May 29-June 12, 2013
A number of bakeries and restaurants across the Las Vegas valley have reported desserts disappearing from their display cases and premises over a recent two week period. The perps were caught on video with the male best described as being a senior of average height and above average girth. The female was characterized as a cougar sporting an attention getting cast on her left arm.
A coordinated investigation was undertaken by members of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), FBI (Federal Bakers Institute) and local authorities. Anyone with information related to these incidents is encouraged to contact lead investigator Emeril Lagasse at 1-800-DES-SERTS.
May 29 -This trip almost did not happen because Ann broke her wrist in late April while rappelling down a cliff on Ragged Mountain. Okay, I exaggerate, it was while she attempted to rappel down the step (singular) to our deck. The bone was reset and hopefully future surgery will not be required.
Ann going casual
Ann dressed up
Ann flew free on a SWA reward ticket while I paid full freight. Eight hours prior to departure, I received an email advising that our flight status had changed and we would be taking off 20 minutes late. A 2nd flight status change advisory was received a few hours later notifying us that we would be departing 20 minutes earlier than scheduled. +20 -20 = 0
After dropping Max-the-Schipperke off at the VCA Cromwell Vet and Doggie Spa along with most of his worldly possessions, we drove to Ted's Restaurant for steamed cheeseburgers.
These burgers, a local favorite in central Connecticut, are very juicy and sure enough I managed to spill grease on my only pair of jeans.
($5.50, Restaurant.com (R.com), 3 Forks).
We parked at LazFly at Bradley International Airport for an all in rate of $50 for the duration and had her RAV4 detailed for an additional $99. http://www.lazfly.com/
Check-in at the airport went smoothly but when I took off my running shoes at the security gate, I discovered a 2nd wardrobe malfunction in the form of a large hole in one of my socks which is really annoying as I don't carry spares.
Our nonstop flight departed on time and we were initially told it would arrive 20 minutes (there is that 20 again) early, but there were a few big storms in the west so our pilot (and us) took a circuitous route and we ended up arriving a few minutes late. It took awhile to gather up our luggage and it was off to the remote parking facility.
I had a reservation for a mid-size car with E-Z Rent-A-Car. This being our first experience with this company, I also held a back-up reservation with Fox. The rental rate for 2 weeks was only $214 almost equally split between the car rental and fees/taxes. The rental process was going along smoothly until the clerk started a spiel on state law requiring insurance at which point I tasered him. After recovering, he showed a modicum of class by upgrading us to a Chevy Malibu with approximately 18,000 miles on the odometer and only minor scratches on the rear bumper.
I booked our room at the South Point before the $14 resort fee was instituted, so we were staying resort fee free. Check-in went smoothly and we were soon unpacking our bags in room #1454 overlooking the pool and a football field away from the nearest elevator.
I had scheduled us to meet the spikey haired woman and her posse from the Las Vegas Advice board at Ellis Island, but it was now 7PM (10PM EST) and both Ann and I were exhausted, hungry and grumpy so we canceled the meet and greet with much regret.
Instead we grabbed a free drink plus $5 in free play coupons in the showroom where Deja Vu Dance & Show were performing using expired (12/31/12) funbook coupons before heading off for dinner at Tofu Hut on Spring Mountain Road. http://www.dejavudanceband.com/
We have dined at this Korean restaurant several times either cooking on the tableside BBQs or ordering kitchen prepared entrees. This night we chose the latter, sharing orders of spicy chicken and bulgogi (grilled marinated beef).
The entrees were very good, but the 6 banchans (side dishes) were largely forgettable. I also tried for the first time a cup of mushroom tofu soup that I did not find to my liking.
($16, KSHP, 2.5 Forks)
It was now past 10PM (PST) so on our return to the room, we both crashed.
May 30 – Anyone who has previously read one of my trip reports knows that I wake up before the birds and this morning was not an exception. I make the 15 plus minute drive to the Fiesta and got beaten to within an inch of my wallet. I woke Ann up on my return and a few hours later it was off to Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro for breakfast.
Had I read my notes before departing, I would have realized that this restaurant is closed on Thursdays. Plan B was immediately placed in motion and we were soon feasting on an apple fritter, jelly donut and coffee for Ann at Ronald's Donuts on Spring Mountain Road. The jelly donut was pretty ordinary and the apple fritter was not as good as usual, but still better than most.
($4.10, 2.5 Crumbs)
Our next stop was the downtown edition of the Las Vegas Premium Outlets where Ann picked up a pair of shorts and I added holeless socks to my travel wardrobe. We also picked up a few presents for our nieces' children.
On our way back to the hotel, we picked up a couple of cases of H2O plus some sundry items.
At around 1:30PM it was time to secure our seats for the Dennis Bono show. This week's guests included Corrie Sachs (Country Superstars), 60's singer Gary Puckett, Bobby Brooks (daddy was Jackie) Wilson, singer/impressionist Doug Starks and singer LeAyer Dante. This afternoon show was free with our South Point slot card. (3.5 Claps)
We went our separate ways after the show with me embarrassing myself once again at the senior slot tournament while Ann lost money at the video poker machines.
We did a whole lot better in the evening when I redeemed a LVA coupon for free drinks at Ellis Island Spa and Casino.
Dinner was at the recently opened Amanta Real Thai Food on South Decatur Blvd. https://www.facebook.com/AmantaRealThaiFood?ref=stream This restaurant is new and relatively large, but largely undecorated. There were very few people in the dining room other than employees on this Thursday evening. Our appetizer was a crab cake served in a shell with a unique plum dipping sauce.
We also shared doo dee noodle soup containing slices of bbq pork, ground pork and fish balls that had the consistency of scallops. Our second entree was spicy hot chicken stir fry that included holy basil, bean sprouts and peppers. We ordered medium heat, but the latter was a bit spicy though not overly so.
Our bill was reduced by 25% as a grand opening special. ($23.82,4 Forks)
We stopped at the Gold Coast to play our LVA play $10, receive $10 in free play coupon. Ann played for on a NSUD (not so ugly deuces) machine netting us a combined $3.75 profit – woo hoo!!
May 31 – A loss is a loss of course, but this was a lesser loss than the loss I experienced yesterday.
We again ventured off to Pura Vida this morning. http://www.puravidavegas.com/ This vegan restaurant is still located in a less than desirable section of town and the furnishings are second hand store quality, but we were here for the food. Our server again attempted to sell us on an appetizer, but we learned from past experience that the quantity of food is too much for us.
Ann ordered Tha' Frenchie - vegan French toast with sliced bananas which turned out to be way too heavy and did not have offer much in the way of flavor. I fared no better with Tha' Waffle - a big waffle that I upgraded with sliced bananas and a dollop of whipped cream for $1 – heavy and tasteless.
Both the server and kitchen were on “don't worry, be happy” time, so it took awhile for our orders to arrive. Prices are high and this meal proved to be disappointing on several levels. ($18.84, Groupon, 1.5 Forks)
Next stop was the Paseo Verde Library to check our emails followed by the NBHA Super Show (barrel racing) in South Point's equestrian center. We also toured the small western gift show without making a purchase.
I returned to the room for a nap while Ann played some VP.
My dining schedule for this Friday evening was the recently re-introduced seafood buffet at Red Rock Resort. I was conflicted because I like seafood, but a) I do not usually enjoy lunch/dinner buffets, b) seafood in buffets is typically overcooked and c) I make a pig of myself. C did not happen this evening. The variety of seafood offered was surprisingly limited and everything turned out to be overcooked. I started out with cocktail shrimp that were undersized and most likely farmed raised in some far away land plus a few hush puppies that were drier than dirt.
Dishes were not turning over and when they did the staff was slow to replenish. The one item that turned over quickly was the hot snow crab legs, but these were on the skimpy side and tended to be overcooked. I tried stuffed salmon that was very tasty, but it too was overcooked. The one seafood offering that was undercooked was manilla clams in a Thai green curry sauce with most of them being unopened and uneaten.
I did not fare much better with my veggies: a couple of half decent salads, overcooked broccoli rabe and Chinese broccoli that was tougher than Mike Tyson in heyday.
Shall we discuss the desserts? Suffice it to say, the best choice was ice cream. ($31.01 LVA, 1.5 Forks)
We swung by the Orleans and redeemed our LVA play $10, receive $10 in freeplay coupons. Once again Ann did the playing and cashed out with an $8.75 net win for Team Westie.
Our visit coincided with the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend so there were many people in the casino dressed up in period attire. I suspect these same individuals probably attend the Hillbilly Weekend as well. http://www.burlesquehall.com/ I also spotted Tempest Storm at a table outside the showroom attempting to hawk off some merchandise.
Lastly, we stopped off at the gift shop where Ann redeemed a $10 off coupon for sleep ware of uncertain origin and quality.
June 1 – I lost again at the Fiesta this morning, but I received 2 x points – a very small consolation.
On my return I picked up a coffee for Ann plus a bagel from Del Mar Deli that we shared along OJ and grapefruit in our room. ($3.89, 2.5 Forks)
Later in the morning I dropped Ann off at the Gold Spa Foot Reflexology. http://www.goldspalv.com/s.p?m=b&sId=2619 ($42, LivingSocial, 4 Hands)
I continued on to the library to check my emails and discovered a message from Opentable confirming our reservation for the Border Grill for Sunday, but also a notation that the brunch would not be served that entire weekend. I quickly canceled our reservation and rebooked for the weekend following.
Lunch was at Taco Tijuana, a recently opened Mexican restaurant located on Tropicana that has received lots of love on the internet.
We ordered 4 adobada (marinated pork) street tacos that were finished with crema, cilantro, pineapple and a spicy red salsa.
The tacos were generously filled with thick slices of meat. A convenient alternative to our beloved Tacos el Gordo.. ($10.59, 4 Tortillas)
We decided to drive to Circus Circus to do the paper work to redeem our $150 comp to The Steakhouse rather than later that evening just in case it took longer than expected. The entire complex has a carnival atmosphere that assaults ones senses of sight, sound and smell.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon napping while Ann put in an abbreviated session on the NSUD machines.
We decided to start our high roller evening at Roy's on Flamingo for its Aloha hour. http://www.lvhhtime.com/roy%27s-las-vegas.html On the first round I ordered Roy's Original Hawaiian martini (SKYY Vodka, Stoli Vanil Vodka & Malibu Coconut Rum) while Ann went retro by choosing Roy's Island Mai Tai. The latter is a 1940s classic floated with Cruzan Black Strap.
On the second round, there had to be one, Ann wisely chose the Hapa Margarita martini (fresh citrus, Jameson's Irish whiskey, Grand Marnier and agave). Not to be outdone, I ordered the 1988 (Finlandia Grapefruit, SOHO Lychee & Patrón Citrónge).
The staff was excellent and each of our drinks were delicious. ($29.91, 4 Sips)
We valet parked at Circus Circus and made the short walk to the Steakhouse where we held an OpenTable reservation. http://www.circuscircus.com/dining/the_steakhouse.aspx This highly acclaimed restaurant has been a frequent Best of Las Vegas recipient over its 31 years of existence. It is noted for serving in-house dry aged beef from an in-house cooler located near the entrance to the dining room.
After reviewing the wine list and estimating our final bill, I selected a bottle of Rosemont Estate Shiraz. This $32 bottle of wine, featuring a twist off top, retails for approximately $8, but proved to an upgrade from what we drink at Ellis.
We started off with a grilled shrimp appetizer that included a delicious garlic butter sauce.
Dinners include a basket of bread and house salads.
We each chose filet mignon entrees that were perfectly cooked to medium rare as requested and accompanied by an impressive amount of garlic mashed potatoes plus several baby carrots. We doggie bagged a single slice of chocolate mousse cake.
Our food was very good and the service throughout the evening was seamless. The final bill came in just $3 short of our $150 comp. ($30, MyVegas, 4,5 Forks)
The evening was closed out at the Grandview Lounge listening to the one and only, Wes Winters. http://www.weswinters.com/ ($0, 2 Claps)