I am going to keep this a lot shorter than my Venetian report from September which was fun and can be found here: http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58754 New Years is our next trip and I'll make that one longer. As a quick rehash, wife and I are 30 and live in SoCal. We try to head out at least 8x/yr. I relax with some gambling. Her therapy is shopping. It's the perfect city for the two of us without any kids. This trip was more special than others. It was my sister's wedding. My sister lives and works in the city. Actually, the girl found her job and her husband because of my wedding. That didn't stop bridezilla from wreaking havok upon me for a couple of days, but I tried to stay out of the way as much as possible. 11/4 We left at about 7pm from Irvine. I kept commenting about how light traffic was. My wife kept reminding me this wasn't our usual Fri-Sunday trip. With a couple of stops and gas we arrived at 1130. We were staying at South Point the first night and bunking up with dad. We dropped our bags and headed to my wife's favorite late-night joint, Firefly on Paradise. We ordered 3 of the usual suspects. I had the kobe sliders with carmelized onions which for the 4th time now is still amazing. We shared the bacon-wrapped dates which was great. My wife loves nutella, so much infact that if Johnson & Johnson could find a way to insert it directly to the bloodstream they could double their profits. Outside of that, I think the wife shared an ahi and a tomato bread plate with the father. 5 plates, 6 beers and dessert came to $72. Have I told you I love this place? After that, we called it a night, but not before I got a miniscule amount of gambling in. South Point doesn't feel like a casino to me. It feels like a convention center with makeshift tables inside. I played $1 roulette and some $1 video poker. I was happy to see full pay at that rate on a bar top. I had no luck and ran pretty cold. Before going to bed I got some last minute entertainment as some girl collapsed to the ground at a blackjack table and sobbed hysterically. I don't think she like the outcome of the hand too much. I feel bad for people in that situation. I don't get it, but I do feel bad for those people. It was funny watching how quickly security removed her so other gamblers could escape from reality again. As far as the hotel, the room was nice enough, but for Boyd's former premier property, the carpet job in the hallways is attrocious. It is a safety hazard. The casino has seen its better days as well. It does look like a good place to get value though. 11/5 South Point was more of a stop-over. Work has been tough lately and I also thought of this trip as a getaway. I was antsy to get over to my permanent home for this trip, Mandalay Bay. I almost always stay at Venetian, but my sister was getting married at Four Seasons on Sunday and a former host from Rio moved over to Mandalay and we had been talking about a stay. So this weekend worked out perfectly. He was nice enough to set me up RFL with the room being a 2-room suite. It's been 5 years since I've stayed at Mandalay, 3 since TheHotel. They have upgraded it, but I have to say I still like the north end of the strip better. The room, is nice. It's basically at the end of the hallway in the curved portion of the building. It opens to a wide view with a set of couches, wet bar, and table. The rooms split off on either side. I had the better of the 2 rooms and had a full view of the strip. Taking as many trips as I do I usually don't care, but it was nice this time. We dropped our bags, unpacked, and headed out. It was about 1pm and having skipped breakfast we went over to Carnevino for lunch. This is one of the best steak places in town and I am a fan, but their lunch is just as good. I had the burger, same as the last trip, just as good as the last trip. Wife had pretty much the same trip as well. An attorney of mine, who is also a friend was in town so we met up at about 3. I made sure he wasn't billing me, but I'm still going to check the bill :Ãž Talk about hating yourself, gambling with a house edge against you alongside a bloodsucker! We played some craps, some LIR, and some video poker, all were losers. Not big losers, but still couldn't get anything going. The attorney friend was getting tired (he ended up getting bronchitis) so we parted ways. I called my wife, she was.............shopping at fashion show. So I walked over and found my wife in near-tears because she had been shopping for a couple of hours with nary a purchase to show for it. Soon enough we headed back to the car and back to Mandalay, we had reservations at RM Seafood. RM was going to be the unforgettable meal of the trip. Boy oh boy was it unforgettable, but for all the wrong reasons. We left extra room in our bellies because Rick Moonen was going to wow us according to all the praise he's been receiving since top chef. Let me put it out there very bluntly. If what we got in terms of service and food from RM was a representation of his product, he should be the most shamed chef on earth. His work is an embarrasment to all others in the industry, from chefs to dishwashers. I longed for the buffet experience in Lampoons Vegas Vecation after my experience. Have I made myself clear on this? We got to the restaurant promptly at 8pm, at which time we were escorted upstairs. We proceeded to wait for 15 minutes, where the hostess told us it would be another half hour until we could be seated but that we could order from a certain menu at the bar. The restaurant upstairs was half empty and I had no intention of eating at the bar with that being the case. I asked the hostess the options. Her 2 god-given brain cells couldn't answer so I shut it down and said we'll eat at the more casual downstairs. Surely it couldn't be as bad as upstairs. We are sat at their "patio" an outside area from the restaurant but inside Mandalay Place. If you do venture to RM after this review, don't sit there. Sound projects and kids like to congregate, making for a bad combination for a nice meal. Not the restaurant's fault but we were re-seated within 5 minutes. Our drink orders were taken, and our food order soon thereafter. Then comes this odd waiting period of nothingness. The water came, but not my beer. Waiting, remind the waiter, waiting, remind the waiter. I took a picture on my phone at 9:30, exactly 1 hour after sitting down inside. No salads and no beer. Then at about 940, the salads come out, and my wife says," just wait, 30 seconds later the main course will come out." Boy was she wrong! It took a whole 45 seconds. 2 courses, 45 seconds seconds apart. At least separate it and give me a cold plate. So we run through the salads and have the main courses. I know it's a seafood restaurant but I don't eat fish. My father and I both ordered the filet, medium. Same damn f---ing steak. It comes on a bed of potatoes no different than KFC and my steak is medium well, dad's is rare. So thirsty from my first beer I chugged it and ordered a second one through the meal. That one never came. Dad's steak came back, medium well. Must be Moonen's first day in a kitchen. Our meals stayed warm because of the radiant heat venting off our foreheads. Waiter asked for dessert, didn't understand when I asked if he had a selection of .22 caliburs. Paid for the meal, then called over the manager. I did this, rather than asking for something off, because there was nothing he could do to fix this disaster. We proceeded to unload and within 60 seconds of his blank stare I knew why this kitchen was run so bad. I've had plenty of meals on trips: Botero, SW, Carnevino, Delmonicos, Prime, Cut, every Michael Mina in town, Fleur De Lys, Aureole, etc etc etc. I've had good meals and sub-par meals. Nothing compared to this! My dad were so exhausted from the meal, he went to bed. My wife joined my sister's bachelorette party already in progress at Tao. I am usually a craps player but after the big win last trip, I decided to play more LIR if even for only 1 trip with bad odds. This trip, I just wanted to sit, play, and relax. I can't relax with BJ, don't like playing small with Bacc, so it's LIR and between Friday and Saturday I was able to log 12 hours. Really there is nothing too memorable. I had some nice hits and some really bad streaks. In the end I lost this weekend. Enough to play $150 in each circle for quite a while. Lost a small portion of my wins last trip, but I'm going back to craps for New Years. I ran out of my allowance for the day at about 3am, just about the same time my wife called that she was back. I met her and headed up. 11/6 Woke up at about 11 and rummaged around the room for a while. The next 2 days were more wedding oriented. By the time wife was ready we were short on time. The rehearsal was at 2 at the FS pool. So we had lunch at Verandah. I think this is the most underrated buffet on the strip. For less than $30 you get a small buffet selection but good quality, and fresh donuts! We went through the whole rehearsal without a hitch. I took my dad to City Center so he could check it out. I've been there plenty. Once he got his fill, we were out of there. We headed back to the hotel where I snuck in some extra gamble time. I hit my only W-2 for the weekend. I played $1 DDB but 50-hand in the high limit room. I was dealt 3 5's. Held those and hit enough full houses and 4OAK's to warrant $1300. Let me not forget to point out that just one more 5 on that bottom line would have been 40k I made another quick G at the craps table from there, but LIR just proved to be too much of a drainer for me. After gamble time I got ready for the rehearsal dinner at Aureole. Dinner was pre-set in a side room. A nice deal for a large group. I've eaten at Aureole 4 times now. It's a good meal and there's not much more to say. It's a good place if you know your vino factoids. After dinner it was more gambling, roulette and LIR, g-d forbid I head to the things that were working for me early in the day. Did that for a few hours to no luck and headed upstairs with a thinner wallet. 11/7 It's Wedding Day! The men had set-up duties for the wedding while the women got ready. The ceremony was at the fountains at Four Seasons, the same place I got married and the reception was at Charlie Palmer. My reception was in a ballroom upstairs. My sister used many of the same vendors so in a way it was fun seeing old friends again. This is the part of the report where I'm going to give some recognition to some people if you or a family member is considering a wedding in Vegas. If you're looking for an upscale wedding in town, forget Bellagio, forget Venetian, forget Wynn. You must have your wedding at Four Seasons. When planning my wedding I heard my wife say Four Seasons and I had an immediate negative reaction because of the dollars dancing in my head. I sh-t you not, it floored me to find out that the wedding cost 1/2 what the others did. On top of that, you get true personal service at FS. I felt like a cow at a slaughterhouse at Wynn and Bellagio. I think a ceremony alone at Wynn was $3500. FS was $1,000. My reception cost $105/head. The same courses would have cost $95 at Bellagio, but Bellagio and Wynn didn't include a fresh donut machine, Hagen Dasz station, Vodka Luge, and other customizable items. If you do plan any type of event at FS you have to go with Dennis Silknitter. The guy was born to be a party planner. He takes his time to really understand his clients, and he's a great human being to boot! We had fun together re-uniting at my sister's wedding. He's now got me convinced to have a cuban themed pool party for my 5th anniversary party or my software company party if it takes off, whichever comes first. We also got to spend some fun time with our photographers, Trish and Jared of ATG Photography. These guys are also I have to say the best in town. They are a lot more busy than they were but it's because their work is so good. Just with Dennis, there is no client-vendor relationship. They really do be come your friends and it just feels like a friend is taking normal pictures. Here is their blog, which actually has some quick pics from my sister's wedding at the top: http://studioatgblog.com/ Back to wedding. Daylight savings hit the night before so the ceremony was at sunset, 430pm. I got dressed. Headed for some pictures. Took a quick shot with the groomsmen. Then did the difficult job of walking down the aisle. The ceremony was beautiful but for the fact that Maverick Helecopters decided to move their fleet at 445. We got through that and it was time for the reception. It was a wedding. It was just tons of fun with family. There was no in-law drama like at my wedding. Let's just say it's been 3 years and have not seen the inside of my parent in-law's house. My Brother in laws still like me, but apparently I'm the devil for "stealing their daughter" even 3 years later. So this was fun, dinner, dancing until the weeeeeeee hours. My wife and I headed upstairs at 1 but the party was still going. 11/8 We woke up, checked out. We took some holiday pictures at Trish and Jared's before getting Gramaldi's pizza on the way out of town and back home. We made it back in 4 hours, again being reminded that it wasn't Sunday traffic. I told you this would be shorter. I guess I lied Next up is New Years, back at Venetian, much much much much more craps. We're staying from the 30th-2nd. Comp'd. We plan to hit up Lotus of Siam for the first time and check out Cosmopolitan. Have fun on your travels and thanks for reading!