I divided this up with sub titles so you can skip over anything that doesnâ€™t interest you. The reason we were in town was to celebrate our son turning 21. Yeah weâ€™re old farts. BTW, he is a semi poor engineering student so we did even more low rolling than normal. Travel: The drive up from Tucson to Las Vegas is just shy of 400 miles. We averaged 32.5 mpg on the way up and 35 mph on the way home. It must be the wind as we drove pretty much the same speeds each way. Fuel cost +/- $42.00. Hotels: Mirage-We picked the Mirage as a home base again this trip. It workâ€™s out well for us because it is rapidly becoming my favorite place to gamble and with the location being between the Fashion Show Mall and Caesarâ€™s Forums Shops my lilâ€™hottie can shop her brains out without the need to utilize the car. As many of you know I prefer to remain unfettered in the drinking dept so the location weighed heavily on our decision. At check in I asked for and received one of only 4 Tower Deluxe Rooms the Mirage has with 2 queen beds. I was told all the other TD rooms have one king bed. The room was nice overall. The larger bathroom, turndown service and private elevators are the main attraction over the standard room. I didnâ€™t have to pay for the upgrade or their 3rd person charge and yes they were well aware we had 3 adults in our room. I did tip the check in clerk for her assistance after the upgrade was secured. What can I say it makes me feel like a big shot to give away $20.00. The bathroom in room 24005 featured a Jacuzzi tub and separate stand up shower. The water pressure sucked but the shower head was plenty high enough. In my prime I was 6â€™1 and our kid is 6â€™3. Neither of us had a problem. We never used the tub, it was standard size and not large enough for 2 people IMO. Irregardless our son never left the room without us so as my wife said: â€œThatâ€™s out of the questionâ€. Needless to say VegasWoody no likey her attitude but understood none the less. BTW I was out voted on letâ€™s get 2 rooms idea. I think the lack of action in the boudoir eventually led to me losing money at the tables. Next time Iâ€™m calling shenanigans on the whole no VegasWoody thing or at least not let my wife dress so sexy. Total bullshit! There is a vanity with dual sinks that runs the entire length of the bath with a swing out lighted makeup mirror on the side where the entrance is located. The vanity mirror also lights up which was kind of cool. We used the makeup mirror as a night light. The rest of the room is pretty standard since their upgrade last summer. We of course had 2 queen beds. There was a night stand with a lamp and I pod style alarm clock which wouldnâ€™t light up and was a real pain in the ass to see at night. The room safe was located in the night stand which seemed kind of cool but wasnâ€™t the best for me to tuck my wallet away without waking up my lilâ€™hottie. The entertainment center included a flat panel LCD TV, a small closet that contained 2 robes, an iron and board. There was also a mini bar, lights, drawers and a smallish desk type table with 2 chairs. One chair was an office chair and the other was more of like youâ€™d usually find in a hotel. Overall the update to the room was nice but we did find the desk area a little cramped. I got tired of moving the chair out of the way to access the drawers. Gold Coast-We also had a room at the Gold Coast. They sent us a free room offer that included some free play and food up front and being the freebie whores we are I booked it. The rooms here have been redone as well and for the most part and very much improved and, taupe. They removed the closet out of the bath by adding it to the entertainment center. Since the bathrooms were small this was a great idea. They also removed the tub and put in a large walk in style shower. At 1st this seemed like an improvement until we decided to shower. This was on a previous stay. For whatever reason they used a partial stationary glass door on the shower that leaves the back of the shower wide open to outside air. We splashed water on the floor but the main pisser is you canâ€™t stay warm in there because all the steam escapes. Whoever had this bright idea should be dipped in ice water then tarred & feathered. Restaurants: BLT Burger-Mirage We were excited to try this place as we love gourmet burgers, fries and shakes. We visited on a Saturday around 4:00 and the place was jumping. We didnâ€™t order anything special just their classic burger. L ordered hers with avocado, waffle fries and a Twinkie milk shake. The fries were so so at best, not as hot as I like but the milk shake was to die for. If you like loud crowded restaurants that serve good food this place is up your alley. Expect to pay $22-$25 per person here with tip. Stack-Mirage We had the same goofball waiter we had a few months ago named Juan. Juan tries hard but needs to change to a profession outside of customer service. Despite the Â½ ass service the food was good. My wife and I did the prex fixe menu again which is just $59.99 per couple. For our appetizer we went with lettuce cups stuffed with chicken, shitake mushrooms and something called Hoisen Dipping Sauce. This was better than I ever imagined anything with lettuce could be. Our entrÃ©e was a Prime Flat Iron Steak served oddly enough not a sizzling skillet. It came with really delicious family style gratin potatoes and sautÃ©ed spinach. I should add the menu says â€œorâ€ as apposed to â€œandâ€ so we might have got both potatoes and spinach because Juan is clueless. For dessert we went with the mini donuts this time which were little bite sized pieces of heaven! My son wanted to order off the Love pre show menu which seems to have disappeared off their website. For some reason Juan never said a word to us that it wasnâ€™t available even though we requested this when we made the reservation and asked to see the menu 3 different times. I donâ€™t know if it was a language barrier or if the music was on so loud he couldnâ€™t hear the 1st two times I requested to see the menu. At any rate he finally told us they no longer had a printed menu to provide us but kindly explained what was available from the old Love Pre Show menu which apparently you can still order from. Our son went with a Caesarâ€™s salad as an appetizer. For his entrÃ©e he had an 8-9 oz filet that was served without accompaniment and like us he thought the mini donuts warranted his attention. For $45 this seems like a good which is maybe why they are doing away with it. I forgot to mention if you request bread they will bring you a nice basket with two baguettes. Both times so far they brought us one loaf of French and one with raisins and cinnamon. In true form Juan screwed up dessert and brought out one order of chocolate cake and one order of mini donuts. It was classy of him to argue with me saying I ordered the chocolate cake. Um, no we came back this time just to try the donuts. He finally came to his senses once he realized we were never going to leave the table until he brought what we wanted. I thought it was funny he didnâ€™t offer to leave the little piece if cake he mistakenly brought out to make up for keeping us waiting. Not that I wanted the cake but he was going to have to throw it away anyway. I never felt more generous leaving a 15% tip except for maybe the last time he waited on us. If we go back Iâ€™ll request a different waiter or maybe just sit in the bar. I read they have very sexy waitresses in there. Carnegie Deli-Mirage With Caribe cafÃ© no longer serving 24 hours we thought weâ€™d branch out a little and try breakfast at the deli. The food was good and the portions were on the large side but not like the deli sandwiches. I was disappointed they didnâ€™t serve up a homemade style hash browns as this is something I only eat on vacation. They did a nice job with the home fries and overall Iâ€™d give the place a thumbs up. As many of you know the deli is a bit cramped for space and it gets loud in there. Iâ€™d grab a sandwich there anytime but for a quieter more comfortable sit down meal the cafÃ© is hard to beat. Baccarat Lounge Mini Buffet-Mirage The lounge serves up hot foods on weekends and does fruits, cookies and mini desserts during the week. They serve fried chicken wings, some sort of cooked beef in a gravy sauce, low mein noodles and rice with delicious little shrimp mixed in. Compared to places like the Mansion, Caesarâ€™s & Mandalay Bayâ€™s mini buffet the Mirage is a bit of a let down. The food likely starts out equal to the others but the lack of follow through by the butlers at the Mirage is a bit disappointing. Most of the time when I walked in there to get a snack there were dirty plates and glasses all over the place. Our son loved the being able to grab a free snack whenever he wanted. I guess the novelty has worn off for me. TGI Fridayâ€™s-Gold Coast I know a lot of people say why eat at a chain restaurant on vacation and I agree to some degree. We do enjoy Fridayâ€™s due to the food being consistently average and the prices being fair. The Fridayâ€™s here in Tucson closed down making our decision a little more justifiable and we had $100 free food coming so we gave it a try. For breakfast they serve up a club sandwich for under $8.00 that includes egg, ham, apple wood smoked bacon, lettuce & tomato on your choice of lightly toasted bread. It also comes with 2 hash browns potatoes that are Mickey Dâ€™s style and deep fried. Um, yuck. We enjoyed the $4.00 breakfast special that includes 2 eggs any style, choice of bacon or sausage, toast and the same Mickey Dâ€™s style double hash browns. This runs from 6 am to 4 pm as is quite a deal. My wife had a breakfast sandwich that came on a croissant. She enjoyed the food but thought it odd the croissant came to the table not sliced or surrounding her Sammie. Lol Randy JR. tried the no meat breakfast burrito. I asked him if it was any good and he said: â€œOh hell yes!â€ It came with guacamole and hash browns. It seems like everything in Fridays is $6.00-$11.00 so like youâ€™d expect you wonâ€™t break the bank. One day for lunch I had a burger which admittedly wasnâ€™t anything like what they serve up at BLT Burger. The one here came with a plate of fries and was about $8.00 instead of $17.00-$22.00. My wife and boy both tried the gourmet mac and cheese. Yeah, weâ€™re ghetto but you all knew that. L ordered hers without the blue cheese sprinkles on top. I tasted both and wouldnâ€™t go with the blue cheese personally as itâ€™s a tad bitter. Gold Coast Buffet: We met LVNorm down here one day. Itâ€™s always good to see Normâ€™s smiling face and this was no exception. The bill for 4 lunches was a meager $24.00. Donâ€™t expect the Bellagio or Wynn but then again its 6 bones a piece, $7 with tip. Norm and I had an Almond Chicken dish off the Chinese section that was excellent. They had just brought out the huge bowl from the back as we walked up and the top was smothered with almonds which we pigged out on. If I go back there Iâ€™ll have this again. Iâ€™m not sure what L and the boy ate but everyone liked the food and the waiter stayed on top of the drink refills and clearing dishes enough to warrant a comment and 17% tip. The cold dessert section here is pretty good mainly because they keep everything cold instead of sitting out getting room temp. I always have the cheesecake here and once again it didnâ€™t disappoint. One more trip to the dessert sectioned produced a fruit tart pie thingy with custard, strawberries, blueberries and kiwi fruit. Being the lard ass I am I love me some custard and Kiwi! We waddled out of there fat and happy. Is Drinking a Hobby? That is a rhetorical question. I prefer to think of this as a hobby rather than a problem. For the record I only drink like this in LV. If high end booze isnâ€™t your thing feel free to skip this section. I ramble on for a quite a while here. Scotch Macallan 10 Fine Oak The first drink of the trip came from the trunk of our car. I packed 2 brandy snifters from home and grabbed the bottle of Macallan 10 as soon as we parked at the Golden Nugget. The valet guy laughed when we offered him a pour. 2 pours was 1/3 of the bottle. Lol Glengoyne 17- L just bought me this one for Christmas so we brought it along. This is on the lighter side for a 17 year old and easy to drink with hints of Christmas pudding, apples, pears and vanilla. Not bad not outstanding. Balvenie 21 Port Wood Finish- This is my favorite 21 year old scotch to date. It noses of raisins and dried fruit then moves forward to a wonderful aroma of port wine and oak. The buttery texture feels like heaven in your mouth and serves as a pre cursor to the complex taste of dried fruits, honey and spices that follow. This goes down in a gentle warm way with a nice long finish with some nice nutty notes on the back end. We brought this one as well and itâ€™s well worth $130 a bottle. My only complaint is itâ€™s not available in most bars. Chivas Regal 21 Year Royal Salute-Mirage Baccarat Lounge (comp) Iâ€™ve never been a big fan of Chivas Regal but their 21 year is starting to win me over. There is one flavor in their profile that I just donâ€™t care for. Iâ€™d tell you what that is but to this day the flavor escapes me. This one noses on the soft side with hints of fruit and light smoke. Tasting brings out more of the fruits along with a bit of ginger. The finish is fairly long and quite enjoyable. I may invest in a bottle of this in the next few months. Johnnie Walker Blue Label- Anyone who knows anything about scotch will tell you something good about JW Blue Label. For 2-3 years I drank almost nothing but Macallan 25 & 30 while in Las Vegas thinking the single malts would be more complex compared to blends. While as a general rule that is true, Blue Label isnâ€™t bound by rules. I could ramble on describing this but there are far better reviews out there if you to read. If you enjoy scotch and havenâ€™t tried this you are missing out. I gave the Mirage some decent baccarat action and the waitresses and bartenders took good care of us with glass after glass of JW Blue. They also were more than happy to serve L whatever fruity drink she requested. All and all I canâ€™t say enough kind words about the way we were treated by everyone in the baccarat lounge. A few times I tipped from the tables for my wife and son in the lounge and both times the waitress turned down their tip telling them I covered it. Maybe a small thing but it made an impression. Bourbon I knew for a few months Airball and Cory would be in town the same time as us. We chatted a bit and decided to do a little tasting. A few weeks before Thanksgiving I came across 3 different bottles of somewhat hard to find Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon for under $200.00 total. Naturally I snapped them up. We ended up with a bottle 12, 15 and 20 year old bourbon to compare. Saturday I spoke to Sopi (or Sophi SP?) to see if we could do our sampling in the lounge which he said was no problem. He is the evening shift bartender and a great guy. This was a perfect set up with the waitresses making sure we were supplied with Fiji water or whatever else we needed and we could smoke cigars or cigarettes and watch sports center after the big game. Coltâ€™s lose to Chargerâ€™s again, the boys lose $50.00. Still pouting. We started with the 12 year old and worked our way up to the older more expensive stuff. Pappy Van Winkle is known for making big bold bourbons and the 12 year old version in no exception. Its nose is quite intense with hints of wood and fruit. I remember thinking mango but no notes were taken. This bourbon is almost like velvet on your palate with a hint of liquorice. The finish is long and powerful. This was a good starter! The 15 YO starts out as the same bourbon as the 20 year old but is bottled after 15 years and at 107 proof compared to the 90.4 proof of the 20. I didnâ€™t notice the stronger proof rating on the label until I nosed and took the 1st sip. After adding just a hint of water this one noses of leather, chocolate and raisins. After adding a little water you can sense the wood fading away letting in hints of rhubarb and even pineapple as you inhale the bouquet. This has great balance and all the Pappy Van Winkleâ€™s I have tried finish huge! Factoring in most people will likely mix 3-5 parts bourbon to one part water and a cost of only $50-$60 for a bottle, this is a real ace. No surprise the 20 year old noses a lot like the 15 year old after you splash some water in the glass of the 15. There is a slight bit more oak and smokiness Iâ€™d guess from the extra five years in the charred barrel. Itâ€™s rich and buttery on your palate almost like the best maple syrup money can buy. Given the age I am impressed how soft and delicate this is on my tongue. The finish is very long and warm. To date this is my favorite bourbon but at about $100 a bottle it is too expensive to drink on a regular basis. If you are looking for something to splurge on look no further. Airball offered in advance to pay for what he and Cory sampled which was nice of him. I was a little embarrassed when he actually paid me. Well, he overpaid me then refused when I tried to give him change. Iâ€™d feel worse but I hooked him up with some pretty incredible scotch on my June trip which was on me. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. I know my son and I had a great time. Iâ€™d do this again in a heart beat if the opportunity presents itself. Tequila Late Monday night Airball called inviting us to try some tequila he found swearing it has a similar profile to Johnnie Walker Blue. That should have been my 1st clue he was drunk as a skunk. We go downstairs and pick up a glass each of Blue Label from Saisha before hopping the tram over to TI. We were to join him at the Isla Bar and almost missed the tram. Like an Olympic sprinters we were forced to run to avoid the 20 minute wait in the cold for the next car. The other tram passengers were laughing when I started licking the Blue Label off my hand that spilled as I ran on board. (Insert jab at Sailor here) Eh, they looked like a bunch of Crown Royal drinkers. Casa Noble Single Barrel Anejo- We walk in and saw Airball was about to fall off his stool. Ok, maybe not fall off but he was rip snorting drunk on tequila. At least he was drinking the good stuff. He immediately gets the bartender; a lady named Teri and asks her about the scotch like tequila. Before we can say â€œwe donâ€™t like tequilaâ€ we each have a glass in front of us. I felt bad because he was running up a big tab. I would have been happy to buy or at the very least share one drink we probably wouldnâ€™t like with my son. BTW, Teri pours a pretty generous drink and is one cool lady to boot. As for the tasteâ€¦.This is a smoother than your average Patron on Don Julio tequila. Iâ€™m not surprised the bottle goes for about $70-$80 retail. I noticed a bit of a smoky flavor which leads me to believe why Teri thought it was scotch like. Trust me other than some very gentle smokiness this is pure tequila and not like any scotch I have ever had. It did go down smooth and my guess is tequila fans would love the long slow finish which seemed to build for a full 20 seconds after I swallowed it. Good stuff! Don Julio 1942- Once the Casa Noble was gone the kid and I were content to sip on our free blue label we carried over from the Mirage. Teri did a great job of trying to find a tequila we would enjoy so we played along. I told her something with a little less de agave on the finish would be her best chance. She suggested the DJ 1942 and offered up a free sample. Iâ€™m sure it helped that Airballâ€™s tab was over $100 at this point and still climbing. This one noses with rich sweet aromas of caramel and toffee. This is so smooth on the palate I almost forgot I was drinking tequila, almost. I tasted flavors of vanilla spices and oak, which did a nice job of blending away the agave flavor that I am not a fan big of. The finish is long with nice vanilla and oak overtones coming to the front. The next time I am hornswaggled into drinking tequila Iâ€™ll be on the lookout for Don Julio 1942. The bottle retails in the $125.00 range or about $20 a glass in a bar. Herradura Seleccion Suprema- Somehow the conversation shifted to cognac so Teri has her male counterpart pull down a fancy lead crystal bottle from the top shelf. She seemed a little more protective of this bottle of tequila but eventually brought over so we could see it. At this point we have probably been in there close to an hour. She offered us a sample of almost anything we wanted and we werenâ€™t even tipping at this point. Did I mention Teri is all about customer service? I enquired as to the per glass price and was quoted $35.00. Um, no thanks Iâ€™ll pass. I just about fell off my chair when she grabbed a snifter off the bar and poured me a free sample without asking. Holy crap that was generous. This one caught me off guard big time as it was more like cognac than tequila. It nosed with hints of candied plumbs, ginger, orange peels and cinnamon. The taste brought more fruity flavors blended nicely with oak. The finish wasnâ€™t short by any means but left me wanting more. Perhaps because my glass was now empty. Bottle price is in the $350.00 range. By now I felt like we were overstaying our welcome and I was worried about Airballâ€™s ever increasing tab so I wanted to leave. After he settled his tab I tipped Teri for her generosity and we were on our way. I hesitate to recommend this to anyone because of the cost but if you enjoy tequila and donâ€™t think $35 is too much for a drink youâ€™d probably enjoy this one. A quick check on the net shows this is highly rated stuff. Cigars Iâ€™m working on cutting back on smoking cigars while home but all that goes out the window in Sin City. My new favorite cigar is the Work of Art Maduro by Arturo Fuente. Fuente only releases these once or twice a year and it took me 3 years to finally track some down. I prefer this to their Anejo line at his time and they were well worth the wait. $8-$10 if you can find them. I also smoked an Oliva Series V Torpedo that won so many awards last year. If you have yet to try one of these you are really missing out. $7.00 Arturo Fuente Hemmingway Churchill-Joanna was nice enough to arrange for me to enjoy one in the Mirageâ€™s baccarat lounge. This was a great smoke and even better comped. $12 back home or $30 for non players in the baccarat bar. The next day I tried some sort of Romeo Y Juliet Churchill sized cigar. It was another comp and not bad. I was craving a Cohiba but they were out of stock in the humidor. I should have taken the other Hemmingway they offered instead. Yes Iâ€™m a whore! I had my 1st bad cigar from Lovo Cigarâ€™s downtown on Fremont Street. The flavor was fine but the cigar was plugged. I gave up about Â¼ of the way through and put it to bed. This was the 1st bad one in about 20 I have had so donâ€™t judge them too harshly. Finally Some Gambling Downtown- My son and I played a lot downtown mostly at Binionâ€™s. They have a decent $5 shoe game in their sexy cowgirl pit where we could at least stare at cleavage when the cards werenâ€™t coming our way. We played about 2 hours a day here and I have to say I am falling in love with Binionâ€™s all over again. If we ever do a guys trip and want to stay downtown it would either be here or the Nugget. We also played a little $3 double deck action at the El Cortez. The dealers here arenâ€™t anywhere near the fun we experienced at Binionâ€™s, maybe because we couldnâ€™t see their racks. You havenâ€™t lived until you park your own car in the El Cortez parking garage. Lol Gold Coast- We had a free room, $100 free food and $50 free gaming. My lilâ€™hottie turned the free play into $136.00 mostly when she hit a $125 spin on the $1 Wheel of Fortune. The final day she hit 3 4 OAKâ€™s in about 15 minutes on a nickel 8/5 job machine. For the record I didnâ€™t play a single hand of VP or any slots. The boys played a lot of $5 double deck and shoe games at the GC. I of course put out some larger bets hoping to earn another comp offer in the future. After all I need my TGI Fridayâ€™s comp. lol The Mirage- Again the boys played some $5 BJ during the day. Randy JR was getting killed here so we opted for another venue for him. I spent a 2-3 hours everyday playing in the baccarat lounge. This trip I experienced the most volatility I have seen playing baccarat in some time. I had 7 different sessions where I lost 100% of my buy in including 5 in a row at one point on the second day. Looking back I was lucky they didnâ€™t clean me out completely on day 2. Luckily I mounted a comeback of sorts by winning or breaking even on my last 6-7 sessions of the trip. A few of those were just $5 BJ with the kid but still it felt good to get on a streak and win back most of what I lost. The last session got me back to within $200 of even for the trip. At 4 am we had just enough energy for a final glass of Blue Label before calling it a night. TI- After the tequila tasting we walked around hoping to sober up Airball. He was plastered enough I didnâ€™t want to leave him alone and he was having no part of calling it an early night. Oddly enough we wound up playing some poker while my son watched as by this his winnings had dwindled down to almost nothing. We landed at a $1-$3 no limit game. I bought in for the minimum of $100.00 since I havenâ€™t played live poker in years. Tequila Boy buys in for $300 which represents the maximum buy in. I played long enough to post blinds twice plus 3-4 more hands. The only excitement came on two different all in bets I made. I was sitting to Airballâ€™s left and he raised every hand he played so I was folding rags like Jiffy Pop pops popcorn. Finally I get AJ off suit and push all in after he raised the blinds to $20.00. Everyone else folded to my massive (lol) $63.00 all in bet except for the table bully, my buddy, Airball. For whatever the dealer didnâ€™t ask us to flip over our cards. Strange? The flop produced AJ7 rainbow. Airball sheepishly brags he has an ace. I boast you lose buddy as another jack comes out on the turn giving me a boat. He probably played 75% of the flops and won all but one other hand he saw all the way to the river, some by bluffing some by having the nuts. For the most part he pushed us all around with his mad skilz and ever increasing chip stack. It was fun to watch and I was proud to take some of his money. Regardless of how drunk he was there is no doubt he was the best player at the table all night. My only other excitement came from purposely misplaying pocket kings. I was about to leave and really didnâ€™t want to lose my buy in. Since I was felt sure no one had pocket aces I shoved all in after Airball raised to only $10 this time. He raised every other hand he played to $20 or $25 so it makes me wonder if I exposed my hand or if he was just mixing it up. No one called my $128 all in so I stole the whopping $14 that was out there. Ah, tip money for my friend April back at the Mirage. I folded 4-5 hands in a row after that before cashing out and walking back to the Mirage to play one more session of baccarat. Airball stayed behind trying to make more friends at the table. Hahaha! Iâ€™m just about done rambling! When the cards quit flying I finished down about $200.00 for the trip. The second day of gambling was so bad I almost quit playing all together. In a Twilight Zone moment L walked into the baccarat lounge at the Mirage 3 times while I was playing. All three times my bet was setting on player and all three times I turned a natural 8 only to have the dealer turn a natural 9. The 1st two times it happened I ended up losing 100% of buy in just after she made an appearance. The 3rd time it happened I got smart, cashed out and went to get a drink. L won $136 off the free play the Gold Coast gave us. Iâ€™m sure it will end up with the good folks at Coach before our next trip. I just gave her a new bag and matching wallet for Christmas. Our son won a grand total of $30.00. I saw him double down a few times on soft 17 & 18 against a dealer 5-6 much to the chagrin of the other players at table. I told them to review their charts. He did well. Sorry no photos were taken. The end.