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L.A.'s desert rival

Mark Thomas, wine director of the Mix restaurant in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, holds his restaurant’s 38-page wine list. The wine case behind him is 45 feet wide. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
Strong demand for palms by Vegas hotels and housing developments has meant fewer of the trees for Los Angeles. Nearly all of the date palms sent to Vegas are grown in Indio. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
The Oscar de la Renta store in the Wynn Las Vegas resort is one of the city’s new boutiques. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
Inside the Oscar de la Renta store at the Wynn. Many wealthy visitors from Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo, so cherished by L.A.-area tourism officials, are skipping Rodeo Drive altogether. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
Newly planted palm trees line Las Vegas Boulevard in front of the Fashion Show, a high-end retail shopping area. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)
The lush gardens of the Mirage Hotel and Casino are full of palm trees. (Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)