Thursday, November 12, 2009

Non-Gaming Amenities Sizzle in North Hall at G2E 2009

LAS VEGAS — Despite the economic challenges of the past year, non-gaming amenities continue to be an important part of the customer experience at casino resorts across the United States and around the world. At Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2009, gaming executives will have an opportunity to see the latest trends in food and beverage (F&B), as well as entertainment, in G2E's North Hall. G2E 2009 is scheduled for Nov. 17-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"Consumers have come to expect casino resorts to bring together world-class entertainment, exceptional dining experiences with an enjoyable gaming environment. As we look to the future, non-gaming amenities will continue to be a crucial part of a successful business plan for casino properties," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. "By bringing the latest trends in F&B and entertainment together with the newest innovations for the gaming floor, G2E provides gaming professionals a comprehensive, one-stop shop for their business needs."

G2E 2009 attendees will gain exclusive insight into the changing world of F&B and non-gaming amenities through the Retail, Dining and Entertainment (R, D & E) conference track. In the track's signature series session, "The Sweet Spot: How to Manage F&B in a Down Economy," attendees will learn how to redefine the F&B value proposition and develop an effective plan to deal with current economic challenges. The panel for this session will include leading F&B executives Jeffrey Frederick, regional vice president of food and beverage for Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.; Michael Mina, chef/restaurateur with Mina Group, LLC; and Damian Mogavero, CEO and founder of Avero.

The R, D & E track also will provide valuable insights for professionals working in the entertainment sector of the gaming industry with sessions such as "Entertainment 101: Negotiation, Contracts and Concepts," "Casinos and Celebrities: How to Market Your Casino with A-list Entertainment," and "Now for Something Completely Different: How to Create Out-Of-The Box Special Events."

In the exhibition area, F&B and entertainment executives will have the opportunity to preview products and network with more than 120 exhibitors offering the latest product innovations in everything from lighting design to stemware. As part of F&B at G2E, the Fine Wines & Cocktails Ultra Lounge sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits will highlight choice beverage offerings from a number of word-class vendors and vineyards.

Attendees also will have a chance to see the latest F&B trends and innovations in action on the F&B at G2E Culinary Demonstration Stage. The schedule of events includes all-star Las Vegas chefs heating things up in the Neon Chefs demonstration series, cool G2E Cocktail demonstrations by master mixologists and the sizzling Ultra Lounge Uniform Fashion Show sponsored by Cintas, featuring the sexiest uniforms from leading casino ultra lounges and nightclubs on the Las Vegas Strip.

In the Entertainment Arena at G2E, attendees will have the opportunity to view new technologies and meet with exhibitors whose products and services help create the spectacular shows now associated with America's casino industry. The Entertainment Arena at G2E will include manufacturers of the latest in professional audio and lighting, staging, and projection/video products as well as entertainment agents, concert and sports promoters, independent producers, production companies, touring artists and attractions.

Gaming executives interested in securing new acts for their casino properties also will have the opportunity to see a wide array of 30 talented musical, comedy and entertainment artists perform live as part of the G2E Entertainment Arena's offerings. The G2E Entertainment Showcase Stage will be located in the lobby featuring musical and comedy acts, and the all-new G2E Variety Entertainment Showcase Stage will make its debut in the North Hall featuring jugglers, magicians and other unique variety performers.

For a full schedule of events on the G2E Culinary Demonstration Stage and both entertainment stages, visit

G2E is the leading trade show and conference event for the international gaming entertainment community, attended by more than 26,000 industry professionals from around the world. For more information on G2E 2009, visit

Award-Winning Pican Ideal for Intimate NorCal Events and Dinners

OAKLAND, Calif. — Picán restaurant in Oakland's Uptown District has been honored by inclusion in the esteemed Michelin Guide as a 2010 choice in the Bib Gourmand category. The distinction is awarded to restaurants deemed the "inspectors' favorite for good value." All restaurants on the 2010 Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list serve a meal – defined as two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert – for $40 or less, offering an "affordable, yet incredibly delicious dining option," according to the guide.

Picán, which opened in March, is a contemporary, sophisticated restaurant in Oakland's burgeoning Uptown District that serves modern, California-influenced Southern cuisine and offers an extensive collection of handmade, single-batch bourbons.
"We are honored to receive this distinction from the 2010 Michelin Guide," said Picán visionary and proprietor Michael LeBlanc. "I am so proud of our team, led by Executive Chef Dean Dupuis. As a resident of Oakland, I knew this restaurant had the potential to be something special, a transformational part of the Uptown neighborhood's renewal. It's thrilling for everyone who works so hard at Picán to receive this honor in our first year of operation."

LeBlanc, who grew up in New Orleans, was the first African-American corporate office in the history of Polaroid, running the Asian market and traveling the globe during his 26-year stint with the company. During his travels Le Blanc gained an appreciation for international cuisine and for the diverse cultures of the world, all the while retaining his passion for the food of his childhood.

Executive Chef Dean Dupuis, who hails from Atlanta's South City Kitchen, brought LeBlanc's vision to life with dishes that have won critical acclaim throughout Northern California. Dupuis quickly gained acclaim for his Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken, which is brined and coated in buttermilk and hot sauce for 48 hours before cooking. Guests are advised to reserve Dupuis' fried chicken in advance when they make their dinner reservations.

Other favorite dishes at Picán include:
· Southern Caesar Salad with fried okra and parmesan grits croutons
· Low Country Shrimp & Grits
· Bourbon & Molasses Lacquered Duck
· Georgia Pecan Tart with buttermilk ice cream and bourbon butterscotch
· Chocolate Bread Pudding
· Abita Root Beer Float with sassafras ice cream and a bourbon praline

Picán is located at 2295 Broadway in Oakland. Picán has a stunning bar and lounge, featuring an extensive collection of handmade, single-batch bourbons, and an open kitchen. Design details include reclaimed pecan wood featured throughout the restaurant, deep shades of reds and browns, and richly textured fabrics and materials. The ambience is accented with the rhythms of jazz, R&B, gospel and classic soul. The 5,600-square-foot restaurant includes seating for 158 guests in Picán's bar, lounge and main dining room, plus outdoor seating for 24 on Picán's patio. "The Bourbon Room," Picán's intimate private dining room, accommodates an additional 20 guests.

Picán is open nightly Monday – Thursday, 4:30 – 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 – 11 p.m., and Sundays, 4 – 9:30 p.m. Lunch is served weekdays 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday brunch is served 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Valet parking is available. Reservations can be made by calling 510-834-1000. For more information, visit

Industry demonstrates resilience in face of uncertainty

Despite uncertainty in the overall economy, the 2009 SEMA Show demonstrated the resilience and determination of the specialty-equipment industry.

More than 1,700 businesses committed to their futures by exhibiting at the 2009 SEMA Show. And those businesses were not just along for the ride, but were actively innovating. Collectively, they showcased more than 1,400 new products.
And as a result of increased floor space and a new location for the New Products Showcase, buyers made a record-high 65,000 scans, requesting additional product information.

Overall, 120,000 members of the industry attended this year's show, with the largest number ever coming from outside the United States. Roughly 24% of registered buyers came from outside the United States, demonstrating the increased global reach of the specialty-equipment industry and the ability of the SEMA Show to connect buyers and manufacturers across global lines.
The media reach of the SEMA Show was also larger than ever, bringing the industry's products and style to an ever-growing audience. This year, for example, enough showgoers posted items about products and vehicles to their Twitter accounts to push the SEMA Show into's Top 10 trends.

"One hundred percent of the businesses who attended the SEMA Show put it all on the line," said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. "This is an excellent indicator that buyers, manufacturers and services in this industry are ready for an active 2010."