May 23 to June 6, 2012
The last time the Westies visited Las Vegas without eating at least one buffet was during Herbert Hoover’s 2nd presidential term. In recent years, we have pretty much forsaken lunch and dinner buffets, but always manage to squeeze in a few for breakfast. Since I am unable to demonstrate even a modicum of restraint at these AYCE affairs, I decided to go cold turkey on this trip.
May 23 – Max J. Schippeke had a reservation for a suite on Alligator Alley in the VCA Cromwell Vet for the duration of this trip so we dropped him off on our way to the airport.
I used a 14-day prepaid ($61.32) voucher at Executive Valet Parking and we were soon being shuttled off to the airport.
As usual, Ann was flying on an award ticket and I was paying full freight ($370.10) which included early bird check-in. Our usual nonstop outgoing flight would have us arriving in the early evening so we opted for a connection through Baltimore that was scheduled to land shortly before 3PM PST.
After arriving at BWI, we walked to our departing gate and saw a sign that our flight would be delayed, but shortly thereafter we noticed people beginning to line up. We stood in line and I asked the gentleman in front of me what boarding pass he held. He said A20, the same as Ann’s. As we were comparing boarding passes, he noticed our flight number differed. Rather than embarrass him, we chose to return to our original seats in the waiting area until the next flight was called
Around 15 minutes later an announcement was made that our plane, scheduled to depart at 11:56AM, would not be leaving until 3PM due to maintenance issues. The Westies decided to kill time by having lunch at California Tortillas with Ann vying for the mesquite chicken burrito and me (Westie) the blackened chicken.
http://californiatortilla.com/ We could have/should have shared one of these babies. ($13.98, 2.5 Forks)
On our return to the waiting area, an announcement was made that a replacement plane would be arriving at 1:30PM. The bewitching hour came and went; then some 15 minutes later another announcement was made that it would be another 15 minutes before our 2nd replacement plane would be arriving at the gate. Finally the plane taxied to the gate and in short order the Westies were seated in an exit row on their way to Las Vegas.
On arriving at McCarran, we made our way to carrousel #6 only to discover after a 10 minute wait that our luggage would be making its appearance at carrousel #8. Our bags were among the first on the conveyer belt and we were soon shuttling off to the rental facility where we hopped on a Fox shuttle that took us to their lot near the South Point.
I held a reservation for a mid-size car at an all-in cost of $274.86 and selected a Chevy Cruze with 21,711 miles on the odometer. Surely this was an omen of the good luck we would be experiencing on this trip – wouldn’t you think?
I checked in at the South Point under a 5-night reservation that included 2 funbooks, 2 free poolside drinks and daily access to the exercise room. I requested a room on an upper floor, as far away from the elevator as possible, and was assigned room 2461.
It turned out to be very, very far away from the nearest elevator.
We quickly unpacked and headed to the showroom with funbooks in hand and gained free admission to the Déjà Vu Dance & Show Band and, more importantly, a free drink (merlot) plus a coupon for $5 in free play. http://www.dejavudanceband.com/
Note: all drinks in this TR were free unless otherwise noted.
I had a $30 Groupon for LBS Burger in Red Rock Station that someone gave me that was set to expire this evening, but we were too exhausted to make the long drive so we settled on ½ priced tapas at Twin Creeks Steakhouse in the Silverton. We shared orders of bacon wrapped dates (4.5 Forks out of a possible 5), a trio of BBQ prime rib sliders (3 Forks) and piquillo peppers stuffed with garlic cream cheese w/marinara (2.5 Forks).
The only problem with these tapas has been consistency. We have had the dates served with little balsamic reduction sauce, but this evening’s were among the best. Conversely, the piquillo peppers were smaller and less tangy than in the past. Win some; lose some, but this remains a great deal in any case. ($15.97)
Before retuning to the South Point, we stopped at a CVS for some bottled water, a few sundry items and disposable razors for someone who forgot to pack “his” razor. Prior to settling into our room for the night, we picked up complimentary, with slot card, tickets to tomorrow’s Dennis Bono show.
May 24 – Reveille sounded at 2:30AM and I was soon off for my first VP session at Sam’s Town where 5 x points were being offered. Though I hit my #1 quad deuces of the trip, the session turned out to be my first of many losers.
Breakfast this morning was at Casa Don Juan on Main Street, a longstanding and popular Mexican eatery. http://www.casadonjuanlv.com/
We were served industrial tortilla chips, a watery salsa and a lightweight bean dip.
Ann and I each chose huevos rancheros that were accompanied by watery refried beans and rice. Nothing was bad, nor was anything particularly good.
Our bill came up short of the gift certificate’s face value so we ordered 2 slices of (mediocre) flan to go.
($16.22, CrowdSavings, 2 Forks)
We made a short drive to the El Cortez in order to cash our IRS refund check and thereby earning a 5%, maximum $50, bonus in free play which we was credited to Ann’s slot card.
Friendly slot club employees
On returning to the South Point we discovered the room was not made up so Ann headed off to play some VP, including her $5 free play from last night, and I entered the senior slot tournament and once again distinguished myself by achieving a ridiculously low score. I then played off my free play netting $8.75.
In the early afternoon I scored a pair of excellent seats for the Dennis Bono show which featured regulars Bob Rosario ensemble and Corrie Sachs (Country Superstars) plus Clint Holmes (singer/entertainer), Radiance (high energy Motown), and Pascale Elia (singer with an exceptional voice). ($0, 4.5 Claps)
After the show we retired to the room for a short nap (me) and reading (Ann) before heading to the Grandview lounge with our show ticket stubs for our customary merlots. There was a weigh-in in process for a series of amateur ultimate fighting bouts that were to take place the following night. None of the participants looked to be candidates for a Rhodes scholarship. We opted for a 2nd round of merlots using ticket stubs from a Paul Revere show we saw back in – drum roll please - 2008.
Dinner was at Siri Thai, a small mom and pop restaurant located on Windmill Parkway @ Pecos in Henderson. http://www.sirithailv.com/
We shared orders of Thai BBQ chicken and basil shrimp. Both dishes were good, but I probably would not reorder the BBQ chicken as there are better versions available. When I tendered my restaurant.com (R.com) gift certificate, the waitress initially refused it, but the manager somewhat begrudgingly approved it. ($16.59, R.com, 3.5 Forks)
We were in the mood for some industrial strength R&B, rock, soul and funk so we made the short drive to Green Valley Ranch Resort to listen to the Lon Bronson All-Star band that plays in Ovation the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. The band rocks and the trio of singers Rick Friedman, Lisa Mayer and Tony Davich provide tremendous variety. Drew Carey was to join them for the 2nd set, but we were too pooped to pop. (4 Claps)
May 25 – Quad #2 and #3 were recorded this morning at the Fiesta-Henderson. On my return to the room, we shared a slice of banana bread from Seattle’s Best plus OJ, grapefruit and a coffee for my better half. ($4.25, funbook, 3 Forks)
Our first destination was the Paseo Verde Library to check our email before driving cross town to Baguette Café.
This small mom and pop (doing the cooking) and son (Olivier at the cash register) restaurant is now one of our favorite luncheon destinations.
It is hard to locate on your first visit, but worth the effort. The soup of the day changes, drum roll please, daily and to date we have sampled 3 that were truly excellent.
Today’s was shrimp bisque which had a silky texture and was full of flavor. We also shared a chicken curry sandwich with red peppers and parsley on a freshly baked baguette. This proved to be the best lunch we have had in recent memory.
($15.84, 4.5 Forks)
I spent the remainder of the afternoon napping while Ann played VP and visited the exercise room. We regrouped in the early afternoon to listen to Wes Winters in the Grandview Lounge. On Friday nights all single shot drinks are just $2 so we ordered a pair of cosmos followed by glasses of merlot. ($12, 3.5 Sips)
Dinner was at Black Mountain Grill that is owned by Tommy Rocker’s ex-wife, Donna http://www.blackmountaingrill.com/
The décor is reminiscent of a lodge you might expect to find somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Our meal began with a mixed salad lightly dressed with a vinaigrette.
We each ordered the special, fresh halibut roasted in the oven and served with a citrus sauce that was accompanied by fingerling potatoes and a sauté of fresh vegetables. The portion size was about 6-8 ounces and the fish was moist and delicious. The only negative, a minor one, was our server was a bit disengaged. Overall, our meal exceeded expectations.
($37, Groupon, 4 Forks)
May 26 – My VP session at the Fiesta-Henderson was up and down, but mostly down until I hit my #4 quad deuces of the trip.
On entering the casino, I picked-up a $1 Bloody Mary at the Lobby bar. (3 Sips)
After a glass of OJ and grapefruit, we drove to Ronald’s Donuts for our now mandatory apple fritter along with a coffee for Ann. ($2.85, 4 Forks and no crumbs)
On departing, we made the quick drive to the KSHP offices where an 80% of list price sale was underway. I redeemed a free $10 certificate for a BabyStacks certificate of similar value and purchased a few others.
Our cross-town express made its way to Sam’s Town where Ann broke even and I lost, but we earned a case of diet Pepsi.
We used one of our new KSHP certificates at Tacos El Gordo where we ordered a quartet of adobada (spicy pork) tacos topped with crema, cilantro, pineapple and onion.
I requested a complimentary side order of grilled peppers and scallions plus we shared a pina colada flavored soft drink. The $10 face value of the certificate covered our lunch. ($2, KSHP, 4 Forks)
On our return to the South Point, Ann played VP and then headed for the fitness center while I spent the afternoon quietly contemplating my navel.
Our early evening, late afternoon personal happy hour was spent at Boulder Station where I traded in a pair of free drink coupons from the Las Vegas Advisor (LVA) for a pair of merlots.
Dinner was at Carve in the Eastside Cannery. http://tinyurl.com/899nvff This restaurant is like Rodney Dangerfield, it receives no respect. We received a basket of delicious bread and then shared our usual spinach salad that included baby leaves, a warm bacon dressing, and mushrooms
For entrees we each ordered a junior cut of prime rib done medium rare and shared a sweet potato with maple butter. The food and service continue to be above average.
($33.50, R.com, 3.5 Forks)
Our last stop of the evening was Roxy’s Lounge in Sam’s Town where we caught a set by the Drew Baker band. http://www.drewbakerband.com/ I did not realize until we sat down that we had seen Drew once before in the Gold Coast lounge. The band is entertaining, but Drew looks to be going through the motions without any emotion. (2 Claps)