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Veni, Vidi, Vino

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by westie, May 13, 2016.

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  1. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,022
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60

    My Trip Report

    Veni, Vidi, Vino

    (we came, we saw, we drank wine)

    April 23-May 7, 2016



    April 23 - We flew Southwest Airlines nonstop from Bradley (soon to be) International Airport using rapid rewards credits, but first we dropped Brody off at Beaverbrook Animal Hospital where he had reserved the Elvis suite for 2 weeks. Yes, he has decided more space would be required now that there are a pair of resident cats. We continued on to Executive Valet Parking where I tended a $60 fixed rate coupon from LazFly that the office manager agreed to accept. https://www.executivevalet.com/



    On arriving at the airport we checked our bags and proceeded to security. I noticed there was no one in the TSA precheck line so I approached the agent and, without even inquiring, she ushered me into the fast lane. Ann was at the end of one of the long security lines completely oblivious to my absence so I waved for her to come hither and lickity split we cleared security with our belts, jackets and shoes in place. Were those boos and hisses I heard emanating from the unruly masses standing in the slow moving security lines?



    Our flight was largely uneventful save for a bit of turbulence and our arrival was 20 minutes ahead of schedule though most of that was lost waiting for our luggage. We boarded the first shuttle to the remote parking facility and then joined a large group waiting for the Fox shuttle to arrive. We were told only 1 shuttle was currently operating so it took longer than usual. On arriving at the lot, we found a line of 20-25 people in the office and only 2 agents doing their utmost to up sell every customer. I thought take a deep breath, relax, repeat.



    It took a good 90 minutes before we were able to proceed to the lot with paperwork in hand only to discover several others were waiting for cars. Again, take a deep breath, relax, repeat as necessary. 20 minutes later we drove off in a Toyota Corolla with 46,121 miles on the odometer. The only good news, and it pales in comparison to the time wasted, was my all-in rate for 2 weeks was $267.37.



    My blood pressure was off the charts and, with the 3 hour time change, we were both bushed, bothered and bewildered so we decided to dine before checking in at the Grandview. I had been craving a gyro for a few weeks so we settled on Stephano's Greek & Mediterranean Grill on Eastern Avenue where we each ordered a lamb and beef gyro plus a soda. http://stephanoslv.com/ This is a fast casual restaurant where orders are placed at the counter. We also tried some complimentary pickled turnip that was nothing if it wasn't colorful.

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    The gyros were pretty good though the pita was from a package and there was a wee bit too much grilled onion and a wee too little tzatziki sauce. ($27.14, 2.5 Forks)



    After picking up bottled water and a few other items at a Walgreens, we checked in at the Grandview Las Vegas, a timeshare property situated on Las Vegas Blvd, some 7 miles from Mandalay Bay, but only a hop, skip and jump, or, in our case, a shuffle, limp and stumble from the South Point Casino. http://www.vacationvillageresorts.com/VVR/grandview_las_vegas/



    We scored a room in the Iris tower and managed to pick-up our parking pass and funbooks without much in the way of a sales pitch after I recognized the agent and told her she caused us enough grief on our last visit which produced a few chuckles from the other agents. She was a good sport though I had to snatch the funbooks out of her paw.



    It was bedtime for both Bonzo and the Westies.



    April 24 – 2:30 AM and I was out the door on my way to Green Valley Ranch Resort (GVR) to put in my first session of full pay deuces wild video poker (FPDW VP). Stations was running a promotion where you swipe for prizes after earning 5 points – swipe I did, earning a $5 free bet that I lost on the come out line at a craps table. After playing VP and losing for about 3 full hours, I decided enough was more than enough.

    I could not find our car on the top level of the parking garage and was about to return to the casino to report it stolen when I realized the number on the key was not the license plate number, but an inventory number. Take a deep breath, relax, repeat as necessary.

    On my way back I stopped at a Smith's to pick up OJ, milk and a few apples. Prior to waking up Sleeping Beauty, I spent an hour in the computer room at the Grandview.



    Breakfast was at Baguette Cafe, located in an office park off W Sunset, where much to our disappointment we discovered Oliver's mother, aka the queen of the kitchen, was on holiday in France. Each of us ordered a croissant and egg sandwich – Swiss cheese omelet, spinach, tomato basil sauce on a hot croissant.

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    The thin omelet in a hot, buttery croissant was melt in your mouth delicious.

    ($13.35, 4.5 Forks)

    On our return, we stopped by the equestrian center at the South Point where the American Quarter Horse Association was holding a competition. The horses were beautiful, the riders dressed to the nines, but the competition was a big yawner so we departed after a few minutes.

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    We also visited the box office for tickets to Gotta Dance, but realized it was not the Broadway-bound musical starring Stefanie Powers and Georgia Engel. The ticket price was modest after I combined a Las Vegas Advisor (LVA) 2 for 1 coupon with a $25 gift card won last October so we decided to take a flier.

    Later in the afternoon we attended the show “Best of Kander and Ebb” in Freedom Hall at Sun City Anthem. Who are Kander and Ebb you ask? They were a very successful songwriting team who wrote the score for many musicals and movies including Cabaret, Zorba and Chicago. The show starred Bill Fayne, Reva Rice, Eric Jordan Young, Ashley Fuller and Ron Remke.

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    Ann with Eric Jordan Young

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    Though the production value was minimal, the singers were excellent. ($30, 4 Claps)

    After going without an adult beverage the previous night, we headed to Ellis Island Casino & Brewery for what proved to be our almost nightly wine fix courtesy of the LVA's 3 rounds of drinks for 2 coupons. Mr. Robert Mondavi (Cabernet) received the call this evening though we are, if nothing else, equal opportunity drinkers. Our modus operandi is to limit ourselves to 2 glasses of wine each evening followed by bottles of water to go though we once tried the reverse and were detained by a security guard.

    Dinner this evening was at Yonaka Modern Japanese on W Flamingo. http://www.yonakajapaneserestaurant.com/ This highly regarded restaurant did not disappoint. We ordered crispy Brussel sprouts (lemon chili, mint and puffed rice), karaage (fried chicken, jalapeno, basil and onion), crunchy calamari (spinach, mango, cashews, candied ginger, and jalapeno vinaigrette) and tea brined ribs (citrus-honey-tea glaze and sesame seeds).

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    A complimentary plate of Asian pear, apples and lemon oil between courses proved to be refreshing while a pair of white chocolate ganaches concluded the meal. Each dish was skillfully prepared using the freshest of ingredients with a shoutout extended to the Brussel sprouts and calamari for being the best in class. ($40.59, 4.5 Forks)

    We made our usual lap around the South Point before calling it a night.

    April 25 – GVR was offering double points on either Mon or Tue so I played on Ann's card this morning. Though I hit numerous 5OAKS (5 of a kind) and a few wild royal flushes, I still lost my shirt on this rainy Monday morning.

    After enjoying pastries from CraftKitchen on our last trip, we decided to have a sit down breakfast this morning with each of us choosing avocado toast. http://craftkitchenlv.com/

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    A massive amount of avocado on a grilled baguette, sunflower pesto and a single poached egg proved to be delicious, but hardly worth the sticker price. ($33.12, 3 Forks).



    Ann had a few questions pertaining to her recently acquired Samsung Galaxy 6 so we stopped in a Verizon store. We also visited Elements Spa to see if they would match their Groupon rate, they would, and to secure an appointment. http://elementsmassage.com/henderson

    Since we happened to be in the neighborhood, we also stopped by the Green Turtle salon to resolve an issue involving Ann's hair appointment scheduled for later in the trip. Our last stops were at an Albertson's and a CVS.

    In mid afternoon, Ann played VP at the South Point while I read the most recent Harlan Coben novel. She ended up losing and I ended up napping. We reconvened in the computer room prior to departing for Ellis for our customary rounds of red vino and H2O.

    Dinner tonight was at Vegenation on Carson Avenue. http://vegenationlv.com/ On Monday nights a promotion is run where diners receive a free adult beverage, in our case, a screwdriver with amaretto.

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    We started with an order of My Little Dumplings that were stuffed with shitake mushrooms and spinach. There were 5 to an order and each was filled with fresh ingredients.

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    Our shared entrees, Out of Africa (a yam stew in a spicy peanut broth) and Casa Blanca (roasted harissa vegetables in tagine) were filling. ($39.36, 3 Forks)

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    Plans to have a dessert (sticky toffee bread pudding) at the Smashed Pig were abandoned because each of us was stuffed. We concluded the night by attending a drawing at the South Point, Ann's name was not called, and walking around the casino floor.

    April 26 – Twice this morning I was dealt 4 to a natural royal flush and caught a deuce on the draw giving me lots of playing time and a small(er) loss. I also earned double points after swiping my card at a kiosk.

    I departed the casino around 6AM so I decided to drive to Jean Dry Lake, approximately 7 miles south of the Grandview on Las Vegas Blvd, to view the public art installation known as Seven Magic Mountains by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. There are seven towers of colorful stacked boulders, the largest weighing 40 tons, that rise 7 feet above the dessert floor. Though not officially open until May 11th, these were easily viewed from the roadside. ($0, 2.5 Claps)

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    We enjoyed a light breakfast in the room and spent time on the computer before departing for the Las Vegas Premium Outlets – north. She went to Chico's, I went to Nike. She got a top and shorts, I got socks. Same old, same old.

    Seeking a light lunch, we drove to Amena Bakery & Cafe for spinach stuffed fatayers, but were disappointed to learn only cheese fatayers were available so we walked over to Mary's Hash House. http://hashouse.com/home.htm Mary must be (more) famous for her breakfasts than her lunches because there were only two other tables occupied when we sat down at a little past noon. We ordered cups of soup, Ann = potato, me = spicy chicken.

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    The potato soup was curiously thin and my soup, though spicy as advertised, was light on flavor with a few pieces of chicken that likely were added immediately prior to serving. ($10.25, 2.5 Spoons)

    At around 5:30PM we found ourselves seated at the center bar at Ellis Island where we somehow managed to deplete their inventory of both Mondavi Cabernet and BV merlot before departing for dinner at Niu-Gu Restaurant on Jones Blvd.

    For starters we chose a lightly dressed East Asian sesame cucumber salad and lotus leaf sweet rice stuffed with pork.

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    Our server suggested we each order the sweet rice, but I am glad we didn't because the dish was too sweet and very heavy without providing much in the taste department. For entrees we shared a ½ rack of lamb and shrimp fried rice.

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    The lamb has received positive comments by a couple of restaurant critics, but we found the dish to be pretty ordinary. We fared better with the shrimp fried rice that was outstanding. Overall Niu-Gu proved to be a mixed bag. ($46.50, 2.5 Forks)

    April 27 – GVR was offering double points for seniors today, but non locals have to go to the slot booth to earn the extra credit. I managed to hit my #1 quad deuces ($250), but effectively broke even.

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    I stopped at an Einstein's Bakery for a toasted cinnamon bagel, but their inventory had been depleted so I substituted a blueberry with a smear of cream cheese that we shared for breakfast.

    One of the benefits of staying at the Grandview is the in-room washer/dryer combo that allows us to pack more lightly than we would otherwise be able. Three days of accumulated clothing were treated to a wash and dry prior to our departure this morning.

    I dropped Ann off at Elements Massage for a massage ($75, 4 Hands) and returned to GVR to get my double points credited and enter the weekly senior slot tournament. http://elementsmassage.com/henderson In 5 sessions, I finished #3, #11, #8, #14 and #16 with the latter during a sessions with only 16 participants.

    I next stopped at the Sprouts Market on Green Valley Pkwy for some fruit and cashews before retrieving Ann. Lunch was at Taco y Taco on Eastern Ave where we each ordered a pair of al pastor street tacos and a soda. http://tacoytacolv.com/

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    These tacos were generously filled and there is a nice salsa bar that includes roasted peppers and onions, a variety of salsas, pickled carrots, beans and more. ($12.17, 4 Forks)

    It was a short drive to the German Bread Bakery where I noticed a sign advertising for a sign spinner that I might consider applying for if our gambling does not improve. http://www.germanbreadbakerylasvegas.com/ The rum balls have sustained a price increase from 99 cents to $1.15 since our last visit, but it appears so has the size. We ordered a pair to go and told the clerk there was no need to bag them as they were not traveling very far. ($2.30, 4.5 Smiles)

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    On our return to the Grandview we discovered the room had not been made up even though we requested service by noon.

    Ann went off to play VP while I killed time on the computer only to discover my Facebook account was blocked due to malware though I signed into Ann's account without encountering a problem. I will have to address this problem when we get home.

    Our personal happy hour coincided with the happy hour at Hard Rock Casino's Center Bar though price was not consideration since we were using LVA coupons good for 2 signature cocktails. On the first round Ann ordered a Painted Woman martini (Ciroc red berry, X-rated fusion liqueur, prickly pear and lime juices, and orange blossom water) while I settled on an All Nighter Espresso martini (Stoli vanil vodka, Kahlua, and espresso.

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    These were good, but the second round of drinks proved even better with Ann taking the Train to Georgia (Ciroc peach, Contreau, OJ and cranberry and pineapple juices) while I was being dealt a Pear of Aces (Grey Goose La Poire, amaretto, St. Germain and fresh lime juice). ($5, LVA, 4 Sips)

    We were under the influence so plans to dine at Briggs Oyster Co. were nixed in favor of the shorter drive to Glutton. http://www.gluttonlv.com/ We tried to park in the adjacent lot but had a problem using the meter so we inquired about parking on entering the restaurant and were told to move our car to the street where parking was free. I was a concerned about incurring a fine so I paid at the meter.

    We shared 3 dishes, starting off with an order of pickled tomatoes with whipped ricotta and basil that were spread on slices of grilled bread.

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    Next came Japanese street corn kissed by miso butter and chives. The last was a pasta dish, garganelli, that featured smoked chicken, caramelized onion, ancho garlic cream and Parmesan cheese. Each dish was beautifully plated and delicious.

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    ($43.76, 4.5 Forks)

    On exiting, we walked around the Container Park and purchased a pair of chocolate truffles at JinJu Chocolates that melted in our mouths. http://www.jinjuchocolates.com/ ($3.25, 4 Forks)

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    On the drive back lightening lit up the sky several times, the likes of which we have never encountered. It began to pour buckets so we skipped our nightly ritual of walking around the casino floor.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
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  2. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,022
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60
    April 28 – It was still raining as I drove to GVR for my morning beat down. We had breakfast in the room prior to departing for Green Turtle Salon where Ann had her hair washed and blown dry. http://www.gtsalon.com/ I returned to the scene of the crime and walked around GVR.



    Carmine's Pizza Kitchen in Henderson advertises slices of NY Style cheese pizza for a $1 so we each ordered one and shared a soda. http://www.carminespizzakitchen.com/ We found the pizza to be freezer quality with a crust a little too thick and the sauce/cheese pretty ordinary. ($4.60, 2 Forks)



    The last stop was at Sweet Addiction for ice cream sandwiches made with in-house baked cookies and Thrifty ice cream. http://sweetaddictionlv.com/ Ann chose a pair of chocolate chip cookies with chocolate ice cream while I was only slightly more creative pairing salted caramel ice cream with a chocolate chip and brownie cookies.

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    We were underwhelmed – the cookies were thick and difficult to chew and the ice cream was not creamy or very flavorful. In order to maximize the value of our Groupon, I also ordered 2 chocolate chip cookies to go that proved to be thinner and more enjoyable. ($5, Groupon, 2 Forks)

    On our return I proceeded directly to the South Point's showroom to secure prime seating for the Dennis Bono show. This week's guests included the recent reincarnation of the Righteous Brothers (Bill Medley and Bucky Heard), Frankie Scinta (The Scintas), Spectrum (Motown), Elisa Fiorello (singer) and her daughter, Nieve Malandra (singer) plus regular Corrie Sachs. The show was highly entertaining and ran much longer than normal. ($0, 4 Claps)

    On exiting Ann shuffled off to play VP while I returned to the room for a little shut eye.

    As Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson are likely to tell you, it was 5 o'clock somewhere and, in our case, it was Las Vegas so we drove through heavy traffic and a cloud burst to reach Ellis Island.

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    As we approached the center bar, Dianna raised 2 glasses and a bottle of BV merlot – we nodded yes. On the 2nd round Ann was poured the last glass of merlot so I demonstrated my flexibility by switching to the Robert Mondavi cabernet sauvignon. Carol ??? from the LVA board approached us and inquired if we were the Westies? Guilty as charged!



    Dinner was at Lucki Thai, a small restaurant on Silverado Blvd, not far from the Grandview. We shared orders of spicy eggplant with chicken and spicy catfish though we requested medium. Accompanying our orders was a giant sized bowl of white rice. Both dishes were good though better versions can readily be found. ($28.69, 3 Forks)

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    We completed our almost nightly tradition of walking around the casino, but as we exited it was pouring so the chauffeur was directed to go back to fetch the car and pick-up Ann under the portico.

    April 29 – GVR was running a Fri – Sun promotion where you swipe for prizes after earning 5 points. I put the required points on each card and won 4 x points on Ann's card and 5 on mine so not being a complete dummy I used my card for the remainder of the morning.

    In a back and forth session I drew 4 to the royal in diamonds and caught the needed 10 for a royal flush ($1,000).

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    I pressed the TITO button and then tried to convert to cash at an ATM, but only received 50 cents and an error message. After patiently waiting for a few hours, okay 15 minutes, an attendant arrived. He actually asked me how much cash I had received though it was clearly displayed on the screen.

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    After messing around for 10 minutes, he called for a second attendant who told him to pay me off in cash. I had a few near misses, 4 clubs to the royal – oops, a 3 of clubs for a flush. 3 deuces, oops and 8 and Jack for 4 of a kind.

    Later the same morning we drove to Bellagio's self-parking garage and took the tram to Aria. First stop was the MyLife desk where we had MyVegas rewards for crepes loaded on our slot cards. There was a back-up at Jean Philippe Patisserie, but we demonstrated patience and were rewarded by a pair of mixed berry, souffle style crepes that were as good as on our prior visits. ($2.70, MyVegas, 4.5 Forks)

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    We returned to Bellagio via though in retrospect we probably should have walked in order to burn off a few calories. On exiting, we visited the botanical garden to view the Japanese Spring Celebration that featured a tea house, cherry blossom trees, cranes, koi fish, bamboo canes, over 80,000 flowers and bird cage with live canaries. ($0, 5 Claps)

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    We had a Groupon for the Million Dollar Quartet show, but were unable to get through to Tickemaster prior to departing from home so we decided to see if Harrahs box office could help us. Nope!

    Last stop prior to returning to the Grandview was Lee's Liquors for a bottle of Noble Vines 337 Cabernet for tonight's in-room happy hour.

    Dinner was at DeSimone's Steakhouse in the historic (their description, not mine) Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino on the Boulder Highway. https://www.railroadpass.com/desimones-steakhouse.html The property has been spruced up under the new owner (DeSimone). We started off with glasses of the house cabernet while reviewing the menu. Ann ordered the 8-ounce filet mignon and a baked potato while I settled on sea bass over mashed potatoes. The meal was pretty decent considering the property. ($38.75, Groupon, 2.5 Forks)

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    We closed out the evening at Club Madrid inside Sunset Station listening to Michael Grimm and the Delta Bound Band. Michael sang a number of covers plus several originals in a single 90 minute set. Guest appearances were made by McKenna Medley and Bucky Heard from the Righteous Brothers show. Each remained on stage and joined Michael for the closing number, a rousing rendition of Joe Cocker's “With a Little Help From My Friends”. ($10, 4 Claps)

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    April 30 – The first priority this morning was putting 5 points on each of cards and then swiping them at a kiosk with me winning 5 x points and Ann a mystery gift that turned out to a set of dessert plates that we gave to our housekeeper. I played for almost 3 hours before hitting my #2 quad deuces of the trip, managing to retain most of it.

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    Breakfast was at Rosallie – Le French Cafe that we visited during our October, 2015 trip. http://rosallie.com/ The baked pastries attempted their best to entice me, but we each ended up ordering organic spring mix salads with quiche chevre (tomatoes, goat cheese, spinach). Though we often find ordering the same dish a second time to be disappointing, these quiche were even better than we remembered. ($21.95, 4.5 Forks)

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    Once again we got caught in a downpour as we drove to Bellagio. I subsequently read that the 0.90” had fallen, a record surpassing the previous high 0.35”. The month of April, normally the 3rd driest month of the year, also set a record with 2.44” of rain versus the previous record of 2.22”. Lucky us.

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    We visited the Gallery of Fine Art to view the Yousuf Karsh: Icons of the 20th Century exhibit. https://www.bellagio.com/en/entertainment/gallery-of-fine-art.htmlThere was a sameness to Yousuf's photography though I did enjoy the history lesson. ($0, MyVegas, 3 Claps)

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    A quick jaunt to Ellis Island where we played the LVA play $10, get $10-$100 in freeplay coupons on the not so ugly deuces machines. Our combined net profit was $21.50.

    On our return we discovered the room was not made up so Ann played some VP and I killed time on the internet. As afternoon began to turn to evening we headed back to Ellis Island for our usual glasses of wine. Elvis, one of the Icons of Las Vegas, was performing in the lounge so we checked him out before checking out of the casino.

    Dinner was at Chickpeas, a small casual restaurant serving Mediterranean food. http://chickpeaslv.com/ We each ordered 2 skewers of grilled ground lamb accompanied by Basmati rice, a grilled tomato and salad.

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    Sounded good, but the execution left much to be desired. The lamb was dry and under seasoned, the Basmati rice plain with the exception of some chopped carrots, the pita was dry and the salad overdressed, but who am I to quibble? ($31.01, 1.5 Forks)

    We returned early enough to catch the last 15 minutes of Wes Winters' performance in the Grandview Lounge. His voice has not improved with age, but he does have a loyal following of seniors that fill the lounge each weekend. (1.5 Claps)

    We checked to see if Ann won in the evening's drawing – she didn't, then walked around the casino before calling it a night.

    May 1 – Today's highlight reel included me hitting my #3 quad deuces and returning to our temporary abode flush with cash.

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    We had breakfast in the room followed by an early morning stop at a nearby Lee's Liquors for another bottle of Noble Vines 337 Cabernet sauvignon. We continued on to Sunset Park where we took a long walk.

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    Lunch was at Tides Seafood and Sushi bar inside GVR where we shared a pound of Cajun peel and eat shrimp and a soft shell crab. The latter was very large, but suffered from too much batter so there was little taste other than that provided by the dipping sauce. https://greenvalleyranch.sclv.com/Dining/Tides ($6, MyVegas, 2.5 Forks)


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    Ann played VP during the afternoon while I mostly napped. Our happy hour, held in the room, involved a recently acquired bottle of vino and some cashews from Sprouts Market.

    Dinner was at Big B's Texas BBQ where we each ordered a ½ rack of barbecue baby back ribs that included a choice of 2 sides. This recently opened restaurant is large and the employees were uniformly cheerful. http://www.bigbztexasbbq.com/#bbq Orders are taken at the counter with food delivered to your picnic table. The ribs are rubbed and served dry as I prefer though bottles of sauce are available for those so inclined.

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    We shared 4 sides – creamed corn, coleslaw, potato salad and mac and cheese. The creamed corn will not be reordered, enough said. There was too much food so we ended up taking a doggy bag back to the room. Next time I would share a 3-meat combination platter and pay the up charge for the ribs. I used a grand opening coupon from Money Mailer for 50% off a second entree. ($31.93, 3.5 Forks)

    Later in the evening we attended the Gotta Dance show in the South Point showroom. The show lasted a full 90 minutes with the producer, director, star performer etc. on stage for a minimum of 86 of them.

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    The production value proved to be minimal, the music canned, the dancing amateurish and the entire show on the level of a 8th grader's dance recital. Take a deep breath, relax, repeat as necessary. ($10, LVA, gift card, 0.5 Claps)

    The only positive was the ticket stubs were good for a free drink that we applied to a pair of Bailey's and cream on the rocks before calling it a night. ($2, 4 Sips)

    May 2 – Just when I was starting to think the Westie Gambling Express was on the right track, it got derailed this morning. As I exited GVR I noted the beautiful, crystal clear sky. Is it possible that Las Vegas was going to experience a second day in a row of nice weather?

    On my return I hoofed it over to the South Point's Del Mar Deli for a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel to go that we shared along with OJ in our room. ($3.19, 3 Forks)

    First stop this morning was the Gold Coast to play LVA's play $10, get $10 in freeplay coupons. We encountered problems entering our pin numbers and then I accidentally started playing a bonus game for nickels using not so ugly deuces strategy. We ended up losing a total of $2.75 on these coupons.

    We next drove to Westgate to play another LVA coupon, but it was deja vus all over again with me initially forgetting to select the correct game on the multi game video poker machine. This time we did not risk any of our own money though we only cashed out with a $9 profit.

    Lunch was at Arawan Thai Bistro and Dessert in the decrepit Commercial Center. http://arawanthaibistro.com/ Stepping through the door one enters a beautifully decorated, impeccably clean restaurant in stock contrast to its neighbor businesses. We were cheerfully greeted at the door and experienced excellent service throughout our meal. A 3-course, $9.95 weekday luncheon special is offered with us sharing orders of pad Thai and BBQ chicken.

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    The former was slightly over sauced and the latter overdone though the wing and thigh meat were juicy. We started off with cups of egg drop soup that were very good though I found it odd that this was served in a Thai restaurant. Our last course was a raspberry panna cotta that was a light and a delicious conclusion to our meal. ($22.52, 3 Forks)

    Prior to departing this morning we had requested an additional hand towel and dish rag; what we received was a week's supply of towels including bath mats plus an ample supply of dish clothes and towels.

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    I flitted the afternoon away reading, writing notes and dozing while Ann played VP. After putting 300 points on her card, she swiped at a kiosk and won $50 in freeplay.

    We attended the 5:30PM Beatleshow Orchestra show in Saxe Theater in Planet Hollywood. The venue is small and the show rarely sells out so getting a good seat is not a problem. If you enjoy the music of the Beatles, as we do, you will likely enjoy this production. ($45, Groupon, 3 Claps)

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    On exiting the parking lot, we had 2 equally compelling choices, drinks at Ellis Island or drinks at Hard Rock; we chose the latter. Once again we sat at the Center Bar and advised the (different) bartender of our LVA coupons. Mr. Anal retentive took the coupon and read it front to back and then asked for my LVA book. I inquired why and Anal Retentive responded that he wanted to see where the coupon had been removed. I told Anal to forget about it because were headed elsewhere.

    Elsewhere turned out to be another bar in the Hard Rock where the bartender had no problem accepting a loose coupon. He did not have a Signature Drink menu so I showed him a copy of it I had taken. He did not have the ingredients for most of the drinks, but said he could improvise the Pear of Aces drink which turned out to be pretty good though not as smooth as the original. This falls under the category of where there is a will, there is a way. ($6, LVA, 3 Sips)

    On our return we interrupted our nightly walkabout the South Point's casino floor at Kate's Corner where we shared a cup of chocolate brownie and French vanilla ice cream. Though this ice cream shop almost always has a line of customers, we did not find the ice cream to be any better than Sealtest or Hood. ($4.05, 2.5 Spoons)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  3. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,022
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60
    May 3 – My 10th VP session of the trip featured my #4 quad deuces.

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    We went to Delices Gourmands, a recently opened bakery located in space formerly occupied by Bon Jour Bakery. When occupied by the prior tenant, the bakery seemed very small, but walls have been removed and the entire kitchen is now open. Ann selected a cheese Danish, I a pistachio roll and we a pistachio financier. Both the Danish and pistachio roll were very good and reasonably priced, but our first ever financier proved to be at best, fair. ($8.60, 3 Forks)

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    We made the 1-hour long, boring drive to Valley of Fire State Park. Many moons have passed since our last visit, but it won't be long before we return. The red sandstone formations are far more vibrant and dramatic than the ones in Red Rock Canyon. We drove the scenic loop road stopping frequently for photos before climbing the stairs to Atatl Rock to view the many petroglyphs. The visitor center was interesting and we spent time on the patio watching hummingbirds at a feeder.

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    The temperature was in the mid-80's so plans to hike to White Domes and Mouses Tank were postponed to our next trip when the weather will hopefully be cooler. As we headed for the exit, a herd of 5 desert bighorn sheep were spotted grazing on a distant hill. ($10, 4 Claps)

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    On our return to home base, the reheated ribs from last night served as a snack though they would have benefited from a liberal dose of BBQ sauce.

    Ann broke even during her late afternoon VP session in part courtesy of the $50 in freeplay she won yesterday while I rested my weary bones.

    Our happy hour at Ellis Island featured wine.

    Earlier in the morning I checked Restaurant.com's website and discovered La Bella Napoli Pizzeria certificates were being offered. There was not much information online though the menu was enticing so I purchased a certificate. The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor in Town Square, directly adjacent to the Blue Martini. Dominic, the executive chef/partner, stopped by our table to introduce himself and mentioned the restaurant had opened the previous night and was currently in soft opening status.

    We started off with Polpettone (3 veal and pork meatballs stuffed with mozzarella, smothered in sauce and topped with more mozzarella) plus the La Bella salad (mozzarella di bufala, parma ham, arugula, cherry tomatoes, mixed green, basil, candied walnuts, lemon, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar). It is embarrassing to admit, but the meatballs were even better than mine.

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    We also ordered an Ortolana pizza (house tomato sauce, escarole, zucchini, eggplant, roasted red pepper, fresh mozzarella, Parmesan and olive oil) that was baked in a Steffano Ferrara wood-fired oven imported from Italy.

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    The pizza was larger than expected and the ingredients of high-quality though the crust was not sufficiently charred so the middle was soggy. ($26.12, restaurant.com, 4 Forks)

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    The owners

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    On our return we walked around the casino floor, stopping to swipe our cards at the kiosk with Ann winning 2,500 points and me a lunch buffet that we did not use.

    May 4 – I hit my #5 quad deuces and then over the next 20 plus hands hit 3 wild royals. The remainder of the session proved to be give and take, with me doing the giving and GVR the taking.

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    For breakfast, we drove to the Brooklyn Bagel Cafe where Ann ordered what turned out to be a mediocre tasting coffee and a toasted cinnamon bagel that she shared. None of the unoccupied tables had been recently bussed and no one seemed to care. ($5.06, 2.5 Forks)

    We decided to bite the bullet and register for TSA's precheck so I had made appointment for each of us at their Green Valley location before leaving home. I had the address, but had difficulty locating the office because a) it was in a shopping plaza and b) it was in an H&R Block office with just this sign

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    The application process was painless with a few exceptions, there was a problem obtaining a good set of Ann's fingerprints and the agent was quite a talkative. Lastly, in the infinite wisdom of our government, we each had to use a different credit card to make payment. ($170)

    We played another $10 freeplay coupon from the LVA at Sam's on the one remaining 25 cent FPDW machine. Ann cashed out with a $25 profit while my TITO read $1.25. Worse yet, the $1 went into our spending money and she took my quarter.

    We ordered small bowls of chicken enchilada soup for lunch at Cafe Zupas. The photo on their website shows tortilla chips, but those are a 69 cent upgrade, in fact, everything except the bowl and the soup seemed to be a 69 cent upgrade though they did toss in, on the side, a chocolate covered strawberry and a couple of crackers.

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    The soup was good, but it would take Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to find any chicken in my soup. http://cafezupas.com/locations/nevada/henderson/ ($??, 2.5 Spoons)

    Ann put in another, and there were many, losing VP session. When she swiped our cards, I was credited with 2,500 points and she earned another unwanted luncheon buffet.

    Happy hour at Ellis was followed by dinner at the Charcoal Room in Palace Station. https://palacestation.sclv.com/Dining/The-Charcoal-Room.aspx As we passed the Oyster Bar we witnessed a rarely seen phenomenon, unoccupied seats at dinner time.The room, menu and wait staff have been upgraded since its days as The Broiler. Ann ordered the Colorado lamb chops that included both a house salad and a baked potato. I chose the pan seared seabass which was accompanied by sauteed broccoli and salad. It was senior day so I paid using ½ points. ($10, points, 3 Forks)

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    We drove to Harrahs for the Million Dollar Quartet show which is loosely based on the day Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis jammed in the offices of Sun Records. All the music was great with the individual performing as Jerry Lee Lewis stealing the show. ($53.06, Groupon, 4 Claps)

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    This evening's performance by the Westies was concluded after they walked around the South Point casino floor.

    May 5 – I lost, so to mitigate the agony we had breakfast at Kitchen Table. http://www.kitchentablelv.com/ Ann chose the peaches and cream pancakes that were fit for a king and large enough to feed his entire court. Two bottles of Noble syrup accompanied the order. My croque madame was so good that I nearly croaked while lapping up each and every morsel. ($35.28, 4 Forks)

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    We had a little time before Ann's hair appointment at Green Turtle so we walked around The District and GVR. While she was having her hair washed and blown dry, I went to Sprouts to restock our supply of cashews and fruit, but the cashews were temporarily out of stock - bummer.

    The following photo memoralizes a meeting held at 2PM at the Delmar Lounge, the purpose of which was?

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    a) a caucus of super delegates pledged to Bernie Sanders

    b) the Montessori School of Nevada's class of 1961 reunion

    c) a mini meet of Las Vegas Advice board members attended by Ann, Stat Free, Monk, Deanajs

    and Kelly



    Those who selected either item a) or b) should remain after class for a remedial session.



    Happy hour was again held at Ellis Island's center bar courtesy of another Ellis Island drink coupon.

    It was Cinco de Mayo so we naturally chose to dine a Le Pho Vietnamese Kitchen. http://www.lephodtlv.com/ This recently opened restaurant has good genes with Dan Couglin of Le Thai and Khai Vu of District One being the principal owners. You can find many restaurants serving pho in Las Vegas, but Le Pho has raised the bar based on our experience, though its downtown location is a little off the beaten path.

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    We started off with egg rolls (northern style with pork, crab meat, wood ear mushroom, carrot & cellophane noodles) that were accompanied by a small bowl of dipping sauce, lettuce, carrots and basil. The rolls were oil free and the best we have ever eaten.

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    Ann ordered pho gia (chicken soup) while I settled on the pho ribeye. These were accompanied by fresh basil, lime, slices of jalapeno and bean sprouts. The base of each soup was delicious, both proteins were succulent and the noodles bountiful. The sourcing for all ingredients was clearly a cut above as was the décor and service ($34.46, 5 Forks)

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  4. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,022
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60
    May 6 – I managed to hit my #6 quads this morning. Prior to departing I swiped our cards at a kiosk in order to play the latest Stations' promotion, Spin N Pop, earning Ann 525 points and me 1,625. The Kentucky Derby will be run tomorrow and we are now in the home stretch of this trip.

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    We revisited Baguette Cafe for breakfast and discovered Oliver was now MIA, but his mother was back from her Paris trip. We again ordered egg and croissant sandwiches though the quiche kept calling my name. Ann spotted financiers in the display case so we ordered one and it was several steps up the culinary scale from the one we had earlier in the trip. ($13.78, 4.5 Forks)

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    The skies were overcast and temperature had plummeted so we canceled plans to visit the Spring Mountains in favor of a mini coupon run using LVA freeplay coupons. In short order we hit the El Cortez, Binion's, and the Four Queens pocketing $62.50 with much of it finding its way into Ann's pocketbook.

    Ann felt this trip was dessert lite so we drove to Jerry's Nugget Casino in order to have bread pudding in Jerry's Famous Coffee Shop. http://www.jerrysnugget.com/dining/jerrys-famous-coffee-shop/

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    We asked the hostess if Jerry had made bread pudding today and she gave us a look like were aliens. Needless to say Jerry and the hostess won't be receiving Christmas cards from the Westies this year.

    Ann decided to drain both her sorrow and our bankroll in the South Point while I made a quick run to Sprouts for a small bottle of juice for tomorrow and 2 pounds of cashews to take home. On my way back to home base, I decided to surprise Ann with another pair of rum balls from the German Bread Bakery. ($2.30, 4 Forks)

    When the big hand reached 12 and the little hand was on 5, the Westies joined Elvis and a room full of his (Elvis's not mine) fans in the karaoke lounge at Ellis Island. Monica, our hard working bartender, poured us glasses of BV merlot of uncertain vintage while we listened to Elvis belt out one hit after another over the following 60 minutes. (3 Claps)

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    We held 7:30PM reservations at Ron's Steakhouse in Arizona Charlies – Decatur.

    http://www.arizonacharliesdecatur.com/Dining/Rons-Steakhouse This restaurant is the crown jewel of this frumpy casino both in terms of decor and service. A bread basket proved nearly irresistible with raisin and sourdough bread directly out of the oven accompanied by 3 types of spread. Ann chose the 8-ounce "petite" filet while opted for a 14-ounce NY steak.

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    The steaks were grilled to medium rare as requested and each was nicely seasoned though mine was on the tough side. Each entree included a salad and we added a single baked potato that Ann hogged. Overall, it was a better dining experience than I expected and a veritable bargain considering the modest menu prices coupled with our Groupon. ($40.32, Groupon, 3 Forks)

    On exiting the dining room we headed to the Naughty Ladies Lounge to see Tresure (Mark V. Brown) and his group Dreamstone. The 8 piece band coupled with 2 back-up singers started late and we kept waiting for Tresure to join them on stage, but after an hour we waived the white flag and departed.

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    There was one problem, we could not locate our car. I asked a security guard if there was a second lot and he said “if you came in from Decatur, this is the only lot”. As we circled the lot time after time, I kept thinking the entrance did not look like what I remembered and finally walked around the building and found our car in a second lot that had direct access from Decatur. Take a deep breath, relax, repeat as necessary.

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    Having already put on a few miles circling the parking lot at Arizona Charlies, we proceeded directly to our room and the rum balls. ($2.30, 4 Forks)

    May 7 – Had Mr. Optimist stayed in bed this morning or worked on his trip report, we would have netted a small gambling profit on this trip, but no, he sought fame and fortune at GVR. Over the course of several hours, he was dealt 4 to the royal twice and 3 deuces 3-4 times, but lady luck turned her back on him this morning. He did Spin N' Popped at the kiosk winning 825 points and another 1,550 for Ann.

    Prior to returning to the room, I swung by Friendly Donut House for a sugar fix in the form of an apple fritter and buttermilk donut. In spite of what Mae West once said, too much of a good thing is not a good thing, though each was delicious. ($2.70, 4 Forks)

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    We packed and then proceeded to the South Premium outlets where we killed time window shopping. .

    In the early afternoon we had lunch at Mochiko Chicken, another fast, casual restaurant where orders are taken at the counter and delivered to your table.

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    http://mochikolasvegas.wix.com/mochiko-las-vegas We each ordered rice bowls from the char grilled section of the menu while opting for brown rice and adding vegetables, primarily steamed broccoli. Ann chose their signature Asian Q bowl with Asian Q sauce plus a sprinkling of furikake while opted for coconut curry with craisins. The portion of chicken was ample though on the tough side, but the biggest problem was neither bowl had much flavor. To summarize, we were not bowled over by these rice bowls. ($22.00, 2 Forks)

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    I filled up the gas tank immediately prior to returning the car to the Fox lot. The attendant handed us a form indicating the tank was returned full and told us to proceed to the kiosk for a receipt. There was one person in line, but there seemed to be a problem so we had to wait. Take a deep breath, relax, repeat as necessary.

    A second agent arrived who could not find our contract online so after several frustrating minutes we were directed to go to the office. Take a deep breath, relax, repeat as necessary. Naturally there was a long line, but at least there were several agents. We went to customer service line where another person was in front of us, but there was no agent. Another agent noticed us waiting and left his post to assist us. He determined someone, presumably the agent in the kiosk, had closed our account and handed us a receipt. Take a deep breath, relax, repeat as necessary.

    With receipt in hand we walked to the shuttle pick-up point and waited for it arrive, but our nightmare continued because the shuttle driver had to take a restroom break before continuing on. This whole process probably took 30-45 minutes, but fortunately we, based on our earlier experience, had allotted extra time.

    Our flight home was hassle free though there was considerable turbulence in the midwest.

    We could not pick-up Brody until Monday because the vet's office was closed on Mother's Day. On our arrival, a staff member told us Brody had been checking online doggy dating services and had made a connection with Hazel, a pit pull. They had agreed to a date for a Guinness or two on Friday evening at a local pub named the Corner Pug. Our fears were allayed after learning their first date would be chaperoned by Hazel's parents.

    Hazel

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    Brody

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    Thanks to all who steered their way through this long and winding report, hopefully you found

    it interesting, if not informative.



    “Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.”

    ― Anonymous
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. bobby jones

    bobby jones Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Great white North
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    12
    Why do I feel so hungry after reading this???

    Great report
     
  6. Stephiede1975

    Stephiede1975 Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Messages:
    98
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Awesome report!!
     
  7. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    988
    Location:
    Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    Great report. Thanks for sharing. Ann's hair looks beautiful as always.
     
    36th Wedding Anniversary
  8. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    5,504
    Location:
    Flusherville, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Another great report, and as usual after seeing your pictures... I'm hungry!!!

    Very jealous of all those quad ducks, well done!!!
     
  9. LVHooked

    LVHooked High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
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    Location:
    Fairview, Pa.
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    12
    A pleasure to read as always, thanks for taking the time to write it up.
     
  10. Pjcrabs126

    Pjcrabs126 Tourist

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    Awesome report , I can only hope to experience trips like this with the hubby , thanks for taking us along .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2016
  11. Ezzy711

    Ezzy711 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Messages:
    333
    Location:
    Florida
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    12
    Thank you for taking the time to write and post this. It was a very enjoyable read.

    Best wishes for the new happy puppy couple.
     
  12. Sparky4

    Sparky4 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    35
    Thanks for taking us on your trip! I almost feel like I need to go on a diet after all that food!
     
    10th anniversary
  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    9,887
    Location:
    Missouri
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    Nice report as always!
    Well deserving of this new avatar. :feedme: And I think we play at about the same times some days, but I'm full on beer during those hours. :drunk:
     
  14. sajones79

    sajones79 Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New Brunswick, Canada
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    4
    Amazing report - thanks for taking us along for the ride! Now off to cook something, anything, as your pics have left me salivating :)
     
  15. queentata

    queentata High-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    766
    Location:
    Crosby, TX
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    28
    Another amazing report. Always enjoy them and the pictures! Thanks for including Yonaka. I think that is the restaurant I read about on someone else's report a while back, but could not remember. It is now in my Vegas journal. Gotta try those brussel sprouts, although our local Wazabi does an amazing job with them.

    Ann is still looking beautiful.. I love how the two of you take care of each other.

    I think Hazel and Brody make a very cute couple!

    Thanks again.
     
  16. tonysb8

    tonysb8 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Northern Indiana
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    7
    Excellent report! Yep, I think I'm going to eat now!
     
  17. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60
    We just received a report from Hazel's mom and dad that they seem to be getting along and are now sharing a bowl of kibbles.
     
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  18. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    331
    Location:
    Abilene, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Great report! Thanks for sharing your
    amazing trip with us. Enjoyed it.
     
  19. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,593
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    I enjoy reading your trip reports. It has a familiar routine like your earlier reports yet there is always something new and informative to share with us, especially the food adventures!

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us.
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  20. wam

    wam Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Messages:
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    Location:
    new york
    once again westie a five star trip report. and those gambling gods were with you too. thanks again.
     
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