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jan 15-19, ho-hum trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by chef, Jan 23, 2007.

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  1. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    My Trip Report

    Monday - Forecasted ice and snow in Chicagoland never materialized and we were able to get out of Midway as scheduled. First stop was a dinner buffet.
    Most of our LVA and ACG coupons with holiday stipulations were not valid as it was MLK Day. Instead, we used my Rio buffet comp (from the letter I sent regarding our bad NSF meal at Bambaleos).
    I've ate at the Rio buffet several times and have enjoyed it, but it is getting to be a tired affair. Even the workers seemed to be bored with the tasks. The quality is showing signs of slippage. That can happen when your focus is on quanity and longevity (remember the hoopla surrounding its initial opening).
    It was okay, but I'm really starting to lose interest. No, I am not going to write another letter to management. To get what - another comped buffet.
    The surprise of the evening was extremely soft beds at the Stratosphere . Didn't expect that from a $29 standard room. We didn't spent much time there other than a quick night's sleep before heading down to Laughlin.
    On the way, had lunch at Sunset Station buffet. A couple T2Vers suggested I try it as it was revamped a year or so ago. I would agree with those of you that have made positive comments on this buffet. Nicely done.
    We had never been to Laughlin, so we decided to check it out. You people that live in Nevada are lucky to have such good roads to drive on. I met a Vegas friend down there who was cooking (Hog Heaven Catering) an off-road racing function. He hooked me up at the Aquarius (one of several casinos) for $19. Roomwise, it was similar to Riv or Sahara. It's definitely an older crowd at Laughlin.
    I'll describe Laughlin like this: If places like Vegas, Reno or Atlantic City never existed, Luaghlin would be one happening place. Everything's relative.
    We had planned some wilderness hiking in Arizona, but were unable to locate the unmarked trailhead.
    Instead, we headed back to Vegas and did Frenchman Peak. It's only a couple miles northeast of Vegas off Lake Mead Drive. It's fairly steep and takes about 5 hours roundtrip, but is only 5,000 feet. Still, it was good to get some exercise and enjoy a view better than one could get atop the Stratosphere Tower.
    Back in town, we did Wednesday and Thursday nights at Circus-Circus (Main Tower) $39/night, with a $25 Arco gas card included. A lot of people knock the CC, but it was adequate. I was impressed with the friendliness of the staff.
    I would agree, though, especially after giving it a look-see, their buffet is the pits.
    Wednesday, we hit up the Red Rock buffet for our first-ever foray. For a buffetologist, this is akin to seeing a world premiere movie.
    In my opinion, it meets the acclaim it has been garnering. I would not rank it as high as Bellagio or Wynn, but it is up there with GVR, Alladin and the Mirage.
    The signature dish for me was a spicy halibut in the Asian section. Not only did they nail the flavor components, but it may have been the first time in my buffet-eating career that I experienced a moist piece of fish.
    The deep-frying technique and breading sealed in the juices. Plus, this was top-quality halibut, not some knock-off version.
    Tons of other goodies on this buffet. Can't wait for a return visit.
    Later that night, I met some of the T2V crew at the Wynn's Parasol Lounge. I wasn't there more than 10 seconds, no, make that five seconds, before I knocked over a $14 cocktail onto the carpet and onto Hurricane Mikey's fancy brown loafers.
    Maybe that arrival hug I got from Sticky made me jittery.
    Since I retired from drinking 12 years ago, I think I've lost my finesse of moving in and out of bars steathily. Sorry Mikey, but I'm sure that not the worst thing you've had spilt on you.
    Good visit with all of you.
    My big day was Thursday. I went on a Department of Energy tour of the Nevada Test Sites. I had been wanting to do this for several years and this was the first time it worked out into my schedule.
    If you're a history buff of the atomic and nuclear tasting age, it's a fascinating experience. The tour departs the Atomic Testing Museum on Flamingo once a month. You must sign up weeks in advance and obtain clearance.
    The only drawback was having a tour guide who was leading her very first trip. After entering the Testing Site, which is accessed off of highway 95 through the town of Mercury (about 75 miles northeast of Vegas), the first thing one is struck with is the vastness of this place.
    She had trouble telling the bus driver where to go, as there are no signs on the roads, and what each testing site signified. This is not a tourist-friendly venue. Lot's of security in place, but we could never see it other than the initial checkpoint.
    We spent from 7:30-4:30 on the tour. Besides viewing numerous test sites, we stopped at a place where all sorts of radioactive and non-toxic waste is stored. Interesting, but troubling wondering what the hell we are going to do with all that is still out in limbo.
    Thursday night's buffet was Gold Coast Seafood night. The general buffet has always been one of the best value-buffets in town. Been there, done that, but never to seafood night.
    Seafood night was $16.45. The snow crab legs make it worth it. These were some of finest I've had on any buffet, gourmet or otherwise. For starters, they are hot. They also have them cold, but IMHO, crab legs are meant to be eaten warm.
    These were not the puny variety either. You could crack them open and have the entire chuck of meat come out at once. Gold Coast had the other seafood stuff such as raw oysters, crawfish, clams, shrimp, fish, etc, but the crab legs are the big hit.
    Our last day was Friday. Did a little gambling, visited with Ben Speidel (runs Slots-A-Fun) and ate the buffet at Orleans. You can't go wrong at the Orleans for the price.
    Instead of heading back to Chicago, I left Vegas Friday to run the Carlsbad (CA) half-marathon with my daughter on Sunday. Unfortunately, the chilly weather in Vegas was in San Diego, as well.
     
  2. Jack21

    Jack21 Guest

    I didn't find anything ho-hum about that TR, Chef. Between the zig-zagging around southern Nevada on forays atypical for T2V and the casual comment about running a 13.1 miler, I found it rather inspiring. Incidentally, you mention very little gambling. What do you play?

    Incidentally did you run the Vegas Marathon, or are you planning to?

    :thumbsup:
     
  3. vegasdrea

    vegasdrea Buckle Bunny

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    Nice write up Chef...I love Red Rock's buffet too. I've been there quite a few times, I always wear my stretchy pants when I go :) My BF says he's getting sick of it, but I still would like to go back...hmm..maybe I'll drag him there this weekend :D
     
  4. Jer

    Jer VIP Whale

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    Another great Chef Special....:thumbsup:
     
  5. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    Wow Chef, I'm tired just reading all that you got done on this trip. Nice one :thumbsup:
     
  6. DonD

    DonD Super Moderator

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    Nice report Andy!:thumbsup:
     
  7. Jimbucc

    Jimbucc VIP Whale

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    Couldn't agree with you more on the buffets. I wonder why Gold Coast is no longer in the ACG. It was a pleasure meeting you at The Parasol. :peace:
     
  8. dean_1492

    dean_1492 High-Roller

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    Wow chef, It looks like somebody likes the buffet's as much as I do! Thanks for all the insight. There is nothing like a good buffet...:thumbsup:
     
  9. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Jack21,
    I'm a craps player, but haven't hit the tables too much lately. My son is the bigger gambler. He plays the pass line for $25 with full odds behind it plus a come bet on the next roll for same amount, thus making it about $250 on the table at a time.
    I kind of caught the blackjack bug this summer when I was at the Wynn outdoor pool. They had table games going and even though I didn't know strategy, I couldn't resist sitting in the summer breeze and throwing money around.
    Since then, I've boned up on strategy and have begun to play a little bit.

    Yes, I do plan to run the Vegas marathon.

    I guess the reason I felt this was a ho-hum trip was that I wasn't in a Vegas mood. It's kind of like the burnout feeling Ross described in earlier trip report of his. And, I was rather bummed about not being able to stop in at one of my Vegas favorites - the Stardust. Man, did I hate to ee that place go by the wayside.
     
  10. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    I'm reading through your TR, getting vicarious heartburn from all the buffet stops, when you drop this little nugget in:

    What's the story there? and what did you talk about? My first question would be, how long do you think this joint will last?
     
  11. RossW

    RossW North of the 49th

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    Interesting read Andy. I like buffets as well, but I sometimes think I get ripped off, as I'm not a real big eater. Breakfast buffets and Chinese are fav's of mine.

    I think we all go through Vegas burnout at some point. A steady diet of anything, be it a destination, a food, what have you - sooner or later you're gonna say "Enough already!!"

    What I found with giving Vegas a fresh look, is changing the focus of your trip. Golf, at least for me, is what gives Vegas a new look now, (and hopefully for the future). I’d like to go further afield as well. Explore more of the outer areas surrounding Las Vegas.

    You seem to have that aspect of traveling covered though, as you do all sorts of "different stuff" that others would never even think about on your LV jaunts.

    Gambling and wandering from casino to casino is only scratching the surface of what Vegas and the surrounding area has to offer. Once the initial WOW of Vegas wears off....it doesn't take much effort to find other things about LV that can make it an attractive travel destination.

    There's lots there worthy of discovering, if you can stay away from the gaming.

    But on another note – I think of this anecdote that I read in the day planner my boss has.

    The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
    ~St. Augustine


    To “Las Vegasize” this quote - I’d skew it a little and say:
    The World is a book, and those who only travel to Las Vegas, read only 2 pages.

    It’s always good to see other places on this vast planet of ours…. :)

    Just some thoughts.

    RW
     
  12. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Someone's been eating at the wrong places if it's a nuclear tasting...

    Great TR Andy - didn't seem ho-hum at all to me!

    Gotta give Gold Coast's seafood buffet a try - maybe on Thurs. 2/9... my best friend will be with me and she is a crab leg junkie!
     
  13. blackjack

    blackjack Monkey!!

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    I also enjoyed the read Chef.

    Oh, is that all? Funny, I could spend 5 hours navigating a bar & not spill one drink but 5 minutes on a rock cliff & they'd probably be sending out the air rescue team.
     
  14. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    doc al,
    When I was visiting Ben Speidel, it was just some small talk in his office. We have mutual acquaintances. Those that have frequented Slots-A-Fun can attest to the quality individual Ben is. As V.P and General Manager, he'll take care of you.
    The fact that he was one of the few execs kept by MGM-Mirage says a lot for his staying power. Slots-A-Fun and CircusCircus still have the One Club players club, but are now under MGM-Mirage umbrella.
    Next time I get into to town, I'll have to get his thoughts on the future of Slots-A-Fun. While the place does have some charm, its location is in the midst of future growth.
     
  15. Beach Crazy

    Beach Crazy Hostess With the Mostess

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    Nice report, Chef. It was probably just ho-hum because you didn't have any women to carry down stairs or maybe it was just a little to quiet driving your car around without a bunch of drunks reciting lines from Rain Man. :wink
     
  16. pattiinontario

    pattiinontario "PATTI-O-LANTERNS"

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    Same thought crossed my mind Ang.......lol

    Enjoyed the tr Chef!!
     
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