Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 2 a.m.
As Robin Leach settles into a northern Italian lake district lifestyle before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus Lake Como and Lake Maggiore this year — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with “Cake Boss” star chef Buddy Valastro, who holds court at the Venetian-Palazzo when he isn’t being rescued from sail-boating escapades in New York Harbor.
It was always a dream of my dad and I to make Carlo’s Bakery a household name. We would talk about it all the time back in the day while decorating wedding cakes and mixing batter at the bakery in Hoboken, N.J.
Little did either of us know at the time that years later I’d be standing in the Grand Canal Shoppes of the Venetian-Palazzo cutting a grand-opening ribbon with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and my whole famiglia to open Carlo’s Bakery Las Vegas!
What made that moment even sweeter was looking across the hall and seeing my restaurant, Buddy V’s Ristorante. Because as much as my family is known for baking, we can make you a red sauce that’s just like forgetaboutit!
Buddy V’s was a labor of love for my family and me. I knew that I wanted to open a restaurant, but the food had to be real; it had to be authentic. So I thought of the best cooks I knew — my mother, my father, my grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters. Their food was undeniably delicious, and no one could do it better.
I asked them all to cook with me one night and pick the best of the best. I can’t even tell you how much olive oil, basil, garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, pecorino and wine we went through that night! But what hit the table took us all back to the 30-person dinners we grew up on in my grandmother’s basement. And that’s what I wanted for Buddy V’s.
At the table that night were my amazing friends and partners Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla. We ate, we laughed, we had a menu. A few months later, I walked into the restaurant around 3 a.m., and I couldn’t believe that we had done it. I remember calling my wife Lisa then and there staring out at the Strip to share this unbelievable moment with her.
I was reminded of that moment when we cut the ribbon at Carlo’s Bakery Las Vegas. We had done it. We brought our slice of Hoboken to the West Coast, the farthest we’ve ever gone, and I know that my dad was looking down, proud. We are proud, too, to keep his dream alive.
There’s no place like Las Vegas. You’ve got the most incredible chefs from all over the world coming here to cook. The quality of food here is unreal. At the end of the day, I’m a baker from Jersey, so to look up and see my name next to Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud and Emeril, I just have to pinch myself.
I can honestly say that the entire Carlo’s Bakery famiglia is so happy to call the Venetian-Palazzo our new home. Between Buddy V’s and Carlo’s Bakery Las Vegas, you know that we’re gonna take care of you.
It’s an honor to be able to share this slice of Hoboken and my family’s heritage with the people of Las Vegas. Whether you’re visiting solo or are a group of 20, you’re always welcome at our table.
Check out our other guest column today from fabulous singer Sky Dee Miles, who has been belting out the blues in Las Vegas for years as a music headliner, and get ready to meet burlesque beauty Melody Sweets and her high-flying “Absinthe” co-stars on Tuesday.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.
With top accommodations, first-rate entertainment, high-end shopping and a slew of acclaimed chefs, the Palazzo has positioned itself as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Strip.
More than 3,000 all-suite rooms start at 740 square feet and are decorated in a modern, yet classic, Italian style. Each room features a sleeping area, with a king or two queens, and a sunken living room area with floor to ceiling windows.
A cathedral ceiling tops the Palazzo casino, while a second 80-foot dome brings natural light to the property's lobby. The 105,000 square foot casino features more than 2,000 slots and 80 table games but lacks the stale smell of cigarettes, as the property is LEED certified with smoking off limits in most of the Palazzo — including 50 percent of the casino floor.
Dining at the Palazzo is among the best of the Strip, starting with Wolfgang Puck's CUT. Chef Simon To serves up authentic Chinese cuisine at Zine, while Sushisamba combines Brazilian and Peruvian flavors with Japanese techniques. At LAVO, club-goers can dine on Mediterranean dishes before heading upstairs to the bath house-inspired nightclub.