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.
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.
Every time I go to California, I love stopping in at Duke’s. It’s been a family tradition for the last fifteen years or so, ever since my uncle and aunt discovered the original location in Hawaii. Duke’s has six locations throughout Hawaii and California, all located on or near the water.
Duke’s is easy to spot; coming down Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll see it right on the beach. There’s a downstairs bar area meant for those enjoying the beach, and an upstairs/outside dining area for more formal guests. The downstairs menu is a condensed version of the dinner menu, and thankfully both menus have the restaurant’s signature dessert – Hula Pie.
If you eat nothing else at Duke’s, get the hula pie. It’s so good, my uncle will send us pictures of him eating it. The Hula Pie is, by itself, worth an entire trip to the beach. It’s made with macadamia nut ice cream, which is impossible to find in most parts of the country, and a chocolate cookie crust. The fudge and the whipped cream toppings are optional, but…really, they’re not. We typically like to start the meal off with it, mostly to make sure we have the room in our bellies for it.
Duke’s also makes some killer fish and meat dishes. I am personally not a big fish-eater, but my cousins and aunt love their salmon and ahi. The sirloin to me is one of the most juicy I’ve had, and the pineapple garnishes are like the cherry on top. I wouldn’t recommend the wraps though; the last time I went the server told me they are pre-wrapped and they simply warm them up. Nothing wrong with that, but I’d rather have a steaming hot sirloin than pre-made. If I want pre-made, I’ll go to McDonald’s. J
If you’re going for a more formal eating experience, I highly recommend making a reservation. Since it’s located right on the beach, it has a tendency to stay busy. If you decide to go after a long day in the water and on the sand, I would say that’s not necessary. And if you’re there at the right time of day, just as the sun is about to set over the water, opt for outside seating. It makes for one of the dreamiest sunsets you can experience.
La Comida is one of my favorite places to eat downtown. It’s one of the many themed bars in the downtown area, but the Latino/Catholic décor does more than act as a gimmick to draw customers in. La Comida is a little piece of Mexico off the Strip, and it’s a place I highly recommend anyone go to if they are in that part of town.
La Comida can be hard to find at first, but once you get your first glimpse of the neon pink monkey hanging from the side of its building you’ll know you’ve found the right place. A statue of the Virgin Mary Greets you as you walk in, with colorful stringed lights lighting your path inside. The bar is dimly-lit inside, and has an open space outside for dining as well. The bar area is spacious, and has a swing on the very end. I’ve never had an issue getting a seat at the bar, except for on holidays.
La Comida’s signature is their margaritas. The drinks are reasonably priced; the most expensive drink on the tequila menu is 17.00 and there’s a wide selection of margaritas to choose from. The drinks come in mason jars, so don’t expect any yard-long drinks there. The food menu is admittedly limited, but the choices that are on the menu are satisfying. My favorite appetizer is the nachos; it looks like a small dish but I promise you won’t be able to finish them alone. The food is reasonably priced for being downtown, but
La Comida may not be the best bar in the downtown area, but it’s definitely one of the coolest. It’s a nice place to stop in for food if you’re bar hopping, or after seeing the Fremont Street Experience. It’s within walking distance of the Commonwealth, Downtown Cocktail Bar, The Griffin, Beauty Bar Las Vegas and the world famous Heart Attack Grill.
I’ve wanted to write about the Ketchup Premium Burger Bar for a while now, ever since my first trip into the artisan burger palace. Located inside Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile Shops, this little burger joint gives its patrons a different spin on a classic American dish.
I like to keep it simple with the Ketchup Classic, but there’s a much wider variety for you to choose from. There’s a veggie burger for my non-meat consuming brethren, a hot dog/hamburger combo burger, mushroom burgers, cheeseburgers. A popular menu item is the Hot Mess, a burger covered in chili and jalapeno and topped with pepper jack cheese (but I’m a little too chicken to try it ;)). Hot dogs are also on the menu, which I’ve never tried, but the other draw to this little spot (besides the burgers) is the spiked milkshakes. I wouldn’t recommend ordering more than one, especially if you’re the throwing up type of drunk, but they’re fun to try. I personally recommend the Tipsy Gorilla, which is like an alcohol-soaked banana split.
So if you find yourself wandering around Planet Hollywood the next time you’re here, stop into the Ketchup Burger Bar. But don’t drink too many spiked milkshakes – too much alcohol and too much milk don’t make for a fun night, I promise you.
What to Do When You Need a Vacation (But Life Won’t Allow it)
So for about the last month and a half, I seem to be on a bit of a bad luck streak. I got into a car accident (not my fault), and I’ve had to get a new phone. The accident wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t a struggle between insurance companies about payment, but that’s neither here nor there. The important part of this is that, I’ve found myself in a bit of a funk recently. The perfect answer would be a vacation, but with my car still in the shop I am literally and figuratively grounded until it’s done and I get the money back from the insurance company. So in the meantime, instead of wallowing in my own misfortune, I’ve been trying to find little ways to escape from my day to day motions. I figure I might as well fake it until I make it.
- I find myself wanting to run away to the beach a lot during this time of misfortune; I guess it’s because the ocean has a way of centering a person’s soul, and reminding you of the things that keep your head from spinning off its axis. Since the beach seems to be my happy place, I try to meditate to sounds and images of the ocean. It’s no substitute for the real thing, of course, but I search for that feeling that I get, sitting on a sandy beach just before sunset, listening to the waves crash into the shore.
- Music from your chosen destination. When I want to transport myself to a tropical oasis, I try to find music that reminds me of such locales, like the Beach Boys or Jack Johnson.
- Scented candles reminiscent of your destination. Scent has a powerful way of mentally transporting us to certain people, places, and times in our lives. When I want to remember what the beach feels like and smell like, I go for floral, fruity or sandalwood scents. If I want to imagine walking through the streets of Paris, I go for things like baked bread or fresh laundry. If I want to go camping in the mountains of Big Sur, I look for rustic, pine or wooden scents.
- Reading is the easiest way for me to get out of my own head and have an “adventure” of sorts. The last book I read was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which happens to take place in my hometown. Since the book didn’t mentally transport me anywhere different, it fell a little bit short of my expectations but the adventures of the guys telling the story were more than enough to distract me for a bit.
- Dream boards. I have a list of all the places I’d like to visit, and when it looks like there’s going to be a stretch of time between my next adventure, I look at the dream board. Sometimes I make additions, sometimes I make revisions, but nothing else feels quite as delightful as crossing something off the list. When life is getting in the way more than it needs to, I find a lot of comfort in that dream board. It reminds me what I’m working toward, and that every step I take toward crossing another thing off that list is a little act of love for myself. That’s probably the most helpful part about the whole thing, and the one fact that makes these times of misfortune a little more bearable.