The Best $1.99 Meal West of the Mississippi [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe] Apr29

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The Best $1.99 Meal West of the Mississippi [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe]

I’m about to share with you one my hidden travel secrets.  For less than $2 I am going to make sure that your belly is full and not only full, but extremely happy.  No tax.  No hidden costs.  No joke.

So, where can you find this unbelievable deal?  It’s the $1.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Vegas is known for cheap eats and gut busting buffets.  However, with the arrival of the megaresorts, the city is also now known for their Michelin Star chefs and award winning restaurants.  Some, making major contributions to the world of culinary cuisine.

In our tough economy we can all use a way to save a dollar or two.  There are dollar menu fast food items all over, but if you can control your passion for gambling, Vegas has become a cheap travel destination.

The economy has hit the city hard.  The north end of The Strip is now a barren wasteland of unfinished hotels stuck high in mid-air.  Others are slashing hotel rates to get people in the doors.  They are also offering rock bottom deals on rooms, food, and drink.  Sure, you can drop all the cash you want on a fancy meal, or you can take just $2 and head downtown for some history and for the Golden Gate Shrimp Cocktail.

Now, I’m not saying to immediately call up your travel agent and book your next flight just for this meal alone.  What I am offering you is one of my hidden travel secrets when I visit there.  Because, it is one of the best deals in town and anyone can have it!

The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino is located in downtown Las Vegas on historic Fremont Street.  The Fremont Street area in general is an excellent travel deal that I will discuss in a future blogumn.

The hotel is at 1 Fremont Street at the end of the canopy for the Fremont Street Experience, the nightly mega light show on one of the world’s largest overhead screens.

The hotel originally opened as the Hotel Nevada in 1906.  When gambling was officially re-legalized in 1931, the building underwent an expansion to the current 106 rooms, renaming itself the Sal Sagev which is Las Vegas backwards.  The building has been around so long, it has the first Vegas telephone number – 1!

The story takes a turn, when the property was bought out in 1955 by a group of Italian-Americans from San Francisco.  They again changed the name to the current Golden Gate Hotel and Casino.  With heavy routes in the pacific fishing industry, the investors rolled out a new San Fran theme for the property.  It wasn’t too long before they began selling their now famous shrimp cocktail.

The shrimp cocktail is a simple mix of small salad shrimp, a slathering of cocktail sauce, and served in a sundae glass.  When it first went on sale, it only cost 50 cents.  Up until 2008, those holding Golden Gate player cards could get the dish for a whopping 99 cents.  However, the price is now a flat $1.99 for everyone due to rising costs of trucking the shrimp in.

What makes this such a value is that they do not skimp on the shrimp.  This is a tall size sundae glass and it is filled to the rim!  I can usually down almost two of them depending on how hungry I am.  But, it always hits the spot.

For you weight watchers, I can’t guess at the nutritional valu,  nor is it posted.  It’s just plain salad shrimp and the basic recipe for most cocktail sauce is usually ketchup with horseradish.  If you’re really counting calories, get it without the sauce, but the sauce really makes it!

This single dish helped launch Vegas as being known for their cheap eats.  A rival version has turned up at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino on the other end of town for only 99 cents, while other versions have been mimicked in other areas.  What makes the downtown version worth it is it’s so easy to get.  There is a wide deli counter located in the back of the small building and you just walk right up and ask for it.  It’s takes less than 10 seconds to serve.

My biggest compliment about this dish is the fact that the shrimp are already peeled and ready to eat.  You get the glass, you get the fork, and you just sit down.  I have had numerous shrimp cocktails for as high as $15 in New York, that are of much less quality, padded with lettuce, and I have to sit there and peel the shrimp.  I don’t want that.  It’s actually quite awkward on a date!

According to online reports, the Golden Gate casino trucks in a ton of shrimp each week, putting the sales on par with the big megaresorts on the Strip.  The shrimp are harvested from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and the Upper East Coast.

Obviously, I’m not the only fan of the shrimp – they served their 25 millionth shrimp cocktail in 1991!

When you arrive in downtown, just look for the casino’s famous marquee and you will know you’re in the right place.  There is little advertising outside of the building, so make sure you’re in the Golden Gate at the end of Fremont Street and head right for the back.  But, if you get confused, just ask a local or just about anyone down there… they’ll know!

While others have tried to copy it, no one else serves up a shrimp cocktail like the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino in Vegas!

THE 411

What: Golden Gate Hotel & Casino Shrimp Cocktail

Cost: $1.99

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS: If you’re heading to Vegas, definitely stop and get one of these.  They’re cheap, they’re easy to serve, and easy to eat.  They’re also a great bargain if you’ve just lost most of your money on a Blackjack table!  So, kick back and treat yourself to one!