Trip Report from March 3-6, 2013. Had a great time as always! Here are 10 Things That Happened While in Vegas. 1. Andiamo Steakhouse at the D. This place is outstanding and gives my previous favorite, Vic & Anthony's, a serious run for the money. Dined at the bar, which consists of six seats and is very comfortable for dining. Met an extremely kind and professional server/bartender named Shannon who was great company for the visit (bar was completely empty while I was there, which was late on a Sunday evening). I ordered the filet mignon and a side of roasted potatoes. Everything was outstanding. The steak prepared to perfection. But be forewarned: the roasted potatoes are enough to feed a family. Maybe even an army. But they're very good and well-seasoned, so don't hesitate. Shannon also brought over a basket of bread with a side of spread. This spread contained olives and eggplant - two of my favorite foods. All excellent. The atmosphere here is very decorative with a modern flair. It's dim, but not too dim. And the bar area is a more peaceful place at which to dine than, say Vic & Anthony's. This is due to its design. It's only open at one end, whereas Vic & Anthony's is open at both. As I sat there, I noticed that having only one open end cuts down on both noise and traffic, making for a more tranquil dining experience. Less clinking of utensils and dishware. This place takes downtown steak houses up a notch. Definitely come check it out. 2. Patio Bar Outside of Four Queens. When I first heard they were opening this bar, I wasn't at all excited. I thought the last thing Fremont needed was another outdoor bar. It would probably just add to the increasing clutter. But I take that all back now. This bar works. It's great because of its location right at the corner of the D and the next door cover band stage. This gives you a good, fenced-in, front row seat of the band, the Fremont foot traffic, and all the drunk dancers by the stage. Drink service is good and there are overhead heaters if it's cold. And if a drunk panhandler wants to come bug you, he/she would have to hop the fence surrounding the bar area. Which probably wouldn't go so well for said panhandler. So you have sorta like a Four Queens-activated force field around you. Nice. For me, this patio has now surpassed the outdoor Golden Nugget Starbuck's patio as the premier people-watching spot. Wrote a little more about it w/some photos at the link below if you want more details. 3. Presidential Limo. Probably my 10th time or so riding with them. And it's always a great experience. Decided not to request one of my favorite drivers this time and just do luck of the draw. How else can you meet new people? And once again, I lucked out. A really nice driver named Patricia from Wisconsin picked me up at the airport for the ride downtown. Great ride and conversation along the way. I know it's more expensive than a cab or bus, but for some reason I never feel ripped off when I go this way. And no lines is always a huge plus in Vegas (since we all know Vegas time moves at twice the pace of regular time). 4. Terminal 3. Unfortunately, I landed at the new terminal this trip. In a word: Boring. Need another word? Disappointing. Need another? I could go on. Ugh. This terminal takes away everything that was cool and unique about flying into Vegas! It's eerily sterile, no slot machines, no show advertisements on the big screens, and an impossibly long corridor of baggage claim carousels. Seriously, it looked like a house of mirrors containing baggage carousels.It just goes on forever. I was immediately depressed and rushed out of there as quickly as possible. Jumped into Patricia's waiting limo and headlong into "real" Vegas. That terminal is sad enough to make me rethink which airline I book when flying into town. 5. Golden Nugget. The more I stay, the more I like. I've probably called this my temp Vegas home at least once a year since 2007 and it just keeps getting better. I love that they've added some bars that work like Bar 46 and the Ice Bar by the lobby. They usually have pretty good incentives/comps even if you don't play much (I rarely play here). This time around, they were giving out $50 gift cards good for any Landry's location (Rush Lounge excluded). Plus, if you ask, they'll give you a coupon book good for a lot, including $10 match play and a few free drinks (Rush Lounge NOT excluded, although you're getting beer or well drinks). 6. Free Coffee. Just wanted to slide this one in here just in case...if you're staying downtown, most hotels will comp you coffee at any of the bars (even if you're not playing). El Cortez always asks to see my room key. Golden Nugget takes my word for it. Just nice to know if you want to grab a quick coffee in the morning and your room doesn't have a coffee machine. 7. Cafe Cortez for Breakfast. If you're so inclined, grab the Ham & Eggs. I was surprised at what a nice chunk of ham they serve you, complete with bone in middle. Add the toast, eggs, potatoes, and bottomless coffee to the mix, and this is one of the best deals in town for under $10. 8. Gambling. Made out okay one night in blackjack at Golden Gate. Lost track of time and before I knew it half the night was gone. Knocked off about 3:00 am just about even. Played Craps at Binions for a couple of hours the next day. It was a $5 so it lasted a while. Left up about $150. But VP at the Parlour Bar at El Cortez took it all back and then some. But no complaints. I had a blast and some good conversation while donating. 9. Carnaval Court. I really appreciate and enjoy good, solid flairtending skills. A friend of mine does this in town and the amount of practice that goes into it is unreal. So I usually come here for a brief visit each trip to see some of the best in action. The Court, now remodeled, looks pretty much the same, just a little more more updated. Same great flairtenders. If you're there when Flippy is working, ask him to do the "baby with the bottle" thing. He'll know what you mean. Then prepare to be entertained. 10. Dave "the Sax Man" Brown at the Rush Lounge. I can watch the guy out on Fremont, Carl "Safe Sax" Ferris, for a short while. But usually I find myself walking on after about five minutes. But Dave? I can sit at the Rush Lounge bar and listen to him all night long. He's got a great memory, too. As a tradition, I always request he play "Turn Your Love Around," by George Benson. He always does...and fits the sax into the song as well. Only now, when he sees me, he smiles and speaks into the mike "I got your song, man." And then he plays it. And I sing along like a pathetic drunken sailor. Only in Vegas. Next trip scheduled for June 2013. I’ll report back then!