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Posted by on Apr 6, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 2 comments

Las Vegas Take-Out Reviews

 

Yassou Las Vegas

 

TAKE-OUT REVIEWS (LAS VEGAS WEST WIDE)

Here are my thoughts on the best take-out spots on the West Side of Las Vegas. I’m also including places that weren’t so good.

This list is by no means complete. It’s limited to the places I’ve tried in the last few months. Note that I am *not* a take-out enthusiast. I almost never did take-out nor fast food before this crisis. So, this whole ordeal is somewhat new to me.

THE BEST:

Flower Child (Charleston and Ft. Apache) — Outstanding quality, healthy food. Build your own platter options, all very tasty. Recommend the protein plus two side dishes for $12. Call in or order online and pick up inside. Social distancing strictly enforced indoors. Lunch and dinner served in very convenient circular take-out containers. All around, a positive experience. Also recommended: Forbidden Rice ($12)

Blaze Pizza (Hulapai and Sahara) — Fast. Easy. Cheap. For $9 you can build your own pizza, and it comes out exactly as you’d get it inside the store in a sit-down setting. Pizza travels well in a box, so there’s that. Online ordering was easy, just check the boxes on toppings your want (unlimited) and the price is the same. For $9 you can’t lose on a fresh, hot pizza. Must go inside to pick up was the only minor grievance.

Zaytoon (Durango and Twain) — This is one of the few take-out places I frequent regularly. Consistently good. $12 gets you the Koobedeh platter (spiced ground beef), rice, tomato, onions, and add a small salad for $5 and you’re all set. Family-run Iranian restaurant. Small kitchen. But fast and reliable. Must go inside to pick up. Served in styrofoam box which is no-frills, but can’t complain about the food, so this gets a high mark from me.

Nittaya Secret Kitchen (Fort Apache and Lake Mead) — This is one of my favorite Thai spots, been here close to 100 times. But this was my first take-out from them. Food travels pretty well, some items better than others. Curbside pick up is very convenient. 20 percent discount on all orders (I think, if memory serves). Sadly, some people might be dissuaded from trying Asian food at this time, which is a whole another discussion. But Nataya is always reliable. To the best of my knowledge, they are doing their entire menus as take-out.

Yassou (Charleston and Buffalo) — Very good Greek take-out with curbside. Excellent quality platters with meat, rice, salad, and pita bread all-inclusive for about $12. Solid. Never a disappointing meal here and take-out is every bit as good as dining inside.

AVERAGE:

Carrabas Italian Grill (Charleston across from Boca Park) — So-so on food quality and pricing. In their favor, pick-up at curbside is very convenient. One notable exception is the Mama Leone’s Chicken Soup. If you can get portions of that in a takeout bowl (which we did), that alone is worth the trip. Very good spicy chicken soup. The rest of the menu seems pricy and not worth it.

Bonefish Grill (Charleston across from Boca Park) — Family meals are on special; $38 for a meal with a main course, side dish, bread, and cookies which is a decent value. Unfortunately, selections are limited to only about five items. Wife liked them a lot. I thought they were average. Walk up to take-ut window is mandatory. In their favor, Bonefish currently has a “buy $50 gift card and get $25 free” promotion, which basically makes all the orders 33 percent off. I could have listed them in the “best” category if the take-out food and options were better. Nonetheless, they might be worth trying.

Marie Callender’s (Sahara and Cimarron) — They have a family meal bundle where they give you a free pie, which is pretty good. Food is bland but hamburders are decent.  Reasonable cost, and very convenient. Can’t believe I’m touting Marie Callender’s. Man, times are getting tough.

NOT RECOMMENDED:

Lucille’s (Green Valley/Henderson) — Since the Red Rock store is closed, I ordered from Green Valley and did the curbside pick-up. Didn’t seem busy, but there was still a 90-minute wait on all take out orders. Curbside seems convenient but isn’t. Poor food runner has to go back and forth inside getting extras and making change, delaying the process. Food (barbecue) is typically good here but lost some quality in the take-out experience. Cannot recommend.

Olive Garden (Summerlin on Town Center) — People know I bash Olive Garden as garbage Americanized Chef-Boyardee “Italian” fare, but for the money, you get what you deserve and the prices are reasonable. Tried the lunch one afternoon and the food was horrific. Frozen meals microwaved are much better (I’m not exaggerating — the Italian frozen bag meals at Trader Joes far outclassed Olive Garden). Rubbery noodles. Tasteless sauce. No frills standards. Boring as hell. Cold breadsticks may not be their fault, but this food doesn’t travel well, either. I won’t go here again.

Sonic (Drive-In — Multiple Locations) — No, I didn’t go here, but I found it interesting they seem to be packed every time I drive by. Perhaps it’s the easy drive-up car-hop style of eating that attracts customers. I think most of their food is crap (been perhaps a dozen times over the last 15 years), and I don’t like trays (do they wash them between servings?) and kids touching my food. Just seems like a risk to me, but maybe this is no worse/risky than any other restaurant. I don’t know. Open to persuasion if people think drive-ins are a good idea at this time.

Krispy Kreme (Drive-Thru — Multiple Locations) — Don’t even get me started.

This review is pretty limited because I haven’t done many to-go places. I welcome others who may want to post their own “best” and “worst” take-out spots. Since we might be on lockdown for weeks or perhaps even months, hopefully exchanging this information will be helpful. Please also note that I’m aware the best way to protect oneself is to stay inside and cook. We do plenty of that, too.

ALMOST FORGOT:

Parsley (Tropicana and Fort Apache) — Israeli-owned place that is outstanding. Metal containers make food travel well. Make your own Mediterranean dish for $9-12. Excellent food quality and extensive menu. Must pick up inside. they have counter that makes everything on the spot. Their pita is boring, but that’s a minor complaint. Also. I’m not fond of their sides, but main dishes are wonderful.

 

JOIN THE DISCUSSION ON FACEBOOK HERE.

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Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 1 comment

Matrimonial Spin Cycle: Our First CV-19 Fight

 

washing machine

 

Okay, so Marieta and I got into our first fight since CV-19 social distancing began. Guess who won?

Marieta says I don’t do enough work around the house, and of course, this is correct. She asks what percentage of housework I do, and I answer “about 30 percent.” She snaps back, it’s more like “10 percent.” I decide I can live with the compromise number of 20 percent, call things even, and pop open another Negro Modelo to celebrate the house not burning down with a domestic spat.

So, just when I thought everything was okay, we saw a TV show and the guy said he didn’t know how to work the washing machine. I knew I was fucked. Marieta took the cue, and insisted I don’t even know how to work a load of laundry and flip on the machine. I said, “I know how a washing machine works! Who doesn’t know that?”

“Prove it!”

Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite.

So, we stop the program and as I walk from the living room to the laundry area it feels like a shuffle to the gallows.

I get to the washing machine. I swear, I think I worked it one time. I think so. Hard to remember. C’mon memory! Kick in!

So, there’s knobs and dials and buttons and settings and I think I might be able to wing this, when she asks where the soap goes. Of course, I blow it and point to the fabric softener thing and hell it all looks the same to me, I mean won’t the soap work there also? What difference does it make? The soap gets to the clothes. Works for me. This all begins another sub-argument, and I’m reminded of the old saying about when you’re stuck in a hole to —– QUIT FUCKING DIGGING!

I surrender. It’s 10 percent. I’m so dumb I can’t work a washing machine. My next lesson — mastering the dishwasher.

This CV-19 shit can’t end fast enough.

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Posted by on Mar 28, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Video 1 | 0 comments

Coronavirus in Asia — What’s Happening? (Video)

 

 

CORONAVIRUS IN ASIA: WHAT’S HAPPENING

Last night, I hosted this discussion on the economic impacts of the CV-19 crisis on ASIA. Guests included VIN NARAYANAN and GARETH EDWARDS. Both guests have lived in parts of Asia, have close ties to several hot spots, and travel extensively in the region — so they are ideally suited to provide an update and also offer some predictions.

Topics:

Is China to Blame?
The Situation in Hong Kong
Is Australia the Next Italy?
What Did South Korea Do RIght?
India — Panic?
Chances of a Phase 2, Even Worse?
Impact on Macau
and more.

Duration: 1 Hour, 20 minutes. Recorded on March 27, 2020.

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Posted by on Mar 27, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Movie Reviews | 0 comments

Malcolm X

 

malcolm-x

 

Writer’s Note:  Why am I writing a review about a movie released 28 years ago?  Well first, I’d never seen this movie until last night.  Second, I think there are some lessons to be learned by watching, even all these years later.  Third, it seems there’s still a deep divide on the way we perceive people and history.  Even though we grow up in the same country, things are not always as clear as Black and White.

 

MALCOLM X (MOVIE REVIEW)

This is a hastily-written short review I feel compelled to share.

I have no clue as to why I’d never seen Malcolm X, the biopic of the iconic Afro-American civil rights political activist who was assassinated in 1965. An oversight, perhaps.  It was on TCM last night, so I watched the final 90 minutes.

Directed by Spike Lee, this is clearly a very personal project for virtually all who were associated with the film.  Released in 1992 to nearly universal critical acclaim, this film may even be more important now than it was initially shown.

Indeed, Malcolm X never reached the pantheon of inclusion along with other political thrillers or biographies, perhaps unintentionally revealing the continuing divide and misunderstandings on race in America. I believe if this film had been about a white activist/hero, it would have been up there with movies like Patton. But we rarely hear Malcolm X mentioned in the same breath as films on so-called “American heroes.”

Side Note:  Consider the way Malcolm X is remembered by Blacks versus Whites.  Even today, Whites do not view Malcolm X favorable, proving we will have a long way to go.  Read More:  MALCOLM X REMEMBER FAVORABLY BY BLACKS BUT NOT BY WHITES

Denzel Washington is outstanding in the title role. Mesmerizing even. (He lost the Best Actor Oscar to Al Pacino that year for Scent of a Woman that year). The characteristics are subtle, but Washington disguises his real NY accent well and speaks identically to Malcolm Little (ne “X”), who was actually from the Midwest (Omaha, NE). It’s uncanny how much Washington sounds and speaks with the same dictatorial syncopation as Malcolm X. These are little details, but when you hear the nuances, it’s remarkable.

Predictably, the film diefies the controversial leader, but it also reveals the flaws of its subject. Malcolm X lived a very modest life, which caused considerable disharmony at home (he was married and had five children). He also made a number of inflammatory statements that aren’t exactly endearing, including the infamous “chickens came home to roost” comment after the JFK assassination. But given the context of his life and greater struggle, we’re inclined to dismiss some missteps.

I’m generally sympathetic to Malcolm X as a historical figure. I’m appalled at the religious trappings of the movement, but given churches (including mosques) are the primary community centers in most Black areas at the time, the alliance is understandable.

The movie has its flaws. There are some campy scenes that don’t belong and detract from the overall seriousness of the film. But these blips are overcome by the strength of Washington’s performance and the weighty subject matter.

I must now say this: The last 15 minutes of this film is stunning. It’s brilliant. We see the assassination filmed in old newsreel style, and then gradually Washington’s portrayal becomes interspersed with real B/W photos of the leader, speaking his own words, and then eulogized by others. There’s also a surprise guest appearance at the end of the movie which is monumental in scope and meaning, which I will not give away if you haven’t seen the film. I can’t stress enough how powerful the final minutes of this film is to watch. If I was moved, I can only imagine the feelings inside by those much more closely attuned to the subject matter and movement.

Also, the film credits seem to go for 10 minutes, as Spike Lee intentionally listed every conceivable contributor to the film, from the violin player in the soundtrack to the drivers who worked on set. It’s consistent with the message of inclusion.

I wish more people, especially White people would see this movie. It was understandably embraced by Black culture, which resonates to this day. But I think we can *all* learn something by understanding something of the life of Malcolm X.

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