Sunday, December 19, 2010

Firefly on Paradise, Las Vegas

Back to our regularly scheduled bars and restaurants….

There is no shortage of bars or restaurants in Las Vegas, they are everywhere.  There is, however, a dire shortage of convenient, yet out of the way,  hang out, have some snacks or a meal, and maybe have a drink or a few kind of places.  Not too far out of the way, just far enough to avoid.. whoever you are trying to avoid.

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Firefly has three locations, one on Paradise, one downtown, and a new Westside location.  We wandered into the one on Paradise after a trip out to Red Rock Canyon with friends. 

The Paradise location is a few blocks east of the strip, between Sands Ave and E Flamingo (think Caesar’s/Mirage part of the Strip). 

Firefly is known for their tapas, and for pitchers of sangria (red or white) and mojitos.  We arrived during happy hour (M-F 4-6, I believe) and sampled tapas, drank sangria, ate more tapas, etc.

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They have a good selection of tapas, but our undisputed favorite is their stuffed dates.  “Stuffed dates” doesn’t sound that impressive?  How about hot, bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed dates, drizzled with a red wine reduction and topped with crumbled blue cheese?  Almost worth the trip from the East coast just for those, but there are plenty more tasty items on the menu.  The red sangria is my favorite here, the white was OK, and mojitos were fair (the only  place in LV for mojitos is Casa Fuente in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace).

If you go during happy hour you can get a lot of food and drink without spending a ton of money- but be aware that even though the various tapas aren’t very expensive it is easy to order a lot of them (and put away several pitchers of tasty sangria with friends) and end up spending more than you expected.

It is also worth mentioning that the little plaza on Paradise where Firefly is located is also home to:

A Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

Marrakech Moroccan restaurant

Mushashi Japanese Steakhouse

Yolies Brazilian Steakhouse

Havana cigar shop

and more.

Something there should interest almost anyone.  Enjoy.

 

Jack

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Red Rock Canyon

This one is not a restaurant, bar, or coffee house.  Imagine that. 

Sometimes when your are in Las Vegas, you just need to get out of the madhouse and regain your senses.  It is amazing how close Red Rock Canyon is to the madness of Las Vegas- and it is real.  Go ahead, touch the rocks- they aren’t Styrofoam or concrete, they are made of rock.

My preferred route is to head south on the Strip until I pick up Nevada 160 West, then head off on Nevada 159.  This route is about 30 miles, but I like it better than the direct route.  The drive starts out pretty boring, then gets depressing as you pass abandoned and near-abandoned housing developments- but then you realize you are out of the city, and things get better fast.  Views like this appear:

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Before long you will come to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, it is right off of Nevada 159.   Pay the $7 daily fee, take the scenic drive, maybe even stop and take some photos.  It is stark, and beautiful.

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Some people insist on “exercise” and other healthy things, if you are part of this wacky crowd, rumor has it that the area is great for hiking, biking, and especially rock climbing.  (As for me, I like my rocks visible out the window of air-conditioned cars, or in a glass of bourbon when I get back from the drive).

After visiting the canyons, you can continue on 159 for the shortest route back (about 20 miles), easing your way back into Las Vegasian sprawl.

I have made this adventure solo, and with friends.  I strongly encourage the latter approach: grab a couple of friends, get lost trying to find coffee and other needed road trip supplies, then head out into the desert.  They will thank you for it.

 

Jack