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Old 04-09-2012, 03:18 AM
westie's Avatar
westie westie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
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March 21 – April 4, 2012

Those of us that visit Las Vegas on a frequent basis are frequently considered by family and friends to be frequen’ crazy. The younger generations arrive prepared to party like rock stars while others plan to get married and/or divorced; think Dennis Rodman. There are those who visit for the variety of entertainment offered: GregRio comes to mind, but the majority most likely come to challenge lady luck. Lastly, there are the few and the weighty, like your humble scribe, who possess overly active taste buds and come to eat.

We departed home mid-morning, dropped Max J. Schipperke off at the VCA Cromwell Vet and continued on to Executive Valet Parking. http://www.executivevalet.com/ This remote parking service has recently moved into a new and expanded facility. We were quickly shuttled to the airport and cleared security with a minimum of fan fare.

We used expiring Delta mileage that I had accumulated on Northwest Airlines during my pre-retirement period so this was the first time in ages that we did not fly SWA. The differences noted between the 2 airlines include having the time of our original flight changed, twice having our seat assignments changed and a $25 first checked bag fee. Needless to say, both of our bags traveled in the cabin with us.

With a folder stuffed with restaurant coupons and a copy of the dining guide, Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants (ELV50) in hand, Westie and his favorite dining partner departed Bradley International Airport at 11:25AM (EST) on March 21, 2012. http://www.shoplva.com/collections/o...las-vegas-2012

We arrived in Las Vegas on time after changing planes in Minneapolis/St. Paul and were ready to start noshing. A waiting shuttle bus took us to the consolidated rental facility where we again were shuttled to the Fox Rent A Car lot located on the south end of the LV Boulevard. Check-in went smoothly though Westie did get a tad bit testy when asked if he, that is me, wanted to take the gas option. “No and I don’t care for any insurance, a GPS or any other extras”.

There were 6 full-size cars available, all of them white with the exception of a blue Nissan Altima. http://www.nissanusa.com/altima?dcp=...cc=0.240189300 Westie went eeny, meeny, miny, mo and then chose blue. As we exited the lot, I glanced at the odometer and it appeared only mileage for Trips A and B were being displayed. After parking at South Point, some 2 miles away, I realized the mileage on the odometer had been 8.5 miles. There were no licenses plates on the vehicle, but a sticker affixed to the rear window indicated a temporary registration had been issued earlier that same day. No wonder we noticed a new car odor.

Check-in at the South Point for our 2-week stay went smoothly and we were soon in room 2284 overlooking the pool and Grandview Resort. After unpacking, we headed to the showroom using funbook coupons for free entry to the Déjà vu show, a complimentary drink (merlot) plus $5 in free play. We did not linger or mingle because both of us were tired and hungry.

Dinner this evening was at David Wong’s Pan Asian restaurant on Durango Drive. Dave’s name may be on the marquee, but it is Mrs. Wong, aka Lisa, who creates magic in the kitchen.

http://davidwongspanasian.eat24hour.com/ Ann and I decided to share orders of Massaman curry with chicken and stir fry linguini with vegetables and shrimp.

The curry included avocado, sweet potatoes, cashews, coconut milk and peppers. All the ingredients were very fresh and delicious. This restaurant is a true mom and pop operation and I hope it succeeds. ($16.51, Yelp deals, 4.5 Forks out of a possible 5)

On our way back to the South Point we stopped at a nearby Walgreens for a case of water and some toiletries before closing the book on day 1 of our trip.

March 22 – I was up and raring to go at 3AM so I made the drive to Fiesta-Henderson http://www.fiestahendersonlasvegas.com/ Over the course of a 4 hour session, I hit my #1 quad deuces of the trip, but ended up breaking even.

On my way back to the hotel, I picked up some OJ and jarred grapefruit which we consumed in the room prior to departing for Ronald’s Donuts where we shared an apple fritter and a glazed buttermilk donut. At home we don’t eat fritters or donuts with the exception of a paczki or two pre lent so visiting Ronald’s is one of our Las Vegas guilty pleasures. ($3.90, 4 Forks)

On exiting, we made the short drive to the KSHP offices on Jones to purchase a few gift certificates for our next trip. http://www.kshp.com/ We also stopped at Fry’s to make some price comparisons before we purchase a new camera. http://www.frys.com/

Our room hadn’t been made up so we requested immediate service and adjourned to the Catalina bar for a Baileys and coffee for Ann and a spicy bloody Mary for yours truly. ($5, 4 Sips)

Ann departed for the VP machines while I entered the senior slot tournament. It was not quite 11AM, yet I noticed a relatively long line had formed for the 2PM Dennis Bono show. One of the slot tournament attendants told me that some of them set up camp as early as 8:30AM each week. Crazy!

I relocated Ann and shared my $1 with tip hot dog with her. We then adjourned to the room where we read the paper and relaxed. I went to the showroom at around 1:30PM, walked right in and secured a pair of prime seats on the main level.

Each week there is a drawing for a variety of gifts including a Dennis Bono CD before the show starts. I joked to local couple sitting next to us that if my name was called I would not turn in the winning ticket. The guy said he had 2 of them at home and would gladly give me one if we planned on being at the show next week. Seconds later his number was called and he re-gifted the CD to me.

This week’s show featured regulars Corrie Sachs (Country Superstars) and the Bob Rosario Ensemble plus guests Pete Barbuti (comedian/jazz musician), Freddie Eckstein (singer), The Letterman, and Kathryn Araianoff (Nunsense). ($0, 3.5 Claps)

In the late afternoon we visited the Grandview Lounge where I used our show ticket stubs for a pair of free merlots. ($2, 2.5 Sips)

Our dining destination was Technique Restaurant at Le Cordon Bleu. http://www.techniquerestaurant.com/l.../lasvegas.html This student run restaurant offers a choice of 3-courses for $10 or 4-courses for $15. Ann chose an excellent butternut squash soup, a mundane Caesar salad, sautéed tilapia and a chocolate mousse.

Westie found culinary bliss by ordering a Nicoise salad with ahi tuna, creamy shrimp risotto, melt in your mouth beef short ribs and a creamy salted caramel pot de crème.

($19.84, Restaurant.com (R.com), 3.5 Forks)

On retuning to the South Point we did our usual 2 laps around the casino floor before calling it a night.

March 23 – Another very early morning session at the Fiesta ended up being break-even, but I did not come back empty handed because of the 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies (caramel delights) that I earned.

A slight detour was made on the return trip in order to purchase a strawberry Danish at the recently opened Bread & Butter. http://www.breadandbutterlv.com/ The owner formerly worked at Bouchon so his take on Danish pastry is a bit different, but nonetheless very good. ($3.50, 3.5 Forks)

After reading the newspaper, we departed for the Las Vegas Premium Outlets off Charleston where I purchased 6 pairs of socks. Ann went all-out by acquiring (2) tank tops, a sweater and a pair of shorts at what she describes as “incredible prices”.


We reconvened after 45 minutes and made the short trip to Mundo, a highly acclaimed Mexican restaurant located in the World Market Center immediately across from the recently opened Smith Center. http://mundolasvegas.com/

We had reservations and were soon munching on the complimentary housemade chips and salsa. We both ordered enchiladas with Ann choosing the chicken with roasted tomatillo sauce, Chihuahua cheese and crema fresca.

I ordered the garden enchiladas with roasted tomato garlic sauce, Chihuahua cheese and crema fresca.

Both dishes were very good though Ann thought hers lacked balance because there was too much chicken. ($19.84, R.com, 3.5 Forks)

It was 2 full laps around the casino floor on our return to the hotel and then we toured the home and patio show being held in the convention area. Entry on this Friday was free for seniors and I noticed the ticket stubs were good for a free drink so I made a quick left out the door and re-entered with 2 more stubs. The show had little appeal for non locals so Ann left to play some VP, winning $10, while I retired to the room to snooze in anticipation of our next meal.

The South Point holds a weekly Friday night happy hour with all, actually most, drinks just $2. We ordered a round of raspberry martinis followed by a pair of cosmos while enjoying Wes Winters in the Grandview Lounge. http://www.weswinters.com/

I was mildly surprised when charged $4 per drink, but the bartender said each was made with 2 shots of liquor. ($20, 4 Sips)

Dinner this evening was at Khoury’s Mediterranean restaurant. This is another small, family-owned restaurant. I had a gift certificate good for 2 glasses of merlot and 2 entrees. We also shared a Greek salad and a complimentary pita with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Ann ordered moussaka while I tried the lamb shawarma.

I have had this dish a total of 3 times and I have come to the realization that I just don’t like it. Ann was pretty happy with her entrée. ($36.21, Groupon, 3 Forks)

In the interest of brevity, I will no longer mention us doing 2 laps around the casino floor each time we returned to the hotel, but that was pretty much our SOP throughout the trip.

March 24 – I earned double points this morning at the Fiesta and managed to hit my 2nd quad deuces, but still returned to the room a few dollars poorer.

For breakfast we made the trek to Sunset Station and were surprised to discover that prices have increased from $4.99 at our last several visits to $7.99.

http://www.sunsetstation.com/ I recharged my batteries by consuming fruit, OJ, corned beef hash, easy over eggs, chilaquilles and breakfast potatoes. ($10.34, LVA, gift card (purchased at 50% off), 2.5 Forks)

We then made the short drive to the Pop Up Art House, aka PUAH, located in a slightly rundown strip mall just east of Sunset Station. http://www.thepopuparthouse.com/press.html We found the gallery owner, Shannon McMackin, preparing for a new show to be held later that same evening, but she graciously led us on an in-depth tour. She also invited us to return later that evening for hor dourves and drinks, but we begged off due to a prior commitment. (2.5 Paint Brushes)

After returning to our hotel, Ann settled in at a VP machine while I settled in under the covers. At around 5PM we managed to regroup at the Grandview Lounge and watched the Syracuse men lose while we enjoyed a pair of merlots.

Dinner this evening was at Austin’s Steakhouse in Texas Station. http://www.texasstation.com/dining/austins/ We took a pass on the bread basket, but ordered a delicious spinach salad that was topped with goat cheese, red and yellow pear tomatoes, and red onions.

Our entrée was their signature pan seared, 22 ounce, bone-in ribeye that our waiter divided for us tableside. The steak was medium rare as requested, tender and delicious while our twice baked potato was tasty though overdone.

($24.74, LVA, gift card, 4.5 Forks)

March 25 – Lots of quads plus the occasional wild royal and 5OAKS kept this morning’s loss manageable.

On my return, I made another slight detour to the Whole Foods in the District where I purchased a lemon blueberry scone and an almond croissant which we shared along with OJ and grapefruit in the room. The scone did not compare favorably with the ones I purchase at our local Whole Foods market. ($3.98, 2 Forks)

We spent the remainder of this Sunday morning reading the newspaper before departing for Slidin’ Thru’s soon-to-be opened restaurant on Fort Apache. http://slidinthru.com/ On this occasion, the Slidin’ Thru food truck plus 5 others were set up in the parking lot and were primarily serving BBQ dishes. We had a discounted gift certificate so we ordered (2) Caprese (vegetarian) sliders plus (1) Pep Pep (Angus beef) slider. The ingredients were excellent, but the rolls appeared to be a little stale.

($5, CrowdSavings, 2.5 Forks)

The afternoon was spent in the room watching the UCONN women beat Penn State followed by the beginning of the Kansas versus UNC men’s game.

Later in the day, we drove to the Casino Royale via Koval where we parked and then hoofed it to First Food & Bar in the Palazzo.


We received complimentary pretzel rolls and ordered the Sammy D Sampler that included lollipop Buffalo wings, walnut shrimp and Philly cheesesteak dumplings plus an order of O-rings (onion).

If ordered individually the MSRP would have been $59, but by requesting the sampler our bill came to a more reasonable, yet overpriced for what you get, $37. Everything was good, but nothing scaled any culinary heights. This is one of the ELV50 restaurants, but it is one and done for us. ($24.40, R.com, 2.5 Forks)

We walked over to the Imperial Palace where I cashed in a $10 TITO (see tomorrow for the explanation) before crossing over to Caesars Palace where we had tickets for the Rod Stewart – The Hits show. The 90 minute show was excellent and it was obvious that most of the audience knew the lyrics to each and every song. ($232.14, 4 Claps)

What could I say about Rod that would not also apply to Westie? We are each over 60, sport a unique hair style, and sing “if you want my body and you think I'm sexy” every morning in the shower. Okay, I may be stretching the comparison a little because I honestly don’t know what Rod sings in the shower.

We were parched after all the singing so we (Ann, Rod, and I) headed to Ellis Island for a hefe weiss. As we were preparing to depart with 4 bottles of water in hand, we bid adieu to Rod who we saw heading for the Karaoke lounge. ($2, LVA, 3 Sips)

Last edited by westie; 04-16-2012 at 04:52 PM.
Old 04-09-2012, 03:19 AM
westie's Avatar
westie westie is offline
Super Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,433

March 26 This morning I started off by playing the $10 from cashing in the TITO at the Fiesta. The background of this transaction is a member of one of the Las Vegas boards, who chooses to remain anonymous for tax purposes, offered to give me the TITO, but I declined, offering to play the proceeds once through a 10 cent, FPDW machine for her.

As I loaded the money into the machine, I had a gut feeling that I was about to hit quad deuces, and I actually did hit quads, but they were kings. If Ms. Anonymous happens to be reading this TR – your check is in the mail.

Some 2 hours later while playing with my own money (cross my heart), I was dealt 4 spades to the royal and hit what I optimistically recorded in my TR notes as my #1 Royal.

On returning to the room, I discovered Ann was still sleeping, but I woke her up with my rendition of “Hot Legs ……….. I love you honey”. She was less than amused.

We had a late breakfast at Ellis with each of us ordering easy over eggs, wheat toast and breakfast potatoes. The meal and service were pretty good though just a little less so than on recent visits. ($8, LVA, 2.5 Forks)

Ann played both of our play $10, get $10 in free play coupons from the American Casino Guide (ACG) and broke even. We will play off the free play on our next trip.

Our next stop was the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for the Spring Celebration that features a Dutch windmill, a carousel, swans and oh so much more. We also made our usual stops at the Chihuly shop and Jean-Philipp Patisserie.

On returning to the hotel, I retired to the room while Ann put in a short VP session.

In the late afternoon we planned to meet Rod again at Ellis, but he had a conflict and begged off. We carried on alone by ordering merlots before setting off for Pasta Cucina at Texas Station. http://www.texasstation.com/dining/pasta-cucina/

My lowly expectations for this meal were realized. The restaurant was not busy, but everything from start to finish seemed to take a little too long. We were served warm garlic bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but the bread was too salty. We also shared a below average Caesar salad. The lobster ravioli in a tomato cream sauce ordered by Ann was a bit too al dente while my eggplant Parmesan entrée was heavily breaded thick slices of undercooked eggplant.

($23.95, LVA, gift card, 1.5 Forks)

On our return I went to bed while Ann put in a short session of VP losing her $5 in free play, but cashing out $25 on mine. Like the working girls in town, I had a profitable evening while lying in bed.

March - 27 The slot card readers were down at the Fiesta so I made the cross town trip to Sam’s only to suffer another loss. On my return to the South Point I picked up a coffee for Ann and the world’s largest blueberry muffin from the Del Mar Deli that we shared along with OJ and grapefruit. http://www.southpointcasino.com/dining/quick-bites.php ($6.62, 3 Forks).

In mid-morning I dropped Ann off at Episage Wellness Center on Tropicana for a massage and continued on to Sam’s where I put in a 45 minute session that proved to be a series of near misses.

The Episage facilities were nicer than I expected given the address and Teri proved to be an excellent masseuse. http://www.episagewellnesscenter.com/

($27, Groupon, 5 Hands)

After picking her (Ann, not Teri) up, we headed west to Gigi’s Cupcakes where we selected Texas Milk Chocolate and Midnight Magic cupcakes that were consumed mid-afternoon with glasses of milk.

The cakes were on the dry side and the frosting on each was overly sweet. ($2, KSHP, 1.5 Forks)

The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to napping (me), reading (Ann) and playing VP (Ann). At around 3:31PM we headed to Ellis Island where we enjoyed merlots while watching the UCONN women beat their counterparts from KY.

Dinner this evening was at the Bar + Bistro, an ELV 50 restaurant. http://barbistroaf.com/

Here is a list of what we ordered:

1) Alcapurras - Kobe beef, pacheta, sofrito, black currants, achiote, green banana, taro root croquetas, sofrito cream sauce. (lacked flavor, 2 Forks)

2) B+B slider - “Kobe style” Wagyu beef, Manchego cheese, pickled shallots, arugula, roasted tomato mayo. (dry, 2 Forks)

3) Spiced Salmon slider -Loch Duart Scottish (sustainable by cleanfish®), organic greens, tomato, cured ricotta, sweet spiced pecans, citrus dressing (a hit, 4 Forks)

4) Chopped Latin salad - cabbage, jicama, piquillo peppers, pumpkin seeds, avocado, Manchego cheese, plantain chips, chimichurri honey dressing. (refreshing, 4 Forks)

4) Tempura alcachofa – long stemmed artichoke hearts with curry aioli. (tasty, 4 Forks)

($23.95, R.com, 3 Forks)


Congratulations, you have reached the halfway point in this TR and I can tell you need a break so we are taking a short intermission to allow you to attend to personal needs. Please return to your computer in 10 minutes when this TR will resume.

Welcome back, relax and settle down because the 2nd half is about to commence.

March 28 – The only decent FPDW machines at the Fiesta were out of service for maintenance so I departed for Sam’s. My 2 plus hour session proved to be a loser.

Our first order of business this morning was dropping our clothes off at the Laundrimat (sic) on Eastern. The owner (Bud) informed us that the business had been sold and he did not know if the new owners would be doing wash and fold.

We drowned our sorrows at Ronald’s over a shared apple fritter and glazed buttermilk donut with a coffee for Ann and water for me. ($3.90, 3.5 Forks)

Our next stop was the Silverton to shop at the Bass Pro Shops, but neither of us found anything of particular interest.

We watched the fish and ducks for awhile before departing for Elite Salon where Ann had a wash, dry and comb out.

($35, 4 Brushes)

Lunch was at the Great Greek which is located in the shadows of Sunset Station. This restaurant is small, but is obviously a very popular luncheon destination for locals.

We ordered bowls of avgolemono, an egg/lemon soup, accompanied by grilled pita bread. This rendition of the classic Greek soup was a bit thicker than some, but delicious.

($7.57, 4 Spoons)

On returning to the room I managed to nap for over 2 hours while Ann played some VP. At around 4PM we picked up our clothes and wished the owners much happiness and good health during their long overdue retirement. ($14, 4 Folds)

We then drove to the Clarion where we enjoyed a pair of merlots ($4, ACG) and picked up our show tickets for later that evening before making the drive to the Riviera for dinner.

R Steak & Seafood is a relatively new restaurant located in the space occupied for many years by Christopher’s. http://www.rivierahotel.com/las-vega...steak-seafood/

The restaurant is fairly casual though there was a maitre d. We received a warm loaf of bread and shared a warm bacon and spinach salad.

Ann ordered the grilled salmon steak entrée which was bountiful and very moist.

Mine was a mammoth double, more likely a triple, cut pork chop with an apple cranberry sauce. We also shared a bowl of roasted cream corn. Prices were moderate for a Strip restaurant of this quality.

($41.43, LVA, 3.5 Forks)

We returned to the Clarion for the Carl William show. http://carlwilliam.com/Carl_William.html Carl, a native of Quebec, possesses an outstanding voice and was backed by an excellent 3-piece band and 2 unneeded back-up singers. The show was very good, but there were only about 20 people in the audience. We were told that the show would soon be closing. ($17, KSHP, 3.5 Claps)

March 29 – Another cross town trip to Sam’s in order to take advantage of the 5 x points being offered to the Young at Heart. I was losing my shirt when I was dealt 4 diamonds to the Royal and caught the beautiful queen for my 2nd royal. Double Wowsa!

After enjoying grapefruit and OJ in the room, we decided to celebrate by having breakfast at Creative Crepes using an 8NewsNow discounted certificate. On entering the Saxby’s Coffee shop where it was housed, we were informed the restaurant had closed back in November 2011, shortly after I purchased the certificate.

We decided to forego breakfast in favor of checking our email at the Paseo Verde library, but arrived 15 minutes before the doors opened. One of my emails was from I Love Burgers and it included a coupon good for a free burger.

Our plans for lunch were now solidified, but first it was off to the Lake Las Vegas Psychic for a tarot card reading. Our discounted certificate indicated an appointment was necessary, but I figured being a psychic shouldn’t she know when Ann was going to arrive?

Ann hasn’t divulged anything about the session, but she has been smiling a little more than usual. ($22, R-J deals, 3.5 Seances)

We then made our way to I Love Burgers in Town Square. http://www.iloveburgers.com/ I expected to encounter long lines due to the free burger promotion, but the place was not busy. Though this restaurant has been open for several months, we were told by an employee that no one knows its open because of its location at the far end of the center.

The coupons, I printed 2, were good for standard burgers that come with lettuce, tomato, onion and American cheese plus we shared a soda.

The burgers were tasty, but dry due to being overcooked. ($3, 2 Forks)

On our return we took in this week’s Dennis Bono show featuring Corrie Sachs (Country Superstars), the Bob Rosario Ensemble, singer Bobby Brooks Wilson (Jackie’s son), Kelly Clinton (comedic singer and Clint Holmes wife), comedian Geechy Guy (Dirty Joke Show), singer Shelly Taylor and pianist Danny Wright. ($0, 4 Claps)

I napped in the late afternoon while Ann played VP. Prior to departing for dinner, we used our show ticket for a pair of merlots at the Grandview Lounge.

Dinner tonight was at the nearby Barcelona Tapas & Bar.

http://www.barcelonatapas-bar.com/ We were served a complimentary plate of grilled bread, hummus and a garlic cream cheese spread (2.5 Forks).

Our first order was the obligatory pan fried dates with almonds in a balsamic reduction sauce and sprinkled with goat cheese (4 Forks) and Manchego mac and cheese (3.5 Forks).

The second round was less successful: camarones al Ajillo (garlic shrimp) that were slightly overcooked and served at room temperature (2 Forks), a mundane house salad (2 Forks) and pastelillos pollo (chicken cake) served with a gribiche sauce (2.5 Forks).

We closed out the meal with a chocolate tres leches cake. ($14.99, R.com, 2.5 Forks)

March 30 – My morning session at the Fiesta was once again devoid of quad deuces, but I kept my loss manageable by hitting several 5OAKS plus a pair of wild royals.

We had room service this morning with me being the server. Grapefruit, OJ, a toasted bagel and one coffee from the Del Mar Deli. ($3.78, 3 Forks)

We returned to the Fiesta and proceeded directly to the promotions desk in order to pick up the bottles of Skye vodka I earned earlier this morning. What you say – the promotion was on Thursday and today is Friday? Damn, I lost a day somewhere.

I spent a little time checking the location of a few machines to update the VPFree2 data base while Ann played. http://www.vpfree2.com/casinos/by-region/las-vegas.html

I finally settled in at one of the FPDW machines and in short order was dealt 4 to the Royal and drew the 5th for my 3rd Royal; a personal record for single-line VP. Triple Wowsa!!

After I finished counting my money, we headed for the difficult to locate, but worth the effort, Baguette Café. This restaurant is in a large office park and only open Monday – Friday for breakfast and lunch. The weather was close to picture perfect so after ordering cups of their housemade soup, we settled in at a table on the patio.

Ann’s Manhattan clam chowder was chock full of fresh vegetables and bursting with flavor. My cream of asparagus soup was silky smooth and delicious, but paled in comparison to hers.

The only negative was our soup was not hot enough which I attribute to our server not realizing we had camped out on the patio. There is little doubt in my mind that we will be returning to try one of their quiches in the not too distant future. ($8.03, 4 Spoons)

In the late afternoon we returned to Grandview Lounge for the Friday night $2 happy hour. This time we got a different server who charged us $2 for each of our raspberry martinis. ($6, 3.5 Sips)

We then adjourned to Miguel’s Tequila bar for a pair of tequila mockingbirds. ($6. 3.5 Sips) http://www.southpointcasino.com/pres...quila-time.php

Dinner this evening was at the Barrymore located in the Royal Resort on Convention Center Drive. http://www.barrymorelv.com/

We began by touring the lobby area which must fall under the category of retro chic.

The restaurant itself is pretty nice though much smaller than I expected. There were some people sitting at the bar and several more on the patio, but the restaurant proper was barely half full this Friday evening.

We each ordered the roasted loup de mer, Mediterranean sea bass with a bean ragout, roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon while sharing a Caesar salad and baker.

The combination of bean ragout and the sea bass was a bit strange, but the Brussels sprouts and fish were very good. As usual, our baker was way overdone. Service was very good throughout. ($46.70, Groupon, 3 Forks)

Tonight’s entertainment was provided by Jonathan Clark at the Riviera. http://jonathanclarkonline.com/

Jonathan is a comedic impressionist who must have covered close to 100 performers, but very few, if any, were spot on. The music and his comedic skills made the night worthwhile. ($17, KSHP, 3 Claps)
Old 04-09-2012, 03:20 AM
westie's Avatar
westie westie is offline
Super Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,433

March 31 – My feng shui was thrown out of kilter when I discovered upon entering the Fiesta parking garage that the 2nd floor was closed. Is it any wonder that I lost this morning?

We had breakfast at Rise and Shine: A Steak and Egg Place this morning. http://www.bestbreakfastvegas.com/map.php The restaurant was cute with colorful umbrellas hanging down from the ceiling.

There was a short line upon entering, but it took us an unusually long time to be seated though we could see a few tables that had been prepped and empty.

We decided to share a full stack of pancakes plus strawberries. The sliced strawberries were served on the side and our 5 medium sized pancakes were nothing to write home about.

Overall we were underwhelmed by this dining experience. ($15.67, 2 Forks)

Later that morning we headed to the Fiesta to take advantage of the double points being offered, but both of us ended up losing.

We were both suffering from a dry throat so what better way is there to nurse our afflictions than by sharing a chocolate concrete (a shake you eat with a spoon) at Nielsen’s Frozen Custard?

http://www.nielsensfrozencustard.net/ ($5.50, 3.5 Spoons)

After resting for most of the afternoon, we were ready to go and go we did to Ellis Island. The wine du jour was merlot which we enjoyed in the karaoke lounge.

($2, ACG, 2.5 Sips)

Weera Thai received our dining dollars this evening. http://www.weerathai.com/

This small restaurant has received favorable press so I entered with high expectations. We started off with Thai egg rolls which were grease free and packed with fresh tasting ingredients.

For entrees we shared orders of nom tuk moo - sliced pork with rice powder, spices, lime juice and chili plus shrimp glass noodle pot – shrimp, black pepper and ginger baked with glass noodles.

We concluded the meal with a cup of coconut ice cream.

All our dishes were top notch and our waitress was a delight. She must have encouraged is 3-4 times to return and try one of the sea bass dishes and we will.

($24.59, LivingSocial, 4 Forks)

April 1 – The April fools joke was at my expense during this morning’s losing session. I made yet another detour, this time to K D. Donuts and Kolaches on Sunset Road.

This bakery opened in January and features Texas-style donuts and kolaches. I took a pass on the kolaches in favor of an apple fritter and a cake donut which we shared in the room.

Both were good, but Ronald remains king. ($2.25, 2.5 Forks)

Ann’s throat remained sore so we decided to rest by spending the morning reading and dozing. At around noon I suggested what she needed was some street tacos so we headed for Tacos el Gordo of Tijuana on Charleston Boulevard.

We split 4 adobada (spicy pork) tacos topped with crema, cilantro, pineapple and onion plus complimentary side orders of grilled peppers and scallions plus a soda.

These continue to be the best street tacos we have had in Las Vegas. ($5, KSHP, 4.5 Forks)

In the late afternoon we watched the UCONN women’s basketball team lose for the second consecutive year to Notre Dame in the semi finals while we nursed a pair of merlots.

Dinner was at Panna Thai where we enjoyed an excellent meal on our last trip. http://www.pannathairestaurant.com/

This time we shared a large bowl of tom ka gai soup which was loaded with chicken. It was on the spicy side and IMHO could have benefited from the addition of more coconut milk.

We also shared orders of sweet chili basil chicken and seafood eggplant.

Both were above average, but the meal ended up being too much of a good thing. ($20.20, R.com, 3.5 Forks)

April 2 – Sam’s was offering 4 x points, but once again I lost. After returning to the room and having our usual OJ and grapefruit, we headed off the Rio to pick-up the one and only, GregRio. As usual, we enjoyed his company immensely and received some first hand information about the Smith Center.

Our breakfast destination was BabyStacks Cafe, formerly known as BabyCakes, on S. Buffalo Drive. http://www.babystackscafe.com/ We previously dined at their other location so I was anticipating nothing less than an excellent breakfast and I was not disappointed.

The restaurant is larger and brighter than the original. We were initially ignored by the wait staff so after about 10 minutes I got up and flagged one down.

Once we received the menus, we discovered that 17 different varities of pancakes are offered – decisions, decisions. Greg went conservative by ordering buttermilk,

Ann the red velvet and I tossed caution and calories to the wind by choosing the banana cream pie.

Oh my God, mine was hands down the best and most calorie laden pancakes ever conceived. ($18.27, Groupon, 4 Forks)

After dropping Greg off at, where else, the Rio, we headed to the Paseo Verde library and checked our email followed by a 1 hour VP session at the Fiesta. Prior to departing we had our first ever Baileys and Smirnoff fluffed. ($2.50, LVA, gift card, 4.5 Sips)

The afternoon was spent reading and dozing before we returned to the Fiesta. This time we enjoyed margaritas at the Cerveza Cantina.using a 2/1 coupon printed from Station’s nightlife website. ($5, gift card, 2.5 Sips) http://nightlifestation.com/index.php/yourdeals

Dinner tonight was at Bratalian Neapolitan Cantina which is owned by Carla Pellegrino of Rao fame, but run by her sister and brother-in-law.

Clothes hanging from the walls

The restaurant, formerly Chefs Palate, is small, but very busy on this Monday evening. Fortunately we decided to only order entrees because the portion size is generous with most people departing with doggy bags in hand.

Ann’s entrée was salmon in salsa al limone - a very large portion of moist salmon sitting on a humungous amount of sautéed spinach.

I ordered pollo scarpariello - oven roasted half chicken, topped with sautéed red, yellow bell peppers, hot & sweet Italian sausage and hot cherry peppers.

Both dishes emphasized high quality, fresh ingredients. Neither of us came close to finishing our meals so on our next visit, there will be one, we will likely share an appetizer and a single entrée. ($31.11, R.com, 4 Forks)

April 3 – This morning’s VP highlight was the long anticipated, much delayed, 3rd quad deuces of the trip. My luck continued on my return to the South Point where I found a coupon good for a free drink on top of the paycheck machine by the cashier’s window.

We once again enjoyed OJ, grapefruit, a coffee for Ann and a shared toasted bagel from Del-Mar Deli in our room. ($3.78, 2.5 Forks)

This being our last full day, we returned to the Fiesta for a VP session that was highlighted by my #4 quad deuces and my #4 Royal. Quadruple WOWSA!!!!

Needless to say, I was feeling flush so I decided to spring for lunch. Our choice was consommé Loco at Los Antojos.

I am not sure how this small, casual, Mexico City-type eatery managed to find its way on the ELV50 listing, but the clear broth with rice, cilantro, shredded chicken and avocado always satisfies us in a way only a homemade soup could. ($8.29, 4 Spoons)

We were a little early, but our next stop was the Westin Hotel to see Brian Hoffman’s ‘Remembering Red – A Tribute to Red Skelton’. https://www.facebook.com/RedSkelton4u

This show is performed in a small room with 70, I counted them, upholstered chairs which were about 2/3rds occupied this afternoon. Brian covered many of Red’s most beloved characters as well as reciting his explanation of the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. If, in fact, you remember Red, then you may find this show to be a rewarding way to spend some of your vacation time and money – we did. ($17, KSHP, 3 Claps)

After a glass of merlot at the South Point, we headed off for dinner at Kyara Japanese Tapas restaurant. http://www.kyaraizakaya.com/

This is a small, contemporary designed restaurant with the same ownership as the Naked Fish. We started off with the day’s sunomono (vinegared vegetables including seaweed, 3 Forks), shoniku (chicken skewer, 3 Forks), tsukune (ground chicken and pork skewer, 3.5 Forks) and rice.

Our next order was Asari saka mushi (a very small portion of very small clams in sake, 1 Fork), Agedashi Nasu (deep fried eggplant with special sauce, 4 Forks) and age dahi tofu (fried tofu with special sauce, 3 Forks).

The last order was yuzu fromage mousse (a homemade citrus mousse, 3.5 Spoons).

Portion size for each was small so I imagine those with large appetites could run up a sizeable bill. ($36.62, 3 Forks)

April 4 – My last video poker session at the Fiesta proved to be a break even affair. Breakfast was at the South Point buffet where I quickly downed OJ, fresh fruit with yogurt, easy over eggs, corned beef hash and some breakfast tatas. ($8.99, funbook, 2 Forks)

After filling the gas tank one last time, we bid adieu to the Altima and shuttled to the consolidated rental facility and then to the airport. The self-check in process went smoothly, but I was surprised to discover that our boarding passes stated “seat assignments to be provided at the gate”. How the hell did that happen?

We then joined the lines to clear security and were patiently waiting when we heard a scream and the entire process shut-down. We waited and waited, finally learning that some bozo had run through security. After about a 10 minutes delay, the lines started to move again and in short order we were headed for the boarding area.

We changed planes in Atlanta and discovered Mister Tony, a balding dude dressed in psychedelic clothes, including his shoes, was joining us for the flight to Harford. . http://www.mistertony.com/ The flight was otherwise uneventful and we were soon on our way home.

I want to thank everyone who had the courage and stamina to read this TR in its entirety. Please feel free to add your comments or ask questions

Trip summary by the numbers

1 lounge act

1 book read by Westie

3 books read by Ann

3 Thai restaurants

3 apple fritters

3 ELV50 restaurants

4 royals

4 quad deuces

5 visits to Ellis Island

5 pounds gained by Westie

6 shows

10 days between quad deuces

14 nights at South Point

15 winning trips out of past 19

16 new restaurants or bakeries

18 dollars spent on grapefruit

48 coupons and gift certificates used

49 days until our next trip

169 dollars spent on gas

1184 miles put on odometer

“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.”

------------Julia Child-------------
Old 04-09-2012, 04:22 AM
mikenhe's Avatar
mikenhe mikenhe is offline
Super Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: the brit in NH! FL now!!
Trips To Vegas: 8
Posts: 2,504

nice report sir.

took some time to get to Ellis Island this time - I was getting worried!!
Old 04-09-2012, 04:25 AM
travelfiend travelfiend is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Colorado
Trips To Vegas: 30
Posts: 855

Great report, loved all the pics and emphasis on food and the visits to local spots. A former colleague is the director of the Henderson Library District and I am going to mention to him, your use of the Paseo Verde Library and mention in your trip reports, he will get a kick out of that. Thanks for sharing!
Old 04-09-2012, 05:19 AM
rdjmm rdjmm is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Trips To Vegas: 6
Posts: 11
Default wow

Been waiting for this TR and it once again did not disappoint. Thanks for all the info. and all the work that goes into your TR's they are always entertaining and informative. And what a great winning trip. FUN
Old 04-09-2012, 05:25 AM
nitc's Avatar
nitc nitc is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Trips To Vegas: 15
Posts: 641

Great report Westie...can't wait 'til your next trip so I can enjoy another one. There's not going to be a Vegas trip for us this year, so I'll live vicariously thru yours.
Old 04-09-2012, 05:35 AM
VegasDiva's Avatar
VegasDiva VegasDiva is offline
Super Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Calgary , Alberta , Canada
Trips To Vegas: 10
Posts: 2,765

Wonderful report westie , as usual

I should know better not to read your reports with all the yummy looking food pics b4 breakfast, now I'm am really hungry lol
~~Dreaming of the Next Trip to Vegas ~~
Old 04-09-2012, 05:46 AM
VegasGroove's Avatar
VegasGroove VegasGroove is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: 3hrs-30mins From Vegas
Trips To Vegas: 36
Posts: 852


To my fellow gastronome, I thank you for yet another excellent report chock-ful of what I love - dining experiences!

Well, you certainly have given me several more places to add to my foodie list. For my October trip, I already had Pan Asian, Technique (will try to find again this time), El Tacos Gordos and Bar+ Bistro. But added to the list are Mundo, Weera Thai, I Love Burgers and Bratalian. I hope I can fit most of these in.

I want to thank you again for providing this board with the weekly restaurant review posts. It helps plan every one of my itineraries.

And your reports are true testaments to why strip restaurants aren't always a good meal (or value). It pays to go off strip and explore the valley for many hidden restaurant gems.

Thanks, Westie!
Compliments of MyVegas!
Old 04-09-2012, 06:00 AM
Pinedream Pinedream is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Trips To Vegas: 50
Posts: 67

Great TR, and i too loved all of the food pictures. I am now starving!
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