As regular readers know, a section called “Las Vegas Tidbits” is added at the end of each of my articles. There is so much happening in Las Vegas that many tidbits have to be stored in my pantry and they can become stale and no longer worthwhile after such a long wait to be published. So, this article will assemble these tidbits into a banquet for your devouring pleasure.
I recently reviewed Raku, a very innovative authentic Japanese restaurant located on Spring Mountain Road, but I was chided for not also recommending Ichiza, 4335 Spring Mountain Road, Suite 205 (upstairs), which is only open for dinner. It is less expensive than Raku and their menu items can be best described as authentic Japanese comfort food luring many ex-pat Japanese. Ask for their frequent diner card if you live in the Vegas area or are a frequent visitor. Monta, 5030 Spring Mountain Road, which has a very simple menu of three ramen choices and a few other dishes, is two doors from Raku. Monta is owned by the proprietor of Mon Sushi. The ramen was tasty and economical although I am not a big ramen fan. I much prefer udon or soba, or other Asian noodle dishes such as pho. I panned Togoshi Ramen that was located on Twain and thankfully the health department closed it.
A recent phenomenon are Asian fusion dishes in restaurants such as David Chang’s New York Momofuku and the Korean tacos produced by Roy Choi and his fleet of Kogi truck diners in the Los Angeles area. Asian fusion dishes have combined with the gourmet burger trend at the new Bachi Burger, 470 E. Windmill Lane. I don’t particularly care for the name because I associate it with warnings from my mother about something bad happening. The word could also apply to taiko drumsticks or be short for hibachi, but in any case, probably the majority of diners care more about the food than the name of the place. They serve homemade pickles (tsukemono) that are tasty but for me just do not harmonize with their fancy burgers.
The Pinball Hall of Fame at 1610 E. Tropicana is a must for any fan of old time pinball machines. The owner, Tim Arnold, made a fortune elsewhere and he donates profits from this operation to the Salvation Army. See: www.pinballmuseum.org.
The Gamblers Bookstore moved next door to the Pinball Museum from its long time location on South 11th St., but before this article was submitted, it moved again to 5473 S. Eastern Ave. #4. The owner, Howard Schwartz, is semi-retired but you may catch him there in the evenings. Be sure to say hello to him and ask for his advice on recommending a book about your particular favorite gambling activity; you will be amply rewarded.
The Burlesque Hall of Fame (formerly the Exotic World Museum located in Helendale, Calif.) has wisely moved to the Emergency Arts Building, 520 East Fremont St., #120 directly north of the El Cortez Hotel/Casino. Las Vegas is where it belongs, not out in some isolated place where few people would make the effort to visit. Dixie Evans, who was once billed as the Marilyn Monroe of burlesque, is in charge and even though she is in her ‘80s, she still oozes sensuality. She should have a class to teach women some of her secrets. It is free but worthy of a donation for their excellent efforts.
The Erotic Heritage Museum, 3275 IndustrialRoad, charges a reasonable $15 fee ($10 for locals). It is open Wednesday through Sunday, but call (702) 369-6442 to verify the hours. Its Website, www.eroticheritage.org, states “We invite you to behold and explore the vast array of socio-cultural perspectives depicting our erotic heritage, including a special emphasis on the unfolding of the American Sexual Revolution of the 20th Century. The Museum seeks to bridge the gap between the pornographic with that which is aesthetic.” Don’t be scared off by its location next to a gentlemen’s club. Its director, Laura Henkel, has a Ph.D. in human sexuality from San Francisco’s Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
I saved the best for last. This is a tour of Zappos, the phenomenally successful online shoe and clothing store. CEO Tony Hsieh made millions at the age of 24 when he sold LinkExchange, a company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $265 million. You will learn how he then became CEO of Zappos and how it was sold to Amazon.com for $1.2 billion in 2009. You can sign up for a free tour by going to www.zapposinsights.com/main/experiences/tours, and if you are interested in incorporating some of their concepts in your business, there is another tour with a small charge for a more intensive experience. The tour goes through the offices where the staff works together in a fun environment. There is a mostly free cafeteria for the workers, too. It is rare for an employee to quit. This is a great tour for teenagers too, and everyone can receive a free personally autographed copy of “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh by just asking. Zappos (whimsically named after the Spanish word for shoe) will even provide shuttle service if you are staying at one of the casino hotels. This is a guaranteed winner for any Las Vegas visitor.
Instead of a tidbit, here is a dessert: This link is about Yonema “Bill” Tomiyasu, one of the earliest Japanese to settle in Las Vegas. It is interesting and informative: www.1st100.com/part1/tomiyasu.html.
The Kaeru Kid writes about his various adventure travels. He lives in Las Vegas and includes tidbits about the city at the end of each article. He can be reached at KaeruKid@yahoo.com.