Friday, January 30, 2015

Burger Stands, Dogs, Fried Chicken, Subs & Wings! American Street Food Off The Las Vegas Strip!

     Just in time for the Las Vegas Super Bowl Weekend!  Visitors of Las Vegas always like to know where the best American style street food can be found Off The Strip.

     Al's Beef
     The real deal Italian Beef in Las Vegas!  This restaurant reeks of Chicago tradition and this shop makes Italian Beef Sandwiches the right way.  Al's Beef has been making Italian Beef since 1938.
     The kitchen crew slow roasts the beef and they deglaze the pan drippings to make the rich beef jus.  Al's Beef even makes their own pickled giardiniera.  Customers have a choice of home made minced red pepper giardiniera or vegetable giardiniera.  Other garnishes, like grilled onions, grilled peppers or cheese is optional.
     Chicago Italian Beef is supposed to be dunked in beef jus and served soggy wet.  Customers that prefer a traditional wet Italian Beef must specify whether the sandwich is dunked in the beef jus once or twice.  A single dunked Italian Beef is a fun messy sandwich that can be eaten with fingers.  A double dunked Italian Beef can be so soggy, that a fork must be used to eat the sandwich.
      As one can imagine, a dunked soggy sandwich is not really a pretty sight.  Just like the old saying goes, "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."  The beauty of an Italian Beef Sandwich is in the rich satisfying flavor, not the looks!
     I ordered the Big Al Sandwich with no cheese when I visited Al's Beef.  The Big Al is a big Italian Beef that is loaded with all the topping options.  I like a wet Italian Beef, so I ordered the Big Al single dunked.  The dripping wet soggy deluxe Italian Beef was messy like it should be and the flavor was more than just satisfying.  The Big Al really hit the spot!
     Al's Beef offers Italian Beef by the pound to-go with the jus and toppings on the side on the catering menu, just like Italian Beef shops do in Chicago.  Al's Beef also features fresh cut fries, Char Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches and the famous Chicago style Polish Sandwich with sport peppers.  There are lighter fare items on the menu, like char grilled chicken sandwiches and salads, but the main attraction is industrial strength big portion heavy duty Chicago style food specialties.  All I can say is forget about the rabbit food and just go with it!  You only live once, so go for the gusto!
     Food I Ordered:
     • The Big Al 
     Al's Italian Beef recently opened at 6840 West Sahara near the intersection of Rainbow in Las Vegas.  The Red Rock Harley Davidson dealership is a landmark business in the same plaza.

     Chicago Hot Dog
     Many of the old 1960's style buildings from the grand old days of Las Vegas still remain on this route.   The building that Chicago Hot Dog is located in is an old fashioned drive in style restaurant building.  The canopy for drive in service still remains, but it now serves as shade for outdoor dining.
     Vienna Hot Dogs are the official hot dog of Chicago and this Las Vegas hot dog shop features all of the Vienna condiments and toppings.  Neon Relish is its own brand and many Chicago hot dog fans say that the Neon Brand is the best.  The Vienna Chicago Style Relish is just as good.  The color is definitely neon blue green and the flavor is just about the same.  A Chicago style hot dog without Chicago style relish is not authentic.  Regular sweet pickle relish is not even close to being Chicago Style Relish!
      A Chicago Hot Dog is a Vienna Hot Dog on a poppy seed hot dog bun with mustard, 2 tomato half slices, a thin dill pickle spear, sport peppers, diced onion, neon green Chicago style relish and a generous sprinkle of celery salt.  The Chicago Dog at Chicago Hot Dog of Las Vegas was perfect!
     Many other Chicago style items were on the menu at Chicago Hot Dog in Las Vegas.  Chicago Italian Beef, Chicago Reuben, Polish, Jordan Dogs and the famous Mobster Burger are on the menu at this hot dog stand!  That is plenty of great Chicago food for thought!
     Food I ordered:
     • Chicago Dog
     Chicago Hot Dog is located at 1078 North Rancho Drive in Las Vegas just north of Washington in the Twin Lakes Shopping Plaza.  This location is just a few blocks north on Rancho from Highway 95.   Rancho Drive is also known as Business Route 95.

     Church's Fried Chicken
     Over the years I have heard people from southern states, big city ghettos and farm country mention that there is one fried chicken restaurant that stands above the rest.  According to the folks that really know good fried chicken, Church's is the best!
     Fried chicken restaurants are right on the borderline of being fast food joints, but they are not really fast food.  Church's Fried Chicken offers a menu full of good country style side dishes and condiments that traditionally go with fried chicken.   
     Church's is in the business of selling great high quality fried chicken that is cooked crisp and it is not greasy.  Maintaining high quality standards, cleanliness and offering good fast service is what makes Church's Fried Chicken customers so satisfied.  Church's Fried Chicken serves up good southern style fried chicken! 
     Items I ordered:  
     • Fried Chicken
     Church's Fried Chicken has several locations in Las Vegas. I visited the site at Rancho Drive near Washington.  

     Fatburger is the ultimate 1950's style classic American burger stand!  The dining room atmosphere in Fatburger is pure burger munching heaven!  Pictures of many great soul and pop entertainers decorate the walls.  Soul music and early 1960's pop music are played.  Chrome plated red vinyl soda fountain stools, chrome trim tables, neon signage and old fashioned pre-fab stainless steel create a nostalgic classic burger stand look that is perfect for an old fashioned hamburger munching experience!  
     There are no heat lamps or microwaves at Fatburger.  Everything is cooked to order!  The big burgers do take a while to cook, just like back in the days of classic burger stands, so patience is a virtue.  Fatburger Onion Rings are breaded and fried fresh to order.  The milkshakes are made the old fashioned way with hand scooped hard packed ice cream in a blender, just like back in the old days.  
     At Fatburger the service is second to none.  Fatburger is always rated as the best burger stand in the west year after year and there is a good reason why.  At Fatburger, size and quality counts!  
     The XXL Double Kingburger weighs 16 ounces and this burger is my fave munch while doing college homework on weekends!  There is only one burger that is bigger on the menu at FATBURGER and that is the XXXL Triple Kingburger, which weighs in at a staggering 24 ounces!  
     I attempted to eat an XXXL Fatburger one time, as a test to see if I could possibly accomplish the Fatburger Challenge, but I failed miserable.  It took nearly two days to finish that XXXL Fatburger off!
     The Fatburger Challenge involves eating the 24 oz XXXL Kingburger with Bacon, Cheese, Fried Egg, Chili and all of the regular burger toppings in 35 minutes or less.  Fatburger Challenge winners receive consolation prizes and their photo is placed on the Fatburger Wall Of Fame.  Extra burger patties can be added to the Challenge in order to increase the level of fame.  The current Fatburger Challenge All Time Record was set by a guy in Hollywood.  He ate a 5 Pound Fatburger in less than 35 minutes!  Wow!  
     If I had to choose one burger stand over all the rest, then I would have to say that Fatburger is the best!  As one can see, Fatburger is my fave old fashioned burger stand in Vegas! 
     Food I ordered:
     • Maui Banana Milkshake 
     • Chili Cheese Fries
     • Fat Fries
     • Onion Rings
     • XL 8 oz Burger with Fried Egg, Chili & Cheese
     • XXL 16 oz Burger
     • XXXL 24 oz Burger with Cheese (oof!)
     • Boca Veggie Burger
     Fatburger has several locations in the Las Vegas Valley, including the Las Vegas Strip.  There are even Fatburger shops inside the Station Casinos.  

     Five Guys Burgers & Fries
     Five Guys is a relatively new burger stand chain that has gained a loyal following.  Five Guys follows the well proven simple old fashioned classic burger stand path for success.  The Five Guys menu prices initially may seem high, but every topping on the board is included in the price.  To get the best dining value, just load that burger or dog up to the hilt!  
     The Five Guys dining room is plain and simple.  Some good hard rock is played on the speakers at a tasteful volume.  The music creates a cool burger munching atmosphere!  This burger stand proudly stores their Idaho Potato Crates and Peanut Crates out front for customers to see.  
     The peanuts are free for customers, so load up a cup and munch away while waiting for the burgers to be cooked to order.  This is what differentiates a good burger stand from a fast food junk shop.  Everything is cooked to order and nothing sits under heat lamps at the best burger stands in Las Vegas.  Las Vegas happens to be the #1 Burger City In The World, so the quality standards are high.  Five Guys fits right in with the top notch local classic burger stand scene!
     Food I Ordered:
     • Cheeseburger
     • Grilled Loaded Hot Dog
     • Lots of Free Peanuts!   
     There are several Five Guys locations in the Las Vegas Valley.  I visited the shop on West Lake Mead between Highway 95 and Tenaya. 

     Hungry for Japanese fusion style gourmet burgers?  This is the Fukuburger specialty!  
     The menu offers a nice variety of fusion burgers, hot dogs, chicken katsu sandwiches and French Fry creations.  Burgers are flavored and topped with some very interesting Japanese specialty items.  Shiitake, furikake, teriyaki, pickled red onions, wasabi mayo, "crack sauce" and habeñero kabayaki are just a few of the ingredients that are listed on the burger menu.  
     Fukuburger is a famous Las Vegas food truck and catering operation that has recently landed a shop on solid ground.  This burger stand has a cool atmosphere.  Anime videos play in the dining room and the music is definitely well suited for an awesome Japanese fusion burger munch!
     Food I tried:
     • Tomago (Egg Burger)
     • Jazz Fries
     Fukuburger is located in Chinatown at 3429 South Jones Boulevard between Spring Mountain and Desert Inn.  This central valley location is close to the Las Vegas Strip.   

     IN-N-OUT Burger
     IN-N-OUT Burger is a popular burger stand franchise in Las Vegas.  IN-N-OUT serves high quality fresh cooked food.  There are no heat lamps or microwave ovens at this burger stand.  All burgers are made with fresh ground chuck and they are cooked to order.  No preservatives or fillers are ever used in their products.  The french fries at IN-N-OUT are made with fresh cut potatoes and they are fried in non-hydrogenated oil.  That is a very healthy basket of fries!  The fresh potatoes are cut into fries in small batches, shortly before the orders are placed.  You won't see fries sitting under heat lamps at IN-N-OUT! 
     Regular customers at IN-N-OUT know about the "Not So Secret Menu" that is offered.  Animal Style Burgers, Animal Style Fries, Protein Style, Grilled Cheese and Neapolitan Milkshakes are just a few of the items on the Not So Secret Menu.  The Protein Style Burger has no burger bun and it is wrapped with lettuce leaves.  The protein burger is a California and Las Vegas favorite of the calorie conscious crowd.  Animal Style Fries are topped with cheese, grilled onions and spread.
     The employees all wear white uniforms and old fashioned paper soda jerk hats.  The whole look is right out of the past, when burger stands were number one.  IN-N-OUT Burger is perfect for those who prefer an old fashioned burger stand experience! 
     Food I ordered:
     • Cheeseburger
     • Protein Style Burger 
     • Animal Style Fries
     • Pink Lemonade 
     There are several IN-N-OUT Burger locations in Las Vegas.  The busiest IN-N-OUT location in the entire country is located at Tropicana by I-15 just a few blocks off of the Las Vegas Strip.  The tall sign is within view of the casinos and it attracts a lot of people from the strip.  Back when I drove taxi for one year, hundreds of passengers requested to stop by IN-N-OUT at the Tropicana location on the way to the airport, just to get a bag of burgers to take with them on the plane flight! 

     Jack In The Box
     Some folks remember the horror stories about the old days when the drive through intercom was located in the mouth of a big fiberglass jack in the box and the loudspeaker never worked, because the extreme heat of the desert burnt it out.  Frustrated customers actually used to get out of the car just to beat the big plastic jack in the box up!  Well, those days are now long gone!  Jack In The Box actually now has a reputation for serving good burgers and the customer service is pretty good too.
     I must admit, I do not like fast food and most of the Jack In The Box menu is fast food.  There is one item on the menu that really is not fast food.  It is the Grilled Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich.  This sandwich is made fresh to order the old fashioned way, just like it was made like a grilled cheese sandwich in a home kitchen.  It is not greasy, like breakfast sandwiches that the competition serves.  When paired with a healthy fruit smoothie, one simply cannot go wrong!
     Food I ordered:
     • Sourdough Egg Sandwich with Bacon, Ham & Cheese
     • Mango Smoothie 
     There are zillions of Jack In The Box locations in the Las Vegas Valley.  

     Jersey Mike's 
     There is not much to say about the Jersey Mike's sub shop chain, other than that the subs are made the real deal east coast style way and the quality is great!  The original Jersey Mike's open in 1956 at Point Pleasant, New Jersey.  Jersey Mike's was in a great location and this business became a great Jersey Shore seasonal business success story.
     In the world of sub sandwiches, there are two ways to achieve success.  The best way is to succeed by offering high quality products with great service.  This is what made Jersey Mike's a success.  When looking at a Jersey Mike's sub, all a person can do is say "Wow!  Now that is a sub sandwich!" 
     The two foot long subs that I saw being made at Jersey Mike's in Las Vegas yesterday looked awesome.  They looked like honest to goodness old fashioned east coast subs!
     I ordered a Big Kahuna Cheesesteak at Jersey Mike's, because I was craving a good cheesesteak.  Kahuna is the Hawaiian word for magician, sorcerer and master expert of a craft.  Kahuna also refers to the leader of surfers.  In the mob lingo scene, Big Kahuna means the big boss.  The Big Kahuna Cheesesteak at Jersey Mike's has peppers, onions, mushrooms, plenty of jalapeno peppers and extra cheese.  The Big Kahuna Cheesesteak is the boss!
     Food I ordered:
     • Big Kahuna Cheesesteak
     Jersey Mike's has several locations in Las Vegas.  I tried the location at 1772 South Rainbow Boulevard that is between Charleston and Sahara. 
     Pop's Philly Steaks
     Pops Philly Steaks was one of the first restaurants that I remember seeing when I first moved to Las Vegas.  Pop's Philly Steaks in Las Vegas opened up for business in 2002.  The name Pop's is short for "Pride Of Philly."  Customers referred to the business name Pride Of Philly Steaks as Pop's so often, that Pop's officially became the public name of this Philly steak shop.  Pop's has been open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, ever since they opened their doors in 2002!
     The A-frame building that Pop's Philly Steaks is located in was actually built in the 1960's as a Weiner Schnitzel hot dog joint.  The building has a street side open air dining area that was a classic restaurant design from the 1950's and 1960's.  Pop's has a cheese steak eating atmosphere that is second to none!
     Customers have a choice of cheese on their cheesesteak at Pop's.  Whiz is an option.  Provolone is an option.  Several other cheeses are options too.  All the traditional Philly steak fixings and toppings are listed on the menu board.  Pop's can custom build a cheesesteak to anybody's liking.  Pop's Philly Steaks has a menu board with many specialty items.  Two menu items that I have not seen in a long time were the Fried Green Beans and Pastrami Chili Cheese Fries.
     If you are from Philly and living in Vegas, then you might just have to make arrangements to turn Pop's into your second home!
     Food I ordered:
     • Cheesesteak with Whiz
     • Philly Pizza Steak
     Pop's is located at 501 South Decatur Boulevard near the Arizona Charlie's Casino.  Pop's is open 24 hours a day all year long.  Parking is limited, but side street parking and a neighboring plaza parking lot helps the cause.

     Popeye's started as a small fried chicken restaurant near New Orleans back in the early 1970's.  The restaurant had a different brand name and it was not quite a successful business venture.  The owner rebranded the restaurant with the Popeye's name and started marketing spicy Louisiana style fried chicken.  Next thing you know, sales went through the roof and the restaurant became a smash hit.  Popeyes Fried Chicken expanded its operations by opening over 500 new restaurant locations in the 1980's and quickly reached a peak in popularity.  It seemed like everybody was doing the Popeye's Fried Chicken thing.  On a Friday or Saturday night, cars were lined up a mile long at nearly every Popeye's drive-thru.  This fried chicken business that started as a small local shop, turned into a real gold mine!
     Popeye's offers a Cajun style fried chicken and side dishes.  Everything from red beans and rice to buttermilk biscuits is offered on the menu.  Some locations even offered New Orleans specialty entrées, like spicy fried shrimp and jambalaya. 
     Food I Ordered:
     • Spicy Fried Chicken
     • Red Beans & Rice 
     Popeye's Fried Chicken?  Highly recommended, especially for those that like Cajun style!  There are several Popeye's locations in the Las Vegas Valley.  

      A new modern gourmet burger chain!  Smashburger offers a burger product and dining experience that is different than what the old fashioned burger stand chains offer in Las Vegas.  Smashburger appeals to the trendy crowd that is no longer impressed with old fashioned burgers.  Smashburger offers great burgers with modern fun gourmet toppings!
     The smash technique of cooking a burger does date back to how the original New York State Fair burgers were cooked in the 1890's.  Smashing burger meat on a grill is a classic burger cooking technique!
     Smashburger offers a variety of artisan crafted fresh baked burger buns.  The side dish offerings are one of the attractions of Smashburger.  Rosemary, garlic and olive oil flavored french fries?  That is something that no fast food style burger joint would ever attempt to cook.  This is because Smashburger is not fast food!  Everything is cooked to order!
     Smashburger creates a gourmet burger that named after whatever city the shop is located in.  For Las Vegas, the burger creation is the Sin City Smash.  The Sin City Smash is a medium size burger with fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, American Cheese, grilled onions, haystack onions and smash sauce on an egg dough bun.  That is a nice combination !
     Food I ordered:
     • Sin City Smash 
     • Fried Dill Pickle Chips
     Smashburger has opened a few locations in Las Vegas.  I visited the Smashburger at 5655 Centennial Center Boulevard, near the intersection of Ann Road and Highway 95 in northwest Las Vegas.  

     The Voodoo Wing Company
     There are chicken wings and then there are Voodoo Wings!  The Voodoo Wing Company recently opened in Las Vegas.  Not much has been mentioned in the newspaper about this new business, but word does travel fast with the locals.  The Voodoo Wing Company already has a large clientele base of dedicated hot wing fanatics.
     This wing shop is simply doing everything right!  There are no gimmicks and there is no huge menu filled with junk food items.  The Voodoo Wing Company is all about hot chicken wings.  Only a few popular fried food accompaniments are offered.  Reading the simple menu is like a sigh of relief!
     The Voodoo Wing Company hails from New Orleans, so obviously the wing sauce flavors are not watered down for the masses.  There are several mild wing sauces on the menu.  Super spicy hot chile pepper fans will be pleased to know that the hottest sauce on the menu is made with ghost peppers.  Yes, I am a hot pepper freak, so I tried the Bomb Wings.  In fact, I ordered Bomb Wings the second time I dined at this wing shop too.  The ghost pepper wing sauce on the Bomb Wings definitely was extra super spicy hot.  The Bomb Wings sure are not for the faint hearted!
     One thing that I noticed was that there were tons of people picking up tons of wings to-go.  I happened to visit this wing shop the first time on a Sunday, so it did not take much time to figure out that the local crowd was picking up huge orders of wings for football game parties.
     The Voodoo Wing Company will certainly be destined to be at the top of the list on Super Bowl Sunday.  By the way, The Voodoo Wing Company does deliver in the local area too.  Awesome!
     Food I ordered:
     • Bomb Wings
     • Fried Dill Pickle Chips
     The Voodoo Wing Company is located at 6728 W Cheyenne Ave in a plaza at the intersection of Rainbow.  This business is one block east of Highway 95, so it is a convenient stop for commuters.

     Which Wich Superior Sandwiches
     Which Wich is a unique new design your own sandwich shop chain.  Which Wich offers brown paper bags with the menu and sandwich options printed on the bag.  Placing an order is as simple as putting a name on the bag, marking the check list of sandwich options and handing the bag to the clerk!
     The sandwich menu offers a nice selection of quality sandwich ingredients.  Specialty sandwiches are on the menu.  Subs, grinders and panini are the primary sandwich styles.
     I was pleasantly surprised to see an Elvis Wich Sub listed on the specialty sandwich menu.  The original Elvis sandwich is grilled bread with peanut butter, bacon, banana and honey.  The Which Wich sub sandwich version of Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich was awesome!
     Food I ordered:
     • Elvis Wich
     Which Wich is located at 2192 North Rainbow Boulevard in a plaza at the intersection of Lake Mead.

     Wienerschnitzel has been around since 1961.  The first Wienerschnitzel shop was located in Wilmington, California.
     Wienerschnitzel offers a menu of classic unique specialty hot dogs.  Specialty hot dogs are what modern hot dog fans and street vendor style food fans are interested in.  The Pretzel Pastrami Dog is a hot dog sausage with swiss cheese, mustard, sliced dill pickle, hot pastrami on a pretzel dough hot dog bun.  The Junkyard Dog is a hot dog sausage topped with chili, cheese, onions, mustard and french fries.  This classic dog creation will satisfy anybody who lives the junkyard dog lifestyle!
     Wienerschnitzel Hot Dog Stands appeal to hot dog fans that seek a variety of classic street vendor style hot dog creations at a fair price.  This hot dog company offers some bargain price specials every week.  Wienerschnitzel also sponsors the Wiener Dog Dachshund Racing events in this region and they post the schedule at their website.
     Food I ordered:
     • Chicago Dog 
     • Corn Dog 
     • Pretzel Pastrami Dog 
     • Chili Dog 
     • Junkyard Dog 
     Wienerschnitzel Hot Dog Stands can be found just about anywhere in the Las Vegas Valley.  

     Windy City Beef-N-Dogs, A Taste Of Chicago
     As soon as I stepped through the doors at Windy City Beef-n-Dogs, I was right back in center city Chicago!  The restaurant decor and atmosphere at this place is pure Chicago heaven.  There is all sorts of Chicago memorabilia and pictures that will certainly make anybody from the Windy City feel right at home.  
     Windy City Beef-n-Dogs is laid out just like a Chicago Italian Beef shop.  There is a long line of dining tables against a wall and there is a dining counter that overlooks the open kitchen.  Customers can listen to the food sizzling on the grill, while soaking up all the big city street food aromas.  This is music to the ears for all those who long for those good old center city Chicago memories!  
     Just like at Chicago Beef & Hot Dog restaurants in Chicago, the menu is simple and easy to negotiate.  Chicago Style Dogs are sold by the pair and burgers are doubles.  Combos like an Italian Beef + A Chicago Sausage Sandwich are offered on the menu for a nice price.  Every street vendor style food item and snack food item that Chicago native would expect is offered on the menu at Windy City Beef-n-Dogs.  Local Chicago brands of chips, Neon Relish and Sport Peppers are also sold at this place. 
     This restaurant offers a bulk food menu for those that pick up food to-go for the office crew or for a Super Bowl party.  Chicago language is spoken at Windy City, so feel free to use plenty of two letter words!  Windy City even offers a Sears Tower Eating Challenge that amounts to eating over 7 pounds of Chicago sandwich food in 30 minutes.  One thing is for sure, eating challenge fanatics will have a tough time handling this awesome belly stretching challenge!  This restaurant is good old Chicago at its best, right here in Las Vegas!  
     Food I Ordered:  
     • Loaded Maxwell Street Polish
     Windy City Beef-n-Dogs is located at 7500 West Lake Mead in a plaza at the intersection of Buffalo.  This restaurant is in the Summerlin neighborhood near Highway 95 North, so it is convenient for commuters.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lake Mead National Recreation Area! ~ Scenic Lakeshore Road During A Dust Storm

Created with flickr slideshow.

     Sightseeing At Lake Mead During Desert Dust Storm!
     Just another average day in the desert southwest, till the winds kick up!  Dust storms in Southern Nevada can limit visibility when sightseeing in a wilderness area.  Usually a dust storms result in a thick lingering haze in the Lake Mead Recreation Area.  It can be difficult to see the shoreline on the other side of the lake during such an event.

     East in Arizona and south in the low Mojave Desert there are vast expanses of flat land.  When the wind gusts in one direction over silty desert flat land, the dust gathers at the head of the storm and it looks like a mountainous tsunami wave that is made out of nothing but dirt.  There are some dramatic looking photos of this kind of dust storm on the internet.  A massive dust storm like this can wreak havoc on car air filters and home air conditioners.  Breathing is nearly impossible without a bandana or dust mask.

     Venturing out in the desert when dust storm warnings are broadcasted is not really a good thing to do.  Many times, the roads that traverse long stretches of the desert are closed by the Department Of Transportation when visibility reaches the danger point.  Instead of waiting several hours for the roads to open back up way out in the middle of nowhere, the better choice is to hunker down somewhere like a restaurant or a resort in a town nearby.

     By the time that I was done with the scenic drive on Lakeshore Road along the south end of Lake Mead, the road closures were just being set in place.  Lakeshore Road intersects with Highway 93 near Boulder City and Hoover Dam.  Where Highway 93 veered due south to Searchlight, Nevada, the road was closed due to zero visibility.  I figured that I better just scoot on back to Las Vegas rather than risk being stuck in this area all day.    
      For outdoor photography I usually use a Nikon D90 SLR with a 50x or 300x lens.  Needless to say, the clarity of the pictures are usually pretty good.  I was not sure about what to expect from the photos that were shot on this hazy dusty day.  Sometimes dusty air caused a digital camera to fail to focus like it should.  Fortunately most of the photos turned out okay.  The hazy atmosphere actually created some interesting effects, like scenic landscapes fading into an endless distance.

     The photos in today's destination were shot at Lake Mead from the area near Lake Las Vegas on south to the Hoover Dam Reservoir area near Boulder City.  This section of the Lake Mead Recreation Area is a boater's paradise.  The Boulder Beach Campground is in this area too.
     There are many interest tall rock outcrop islands in the south section of Lake Mead that create surreal looking scenery.  Many folks head to the sheer cliffs in this area to spend the day cliff diving.  There are also many small coves that attract some good size fish.  The striped bass in Lake Mead have been known to reach world record size in the deep water troughs in this end of the big lake.
     Many people do not realize just how big Lake Mead is.  If the entire shoreline of Lake Mead was stretched out into a straight line, the length would almost equal the shoreline of the State of California.  That is a lot of desert lake shoreline to explore!

     When visiting Las Vegas on a long vacation or after hitting a big jackpot, Lake Mead is always a good option.  There are plenty of boat rental businesses and fishing charters to be found in this area.  Spending some time having some fun in the sun is always a worthwhile venture.
     A clear sunny day is always better than a hazy dust storm day at Lake Mead.  Grilling some hot dogs and burgers in the great outdoors, while swimming and cliff diving on a sunny weekend, is just good old fashioned fun at its best!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

African, Mediterranean & Middle Eastern Restaurants ~ Las Vegas!

     Habib's Persian Cuisine
     The outside of the building at Habib's Persian Cuisine is plain looking and there are many flowering desert plants.  One cannot judge a book by its cover in this case, because after stepping through the doors, a luxurious refined dining room setting will be found.  The decor of the dining room at Habib's is tastefully decorated with classic paintings in gold leaf frames, marble floors and fine furnishings.  Classical music is played at a tasteful volume that inspires a mood for fine Persian cuisine.
     Classic Persian entrées that one would expect are offered on a special du jour menu.  Items like tah-chin, jeweled rice, kefta, stuffed eggplant and stuffed peppers are on the special menu.  Filet mignon is offered in a variety Persian cooking styles that include kebabs and grill cookery.  A kabob of beef tenderloin is always guaranteed to be tender, lean and delicious.
     There are plenty of Persian chicken and fish entrees to chose from on Habib's main menu.  Regional Mediterranean favorites, like Shrimp Scampi are offered too.  Habib's offers a nice selection of Persian salads and appetizers to start a long evening of dining the night away.  The dessert menu includes many Mediterranean favorites, like Persian Ice Cream and Baklava.
     Iced tea was my choice for an afternoon drink while doing lunch at Habib's.  Habib's house tea is pleasantly spiced.  The tea was flavored with rose petal, mint and lemon!  Those who enjoy wine or cocktails with dinner will not be disappointed at this restaurant.  Habib's does offer a fine wine list and a full bar is located in the dining room.
     Items I ordered:
     • Tabuli
     • Borani
     • Spiced Iced Tea
     Habib's Persian Cuisine and Mediterranean market is located at 2575 South Decatur, about one half block south of Sahara in Las Vegas.  This central valley location is fairly close to the Las Vegas Strip.

    The Jerusalem Grill
    The Jerusalem Grill is a premier restaurant that features Glatt Kosher Mediterranean and Israeli Cuisine.  I was very impressed with how nice the Jerusalem Grille was during my visit.  This restaurant is spotlessly clean from top to bottom.  The food production is well organized and the chefs are highly skilled.  The waitstaff was attentive and they offer informative assistance when questions are asked.  The servers offer good menu suggestions.  In fact their suggestive sales techniques are pretty good, because I ended up doing a tasty full course meal for lunch!
     Overall, the dining experience at the Jerusalem Grill was one of the best that I have had in Las Vegas.  The modern food presentations were appealing and the level of food quality was very high.  Compared to the food that other restaurants offer for the same price, the Jerusalem Grill offers great value.  No shortcuts are taken and the food is handcrafted the old fashioned way.
     Many customers that were dining while I was there were doing the same thing that I did.  Everybody seemed to be ordering one course after another in an unhurried relaxed pace.  This added to the pleasant atmosphere.  
     Speaking of Glatt Kosher cuisine, the Jerusalem Grill offers an extensive traditional Friday Night Shabbat menu for a set price.  Since great care is taken in preparing the food as fresh as possible, customers that are interested in the Shabbat meal are encouraged to call ahead of time to place their orders.   
     Items I ordered:
     • Limonada
     • Matzo Ball Soup
     • Moroccan Potato Cigars 
     • Baklava
     • Double Expresso 
     The Jerusalem Grill is centrally located in the Las Vegas valley at the intersection of Flamingo and Decatur.  The address is 4825 Flamingo Road and the restaurant can be found in the plaza on the southeast corner of the intersection.  The Jerusalem Grill is very close to the Las Vegas Strip and they do offer local delivery service.

     The Mad Greek Café
     The original Mad Greek Café has been around for many years and this place is now a landmark restaurant that has a loyal clientele base.  I was looking for an old fashioned ice cream shop while cruising down West Sahara, but old fashioned ice cream shops are kind of scarce these days outside of downtown main street areas.  While doing the mountainside downhill run on Sahara, somehow I caught a glimpse of the Mad Greek Café out of the corner of my eye.  A glimpse was all it took to remind me of the huge milkshakes that I used to get at the shop at the Rainbow Boulevard location that recently closed.  I figured that the old original Mad Greek Café probably offered good milkshakes too, so I decided to check this restaurant out.
      I was not hungry for food when I visited the Mad Greek Café, because I was strictly on a milkshake mission, so there is no food examples to write about in today's article.  The Mad Greek Café offers a vast menu of Greek, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food.  Everything is traditional and hand crafted.  This restaurant is busy at night and it is a favorite dining destination of residents in west Las Vegas.
     The Mad Greek Café bar and lounge area is a glorious sight indeed!  Every imaginable exotic Greek and Mediterranean liquor is stocked at this classic European style bar.  It has been a long time since I have sipped on good Grecian Ouzo, Sour Cherry Liquor or Metaxa.  The temptation was present, but sticking to the milkshake game plan was more important.
     The old fashioned chocolate milkshake was topped off with whipped cream and a teeny little cocktail umbrella!  If there is one thing that pleases me more than anything else, it is tiny cocktail umbrellas.  "The Blues Brothers" insisted upon teeny cocktail umbrellas in one of their sketches and this image is one that is permanently etched in the canyons of my mind.  Nowadays, cocktail umbrellas are a nostalgic commodity and they are rarely stocked at bars.  This is a shame, because a tacky little cocktail umbrella has an amusing way of putting a smile on a customer's face.  
     A teeny cocktail umbrella does add a nice touch to the lazy Saturday afternoon milkshake experience.  The waitress that made the chocolate milkshake at Mad Greek Café certainly pulled out all the stops and created a top notch milkshake presentation.  It seems like the very best milkshakes are always made by a waitress that has a flair for entertaining guests.  
     The Mad Greek Café offers indoor and patio dining.  This restaurant offers wedding, banquet and catering services.  Musical entertainment is booked on busy nights and occasionally they host special event parties.  "Gourmet Food At Fast Food Prices" is one of the advertising slogans at the Mad Greek Café website.  The Mad Greek Café is one of the best dining bargains in Las Vegas.
     Items I ordered:
     • Chocolate Milkshake with a teeny cocktail umbrella!
     The Mad Greek Café is located at 8565 West Sahara at the intersection of Durango.  This location is a few miles away from the Las Vegas Strip, but there are many golf courses nearby that cater to casino resort guests, so this café is a 19th hole option.  The closest major casino resort is the Red Rock Casino on Charleston near the 215 Beltway.

     Marrakech Mediterranean Restaurant
     Marrakech has been a Las Vegas landmark restaurant since 1979.  I cannot count how many times that I have driven past this restaurant and then ended up saying to myself that I must give this place a try.  On a recent visit home in Las Vegas, I passed by the Marrakech once again on my way back to my job in Arizona.  This time I said that experiencing Marrakesh is long overdue, so I pulled a quick U-Turn and swung into the parking lot.  I sure am glad that I did, because all I can say is that dining at Marrakesh was the highlight of the Vegas getaway!
     Marrakech is truly is an experience!  Imagine stepping through the doors of a restaurant and finding yourself in a dining room that resembles a vast Bedouin tent with Moroccan decor in a Sahara Desert oasis setting.  After being respectfully greeted, guests settle into plush atmosphere of comfortable fine furnishings.  The chef offers a pre-fixe feast of great Mediterranean cuisine, so there is more time to relax and enjoy the night with guests.  The classic Moroccan table service begins by rinsing hands with rosewater.  The entire waitstaff serves each meze, main course, dessert and tea with dazzling professionalism.  Guests drink and dine at a leisurely pace while enjoying the entertainment, which happens to be great traditional music and talented belly dancers!
     Belly dancing is an art in itself and the show at Marrakec h was impressive beyond belief!  Interpreting the dancers movements is thoroughly enjoyable when sharing food with guests.  Things get really fun when the dancer invites table guests to give belly dancing a try.  This can lead to some comical moments that everybody in the dining room applauds.  The dining and entertainment experience at Marrakech truly is a nice social event!
     Items that I ordered:
     • Moroccan Casa Blanca Beer
     Pre-fixe dinner menu:
     • Mediterranean Shrimp Scampi
     • Harira Soup
     • Marrakech Sampler of Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Moroccan Olives, Cucumber, Marinated Carrots and Bread
     • Beef Kabob
     • Royal Moroccan Couscous Platter with Djaj
     • B'stilla
     • Mint Tea
     Marrakesh is located at 3900 Paradise Road between Sands and Flamingo.  This location is only a few blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip.
     Because of the relaxed Moroccan dining style and generous portions, guests tend to spend hours enjoying the evening, so placing table reservations is highly suggested.  It is very easy to recommend Marrakesh, because the level of satisfaction is superb!                                
     Market Grille Café 
     There is always a better alternative to grabbing a bag of unhealthy highly processed junk food at the drive-thru at a fast food joint.  When the tab is added up, the cost of a fast food meal compares to the price of a lunch entree at a café or small restaurant, so there is no sense in justifying fast food by comparing value. 
     A gyro is actually an ancient street vendor style food item that can be prepared and served quickly, but it is not fast food.  A place to get a great gyro in Las Vegas is the Market Grille Café.  The Market Grille Café offers Grecian style Mediterranean cuisine.  Kabobs, spanakopita, moussaka, hummus, salads, soups and a wide range of healthy Mediterranean entrees can be found on the menu.  Traditional Grecian desserts, like baklava are also offered.  
     The Market Grille Café dining room is spacious and it has a pleasant comfortable atmosphere.  The open view kitchen and dining room were spotlessly clean and well maintained.  The menu prices offer dining value and the portion sizes are good.
     Items I ordered: 
     • Hummus To-Go
     • Gyro To-Go
     The Market Grille Café is located at 7175 West Lake Mead Boulevard between Highway 95 North and Tenaya.  The parking lot in front of the restaurant is rather small and it reaches capacity quickly, but there are more parking spaces behind the building.  
     Paymon's Mediterranean Café and Hookah Lounge
     Expertly prepared Mediterranean cuisine in Las Vegas!  I have dined at Paymon's several times.  Social networking is what caused me to become interested in Paymon's Mediterranean Café and Hookah Lounge.  A representative of Paymon's complimented my own Mediterranian cuisine, so took a look at what Paymon's had to offer at their website.  My mouth was watering as I read the Paymon's menu and my tummy started growling!  My step grandfather was from Syria and Lebanon, so experienced Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine at an early age.  Since then, I always seem to have craving for the flavors of that region.
     The dining area at Paymon's Mediterranean Café is very comfortable and it is decorated to the hilt.  An entire wall by the entrance is adorned with dining awards and citations of merit that Paymon's has received over the years.  Paymon's has been on the Best Of Las Vegas list for a very long time!
     Paymon's menu is divided into regions of the Mediterranean.  Italian, Middle Eastern, Greek and Indian cuisines are offered at Paymon's.  Each cuisine is expertly prepared in an authentic fashion by highly skilled chefs.  
      Paymon's has a full list of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African beer and wine.  For those who prefer to only drink non-fermented beverages, Paymon's offers a long list of fine gourmet mediterranean tea and coffee specialties.  
     Items I ordered:
     • Fesenjan
     • Saganaki 
     • Broiled Chicken Kabob
     • Moroccan Casa Beer
     • Lebanese Almaza Beer
     Paymon's Mediterranean Cafe and Hookah Lounge is located at 4147 South Maryland Parkway, just south of Flamingo.  Paymon's is located close to the Las Vegas Strip.  The Hookah Lounge at Paymon's is separated from the dining area by glass and doors.  Paymon's Hookah Lounge is very active and it has a nice mellow party atmosphere.

     Shish Kabob House
     The signage has the appearance of a big city kabob to-go shop, but the Shish Kabob restaurant offers Armenian style elegance and comfort!  I initially placed a chicken and beef kabob order to-go, but after getting into the comfortable atmosphere I sat at a table and asked the host to change my order to dining at a table.  Armenian beer is stocked, so a bottle of Erebuni Beer was appropriate for the moment.  The chicken and beef kabob showed up from the kitchen a short time later.  While chatting with the server, she proudly exclaimed that the beef on the kabob was actually beef tenderloin.  Nice! 
     Warm pita bread covered the Chicken & Beef Tenderloin Kabobs, to keep the entree from cooling down.  The old world café style food presentation was appealing and it was refreshingly uncomplicated.  The plate of food simply had the look of pure comfort.  All I can say is the chicken and beef tenderloin were tender beyond belief and the portion size was generous.
     The Shish Kabob House offers menu prices that are a real bargain in this modern age.  A small band stage for entertainment is located near the host station.  A large banquet room is available for special events, like weddings, birthdays and business meetings.  The Shish Kabob House also runs a busy catering business.  
     Items I ordered:  
     • Chicken & Beef Kabobs
     • Armenian  Erebuni Beer
     • Baklava 
     The Shish Kabob House is located at 6620 West Flamingo Road in a small plaza, between Torrey Pines and Rainbow.  The parking lot is well lit and there are plenty of spaces.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Eldorado Dry Lake, Nevada!

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     Weekend Fun In The Sun At An Ancient Dry Lake!
     Nearly all lowland areas in Nevada were once covered by oceans in ancient times.  As the mountains raised the land and the polar caps grew during ice ages, the oceans in this region disappeared.  As the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range grew to a high elevation, fewer Pacific rain clouds were able to pass over the high mountains.  As a result, the American southwest become extremely arid desert.
     There are several dry lakes in the west that are world famous.  One is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.  This salt bead is famous for racing and world speed records.  Groom Lake is now famous because of the Area 51 Secret Base.  Probably the most famous dry lake destination in the west is Death Valley.  The salt beds in a Badwater section of Death Valley are nearly 9 miles deep.  Because of the extreme heat and rough terrain, Death Valley is not exactly a great place to spend the day doing strenuous outdoor activities.
     There are many lesser known dry lake beds in Nevada where outdoor activity enthusiasts congregate on weekends.  Some of the dry lakes in the state are protected land, so it is best to check the status of the area before planning a venture.  Off road vehicles of any kind are not allowed in sensitive environmental areas.
     There is a popular dry lake that is located close to Las Vegas, Boulder City and Nelson, Nevada.  Eldorado Dry Lake is a recreational area, so off road vehicles are allowed.
    When the weather is cool in the winter, plenty of people go to Eldorado Dry Lake everyday of the week.  Land sailing is a prime activity, because the dry lake plain is vast and wide.  Radio control model airplane and drone hobbyists have a blast at this place, because visibility is nearly unlimited.
     Folks that are into falconry can be seen at Eldorado Dry Lake in the early morning training birds of prey to catch pigeons.  This ancient hunting sport is thriving in the desert southwest and there are many falconry clubs.  This sport requires years of dedication to master and the trained bird of prey literally becomes a family member.  There is nothing like watching the birds of prey soaring effortlessly in the cobalt blue sky.  A good telephoto lens is necessary for capturing images of these birds in flight.
     Of course some people go to Eldorado Dry Lake for a lazy day of tanning, while listening to the radio and watching the goings on.  Parking an RV on the edge of the dry lake and having a picnic is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
     On one end of the dry lake there is a modern outdoor gun range for shooting sports enthusiasts.  Sporting clays and combat style shooting sports are popular these days, especially while the weather is cool.
    As one can see, there is plenty of fun things to do, even at a dry lake bed out in the middle of the desert.  Eldorado Dry Lake is a prime destination for those who enjoy quality outdoor recreation activities on weekends.
     During the hot summer months, few people hang out at Eldorado Dry Lake, because of the heat and the unpredictable monsoon rain storms.  Rain is fairly predictable during winter months, so it is easier to avoid the perils of knee ocean bottom silt mud.  When it rains, the silt mud can be heavy enough to cause vehicles and even hikers to get stuck like glue.  On dry windy days, dust storms can cause all outdoors activities to come to a screeching halt.  Checking the weather report before going to Eldorado Dry Lake is advisable, so the time spent traveling is not wasted.
     Eldorado Dry Lake is located on Highway 95, where the road turns south in the direction of Searchlight and Laughlin, Nevada.  It only takes about 30 minutes to get to Eldorado Dry Lake from Las Vegas.  Boulder City is close by and so is the historic Eldorado Canyon.  Outdoor recreational vehicle rentals of all kinds, including land sailing craft, can be found in the Las Vegas area.  Eldorado Dry Lake is what fun in the sun is all about!

     *Always check the status of any dry lake destination before making the trek.  Dry lake areas can be have seasonal protective status, like during gopher tortoise mating season.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chili & Beer at the Happy Burro ~ The Old Underground Church - Historic Beatty, Nevada!

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     Chili & Beer at the Happy Burro ~ The Old Underground Church!
     When traveling to a destination in Nevada, the stretches of road can go on for what seems like forever.  Signs that say something like "No Gas For Next 150 Miles" are indicators of wide open spaces ahead.
     The wide open scenic desert landscape extends to the horizon and not one living soul is in sight.  Then suddenly a hint of civilization appears in the form of hand painted plywood sign nailed to an old mesquite cattle ranch fence post that advertises a roadside beef jerky stand just ahead.
     Some things never change.  Travelers in the old west riding on horse drawn coaches dealt with the same scene.  Wooden signs nailed to fence posts advertising a saloon or trading post out in the middle of nowhere were a welcome sight for travelers that were fatigued after crossing vast stretches of high desert landscape.  The old west trading post saloons in small towns out in remote places offered a spot for some rest, venison jerky, warm beer and maybe some rattlesnake chili that had been simmering all day.
     One might say that chili was the fast food of the old west.  When travelers showed up hungry after riding a long dusty trail, a ladle full of chili served in an enamelware bowl with a big piece of cornbread was a mighty appealing sight.  It did not matter whether the traveler liked chili or not, because it was the only choice of ready to eat food.
     A rider on horseback passing by another dusty soul traveling in the opposite direction on a desert trail often had a brief conversation about what lies ahead.  Food topics are a traditional conversation starter between strangers just about anywhere, anytime.
     "Well ... On up the trail about a half day's ride is a trading post and saloon  ...  But be careful in that little town, because if the firewater whiskey don't kill ya, the chili sure will!"
     Yes, chili had that wonderful reputation of being a meal that could cause intestinal distress even back in the days of the old west.  Most times, the slurs spoken about the chili at a saloon were meant to lighten up a conversation in a funny way.  It was like referring to fast food as being "the gift that keeps on giving!"
     Hunger has a way of making a person eat stuff that they would normally think twice about eating.  A big pile of eggs & biscuits or a big fat juicy steak sure would be first choice selections for a weary traveler in the old west, but freshly gathered eggs were usually only available in the early morning and steak was only on the menu only if a steer had recently been slaughtered.
     An old west rider on horseback could sit down in a saloon and order steak, eggs & biscuits all day long, but inevitably when the saloon keeper returned to place the hot food in front of the customer, the meal turned out to be a big bowl of wild game meat chili with cornbread on the side.
     "I'm sorry mister ...  Jackrabbit Chili is all we got, so enjoy your meal!"
     Chili is an adventure in its own right, especially when traveling in modern times.  Some people, like myself, are plum crazy when it comes to chili.  I have been known to travel an extra hundred miles, just because I sensed that a good bowl of chili could be found in a small town a little further on down the road.
     When I see chili on the menu at a tavern or restaurant that that has a cook that makes everything from scratch, I give it a try.  Some folks fear chili when traveling, because of its potential for "cast iron stomach rusting" consequences.  Some folks have no fear of the almighty chili and they are willing to take the risk.  When good bowl chili sits well on the tummy, there is no better feeling when traveling in the west.
     Chili is like eating a bowl of wild west history.  This experience can be enhanced even more, when the bowl of chili is served in an old Nevada saloon located in a small desert town out in the middle of nowhere.
     The creaky wooden sidewalk and floor boards add to the charm.  A saloon dog sniffing your legs, to see where you have been is like being welcomed home.  The antiques and old west memorabilia create a feeling of stepping back in time.  The rusty old signs for whiskey, brothels and tobacco are sure signs of Nevada.  An old shotgun mounted on the wall by the cash register lets everybody know that the check must be paid.
     All these old Nevada saloon features add up to create one heck of a nice atmosphere for enjoying a good bowl of chili that a small town saloon keeper proudly spent all day cooking.
     If there is a chili capitol in this world, it has to be the old historic town of Beatty, Nevada.  I am sure that megatons of chili have been served in this town during its long history of catering to pioneers, gamblers, gold rush miners and sight seeing tourists.
     Beatty was close to being a ghost town many years ago when the local gold mine played out in the neighboring town of Rhyolite.  Fortunately, Beatty was a gateway to California.  The trail that ran through Beatty passed by the Funeral Mountains into Death Valley and on to the west coast.  Scotty's Castle and the Furnace Creek Inn are nearby Death Valley travel destinations that kept tourists interested in this region.  Beatty evolved from a gold rush saloon town to being a modern old west tourist destination and it looks like this small old west town is here to stay.
     Recently I got the urge to get out of Las Vegas and get some fresh air.  I had no travel plans, but a few destinations came to mind.  The old town of Tonapah ended up being the destination choice, but the distance was a bit too far for the gas budget, so I set my sights on Goldfield, Nevada.  Beatty is about halfway between Las Vegas and Goldfield.  Beatty is just the right distance for answering the call of a hungry tummy growling for grub.  There are a few restaurants and saloons in Beatty that serve up some good old fashioned western vittles, like a big bowl of hot chili.
     When passing through Beatty the last few times, I noticed the Happy Burro Chili & Beer sign painted on the side of an old saloon building and thought that this is a place that I need to check out.  This old western saloon looked like the kind of place that serves up some awesome chili.
     It was about midmorning when I rolled into Beatty.  Chili & Beer is my kind of summertime breakfast, so the Happy Burro became my dining destination.
     Most folks cannot stand to eat much more than milk toast in the morning, but I was fortunate enough to be born with a cast iron stomach.  Chili & Beer for breakfast is something that appeals to a limited crowd, like bikers, ranchers, truckers and people who are crazy about chili.
     From a nutritional standpoint, the protein, lipids, vitamins and minerals in chili, plus the carbohydrates in an ice could glass of beer, all add up to a nutritious meal that provides plenty of energy.  Chili sticks to the ribs for a long time, so it actually is a nice choice for breakfast when driving long distances.
     The Happy Burro certainly offers a classic old west saloon atmosphere.  Saloon dogs hang around to greet guests in the morning, before the temperatures start to rise.  This saloon is packed wall to wall with interesting old memorabilia and antique collectibles.  Indoor and outdoor dining is available and the comfort level is the same, because this is an old fashioned open air saloon.  Fans and shade are the only relief from the desert heat, just like in the days of the old wild west.
     The saloon keeper and locals at the Happy Burro were genuinely fun to chat with.  They filled me in on the details of the saloon and surrounding site.  One of the locals mentioned that the old historic underground church was located in the alley behind the saloon.
     This old church had been around since long before the age of air conditioning.  To keep the congregation cool, the church was constructed so it was partially buried in the ground.  The cool moist ground temperature provided some relief from the extreme desert heat.
     The old underground church door is locked up, but walking the grounds is okay to do.  They do not build small community churches like this anymore, so this definitely is a sight to see when in Beatty.
     The saloon keeper was telling me about the goings on at the Happy Burro and what kind of clientele frequents this place.  Old fashioned saloons are a prime weekend destination for Harley Davidson Motorcycle Rally enthusiasts.  Small town saloons in Nevada generate some serious income from this crowd, so the "Bikers Are Welcome" sign is always posted.
     Tourists make up the bulk of the daily business in small desert towns.  Tour buses with a load of hundreds of hungry tourists have been known to show up on a quiet day at a saloon out of the blue, so the nice peaceful nostalgic old west saloon atmosphere can quickly turn into a major lively party with little forewarning.  When at a saloon along a tourist route, there really is never a dull moment.
     The people at the Happy Burro were all excited about a sight that they practically demanded that I see for myself.  These folks were all talking about the Happy Burro restrooms that were featured on a TV show.
     Well, I grabbed my camera and headed to the restrooms, while they were still tidy before any other customers showed up.  I just had to laugh when I saw the men's room urinal.  It was fit with gorilla style motorcycle handlebars and the clutch lever flushed the commode.  The photo can be seen above.  This toilet is every biker's dream come true!
     To make a long story short, the chili at the Happy Burro was top notch and it tasted great!  It is an old fashioned western style chili that has a well balanced dried red chile pepper and tomato thickened chili gravy.  The meat was tender and full of flavor.
     Apparently the Happy Burro Chili recipe has been around for many years and it has won many chili cook-off awards.  This chili will please the tastes of any chili aficionado!  The beer was ice cold and it was served in a mason jar beer mug.  The old fashioned mug really added a nice touch.
     I recommend the Happy Burro Chili & Beer for travelers visiting Beatty, Nevada!  Even if chili & beer is not your cup of tea for breakfast, this old Nevada saloon is worth checking out.  A short menu of burger, hod dogs and snack food is also available.
     The old west atmosphere of the Happy Burro is nostalgic and one of a kind.  The Happy Burro Saloon definitely is a great travel destination that is straight out of the old west!