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A Glutton's Guide to Las Vegas (TR - long)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by westie, May 24, 2006.

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  1. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,022
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60

    My Trip Report

    May 3-17, 2006

    Caution: drooling may result in a sticky keyboard.

    Abbreviations: ACG = American Casino Guide
    LVA = Las Vegas Advisor Pocketbook of Values
    CP = Casino Player funbook
    R.com = Restaurant.com gift certificate
    E = Entertainment book

    May 3 - We decided to take the non-stop SWA flight out of Hartford departing at 3PM rather than our customary early morning flight with a connection. It turned out to be a wise decision because we only gave up a few hours in Las Vegas for less time in the air. A side benefit was we were able to drop Max-the-Schipperke off at the kennel on our way to the airport and avoided the long lines at check-in and security. As usual, Ms. Westie was flying free on a Rapid Reward and I was paying full freight. We arrived at about 5:30PM local time and proceeded directly to the Alamo shuttle. I had reserved a mid-size for $254 for 2 weeks, but was upgraded to a full size Impala by the lot attendant. Since it was late, we did not stop at the Wal-Mart on Eastern and proceeded directly to the Fiesta-Henderson.

    Check-in was a breeze and we quickly dropped off our bags before departing for dinner at Ventano’s Italian Corner & Oyster Bar. http://ventanoitalian.com/.
    This beautiful restaurant located in Henderson has views of the Las Vegas Valley. We once again decided to share a warm spinach salad, eggplant rollatini and crème brulee. We declined the fresh out of the oven bread and were shortly served our spinach salad – outstanding as usual. We were a bit surprised when our entrée arrived on one plate surrounded by penne. Usually it is served on 2 plates with a side order of linguini – no problem as we divided up the eggplant and penne. We each were thinking there was not much ricotta in the dish, but everything was delicious. Just then the waitress returned with another dish explaining she accidentally served us eggplant parmesan. She said she was the owner’s daughter and had never tried either eggplant dish. No problem as we proceeded to make a sizeable dent in the second dish. Last, but by no means least, was a delicious, and, no doubt, calorie free crème brulee. ($11.68, R.com, 4.5 Forks).
    Note: all prices shown include gratuity except those for buffets.

    Ms. Westie retired to the room, but I could not pass up the opportunity to play a little video poker. I lost, enough said.

    May 4 – In spite of the 3 hour time change I am up and raring to go at 4AM. Almost 3 hours later I am still up physically, but down financially. We decided to give the new Firelight breakfast buffet at Sam’s Town a try. http://www.samstownlv.com/dining/firelight.cfm.
    The room was beautiful, but the food disappointing. The fruit was unripe, most offerings were your typical steam table fare and dishes were not turning over fast enough to keep them fresh. I also noticed that at 9AM a chef was already grilling hamburgers for lunch – nothing like a dried out burger for those arriving at noon. Overall this buffet was several notches down from the comparably priced buffets at the Orleans and Gold Coast. ($6.45, LVA, 1 Fork).

    We stopped at the Wal-Mart on Eastern for provisions, before returning to our room. After reading the LVRJ, we headed off to the Aladdin to use our $20 free slot play coupons from Casino Player. We hunted high and low for the 4 slant tops with 8/5 bonus poker, but only located a single upright near the Sport Book bar that we shared while managing to cash out at $19.50 (me) and $12.50 (Ms. Westie) – a win!

    Our first full day in Las Vegas and $31.50 jingling in my pocket, is there a better way to start off our trip then the $18.80 3-course lunch at Commander’s Palace?
    http://www.commanderspalace.com/las_...il.php?menu=13.
    We tried both starters: cream of wild mushroom soup topped with truffled chive Chantilly (Ms. Westie) and the house made andouille sausage - pecan smoked and grilled and served with a red bean puree and four-tomato salsa (me). For entrees we chose the broiled Oregon sole – lemon drizzled and broiled and served over herb marinated lentils and green split peas, finished with roasted artichoke aioli and young greens. Our desserts of choice were bananas foster – an original creation of the Brennan’s and soooooo good. With 3 Commander’s Palace and 2 lemon drop martinis under our belts, more under mine, we departed the restaurant with smiles on our faces and pralines in hand. Commander’s Palace continues to garner numerous awards including 10 Best – American Continental Restaurants (Las Vegas). http://www.10best.com/Las_Vegas/Rest...n_Continental/.
    ($20.90, R.com, 4.5 Forks).

    The afternoon was devoted to video poker, reading and napping. Later in the day we departed for downtown to see Elvis impersonator Steve Connolly’s Spirit of the King show at Fitzgerald’s. http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_ho...y/6022470.html. The ACG coupon good for 2 free tickets stated on the reverse side to bring it to the showroom – wrong. After standing in line for 15 minutes we were told to bring it to the nearby box office – wrong. I was then told to bring the coupon to the slot club – right. I quickly returned to the showroom and we took seats about 6 rows back. Steve has a small band and 2 back-up singers who provided relief by impersonating Tina Turner and Diana Ross. The show is fun and well worth our time. (Free, ACG, 2.5 Claps).

    We had sufficiently recovered from our lunch time excesses so we returned to the Fiesta and shared a club sandwich at the Baja Café. ($8.50, comps, 2 Forks).

    May 5- My early morning VP session resulted in both a royal and quad deuces. I returned to the room with a song in my heart and money in my pocket. It was Cinco de Mayo and where better to have breakfast than the Village Buffet at Paris?
    http://www.caesars.com/Paris/LasVega...lageBuffet.htm.
    Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, spinach quiche, apple-chicken smoked sausage, andouille sausage, dried figs, imported cheeses, more berries, OJ, wine poached pears etc. I moaned, I groaned, I started kissing everyone in sight. ($6.32, LVA, 4.5 Forks).

    It was back to the room, but it hadn’t been made up. No problem with video poker machines waiting downstairs for us. Ms. Westie proceeded to hit her first quad deuces of the trip. In the late afternoon we drove to the Gold Coast where we (me) ordered a lemon drop martini (poor) and 3 glasses of merlot (me and she). (Free, ACG).

    Next stop was Hannah’s Neighborhood Bistro located in Boca Park on Rampart Boulevard in Summerlin. http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2005/09/08/taste.html. This upscale Vietnamese, multimillion dollar restaurant is drop dead gorgeous with beautiful art work displayed throughout, a waterfall and fish swimming under a section of the floor. We were under time constraints so we decided to pass on appetizers and salads. I ordered the grilled tiger prawns served with their famous garlic noodles. Ms. Westie’s entrée - Mama’s ginger steamed sea bass served with fresh ginger, shitake mushrooms and scallions was on the bland side. Overall we loved the restaurant’s décor as well as the service, but felt the food was slightly disappointing given the MSRP on the menu. ($43.37, R.com, 2.5 Forks).

    It was a short drive to the Suncoast where we had tickets for the Tony Orlando show, but first we grabbed a pair of Smirnoff Ices (Free, ACG) which we brought into the showroom. His opening act was Sammy Shore who is the original dirty old man. Tony quickly sang his hits and then turned much of the remainder of the show over to his excellent band which featured a fantastic harpist as well as an excellent singer/impressionist. Tony never possessed much of a voice, but he excels as an entertainer. Overall the show was much better than expected. (3 Claps).

    May 6 – The Fiesta began the process of recovering the money they lent me in earnest at this morning’s video poker session. We went to the Village Pub and Poker on Eastern at Wigwam for breakfast this morning. http://ellisislandcasino.com/pub/index.html. Of the 3 Village Pubs we have visited, this is by far the nicest. The owners also own Ellis Island so you will recognize the booths, paintings and menu. Ms. Westie ordered pancakes while I settled on poached (overdone) eggs, toast and hash browns. ($6, LVA daily deals coupon, 2.5 Forks).

    We decided a little exercise was in order so we walked along the jogging trail at Sunset Park before our 10AM session on the computers at the Green Valley Ranch Library. These were reserved from home prior to our departure. In the afternoon Ms. Westie hit her first Royal in 2-3 years as well as #2 quad deuces of the trip – yeah!

    Prior to dinner we drove to the Gold Coast where we downed a few glasses of merlot (Free, ACG) before dinner. Table 34, formerly the Wild Sage, on Warm Springs Road was our choice for dinner. http://www.usmenuguide.com/table34.html. Ms Westie’s entree this evening was char-broiled prime beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes and veggies. I opted for the seared Maine scallops with sautéed spinach, potato puree and orange glazed veggies. Everything, including service was good, but a whisker short of expectations. ($42.83, R.com, 2.5 Claps).

    Next stop was the ever so upscale Jokers Wild on Boulder Highway. http://www.jokerswildcasino.com/. The Huck Daniels Review was scheduled to play and we had enjoyed their performances at the Stratosphere a number of times so I was really looking forward to tonight. Times have not been kind to the Huckster as this venue is marginal, very marginal. Lawrence T., former lead singer, has apparently departed for greener pastures, and his female replacement is oh so mediocre that we soon departed for our own pasture. (0.5 Claps).

    May 7 – It was off to Casino MonteLago this morning since 5 x points were being offered on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays in May. http://www.casinomontelago.com/. Unfortunately I did not realize until several days later that I had to register for the points. I subsequently was able to have them go back and credit my account. After 2 hours of sheer punishment I cried uncle and drove to Einstein Brothers on Sunset for a bagel that we enjoyed with cream cheese previously pilfered from, hush now, Sam’s buffet and OJ (purchased).

    We returned to MonteLago Village where the spring arts festival was in progress. As one of the first 300 visitors to stop at artist Mark Vranesh’s booth, we each received a print modestly valued at $275 – oh yeah. Mark has been a staff selection as best local artist in the LVRJ’s Best of Las Vegas poll. http://www.reviewjournal.com/db/bolv...ay?bolvid=1379. Ms. Westie stopped by a booth operated by Expressions by Leslie and added a new hand painted jersey to her growing collection. http://www.expressionsbyleslie.com/.

    I had read glowing first hand reports on Egullet.com as well as a few published reviews of Settebello, a new pizzeria located in Henderson. http://www.settebello.net/.
    http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2006/01/26/taste.html.
    We arrived shortly after 11:30AM to find an empty parking lot and a sign on the door advising of its 12:30PM Sunday opening hour. We started to head elsewhere, but decided it would probably prove to be a waste of gas and time so we returned about noon. An employee waved us in and we were soon seated and ordering this days first pizza. We ordered 2 sodas and shared a Margherita pizza which topped with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan and basil. One minute, yes 60 short seconds later, our pie removed from the 800 degree wood fired oven and on our way to us. We opted for the traditional serving method, uncut, and devoured the pizza in another minute or two. We both agreed the pizza was good, but overpriced and not in the same league as those from several places in New Haven, CT. ($15.99, 2.5 Forks).

    We returned to the Fiesta where the remainder of the day was devoted to dozing in the room or lounging at the pool and Jacuzzi. Prior to departing for dinner we enjoyed a few Blue Hawaiians in the room. Dinner tonight was at the nearby Costa del Sol in Sunset Station. http://restaurant.com/microsite-menu...av=menuima ge.
    It has been a few years since we last dined here, but prices remain moderate and a very good salad/soup bar is included. We enjoyed our mesquite grilled salmon, green beans and Cajun mashed potatoes. ($15.99, R.com, 3.5 Forks).

    Next stop was Brendan’s in the Orleans to see John Windsor, but he was replaced this evening by Killians Angels so we went to the lounge to see Bruce Conte. Oops, he did not start until 9:30-10PM and we were too tired to wait. Ms.Westie locked me in our room so I wouldn’t lose any more money while she went downstairs to play. She returned after hitting her 3rd quad deuces of the trip.

    May 8. My money was “slip sliding away†during this morning’s video poker session, but the 3 x points coupon from a mailer provided some small measure of comfort. It was the Paris breakfast buffet redux – this time I loaded up on the best Belgian waffles this side of - envelope please - Belgium. ($6.36, LVA, 4.5 Forks).

    It was too early to visit the Premium Outlets so the tour bus took us back to the Fiesta. I was still bleeding greenbacks and so once again I am locked in the room. Ms Westie returned an hour later after hitting her 4th quad deuces. We decide to splurge for luch by going to Vons for a bowl of very mediocre chicken noodle soup. ($2.99, 0.5 Fork). The remainder of the afternoon was spent a snoozin and a jacuzzin.

    Feeling invigorated and refreshed we drove to Ellis Island in the late afternoon and consumed 4 glasses of merlot (ACG). Tonight’s restaurant of choice is Todd’s Unique on Sunset Road, Henderson. The restaurant has been voted as one of the Top 10 restaurants in Las Vegas for the past 2 years as well as being a recipient of AAA 3 Diamonds award in 2006. http://www.toddsunique.com/.
    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_ho.../25644662.html.
    We usually pass on the bread, but they serve a warm garlicky loaf that is almost worth the extra carbs. The shared crab cake with remoulade sauce and Asian salad appetizer was delicious. Ms. Westie settled on the Ahi tuna entrée with wasabi mashed potatoes and veggies. I went for the teriyaki halibut served over steamed rice and bok choy. We both feel these were the two best entrees of our trip. ($43.34, R.com, 5 Forks).

    My “to do†list included seeing Moanin’ Blacksnakes, a local blues band, at the Sahara, but Ms. Westie was tired, no doubt from toting around all her winnings, so we returned to the Fiesta. http://www.moaninblacksnakes.com/. The official countdown until I fell asleep was 1 minute, 32 seconds and that included brushing my teeth and tapping a kidney.

    May 9 – My morning video poker session netted my 2nd quad deuces of the trip so I began thinking maybe the dam has been breached? We decided to try the recently reopened buffet at Sunset Station for breakfast. The room is gorgeous, but the food was only satisfactory with turnover a distinct problem. I was able to combine a CP 2/1 coupon with a 25% discount by using our Boarding Pass points. (2 Forks).

    After dropping me off at the Fiesta, Ms. Westie set off for the Palms for a massage ($85.70, LVA) while I fed money into the video poker machines for much of the remaining morning. We spent the afternoon reading and relaxing by the pool.

    Prior to dinner we again drove to the Gold Coast for a performance by the classical group “Quartet Merlot†courtesy of 2 ACG coupons. We then drove to Viva Michoacan, a highly acclaimed Mexican restaurant, on Sunset Boulevard. http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_ho.../23747908.html. Taco chips, salsa and bean dip preceded our meal. In addition, we were served a delicious sopa de fideo. Ms. Westie selected camarones Zirahuena, bay shrimp butterflied and sautéed in butter with tomatoes, onions, a bit of sour cream, paprika, and secret condiments. I ordered the enchiladas de camaron, enchiladas stuffed with shrimp and simmered in a red sauce. Entrees include rice, beans and a choice of fresh corn or flour tortillas. ($19.37, R.com, 3.5 Forks).

    Tonight’s entertainment was a doo-wop group called the NiteKings at Sam’s Town. These are 4 rolly polly guys with minimal talent, but lots of desire. Sorry guys, but we were heading for the car after your first 2 numbers. http://www.nitekings.com/index.php?o...d=3&Itemid =4.

    May 10 – Another early morning session at Casino MonteLago ended with the casino getting the gold mine and me getting the shaft. On my way back to the Fiesta I swung by Vons for a pair of apple fritters that we enjoyed with OJ in our room. Today marked the half way point of our trip and the question of the day was “is the glass half empty or half full?†I was not sure, but I knew I was out of unmentionables so we dropped off our clothes at our favorite wash and fold. We then checked our email at the library and headed cross town to the Fiesta-Rancho. After playing for an hour or so, we ate at the luncheon buffet using a free coupon from a mailer. The only thing close to decent was the Caesars salad. Ms. Westie’s fried chicken was drier than Las Vegas, the pork ribs had to be leftovers from a previous night, lo mein worse than blah, overdone stir fry veggies, a cheesecake with the blahs as was the cannoli. Blah, blah and double blah. (Free, 0.5 Forks)

    As we headed south on Rancho, I saw a billboard that I initially thought read “Six New Commandmentsâ€. It took a full second before I realized it was an advertisement for “Six New Communitiesâ€. Whew, I experience enough problems adhering to the current 10. At around 6PM we picked up our revitalized clothes and it was off to Ellis Island for 4 more glasses of the house merlot courtesy of another ACG coupon.

    Dinner tonight was at Rosemary’s on West Sahara.
    http://www.rosemarysrestaurant.com/files/dinner.pdf
    This restaurant is a perennial winner in the Best of Las Vegas poll and was accorded a AAA 3 Diamond rating in 2006. We had called ahead and the first available seating was at 8:15PM. Unbeknown to us Wednesday is Ladies night where all ladies “only†tables receive 50% off their entrées plus happy hour prices all night long. Several ladies at nearby tables seemed to be very happy, very happy. We each received a complementary dollop of whitefish (tunafish?) salad on a crouton. Our entrees were honey Creole mustard glazed salmon served with a watercress sweet onion salad, spiced pumpkin seeds and a butternut coulis. At the conclusion of dinner we received a small plate with complimentary chocolate and peanut butter truffles – they were out of the delicious lemon ones – damn. ($31.03, R.com, 4.5 Forks).

    Next stop was the vacation express was the Sahara to see the Tommy Thompson Project (jazz). http://www.tommythompsonproject.com/. Oops, those guys milling around the stage are members of SixtiesMania. http://www.sixtiesmania.com/. This group has been downsized to 4 members and their impressions are not even close to being on target, but it is hard to beat their play list. We stayed for one set before returning to the room. BTW - the one drink minimum requirement at the Casbar Lounge was not being enforced this evening. Free, 2 Claps).

    May 11 – This morning I headed to Boulder Station with a LVA 3 x points in hand, but the quad deuces continued to elude me. Prior to returning to the room I picked up a couple of bagels from Einstein Brothers which we enjoyed in our room with OJ. Our next stop was the Las Vegas Premium Outlets where we once again divided up with Ms. Westie heading to the Chicos and Liz Claiborne shops. Ms. Westie added another new jersey to her extensive collection. Meanwhile I stopped without success at Seiko, Polo, Harry & David and Izod. I then swung by the Tix4Tonight outlet in the parking lot adjacent to the Sahara and picked up ½ priced tickets for Hairspray. Like a rube I neglected to ask the section we would be seated in – live and learn (the hard way).

    It was now time for lunch so it was off to Commander’s Palace again. .
    http://www.commanderspalace.com/. The Maitre d’, Santino, recognized us from the prior week and instructed the head waiter to seat us in his section, but I requested a table in the Garden room. I also asked for a copy of the menu and the waiter informed us that last week’s server had informed him that I would be such a request. It is this attention to service that make dining at Commander’s Palace such a special experience. Our 3-course $18.80 luncheon options included Creole tomato bisque topped with chive Chantilly (Ms. Westie) and Crawfish beignet salad with a variety of greens, shaved onions and buttermilk blue cheese tossed with raspberry vinaigrette – served with flash fried crawfish beignets and cane molasses drizzle (me). We each chose the Oregon sole “a la Plancha†entrée – griddle seared fillets of sole served with crispy potato gratin, sweet lemon butter sauce and toasted garlic. Though feeling satiated we continued on to the third course – a choice of banana-buttercream Gateau’, pecan genoise layered with a rich banana buttercream topped with white chocolate ganache and finished with chocolate and caramel sauce (me) or French Quarter beignets, traditional New Orleans bite sized beignets dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by warm café au lait sauce (Ms. Westie). Does anyone remember the restaurant scene from “When Harry Met Sally� I am pretty certain Sally was eating this very same meal. BTW – this day’s inventory of 25 cent martinis included (2) Commander’s Palace, (1) lemon drop, (1) chocolate and (1) apple. ($24.90, R.com, 5 Forks).

    I managed to return us safely to the Fiesta where we spent the remainder of the afternoon reflecting on our soon to be adopted diets. That evening we drove over to Luxor where we took in Hairspray. I won’t go into the story line of the show which is covered in the following review, but we enjoyed the show.
    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_ho...y/7313973.html.
    We were disappointed by our mezzanine section seats 6 rows from the back of the theatre while the 10 rows in front of us were virtually vacant. I would have moved forward, but we were in the middle of the row and I did not want to disturb other people. We asked those surrounding us and all had purchased their tickets at a discount outlet. I recommend purchasing in advance and paying full freight based on our experience. ($24.90, 2.5 Claps).

    We were now a little hungry so we stopped at Ellis for a 2/1 slice of pizza (Thursday nights) and a few free drinks (soda, water and beer). ($6, 1.5 Forks).

    May 12 – My early morning video poker session was another loser. We decided the Paris buffet would get the nod this day. In addition to sundry menu items, we each enjoyed a Belgian waffle covered with fresh berries and cream that was so light I thought mine would levitate. ($6.32, LVA, 4.5).

    We returned to the Fiesta and enjoyed wining sessions with Ms. Westie’s scoring her 4th and 5th quad deuces of the trip while I manage to at least hold my own by hitting my 3rd. The remainder of the afternoon was spent counting her money and dozing by the pool/Jacuzzi.

    Always a glutton for punishment, we headed to Ellis Island early this evening for a round of free drinks courtesy of another ACG coupon. We were tempted to stay and have BBQ ribs, but decided to dine at El Coqui Caribbean Restaurant on Paradise Road.
    http://www.elcoquicaribbeanrestaurant.com/. On past trips we have enjoyed the excellent chicken noodle soup served at this Puerto Rican restaurant at lunch, but this was our first visit at dinner time. We shared an order of tostone (fried green plantains) served with garlic in oil. I also requested habanero sauce. We each ordered the fried chicken with mofongo (mashed plantain with garlic, pork rind and whatever). The chicken was crispy on the outside, but moist inside. A homemade chicken broth was included that is used to pour over the mofongo or used as a dipping sauce. The mofongo was tasty, but about as heavy as mortar. http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2004/05/13/taste.html. Somehow we managed to top off this meal with an unbelievably delicious, and no doubt nutritious, coconut flan. ($19, E, 2.5 Forks)

    May 13 – Another session without quad deuces was followed by a trip to the Village Pub and Poker at Wigwam for eggs, toast and hash browns. ($5.75, LVA, 2.5 Forks).
    It was time to check our email so we headed to Green Valley Ranch Library. The annual ArtFest was being held in downtown Henderson so I used the back roads and parked on Pacific, about a block from Water Street. http://www.888artfest.com/henderson/index.html. It was extremely hot with the sun radiating off the black top so we made our stay as brief as possible. Casino MonteLago was offering free manicure/make-up sets after earning only 20 points so we headed out to Lake Las Vegas. After returning to the Fiesta, we spent the remainder of the afternoon playing video poker with Ms. Westie hitting her 6th and final quad deuces of the trip.

    This evening we drove to the Suncoast for a few complimentary glasses of merlot courtesy of another ACG coupon. We could not dally because of our 6PM reservations at Speidini Ristorante in the J. W. Marriott. http://www.spiedini.com/. This is one of Master Chef Gustav Mauler’s restaurants and we were amazed how beautiful the room was with its bold accents, lighting and shapes. Service was initially laid back so I advised the server of our plans to see a show later in the evening. We shared a delicious spinach salad with pears, gorgonzola, crispy proscuitto, candied walnuts and balsamic dressing. Ms. Westie’s entrée was lobster ravioli in a lobster sauce finished with a touch of cognac. I chose the golden squash agnolotti – roasted butternut squash, amaretti, mascarpone and parmesan filled pasta topped with bay scallops and brown butter sauce. ($27.55, R.com, 4.5 Forks).

    We arrived at the Suncoast before the 7:30PM start of the Frankie Avalon show allowing us to get a little exercise by making a circuit around the casino before taking a pair of Smirnoff Ices, free of course with our ACG coupon, into the showroom. Frankie still looks pretty good, but his vocal cords were never all that impressive to start with. I was somewhat disappointed to find much of his material was a carryover from a show we saw previously in which he shared billing with Bobby Rydell, but it was an enjoyable evening nonetheless. (2 Claps).

    May 14 – Sam’s Town was offering 6 x points on Mother’s Day so I saddled up the Impala and headed down the Boulder Highway. Later in the morning we drove over to Ellis Island for their cinnamon vanilla French toast. http://www.ellisislandcasino.com/. We have had this dish on numerous occasions, but today’s was the best. Perhaps because it was served piping hot. It seemed one individual was solely responsible for delivering food from the kitchen ($4.12, ACG, 3.5 Forks).

    We drove to the Flamingo, parking at the Barbary Coast, in order to participate in the Harrahs $3,000,000 promotion, but learned it is only open between the hours of noon and 5PM each day. In mid-afternoon we returned to Casino MonteLago in order to take advantage of the 5 x points being offered. I recorded my 4th quad deuces of the trip before departing for the Village Buffet at Paris’. We each used a LVA $10 off coupon, but were charged different amounts, $16.11 versus $18.86. I think one was charged the regular dinner price while the other was assessed the higher “Mother’s Day†buffet price. I managed to sample the cocktail shrimp, cold crab legs, a few mussel dishes, steamed clams, seafood paella, grilled veggies including some giant asparagus spears, sautéed salmon, imported cheeses and a trio of desserts. ($29.97, LVA, 4 Forks).

    Next stop was the Ann-Margret & Company show at the Orleans. http://www.ann-margret.com/. There was a nice balance between singing and dancing, but the latter was primarily performed by a trio of talented male performers. Videos from Ann-Margret’s TV and movie credits were broadcast on a screen allowing her to catch a breath and make frequent costume changes. (2 Claps).

    May 15 –I managed to temporarily reconnect with my money at today video poker séance held at Casino MonteLago after hitting my 5th quad deuces of the trip. I returned to room, showered and completed the express check-out process before driving to Sunset Station for breakfast. Although only small amounts of each dish are put out at the buffet, we again noticed many of the sauces and gravies had congealed. The fruit selection was not as good as earlier in the trip, but we made do by adding yogurt. The made to order omelets were way too thick so we each opted for eggs over easy. The listed price for this buffet is $7.99, but I combined a LVA coupon with the 25% discount for using Boarding Pass points. (2 Forks).

    We returned to Casino MonteLago, redeemed our accumulated slot play, and played until 11:15AM. It was time to head to the Strip in order to participate in Harrahs’ $3 million promotion. We visited all 6 casinos in just over 3 hours on this very hot day while allowing ourselves a Michelob break at Casino Royale. We each received a total of $30 in dining certificates plus we won a pair of valueless fun books and (2) Flavors buffets.

    We were staying these final 2 nights of our vacation at the newly opened South Coast so I decided to try Industrial Road/Dean Martin Drive in an attempt to avoid rush hour delays, but found traffic backed up as we approached the Blue Diamond area. Being our first visit I parked in the front and walked through the entire casino as I followed signs for the Hotel. Naturally, I missed the hotel check-in area located on the immediate right upon entering the casino. After completing the check-in process, I inquired as to the best to park and was told the hotel elevators were equidistant from both the front parking lot and garage so I opted for the latter due to the heat. Our room was nicely appointed including a 42 inch plasma TV. After unpacking I headed for the casino and in less than 2 minutes scored a quad that earned me a free dinner buffet using an ACG coupon.

    Prior to our departure for dinner we each enjoyed 2 glasses of merlot courtesy of a pair of ACG coupons. Dinner was at Todd’s Unique on Sunset in Henderson. This outstanding owner-operated restaurant has been the recipient of numerous awards including being named a Top 10 Las Vegas Restaurant, Best of Las Vegas selection and an AAA 3 Diamonds restaurant. http://www.toddsunique.com/. We shared an appetizer of warm goat cheese wontons in a raspberry basil sauce. Ms. Westie entrée was seared wild troll salmon served with green onion polenta and green onion vinaigrette. I once again opted for the teriyaki Alaskan halibut over steamed rice and bok choy. Mine was every bit as good as the first time, but Ms. Westie’s salmon received only a pretty good rating. ($41.19, R.com, 4 Forks). Wild Troll King Salmon, green onion polenta and green onion

    We returned to the South Coast and each of us earned a free dinner buffet, ACG coupon, before calling it a night. I was told these buffet coupons have no expiration dates so we will use them on a future trip.

    May 16 - An early morning bonus poker session resulted in several quads, but I only redeemed a single free dinner buffet coupon. On my return to the room I recognized hotel security guard Ed Brown from the Orleans. Many of you may remember Ed as the guard who collects toys for needy children. He was toting a plastic alligator when last seen.

    The airport Village Pub and Poker on Sunset was our choice for breakfast. We once again enjoyed the 2 eggs, toast and hash brown special. ($5.78, LVA, 2.5 Forks). It was time to print out our SWA boarding passes so we returned to Green Valley Ranch library. We subsequently visited the Aladdin with intention of redeeming 2 more $20 free slot play coupons, but the slot booth attendant said it was 1 coupon per trip with 18 days constituting a trip. Oh well, you know what they say about the “best laid plans of mice and men.†While standing in line we met Kelly and Christine, two 20 plus year olds from Austin who were each in process of polishing off giant bottles of Smirnoff Ice. Christine was celebrating a birthday and I was asked to pose for a picture while giving her a kiss. Many moons have passed since I last kissed an attractive young lady over the age of consent that wasn’t kin, so what am I going to say - no? They also asked if we wanted to hang out with them, but we politely declined their offer. As you may have guessed, these two were about 2.5, on their way to 3, sheets to the wind.

    We then walked to Paris and completed a mini run (Paris, Bally’s and Flamingo) thereby earning us $20 in dining certificates, (2) George Wallace tickets and another useless funbook.

    We decided to go light for lunch by ordering soup at Ellis Island, but this day’s offering was split pea so we ended up with tuna fish sandwiches with fries. ($8.41, ACG, 2.5 Forks). On returning to the South Coast we quickly proceeded to the pool area which is quite nice, at least by Fiesta standards, but the water in the Jacuzzi was only tepid.

    Prior to departing for dinner we enjoyed complimentary glasses of merlot at the lounge bar courtesy of another pair of ACG coupons. It was around 8PM by the time we arrived at Fukuda Tepannyaki Japanese Bisto on Sunset in Henderson. We were told it would be 30 minutes before seats would be available, but the same meal could be prepared for us in the kitchen. We opted for this alternative rather than wait which turned out to be a big, big mistake. We started out with the edamame appetizer. This represented our first and last experience with boiled salted soybeans – totally tasteless. Ms. Westie chose the halibut dinner while I requested chicken. She received two decent sized pieces of fish, but each was overdone. My chicken, cut into ¼ inch cubes, was dry. Each entree included miso soup, noodles, veggies, rice and salad. The soup was hot, but everything else was served cold. Service was affable, but slow. ($23.08. R.com, 0.5 Forks).

    Returning to the South Coast we proceeded to redeem 2 more ACG coupons for free dinner buffets before we retiring to our room.

    May 17 – The funbook received at check-in contained a 2/1 for the breakfast or lunch buffet coupon which we used this morning. The buffet opened at 7AM, but it was apparent that most of the buffet had been prepared a few hours prior. It was a typical Coast Casinos buffet with a little more variety and a better selection of fruit. ($6.45, 2.5 Forks).

    Drop off at the Alamo lot was efficient and we were quickly shuttled to the airport. Our nonstop SWA flight departing at 10AM arrived in Harford at 5:15PM, approximately 15 minutes late.

    Gambling results - me:
    Last trip: 1Royal, 11 quad deuces in 14 days
    This trip: 1 Royal, 5 quad deuces in 12 days (last 2 days played bonus poker)

    Gambling results - Ms. Westie:
    Last trip: 0 Royal, 1 quad deuces in 14 days
    This trip: 1 Royal, 6 quad deuces in 12 days

    Weight gain:
    Ms Westie – 0
    Me – I didn’t weigh myself so it must have been 0

    Bon appetite and thanks for reading.
     
  2. vanassa1

    vanassa1 Tourist

    Joined:
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    EXCELLENT FOOD REPORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What I did learn from your report was that I will rent a car next trip. We ALWAYS walk it or cab it. Getting a car would allow us to take a couple of days to see the outskirts of town and visit places we have heard about but had no time to get to bacause of travel time. Very enlightening.

    Thanks
     
  3. 21wins

    21wins VIP Whale

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    Great report(5 claps). I really enjoyed reading it.
    I know what you mean about the pizza, tough to beat Pepe's or Sally's (New Haven) or Harry's(West Hartford).
     
  4. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Modern in New Haven and Little Rendevoux in Meriden are also great.
     
  5. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Addendum: I cannot believe I neglected to mention our visit to Bellagio’s Conservatory which is always one of the highlights of our Las Vegas vacations. The spring exhibit was just breathtaking with beautiful cherry blossoms hanging down from the ceiling, a pair of giant white egrets, 100’s of live butterflies, a large topiary (live plants) of a frog, and humungous poppies. The 100 foot banyan tree with a diameter of 40’and weighing 200,000 pounds was probably the highlight.
     
  6. Smarra17

    Smarra17 Poker Queen

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    Amazing...

    A great report again Westie! The Paris Waffles and cream always make me drool and you brought them back to me.

    I am sure the weight gain was 0...no scale no proof! That is my motto at least.

    Sammi
     
  7. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    That's what I like to call "a sheet, king sized pillow cases and a dustruffle to the wind". :haha:
     
  8. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Grand in New Haven and Joe Pizza in Canton are also great.
     
  9. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

    Joined:
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    I always look forward to reading about your dining adventures. You have me craving Paris’ waffles now, I love the fresh berries and cream. Yum! Glad to hear Todd’s is good. I’ve had interest in the place, been on their mailing list nearly a year now, but never ventured over to see for myself. Seems I should definitely tack that to list of places to try. Same goes for Speidini... 2 Royals and 11 Quads between you two over 12 days - sounds like you had some good luck to me. Certainly, a heck of a lot better than I’ve done in the last two years…
     
  10. tara

    tara Low-Roller

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    Excellent trip report! Very detailed, loved it! Sorry you didn't win more though. It kinda sounded like the luck I had on my trip...
     
  11. modo

    modo Tourist

    Joined:
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    coupons?

    I will be travelling to Vegas in July with my husband and daughter and was interested to read of all the coupons people use for dining etc. Where can I buy the ACG and any of the other coupon books you mention? Is it available online or only available in USA?

    Thanks
     
  12. modo

    modo Tourist

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    Location:
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    coupons?

    Sorry I forgot to say that we are travelling from the UK!!
     
  13. 21wins

    21wins VIP Whale

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    ACG availability

    ACG is usually available at amazon.com, walmart.com and overstock.com
    It usually runs under $12.00(US) on these sites plus shipping.
     
  14. modo

    modo Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Acg

    Thanks for your v quick reply! Is the guide for all over America as we will be travelling to LA and San Francisco on this visit and wondered if it can be used there? Also would you advise getting more than one coupon guide or not?
     
  15. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    That might make the T2V list of Top 10 TR for 2006.
     
  16. rudyswans

    rudyswans Newbie

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    Question for Westie

    Great report, appreciated the Links.


    Did Commanders Palace accept your R Com. certificants for lunch?
     
  17. East Coast Shuffle

    East Coast Shuffle Low-Roller

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    Not how I enjoy my steaks...Well Done !

    Westie......your detailed dining writeups are awesome....good thing most of the
    places you hit have there menus online..otherwise I would never remember the specifics....especially with the many trips to catch the " Merlot Quartet"
    Highly entertaining..thanks very much ( 4 high fives).

    Oh and to answer Rudyswan's question..according to Westie's dining legend from his meal at Commander's...yes..they did take his cert.

    Cheers, ECS .
     
  18. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    When CP first began participating in the restaurant.com program the certificatres did not specify "dinner only". The ones issued beginning in October 2005 bear the restriction. It cannot hurt to ask, but I would plan on dinner just in case. BTW - I believe you can bring your own wine without paying a corkage charge on Wednesdays - again, call ahead to be sure.
     
  19. Jacko

    Jacko Tourist

    Joined:
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    re.....A Glutton's Guide

    Outstanding report!!!!

    I have printed it out and will be using a highlighter to help guide me..

    Thanks a lot!!!
     
  20. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Yes, I believe the American Casino Guide (ACG) does have coupons for all over the US, but not sure what decent casinos are in/around LA or SF. You can go to the website and look at the list of coupons to see if they make sense for you and what you plan/hope to do on your trip....
     
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