Las Vegas Eats: El Burro Borracho

If you’re a fan of Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins and you’re in Las Vegas, you’re going to want to try El Burro Borracho. Located inside the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas (there’s an additional location in Laughlin if you’re out that way), this Mexican cantina-inspired restaurant promises a fun time with rich, flavorful food and artisan margaritas and cocktails.

This new addition to the Rio is conveniently located near the convention center and the hotel’s pool area on the first floor. You won’t get authentic Mexican cuisine at El Burro Borracho, but you don’t go to a Guy Fieri joint for authenticity. Fieri’s specialty is fried and flavor, and in that respect El Burro Borracho scores major points. Trash-can nachos, fajitas, and carne asada burritos are popular menu items, but I opted for the roasted chicken tortilla soup. It was the perfect portion size for me, and it went well with my margarita of choice.  

 

Speaking of…you can’t go to El Burro Borracho and not order a margarita. Maybe you can if it’s early and it’s during the week but….no, even then you should order a margarita. I opted for the strawberry margarita with a dollop of whipped cream, and I could have easily ordered three more. The menu also offers “tequila flights”, if you’re not sure what type of tequila would suit you best.

Happy #NationalTequilaDay!

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As far as prices go, El Burro Borracho is moderately priced compared to other nearby restaurants. Cocktails average between 10 and 15 dollars each, and the food dishes can range between 11 and 30 dollars per person. This is also on par with Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen at the LINQ.

 

El Burro Borracho is a great place to go with friends, or on a date. It’s also a great place to go after spending the day at the Voodoo Beach Pool, if you’re in town during the summer.

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Five Hiking Trails to Try Around Las Vegas

 

Las Vegas is known for its casinos and nightclubs, but if you venture past the Strip, you’ll find expansive mountains and trails to hike and explore. Here are just a handful of the interesting, colorful, and varied trails you’ll find around Las Vegas.

Mary Jane Falls

#31daysofhalloween #day19: I went up to Mount Charleston yesterday to see the last of the fall colors. I had heard that Lee Canyon was pretty much done but Kyle Canyon still had some trees with leaves left, so I struck out on the South Loop Trail for a little while until I decided it was time to turn around and head home. Some spots of yellow here and there but the trees are mostly bare now, but at one point I did turn around on the trail to see this spectacular view of Mummy Mountain behind me with the sun shining just so, perfectly highlighting the “sarcophagus“ of Mummy Mountain from the Forehead (right) all the way to the Toe (left). Plus it was overcast with a nice fall chill in the air, and I ran across some deer near the trail. All that seemed pretty Halloweeny to me! 🎃👻🕷🕸🦇💀😈🖤🤡🎈🍂🦌#hiking #hikinglasvegas #vegashikers #vegasoutdoors #myvegas #optoutside #halloveen #halloweenish #fall #fallhiking #fallcolors #fallinvegas #halloweeninvegas #vegashalloween #averyvegashalloween #southlooptrail #mountcharleston #springmountains #kylecanyon #mummymountain #vegas #lasvegas #vegaslife #vegaslocal #chasingfallweather

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Mary Jane Falls is a popular trail for locals, especially in the summer. The 2.5 mile moderate hike is located on Mount Charleston, and features a waterfall at the end of the trail. The temperatures in Mount Charleston average at least fifteen degrees cooler than Las Vegas itself, so it’s a nice refuge away from the summer heat. This trail is also open to dogs, but they must be leashed at all times.

This hike starts off harder than you might anticipate, but the view at the end is worth it. For a truly spectacular view of the waterfall, spring is the best time to visit.

 

Ice Box Canyon

Ice Box Canyon is a moderate-to-difficult trail located inside Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The red rocks and jagged landscapes inside this national park sets it apart from its counterparts, Mount Charleston and Lake Mead.  Since the climate is more arid than Mount Charleston, it’s a nicer park to visit in the cooler months. This 2.5 mile trail is one of the cooler (temperature-wise) hikes inside Red Rock, and is popular in the winter and early spring.

Liberty Bell Arch

Liberty Bell Arch is another great hiking option inside Lake Mead. Due to high temperatures, this trail is not accessible during the summer, but if you visit in the spring and fall, it’s an ideal way to spend time outdoors. The trail goes up and over canyons, and passes by a World War II magnesium mine before reaching the end of the Arch.   

 

Cleopatra Wash

Cleopatra is one of the more difficult washes to hike, but its beauty makes the time spent traversing this trail well worth it. From beginning to end, elevation changes approximately 900 feet from the top of the Wash, through the Black Mountains and down to Lake Mead. Due to dropping lake levels, many hikers will opt to bypass the cliffs that have been created to reach the water.

Black Velvet Peak

Happy to be in the desert again

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The Black Velvet Peak Trail is another popular trail inside Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This trail is a little harder to get to compared to more popular hikes like Ice Box Canyon, but it’s worth the extra work. The black rocks that give the area its name set it apart from the rest of Red Rock, and the 2,000-foot high walls make it ideal for wall climbing.

Viva Las Vegas.

I don’t know how I feel after October 1st.

 

I wasn’t at the festival, and the people I’m acquainted with that were came home okay. I don’t feel entitled, really, to feel sad, because of that. But in the days since then, I can’t help but feel like someone poked a hole in all of my balloons.  

 

My city always felt safe. That’s not to say there wasn’t violence that went on here before, but it was to such a small degree that it was easy for most parts of the city to forget about. It’s a city where I felt comfortable walking around at five in the morning, or midnight even as young teenager. Las Vegas has never been at the top of any “dangerous city” list; our crime rate even decreased between 2015 and 2016. You might lose your money here, but your life, especially as a tourist, was always a safe bet.

 

I worked at Mandalay Bay as a teenager. My first job was inside the Shark Reef gift shop, stacking stuffed animals and selling shark tooth necklaces. While no one in my immediate circle was at the festival that year, I’ve had family attend in years prior. Being in such close proximity to an act of terror is sobering, and confusing in a way I haven’t yet experienced. Knowing that these things can continue to happen, is even more grievous to me.

 

When I read about the victims, hoping that the number stays where it is and no one else succumbs to injuries, I can’t help but notice how many of the deceased weren’t from here. I think, and I might be wrong about this, that fact makes it feel different for the rest of the country. This shooting affects more than just one city. The victims were from all over the country, here simply to have a good time. If you can’t relax and be free on vacation, when can you be?

 

The other main thing I can’t get my head around is – why here? Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination, but it’s not a pivotal place in terms of politics. We’re not an import/export hub, we’re not even the state capital. Las Vegas is a desert getaway, a place to come when you want to let your hair down and forget about real life for a while. You’re suppose to be safe here. Thankfully, to the quick response of our local SWAT and other law enforcement officers, as well as the security team at Mandalay Bay, the damage stopped after minutes. Hundreds were hurt, and many died, but without their quick action it could have been much, much worse.   

 

If you’ve never been here before, I hope you decide to visit one day. If you have been, I hope you come back. With your help, we can be the infamous party city we’ve always been. While this dark cloud looms over our heads now, eventually, the neon will shine through once more.  

 

To those who lost family and friends, I’m so sorry. To the police and the firefighters and the medics that confronted the shooter and got people help, thank you. To the everyday Joes who risked their own safety to get people out, I applaud you. I hope all of you, one day, will feel safe again, and find some peace.

Visit New Orleans: The National World War II Museum

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit the World War II Museum in New Orleans. My visit ended up being a highlight of my time in New Orleans, and shed light on a war that all Americans are vaguely familiar with, but don’t know enough about.

Inside the World War II Museum | © Lauryn Wilder
Inside the World War II Museum | © Lauryn Wilder

I began my day in the French Quarter, with some beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde. I have a tendency to get up at the crack of dawn no matter where I am, vacation or not, so I needed to kill a little time before the museum opened.

When I was done at Cafe du Monde, I started the walk toward the World War II Museum. I enjoy walking anywhere and everywhere I can in a new place; it’s the best way for me to learn the layout of a new city, and find places to eat or shops to visit. The walk to the museum took me through Jackson Square, where I got to see some of the few remaining Confederate statues in the city.  

Pencil drawings of soldiers, by soldiers | © Lauryn Wilder
Pencil drawings of soldiers, by soldiers | © Lauryn Wilder

When you get to the museum, you’re directed to the ticket counter where you are handed a “dog tag” of a real-life veteran. My veteran was a female pilot named Geri Nyman; throughout the “Road to Berlin” exhibit, I learned about her life before the war and her experiences as one of the first female pilots in the American military. Learning her story while going through the exhibits made going through the museum feel more personal to me; as someone without a World War II veteran in the family, Geri gave me a face to associate with the time period and the cultural makeup of the time.

 

The collection of the National World War II Museum encompasses four buildings, including the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, and The Boeing Center. Each building’s exhibits cover different aspects of the war; from the warfront in the South Pacific, to the events that started the worldwide conflict in Germany. Inside the Boeing Center, visitors get an up-close look at the vehicles and aircrafts that propelled the war effort forward.

Pin-up girls | © Lauryn Wilder
Pin-up girls | © Lauryn Wilder

I was surprised at the emotion I felt walking through the halls of the World War II Museum. Reading the letters of soldiers to their sweethearts, listening to Geri Nyman’s story, and learning details about the concentration camps that were never made available in school almost brought me to tears. The examples of wartime propaganda in the Road to Tokyo exhibit were reminiscent of our current political climate, particularly between North Korea and  the United States.  

Wartime Propaganda | © Lauryn Wilder
Wartime Propaganda | © Lauryn Wilder
Wartime Propaganda | © Lauryn Wilder
Wartime Propaganda | © Lauryn Wilder

World War II changed everything. It changed relations between countries, and how military operations are carried out. The war brought women to the workforce, and set the stage for the founding of the United Nations and the Cold War. The National World War II Museum tells the stories of the men and women involved in this global conflict, and their heroic effort to preserve freedom for those throughout the world.