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Three Words for 2011: The BlogWorld Team Weighs In

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By now you probably know about Chris Brogan’s three word challenge. Every year, Chris  chooses three words to help shape the upcoming new year. Each year, Chris also challenges the rest of the blogosphere to come up with their own three words. Well, the BlogWorld team took him up on his challenge. On Sunday morning, we all woke to a “Happy New Year” email from Rick Calvert. An excerpt:

We wouldn’t be where we are today without each of you but I want to challenge you all to challenge yourselves to exceed even your own expectations in 2011. Not just when it comes to your BlogWorld responsibilities but in your personal lives as well.

Chris Brogan has a great blog post explaining a little twist on New Year’s resolutions. Instead of having traditional resolutions, he picks three words that represent an overarching theme that helps guide all of his goals for the year. I think it’s a great idea and would like to encourage each of you to think of three words that represent your goals for 2011.

As we all shared our three words via internal email, it occurred to me that you all might be interested in our three words as well.Not only does it tell you something about us, personally, but it will also show you our focus and determination for2011. So I asked for, and received, everyone’s permission to share their three words with you.

Behold, the BlogWorld team’s Three Words for 2011:

Rick Calvert:

Live includes several things for me, including getting healthier, spending more time with my family and enjoying and making the most out of every minute of life.

Learn includes reading more , keeping up with the latest technology and developments that effect our industry, playing my guitar, and mastering a foreign language among other things.

Lead includes trying to make the best possible decisions to help each of us and BlogWorld as a whole to succeed, positioning BlogWorld as the leading event in our industry and leading by example.

Dave Cynkin

(Who also considered adding “brevity” to his list):

Fitter: Last year, I resolved to get into great shape. I put forth some effort, but didn’t really achieve what I’d envisioned (I injured myself multiple times and it kept me from exercising consistently). Still, the small, incremental forward steps I made amounted to a platform I can continue building upon. I’m resolving this year to get myself into better shape than last year. I started a fitness post series on our blog, but got so busy with the event coming up, I didn’t continue. I’m now going to continue researching and improving my own nutrition, experimenting with new exercise and training regimens, and I’ll continue posting about fitness to help others as I help myself. The times when I’ve felt, thought, worked, created and performed best was when I had great health and fitness. My mind is tied to my body, and I’m resolving to improve them both as part of my daily life. I have some specific sports goals which are dependent on fitness, but that’s another conversation.

Friendlier: I’m generally a fairly friendly guy, always calling friends to keep in touch while driving on the freeway, emailing to say hello, inviting others for the rare dinner out, and I try to get out and meet up with friends when possible (meetups, tweetups)…but I want to be a better friend and family member. I want to listen better, strengthen my relationships with friends and relatives, and spend more time re-connecting with those who are dear to me (which can be challenging with business, kids, sports and keeping a household running). I often think the year goes by so quickly, but the way I mark time over the course of the year is with fun get-togethers spent with friends and family members. I don’t quite know how I’ll create more time to increase frequency of these occasions, but it’s important to find a way. I love social media because it creates a bridge to new relationships and conversations with new people, but it’s also important to appreciate and nurture the relationships I have and am grateful for.

Faster: This is really about organization and time management, rather than somehow getting faster like a superhero (although the thought of a cape is mildly intriguing). Like all of us, I’m busy and I never seem to have enough time to get everything done. I get up early and stay up late, yet there’s just a big darned pile of to-do’s waiting for me the next morning. Well, it’s high time that I get more organized and efficient. It’s easy to let emails and phone calls distract from getting things done efficiently, but this year I’m going to get better at focusing, completing, moving on to the next thing. Better to have 10 things done and another 10 on deck, than to have 20 things incomplete and insufficient forward motion. I think I’m pretty productive, but being more methodical, I’ll get tasks done quicker and free up time for the other 2 items listed above. Once I’m working more efficiently, I can also easier determine which items I cannot get to in a preferable amount of time, and I’ll seek help to get those things done and not wait for me! 🙂

Patti Hosking:

Health, Prosperity, and Balance.  I’m sticking with them and will do my best to live up to them through my BlogWorld role.  2011 will be phenomenal especially if we keep working together!

Deb Ng:

Positivity: I take a vow of positivity each year. It keeps me from firing off at comments or emails in anger, and encourages me to find the “bright side” of every situation. It works.

Productivity: I’ve gotten more productive in the business sense, but not in the personal sense. This year’s productivity relates to my body more than anything else and I am going to work hard to get my body into shape and be productive in body, mind and spirit.

Patience:
I hate waiting. Bad things happen when I wait. I need to fix that.

Nikki Katz:

Growth:  I really want to grow in all aspects of my life – spiritually, learning, writing, traveling, working … From growth comes excellence and I always strive for the best!
Cherish: I need to learn to cherish my kids, my friends, my family, and the little things in life. I’m always going forward at 500% and need to take time to appreciate the present.

Patience: Sorry Deb, I have to take this too! Patience is a constant struggle with me. I have a temper and it is quick to flare when I’m angry – whether its waiting or whether its when someone else doesn’t understand something I’m trying to explain (that would be my children!)

Alli Boyer:

Focus: In the past, I’ve been going in a bunch of directions, but I’ve found that in trying to be good at everything, I haven’t really been excellent at anything.

Risk: I’m going try to push myself in 2011, get out of my comfort zone a little more.

Connect: I’ve made some awesome friends in the blogging, and in other parts of my life, and I want to do my best to stay connected to these people, rather than getting wrapped up in my own life too much and letting those friendships and business relationships die.

Did you blog about your three words for 2011? If so, please share in the comments.

12 Days of Blogging 2010

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Here at BlogWorld, we value the community above all else. Without you coming to the event every year, there would be no event. The hard work everyone on the BlogWorld staff puts into making the event a success would be for nothing if no one showed up! Whether you’re a sponsor, speaker, attendee, or BlogWorld blog reader hoping to make it to the event someday, you’re important to this event.

As a way to say thank you, and give you as much value as possible in the weeks leading up to the end of the year, I’m introducing something new here on the BlogWorld blog – and hey, maybe it will even become our little family tradition! I’m calling it the 12 Days of Blogging, and every day, you’ll get a post filled to the brim with links to tips from some of the best bloggers around the world. Some of these names you may recognize. Others will probably be brand new to you. Either way, there will be are over 75 100 bloggers featured as part of this series!

What do you have to look forward to?

12 Writers Writing
11 Tweeters Tweeting
10 Guests a-Posting
9 SEOers Optimizing
8 Affiliates Selling
7 Facebook Users Updating
6 Launchers Launching
5 Golden Rules
4 Podcasting Hosts
3 Ebook Tips
2 Ethics Debates
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (FREE EBOOK)

And here’s the key thing to remember: I want you to leave comments on ALL of these posts with links to your own blogs. Try as I might, I can’t know about all the cool stuff going on across the ‘net, so I’m relying on you all to help me out! Every day, you’re invited to leave links to any post you have that is relevant to the topic of the day – and I’m hoping you’ll take full advantage of this opportunity to promote your own work!

Whether you get involved or not, I hope you find this series helpful. Thanks for spending even a small part of this holiday season with me here at the BlogWorld blog!

Happy Holidays from me and G, my attention whore cat who insisted in being in this picture. 🙂

Keeping Your Veterans Happy

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Every community has veteran members – those who have been around since the very beginning. Your veterans are often the backbone of the community. They were there through the rough times, when you were just getting started, and they’ll often be some of your biggest supporters, even when others are disgruntled. A good group of veteran community members can actually be the biggest asset to your community. They’ll answer questions, help newbies, and promote your site.

But sometimes, veteran members lose their sh*t. I’ve seen it happen. You’ve seen it happen. Occasionally, someone blows up out of anger or frustration, and when it’s a veteran member, you’re in a pickle.

“The most challenging situations I deal with are not spammers. They’re not new people. The most challenging situation I deal with is when a veteran member loses it.” – Patrick O’Keefe

At BlogWorld 2010, Patrick O’Keefe, Chris Garrett, Lara Kulpa, and moderator Jeremy Wright presented “Building An Irresistible Private Membership Community,” and one of the topics they discussed was the problem of the veteran member who goes rogue.

There are two things to consider when dealing with this type of situation:

  1. You need to deal with all members equally and fairly.
  2. You don’t want to offend your biggest fans.

The first consideration is extremely important if you want your community to grow. Whether you have a paid membership community or a free community, if you allow certain members to break community rules with no consequences, other members won’t have a lot of faith in the community as a whole. It’s like when we were kids and a sibling got away with doing something bad but we got punished. It makes your community members feel like there’s a top-level clique that they aren’t a part of…and no one likes feeling like they aren’t cool enough to be included in someone’s little circle.

Applying the rules fairly includes ensuring that you are following the rules along with anyone else. Chris said something spot-on, in my opinion, regarding application of rules: “A key thing is to lead from the front.” If you have a no-cursing comment policy, don’t start dropping the f-bomb every two words. If you have a no-self-promotion policy on your forums, don’t create a thread specifically to pimp out your new ebook. The rules of your community apply to everyone, including you.

The second point though? Veteran members feel a sense of entitlement, and although it can get out hand, some of those feelings are justified. At the end of the day, they are the people who helped you build your community. They feel almost as possessive of the community as you do. Often, they’re just trying to protect what they think they have, whether that means rebelling against a new policy/feature or going off on a member they consider to be undesirable. Very rarely does a veteran member do something that is malicious, in my opinion.

So, when dealing with a rogue veteran, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Give them the benefit of the doubt. Allow your members to explain themselves and voice concerns to you privately before some kind of public ban or smack-down.
  • Approach them in an understanding way to avoid them feeling like they need to be on the defense. You want to be on their side!
  • Wait before you reply when the situation is emotional. Write your comment, email, etc. but wait an hour or two before you send it. Sometimes, when we have a moment to calm down, we realize that our emotions were running high. If you send an attacking message because you’re emotional, you may regret it later.
  • Listen! Veteran members aren’t stupid, and if they’re upset about something, there’s a good chance that they represent how others are feeling as well. One vocally upset member doesn’t justify suddenly changing how things are done with your community, but try to listen to your members’ concerns and address them.

When you do have to deal with a situation where a member isn’t following your rules, make sure you document the situation carefully. Take screenshots, save messages, and otherwise ensure that you have proof that someone was breaking your community rules. That way, if comments/posts get edited, deleted, or otherwise changed, you have a back-up of what really happened.

Thanks to Patrick, Chris, Lara, and Jeremy for a great BlogWorld panel!

The Faces of BlogWorld Expo 2010

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Video music by DoKashiteru and ditto ditto

Thank you to everyone who participated. If you didn’t catch me to do a video in Vegas or reply to me via Twitter just leave a comment on this post to participate! Who are you and what is your site about? What did you enjoy most and what were the best BlogWorld tips you learned at the event? Will you be back next year?

(Also, things I learned for next year: I need to purchase a mic :-p)

Protect Your Business: Visit CorpNet on the BlogWorld Show Floor

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The show floor is filled with awesome exhibitors, but one less-flashing booth that you need to stop by is CorpNet. I talked to the founder Nellie Akalp earlier today, and she talked a little about what her business does and why it is so important for bloggers and others who run online businesses.

We all make mistakes. As bloggers, it is impossible to be right all the time, and some companies or individuals will not hesitate to take legal action against you if you do get something wrong. Sure, 99% of the time a quick email apology will remedy the situation, but sometimes, even if you’re legally in the right, someone may choose to sue you.

Did you know that they can go after your personal assets? If you don’t have a business set up, someone who sues you for something you write on your blog can take your car or house or other personal assets. What CorpNet does is separate your business assets and personal assets so you don’t have to worry about a rouge post on your site costing you your personal possessions.

This is a tool you need, hands down. If you’re making money online (or trying to make money online), your blog is a business, even if you’re the only employee. Check out the CorpNet booth to learn more.

Check Out Some BlogWorld Drink Specials Around Las Vegas

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As I’m writing this, I hope you’re all having fun at the Liquid party! Looking for somewhere to go afterward to continue the fun? Some awesome locations in Las Vegas would love to see some BlogWorld people stop by while you’re in town! From MGM Grand:

MGM Grand hotspots Studio 54 and Tabú Ultra Lounge invite BlogWorld attendees to enjoy a night with Vegas sexiest! BlogWorld attendees will receive free admission and a complimentary drink by showing their conference badge at the door at both iconic nightclub Studio 54 and sophisticated ultra lounge Tabú. Let loose after a long day and dance the night away to the sounds of Vegas’ hottest DJs. Tabú is open Friday – Monday, 10 p.m. till late. Studio 54 is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 p.m. till late.

In case you don’t know what “until late” means, in Vegas terms, that means that the party keeps going as long as people stick around. Both of these locations came highly recommended to me, though be careful – it’s easy to stay out until well into the morning, and you don’t want to miss the great things BlogWorld has planned for you in the AM!

Like I said, both of these places came highly recommended to me, but I haven’t actually been to either yet. If you stop by, make sure to leave a comment to tell us all about your experiences.

Scott Stratten at BlogWorld: People Spread Awesome

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This year, BlogWorld’s opening keynote speaker was Scott Stratten, perhaps better known as the UnMarketing guy. It was one of the most entertaining keynotes I’ve ever seen, so I hope you got to check it out either in person or streaming live. If you didn’t, I’d like to share with you one of the most important take-away messages from Scott’s keynote:

“People don’t spread meh. People spread awesome…Blogging on a schedule makes me stabby.”

Bloggers are constantly told to blog often, and that keeping your blog consistently updated is the only way to connect with and keep readers. Hell, it’s advice that I’ve given people, and I do still think it holds true – your readers want to know what to expect from you.

At the same time, what Scott says makes sense. If you’re updating your blog with “meh” posts, who’s going to promote it? No one tweets out links that are mediocre. No one recommends blogs that are just ok. The Internet is filled with more crap than a single person can get through in ten lifetimes – they are only going to promote what they love.

And you lose them if you aren’t consistently writing passionate, amazing posts. Says Scott, “When you don’t blog awesome, you hurt your blog.” So what are you writing about on your blog? Do you update every day with “meh” posts? OR do you update less frequently with posts that you’re really proud to be publishing? Think about it – what really makes more sense? If you can write amazing posts daily, to do! But if you can’t…well, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your posting schedule.

“If your product sucks, social media makes it suck harder.”

What you see on social media sites is an amplification of your product (be it an actual product you’re selling or just you blog that you’re promoting). If your product sucks, people are likely going to complain. At the very least, people won’t promote you on social media, which is nearly as bad as negative feedback. Make a great product, and social media users will pick up on that and promote it. Again, people spread awesome.

Of course, there was way too much awesome-ness in Scott’s keynote to talk about it all here. If you missed it live, remember that you can get your virtual ticket to BlogWorld to see his keynote and all of the other awesome speakers lined up for the event.

The Coaching Doctor’s Advice for BlogWorld

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Earlier today, I posted some great lunch (Border Grill) and dinner (Tender) restaurant reviews if you’re looking for somewhere to eat while at BlogWorld Expo. Even at some of the best restaurants, there are a number of poor diet choices you can make, and add that to the flowing alcohol, lack of sleep, and little time for exercise – the convention can get out of control, health-wise, in a hurry.

Dr. Aamer Iqbal, otherwise known as The Coaching Doctor, helped me out with some advice for bloggers who want to remain health-conscious while still enjoying Las Vegas.

Healthy Eating

Unless you have a suite, you probably won’ t have any kind of kitchen equipment, so your choices are limited. Aamer’s suggestion is to choose smaller helpings if they’re available. Many restaurants have a half-portion or lunch menus available for guests who are interested, and there may also be Weight Watcher’s or low-carb menu options to help you make healthier choices.

Aamer also says, “Dress salads with vinegar or lemon juice and a wee bit of olive oil; or keep dressing on the side and dip your fork in it for flavor while having a salad. Sauces ending in -aise are usually packed with fat; pasta and cheese are packed with calories as well.”

Buffets can actually be some of the most healthy options available, since you can make your own choices. Try to make your plate 70 percent veggies, substitute lentils and beans for pasta. When it comes to dessert, go for sorbet or fruit instead of some kind of pastry.

Healthy Drinking

“Healthy drinking” is a bit of an oxymoron, but there are choices that are healthier than others. Says Aamer, “Alcohol has as many calories as fat: so watch out how much you drink at the bar. About a pint of beer or a couple of standard servings of other drinks should do. Sodas are also packed with sugar. I imagine just some tonic water, fresh lime soda or freshly squeezed fruit juice should be preferable over other stuff. And yes, keep yourself hydrated with at least 8 glasses of water. restrict tea or coffee to max 3 cups, and go easy on lattes. Green or herbal tea may be a better option.”

Of course, remember also to be safe if you drink. Even if you’re a guy, don’t go out partying alone!

Exercising at BlogWorld

Luckily, you’ll already be doing a lot of walking while in Las Vegas, so even if you don’ t have the time or energy to hit the hotel gym, you’re not completely killing your workout schedule. Some other things to consider:

  • If the hotel gym isn’t your thing, check out the pool. Swimming is great exercise.
  • Check out some dance clubs if you want to exercise, but have no time to do that and also enjoy Vegas nightlife. Dancing is great exercise.
  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.

You can also do some lunges, jumping jacks, yoga, or other exercises in your room. Remember to stretch in the morning – you’ll be doing a lot of walking throughout the day, even if you’ll also be sitting at panels a lot.

Avoid the Conference Plague

After every conference, there’s a huge percentage of attendees who get the fly. That’s the price you pay to shake so many hands and be in such close quarters with others. Aamer has some awesome advice for bloggers to help you avoid the plague when you get home:

“Wash hands five times a day, as suggested by a US Navy study. Work up a lather over twenty seconds and wash your hands. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so onto a tissue or on your elbow or shoulder, never on your hand. This will help prevent spread to others.”

An my favorite avoid-the-flu advice:

“Don’t tire yourself; listen to your body; sleep when you are sleepy; eat when you are hungry.”

General BlogWorld Health Advice

Aamer had a last piece of advice for BlogWorld attendees to help you stay healthy while in Vegas:

“Importantly, a few days away from your diet does not cause significant damage, unless you make it a belief for yourself and give up on dieting. Go with the intention of staying healthy when attending the conference so that you can enjoy company, meet people, eat out and go for activities while staying on course for your own good health.”

Remember to say thank you for the tips and check out more about Aamer’s coaching program at his website, The Coaching Doctor.

BWE10 Dinner Recommendation: Tender

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Earlier today, I posted a great lunch recommendation at Border Grill, but for dinner I wanted to give you a slightly more upscale location to try out. Tender, which is located at Luxor, is a great option if you’re looking for somewhere sophisticated but can’t afford a five-star $400 tasting menu. They have tons of dinner options in a wide range of prices.

The Food

Tender’s chef was nice enough to send out a variety of appetizer samples for me to try, including shrimp two ways (hot and cold), heirloom tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. I say this without hesitation: go for the cheese. It was creamy with a mild flavor and I wanted to swim in a pool of it. I’m pretty sure I would have eaten it all had I not had dinner partners who wanted to share.

Oh, something that you wouldn’t normally think about doing – try the bread. I usually try to avoid filling up on bread when I know I’m going to have a great meal, but Rachel, who helped organize the dinner, made me have a slice. I’m picky about bread, simply because my grandmother is the best bread baker in the world (it’s a fact.), but this was pretty darn good. It’s homemade and soft, while still being slightly chewy and having a crunchy crust. Pretty much everything you want bread to be.

Instead of doing a tasting menu like I did at Border Grill for lunch, we ordered dinner. On our waiter’s recommendation, I tried the seafood ensemble, which included Hawaiian blue prawns, Maine sea scallops, and Australian sea bass. We also chosen potato gratin and creamed corn side dishes to share at our table. I definitely recommend going that route – choosing a number of sides for everyone to try instead of each ordering your own. Our waiter recommended these two specific sides, and he wasn’t wrong, especially about the creamed corn.

I expected to love the sea scallops the most, as they’re one of my favorite foods. I wasn’t disappointed. They were perfectly seared and tasted buttery and smooth without being mushy. I have to say, though, the real star for me was the sea bass. The crispy skin was a delicious, and I almost wanted to order more.

Of course, we had to order dessert after seeing their menu. Our waiter recommended the Grandma’s chocolate cake, which was more fudgey chocolate ganache than cake and definitely not what anyone’s grandma makes at home! Our table also got the cookie platter, which was way too big for three people, let alone one person, and included everything from their version of a fig newton to homemade marshmallow.

My pick? Campfire peanut butter s’mores. Yes, you heard me correctly. It was a chocolate brownie on top of a graham cracker, topped with their marshmallows and drizzled with hot fudge. I’m unashamed to say that I ate almost the entire thing, even after being stuffed from dinner. Let’s be honest; I was really still stuffed from lunch before I even got there.

The Atmosphere

Tender has a very upscale lodge feel, especially with their unique chandelier and spun driftwood sculptures. Like I’m finding with most of the hotel restaurants, appearances can be deceiving. They have more than the small lounge and dining rooms you see from the door! If you want to host a larger party, they have dining rooms you can reserve, and they also have a great wine room, which I definitely recommend if you just want to have a few drinks with friends at the end of the night.

Overall, Tender is kind of like its name – a cozy place to eat. Try to get a booth if you eat here – they’re non-traditional wrap-around booths that make it easy to talk with your fellow diners.

The Service

While I already gushed about Rachel at Border Grill, our serving staff at Tender went above and beyond. John gave us fabulous wine recommendations, including a chardonnay that went perfectly with my dinner. Our waiter was Manuel, and not only was he attentive and professional, but he was also extremely personable. He grew up in Las Vegas, so gave us a ton of recommendation of things to see and do while in town. When we left, I kind of felt like I had made a friend, and that’s not the norm when it comes to your restaurant wait staff.

Both John and Manuel were also extremely knowledgeable about the food at Tender. You’ll notice that I mentioned we went with their recommendations often throughout the evening, and you could tell that they weren’t just pushing the specials or more expensive dishes – they were telling us what they love to eat and what they thought we would most love to eat as well.

Overall, Tender is not going to be for everyone. The food is fabulous, but the prices are a bit high for someone on an extreme budget. Remember, though – you get what you pay for. The prices are definitely worth the quality of the meal you’ll have at Tender. If you’re on a budget, consider stopping in just for wine or dessert!

The Specs:

  • Tender is open daily for dinner. Recommendations are recommended, though probably only necessarily on weekends.
  • Sunday – Thursday from 5-10, they have a $39 fixe menu available. Otherwise, you can expect for spend at least $50 for dinner there, assuming you get a drink, entree, and side. Like I said, if you’re on a tight budget, just stop in for dessert.
  • Dress is business casual.

You can view more information about the restaurant, along with their menus, on Luxor’s Tender page.

Big thanks to Ashli and Rachel for coordinating this meal!

BWE10 Lunch Recommendation: Border Grill

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Vegas is a town full of great food, but Border Grill will be tough to beat. Located in Mandalay Bay, which makes it super convenient for BlogWorld Expo attendees, there’s more to this Mexican restaurant than meets the eye. I dare you to find a better strip restaurant for casual dining.

Oh, and if you’re too lazy busy to read this review, skip to the end and watch the video instead!

Executive chef Michael Minor is someone I wish I could hire to feed me every night. Mexican food is too commonly associated with Taco Bell, and his offerings are anything but. If it wouldn’t have been a sin to keep him out of the kitchen, I could have listened to him all day, talking about learning authentic secrets to great food while on vacation in the Yucatán. It’s pretty apparent that Chef Mike loves food and spares no expense at putting out the very best.

Border Grill was nice enough to do a little tasting menu for me, so I got to sample a lot of amazing food from Chef Mike’s kitchen. My three must-haves?

  • Guacamole
  • Baja Ceviche
  • Pork Tacos
  • Fruit Sorbet

Ok, yeah, that’s four. In trying to choose just three, I found that I couldn’t.

Start with the chips and guacamole. If you’re anything like us, I bet you can’t stop nibbling, even when the rest of your meal comes.

I love ceviche, And not only was the plate pretty (see the above-right picture), but it was delicious. In fact, I fully intend to go back and have it again before I leave Las Vegas. Some ceviches are really fishy (in a bad way), but at Border Grill, it tastes cool and refreshing – perfect for a hot day. The avocado adds a smooth texture to your mouth, perfectly contrasting the bed of crunchy homemade totillas.

And how can you not love a really well done taco? At border grill, the tacos are overflowing to the point where you almost have to eat them with a fork, and my favorite, by far, was the pork. If you check out the video below, I mention Chef Mike’s slow-roasted pork at least twice. I want to have that pork’s babies. If pork isn’t your thing, though, all of the tacos I tried were outstanding. Who would have thought you can get tasty, fresh fish tacos or spicy shrimp tacos in the middle of the dessert?

Seriously, save room for dessert. I’m usually not hungry enough for a huge dessert after lunch, despite my love for chocolate cake. I got to try their homemade sorbet sampler instead – and wow. It was a great way to finish the meal, and much to my surprise, there were frozen pieces of real fruit within the creamy sorbet, which burst in your mouth when you bite them. By this point in the meal, you’ll likely feel like you want to explode from eating so much, but it is totally worth the pain.

Also, please, please, PLEASE try the flavored lemonades, either alone or as part of a mixed drink. Yum. They’re sweet, but not syrupy like some flavored drinks.

The wait staff? Amazing, though I’ve yet to come across a poor waitress or waiter in Las Vegas. Mine for lunch was Rachel, and if she’s working, do yourself a favor and request her. I understand that we might have gotten a little special treatment because they knew I was going to write a review, but Rachel clearly knew what she was talking about with every dish – that’s not something you can just quickly learn for the sake of a reviewer. I also took notice that the staff was really attentive of all the guests in our area, making sure to keep the water glass full and checking on diners regularly (but not so often that it gets annoying).

The biggest downside to this restaurant, as I see it, is that it’s easy to miss as you walk by. The restaurant looks tiny from the outside, and kind of…well…typical, nothing special. Inside, that is clearly not the case. Beyond requesting Rachel, do yourself another favor and walk downstairs for seating – you’ll eat right by the river and waterfall. The balcony is also a great option, since the view of Mandalay Bay is gorgeous. Don’t judge this restaurant book by its cover.

The Specs:

  • Mandalay Bay’s Border Grill is open for both lunch and dinner, and they also have to-go options for bloggers on the move. They have a bar, a dining room, a balcony, and an outdoor eating space available for guests.
  • It’s great for the blogger who wants to experience the best of Vegas food, but who is also on a budget. You can get an amazing lunch there for under $25 and dinner for well under $50.

Check out this video for more food porn, videos at the restaurant, and more:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiviOKv8ir8[/youtube]

Big thanks to Ashli Kimenker from Kirvin Doak Communications for joining me for lunch and making this review possible!

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