We were in town last week for the inaugural UFL Locomotives football game against the California Redwoods. As usual we arrived by car and on the way in we stopped at GVR for lunch. I have to say the buffet isnâ€™t nearly as good as it used to be, or maybe they were having â€œanotherâ€ off day. Iâ€™m not sure how the food could be cold 10 minutes after they started serving lunch but almost everything was cold. I won a little money in their casino after lunch so weâ€™ll call it a wash. BTW, it looks like the Original Pancake House has moved into the spot formerly occupied by the coffee shop. I didnâ€™t ask around to verify but I am pretty sure that is the case. All these hotel coffee shops closing sucks! Thanks to all my MGM Grand offers mysteriously disappearing and the Mirage instituting a $15 a night resort fee we decided to take the Gold Coast up on their offer for free digs for 2 nights with Friday night at $39. They were nice enough to throw in a few freebies making Friday night pretty much free before we got there. We seem to always get a renovated room when we stay there but even though the new rooms are quite a bit nicer than before they are nothing to get excited about. One thing my mama taught me was free is good and we like the casino so for us itâ€™s a win win. The GC ended up removing all room charges including 2 meals at checkout. Iâ€™m not sure where else you can get that on 2-4 hours a day of $25-$50 Black Jack. I hope the rat bastids at MGM Mirage choke on some spoiled chicken livers! The only new place we ate was NobHill Tavern: This is a Michael Mina restaurant patterned after an upscale San Francisco tavern. Theyâ€™re currently offering a $45 per person fall tasting menu. For the record this is not what I consider a tavern or tavern food, but then again I have never been to San Fran. My wife and I both started with the Shrimp Louie Salad which was nothing shy of out of this world. The shrimp seemed to melt in your mouth and they didnâ€™t skimp on the amount. For my entrÃ©e I selected the Kurobuta Pork Chop which had to be over a full pound and so tender I could have cut it with a butter knife. My accompaniments were good, although Iâ€™m not sure anyone but Popeye really cares for spinach. Dinner comes with some sort of bread they heated up on the grill to melt the butter. You could taste the smoke from the meat of the grill which added a nice element to bread Iâ€™m not sure I have experienced before. Lynne selected the chicken and dumplings as her entrÃ©e. We traded bites and as good as my pork chop was Iâ€™d probably go with the chicken and dumplings next time. The chicken was served separate from the dumplings which were almost floating in gravy sauce along with carrots and some other veggies. Thinking about this dish is making me want to go back. We both had the pecan praline sundae for dessert which was as my little brother would say was like â€œheaven in a bowlâ€. We were joined for dinner by our local friend LVNorm who ordered the celery root soup, chicken and dumplings and maple crÃ¨me brulee for dessert. He didnâ€™t say much about the soup (seriously, celery root?) but said the maple crÃ¨me brulee was awesome. He agreed with us that the chicken and dumplings were over the top amazing. It was great seeing Norm who never seems to run out of interesting topics of discussion. As a side note, they have 4-5 booths in the bar that look directly into the Mansion casino where you can see rich people (not me) playing middy baccarat and high dollar BJ. Iâ€™d recommend the main dining room instead as it is quite nice. Service was attentive without being obnoxious and there was no hard sell to order wine. Saturday morning I received a follow up email from the manager of NobHill thanking me for using their online reservation system and hoping they exceeded our expectations. I give the place 2 big thumbs up! Speaking of the Mansion: The big baccarat table that sat in front of the bar area for all those years has been removed. I had a tear in my eye as I approached a dealer to ask what the hell was going on. His response was â€œsorry sirâ€ and â€œuntil further noticeâ€. In case you think you are having a bad dream Iâ€™ll say it again; there is no longer big table baccarat at the Mansion. I will say one dealer told me MGM would bring a big table in if it was requested by a big enough player. Not wanting to be laughed at I didnâ€™t make a request. Asshats! The UFL game at Sam Boyd Stadium: The game was fun and the weather was awesome probably in the 60â€™s just after kickoff. My cousin plays for the team from California which is why we were in town. The stadium isnâ€™t on the UNLV campus like nearly every other college stadium in the US which caused us to nearly miss the start of the game. Oddly enough the stadium is at 7000 E. Russell Road, about 6 miles east and a mile south of campus. Traffic sucked donkey balls all the way to Boulder Highway and if my cousin wasnâ€™t playing I would have turned around and bagged on the game. Rush hour in Las Vegas is unbelievable. As I was standing in line to buy tickets I was so stressed I was thinking about killing the guy in front of me just to take his sandwich when out of no where this guy walked up and offered me 2 free tickets. I kept waiting for the catch thinking he was going to ask to sleep with my wife or even worse, me, but no he was just a nice guy with extra tickets. LV won the game despite JP Losman fumbling, maybe twice. The Waitress Story: I gambled every morning at the same table at the Gold Coast. The same waitress waited on me every day, I think her name was Bunny but it was hard to read her nametag without glaring at her lovely oversized boobies. Sweet lady, quite attractive and as it turns out intelligent. Anyway I ordered a diet coke from Bunny the 1st morning I was there. I was impressed when she brought a second one without asking about 30-40 minutes later. As she was walking by she sat it down she said â€œsorry if this was presumptuous of me?â€ She did this without breaking stride or giving me time to get a tip out of my pocket. As if that wasnâ€™t cool enough she did it again the next day and again the 3rd day, but those times I never even ordered the 1st drink. I know this is not a huge deal but it made an impression on me. I almost think she did it just to see if I would get up off my fat butt to give her a tip, which I did most of the time. The final day I thought Iâ€™d get her back so I palmed a $10 bill when I sat down just in case she came by with a diet coke that in actuality I hadnâ€™t ordered in 3 days. Sure enough she comes by like clockwork but this time before she could run away I flipped the 10 spot on her tray and said thanks. She looked a little shocked as she stopped and chatted for a few seconds. Nice lady! Gambling Bellagio: My play here consisted of $20.00 in $40 out at a quarter VP machine at Carmel. According to Lynne, Josie mixes some of the best drinks in Las Vegas. Gold Coast-They have 2 double deck $25.00 H-17 tables and multiple $5-$10 tables with the same rules. I played mainly at the $25 tables because they were less crowded and I was trying to avoid cigarette smokers as much as possible. It seems like a high percentage of the players at the GC chain smoke those nasty things . Black Jack treated me well which ended up being a saving grace because baccarat slapped me around this trip. Mirage-I played mostly mini baccarat here at 2 different tables. I pretty much got my clock cleaned for the 1st time I can remember and would rather not discuss this further. I discovered a $25 European rules roulette table just outside the baccarat lounge. I donâ€™t know all the European rules but I do know if you bet red or black and zero comes up you only lose half your bet. Combine that with it being a single zero wheel and the odds arenâ€™t nearly as bad as normal roulette. It was fun and I won a few bucks just goofing around. We ran a few $20â€™s through various slot machines without any jackpots to report. What a suck-fest that ended up being. Encore: Holy sweet mother of Jesus this is a fancier place than I thought. I played 2 sessions of BJ sandwiched around 8-10 rolls of European Roulette in their salon. The pit boss in the BJ pit remembered my name when I returned from the salon which I admit made a nice impression. The pit boss in the salon named Paul took the time to come over and introduced himself when I finished playing. It was interesting talking with him as he opened up Wynnâ€™s salon before opening up Encoreâ€™s. As we were talking the most beautiful waitress I have ever seen walked up and offered me a drink. Instead of answering her I just stood there with my mouth wide open for what turned out to be an uncomfortable amount of time. I donâ€™t think I could even feel my bottom row of teeth or tongue until about 20 seconds after she walked away. Yeah baby, Iâ€™ve still got game. The bathrooms in the salon are nice but the Mansionâ€™s are better appointed IMO. (My apologies to MikeE and that crazy dude that named his daughter Wynn) MGM Grand- We played in the Mansion for a while Friday night at a mini baccarat dragon table, which is a commission free game. The catch is if you bet on banker and it wins when the dragon shows up, itâ€™s a push rather than a win. The other catch is if you bet on the Dragon, youâ€™ll lose that bet approximately 99% of the time. The dragon has shown up a total of 4 times in my past 2 trips. Of course your mileage may vary and you accountant types should be advised I didnâ€™t look up the percentage. While L & I were seated at the table a nice older gentleman sat down next to me that I remembered from a previous trip. I remember him because he always pulls chips out of his pocket and never leaves them on the table. Who else does that? He must be a high big player because I saw 4 different $5000.00 promo chips. As it worked out Mr.PromoChip and I were usually betting on the same side and unfortunately we were both losing, him more than me due the size of his bets. I was staring holes through the scoreboard between hands looking for a pattern which I often do when Iâ€™m losing. I almost couldnâ€™t believe my eyes when I noticed that every time the Player won with a natural (a natural is a 2 card 8 or 9), the next hand went to the Banker. I quickly pointed it out to my table mates and asked everyone checked their scorecards. Sure enough there were 5 scenarios in a row where this happened so everyone bets Banker. Mr.PromoChip was the last one to bet but eventually slid 2 of his $5,000 promo chips into the circle. Holy crap, I only bet $100.00. Needless to say I was starting to wish Iâ€™d kept my big mouth shut. Luckily Banker won and the whole table began chanting Scotchyâ€¦.Scotchy! Ok, not really but you could totally feel the love in the room. At this point I elected myself table captain and since everyone thought I was a genius (if they only knew) I asked them to recheck their scorecards and following the same Player natural, after it flopped to Banker the next hand went back to Player. There were 5 of these in a row as well so after they verified my discovery I slid $200 out on Player and once again pretty much the whole table followed my lead. After a somewhat dramatic pause Mr.PromoChip slid another $10,000 into the circle and the dealer dealt the cards. Like magic Player won to continue the streak to 6 in a row. The table went from cheering to moaning when I stood up to walk away. Mr.PromoChip won $20,000 in 2 hands but more importantly I was back to even for the session after being down to the felt less than 15 minutes earlier. By this time L had excused herself to go to the bar to see Bob our favorite bartender. I was uneasy about ignoring her mainly because she left the table because she thought she had turned into a â€œcoolerâ€ since every time she watched me play I was getting raped. I thanked Bob for sending drinks over to the table while I was playing and we spent a few minutes catching up. He had given Lynne a few boxes of those little gourmet chocolates they give out in the Mansion which of course made her happy. What is it with chicks and chocolate? Once I found out she was enjoying herself I went back to try to win some money and lost $300.00. Thatâ€™s what I get for ruining the mojo earlier I guess. Cigars: 1) Opus X Petite Lancero-A little expensive and hard to find but one of my favorites! 2) Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Pyramide-My favorite from the 64 Series, it never disappoints. 3) Cohiba Corona Crystal-Comped by the Mirage which ended up costing me $500.00. I enjoyed this stick. 4) Davidoff Special R Tubo-Comped in the Mansion Casino I only lost $300 this time. This is a bit spicier and more medium bodied than their Anniversary series they normally give me. Not a bad cigar but I like the Anniversary Series better. Maybe it sucked because it cost me $300 and I was mad at myself for walking away from a hot table. Scotch: After drinking almost nothing but Johnnie Walker Blue Label the past 5-6 trips I felt it was time for a change. 1) Mirage high limit room-Macallan 18 is their best offering from Macallan. I probably drank Â¾ of a bottle as I played a lot of baccarat there over 3 days. 2) As mentioned I finished off the bottle of Macallan 25 at the Mansion after dinner Friday night so Bartender Bob switched me to the 30 year old. BB was sending drinks to the table without me asking which drew a few odd looks. No wonder we love that guy! 3) Casa Fuente: First and foremost the waitresses here are smoking hot! I met my buddy Fast Eddie and another friend from a cigar board I post on for some scotch and cigars. We tied a few single malts I have never had. Edradour 10 Unchillfiltered Series. Caol Ila 12 (Islay) and something else that slips my mind. The tab for 3 of us was about $100 with tip which I covered since it was my cigar buddies birthday and I owed Ed for forgetting him at the Orleans on a previous trip forcing him to take a cab downtown which I swear it was an accident! As a peace offering I also bought him some cheap golf socks. 4) I didnâ€™t drink scotch or any other booze at the Gold Coast because their selection sucks & Iâ€™m a scotch snob. They do serve up a good diet coke and bottle of water. Rhumbar: If you are looking for a place to smoke a cigar and drink hard to find rum give Rhumbar a try. You can smoke indoors or out on the patio. The cigars are overpriced but no more so than any other place on the strip. The rum prices didnâ€™t seem too bad for a strip location. Question: Why is Las Vegas sometimes called the city of lights when the hotel rooms are so dark canâ€™t see if your darn socks match? To the size 22 lady in the size 16 white shorts and tank top at the Gold Coast: Your friends totally suck for letting you out in public in that outfit. Piss on this! Lynne and I are 0-6 gambling together in nice clothes after a fancy pants dinner since June of 2008. This includes meals at: Craftsteak, Alize, Stack, Kokomoâ€™s, Stack (again) and NobHill. If you ever see me wearing sports coat in Las Vegas around dinner time please donâ€™t let me near a baccarat table. BTW- Stack no longer offers a $29.99 tasting menu. I guess this beats a sharp stick in the eye! When the gambling was all said and done I was ahead just north of $100.00. Itâ€™s uncanny how many times I finish within $200.00 of where I started for the trip. I played on their money until late the last night which made for pretty much stress free gambling. The end!