June 1 - Today marked the 7th consecutive day that I have during my morning VP sessions, but who’s counting? I stopped at an Albertson’s on my way back to the room to pick up some more grapefruit plus a knife to slit my throat. After OJ and grapefruit in our room, we enjoyed a bagel and coffee at the Del Mar Deli. ($5.62, 2.5 Forks)
I then dropped Ann off at the Elite Hair Salon on E. Windmill and then did a little restaurant reconnaissance work. http://vegashairdiva.com/
($40, 3 Curls)
We then put in a short VP session at the Fiesta with Ann winning as much as I lost. Lunch was at Kylkos Greek Café in the Galleria Mall. http://www.kyklosgreekcafe.com/
We both enjoyed our gyros, but our piece of baklava was drier than a bone.
($8.58, Groupon, 2.5 Forks)
On our return to the South Point, I headed for bed while Ann played some VP before joining me. On the way back Ann met one of the participants in the elevator who said she was going to spend the night sleeping in the horse trailer though she smelled like she already had.
In the late afternoon we drove to the Golden Nugget to attend the recently revamped Country Superstars show. http://www.goldennugget.com/lasvegas...superstars.asp
A country singer accompanied by a guitarist performed as the audience was being seated which was a nice touch.
This show now features Cody Collins, former lead singer (2007-2011) of Lonestar. He receives star billing and possesses an excellent voice, but Corrie Sachs as Reba McEntire did yeoman work by performing 8 songs, to Cody’s 4, plus handled the hosting duties. Two other impersonators performed as Ronnie Dunn and Willie Nelson. Overall, this show proved to be highly entertaining.
($17, KSHP, 3.5 Claps)
Dinner was at the The Barrymore located in the Royal Resort on Convention Center Drive. http://www.barrymorelv.com/
We dined here in March so I was surprised when we were seated in a different, plusher dining room located on the right, just past the bar.
We both ordered the loup de mer, black sea bass, with braised celery, fennel and artichokes. This was a different, better, version of the same entrée I previously ordered. We also shared sides of mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach which were just okay. Service was excellent.
($42.70, Groupon, 3.5 Forks)
We closed out the evening at the Grandview Lounge nursing a pair of Bailey’s and cream while listening to a few songs by Wes Winters. ($5, 3 Sips)
June 2 – I earned double points plus a few dollars at the Fiesta this morning without hitting quad deuces.
After our usual OJ and grapefruit in the room, we descended on Paseo Verde Library to once again check our email and then it was off to Lake Las Vegas for brunch at Bernard’s Bistro.
You could have fired several canons down the 2 main avenues and not hurt anyone at 11AM this Sunday morning.
After being seated, I asked the waitress if I could use my KSHP certificate for the brunch. She said they were no longer involved with the radio station and that all certificates had expired. Sure enough, when I made a change to our itinerary earlier in the week, I neglected to note the May 30th expiration date. Since this restaurant MSRP is too high, we opted to put Plan B in affect.
Plan B was Las Pupusas on N. Stephanie in Henderson, but we must have driven past it because I ended up on the Boulder Highway. Not a problem because Plan C was just up the road at Oyster Bar in Sunset Station. Ann sought nourishment in a bowl of Manhattan clam chowder while I opted for a lumberjack sized portion of red beans and rice that was loaded with Andouille sausage.
($3, points, 3 Forks and a burp)
We continued west on Sunset Road to Ethel M’s to view the cactus garden and purchase some chocolates. http://www.ethelm.com/
We selected 12 dark chocolate satins for $21 that are currently in process of being digested. ($11, Groupon, 4.5 Forks)
In the early evening we visited the poolside bar to exchange our free drink coupons for a pair of merlots. We then headed to Green Valley Ranch (GVR) to see Michael Grimm perform at Ovation. https://www.facebook.com/MichaelGrimmMusic
Michael, for those who don’t know, previously performed on a regular basis at GVR before winning America’s Got Talent (AGT), season 5. In the interim, he recorded a few albums and pretty much disappeared from the public’s eye after completing the mandatory AGT tour. Starting in May, he is performing most Saturday evenings in Ovation with a $5 cover charge in place.
On entering, most of the tables were occupied or reserved so we grabbed a pair of floor seats only to discover, too late, that the tables were available. This soulful singer is backed by an excellent band and performed both covers and original material including one song from his soon to be released album titled Gumbo. The 1 hour 45 minute was excellent. ($10, 5 Claps per Ann) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael...%28musician%29
June 3 – My VP session at the Fiesta this morning was a train wreck. I did a lot better at Ronald’s where we shared an apple fritter and buttermilk donut. ($4.62, 3.5 Crumbs)
We then drove to Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and made the short trek to Bellagio.
Visiting the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is our one must do on each trip and the Summer Garden display did not disappoint. (4.5 Flowers)
We also toured the lobby area, Chihuly shop and Jean-Phillipe patisserie before heading back to our hotel, but the entrances to I-15 south were all blocked so we returned via a circuitous route that included the beltway.
Before retiring to the room we watched the Las Vegas Super Show, put on by the National Barrel Racing Association, for a half hour. Over the weekend, we were told over 800 people participated in this championship competition.
In the early afternoon we attended the Clint Holmes matinee show in the Cabaret Jazz at the newly opened Smith Center for the Performing Arts. http://www.thesmithcenter.com/
This entire complex which includes the Symphony Park is spectacular.
The cabaret is U-shaped with floor and balcony seating.
We managed to get floor seating 3 tables back from the stage, but the venue is very intimate with only 238 seats and the acoustics are excellent. Clint performs on the first weekend of the month, but this was the first time he performed a Sunday matinee show.
Today’s show was “Remembering Bobby Shorr”, a lounge singer who performed in the Café Carlyle in NYC for 38 years.
Here is the NY Times review of this show after Clint performed it last year at the Carlyle: http://tinyurl.com/6vxavwx
($102, 5 Claps)
There were a number of celebrities and musicians in today’s audience as well as his wife, Kelly Clinton, and 2 children. At the conclusion of the show, Ann headed directly to the restroom and overheard one matronly lady that had been seated near us tell another that “he was beginning to get me hot”. It is unclear if the “he” she was referring to was Clint or Westie.
We, actually I, needed a snack to tide us, actually me, over so we drove to Olocuita, a small Salvadorian restaurant on Charleston Blvd. for pupusas. The employees were in process of closing up so were ordered our queso spinach and queso chicken pupusas to go. These were packaged with a bag each of curtido, a spicy cabbage slaw, and a watery tomato salsa that tasted like tomato juice.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first ever pupusas in the confines of our room. ($4.06, 3 Forks)
One last visit to the equestrian center to watch the barrel racing before it was time to drive to Ellis for a few merlots.
The main event tonight was held at Weera Thai, a small family-owned restaurant located on W. Sahara. http://www.weerathai.com/
We shared a tasty green papaya salad with green beans, tomato, and peanuts seasoned with lime juice and Thai chili. We were happy we ordered mild because this salad has a kick.
For entrees, we ordered the shrimp glass noodle pot that we enjoyed last trip plus spicy eggplant with shrimp.
For dessert we shared an order of coconut ice cream.
There is much more on the menu for us to try so we will surely be back in October.
($32.64, Yelp, 3.5 Forks)
We were more full than tired so we stopped by the Bourbon Street Cabaret in the Orleans for one set by Next Movement, a R&B group founded on the south side of Chicago in 1971. http://thenextmovementshow.com/
June 4 – My streak of bad luck continued.
We started the day off at Ellis Island with orders of easy over eggs, hash browns and wheat toast.
Everything was cooked to perfection and our server, big Steve, provided excellent service as always.
After checking our email at the library, we returned to the scene of the crime, aka Fiesta-Henderson, and in short order I hit my #5 quads of the trip plus Ann won a few dollars.
We celebrated by sharing a chocolate concrete with toasted coconut at Nielsen’s Frozen Custard on Eastern. ($5.50, 3.5 Spoons)
The remainder of the afternoon found me in the room dozing.
In the early evening we headed off for the 5-7PM daily happy hour at the Charcoal Room in Santa Fe Station for some $5 martinis.
On the first round, there would be a second; Ann ordered a lemon drop while I went with a roasted, toasted almond (Sky vodka, Amaretto and Starbucks liqueur). Hers was good, but mine was better.
We noticed, especially me since I kept my eyes glued on our (very) attractive bartender that she was not using a shot glass and each pour seemed to be very long.
As I was finishing my martini, I picked up the shaker and began pouring and pouring. Damned if there wasn’t another martini for each of us.
We decided to toss sobriety to the wind and ordered a 2nd round or would it be considered a 3rd? This time we both settled on mochatinis (Starbucks liqueur, Absolute vanilla vodka and dark crème de cacao).
The equivalent of 8 martinis for $20 represents an amazing value, but it got better because I paid with a WeLuvLocals gift card purchased at 50% off. ($15, 5 Sips)
As we exited the Santa Fe on our way to Texas Station for dinner I took a short cut by going down a one-way street in the wrong direction. I am just kidding – really!
Dinner was at Austin’s Steakhouse, a Westie favorite. http://www.texasstation.com/dining/austins/
We received a basket with 3 types of bread and shared a spinach salad that included red and yellow pear tomatoes and red onions topped with goat cheese.
For an entrée we shared the restaurant’s signature pan seared, 22 ounce, bone-in ribeye.
The waiter divided it for us at tableside and it was done medium rare as requested. The steak was juicy, flavorful and tender.
For sides we shared a large sweet potato that came with maple butter and a rather blah tasting order of sautéed spinach.
($30.04, WeLuvLocals gift card, LVA, 4 Forks)
June 5 – This trip was wearing down as was our net worth. I managed to hit an incredible 9 5OAKS (5 of a kind) in a little under 3 hours, but still recorded yet another loss.
We jumped started the day once again with grapefruit and OJ followed by an enormous blueberry muffin plus a coffee at Del Mar Deli. ($4.62, 2.5 Forks)
We stopped at Fry’s because our camera battery kept dying and had to be recharged twice. After discussing the problem with a sales rep, we ended up purchasing a 2nd battery as a back-up and swapped our old one for one of theirs.
Our next stops were the library and Los Jarochos on Rainbow Avenue. The restaurant is fairly large, but we were the diners at lunch time.
We ordered 2 each of the pastor and borrego (lamb) street tacos plus a diet cola.
The tacos were made with only one tortilla that wasn’t very soft and the runny salsa added little in the way of flavor. Overall, we thought the tacos to be a little below average. ($11.25, 2 Forks)
In the late afternoon, Ann still had enough energy to play some more VP while I barely had the strength to climb into bed.
This was our last opportunity to join the regulars at Cheers, oops, I mean Ellis Island. You know you have been stuck in a rut when the bartender, Suzie, waves a pair of wine glasses in your direction as you sit down. We each enjoyed a pair of merlots and then took a few bottles of water with us courtesy of the LVA’s coupon.
Dinner tonight was at the student-run Technique restaurant in the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. http://www.techniquerestaurant.com/l.../lasvegas.html
We were slightly disappointed to discover a) the menu was not the same as the one on their website, b) the number of courses has been reduced from 4 to 3 and c) the price has increased by $1. We each ordered the sea bass entrée, but were advised Atlantic salmon was being substituted. Ann’s 3-courses were a delicious beet salad, the salmon entrée accompanied by rice, and a coffee flavored panna cotta.
My order was an unconventional Caesar salad that was mediocre, a flavorful skirt steak that came with a ½ baked potato and a delicious creamed spinach/carrots mix plus bananas foster.
Overall the meal was pretty good, but not as good as on our last visit. ($21, R.com, 3 Forks)
We closed the evening by watching the Celtics take a 3-2 lead over the Heat.
June 6 – Less anyone think the (9) 5OAKS I hit yesterday were a fluke, I managed to hit an even dozen during a 4.5 hour marathon session this morning while breaking even.
We had our usual breakfast in the room followed by yet another bagel and cream cheese at the Del Mar Deli. ($5.62, 3 Forks)
On returning to the room we read the newspaper, requested a late check out and headed off to the Fiesta for one last VP session. It got ugly so we both quit at around noon and drove to the DW Bistro on Fort Apache for the final meal of this trip. http://dwbistro.com/
This restaurant is included in the dining guide “Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants”. It is nicely decorated with lots of modern art hanging from the walls.
I took the opportunity to introduce myself to co-owner Dalton Wilson, aka DW, who was born in Jamaica and raised in New Mexico. The menu is a reflection of his heritage.
Ann ordered the Jamaican curry chicken bowl which was loaded with fresh vegetables over rice.
I countered with New Mexican-style slow cooked pork simmered in red chili and served over rice.
Both dishes were unique and delicious. When I went to settle the bill, our waiter told us Dalton did not want us departing for CT without trying a piece of his carrot cake. I thought we might receive a small sliver, but it was very large slice of the best carrot cake in the universe. The cake looked almost too good to eat with its white chocolate curls on the top. Unfortunately my photography skills do not match the chef’s baking skills.
($29.86, 5 Forks)
We returned the car to the Fox lot and had about a 10 minute wait for a shuttle that took us to the rental facility where we caught a 2nd shuttle to the airport. We quickly cleared security and were soon on our way home; arriving at 2AM EST.
As usual we had a wonderful time, experiencing several memorable meals and wide variety of musical entertainment. Less successful were our gambling adventures so our record now stands at 15 winning trips in the past 21.
Thanks to one and all who took the time to read this TR. Please feel free to make comments or ask any questions. Bonus points will be awarded to those making complimentary remarks.
“Video poker would be much more enjoyable, if I could only learn to enjoy losing.”