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May 9 - 13 Mirage & Vegas Uncork'd: Semi Live !

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by trainfan, May 8, 2013.

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  1. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    We are wheels up in less than 24 hours, and I'm going to do my best to provide at least a daily update with pictures on my birthday trip to Vegas - this will be my 21st trip and first ever trip report.

    The Plan:

    My wife Rebecca and I fly out on Southwest and are meeting my daughter Sarah and her friend Michelle who arrive at nearly the same time. We are staying at the Mirage (and hoping for a birthday / $20 trick upgrade from our standard King to a Tower King).

    We have tickets to Uncork'd Grand Tasting on Friday night and Bellagio Block Party on Saturday night. Sunday night we are seeing Absinthe. We also are indulging all of our inner foodies and have lunch reservations on Friday at Mesa Grill and dinner Sunday at Table 10.

    I expect plenty of pool and strip walking time. Gambling budget is $600 a day which I plan on splitting between .25/1.00 DDB Video Poker and Black Jack. If I'm up, I'll likely be at the craps table with the winnings.

    I'm hoping for plenty of pictures and we'll see how well I can stick to the plan.

    Vegas - here we come !!
     
  2. aceofspades96367

    aceofspades96367 Tourist

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    Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a blast and enjoy Vegas with the Family!!:cheers:
     
  3. VegasDave

    VegasDave Addicted

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    see you soon I get in Saturday and am so desperate to leave
     
  4. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Have a great time and Happy Birthday!! Looking forward to updates and pictures.
     
    Vegas Just Because...
  5. RAWDAWG33

    RAWDAWG33 Low-Roller

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    Happy birthday and good luck!!!
     
  6. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    Day one is in the books! We started off following my first rule of Vegas, " leave the car keys at home". Our stretch limo showed up right on time for the trek to Midway. once the driver figured out we were not going to O'Hare, we were on our way, dodging rush hour traffic for our 7:30 departure. The security line was silly long, and my wife managed to get the "government grope". Apparently, the body scanner does not like sequined, "vegasy" tops. Made the flight with little time to spare and the Southwest trip was uneventful and landed about 15 minutes early.

    My daughter landed at nearly the same time, we grabbed our bags and easily found Davis, our driver from Presidential Limo. He was great! Check in at the Mirage was a snap at 9:45 on a Thursday night and $20 and a reminder it was my birthday nabbed us a Resort Tower room on the 25th floor. My wife very much appreciated the larger bathroom.

    Have to run to my massage....rest of night one to follow shortly.
     
  7. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    After checking out our rooms we reconvened at the Mirage lobby bar where we took advantage of the Travel Zoo 6 cocktails for $29 voucher. My Hendricks and tonic was very generous on the gin and the girls all had pomegranate martinis which they raved about. The people watching was excellent at 10:30 as the line for 1Oak was forming, many people were checking in and in general the place was bustling as it usually is.

    After drinks my wife turned in and the rest of us hit BLT burger for a quick bite. My daughter loved the veggie burger and if I can eve figure out how to post A picture of it, I will. The girls then headed out in their own and I settled in for some video poker at the Sports Book bar. The service was great, they were happily filling my rocks glass to the brim while I played .50 and $1 DDB. Two four of a kinds at the .50 cent level allowed me to play until about 1:30and book a small win. I think err is nothing better than hitting the pillow in Vegas on the 1st night with more money in your pocket than you came with.

    I was up at 6:45 this morning and am finishing writing from the spa. Nothing like starting the day with a whirlpool, a steam, a short nap, a massage, shave and shower. Now heading to the pool. Plans today are Mesa Grill for lunch and the Vegas Uncork'd Grand Tasting tonight.
     
  8. mike_m235

    mike_m235 Tourist

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    What was your paytable at that bartop VP? When I looked, I thought it was horrible.
     
  9. stackinchips

    stackinchips High-Roller

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    It's even better when your head hits the pillow on the last night in Vegas with more money in your pocket than you came with.
     
  10. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    I am sure it wasn't great, but I wasn't hunting pay tables last night. I will check later and let you know
     
  11. mike_m235

    mike_m235 Tourist

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    It's okay -- I think I know. Just for your info (use it if you want) there are 9-6 DDB machines on the floor at the Mirage at the $1 level.
     
  12. luckylarry

    luckylarry Tourist

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    Sounds like you're having a great trip so far...Keep it coming!!!
     
  13. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    Friday - had an excellent day in every way but gambling. We spent the morning at the Mirage pool. It was a beautiful day and we all managed to not get massively sun burned. The pool was crowded at 10 , but with a little work we were able to get 4 chairs together. Drink service in our area was good, I would say she made it by every 20 minutes or so. We had a couple of piña colodas that were just what the doctor ordered on the first morning. Before the pool, while I was at the spa, my wife had a pedicure and spray tan at the mirage salon. She said the pedicure was great. She was surprised to find that the tan was "hand sprayed" by an attendant instead of the machine applied she was used to from home. She looked fantastic when she met us at the pool.

    While everyone was changing for lunch, I got to the mLife booth to get the MyVegas vouchers for the buffet, dolphin attraction and then to will call to grab the MyVegas earned Love tickets. Then it was off to Caesars for lunch at Mesa Grill.

    At Mesa Grill, the food was excellent, but the service was very slow between appetizers and entrees. We had the smoked chicken and black bean quesadilla for an appetizer. My wife and I shared the Tiger Shrimp tacos. Loved them and really like the mango habenaro sauce. The girls shared a egg plant chile rellano. For dessert we shared two orders of banana cream pie which was delicious as always.

    I'll get back to this later, time for me to wrap up at the spa and meet everyone at the pool....
     
  14. Blueberries

    Blueberries Low-Roller

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    Really enjoying the live updates, keep them coming please :peace:
     
  15. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

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    Love to hear about Mesa Grill, I had decided not to eat there because I'm a vegetarian but eggplant chilie rellanos sound amazing! May have to reconsider now...

    just curious, how much does the Mirage charge for the spray tan?
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  16. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    My daughter is a vegetarian, hence the eggplant order and she loved it. Spray tan was $50 plus an automatic gratuity of 18%
     
  17. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    Friday continued......

    After lunch we crabbed it to the Tropicana. I had a comp offer so I was checking in so a local friend could stay in the room and I could use some free play they gave me. I think the casino is nice for what it is. I played some $5 blackjack with the girls and we had a ton of laughs. Our two dealers were fun. Jay was one of them and I think the other was Arlene. Booked a small win and then Promptly got creamed playing $1 DDB video poker. No worries, was still up from Thursday and having a great time.

    We crabbed it back to the Mirage to rest for a bit before cocktails and Vegas Uncork'd Grand Tasting. We reconvened at the lobby bar and used the second Travel Zoo voucher for six drinks. Once a gain, the cocktails were great. My wife had the Mai Tai, the girls stuck with the pomegranate martinis, I had a Ginger Collins and our guest for the evening, the friend who lives here, had the Side Car. The people watching was fascinating and we got caught up on the details ofthe girls night out Thursday. They went to 1 Oak and were pretty unimpressed with the crowd and the drink prices. They ended up playing slots and video poker until about 4:30 am, won a little money and got a crash course in sports betting so they could bet on the Friday Bulls Heat game. Then it was time to head to Caesars for the featured event of this trip, the Grand Tasting.

    The Grand Tasting was better than the lofty expectations we had for it. It probably deserves its own thread. The food was phenomenal, the booze and wine was plentiful and celebrities were everywhere. We manged to get pictures with Joel Rebuchon, Gordon Ramsey, Rick Moonen, Gram Elliott, Norm Clark and I think we got one with Robin Leach. Food highlights included bacon wrapped scallops, lobster bisque, shrimp cerveiche, meatballs, mushroom ravioli, and more desserts than I can count. wine distributors and beer was everywhere. Cocktails from Bulliet Rye, Patron and Bombay gin were favorites. I will do a more detailed review about where everything was from once I get home and can put it all back together.

    After the event it was back to the Mirage. We played some Rapid Roulette with the girls and then back to video poker. $1 DDB at the Sports Book bartops was 9/5. Had some great conversations with our friend and other players, but only one 4OK so I lasted awhile but ended up running through the days bankroll. Heard from the girls at midnight that they were going to Hakasan, and I called it a night at about 2:30

    Was up at eight this morning and back to the spa for my morning routine. I think it's the best $28 I spend when I am here. My wife and I grabbed muffins and yogurt and headed to the pool. It was PACKED. I tipped one of the attendants and he was able to secure a couple of chairs for us. The girls were already at the pool. They never made it to Hakasan, apparently thinking a quick nap before they went would be a good idea, they didn't wake up until 9 this morning. They insist they are going tonight.

    We used a travel zoo voucher and a My Vegas comp for three of the four Mirage buffets we had for lunch. Except for the desserts, I was not very impressed. But it put some food in our bellies. Then we did some strip walking, spending a lot of time checking out the Cosmo and Aria. Buying some chocolates from Jean Phillipe. Delicious! The girls were looking for $5 black jack, so we headed to Monte Carlo. We played video poker, another losing session on $1 DDB, but my wife was up a little. We left the girls there, they were heading into the -5 Ice Bar and we are now back at the Mirage resting up for this evening. Plans are cocktails at Onda, the Vegas UnCork'd Bellagio Block Party for my wife and I and LOVE and I guess Hakasan for the girls. More tomorrow.
     
  18. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    Sorry to have been away, but we had some excitement to wrap up the trip....

    Saturday evening we went to Onda at the Mirage to make use of a Travel Zoo voucher good for a wine flight and appetizer for each person. It was excellent. Our waiter, Dominic, was great with recommendations. For the appetizers we all shared Calamari, Carpaccio, Buffalo Mozzarella, and Arancini - which we all agreed was the best of the best. I did the Red & Black Wine flight and enjoyed each of the three wines sampled.


    Afterwards we split up, Rebecca and I to go to our second Vegas Uncorked event, The Bellagio Block Party while the girls were going to see Love with my MyVegas reward.

    The Block Party was another great event, smaller than the grand tasting (and not as expensive) and featured about a dozen restaurants all grilling in one fashion or another. Our favorite, and without a doubt the best thing I tasted all trip, was thee Hay Smoked Beef Short Rib from Michael Mina. It was served atop puréed potatoes. Other highlights were Julian Serrano's Paella, bacon wrapped trout from American Fish, strip steak from Prime and too many desserts, beers, wines and cocktails to count. A great event, but not sure I would feel like I had to return every year, like I would for the grand tasting.

    We had a nice walk back to the Mirage, stopping to enjoy a fountain show. My wife called it a night, and I briefly found the girls after the Love show. They were headed to Hakkasan, having bought and printed their tickets earlier in the afternoon. My daughter's friend had a very early flight out Sunday morning, so they were planning a late night. I settled in for some more $1 DDB and Knob Creek at the sports Bar. I uneventfully ran though a couple of hundred before finally hitting 4 Aces for $800 turning the day into a winner. I headed to bed at about 2 and I had a text from, my daughter saying that Hakkasan was crazy busy, but they were inside the club - and that the line for people who hadn't pre-bought tickets was very long.

    ........writing from the airport - I'll wrap up the excitement, big finish to the trip and some final observations later tonight or tomorrow.
     
  19. mike_m235

    mike_m235 Tourist

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    Thanks for this trip report. The events you covered are things I've thought about and it was nice to hear some reviews.
     
  20. trainfan

    trainfan Tourist

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    Sunday morning found us keeping our routine - me to the spa and then meeting my wife for a quick, lite bite at the coffee place in the Mirage before hitting the pool. The pool was not nearly as crowded as on Saturday and we were able to find chairs together at 10:15 with no problem - it was however scorching hot - and we only lasted about 30 minutes in the sun before beating a path to the Dolphin bar at the pool. It's a nice little spot, with a few small tables and chairs and some padded couches. We ordered up a large Bloody Mary - which proved to be just what the doctor ordered as I'd been a little sluggish. My wife read her book and I watched the golf tournament on the nice high-def tvs they have in the bar. Everyone was very friendly and we ended up staying for about an hour and a half before changing and heading out for some lunch.

    I'd been sending texts to my daughter about where we were, in case she got up. We headed to the Grand Lux in the Venetian. The small salad, cup of soup and half-sandwich for 11.00 was the perfect lunch. We decided we like the Lux in the Palazzo better because of all the natural light it gets - but we left full and headed back toward the Mirage. I finally decided to call my daughter at 1PM - but it just rang through to voice mail. Arriving back in our room we had a message on our phone - from my daughter asking us to call her in her room. Didn't take long for me to put together "lost cell phone" - and when she didn't answer my return call I figured she was somewhere in the hotel gambling or sunning. About twenty minutes later, my cell phone rings and up pops my daughter's picture - but the voice on the other end was not her and was difficult to understand. I managed to piece together that he was a cabbie, had her phone and would bring it to the Mirage and give it to her as long as she had some ID. I called her room again - told her the phone was on the way and that I'd meet her downstairs. When we met, she was in quite the panic - it wasn't only the phone missing. She had lost her purse, wallet, credit cards, etc. We started planning on what we needed to do to try and get her stuff back and how to get her on a plane in less than 24 hours with no ID. Well, it turned out that the cabbie had everything - she had left the purse in the cab when they got dropped off in the very wee hours of the morning. She was quite relieved and I gave her a hundred to tip the guy - and told her it would be good karma.

    A few interesting things we learned from this and maybe some tips to keep in mind. First was that she couldn't get out of her hotel room to get a new key. Her friend took her key with her when she left for the airport, and the hotel would not give her a new key without a photo ID. She was mad about that, but I understand the security concerns. So, tip one would be - when traveling in multiple rooms - to get plenty of extra keys and trade them around with others. Maybe also store a picture of your ID in an email account that you could get to phone a hotel business center computer. Tip two would be to WRITE DOWN cell phone numbers of the people you are traveling with and keep the list somewhere other than your purse or wallet. Turns out that my kid, who is pretty smart and successful, has virtually no phone numbers committed to memory - so she couldn't reach me on my cell phone. Tip three would be to ask for a receipt every time you get out of a cab - and if in any shape to do so, write down the cab number. She was pretty sure she had left it either at the club or in the cab - but had no idea what cab company to call. All in all it made for a stressful morning and clearly could have turned out much worse than it did.

    Later in the afternoon we went through the Secret Garden at the Mirage. It was better than expected - we used the MyVegas rewards - so didn't have to pay, but I wouldn't have been too upset if we did. The dolphins were great and very active and the Lions and other cats interesting to see.
    After that it was off to Public House in the Venetian for a few drinks with our local friend. I had a Chile Pepper infused beer - that wasn't too spicy. And a Bikini Blond Lager from Maui brewing company. We had some heavy appetizers as no one felt like a full dinner.

    We gambled at Palazzo for a bit - up and down and Video Poker and eventually made it over to Caesars for the 8PM showing of Absinthe. It was awesome. It's clearly not for the easily offended - plenty of very adult language and politically incorrect humor - but we found it to be hysterical - and the performing acts were tremendous. There is no bad seat in the house, the venue is small and the stage can't be more than an eight-foot circle. In fact, the worst seats may be the front row - as those are the people who served as fodder for the performers. The performances were jaw-dropping good in terms of the strength and talent it must take.

    We wandered back to the Mirage - knowing we had a six am wake up call for our flight home and spent an hour or so playing around on some of the penny and nickel slot games. I had a lucky run on the Wizard of Oz game and my wife did well at Wheel of Fortune - but nothing spectacular. My wife was ready to call it night - my daughter wanted to play a little more video poker - so I told her I would walk my wife to the room and meet her at the sports bar. As I walked passed the Black Jack tables I could see that she was sitting in the end seat, closest to the poker room, but I could also tell she wasn't playing - probably ran out of money. As she saw me, she stood up and started frantically waving me over, she wanted me to see the Diamond Royal Flush on her screen - Jackpot - it was the progressive and she was playing ten quarters - the payout was $2285 !!

    Looks like the karma paid off. She waited on her hand pay and we sat and played a little longer - but by 1 headed off to bed for our early wake up and our trip home.

    I'm going to see if I can get some pictures to attach -

    Vegas May 2013 - Big Winner.jpg Vegas May 2013 - Secret Garden 1.jpg Vegas May 2013 -  With Joel Robuchon.jpg

    Vegas May 2013 - Heading to Grand Tasting.jpg Vegas May 2013 Party.jpg Vegas May 2013 - Secret Garden 2.jpg
     
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