As the clock ticks toward the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, fans who will be spending the weekend in Las Vegas have a tantalizing decision to make: Will a humble hot dog be enough when dishes such as chili shrimp skewers and Grandma's meatballs are available?
It will be a big weekend for sure: Last year, bettors in Nevada wagered a record $119.4 million on the Super Bowl. The Nevada Gaming Control Board said the combined earnings for sports books statewide totaled more than $19.6 million.
Because this is the big game, you'll want to get the eating/drinking options right if you're in Las Vegas. Here are some good bets. I've even tossed in an option for the kids who obviously can't sit next to Mom or Dad at an adults-only party.
—The Pub at Monte Carlo, with one of the biggest beer selections around, will tempt guests with either an "All-You-Can-Eat" package ($75) or "All-You-Can-Eat & Drink" package ($175). The latter includes both a "tailgate buffet" and premium cocktails.
—Buddy V's Ristorante at the Grand Canal Shoppes may have one of the biggest bargains during the game. From 1 p.m. until the last whistle blows, the restaurant created by "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro will offer an Italian-style tailgate party for $35. The all-you-can-eat menu includes dishes such as Grandma's meatballs, Hoboken Italian subs and mini cannoli. Buckets of six bottles of beer cost $20. Because the party's in the bar, guests must be 21 or older.
—The Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (200 S. 3rd St.) will welcome hundreds of fans to a tent being touted as a giant man cave. There's no charge to attend and multiple cash bars will be available along with stadium-style food. VIP packages with private seating and an open bar are also offered.
—Vinyl, an intimate live entertainment venue at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, will offer the clash plus a concert. For $150, guests can enjoy pub grub and an open bar. Admission includes a concert by local band Smashing Alice after the game. The fun begins at 1:30 p.m. and it's first-come, first-served for tables.
—At the House of Blues Foundation Room on the 63rd floor of Mandalay Bay you can enjoy the view and the game. A single-day member pass ($40) includes two beers. The special game-day menu offers items such as chili shrimp skewers with pineapple sauce and French fries with truffle oil, rosemary and shaved Parmesan.
—Splash Studios (9700 W. Tropicana Ave.) is a place where the kids can make their own fun on Sunday. This paint-your-own pottery studio is open from 1 to 8 p.m. on game day. The "parent-free zone" will welcome kids 5 and older to create their own works of art. The price is $65 per child in advance or $75 at the door. Info: (702) 868-1606.
—Of course, sports books throughout Vegas will be accepting wagers and catering to their clients. The race and sports lounge at Caesars Palace is selling $300 tickets for premium seats with an open bar. The liquors to be poured include Absolut, Crown Royal and Patron. The price also includes two hot dogs and unlimited chips and pretzels.