One of the most famous boulevards in the world, the Las Vegas Strip is characterized by legendary casinos and glamorous, over-the-top architecture. Megaresorts showcase one elaborate installation after another, ranging from dancing fountains to an erupting volcano. Pedestrian bridges crisscross the Strip, giving you easy access to everything. For a quieter experience, cross the Treasure Island bridge that connects to Fashion Show Mall, where designer shops are tucked between upscale restaurants. A day trip to Valley of Fire State Park is a good way to experience the stunning Nevada landscape. Located 55 miles east of the hotel, this 36,000-acre park looks something like a Salvador Dalí painting come to life, thanks to its miles of otherworldly sandstone formations draped in melting clocks.
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Rock & Rita's, touted as "all fun" by Las Vegas Magazine, houses a bevy of cooks who sizzle up slow, hickory-smoked barbecue grub every day as bottle-twirling bartenders serve cool drinks amid psychedelic décor. The restaurant's philly cheesesteak "is a beauty," according to Las Vegas Magazine, sending taste buds into nostalgic revelry with a down-home blend of Cheez Whiz and paper-thin beef. Icy draft beers, well drinks, and 44-ounce fishbowl beverages fill the full bar, fashioned from a large prismatic bus, and bartenders toss bottles, juggle glasses, and balance barstools while pouring drinks and reciting the list of past mayoral candidates from memory. Rock & Rita's showcases karaoke on Thursdays and live-music entertainment on various nights throughout the week.
H & H BBQ's welcoming walk-up window erupts with a bounty of freshly fried fish, classic Southern sides, and barbecued meats that are smoked on-site. Fluffy sandwich bread cushions mounds of beef brisket, pulled pork, or catfish, while the savory juices from ox tails and pork chops smother piles of rice. Side dishes such as ranch beans, collard greens, and fried okra also flow out of this casual barbecue joint, where a no-frills exterior belies the complexity of the flavors within.
Guests to Korean Garden B.B.Q. are greeted by glowing hanging lanterns, cozy stone accents, and a menu bursting with traditional Korean flavors. Appetites ignite over a plate of japche, a dish populated by shredded beef, crisp cooked veggies, and glass noodles ($9.95), or haemool pajeon, a mixed veggie-and-seafood pancake that doubles as an edible bib ($15.95). The restaurant's signature barbecued bites include seasoned beef bulgogi ($21.95) and emyunsoo gui, a pan-fried atka mackerel ($15.95). Bowls of bibimbap present a plethora of colorful mixed vegetables, served over hot-sauce-drizzled rice and blanketed by a sunny-side-up egg ($10.95). After supping on the superabundance of saucy, spicy succulence, diners can cool down taste buds with imported brews by Sapporo and Asahi or cups of ice-cold sake. Or keep the fires stoked with a bowl of hot and spicy kimchi jige casserole ($9.95) before jumping back on the strip and draining the Bellagio fountains through a straw.
Chefs at Big Paul's BBQ prepare for the day's feast by whipping up house-made, hickory-smoked barbecue sauce, painting it onto slabs of ribs and chicken, and cooking the meat until it slides off the bone. The rich, smokehouse scent of barbecue greets families as they step into the eatery to pick up substantial meals that include two full slabs of sauce-slathered pork spare ribs and a Sherpa bearing a sack of napkins. A full barbecue chicken, smoked and seasoned, herds a gaggle of spicy wings to the kitchen table. Two large sides complement the headlining dishes with hints of Cajun and Southern influence, as in the fried okra, black eye peas, candied yams, corn bread, and a CD with a bluegrass retelling of Gone With the Wind.
Drawing from an arsenal of traditional Louisiana recipes, the barbecue-savvy chefs of TC’s Rib Crib smoke, slather, and grill juicy cuts of meat and simmer their secret barbecue sauce recipe alongside a wealth of comforting homestyle sides and corn bread. Called "the best barbecue" by a reviewer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the savory menu allows customers to sample their favorites with combos more personalized than brisket branded with their family crest. On Fridays, chefs stock grills with spicy cornmeal-coated catfish alongside the daily selection of pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, all of which can be washed down with a selection of sweet tea drinks and homestyle desserts such as banana pudding or peach cobbler.