Friday, May 20, 2011

Restaurant Review: PBR Rock Bar & Grill at Planet Hollywood

The Miracle Mile entrance (inside)
Kickin' Coleslaw is a little too red for me...

The PBR Rock Bar & Grill is located both inside and outside the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino.  The main restaurant is situated just inside the entrance to the Miracle Mile Shops, and their patio is immediately outside the mall entrance and impossible to miss.  The indoor restaurant and outdoor patio areas have separate hostess stands, so be sure go to the correct one before you ask to be seated. 

When you are facing Planet Hollywood from the Strip, PBR Rock Bar & Grill is on the right-hand side of the building, not the left; trying to find it from the left-hand side would cause you to either A) walk through the casino (which could be confusing), or B) walk through the Miracle Mile Shops to the other entrance (which would be tiring and pointless, as it really is a mile long from beginning to end).

It was after 5 p.m. when we arrived, and we decided to sit out on the patio to enjoy the late March weather since the sun was already behind City Center and we wouldn’t be burning ourselves in it.  It was perfect weather, a little breeze blowing, and the eclectic mix of music being played was not loud at all.  

PBR sort of has a sports bar feel to it, but with a Country twist.  There were all sorts of people – young and old, country and punk – all through the place, so we fit right into the "un-mold", and we were able to people-watch from our seats, listen to the music and enjoy the big screen TV's as much as the people-watching opportunities available all around us.

My cousin ordered the Catfish Po-Boy and Kickin’ Coleslaw.  She said the hoagie bun was a little too hard for her (she has dentures), but all the inside parts were good, and she ended up eating everything with a fork.  Mom and I both ordered the half-pound Fried Dill Pickle Burgers cooked medium – mine with fries, hers with Kickin’ Coleslaw – and even though the massive amount of fried dill pickles were a little overcooked, it was a really good cheeseburger and I finished ¾ of it and most of my fries.  The fries were long and thin, crispy and salty on the outside and hot on the inside.  They are my preferred type of fries, so I was pleased.  They served a horseradish/ketchup dressing with them that gave a nice, tangy kick, too.  It was nice to get the burgers made just as we asked for them.

I wondered why the coleslaw was called “Kickin’” Coleslaw and figured it out immediately when the dishes were brought to the table: the little red bits on top were…Pop Rocks!  You could almost hear them popping from the next table.  I tasted my mom's coleslaw, but it was way too sweet for me, even without the Pop Rocks (which I avoided – that just seemed gross).  I am a tart and tangy coleslaw kind of gal, and I avoid sweet coleslaw at home, too.  

We were able to sit and enjoy ourselves, drinking several glasses of iced tea while we ate and talked, and we were not rushed by anyone even though almost every table was full.  The entire staff was very pleasant and engaging, and they were all very young, too (late teens or early twenties).  I'm guessing they are probably staffed by lots of college students, since UNLV is only a couple of miles away from the Strip.  But no bad experience with anyone, which is most 

Mom paid for dinner, which included 3 iced teas, and the bill was $49.50 + tip.  I'd give this restaurant and dining experience a solid 8.  I would've preferred to have the dill pickles a little less well done, but they were certainly edible, as we made quite a dent in our baskets.  I'd love to try this restaurant again and try some of their other selections.

To view their complete menu or hours of operation, go to 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Drink Review: Sugar Factory at Paris Hotel and Casino

The specialty drink menu
Hubba Bubba martini
Blow Pop martini
A sugary creation in the Chocolate Lounge
There are three Sugar Factory locations in Las Vegas, but this particular review is for the new, larger location at the Paris Hotel and Casino.  Sorry my photos are so blurry - I was apparently unable to hold a camera still and keep the flash off at the same time.   

This location was opened in late 2010 and includes a bar, a restaurant and a club attached to the Sugar Factory store at the front of the Paris casino.  A second, smaller location is at The Mirage, just inside the Strip entrance, on the right-hand side, and it offers sweets and souvenirs to the public from its storefront.  The third location is in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, and is easily accessible from the right-side entrance to the shops, about halfway up on the right.  It is also a smaller, storefront location with limited products and souvenirs.

After breakfast with a group of friends in March, my friend Claire and I were off to visit the new location Strip-side at Paris Hotel and Casino, where Claire gave me the 50-cent tour of the main floor.  She’s a great tour guide, and we took photos as we walked around and checked out the restaurant, the Chocolate Lounge and the shop on the first floor.

The Sugar Factory is the "new and hip" place to be seen.  Advertised by everyone from Kim Kardashian to Britney Spears,  there's no shortage of beautiful people in the place, whether they are visitors or photos of the stars staring back at you while you dine and shop. 

The Chocolate Bar is located at the back of the store, away from the Strip, and it is a darker area with plenty of cushy chairs and smaller seating areas, which would be great for meeting friends.  Their bar top has fondue warmers embedded in the counter top, which is a really neat touch.  They offer a wide selection of fruits, nuts and salty snacks to use with their fondue.  There's something I'd love to try on another trip!

The restaurant area is pretty and airy; two rooms, open to the natural light and containing lots of small 2-top and 4-top tables, are decorated in black and white.  While we were there, construction workers were completing a patio area that overlooks the Strip.  Another great place to sit and people-watch while enjoying a drink, a snack or a meal in Vegas!

We did not visit the upstairs club because it was closed, but Claire told me it's a pretty spot, too.  It can be accessed by an elevator from inside the restaurant or from a staircase located just inside the Paris casino.  Several security guards were on hand throughout the entire store, restaurant, bar and club because of the prices on some of the "bling". 

We had a seat at the bar and ordered two candy-flavored martinis from their specialty drink menu.  I had the Hubba Bubba martini: a bright pink concoction with a huge piece of Hubba Bubba gum for the garnish.  Claire had the Blow Pop martini: green and sticky sweet, with a Blow Pop as its garnish/swizzle stick.  

Pop rocks and small pieces of gum were used on the rims instead of sugar, and the drinks were delicious, too!  I definitely felt my drink was stronger at the bottom of the glass, but it could be that I'm just a lightweight drinker.  At least I had some Hubba Bubba gum to chew on after I was finished!  It made a cute garnish, though.

At $16 apiece, those drinks were definitely pricey, but there were many other options on the menu, including larger drinks for sharing...or pretending you're sharing.  Claire really wanted me to try one of the specialty drinks, though, and I'm glad I did.  I probably would not have set foot in the place if it hadn't been for her suggestion, because I was dead-set against Paris taking out the beautiful fountain that stood in that location previously.  But it's such a cute place I'd love to go back to have a light lunch someday, and there are a couple of other drinks on the specialty drink menu I'd like to try, like the Root Beer Float (which looks BETTER than a regular root beer float).

A visit to the shop after our drinks were finished gave Claire the opportunity to replace a gift for one of her boys, while I just marveled at the sparkles on most of the merchandise.  I will not, however, be buying a $25 lollipop holder, no matter how cute and glittery it is.  Unless, of course, my daughter decides she has to have one...   

Thank you again, Claire, for taking me to the Sugar Factory, and buying me a martini to boot!

To check out the store and view the menu or see their merchandise, visit them at

Link to bus schedule: Westcliff Airport Express connects the airport to downtown Las Vegas for less

For those of you who like to stay in downtown Las Vegas - or visit a couple of the outlying casinos or outlet malls - there is a new bus route that connects you from McCarran Airport to those outlying areas.

Started in December 2010, this new bus route extends from McCarran Airport to the Suncoast Hotel and Casino, the Las Vegas Premium Outlets (very popular with visitors from other countries), to the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard near the Tropicana, MGM, Mandalay Bay and other surrounding casinos, and back to the airport again.

Get on the bus!

A list of the departure times - as well as a map of the route - are included, which should help passengers to "visualize" their trip and plan accordingly.

I am hoping that the website owner will continue to update this bus schedule if it changes.  If anyone notices that things are NOT being updated, please let me know with a comment.

Considering the high price of a taxi ride from the airport to downtown, which is about $40 one way (not including a tip), this would be a great option for the Vegas visitor looking to stretch their dollars.  I have a friend who frequently stays downtown for part of her trip, and this would certainly take the pressure off of her to try and find another way to get downtown cheaply.

Happy traveling!