I’m going to structure my trip report a little differently. Instead of giving a play-by-play of my trip, I’m going to focus on events that I feel were noteworthy. This is more of a mega review thread than a trip report. Hotels The Venetian – We stayed here after Expedia bumped us from the Mandarin Oriental. You can see the thread about that here. Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of the property. In my opinion, The Venetian represents everything wrong with Vegas “luxury” mega resorts. It has the pretensions of a 5 star hotel, but it falls short on the little details. For instance, why did I have to wait 2-5 minutes on the phone each time I called the front desk? Why does the phone system always route me to menu options even when I selected the front desk on the phone? Why did my shower clog twice? Why am I getting hassled by a salesperson when I walk in the building? Why are half the exercise machines broken in the gym? Why is the layout so confusing? Why did we only have one bathrobe and why did it feel so cheap? Why are there so many scratches on the furniture? Why did checkin take so long? Why do I have to turn on all the lights in my room individually? I could go on and on… Yeah, I know some of those complaints are petty, but true luxury resorts don’t have those aforementioned problems. Some may argue those problems exist because The Venetian is a mega resort with thousands of rooms, but Wynncore proves that argument wrong. For service, I know Wynncore doesn’t truly compete with hotels like The Four Seasons and The Mandarin Oriental, but it comes a heck of a lot closer than The Venetian. The Cosmopolitan - I really love this place. There are so many great little details to look at and experience. Not all the art pieces are amazing, but they are all fun to talk about. I like how they didn’t pick the usual luxury brands for their shops, but instead focused on smaller boutiques. Another highlight for me was a bebop jazz band that played at the bottom Chandelier bar. They sounded amazing. I can’t wait to stay here! Gold Spike – Is there a more underrated property in Vegas? I’ve never stayed here, but I paid The Gold Spike a visit on Friday night. Everyone there is super friendly and accommodating. The “sexy dealers” aren’t too sexy, but they are all super fun and funny. I actually shared a few beers with the shift manager after he finished work. I can’t remember his name, but he was a really great guy. He shared a few funny stories while we watched an obvious hooker trying to score a john Most of the time I sat at their bar and watched a blues band. Overall they were decent, but as a Chicagoan my standards are pretty high. The highlight was an older female singer who absolutely brought down the house. Seriously, she was amazing. She oozed the blues. Unfortunately she only sang a couple of songs, but those songs were the highlight of my evening. Restaurants D.O.C.G (Cosmopolitan) – We ate here on Friday night. First off, the service was amazing. The server really knew the menu and was very personable. The food had some great highs and some lows. If you go, my advice is to order only the pasta and have it served family style. Here’s the breakdown: Baby Romaine (guanciale,'parmigiano,'pancetta'&'preserved'tomato) – A very tasty basic salad. The dressing wasn’t too creamy which I appreciate. Scallops (with caulifower, artichokes salmorigllo) – This dish was just straight-up bad. The scallops tasted fishy. Yuck! My wife, thought is tasted fine, but I think she’s crazy! Veal Raviolini (with spinach,parmigiano & sage) – This was the crown jewel of the evening. Seriously, this dish could be served at any fine restaurant in Vegas. It’s that good. Spinach Ricotta Gnundi (with sage & parmigiano) – My wife wanted this one even though I thought it was a dubious pick. Neither of us ended up liking this dish very much. The pasta balls were a little too doughy and it overpowered the other favors. Honestly, not sure I should fault the dish too much, gnocchi just isn’t my thing. Picasso (Bellagio) – This place delivers (for the most part). The interior is nicer the website would lead you to believe, and you can hardly hear any noise from the fountains. Oh, and being surrounded by Picassos is pretty cool. One funny thing is they gave us a book explaining the art, but it was mistakenly out of order. The descriptions didn’t match the paintings, which was really confusing at first! Doh! Anyway, on to the food… Dinner bread – Kind of disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t outstanding. Maine Lobster Salad – Just a solid dish with a generous amount of lobster. I enjoyed it. Pan Seared U-10 Day Boat Scallops – Simply the finest scallop dish I’ve ever had in my life. Considering how often I order scallops, that isn’t faint praise. The scallops were cooked to perfection and the mashed potatoes complimented it well. Yum. SautÃ©ed “A” Steak of Foie Gras - Ugh. Why do I do this to myself? I never enjoy foie gras no matter how hard I try. It’s one of those things I feel like I should enjoy, but I never do. Well, this is the last time. Never again. It’s worth noting; I enjoyed the rhubarb and roasted pistachio side. SautÃ©ed Filet of Halibut – This dish was amazing. The Hollandaise sauce was wonderful. Chocolate Truffles with Peanut Butter Ice Cream – Wow! This might be the best desert I’ve ever had! After dinner cookies – While walking out they handed my wife a small box of cookies. My wife and I ate them the next day, and neither of us thought they were very good. Spice Market Buffet (Planet Hollywood) – My wife wanted to try a Vegas buffet, and unfortunately the wicked spoon was closed until 5 and Bellagio’s line was insanely long, so we ended up here because I had read it was one of the better middle-tier buffets. Folks, this place was so bad we asked for our money back and left. I’m sure some of you might be thinking I’m some kind of food snob, but I’m not. Hell, I consider McDonalds one of my favorite restaurants. No, the spice market buffet is a pure slop house. Everything looked congealed and nasty. I can’t believe they wanted 25 bucks a person for the privilege of eating their food. Yuck! Jaleo (Cosmopolitan) – I’ve always hated tapas. I’ve been to several upscale tapas restaurants in Chicago and they always leave me unimpressed. It seems like they just throw oil and tomatoes on everything and call it a day. Blah. Well, my wife and I were hungry and she convinced me to give this place a whirl. Being a good husband, I agreed to go… Then a funny thing happened - I fell in love with this restaurant. Seriously, the dishes at Jaleo are real artistry. Here’s a rundown of what we ate: Trigueros"con"romesco (Grilled asparagus with romesco sauce) – The romesco sauce was divine. The taste was subtle but complex. It worked really well with the asparagus. Ensalada"de"coles"de"Bruselas"con" albaricoques,"manzanas y"jamÃ³n"Serrano (Warm brussels sprouts salad with apricots, apple and Serrano ham) – This was a divisive dish. My wife didn’t care for it, but I really enjoyed it. I loved how they peeled brussel sprouts to form the salad. The dish worked best when I mixed the apricots, apple and ham with the brussel sprouts together in each bite. Datiles con tocino 'como hace todo el mundo' (Fried dates wrapped in bacon) – I always order this when I eat tapas. I thought Jaleo’s take was solid, but not spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but it wasn’t better than other versions I’ve had. Gambas al ajillo (shrimp sautÃ©ed with garlic) – A very good dish. I enjoyed subtleness of the garlic; it complimented the shrimp very well. Rossejat (pattella with cuttlefish and norwegian lobster) - Yum. There was a green sauce on the lobster that was outstanding. I also liked that the pattella wasn’t oily. Wynn Buffet – Before I left I decided to nurse my hangover and fill up here. I don’t have much say other than I think the quality has declined a bit since the last time I ate here a few years ago. The meal wasn’t horrible, but some of the items I ate were mediocre.