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march 14-16, a quick in-and-out

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by chef, Mar 18, 2004.

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  1. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    My Trip Report

    Somewhat of a spur of the moment trip, but well worth it.
    Flew out of Midway Sunday evening (delayed 1 1/2 hours getting out). Apparently some bad weather in Sacremnto and KC delayed the plane coming in. I don't know about the rest of you, but it's a bummer losing valuable time in Vegas for a delayed flight, especially when you don't have that much time to begin with.
    Since I was traveling solo, I opted to forego a rental car and went with the more ecomical CAT bus. Plus, I think the bus is quicker to get downtown from airport than using a shuttle.
    Checked into the Plaza (two nights a $15 using LVA coupon) and immediately headed to California Club for $6.99 Prime Rib special. Where else but Vegas can you get a rare piece of prime rib late on a Sunday night. Their salad bar is also one of most underated in town.
    Next stop was El Cortez for craps, while checking out the FSE. As many times as I've seen FSE, I still get a kick out of it.
    It just wasn't happening for me at ElCo, so I headed back to FSE, with a detour at a couple Philly Cheese places between 6th and 5th streets. On the food board, someone had asked about them. Both looked to put out a good sandwich. Similar to how you can judge a book by its cover, you can sometimes judge an eating establishment by looking through the windows.
    One place you can't look through the windows is Glitter Gulch. However, everytime I have walked by there in all my years of going to Vegas, the girls that stand outside do not look that attractive. This time was no exception. Does anyone else share that sentiment?
    Monday, I got up early and met up with a few friends I know and had some good fellowship. When traveling alone, it's nice to hook up with people you've come to know over the years of going to Vegas.
    Since the weather was absolutely fantastic, I decided to walk from downtown to the Strip. Its a shorter walk than you would think and somewhat interesting. One of the murals on a Fremont street building points out different historic sights to view along the way.
    First stop on the Strip was one of my favorite haunts for craps - the Sahara. Very spacious, less smoky and pleasant dealers.
    Next stop was the Stardust to get the betting lines on the NCAA games. I only wish I could have been there later in the week when the games were going on. That's a great Vegas experience - having a wager going and watching the action with hundreds of other like-minded people.
    I have been hearing good things about the Alladin buffet. Time to check it out. It was superb, right up there with the Bellagio. The salad selection and game meats at the Bellagio were better, but the middle eastern section at Alladin was something Bellagio didn't have. As far as service behind the food counter, the edge goes to Alladin.
    If I had to pick best overall, it would still be Bellagio. But, I will put Alladin ahead of GVR.
    After the fine meal, I walked to the Tropicana to check out the free bird show and take a nap by the pool. Since it wasn't crowded, I grabbed a recliner and rested in the sun for about an hour.
    Refreshed, it was time to continue on with the walk, stopping wherever my fancy suited me. Th water show at the Bellagio is stil one of my favorite stops.
    I had never gambled at the Bellagio before, probably because of the $10 minimum crap tables. This time, I gave it a whirl. I survived the initial sticker shock and even made some money.
    One thing about craps, it doesn't make any difference if you're playing at the El Cortez or Bellagio, you have the most fun when you're ahead.
    Instead of walking back to the Plaza, I took my first bus of the day. Later that evening, I ran into a few other friends and had a grand old time in a non-gambling venue. If possible, I think it helps to do some non-casino activities keep one's head clear.
    The rest of the evening was kind of a waste of time. The Las Vegas Advisor touts the $4.95 rotissere chicken dinner Terribles as one of the best deals in town. That sounded good, so I decided to check it out.
    Much of my time was spent waiting for buses. Apparently, they don't run as much at night, especially in the off-strip areas. The dinner itself was definitely filling, but the bird was dry, as were the beans and rice.
    Chasing a deal was not worth it. Once before, I did it with the Ellis Island $4.95 steak dinner and it was another case of one's time being spent better elsewhere.
    After waiting forever for another bus to get back to Strip, struck up conversation with very nice Kurdish family. They couldn't even find a hotel room under $150 to stay in and had to stay 30 miles away. Vegas was packed that week.
    When I got back to Strip, it was too late to see the Irish entertainment going on outside at NYNY, so I ended the night at the Stardust in their outdoor hot tub.
    It was starting to get a bit chilly and after walking and standing much of day, the jacuzzi was a great way to cap the day. Stardust's hot tubs are open 24 hours and they do not check room keys. If I know I'm going there late at night, I wear an old pair of trunks underneath and throw them out when I'm done. A little-known tip is that there are fresh towels in a bin behind the lifeguard station.
    My last day was Tuesday and I was in the mood for some Japanese seafood. Todai was the closest place to go and it was okay, but not as good as the Green Wave in Henderson. The cooks at Todai seem to go through the motions.
    To wrap the trip up, I got hot at the craps table. I parlayed the $200 I was up from Monday into $440 profit for the trip. It was a blast playing at the Plaza with with a mix of young, old, male and female. Everyone was winning and it was a festive environment. A tradition I have is to bet all the hard ways, the 4-through-10 and load up whatever the point is on my last roll of the trip. Generally, I seven-out early on, but this time, I had the dice for about a half hour.
    Since the weather was till 80 and sunny, I bailed out after my roll and spent the rest of the time sitting on the Plaza swimming deck taking it all in. Talking to my wife, I hear it is snowing back in Illinois.
    Well, time to go catch the bus and get back to that dreary weather us midwesterners get so tired of.

    [ March 19, 2004, 09:59 AM: Message edited by: chef ]
     
  2. milehiman

    milehiman VIP Whale

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    Nice trip report for your short respite from the weather.

    You're right about craps though. It doesn't matter where you're playing as long as the table is hot.

    I liked your comments about food though. That's why we don't chase down food bargins, IMO it's just not worth it.
     
  3. brisut

    brisut Tourist

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    Sneaking into the hot tub and:

    "wear an old pair of trunks underneath and throw them out when I'm done"

    This is either the most ingenius thing I have ever heard, or the most ridiculous. Either way, it is something I have never thought of.
     
  4. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Chef, that was a LOT of walking on Monday. Bonus frugal points for hitting TWO pools at hotels you weren't staying at. (farking, the man has done the advance work for you...). Out of curiousity, where is the Plaza pool deck, on top of the tower at the end of Fremont street?

    Thanks for an interesting and informative read.
     
  5. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    the plaza pool is on the 7th floor of the main tower .. just take the elevator up!
     
  6. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    Chef:

    research, plan and execute! Yours is a good example of how much you can do in a short time if you do your homework here at this board, make your wish list, prioritize, and remain flexible.

    I will have to say though that my 2 trips by bus to Ellis Island and one to Terribles were a piece of cake. Buses during the day run every 20 minutes I believe. I ate three times at Ellis Island and had the 4.95 steak dinner each time and it was superb! Good service too. I will admit the first time I ordered the steak med rare which is my usual preference and found it a bit dry so the last 2 times I ordered it rare and it was perfect. I brought some friends on my third trip and they enjoyed it too.More abot EI and Terribles in my trip report.

    Jimbo
     
  7. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    One thing I've discovered is that a person get so much more done when traveling alone. You go in with a game plan and don't have to worry about others throwing it off kilter.
    One of the keys is using this message board to get the out of your precious time in Vegas.
    Getting back to the Stardust hot tub late at night - If you do not have a swimming suit to wear, folks have been known to skinny-dip. Even though the casino itself is somewhat geriatric, the late-night action in the jacuzzi has ben known to get wild from time to time.
     
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