Great food and the Matt Goss show in Vegas

LAS VEGAS – Maybe I’ve changed. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s 25 degrees here this time, and not 5 degrees like when I came in November one year.

Whatever the reason, I’m finding this a very different Las Vegas trip than my last one a few years ago.

Yeah, I’m having a great time. I’ve got a great room at the MGM Grand . I’ve had incredible meals that are as good as any place I’ve visited in the world. And I saw an utterly fabulous show last night by the highly entertaining Matt Goss.

I even got to plunk my butt down in the lazy river at the MGM Grand on a perfect, sunny day on Friday and caught a few rays by the pool, which is always enough to put me in a good frame of mind.

The room I’ve got at the truly massive MGM Grand is one of their “Stay Well” rooms. There are clocks that can simulate dawn, complete with chirping bires. They have an air purifier that can remove, dust, mites, pollen and other nasty bits. There’s even energizing light to stimulate the photoreceptors in your eyes, although I feel mine got pretty stimulated Friday night by a couple of showgirls in the Matt Goss show at Caesars Palace.

The MGM Grand Room also has an aromatherapy scent diffuser and special mattresses that are extremely comfortable. There’s even a shower head that’s enriched with Vitamin C. So you’ll almost certainly never get scurvy.

I’ve had some truly remarkable meals already. At Holstein’s (at the Cosmopolitan Hotel) I had an absolutely first-rate hamburger called the meatball burger, made with pork, veal and beef and topped with arugula and some tomatoey-bits. It was huge. And wonderful. The fries could’ve been a bit warmer, but they were pretty good. I didn’t try the milkshakes, although they make one with Stoli Vanil vodka and Captain Crunch cereal if you’re ever in the mood.

I had one of the most tender and flavourful steaks of my life Thursday at PRIME , located at the Bellagio. The décor is stunning, with giant, silver vases towering over parts of the room with enormous pink flowers and pussy willow branches. There also are thick green drapes and private areas, one with a gorgeous Murano chandelier and a bright, colourful Roy Liechtenstein painting. The peppercorn steak might be spicier than some would want but it was wonderful for my taste, not to mention tender and perfectly cooked. Mind you, for $60 it probably should be. The truffle mashed potatoes also are excellent.

I’d suggest getting a table outside in good weather, as the patio is hard up against the fountains in front of the Bellagio, where they do that wonderful light and water show every night. And a few times during the day.

I could’ve done without the pounding music at the pool during my visit to one of the MGM Grand’s many pools, but I suspect I was one of the few people who felt this way. March Madness and spring break are both in town in Vegas this week, so the places is just overrun with young people, none of whom likely felt the need to break out the Jimmy Buffett tunes on their iPhone like I did….

I’ll end this post with a nod to the magnificent Matt Goss , a British singer who’s been putting on shows at Caesars for some time now. He’s a great performer who struck me as part Sinatra and part Springsteen in terms of his showmanship and energy.

He’s got a terrific band that really rocks; fabulous horns and a funky bass player and a couple of pretty good looking back-up singers of the most definitely female persuasion. The show girls were a big hit, too; very sexy in long boots and black bits that barely covered their backsides.

Goss came out into the audience several times, as did members of the band, and he appeared to have a lot of fun chatting with folks and encouraging couples to kiss – and guys to buy a drink to the lovely young woman near me who was celebrating her birthday with girlfriends.

He played a bit of Sinatra but also featured some pretty great songs of his own. He also did a foot-stomping, pounding jazz arrangement of Hotel California that had everyone singing along, including this California boy. One of the highlights of a truly magnificent evening on a dark desert highway…

I’ll have more to say about some other food spots later, including the absolutely stunning Fiamma Trattoria at MGM Grand and the very tasty Five50 pizza at Aria. And I’ll give you an update on the Crystals Shopping Centre and some other spots, too.

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