By Judy Thorburn
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Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock
Entertainment Reporter/Film Critic - Las Vegas Tribune
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks

First Food and Bar Brings the Neighborhood Concept to the Palazzo

Famed restaurateur/executive chef Sam Demarco brings his “neighborhood diner and bar” concept to the Las Vegas Strip with the debut of First Food and Bar, named after the first, First which he developed in New York City in 1993. Located next to Barney’s on the second floor of the Shoppes at the Palazzo, the 10,000 square foot venue decorated in a mix of modern, vintage and gothic styles features high open ceilings, 16 foot windows overlooking the strip, and offers the authenticity and character of neighborhood bar and diner but with a modern spin. During its VIP Grand Opening event on Friday, June 12 guests where invited to check out the friendly and hip atmosphere with all it has to offer.


First has the feel of a late night spot combined with the comfortable and casual atmosphere of a local eatery and caters to those who feel the need to satisfy their late night cravings as well as those looking for an early morning breakfast or mid day lunch.

During the opening event samplings from the menu featuring mouthwatering American cuisine created by Chef DeMarco were passed around including the Signature Dish: the First Original Mini burgers, as well as lobster rolls, pepperoni and/or cheese pizza, pots of grits, falafel lettuce cups, steak tartare, mini hot dogs, Chinese chicken salad, hot chicken wings, sloppy joes made of duck, caramel corn, pretzel bread, and the best coconut shrimp served on a skewer that I have ever eaten,  along with oh so sweet desserts like chocolate mousse cups, lemon ice cups, ice cream sandwiches and mango or vanilla ice cream push up pops.

As for getting your drink on, the bar located to the left of the entrance offers classic drinks as beer on tap, wines by the glass, as well as fancy named cocktails such as Cotton Candy Kiss or Cucumber Gimlet and adult “snow cones” (alcohol being the not so secret ingredient).  And for entertainment, the venue offers flat screened TVs, a state of the art sound system, music play list and DJ booth for live DJ sets.

So, if you are hungry for late night goodies, there is always First which is opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner to late…really late night, where you can grab a bite that is delicious, and affordable…just like the old neighborhood joint, but better.

First Food and Bar, located inside The Palazzo, can be reached at (702) 607-3478.

The Sportsbook Bar & Grill Hosts NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon and Celebrity Athletes

Friday, June 12, 2009, The Palazzo welcomed NFL Hall of Famer, Warren Moon and other celebrity athletes and friends at The Sportsbook Bar & Grill.  The group was in town for the 9th Annual Sports Dream Bowl which benefits the Urban Youth Scholarship Fund, the national charity which awards inner city youth financial scholarships to pursue higher education.  Warren and friends were interviewed LIVE for the ESPN radio show “Cofield & Cokin.”  Some of the athletes discussed their previous and current careers while others gave their thoughts and insight on sporting event highlights of today. Most importantly at the end of each interview, they talked about what the Sports Dream Bowl meant to them and how it was a meaningful way to give back and make a difference.
Along with Warren Moon celebrity athletes in attendence were Junior Seau, Robert Horry, Robert Griffith, Shaun Phillips, and Greg Oden.


Chef Thomas Keller Hosts Book Signing at Bouchon at the Venetian

Food enthusiasts and notable personalities converged on Tuesday, June 16th to join Thomas Keller, chef/owner of Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery in Las Vegas, in celebration of his first Las Vegas signing for his latest cookbook “UNDER PRESSURE: Cooking Sous Vide” at Bouchon in The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino.

Chef Thomas Keller with current Miss America 2009 Katie Stam, one of the many guests who attended the first Las Vegas book signing event for Chef Keller’s latest release, “Under Pressure” (Artisan Books).  The event took place at Bouchon at the Venetian on Tuesday, June 16th.
Photo credit: IS Photography

Chef Thomas Keller signing a copy of his latest cookbook, “Under Pressure” (Artisan Books).  Chef Keller hosted an exciting evening at Bouchon at the Venetian on Tuesday, June 16th, complete with a Q&A session and book signing.
Photo credit: IS Photography

The event attracted over 160 guests, which included an array of VIP’s, local influencers and culinary aficionados visiting Las Vegas including current Miss America 2009 Katie Stam.

Along with a Question and Answer session, attendees were offered a unique opportunity to interact with Chef Keller and participate in an insightful discussion on modern culinary techniques.  Guests were then invited to a meet and greet with Chef Keller at which time he signed copies of the book and allowed for a photo opportunity.

Additional recent and upcoming “happenings” in and around Las Vegas include:

Bette Midler, The Divine Miss M., commemorated a milestone on June 7. She celebrated her 100th performance of The Showgirl Must Go On at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace where she has enjoyed sold-out audiences and critical acclaim.
ND’s Club Fuego has closed inside Harrahs.

Every Friday and Saturday night Club Fortune Casino, located at 725 Racetrack Road in Henderson, is featuring live entertainment. On Fridays,   guests sing their favorite songs with the backing of a live rock band, during Rockaoke the new twist on karaoke. Each Saturday, a different rock band takes the stage. Guests must be 21 years and older to enter for Friday and Saturday night performances.

Beginning Monday, June 15th, comedian Todd Paul will perform Saturday through Thursday at 7 p.m. inside the Hooters Casino Hotel’s Night Owl Showroom.  Tickets are only $24.95. (Buy one ticket get one free).

BODIES… The Exhibition is partnering with United Blood Services to host a community blood drive Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the retail area of Luxor Hotel & Casino.  All donors who attend will receive complimentary passes to BODIES… The Exhibition and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.

From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m on Sunday, June 21 – the first day of summer – Primm Valley Casino Resorts is offering free roller coaster rides on the Desperado at Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino. Riders may pick up their free tickets to ride the Desperado at the ticket counter in the rides and attractions area at Buffalo Bill’s. Riders must be 48 inches or taller. Seatbelts have a maximum length of 44 inches.

On Sunday, June 21, Stars Among the Angels" and Station Casinos will present a series of FREE monthly 90-minute televised Celebrity Variety Shows to build awareness and raise funding for The Children's Service Guild of Southern Nevada, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that raises funds and provides for the needs of Clark County Family Services, Child Haven and the Foster Care System. The shows will be broadcast locally on KTUD 25, Cable 14 and Cox Cable and will air nationally on a regional basis.

Broadway veteran and talented recording artist Shoshana Bean will be taking over the role of Peep Diva in PEEPSHOW at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino beginning June 22.  Bean will perform alongside blonde bombshell Holly Madison, who will play “Bo Peep,” a modern woman who has yet to find her own confidence and sexuality.

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza will host four Sammy’s Night charity events June 21-24, with 20% of the sales being donated to that day’s featured organization upon presentation of a special Sammy’s Night flyer. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will kick off this four-day celebration on June 21, followed by Three Square Food Bank on June 22, the Southern Nevada Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® on June 23 and the Public Education Foundation on June 24.  In order for the 20% to be donated to each of the charities, guests are asked to bring in the featured flyer; available through the participating organizations and on the Sammy’s website; and present it to their server during lunch or dinner on the charity’s respective date.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is hosting a job fair inside Artist Hall 1 and 2 on Monday, June 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Tuesday, June 23 from 3 – 7 p.m. to fill housekeeping positions. Those interested in applying can do so either day.

Vineyards of Style, the quarterly wine stroll featuring 7 wineries and 28 wines from across the country will take place on Thursday, June 25 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at The Shoppes at The Palazzo. Ticket prices are $40 inclusive of taxes and fees. All net proceeds from the event will benefit, Three Square™, the Las Vegas food bank that serves 250 agencies throughout Southern Nevada. For additional information please visit

Legendary R & B group, The Spinners will perform at The Club inside the Cannery Casino & Hotel on Saturday, June 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $9.95 plus tax and fees.

Michael Flatley's Celtic dance troupe Lord of the Dance returns to Las Vegas for a limited engagement - June 25 with summer performances through August 16 in the intimate 425 seat, state of the art Steve Wyrick Theatre at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Tickets are $59, $73, and $114 for VIP circle, plus tax and applicable service fees.

Poker pro/recent “The Celebrity Apprentice” runner up Annie Duke will host The Summer of Poker Main Event-Kickoff Party at LAVO inside the Palazzo on Tuesday, June 30.  Red Carpet arrivals are at 10 p.m. with doors opening at 11 p.m.  Regular cover charges apply:  Ladies $10, Men $20 and locals are free.

Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z with special guest Ciara will perform at The Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Resort and Casino for two performances over Independence Day weekend:  Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $129, $179 & $229, plus any additional service fees.

Mystic Roots Band, known for its original style of reggae, hip-hop and dance music with overtones of rock, funk and ska, will perform live on the Mandalay Bay Beach stage Saturday, July 4.  The fireworks show is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. followed by the concert at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are priced at $20, not including applicable service charges.

On July 4 at 9 p.m. four of comedy’s brightest talents take the stage at the Orleans Arena in Uncle Sam’s Comedy Jam with Mike Epps and More! Joining Epps are Arnez J, Earthquake and Leslie Jones for this hilarious one-night event.  Tickets for reserved seating are now on sale, and are priced at $45 and $57.50, inclusive of tax and fees.

ABBA tribute band Arriva are schedule to perform at The Club inside Cannery Casino & Hotel on Saturday, July 4.  Tickets start at $9.95 plus tax and fees.

July 10, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. the world’s most renowned saxophonist, Kenny G, returns to The Orleans Showroom. Tickets are now available starting from $74.95, plus tax.

On July 16th Magician Rick Thomas is scheduled to open his magic show at the Sahara Hotel and Casino.

Celebrity sightings:

Monday morning, June 8, Choreographer and actor Cris Judd, who was formerly married to Jennifer Lopez, had breakfast with three friends at Hash House A Go Go.

Monday night, UFC fighters Keith Jardine and Rashad Evans dined at N9NE Steakhouse inside Palms Casino Resort.

On Tuesday June 9, American alternative band, Lifehouse partied at a VIP table at Moon Nightclub inside Palms Casino Resort  for Local Love Tuesday.  They arrived around midnight with four friends.  Also at Moon Nightclub was NBA player for the Miami Heat, Jermaine O’Neal, accompanied by his wife and four friends. 
At Playboy Club, Kansas City Chiefs running back, Larry Johnson.

left to right - Bryce Soderberg, Jason Wade and Ben Carey

Thursday, June 11…

Paula Abdul and Scott Zeiger (BASE Entertainment) spotted dining together at Strip House inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

On the same day Paula Abdul and Wayne Brady were spotted having drinks together with friends in the lounge at Wolfgang Puck’s CUT, inside The Palazzo.  Also inside the main dining room was Warren Moon, former NLF player, having dinner with a group of friends.

Lead singer for the pop rock band Maroon 5, Adam Levine, dined at N9NE Steakhouse inside Palms Casino Resort with an entourage of 10.  Just across the way was magician Penn Jillette who dined with a party of nine. 

Upstairs at ghostbar, rapper Too Short hung out for a short while with a friend.  Around midnight, the two made their way over to Moon Nightclub.

Too Short
Photo credit Shane O'Neal

Also at ghostbar was professional skateboarder Adam Dyet with six friends.

Adam Dyet
Photo credit: Joe Fury

At LAVO were members of the band LIVE who took over a VIP table following their concert at The Palazzo pool earlier in the night.   The rockers even brought some fans with them from backstage.

Spotted at TAO was Ryan Starr from season 1 of American Idol.

On June 12 stars celebrated the launch of at CineVegas’s Friday after party at the Palms Pool & Bungalows. In attendance were anchors Christine Killimayer, Alex Adeyanju, Emily Gimmel and Denise Spidle and stars from films being screened at the film festival. Those included: Brian Geraghty (EASIER WITH PRACTICE), Ivan Martin (DAYLIGHT), Michael Godere (DAYLIGHT), Sam Rockwell (MOON), and Joseph Gordon Levitt (500 DAYS OF SUMMER). Jeremy Renner was also there supporting his friend Sam Rockwell.

Friday night stars in town for CineVegas chose hot spot LAVO as their dining destination.  Scott Caan, who wrote and starred in Mercy, which is premiering at the fest, was joined by the film’s director Patrick Hoelck and co-stars Erika Christensen and Troy Garity.  Scott’s father, actor James Caan stopped by to join the group and came to Vegas  to support his son’s big premiere.  They were heard raving about the decadent desserts.  After dinner they crossed paths with Sugar Shane Mosley and stopped to chat.  The Caan’s are huge boxing fans and even exchanged numbers with the fighter.

Actors Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner and Ivan Martin were spotted at a table on LAVO’s expansive Strip front terrace enjoying the Italian offerings. Upstairs at LAVO Nightclub were former NFL players Warren Moon and Eric Dickerson.

Over at TAO, comedienne Roseanne Barr was seen dining at the Asian bistro with her family.

Also at TAO was actor Joseph Gordon Leavitt with a group of 15 people in the nightclub. In town for CineVegas, he co-stars in the upcoming summer blockbuster "G.I. Joe".

Academy Award winning Juno writer Diablo Cody celebrated her 31st birthday with a Vegas weekend.  Cody, surrounded by friends and family, started the party on Friday with dinner in front of TAO’s giant Buddha followed by a table in the VIP moat area in the nightclub.  The celebration continued at TAO Beach on Saturday, followed by her party Saturday evening in LAVO’s private dining room. Cody donned a birthday hat and headed up to the nightclub where at the stroke of midnight she turned 31, complete with shout outs from DJ Reach and more sweets in the form of cupcakes with sparklers.  The night was complete as Cody and girlfriends danced on the cat walk.

Also dining at LAVO on Saturday, former winner of The Apprentice Bill Rancic and his wife Giuliana Rancic of E! Entertainment Network.  The couple, who filmed a new show at The Palazzo throughout the day dined with friends at the Italian hot spot before heading up to the nightclub.

Over at TAO, the nightclub played hosts to stars of the sports world as the location for Warren Moon’s Celebrity Bowl after party.  Spotted in the VIP moat section was Moon himself, along $50 million dollar man Mark Sanchez of the NY Jets.  Also seen, NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, Oakland Raider Darren McFadden, Leroy Glover and basketball stars Corey Maggette and Robert Horry.  Actor Mekhi Phifer was seen hanging out with Dickerson as well.

Arriving at 2 pm and joining the owner’s table at TAO was comedian Pauly Shore.

Saturday night, actress Amanda Righetti returned to her hometown of Las Vegas to host an intimate affair in celebration of the DVD release of her latest hit movie “Friday the 13th” at Tabú Ultra Lounge.  Righetti played the lead role in the 2009 horror re-make and has appeared in several movies and TV shows including “Role Models,” “The Mentalist,” “Entourage,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “The O.C.”

Amanda Righetti
Photo credit: Erik Kabik

Sunday June 14…

Prior to his show, entertainer Wayne Brady celebrated his 37th birthday at LAVO inside The Palazzo with a group of 15 friends.  After his show he returned to the nightclub with a group that had doubled in size.  Cast, crew, friends and family all toasted Brady with cake and cocktails.

Wayne Brady
Photo credit: Al Powers

Also spotted at LAVO were soccer players Joleon Lescott, who plays for Everton and Wayne Hennessey, goal keeper for the Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.

“Girls Next Door” star Holly Madison spotted with a group of friends attempting to enter Body English at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino but was turned away because a member of their party, a fellow playmate, tried sneaking in and was not 21 years old.

Grammy-nominated comedienne Lisa Lampanelli dined at N9NE Steakhouse with a friend.

Penn Jillette and Lisa Lampanelli

Rain Nightclub hosted CineVegas’ closing ceremony, which included celebrity names such as actress Maria Menounos, actor and filmmaker Dennis Hopper, film and stage actor Williem Dafoe, actor Jon Voight and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk.  Many honorees received recognition for their work in the film industry.  Around 8 p.m., guests made their way to Nove Italiano to continue the celebration.  Nearly 60 guests were in attendance including Defoe, Hawk,Voight and Hopper. 

Hawk,Voight and Dafoe were later spotted at Playboy Club where they sat at VIP tables.

Upstairs at Moon Nightclub, DJ Scotty Boy celebrated his birthday with world-renowned friends including DJs and remixers Donald Glaude and Miss Lisa as well as the dynamic duo Scooter and Lavelle. 

Monday evening, June 15…

Chris Hansen, correspondent for NBC News' award-winning program, Dateline NBC, dined at N9NE Steakhouse inside Palms Casino Resort

Actor Willem Dafoe dined at LAVO with a friend.

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