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First Trip Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by BigTime, Dec 18, 2007.

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  1. BigTime

    BigTime Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
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    Location:
    Connecticut
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8

    My Trip Report

    This is my first Trip Report, and I certainly won’t try to compete with some of the long-term members and/or professional writers!

    We were scheduled to leave Hartford on Wednesday, 12/05, at 6:30am on American Airlines. We had to go to Dallas and catch another flight to Las Vegas, scheduled to arrive at 11:45am. Notice the word “scheduled� AA couldn’t meet a schedule if world peace was at stake. We had 4 flights with them, (two out and two back) and each was at least 30 minutes late in arrival or departure. Luckily, they were able to make up the time in the air. We arrived in Vegas at 1:00pm, retrieved our luggage, and caught a cab to the Golden Nugget. I wasn’t prepared to give the driver, a woman from Bulgaria, instructions on the route, so we ended up on the highway. The fare was $31.70 and I don’t know if we got hustled or not.

    Check-in at the Nugget was very quick and efficient. I tried the $20 trick for a free upgrade to the North Tower, but the (middle-aged white woman) clerk said she could upgrade us for $50 per night. Uh, no thanks. The same room in the South Tower will do nicely. We were in room 1669, which had a view of the Plaza and that area. Pretty at night, with all of the lights. The room was large enough, with a good-sized bathroom, and comfortable beds. We had lunch at the Carson Street Café, aka Nugget coffee shop. The food was good, but the service was incredibly slow. The slow service at Carson Street continued throughout our stay. We went to the Defending the Caveman show, as it was closing after Wednesday night for a hiatus during the NFR. We thought it was quite funny, and certainly worth the 2-for-1 price on the tickets. ($63+ for two). We were very tired by this time, and decided to have dinner at one of the Nugget’s restaurants. We went to the Grotto, where my wife ordered lasagna and I ordered a veal dish. The meals were served so soon after ordering that it was obvious they were microwaved reheats. The lasagna was basically bland with no zip to it. The veal was 4 very small medallions, topped with a sliced mushroom and cheese. Tasty enough, but the fettuccine alfredo served with the veal was lukewarm at best, and also bland to the nth degree. After dinner, my wife headed to the room and I went for a walk around the casino, discovering the new Race & Sports Book’s location. It is very nice, but small compared to the monster spots on the strip. I also found blackjack being dealt from a shoe (I kept walking), double-deck $10 minimum paying 6:5 (yuk!) and double-deck $25 paying 3:2, but no doubling after splits. The high-roller room was $50 minimum, and I didn’t check the rules in there. There were only two tables for the $25 game, and one of those went to a $50 minimum on Saturday night, with the NFR in full swing.

    Thursday was dedicated to wandering around downtown, with my wife browsing through a pawn shop for the first time. She found it entertaining, and was a little surprised at the variety of goods that end up being pawned. We spent a considerable amount of time gambling, with her playing video poker and the slots, while I was at the blackjack table. She didn’t have much luck, bit I did quite well after shaking off 4 years of rust. We had dinner at Binion’s Ranch Steakhouse, with a table by the window overlooking Fremont Street and the Plaza. Very nice view with the lights, etc. Being old-fashioned, I had to start with a shrimp cocktail, while my wife nibbled on a salad. We both ordered the New York strip steak, with sautéed mushrooms as a side, and they were some of the best steaks we’ve ever had. The mashed potatoes were also wonderful. A couple of glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon provided a great accent. Coffee was all we could manage after the meal, but the desserts also looked great.

    Friday, we were back at the tables and the machines, with a repeat performance for both of us. People started pouring into town for the rodeo, weekend, and big boxing match on Saturday. We decided to stick around the Nugget, and went to The Buffet for dinner. A blond woman at the desk was coughing and sneezing like there was no tomorrow, but assured us we wouldn’t catch anything because she was using hand sanitizer before touching the receipt or giving change. Yeah, right. A couple of days later, my wife was sick, and I followed in another 12 hours. Why that woman (or her manager) didn’t have the sense to take a sick day, or go behind the scenes for a day or two, is beyond me. (Rant over) The buffet was very good, and Friday is seafood night. Lots of shrimp in various forms and preparations, and King Crab legs bu the barrel. They also had prime rib, roast turkey, pork cutlets, ribs, a sushi bar, and all of the usual salads, potatoes, etc. Everything was fresh, hot or cold as appropriate, and delicious. A good variety of desserts, including ice cream, pies, cakes, cookies, éclairs, etc.

    Saturday, we slept a bit late, had a late breakfast, gambled for a while, then changed into our party duds. We headed to the Strip, specifically Wynn, as we had tickets for Spamalot. We arrived early, walked around a bit, and were impressed by the place. The Sports Book looked big enough for three hotels! We settled in at the bar at the Corsa restaurant, and consumed several Bullfrogs. (2 parts Grey Goose vodka, 1/3 part Cointreau liqueur, 4 parts lemonade, 1/2 part simple syrup) Warning: consuming several of these concoctions will make you bring back things you didn’t steal. We headed to the show, and had excellent seats, just 12 rows from the stage, toward the center aisle. We are long-term Monty Python fans, and the show was great. It probably wouldn’t be great for a non-Python fan, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. We headed back to Corsa, as we had sampled an appetizer prior to the show, and wanted to have dinner there. We were seated within a few minutes, immediately offered cocktails and menus, and given a choice of bottled or tap water. We ordered veal in two different preparations, along with glasses of wine left to our waiter’s discretion. The meals were large, and fantastic. Fork-tender veal with pasta, and nice fresh vegetables. The wine was excellent, as well. They also provide wonderful, crusty on the outside bread. Overall, a great experience. We returned to the Nugget, played a bit of blackjack, and slept soundly.

    Sunday, I spent some time in the Sports Book studying the NFL lines. I spoke with a gentleman from Philadelphia that noted he had been coming to the Golden Nugget for 15 years, and thought the recent renovations were great. After wishing each other good luck, I placed my wagers on New England, Indianapolis, and Seattle. Wonder of wonders, all three were winners. My wife had a good afternoon on the Wheel of Fortune slot, winning $384, and I made a few bucks playing blackjack. Time to celebrate! We decided that a good meal of Mexican food was in order. We inquired of several people, and found a number of votes for Lindo Michoacan. We grabbed a cab and off we went. What a great place! Fresh chips and homemade salsa, wonderful margaritas, a great atmosphere, and an amazing menu. We ordered a sampler type appetizer that was a meal in itself. Our entrees were equally large and delicious. There was no room for dessert, and our waiter asked, several minutes before we finished our coffee, if he could call a cab for us. What great service—he knew we arrived by cab, and would need one for our return trip. They also had live music, not too loud, and very pleasant. Once again, we returned to the Nugget ready for a good night’s sleep.

    On Monday, trouble struck. My wife came down with a very bad cold in the morning, and felt so ill she spent most of the day in the room. I stayed close in the casino, and brought her some soup and juices throughout the day. By the evening, I had the symptoms as well. Please refer back to Friday for my rant about the cashier. I wish much evil on that woman, as she ruined the last 3 days or our vacation and most of the time since! I dined alone in the Carson Street café, having the chicken parmesan for dinner. Reasonably good, but needing a little more zing. Of course, my taste buds were dulled by that time, so who knows? I obtained a to-go sandwich for my wife, and back to the room early to combat illness. I had played a little blackjack, and just about broke even, but there was no joy in it.

    Tuesday dawned with both of us sick, but we decided to make the best of our last full day. We had breakfast and hit the casino, then walked around downtown again to get a last sample of the flavor. We had dinner comped at the buffet, and although it wasn’t seafood night, everything was very good. We returned to the room and packed for our return trip the next day. We retired early hoping to get some rest and feel better during travel.

    Wednesday morning we checked out, and had 4 of our 7 nights comped by a host, which cheered us up considerably. A cab ride to the airport, followed by a very long but steadily moving line at security, and we were at our gate. Of course, American Airlines was late again, but we had plenty of time to connect in Dallas. Our final leg back to Hartford was actually 10 minutes early, due to a strong tailwind.

    Final observations:
    The Golden Nugget is terrific. Very nice, attentive staff, including the dealers and supervisors. We won’t bother with The Grotto again, but that is a minor point. After they execute the cashier at the buffet, everything will be great.
    Downtown is a lot nicer after the changes and additions. I was panhandled once by a young guy with prison “tatsâ€, but he went away when I told him to get lost. No other problems, hookers, etc.
    Lindo Michoacan is one great restaurant, and a lot of fun. Strongly recommend to everyone.
    The Strip is fun to visit, but we don’t want to stay there.
    Can’t wait to go back—four years was way too long between visits.
     
  2. angel81chick

    angel81chick Abuelita

    Joined:
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    Oh my...I would wish that cashier all the evil in the world if she had gotten me sick during my last few days in Vegas, but happy to hear that you enjoyed your time.

    And excellent on getting 4 of your nights comped.

    I really need to stay at the Golden Nugget....someday :)
     
  3. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Thanks for your observations! Hope you're both feeling better by now.
     
  4. DonD

    DonD Super Moderator

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    Very nice report. Thank you for sharing.
     
  5. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Good job on the NFL picks. Sounds like you had a good trip (mostly). Another good review for Binions steakhouse, think I'm going to have to get there next time.
     
  6. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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    Nice report, BigTime.

    I also share your enthusiasm for Binion's Ranch Steakhouse--been there several times, always a good experience. I've dined at The Grotto twice, and both times were very good, although I think if you just went late at night and sat at the bar and ordered a Neopolitan-style pizza, you'd enjoy it a bit more.

    Thanks for confirming what I'd been hearing--the Nugget blackjack rules have turned to shiat. I guess they have to pay for all those renovations somehow. Luckily there are better games within easy walking distance.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share your trip with us!

    Mikey
     
  7. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

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    Great report.....doesn't sound like a "rookie" report at all!! Brutal getting sick on vacation! I usually manage to hang on and then get sick when I get home.............hope you are both feeling better now!
     
  8. lionfan31

    lionfan31 Tourist

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    Very fine report. I know the feeling, getting sick on vacation...sucks big time!
     
  9. jay76

    jay76 Tourist

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    Thanks for the report. The Grotto seems to be hit or miss lately here in Houston as well.
     
  10. ghetto71

    ghetto71 Tourist

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    Nice TR. Sorry to hear you both got sick, I went through the same thing a couple of years ago. I got hit with a stomach virus:vomit: and was bed ridden for two days.:cry:
     
  11. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    Sorry about you both getting sick. That can really put a damper on the vacation. Where exactly is Lindo Michoacan? It sounds like a real nice place and somewhere I'd like to eat.
     
    Back where we belong
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