Famous Dave’s BBQ

Last day in the States and had to hunt down some BBQ to slake Mr K’s new found appetite for ribs, ribs and more ribs!  Can’t blame him though, nearly every place we’ve been to has been excellent for it’s BBQ compared to what passes for American BBQ in Australia (it’s the whole Chinese food thing all over again).  We found a Famous Dave’s not far from the Gun Show and sort of near the airport and it seemed like a good place to hole up for a while, and grab a decent meal before being faced with the horrors of 13 hours stuck in a plane and nothing but airline food.famous dave's bbq


Just getting out of your car near this place makes you salivate, you can smell the smoke and BBQ meats from the car park.. add to that, Happy Hour beers for $1.99 or $2.99 for a pint… and you got a lot of happy campers inside.  Not a great photo – but first thing that greets you is a case full of trophies for their award winning meats, and a claim to have the ‘World’s Best Greatest Ribs’… that’s a pretty big call.  🙂award winning ribs famous daves

worlds greatest ribs famous daves

I loved the menu with the picture of a very happy porker, showing both what is inside the piggy as well as the best cuts that come off them.famous dave's cuts

Apparently this is a chain/franchised restaurant, and the decor kinda reminds you of a Hog’s Breath Cafe (without the over clutter), the red check table cloths, and the faux indoor iron patios make for an interesting ambiance, well as interesting as it gets for a place that uses license plate in their decorating!  I thought their ‘Recipe Vault’ was kinda cute though.  🙂famous dave's decor 1

famous daves decor recipe vault



But the decor isn’t really why you turn up – it’s all about the BBQ.  We order and appetiser to share – Famous Dave’s taster platter of awesome!  It contained, chicken tenders, fried catfish, naked traditional buffalo wings, onion rings and four dipping sauces from blue cheese dip to hot and spicy BBQ sauce.  Delicious and plenty to share – this was just an appetiser!image

Knowing full well that the appetiser was likely to pretty full on, we decided to share it, and to share a meal as well – can’t imagine how you’d fare if you ordered appetisers and a meal each!  This was a 1/3 Rack of St Louis Ribs served with two sides (potato salad and mac ‘n’ cheese), and cornbread.  The ribs are served rubbed and there are six different sauces of varying levels of hot, sweet, mild, chipotle etc for you to drown them in.  Tasted bloody awesome!  image


famous daves bear

At the end of our meal, Mr K took the time to compliment the owner/manager and next thing you know we are walking out of there with a bottle of Famous Daves most popular BBQ sauce – the Rich and Sassy, as well as a dozen little taster sachets to take home.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) Mr K had already bought FIVE bottle of various BBQ sauces to bring home as he is intending on becoming a master of the American BBQ.  We are very much looking forward to sampling his efforts in the coming months.   🙂famous daves sauces


Famous Dave’s was pretty fucking good… if you get the chance, you should check it out, and definitely try the baby back tips.   Delicious!

Las Vegas Gun Show

Well, our last day in the Vegas and our last day in the US… what to do? what to do? The South Pointe Casino and Convention Centre is hosting a gun show, what could be more ‘Merican than that?!? I mean, we can’t take anything home, and even if there was stuff I wanted to buy there’s no way I can fit anything else in our over stuffed luggage, but, what the hell. Seems like a good way to spend a few hours. 🙂

Las Vegas gun show ticketsWas a bit weird wandering about and seeing so many firearms that are either, A) completely illegal to own in Australia, or B) legal in Australia but so much cheaper than what we have to pay, or C) being worn on someone’s person in a social context or D) a combination of the above! imageimageimageimageI know right! Doesn’t everyone need one of these for, err home defence or something.
imageimageimageimageOh dear, made the mistake to point out to a friendly sales guy that ‘This, this, this, this and this, are all illegal in Australia due to their diminutive barrel length’… which wouldn’t have been a huge problem except that started a discussion about how Australia has strict gun laws and I mentioned that even if I wanted to buy something at the show.  I’d have a process to jump through with the Qld Police Department and the Federal Customs that could potentially take months.  Again not really a problem, except a woman standing nearby joined in the conversation with the pithy observation: ‘See that’s what could fuckin’ happen here if Obama has his way and they take away all our guns’.  Now, I probably should have said ‘Too right, you gotta watch out for that’ and beat a hasty retreat… only I stupidly responded with ‘Well, the government is not trying to remove all firearms from the population, just restrict certain firearms that are capable of mass shootings, and introduce better background checks, for things like mental health issues, so that shootings – like this one that happened just this week in Texas, stop occurring.’  Next thing you know there are three people standing around telling me that the ‘gummint ain’t got no right to go telling me what type of guns I can have, or how many guns I can have.’  Not even a little bit unexpected.  I might have inadvertently started the conversation, but I made a tactical extraction and left them there getting all worked up in a 2nd Amendment circle jerk as they vociferously and aggressively agreed with each other on the matter.  ‘MERICA! FUCK YEAH!imageimageGrrr… $20 each.
imageimageSafes for sale is encouraging, most states have no enforceable storage requirements for firearms. imageLittle further on, and a guy is asking me if I’m interested in a little Sig P238 that I picked up, (Fark, is a frogs arse watertight?  Of course I am!).  So, I am playing with this cute little Sig and thinking, it is so not useful for any comps, it is not a target shooting handgun at all, it’s primary purpose is to be as concealable as possible for self defence, but it feels just my size and I likes it!  He then starts to say that, “That purdy little gun is perfect for a purdy little gal like you,  ‘nd I can probably knock a few bucks off the sticker for y’all.”  At which point, I dejected explain, again, that I am flying home to Australia tonight, and even if I could get it in the country, I don’t think that the barrrel length is legal, it’s too short.  This time the response was, “Oh, that’s right, y’all have them damn strict gun laws Down Under don’tcha.  So tells me, has it cut down the murders, ya think?”, and then ensued a discussion about homicide rates, general gun related crime and gun related suicide… all stats in Australia of course, point to, less guns = less deaths.  He was quite impressed and said that ” ‘sponsible gun ownership is something ‘Merricans need ta get a grip ownnne.”  Well, that was the last thing I expected to hear at a gun show in Nevada!  imageimageimageimageWhy do concealed carry purses have to be so ugly? And as a side note, I am now somewhat alarmed at how many of these sorts of ugly purses I have seen during our travels!imageimageimageimage


I’ve seen these little Double Taps in handguns magazines and on the interwebs, and thought it was an interesting concept.  Very neat and compact form, designed to be as flat and concealable as possible.  Of course because they are not legal or available in Australia, I had never seen one or handled one before and as soon as I picked it up I thought, ‘Urgh… feels like crap in your hand.’  Not because the make feels cheap and nasty or anything – it seems really well made and obviously precision manufactured, but it is not in any way shape or form ergonomically designed.  Even the guy selling them admitted they were a little gimmicky and the only people buying them were women wanting to put them in their purse without the bulk, or because they like the unusual design.  Apparently they shoot well, but they’re never going to sell well because they feel like crap to handle… even in my little hand, they’d feel worse for men.
imageSo, with all these cool toys in the room… ahem:  “I went to the Las Vegas Gun Show and all I got was this lousy ‘Merican flag card case.” Sigh…image

Cirque du Soleil – Ka

Can’t believe I finally got to see Ka! Well, come to think of it, I can’t believe I am back in Las Vegas barely 9 months since I was here last, but I go to Ka! (Which is the proper exciting bit, of course). Last year, when I was in Alaska with Aunty Mary, there was a tragic accident at Ka – one of the performers fell to her death during a performance, causing an immediate enquiry and a temporary cessation to all scheduled performances for the following three or four weeks – which was when we had tickets to go see it. Of course I was disappointed not to be seeing the show, but I remember spending a lot of time thinking about that woman and her family, and how her death must have effected the cast of the show as well. I never thought I’d be back here with another opportunity to see it…cirque ka poster
The show opens with a narration of a plot – bit of a first for a Cirque show in my experience, they are usually light on plot or based on more esoteric themes rather than narrative. This is the story of twin brother and sister, who get separated and embark on a journey of self discovery, doing battle with Ka to find destruction or enlightenment… or something along those lines.
cirque ka twinsThe real business of Ka is the spectacle; while it is unlike any other Cirque production with it’s story line, it definitely follows the Cirque modus operandi when it comes to providing a truly memorable visually arresting production. The experience starts with the purpose built theatre, the large dragon greeting you near the bar, through to the theatre space itself, which provides an impressive space that envelops the audience. cirque ka dragoncirque ka theatre
There are many great characters in the production displaying the full array of creative, gymnastic, and acrobatic talents that we associate with Cirque productions. Somehow they have even made baton twirling appear exciting and stimulating. cirque ka archerscirque ka batons
I also particularly loved the ‘clowns’ or the comic relief element that is in most Ka shows and usually brings everyone back down after a particularly impressive act. In this show they appeared as creatures, like a turtle, a crab, a starfish and a centipede. In keeping with most other Cirque shows, the ‘clowns’ do not speak and work predominantly in mime which allows them to communicate exceptionally well across language barriers.cirque ka turtlecirque ka centipede
But one of the real starts of this show, the importance of which shouldn’t be underestimated, is the unique Ka Theatre. The stage itself is without a floor and instead operates with two large, elevating platforms and five smaller lifts which move the workspace and the characters around. There is a ship platform which flails violently out over the audience, another platform covered in gravel for quiet scenes which then tips up and allows a fast paced climbing/acrobatic scene. The stage itself is a technical marvel and may well be one of the most sophisticated stage designs ever seen. Without it and the large purpose built apparatus, Ka just would not work.
imagecirque ka wheel death
At the end of the show we were almost rendered speechless – the show is soo good. Many people dislike the unusual (for Cirque) plot and feel it detracts from what they came for, which more often than not is to see the impossibly talented performers doing unbelievably difficult things – so Ka tends to pull mixed reviews. I think you need to know what you are getting into before you line up… Ka is a Cirque show, full of physically demanding and breathtakingly difficult and yet beautiful acts, but it is also a production brimming with theatrical drama and brash spectacle. Well worth seeing, imho. And Mr K (who was not really warming up to the Cirque) absolutely loved it – enough to ponder the possibility of going to see it again before we left! Now there is a recommendation for you1

Grand Canyon Helicopters!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… so, consider this a 15,000 word essay on how just how grand, the Grand Canyon actually is.

pappilion Grand Canyon helicoptersLake Mead.
imagelake meadimageimage
Hoover Dam.image
Grand Canyon helicopter flight
Grand Canyon helicopter flight 2Grand Canyon helicopter flight 3imageimageGrand Canyon helicopter flightGrand Canyon helicopter flightGrand Canyon helicopter flightGrand Canyon helicopter flightGrand Canyon helicopter flightGrand Canyon helicopter flight Grand Canyon helicopter flightGrand Canyon helicopter flightGrand Canyon helicopter flightimageimagekeith helicopterimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Hot air ballooning over Kapadokya in Turkey, cruising Glacier Bay in Alaska and watching the sunrise over Point Lookout at Straddie – if these things aren’t on your bucket list, they should be. And while you are at it, add taking a helicopter flight into the Grand Canyon! One of the most amazing things I have ever done.

Las Vegas… Mystère

Wow, what a night! We went down to one of the restaurants in the hotel, the Monte Carlo, for a light dinner before heading down to see Mystere at the Treasure Island Casino. Aunty Mary ordered a panini and I ordered a burger thinking that’s simple enough and shouldn’t take too long. Twenty-five minutes later and our meals hadn’t appeared and we were starting to watch the clock.. it was now 8:15pm, the ticket office to collect our tickets opens at 8:30pm and the show starts at 9:30pm… and the Treasure Island is about half a dozen blocks away. Now that doesn’t sound far, but the blocks here have about two casinos on them each, and each casino appears to be about the size of Carindale Shopping Centre, so by the time our dinner arrived, any thought of walking down to the Treasure Island was out the window and we were racing for the taxi rank.


The cabbie raced us through some Secret Squirrel back streets and some how magically dumped us out front of the Treasure Island, though fuck knows how we got there or why he went that way when he could have turned left and gone straight there. Was in such a hurry I stiffed the guy on his tip as I couldn’t be bothered with the math and we raced into the Casino asking the first desk we found where to collect our tickets. We got told one direction, which was wrong, raced to the Concierge this time and got told a different direction along with what sounded like a warning ‘I don’t know what time the ticket office closes.’… What? A late arriving burger and stupid vegetarian panini might fuck up a plan and hinder us from getting the tickets I had bought LAST FEBRUARY! Eeek!

We bolted into the direction of the ticket office, it was now about 8:55pm and there was only one little guy working the ticket collection desk. I waved at him a confirmation number and my ID and hey presto! I had the coveted Mystere tickets in my hot (did I mention that even after sunset it was about 38C outside and still no humidity?) little hand. Woo-hop… the burger and panini were so not missing out on the show.


Mystere is everything I expect from a Cirque du Soleil show. Ever since I saw Allegria in 1997 at the Royal Albert Hall, I have been fascinated by the unique blend of athleticism, gymnastics, strength, physical prowess, dance, grace, beauty, costumes and music that go into each of these shows. Mystere I think is probably an older show and has many of the Cirque du Soleil’s trademark elements – trapeze artists, trampoliniest, pole climbers, arcrobats, dancers and of course their uniquely adult clowns.



I absolutely love everything about the performance, though I have to admit at the opening element of the show a young man was suspended high above the stage in a large steel framed cube doing some amazing feats of strength and grace, and all I could think about was the poor performer who fell to her death at Ka a couple of week ago (link?). It occured to me that many others in the audience, and perhaps several on the stage too, were thinking of that tragic occurrence while watching this young man display his incredible talents, high above the stage without a net or a safety wire.


After the show we foolishly decided to walk back to the hotel down The Strip… OMG, nearly midnight and so fucking hot I could feel my eyes drying out, my throat and nasal passages felt parched and I was so dehydrated by the time we got back to the hotel. I have just consumed about 2L of water and still feel thirsty. Such a wonderful night, but now I am so exhausted and ready for bed!


*look Toni, it’s the Winged Victory of Samothrace! Right where you’d expect it. 😀