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TI, Food, Gaming, and More 5/4-5/9

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DaveP, May 15, 2008.

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  1. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Travel
    Delta - Flew Delta from Hartford, through Cincinnati, to Vegas both directions. All flights were on time, departing and arriving. It was amazing. As far as airlines go, the food and beverage service was pretty good. Same beverage selection as everyone else, but they had a choice of snacks (peanuts, pretzels, cinnimon cookies, wheat & cheese crackers).
    Budget - My usual rental company to deal with. Got a Nissan Altima hybrid, and had to figure out how the heck to start the thing. There were instructions on the key fob, but who the heck looks there? My problem was that I didn't have my foot on the brake when pressing the start button. It's odd not having a key. I kept reaching for it when trying to shut the car off. Car was fine.
    Rental Facility Shuttle - Didn't work so well this time. When I got to Vegas last year, I got my bags, and got right on a shuttle to the rental facility. This time, I spent almost 1/2 hour in line at 11:00 PM waiting for a shuttle. The lines (multiple) for the shuttle were huge.

    Getting through security in Vegas was QUICK. I never stopped walking from the time I got in the rope until when I was through security. The slow part was the self-service check in. Check in was quick, but then dropping off the one bag took 20 minutes.

    Hotel
    TI - Got 3 nights comped up front, 2 at casino rate (149?). The room on the 20th floor had a view of pool, and the south Strip. The rooms have been redecorated since I was there last, a couple years ago. The furniture is very contemporary. They've added a flat screen TV. The Web TV still sucks. I got it for 2 hours at something like $5.99 to check email, and I was done in 15 minutes.

    The mouse, a little joystick type thing, is not very accurate, and not much of a Web page is displayed, requiring up/down and left/right scrolling. Annoying. The offer I had included $225 in free play and $100 food credit. After acquiring about 10,000 points on their players card, they wouldn't comp any more.

    Gambling
    OK, all you dealers out there, don't listen to this. I played Let It Ride (a lot), Caribbean Stud (once), and Rapid Roulette (once). "Hi, my name is Dave, and I like Let It Ride". OK, now that I admitted that, I feel better. What's step 2? I've always liked the game, and after hitting the full house twice on this trip for $530 each time, I like it even more. One was at Palazzo, one at TI. Playing Caribbean Stud was a nostalgia thing. Can't find much of it any more. The dealer at Bellagio told me MGM/Mirage only has it there and at Excalibur. Rapid Roulette was just to try it out to say I've done it. Turned $20 into $27 at Wynn while waiting for Spamalot.

    Played lots of video poker, mostly bonus poker and triple play bonus poker, but didn't have a whole lot of luck. Did OK, but nothing over four-of-a-kind. Most of my Players Club points came from VP.

    Played some regular poker, getting to the final table in one tournament at TI. Sure there were only 2 tables to start, but I was in the 50th percentile!

    Because of the LIR wins, I was able to play with house money a good part of the trip. Nothing notable in other gambling.

    Breakfasts
    Hash House A Go Go - First trip to this restaurant. The menu is funky, with some odd offerings, but it was very good. I had the Andy's Fried Chicken Benedict, described as "Andy's sage fried chicken w/ fresh spinach, hardwood smoked bacon, market tomato, griddled mozzarella, chipotle cream and scrambled eggs". This started with a big pile of griddled mashed red-skinned potatoes (could have been a little crispier). A split biscuit was put on the potatoes. Then it was topped with the fresh baby spinach leaves and tomato. On top of this was the bacon, then a huge piece of boneless fried chicken. The chicken was easily a 1/2 lb. Then came the eggs, mozzarella and chipotle cream (mild). It was huge, and it was very good. It's fun to see people new to the restaurant gape at the dishes coming out.
    Jamm's - Second trip here. And I've over ordered each time, only because I wanted to try different things. I had an excellent spinach feta omelet, made with lots of fresh spinach and a good amount of feta. Along with that, I had the pot of bread and great, crispy hash browns. But I wanted to try the biscuits & gravy, so had a 1/2 order of that on the side. I was very full and very happy leaving there.
    Blueberry Hill - First trip here. Visited the location on East Flamingo. If you're hungry, get an omelet. A huge omelet. I didn't. I got the chicken fried chicken, scrambled eggs with cheese, hash browns, and toast. You could get pancakes instead of the hash browns and toast. The chicken was a little bland, and the hash browns were a little undercooked for my tastes. Country gravy and some pepper helped the chicken. Overall, the food was decent. I would go back.
    TI Coffee Shop - Second or third visit since they remodeled. Very average food. Slow service. Only go for the convenience.

    Lunch
    Metro Pizza - First visit. Went to the location in Ellis Island. Didn't want to try a pre-made slice, so I ordered a small pepperoni pizza and a homemade root beer. The root beer was excellent. The pizza was very good. Not the best of the trip, but very good. Tough to beat for the $10.
    Grimaldi's - First visit. I met Mikey here for lunch. Started with a Pilsner Urquell on tap, a nice option. The got a medium pepperoni and onion pizza. It was an excellent choice, ranking up with some of the best options found in Connecticut (home of the best pizza in the world). A nice thin, crisp crust, fresh mozzarella, hand-cut pepperoni. A nice lunch.
    Great Wraps @ Fashion Show Mall - First visit (I think). A good place for a quick, inexpensive bite. I had a Philly Cheese Wrap, with provolone, lettuce, diced tomato, onion, and mayo. They wrap it up, and then throw the thing in a sandwich press to warm up and toast the outside. With fries and drink for under $9.

    Dinner
    Cravings @ Mirage- Fifth? Sixth visit? I like this buffet. Runs about $28 a person with tax. I've done the reviews before, as have many others. My favorites on this trip were the Mongolian beef, the crab legs (cold), and the dumplings. Lots of other good choices too. My only buffet on this trip, and still one of my favorites.
    Cathay House on Spring Mountain - First visit. Not sure if I'll go back. We were looking for a dim sum restaurant. Their Web site says "Featuring our famous Dim Sum daily until 10 pm". Must mean 10 pm the previous day, because when we got there around 6:00 PM, there was no dim sum. Only the regular menu. No dim sum carts anywhere in site. Since we were there, we decided to stay. Problem #2 was the fried shrimp appetizer - very greasy. Then they got my order wrong - third disappointment of night. Only way I would be back is if they were indeed serving dim sum.
    Cozymel's on East Flamingo - 1st and last visit. Wanted to try a new Mexican restaurant, should have stayed with a proven choice. Started with the guacamole made tableside. It was way too salty. Our first mistake was not having it remade. Then came the entrees. My father loves seafood chimichangas, but he wants them plain - no sauce, no melted cheese, no salsa. He wants them crisp, he explained this to the waiter, and the waiter repeated the order back so there was no understanding. When the chimi came, it didn't have sauce, but it did have the melted cheese and salsa on top. OK, no problem, restaurants make mistakes. We explained this to the person who delivered the food (not the waiter). He took it back to the kitchen and returned about a minute later. There was nothing on the chimi, but it wasn't a new one. Someone in the kitchen had removed the salsa, and flipped the chimi over on the plate, so the melted cheese was now on the bottom. They just flipped it over?!?! Talk about first class. We sent it back with the waiter this time, and it took them 10+ minutes to come back with the right order. And it wasn't very good then. It had more black beans in it than seafood. Next time, we'll go to Viva Mercado or Don Miguel.
    Carnegie Deli - Fifth? Sixth visit? Love this place. Absolutely love it. This time, I had the open faced turkey sandwich. This starts with a slice of rye bread, topped with a ridiculous amount of very thinly sliced turkey, covered with gravy. And it comes with choice of potato and choice of coleslaw or baked beans. I had fried and coleslaw. Too much to eat and very good. I wish we had something similar close to home. Probably a good thing that we don't.

    Late Night
    TI Coffee Shop - Arrived in Vegas very late on Sunday night, and didn't check in at TI until midnight. By then, there were very few choices for food. OK, only one choice. The Coffee Shop. Everything else was closed. I thought about walking across to Grand Lux, but knew they had a limited menu after midnight. And I was tired, so I ate here instead. The Coffee Shop also has a limited late night menu. I had French onion soup and a Caesar salad. They were pretty good. Can't complain.
    Venetian food court - Second visit. Was at the Venetian and was hungry. I got a sucky "authentic" Philly cheese steak at their food court. Sucky because the steak was cut in strips, and was very tough. Very, very tough. And I though authentic (their word) Philly cheese steaks had shaved steak. And no lettuce, tomato, or mayo.
    Carnegie Deli cookies - First time. Yes, Vegasbound, they're good. But not better than the cheesecake. An order is actually 2 cookies. Big like everything else in the place. Good for a snack over 2 nights.

    Other food and beverage
    Mirage iced tea now sucks. They used to have good fresh brewed iced tea. Now it has some kind of funky aftertaste, like TI iced tea.
    Got to meet up with Mikey, Ali, and Habana Man at the Mirage. Goot to chat a bit, and meet some over Vegas junkies.

    Entertainment
    Mamma Mia - Third time. Got discount ticket through Goldstar. Sat mid-orchestra and had a great view. This show is still great, with lots of energy. There were more laughs than I remember, and that may be due to the cast changes. The mother and one of her friends were the same as last year. Most of the other major players are new since I saw it. Love the way the band wakes up the audience at the end of intermission.
    Spamalot - First time. Got discount ticket through Goldstar. My ticket was for the balcony, but there was a small crowd that night (Tuesday), and the ushers were directing everyone to the orchestra. I was left of center, about 10 rows back. The dialog was funny, but it does help to be a Monty Python fan. Some of the songs dragged on a bit too long. The Lady of the Lake was a bit too much. Overly dramatic? Flashy? Not sure if it was the part or the player. The guy next to me left half way though the show. I was glad it was a discount ticket.
    Penn & Teller - First time. Got a discount ticket at Tix 4 Tonight at Fashion Show Mall. Seat was in the front mezzanine. You want to sit closer than that. There are some small-scale tricks that you need to be up front to see. Overall, I was disappointed in this show. It was nothing spectacular, magic-wise. They do explain some of their tricks, which is cool. It wasn't political at all, as I heard it could be. Like Spamalot, I was glad it was a discount ticket.
    IMAX Mystery of the Nile @ Luxor - Second time at IMAX here, first time for this show. Yes, IMAX is still there. I didn't notice any changes to the entertainment level of Luxor from last year. There weren't many people at this show at 4:00 PM. The show was very good. It was about a group of scientists that travel from the source of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia all the way down through Sudan and Egypt out to the sea. Most of the time is spent in rubber rafts and a kayak, but there is some photography from a plane. And it is educational. Worth the money.
    Guggenheim @ Venetian - Second visit, first for the Modern Masters show. The Guggenheim at the Venetian is going away (has gone away?) and the admission was free. I'm not much of an art person, so I don't think I got so much out of this as others would, but the price was right. There were a few Picassos, a Van Gogh, some Monets, Manets (?), and other abstract stuff.
    Atomic Testing Museum on East Flamingo - First visit. This is just east of the Strip, at the corner of Swenson. On your way in, watch the speed bumps. They're killers. Admission is $12, and you can easily spend a couple hours here if you read all the information available, and watch the movies. There's some pretty cool stuff. The museum is set up as a timeline. You start off just before the first atomic test in the desert, and work your way through modern times. Good for kids old enough to understand at least the basics.

    Other
    • I've driven around the city enough to start calling everyone else "damn tourists".
    • I've also driven around the city enough to know there are too many traffic lights.
    • Next time, I will follow directions to Grimaldi's.
    • City Center grown a lot in past year. When I was there last may, it wasn't really there yet. Now it's huge. There's also massive development north of Riviera and Circus Circus.
    • Vegas wasn't so crowded, but comps aren't any easier to come by.
    • I hate jackhammers. Especially the indoor ones in TI and NYNY.
    • Don't go to the Fashion Show Mall to get a new watch battery, unless you want to pay $25 to have it put in. And they won't even look at a Timex.
    • Not one single proposition from a hooker. Maybe I have to visit the Tropicana. At least for the ego boost.
     
  2. DonD

    DonD Super Moderator

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    Great report Dave. I like the way you laid it out.
    It's funny, but when Let It Ride first came out I played it for a few hours every trip. Now I never play it. :confused2:
     
  3. cougarenegade

    cougarenegade Tourist

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    i also love the carnegie deli. maybe my favorite place to eat in vegas.
    looks like a great trip to me.
     
  4. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

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    Wow, $225 in free play?? That is awesome! I've never gotten more than $75!
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  5. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

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    Last month, I had the strawberry cheesecake and it was far better than varieties I tried before. It'll be tough to choose between that or the cookies next time. Who am I kidding, I'll probably get both.

    Glad you had a good time.
     
  6. angel81chick

    angel81chick Abuelita

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    Great TR!

    I actually liked the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, a bit too much, but I'm pretty sure that was the point!

    Anyway, glad you had fun!
     
  7. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    I like your way of thinking. I'll try that next time too!

    Maybe I'm just not a big enough Monty Python fan. And it's been a looooooong time since I've see The Holy Grail.
     
  8. Blueberries

    Blueberries Low-Roller

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    Enjoyed your trip report.
    Carnegie Deli? Well, I'll have to keep my eyes open for that.
     
  9. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    Enjoyed your report. The Carnegie Deli is in TI correct?
     
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  10. Texas Pam

    Texas Pam Low-Roller

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    Thanks for your trip report. I've also had some rough times getting to the airport facility -- 3 times it's happened where I waited anywhere from 1/2 hour to an hour just to get on a bus.

    Also appreciate your restaurant reviews, especially about Jamm's. I'm going to check it out next weekend. Were there any lines?

    You've also convinced me to see Mama Mia. I've been putting it off for the longest time.
     
  11. Blueberries

    Blueberries Low-Roller

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    gmoney590, thanks.
    I've never visited TI, but now I will....after all, I do have to eat between all the fun and gambling....oh, I can't wait.
     
  12. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

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    Carnegie Deli is at The Mirage, up front, near the entrance/exit heading to Caesars.

    Both times I went to Jamm's, I was seated right away. But it was mid-week both times. I arrived around 9:00 AM or so, and it was about 1/2 full each time. I have heard of others talk about lines on weekends.

    Get to Mamma Mia soon if you can. It's scheduled to end it's run in Vegas some time soon. Year end, I think. Not sure of that though.
     
  13. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    Thanks Dave. We'll be staying at the Mirage for part of our next trip we'll have to check it out.
     
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