We just got back this weekend and I went into the office early today to respond to the pile of emails/voicemails. I came out a little ahead and have a few minutes to write up a trip report. Hope you enjoy or find it useful - I will ramble and spend an equal amount of time reviewing and covering "what we did." We are from wNY and flew Frontier out of CLE. I had some hotel points so we book-ended the trips with a single overnight stay each in CLE. We stayed just outside the city and ate at the Winking Lizard - pretty good food overall. Frontier was direct to LV and the flights and service were a non-factor. Both flights left on time and landed early. I like. This was my wife and mine's first time with an ultra low cost carrier. Pricing was 40% all-in compared to flights out of BUF or ROC - and those flights weren't direct. Once you get past the padded lawn chairs, it wasn't bad. Service was pleasant. Mirage: I have to say this place rated a 9 out of 10 for us. We've stayed at MGM, Flamingo, and Excalibur. Flamingo usually is our home base due to location and quick access to the strip. Mirage was that and then some for us. Great service, nice rooms. Only knock on the score was the lack of a good and quick breakfast place. Our flight landed early Sunday morning, and I was at the Gold or higher check-in desk (I am Gold only via crossover with Hyatt's points system). I went in with a smile and simply asked if anything was available now. Jenn was who we dealt with. We were hoping just to get our basic non-strip view King room a little early. $20 later we were in the upgraded King room with a strip view of the Volcano and the bigger upgraded bathrooms. As much as we liked the room and bathroom - the elevators limited to the 24 and 25 floors for these rooms was a Godsend. We spent so little time waiting. This room probably spoiled Flamingo and other places as a home base for us going forward. Pool was nice and relaxing, although $28 for a strawberry daiquiri was nuts. The towel trick was rampant on pool-side chairs and I did see the workers clearing towels for clear violators. We ended up next to the Dolphin bar each day and it was enjoyable. Gambling: Played one daily poker tournament at Mirage for $65. Finished 11 of 24. Toughest field I have played against and played the hands I was in well. Shove fests started right as I began to be pressed by the blinds and going card dead at that time is also tough to swallow. Looking back I had two hands earlier I could have played differently that would have helped me not be pushed by the blinds. Oh well. First time I didn't make a final table in a daily in all of the tournaments I have played in LV (around 10 total). Slots-wise, my wife and I are no longer. Our budget for this trip was pretty small as our focus was more on relaxing, shows, dining, and adventure. My personal budgets on prior trips were 2-3x of ours combined this trip. That said - we didn't spend a second down during the trip. The first spin netted $40 and we compiled small wins ranging for $20-50 fairly often playing penny slots and the occasional WOF at $0.25. Hit for $125 on WOF. We netted up around $400 on gambling for the trip. While it wouldn't offset the trip, it certainly let us come home with more money than we planned to have on the return. Dining: Big shout-out to DeadHandMan for sending me the Lettuce Entertain You discount coupons. We used the Mon Ami Gabi and Stripburger coupons. It was out first time for breakfast at MAG and sat outside. Awesome breakfast. Slightly expensive for what we got, but the atmosphere and uniqueness was excellent. The crepe/pancakes were delicious as was the bacon. Stripburger is solid, too. We went there 2x and got burgers and shakes. The travelzoo voucher was a steal with a $10 code. Travelzoo also had an El Segundo deal. That, too was a good experience. Single-handedly the most amount of food I have ever seen us eat. At one point I took a photo of my wife with the food on the table and it just looked comical. We went to Outback our first night there as we were pretty dead tired from the travel and wanted something familiar. It was OK. Overpriced for the strip, and normally I wouldn't eat there while in Vegas. We were witness to a rather funny, but serious situation. Two mid-20s gentlemen of a mid-eastern descent ate next to us. They were pretty wealthy looking and having a good time. One ordered a steak and the other ribs. Well, apparently there was a miscommunication between the server and the customer because the one who ordered ribs ended up with pork ribs rather than beef ribs (customer made the mistake as I heard it, but it was resolved friendly enough). The face on the guy who bit into the pork ribs was unlike anything I have ever seen - and his partner in crime basically melted down laughing so much. Beef ribs were brought out, and everyone was happy. We went to CPK in Mirage 2x as pre-show dinners. The single pizza size was perfect for us before a show and not too heavy for a food coma. It was acceptable for that purpose. Off-strip we ate at Wuhu Noodle in Silverton and that was a surprisingly good meal. Big portions and good customer service. Wish they were on the strip. Buffet wise we did Spice Market and Monte Carlo. We have been big fans of Spice Market having ate there three or four times on prior trips. This time - first time for us it was underwhelming. We had the all you can drink and it was a fight for me to get a second Corona and my wife got the wrong wine the second time around as well. The server was overwhelmed and the food was poor. We left bummed. Monte Carlo - we ate there prior and didn't enjoy it. So, we gave it another shot to make sure we weren't crazy and apparently we were because we really enjoyed it this trip. The prime rib was excellent as was nearly everything we tried. The service was pretty basic but the food shocked us. Red Rock: We rented a car for the day and went out to Red Rock Canyon and did the loop along with a small hike to Lost Creek. It was my first time out of the city area and I have to say I immediately felt like I had wasted chances before this to go there. It was a highlight of the trip. Being from the NE, none of this kind of environment is available to us. It was also amazingly quiet and made my wife and I feel small in the grand scheme of things. We did this right in the middle of the trip and it was an awesome day. If you haven't been, you must. Shows: We saw Blue Man Group, X Country and X Comedy. BMG - Good to see once and it was above my expectations. I wouldn't see it again, but it was worthwhile. X Country - nice show, nice venue, lesser production than Fantasy, but we didn't walk out thinking it was a lesser show. X Comedy - the hosts were funny as can be. One host was the Emcee for X Country and a couple bits were recycled. But, it was funny. My wife really enjoyed this one. Closing: Hope you enjoyed the TR and reviews. My wife and I are "every other year" visitors now and probably won't return to Las Vegas until 2018. With a couple of kids and interests in other vacations like cruises and island destinations, as well as family trips, getting time carved to fly out from the east coast doesn't happen easily. Kind of bummed because this trip was enjoyable from A-Z minus the lone Spice Market Buffet experience. We'll likely end up back at the Mirage based on how good of an experience we had there.