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Posted by on Apr 5, 2015 in Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 1 comment

Restaurant Review: The Sussex (Dublin, Ireland), a Five-Star Dining Experience at a Fraction of the Cost

 

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Five-star dining is too often associated with stuffy ambiance and snooty service, at astronomical prices.

Hence, what I seek out isn’t just the quintessential five-star meal — which is always available if you’re willing to go broke while parsing over predictable continental menus and ridiculously marked-up wine lists — but the near perfect dining experience combined with an affordable cost.  Call it my culinary Holy Grail.

Earlier this evening, I found just such a place in Dublin (Ireland), which is named The Sussex.  Located within a short walking distance of the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton in Dublin 4 on Upper Leeson Street (in South Dublin), this small gem of a hearty yet healthy restaurant is located above a local tavern and is a rare find in what’s become a highly-competitive urban restaurant market, with newer places vying for distinction and attention.

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Posted by on Apr 4, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 1 comment

The Dublin Zoo Sucks

 

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I love zoos, but I then again I hate zoos.

Zoos are sure fun to visit because you get to see lots of really cool animals.  But they’re also a glaring and ugly reminder of our own inhumanity towards nature.  Being an animal rights activist and then visiting a zoo is sort of like admitting pigs are intelligent and then ordering a full slab of baby backs.

I’m as guilty as anyone of hypocrisy and the double standards within most of us.  Worse, even — because I’m aware and troubled by it, yet do little.

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Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Blog, General Poker, Travel | 1 comment

My Arrival in Dublin (2015 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open)

 

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Writing about a city where I’ve never traveled to before and know virtually nothing about seems inherently foolish and naively arrogant — two qualities that I’ve undoubtedly mastered far beyond reparation.

Until now, Dublin was just an ink spot on a map, an brief episode on Rick Steves Europe, and we all know of course — the home of Guinness, which I’ve been told is a popular brand of beer.  I also knew Dublin to be the substantive and spiritual muse for many great writers — including James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw, to name but a few.  It’s also the home of my own musical lion, Van Morrison.  Oh, and U-2 also.  Other than those Irish peculiarities, and a few castles, there isn’t much else here to see.

I’ve been granted both a gift and an opportunity to change that ridiculous previous statement and broaden my horizons.  My dear friend Padraig Parkinson asked me to fly over the Atlantic and attend the 2015 Paddy Power Poker Irish Open, and celebrate the 36th-year anniversary of the Irish poker scene’s beginnings, which I’ll be writing about a bit more.  The PPPO will be played here in Dublin over the next week.  [READ MORE ABOUT PADRAIG PARKINSON HERE].

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Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Personal, Travel, Uncategorized | 13 comments

Living in “The Lakes” (Las Vegas) — A Narrative History and Photo Tour

 

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[Writer’s Note:  See more photos of “The Lakes, Nevada” below]

 

When people ask me where I live — I answer “Las Vegas.”

However, when asked this same question by someone local, that calls for a more specific answer.  My reply is that I live in a section of Las Vegas called “The Lakes.”

The Lakes seems like an odd name for a residential community anchored in the middle of the desert.  I can’t blame people when they get confused, hearing about “lakes.”  Some misunderstand the reference and think I live way out near Lake Mead.  Others associate the name with “Lake Las Vegas” — a ritzy golf course development with million-dollar homes located on the eastern edge of the city.

Actually, The Lakes is located right smack in the middle of town on the west side.  It’s about seven miles away from the Las Vegas Strip (a.k.a. Las Vegas Blvd.).  It’s bordered by Durango to the east, and Hualapai to the west — then Sahara to the north, and Desert Inn to the south.  If you keep on heading west from where I live, the next development towards the mountains is called Summerlin, which most people have at least heard of.  Not so, with The Lakes.

The Lakes has an interesting history.  In today’s column, I’m going to tell you more about The Lakes and convey its uniqueness as a desert paradise, and a really nice place to live.

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Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Music and Concert Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

Las Vegas Show Review: “Frank: The Man, The Music” (at Palazzo)

 

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Of all impersonations, Frank Sinatra’s might be the toughest to pull off convincingly.

The baritone voice, the tuxedoed savoir faire, the quirky and often comical mannerisms, the working-class New York accent — all these classic Sinatra trademarks are relatively straightforward to copycat with some practice combined with the proper flair.

What isn’t so easy to incorporate is the epochal stage presence and the personal charisma.  More like impossible.  Like all of our most celebrated musical icons — Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, The Beatles — the tribute shows might look and sound like the real deal, but they never quite spark the same electrifying voltage of atmospheric energy.  We’re never quite able to shake the awareness that we’re consuming Spam from a can instead of real meat.

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