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Gold Coast Mike’s

I recently set out on a personal trek, and one asked for by Las Vegas Life magazine, to find the best hamburgers in town. You can read all about my quest next month, but for now, I’ll give you the heads up by starting with one of the worst—which amazingly used to be one of the best. I’ll even give you some of you a hint: what’s the last place in Vegas you’d expect a restaurant critic like me to be snooping around in???? If you said the Gold Coast Casino you obviously know me or I’m being even more snobbish in these weekly diatribes than I thought I was. Normally, you couldn’t get me in the grease—er excuse me—the Gold Coast with a shoehorn and a wad of fifties. The movie theater is the only reason anyone with a brain, or a taste bud, would get within a mile of the place, but so highly recommended came the burgers that I ignored the smoky din and the hoi polloi as I stumbled to a far corner where the smell of beef fat was unmistakable. It didn’t help matters that some sort of rockabilly convention was going on and I was constantly surrounded by punk rockers going greaseball. It was like a tattoo and pomade asylum had just been emptied, and believe me, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

If you think food writing is all champagne and caviar, just try taking notes about the world’s soggiest one-half pound burger as it completely destroys an over-matched bun while you’re being stared at by women who resemble Sandra Dee crossed with Courtney Love and men who appear to have been cloned from an Andrew Dice Clay/Dennis Rodman gene pool. While everyone else was comparing nose rings and pompadours, I was left deciphering a semi-viscous/flavorless mess they called a cheese sauce. Somewhere around my third attempt to hoist burger to mouth, both bun and sauce fused into a liquefying coagulation of stupefying messiness. None of which would’ve mattered if any of the ingredients had tasted like anything. Only the very cool photos on the walls of Vegas casinos in the forties and fifties, kept the meal from being a total disaster. So the night wasn’t a total loss, taste wise anyway, but I don’t think Frankie and Annette or Sid and Nancy ever really noticed.

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This is John Curtas.

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