Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 | 7:34 p.m.
2016 CNY at Venetian and Palazzo / Richard Corey
We have the scoop on highlights of this year’s 10th anniversary Vegas Uncork’d festivities here April 28-May 1. For the first time, Uncork’d will go off-Strip, so expect chefs, foodies and restaurateurs checking out our downtown dining scene.
But it’s the blindfolded dinner and a $1,000 Nobu Matsuhisa Ultimate Omakase that have me elated. A Caesars Palace chef team will blindfold guests for a sensory lunch at Bacchanal Buffet in a private dining room.
It’ll be a culinary test of smells, sounds and enhanced textures while in the dark. You won’t have to go from station to station to try to pick out the food, though, then somehow get it onto your plate!
The omakase dinner of $1,000 per person benefits Keep Memory Alive at our Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Over at the Cromwell, TV chef darling Giada De Laurentiis will host an Italian-inspired brunch with limitless mimosas. Downstairs in the cocktail lounge Bound, Salvatore Calabrese, known for his 30 years of experience as one of the world’s best bartenders, will lead a mixology class of his signature cocktails.
TV star chef Emeril Lagasse from the Venetian and Palazzo will host the 10th anniversary dinner, which is being kept a mystery. In fact, it’s called the Mystery Dinner because nobody will yet reveal its location except to say that it’ll be somewhere Uncork’d guests have never dined before.
YEAR OF THE MONKEY RUNDOWN: It’s the most important Chinese holiday, the Spring Festival and start of the Chinese New Year. For the first time, the fifth-annual desert celebrations will be at multiple locations over one week: the Linq Promenade, Boulevard Mall, Container Park, Fashion Show, Natural History Museum and Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, where Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Meadows School students took part in dragon dances this morning.
For a complete schedule, go to CNYintheDesert.com. There’s everything from cultural dances, ice carvings and culinary treats to traditional music concerts, folklore and acrobatic performances. To celebrate the first day of CNY and welcome the Year of the Monkey, Meadows School performed a dragon parade throughout the Forum Shops.
The cast of singers and dancers included 120 students, 60 from kindergarten and 60 from fifth grade, plus school founder Carolyn Goodman. Two, large, red-and-gold costumed dragons were accompanied by drums and firecrackers to keep evil spirits away. Caesars has a separate 22-feet-long, 6-foot-wide, 12-feet-tall, 950-pound dragon covered in 30,000 red-and-amber LED lights on display on the Fortuna Terrace at the Forum Shops.
Today marked the 20th year Meadows students conducted a CNY performance at the Forum Shops. Nearby at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, executive chef Eric Klein has created a CNY menu served through Feb. 17.
ANOTHER KILLING: Professional Las Vegas bettor Dave Oancea has a $2.3 million win on betting that the Denver Broncos would go all the way and win Super Bowl 50 on wagers he began placing in August. Dave is the guy who made headlines with a $1.5 million win when the Kansas City Royals cleaned up in the World Series. He made that winning bet just one week into the 2015 season.
Dave moved to Las Vegas from Honolulu and took a $10,000 student loan to attend UNLV. His notoriety began in 2012 when he bet that the Baltimore Ravens would win the Super Bowl, and they did, giving him $208,000 from his $8,000 wager.
More recently, he predicted that Holly Holm would win over undefeated UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey for a $240,000 payout on his $20,000 bet. He made his first bet on the Broncos in August with $30,000 to win at 14-1 for a $450,000 payout.
In an article he wrote in August, Dave said: “The Panthers won 18 straight home games playing a lot better at home than on the road. Denver will blitz more and put pressure on Carolina. I do not believe Carolina has what it takes to beat Denver’s No. 1 defense.” The entire article is at ItsVegasDave.com.
FIRST OSCAR NOMINATION: Congrats to my longtime, and I mean longtime, friend Charlotte Rampling on her first Oscar nomination for her striking role in “45 Years.” She and I go back more than 50 years to my first year in journalism when I was a 15-year-old cub reporter for the Harrow Observer outside London. Charlotte and her older sister, Sarah, performed in the local Young Conservatives annual theatrical fundraiser, and I was sent to cover it.
I raved about the duo as standout performers and predicted that Charlotte would become a star. They were two of London’s most gorgeous models, but their father, who was a 1936 Berlin Olympics gold medal winner, forbad them from continuing a promising cabaret act. I dated Sarah for a while.
Charlotte moved to Paris, married musician Jean-Michel Jarre, and her films include “The Damned,” “Night Porter” and “Farewell, My Lovely.” I’m thrilled that after all these years, Charlotte, 70, has been honored with the ultimate recognition. Fingers crossed that she wins the gold statuette!
‘JASON BOURNE’ TRAILER: Here’s the first YouTube video of the new sequel “Jason Bourne” due in theaters July 29 that’s been filming in Las Vegas the past few weeks (a recent shoot closed the north valet at Aria on a Thursday evening).
The trailer, which aired during Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, also teases the extraordinary sequences with toppled taxis and car crashes as award-winning action star Matt Damon roars up the Las Vegas Strip in the wrong direction.
HONOR FOR SIEGFRIED & ROY: Longtime Strip headliners and Las Vegas residents Siegfried & Roy will be honored as entertainment legends at the 11th annual Senores of Distinction awards at Wynn Las Vegas on May 14.
The Senora of Distinction will be philanthropist Elaine Sanchez. Diana Bennett of Paragon Gaming will receive Humanitarian of the Year, and Caesars Entertainment VP Jan Jones Blackhurst will get the Lifetime Achievement Award.
HALF-HOUR PREVIEW: There’s a 30-minute advance look tonight at 10:30 of Bravo’s docu-series “Tour Group” featuring Las Vegas jetsetters Heather Marianna and Amy Grice. They are two of the 11 strangers sent on a global journey to Morocco, Kenya, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Japan.
Heather, who has been engaged 13 times, has to decide whether to finally take the plunge and marry. Best friend Amy is there for Heather as the everyday tourists become adventurers pushed to the limits out of their comfort zones. There’s even a romantic rendezvous under the Moroccan sun that shakes things up. The series starts airing weekly March 1.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.