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Sept 15-17 The Feast of San Gennaro

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Lori R, Sep 19, 2006.

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  1. Lori R

    Lori R Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    This is my first trip report on this board. It's a little long so please bear with me.

    This trip has been on the books since February. I heard about the feast last year and I was determined I would get to it. The feast of San Gennaro is one of the few things I really miss about New York.

    I traveled with two friends: Connie and Flamingo Mo, as she likes to be called (C and FM henceforth). On Thursday, a quick check on weather.com told us we would have days in the mid 80s and nights in the 60's Woo Hoo. We left San Diego at 8:30 on Friday morning in our rental car, an Impala. C brought fresh bagels and cream cheese and we had plenty of water and snacks in the car. We stopped in Barstow for fuel and refreshments and arrived in Vegas at 1:30 pm to check in at the Flamingo.

    Check in went without incident and we got rooms near each other but not next door or connecting. C got to her room first and exclaimed her delight upon opening the door. FM and I were well convinced that, after C's reaction, we were going to love our room. Not so. It smelled moldy and it needed a renovation. The view was awful. We overlooked the HVAC units on the casino roof. A quick call to the front desk got us a new room in another tower. It was one of the renovated ones--not the newest--but satisfactory. C didn't change rooms as she was already upacked by the time we started back to the desk to pick up our new keys.

    After we settled in, we went downstairs to start losing money. After all, the food will still be there in an hour. We played until we got really hungry.

    We jumped back in the car and headed out to the feast. I have to say that I was a little disappointed in it. Of course, compared to what goes on in Little Italy in NY, I don't think any other venue could live up to expectations. I was rather pleased to see a presence of local restaurants and caterers.

    Nevertheless, undaunted, I thoroughly enjoyed a sausage, pepper and onion sandwich. Next course was a rice ball (made with risotto instead of rice) that we all shared. Then, we each had a slice of pizza. Could have lived without that. Now, what I really wanted were zeppolis and they had them there at 6 for a dollar. We each had two as C and FM had never tasted them. Then C and I went for cannoli. She had the chocolate chip and mine had the shell dipped in chocolate. That was the best. The only thing I didn't have that I wanted was a meatball sandwich. At that point, I couldn't have eaten anything else. I was also anticipating clams on the half shell but didn't see any. Might have to fly to NY for that.

    We were fed and watered. Now it was time to gamble serious. Since FM had never been downtown and since C and I enjoy gambling there, we decided that was our next stop. On the way over, I began to notice an inordinate amount of motorcycles. I mean they were everywhere. As we got to Fremont Street, we found out why. BIKEFEST 2006. With all the characters one normally sees downtown, we have now added a few hundred (probably more) Hell's Angels and the like to the mix. There were motorcycle exhibits, beer trucks and tattoos everywhere up and down Fremont.

    We were gambling at the GN and came out for the canopy show. We saw the patriotic one. It was good. Then, back into the GN. Next thing you know, FM is tapping me on the shoulder telling me that we need to go. C no longer felt comfortable there as she noticed a very strong police presence, including a few officers on horseback. My feeling on this subject is that there might have been trouble but, with all the police there, it would either be pre-empted or would end quickly enough. I didn't feel very threatened but, when you're traveling with others, you need to take their discomfort into account.

    We walked over to the Lady Luck to get our parking validated only to find out they were closed for reno (I guess I knew this in the back of my mind from reading the newsletter but I didn't connect the dots). The only other place to get validated were some of the restaurants/bars along that street (3rd I believe). We looked over and it was all motorcycles and people hanging out on the sidewalk. We were not in our milieu here and there was no way we were going in. Plus, now we would have to pay for something like drinks or food. We paid for the parking.

    On the way back to the strip (about 9pm), we decided to see the fountains. Parked at Flamingo and walked over to Bellagio. The winds were very high all day and I was skeptical as to whether they would be running the fountains. Turns out I was correct--no fountains. Went to see the conservatory with the models of national monuments and the trains running through it. It was very nice. On previous trips, I had forgotten to see the chocolate fountain. I saw it this time. That store is pure heaven. I'm actually quite surprised that I didn't buy anything but I was still reasonably stuffed with Italian food.

    Back to the Flamingo we went. We hung out there and gambled a bit and then C decided she was tired and wanted to turn in. We bid her good night and we stayed in the casino. Later, FM came up to me and asked if I wanted to go to another casino. Sure, why not?

    I presssed the payout button on my machine and nothing happened. On the screen it said, see attendant for hand pay. What the? I only had $15 in the machine. What could be going on? Then I looked up and almost every machine around me had the attendant light on. People were just sitting at their machines doing nothing. Turns out the casino computer went down. This by itself, is somewhat inconvenient but it was down for hours and there were only two slot attendants in our part of the casino (nearest the strip) with hundreds of machines flashing. I thought, "OK, I'll just play out the $15, no big deal." Couldn't do that. The machine was in payout mode so the money was in limbo. What fresh hell is this?

    As I couldn't leave my machine, FM went to speak to the casino manager about getting some other people to help and they just shrugged their shoulders. There will be a strongly worded letter in the mail in the next day or two, with a copy to Mr. Don Marrandino.

    Finally, after about an hour, the two attendants came over into our area. They were helping this one woman who was playing two machines right across from me. I started to shmooze them. I told them how sorry I felt for them and that it wasn't their fault, etc., etc. They came and took care of me next. Another woman across from me had been waiting two hours.

    We got out of there fast and ran over to the BC. That is a fun little casino. I liked it very much. We stayed until we couldn't see straight. The Flamingo sets up a disc jockey in the courtyard out front and it gathers a rather large crowd with people dancing. Looks like fun but I have no real appreciation for rap music.

    Saturday morning, we were up at crack o' dawn. We headed out to Paris for breakfast. It was crisp and cool outside. Just a perfect day. We got to the buffet around 8am and walked right in. Good start. After breakfast, we played a little at Paris. Then, we headed over to Aladdin and played there for a while.

    When we tired of Aladdin, we walked back up the strip and ended up in Harrah's. We tired of that place pretty quickly but noticed that they had a bunch of computer stations to print our boarding passes for the next day for $5, minimum. We were about 45 minutes away from being able to do so. On to Casino Royale. It's kind of a dump but we played for a while. Since I haven't won anything yet--anywhere--I'm pretty bored so I told the girls to give me their confirmations from Southwest and I would go back to Harrah's to print them. While I was passing the front desk, I thought, "Why not?" I went up to the front desk and asked if they would do that for us. They would. When the desk clerk finished, I asked him how much it would be and he told me no charge. I gave him a couple of bucks for his efforts. Ok, our one stressor for the day, the coveted "A" ticket, is now behind us.

    We left shortly thereafter and headed up to the Venetian. Gambled there for a while and I actually did a little ok on a Top Dollar penny machine. I wasn't feeling well as I was brewing a cold so I was a little subdued. FM and C were having a good time so I just kind of hung out.

    Then, C was feeling a little peckish and wanted a light snack. I suggested that there were a couple of places at the Wynn where we could find something suitable. We found Zoozacrackers (sp?) and each had a bowl of soup (mine was matzoh ball). Then, we played for a while at the Wynn. Felt a little love from the machines but all too quickly donated it back.

    After some time, we decided to go back and change for dinner. We walked all the way back to the Flamingo and, if I'd had my preference I would have gone to bed but I was treating dinner so onward I pushed.

    Due to my compromised state of health, C drove us over to Luxor. We ate dinner at Giorgio Caffe and it was wonderful, especially with my Restaurant.com coupon for $25 off.

    We played a while at Luxor and then, about 9:30, headed over to Albertson's for drugs (some cold medicine--nothing illicit). Then, drove back to Flamingo. Still smarting from the FUBAR of the night before, we promptly walked over to the BC. I lasted a little while but I finally gave up and went back to the Flamingo about 10:30. On the way back, I watched some rapid roulette. I think I will try that next time in town. Back in the room, it felt good just to be off my feet relaxing and reading a magazine.

    Next morning, up at 7am. Still feeling kind of crappy but I did need some breakfast. We drove over to Peppermill. C and I both love it. FM had never been. She liked it too. We drove back to the hotel, checked out and promptly went over to the BC to close out the trip. No great love shown anywhere. I probably dropped about $500, all tolled.

    Left BC about 10:30, returned the AVIS car and we were at our gate by noon for a 1:05 flight. Flight boarded about 1/2 hour late and then we sat on the runway for another 1/2 hour. We counted at least 20 planes backed up behind us. Landed in San Diego about 2:45 PM.

    I went to sleep at 5pm and woke up at 9am the next day.

    Next trip is 17 days!!!!

    Hope this wasn't too long or boring.

    LR
     
  2. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the report! I used to go to the San Gennaro festival in New Haven years ago, and was wondering how the Vegas version would compare. I even saw their Web site a couple weeks ago, and wished I could be out in Vegas to see it. I guess nothing out West can compare to the New York/New Haven versions. But how bad can it be? It's in Vegas!
     
  3. Lori R

    Lori R Tourist

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    I think part of the big difference was the atmosphere. I mean, on Mulberry Street, you have the full Little Italy experience. This feast was in a parking lot of a shopping center. How Italian is it with Sears Essentials in the background? The food was good but I don't think they had as much variety as one would find in NYC. As I recall, in NY, Ferrara's had a few booths there, along with Umberto's. This feast would maybe have filled up two city blocks. The food was on the interior quad. The exterior quad had different vendors--none of which had anything to pique my interest. They did have a lot of rides and such so it looks like it would be a fun thing for a family.
     
  4. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Lori,
    It sounded like you guys meant business. No monkeying around, just partying, gambling and eating.
    I agree about the BC being a fun casino to hang out at night in. You wouldn't think it, as it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the bigger joints.
    You need to come MM or N-SF some time.
     
  5. Lori R

    Lori R Tourist

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    Hi Chef,

    OK, but what are MM and N-SF? The BC wasn't trying to be anything. I think that's why I felt comfortable. There's no attitude and nobody seemed uptight. While all the other casinos feel that they have to chase the twenty and thirtysomethings, BC isn't constantly reinventing itself.

    I like your observation. I never really thought of it that way. I like to travel with people who don't make "plans." I'm not a good time manager when I'm in LV and trying to follow a schedule just gives me stress. Having done all the tourist stuff enough, although there are a few things I haven't yet done or seen, it's just a question of doing whatever we want. We come to gamble, primarily, and eat and we get down to business.....fast.

    Lori
     
  6. sailor53

    sailor53 Tourist

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    Great report! Thanks for posting. Zoozacrackers sounds like something to add to my must do list.
     
  7. Lori R

    Lori R Tourist

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    Zoozacrackers had a good menu. The soup was pretty good (matzoh balls not as good as mother used to make) but it was a rather large bowl. Otherwise, sandwiches looked like regular deli fare. It is right next to either a sports bar or the sports book (truth be known, my sinuses were so congested, I couldn't see straight) so it can get noisy if a game is in progress. I will say this as well, booths were some of the most comfortable I've ever sat in. Good place for a casual bite to eat.

    LR
     
  8. Vegasbaby

    Vegasbaby Low-Roller

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    You are right I have been to the feast in NYC a couple of times now and it is amazing so much food. It is OOOHHH SOOOOO GOOOOOD! I didn't know LV had a Feast aswell. Where abouts is it, and which parking lot. Thanks.
     
  9. Lori R

    Lori R Tourist

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    Hi Vegasbaby,

    The feast was in the parking lot of a shopping center on Flamingo just west of where the 215 intersects it. Here is a link to their website for next year.
    I don't see directions yet (could be they're changing venues) but, as the date gets closer, they will post all those particulars on their website.

    http://www.sangennarofeast.net/

    Bon appetito!

    Lori
     
  10. Vegasbaby

    Vegasbaby Low-Roller

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    Thanks Lori R. 3 days to go.
     
  11. Lori R

    Lori R Tourist

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    I left you some money over at Paris last weekend. Go get it!!!

    LR
     
  12. Vegasbaby

    Vegasbaby Low-Roller

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    HAHA. I will try as long as I get some free time from the conference.
     
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