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Half a surprise is better than none

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Coaster Kikky, Dec 11, 2006.

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  1. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Writing this TR took almost as long as living it!

    The story goes like this:
    Patti was in Vegas for her birthday. Hubby was going out for four days during NFR to play poker with the cowboys. Then I found out that Al and Ross were going to be there over the same weekend.

    Dang! I had just been to Vegas for three nights at Thanksgiving for apartment hunting, and have a scheduled trip 12/14-12/17 for the same and other pre-move stuff. But I was totally jonesing to meet up with my friends too…

    So Saturday 12/2 I sit in front of my computer in the afternoon and punch up Southwest.com. Friday night’s non-stop from BWI is available for less than $100. And there are flights available Sunday 12/10 for less than $100 too… unfortunately it’d have to be the 9:15am flight out unless I wanted to arrive after 11pm back on the east coast. Ugh… I have to drive myself. Screw that. Morning will have to do.

    How much would this ticket cost? Hmmm, $193? Hahaha, that’s less than hubby paid for his roundtrip ticket back in October. So I bought the ticket, at the time only about 60% certain I’d actually use it.

    Fast forward to Thursday night, and the temperature in Maryland is dropping by the minute and the wind is howling. I hear from John & Patti that they are out in the sunshine walking around, with short sleeved shirts on, perfectly comfortable. I’m pumping gas into my vehicle, wearing sweaters (plural) and my suede coat and freezing my hind end off. Screw this. I’m going to Vegas tomorrow night.

    And so I did. My flight arrived 30 minutes early and I alerted John to my presence, got in the taxi line (fairly long at 8:45pm on a Friday, but moving steadily) and get in the cab for Wynn. I knew that the northbound side of Paradise is currently closed, and that the rodeo is in town at Thomas & Mack, so I didn’t say “no tunnelâ€. I realized that might be the best possible way to Wynn. Traffic was light to non-existant but it still cost about $21 to get to Wynn. That is probably going to be the last time I fly into McCarran and take a taxi… the next two trips I have a car rental, after that I’ll be coming home when I arrive and my own vehicle will be at the airport somewhere, parked.

    Got to Wynn, still not having heard from hubby. Odd… I stow my suitcase and coat at the bell desk and play a little quarter video poker. They do have some 10/7 DDB games, near Red 8. I finish playing after about 30 minutes, and am even for the session. I pulled a straight flush in that session, so I was clearly down at one point so it felt good to end even. Still no word from John, so I leave a not-so-nice message starting with the words “where the everloving…†(you figure out the rest), and go in search of food.

    I’m still in a soup mood so swung by Red 8 (they all sounded too spicy… don’t want spicy when I know I’m not going to be staying up much longer and go to bed and have odd dreams. How about Zoozacrackers? They are open but it’s so quiet in there they might as well be closed. Nah… ok, coffeeshop. They have French onion soup on the menu, and a soup du jour. I sit at the bar and ask what kind of soup that is. It’s New England clam chowder. Oh yes, please! I get that, some cornbread and water. Yeah, I know… been in Vegas for an hour and all I’ve had to drink is H2O. The soup was very good, btw, all full of tender clams and not too heavy on the onion and potato side.

    Finally my phone rings while I’m finishing up the soup. Hubby is sorry – he’d fallen asleep. I didn’t tell him that was weak. He already knew. Thought it was going to be a half hour nap, but he crashed for four hours. Yes, the beds at Wynn ARE that comfortable.

    We go to the room and retrieve my stuff from bell desk. Meanwhile he calls Patti to see where she is, and we ascertain that a trip downtown is needed. I hear him fighting not to say “we’ll be there in a bitâ€.

    Taxi up the Strip (no traffic at all) with a great cabbie from New Jersey who loves roller coasters, so we had a nice conversation. We ask to be dropped off at the Golden Nugget so I can check out the pool (looks really nice, that shark is freakin’ HUGE) and The Grotto (very attractive restaurant, but the menu is not much more than pizza at this time of night, so not really what John wants for dinner since that’s what he had for lunch). I told John to go ahead to LVC and I’ll be about 10 minutes behind. I knew he’d do good pointer dog duties and just stand there looking at Patti so I could find her easily. And help block her view of me coming up from behind her.

    I walk past the LVC doors closest to GN to enter the ones by Main Street. Patti said she was at “the only roulette table†at the casino. I couldn’t remember where it was, but knew a bank of slot machines would cover my entrance from that side. I saw John immediately, although I couldn’t see her. I knew she had to be there if he was standing guard duties like he was. So I snuck around to come in from behind her and whispered to two girls standing behind her that I needed to surprise her so if they could move just for a minute…

    I reach for Patti’s back and give a little tickle/rub. She says, to no one in particular “see? I even get back rubs here!†And she enjoys it before she starts to lean her head backwards, upside down. She was so not expecting to see my face. I kissed her on her forehead while her eyes were catching the fact that this was not the face she was expecting and she couldn’t quite catch who it was at first, upside down. Then all of a sudden her eyes flew open with recognition and she squealed. Surprise a success.

    She was enjoying playing roulette, a game neither John nor I will even contemplate playing. So he & I moved to a blackjack table. We play for about 40 minutes or so, hubby gaining $25 while I only lost $5 so an unusually good session for us playing at the same table.

    Patti comes over and joins us, and we start talking about dinner ideas. She has a coupon for the Upper Deck, which I am not too keen on trying. John ate there earlier in the week and said it wasn’t horrible, and he lived. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, and coupled with other things I’ve heard… I just want to find somewhere else. Even though I have supposedly already had supper…

    The line at the cage to cash our chips is crazy-long (and only one cashier working) so we decide to not wait. We’ll be back Downtown on Saturday night, and worst-case scenario, I’ll be back either next weekend or just after the first of the year.

    We decide on Magnolia’s at the Four Queens. I’d never eaten there so wanted to try somewhere new. Patti tells me their Prime Rib special ($6.40 with a players club card… I search and find that I did indeed bring it with me) is to die for. I order that, medium, a baked potato and minestrone. And… a ginger ale. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for alcohol. This was one of those times.

    The minestrone was pretty good – tangy but not overly done, and full of beans and veggies and pasta. Unfortunately the rest of the meal did not live up to the starter. I found the prime rib to be dry and without flavor, and my potato was about three-quarters baked… a little crunchy on the inside. I didn’t touch the soggy looking mixed veggies. They looked horrible. Unfortunately, this was a “you get what you pay for†meal. But it wasn’t really worth $6.40. I far prefer the cheap meals I’ve had at Binions and Ellis Island. On top of that, our server had far too many tables to cover, and it took us too long to get the check, especially at a time where I’d worn out not only my first wind but my second and third and it was way past my bedtime.

    Paid up at Magnolia’s, taxied back to Wynn, and hit the world’s most comfy bed and crashed for about 5 hours.
     
  2. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Saturday morning: The plan was to check out Wynn’s Country Club for breakfast. The info in the room says 7:30-10:30am daily. It’s about 8:15 when we arrive, only to be told they won’t start serving breakfast until 9am. So this is the 2nd time we’ve tried and failed to get breakfast at the elusive WCC. What’s up with that? I said outloud “two strikes….â€

    I had previously eaten at TI’s coffeeshop, but hubby had not, and it was convenient since he was going to end up at Bellagio for the day, and I had no set plans but TI is one of my favorite places to hang.

    There was a line for non-smoking at TI’s coffeeshop, no seats available at the bar, but smoking section immediately available so we opted for that. They seated us away from the nearest smokers, which was thoughtful. I ordered waffles with strawberries, coffee and ice water. Hubby ordered two eggs, scrambled, with bacon, and cranberry juice and water. Everything was promptly brought to us, and prepared as requested. No complaints. It wasn’t a price I would pay at home for that type of breakfast, but home isn’t in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip (even when I move there, my home won’t be there).

    After breakfast, hubby went to the Bellagio poker room, and I started my one bar/one cocktail tour.

    Breeze Bar: Bloody Mary and video poker

    Isla: Tequila Sunrise and vp

    Mirage: Kokomo’s and a Citrus Crush (sort of like a fruity martini) and vp

    See a pattern? I also played some pai gow at Mirage. Won about $80 at TI, gave it back and a little more at Mirage. Still, I was only down about $30 for the trip when I got to Caesars. Wandered through the Forum Shops and parked myself at the vp that usually acts as my personal ATM. Nope, not this time. Took too much time there trying to prove it wrong. Eventually decided to see how many comp dollars I have at Caesars and was pleasantly surprised to find I had $72. Told hubby that lunch was on Harrahs at Caesars Palace.

    I also discovered that I have a few points I can use at Harrahs holiday shopping venue – just a few…. Not enough to make a special trip out but if I do make it out this weekend as is my intention (to do things connected with my anticipated move in late January) I can get something free courtesy of Harrahs.

    Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill was serving brunch, but had enough lunch-type items that we decided it would be where we’d use the comp dollars. I ordered a cactus pear margarita (it was a quality margarita, but cost more than my sandwich!) and a spicy pork sandwich. Hubby ordered what amounted to poke (spiced raw tuna) nachos and loved it. I took a bite and it was very very good. My sandwich was excellent too. Service was top-notch. I would definitely go back there.

    After lunch, I went to Bellagio, said hi to Josie at Fontana Bar. I had promised someone her picture, but she said she couldn’t pose for it especially since there were a ton of poker players behind her in the lounge area at the bar. We talked about my upcoming move and she poured me a beer (a wheat beer from New Belgium brewing in Colorado) and then made me an excellent margarita while I played vp (lost). Then I toured the conservatory and took a few pictures.

    During this time, I was in contact with Al, who had just touched down at McCarran. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to surprise him nearly as effectively as I had Patti. We had reservations for four at Café Ba Ba Reeba that evening, and asked if he’d like to join us, and he said he would. Then I took off for Aladdin, where I did some shopping at the Desert Passage Mall (a couple of aloha shirts for hubby for Christmas) and then played some pai gow in the casino. Had fun, but lost.

    Then I walked up the Strip to Barbary Coast, where I was planning on playing some blackjack. However, right about then I heard from Patti, who was heading south and wanted to know where we were supposed to meet… Al said he was at Mirage, hubby said he was ready to meet up, so I took off for Mirage, where I met up with Al and was joined not long after by Patti.

    We gabbed, played some nickel video poker waiting for John to show up. Then we started over to TI to hit Isla and maybe catch a glimpse of the new Tequila Goddess. Right about then I got a phone call, and that got long and involved, so the others went ahead without me while I stayed outside. Eventually I realized the dinner reservation time had arrived so I got off the phone and made it to the restaurant at the Fashion Show Mall.

    The rest of the group was seated and had ordered beverages (John & Patti had sangrias, Al had a red wine…. I have major issues if I drink wine after other forms of liquor so I ordered a specialty martini). We perused the menu and decided an assortment of tapas sounded right. I’m sure I don’t remember what-all was ordered, but it was all good. Let’s see… there was an eggplant spread, a garlic shrimp dish, stuffed mushroom caps, a chicken empanada (that was most delicious), a chicken and chorizo kabob, a spicy potato dish… quite possibly there was something else but that’s what I remember. Then we ordered four little desserts. I had “Puddingâ€, which was rice pudding served in what looked like a champagne glass. It was tasty, but I thought the rice was a little too “al denteâ€. Patti had a gooey chocolate truffle cake, which mercifully was served in a small portion – no way should that be served any larger than that – it’s too rich. Al had the flan, and hubby ordered the bread pudding. All of it was very good. Hubby thought the price for four of us was very reasonable too. It was an enjoyable meal overall, made better by being with friends.

    We were all supposed to meet up around midnight at Main Street Station for a beer meet. Al set out on foot for the Hilton, where he was meeting up with Ross. Patti took off for the New Frontier to catch a cab back Downtown. Hubby & I crossed the street to Wynn and decided a short nap was in order.

    When I woke at about 11pm, I had a splitting headache so I passed on the beer meet, meeting I unfortunately did not get to say bye to Patti or Al, or to surprise Ross by being there (or to smack him on his ass, which was a request I had from Larry). Sorry guys!!

    The airport was busy Sunday morning – it took me about 45 minutes to get through security. Good to know, because I’m scheduled to be on that exact same flight next Sunday morning LOL.

    And yes, for those paying attention, I never did get back to LVC this trip so I’m carrying around a couple hundy in chips in my purse. I will be back at some point! Sigh…
     
  3. sin

    sin VIP Whale

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    The life you do lead my dear! I wish I could have gone with you, but it was not meant to be this month. Glad you were able to pull off the surprise...at least mostly!
     
  4. StickyFingers007

    StickyFingers007 Namer of T2V Gatherings

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    Awesome surprise! I can just hear Patti's squeal! Last minute vegas trips are awesome! I need more of them. This 35 day countdown is for the birds!!

    Sticky
     
  5. dscs007

    dscs007 Tourist

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    Glad to see that the suprise was pulled off. I've been back less than a week and I'm ready to go again. Wish we could move out there like you guys.

    David
     
  6. Vegas Tonya

    Vegas Tonya Margarita Connoisseur

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    Sorry I missed you all, but there will be a next time.....as always. Plus, we always have March!
     
  7. LVLady

    LVLady Tourist

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    Kikky for the life of me, I can not picture Josie!! I will look for her next summer when we go..........Thanks for trying to get a picture. Sounds like you had a fun trip minus the headache.......
     
  8. Beach Crazy

    Beach Crazy Hostess With the Mostess

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    Amazing how much you can do in Vegas in just under 36 hours :wink Sorry to hear about the headache but the reaction you got from Patti must have made it all worth it.
     
  9. IllMarty

    IllMarty Orangutan

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    You went to Vegas again? WTF?
     
  10. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Even better Marty...

    I'm going tomorrow too! :thumbsup:
     
  11. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Going to give the Country Club another try?

    Thanks for the trip report!
     
  12. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Doubtful. Staying at the Hard Rock this time. If I can't catch Wynn CC when I'm actually IN the building, I don't like my chances trying to catch it when staying somewhere else. And this is a "work" trip, related to the upcoming move - not just a fun one, so I'll be up too early for their breakfast anyway.

    However, I do have reservations at Simon at the HR over the weekend, using a $25 coupon they sent me.
     
  13. Jack21

    Jack21 Guest

    Off the board awhile and I missed another Kikky trip (just one, right?) You must be racking up some serious frequent flyer miles. Glad you had fun; look forward to your angle the whole Scores-tractor-provolone incident.:ssst:
     
  14. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    As I'm in McCarren, heading to my flight home, I get this text from Becky:

    "I'm going to Vegas tomorrow. What are you doing?"

    D'oh!

    Anyway, thanks for the dinner invite, that was a good time and a good meal. I did stop at Hilo Hatties later, but couldn't make a decision and came away empty handed.
     
  15. pattiinontario

    pattiinontario "PATTI-O-LANTERNS"

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    It was a great surprise and I truly didn't have the slightest idea she was going to be there and yes I did squeal when I seen her as well as hugged her to death.
    Best thing was she returned and we got to spend some time together and then she took me to the airport THROUGH THE TUNNEL!!!....lol
     
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