rooms in the Ipanema after the front desk guy said the rooms were much better since they were renovated, I still wasn’t impressed. For those of you that have stayed at the Rio: They upgraded the TV from a standard tube TV to a 42 flat panel which now hangs on the wall on the opposite side of the room over the table, the picture quality was horrible because they were sending standard def to a high-def screen. They upgraded the Beds and Bedding, which are really nice. They also spruced up the bathroom and I think they changed out the sectional couch. Other than that I didn’t see much difference. One really bad thing was the shower was stopped up and wouldn’t drain, so a call to maintenance was required.

The Rio still needs help and here is why
Customer service. The staff on the casino floor are an unforgiving lot. While cruising the casino, this includes the casino floor, the buffet, shops etc… I was always being cut off by the Rio staff. They were very unapologetic, they would just cut you off or make you get out of their way. If this only happened once I would not gripe but every time I would venture out they seemed to have the right of way. This is total CRAP, what happened to customer service and the customer is always right? I am not sure who is training these people but get a grip. Vegas was founded on customer service and thank you, and yes sir, no sir.

The Rio is faltering and has been since Harrah’s took over. They have made it just another “Hotel in Vegas”. I am sure Harrah’s is making money with their template but the Rio Hotel in Vegas used to be a great place to have a great time and enjoy the experience.

The World Carnival Buffet used to be one of those experiences until Harrah’s changed that also. Though it has gotten better the quality is not back to where once was. When Harrah’s bought the Rio the first thing they did was remove the sushi, got rid of the quality and went with easier food to prepare. The Rio World Carnival Buffet was about quality and quantity, now it is quantity and a little quality. Every time I have eaten here the same food always tastes different. How can you have multiple batches of eggs benedict, ribs, mashed potatoes taste so different, this goes for anything they prepare by hand and not “store bought”. I am also really disappointed in the size and preparation of the crab legs. The crab legs have gotten way smaller than they once were. (Yes, I know the seafood buffet is better but lets stick with the Carnival World Buffet, and the Seafood Buffet is closed for renovations. Back to the crab legs, I would not give these things to my worst enemy, they are so watered down you have to squeeze them so they will drain and I they are soaking in regular water and not brine. Also they are over-cooked so badly you cannot get any meat because it sticks to the inside of the shell. This tells me the person cooking them doesn’t know what they are doing. The Rio also used to have steamed crab in the World Carnival Buffet but now it is only iced. I have done my homework on this and have eaten at the Rio Carnival World Buffet for a decade and more times than I care to let on, trust me I am a card carrying member. One redeeming quality for the Rio is our waiter, he has been there for twelve years and I try and make sure we sit in his section, because he will make sure everything is right, there is only one waiter who has been there longer and only by two years.

The Wynn has it to the nines:
The customer service training is very apparent here. After you get up from either the tables or the slots there is a customer service agent to push in your chair and to clean up the mess you left behind. They hold the door for you anytime they can, they are always very friendly and will make sure you are taken care of. Not to leave out the Bellagio but they are a close second.