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Old 06-11-2012, 06:25 PM
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westie westie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
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Default Going Buffetless in Las Vegas

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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)
Old 06-11-2012, 06:34 PM
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westie westie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,440

May 27 – I played at the Fiesta-Henderson this morning for 3 hours ending with a small loss. Stations was running a swipe and win contest so I swiped my card and received 25 useless entries for a drawing while Ann won $10 in free play.

After our usual OJ and grapefruit in the room, we made the long drive to BabyStacks Café’s original location. On arrival the hostess told us there would a 30-40 minute wait and advised us to go to their new location. http://www.babystackscafe.com/

After about a 15 minute drive and 5-10 minutes wait, we ordered short stacks of the banana cream pie pancakes that I so enjoyed on our last trip. The batter must have been too thick because our pancakes were noticeably thicker and drier.

($10.13, KSHP, 2 Forks)

We still had the $50 in free play at the El Cortez so we made that a priority this morning. Each of us received an additional $10 after exchanging our LVA coupons. Ann played the $60, cashing out with $141.25 while my TITO was for a paltry $5.

This year’s ACG includes a coupon for $10 in free play at the Four Queens so we made the short hike up Fremont Street. At the slot club booth I pulled out my wallet to show my ID and realized I had misplaced my credit card. Damn! We retraced our steps to the El Cortez to check at the cashier and slot booths to see if I had left the card there and then called BabyStacks. No luck.

The next call was to the credit card company to cancel the card before someone used it. We were told a replacement card could be sent to the South Point, but it would not arrive before Tuesday because of the Memorial Day holiday.

Fortunately we have both a back-up credit card and free drink coupons for Ellis Island because that is where I drowned my sorrows later in the day. We subsequently made the short drive to McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner. http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/

Based on our recent visits, this restaurant is being adversely impacted by our economic woes. The large dining room and bar area were entirely empty as were many of the private booths. The menu which once featured 50 varieties of fresh seafood has been drastically scaled back and menu price points are too high. Fortunately I still had a $50 gift certificate that, though expired, was honored.

Our waiter provided menus, but then ignored us after a nearby table was seated. When he finally decided to return to our table, I told him that we expected better service or we were walking. Service noticeably improved from that point forward.

We shared a delicious mixed salad with candied walnuts and blue cheese crumbles that was lightly dressed by balsamic vinaigrette.

Ann chose the Atlantic salmon entrée with fresh green beans and mashed potatoes. I settled on the cioppino which included a Dungeness crab cluster, clams, squid and white fish. Both entrees were very good.

($22.81, 3.5 Forks)

The next stop was Sam’s Town where I turned right to Roxy’s Lounge and Ann turned left for the VP machines. Mark Giovi and Genevieve Drew were performing and they sang everything from popopera to Motown and from Broadway to R&B; you name it and they most likely sang it this evening. Ann finally joined me and was surprised to discover a Marilyn Monroe impersonator was seated at the bar. (4 Claps)

May 28th – I’ve lost my deuces feeling and now I’m down, down, down…wooooooh.

Breakfast this morning was at the House of J Café in the back of the Smith’s shopping center at the junction of Maryland and Silverado. http://www.houseofjcafe.com/ This small restaurant, situated in an obscure location, was pretty busy.

We each ordered cheese and spinach omelets which come with your choice of toast (wheat) and potatoes (Ann = hash browns, W= home fries).

($9.67, KSHP, 3.5 Forks)

We returned to the Downtown area for some more free play. We each had $10 free play at the El Cortez from the ACG with Ann cashing out $10 and me $11.25. We were less successful using our $10 free play from the LVA at the Four Queens with her not hitting anything and me cashing out at $2.50. On our leisurely stroll down back to the El Cortez garage we picked up a few post cards and watched the spray can artist.

On returning to the room, I rested while Ann played some VP. Once again we reconnected in time to head to Ellis Island for drinks.

Dinner this evening was at Soyo Korean Restaurant on Rainbow Avenue. http://www.usmenuguide.com/soyobarstaurant.html This restaurant is included in the “Eating Las Vegas” The 50 Essential Restaurants” dining guide.

We started off with a complementary bottle of barley tea and ordered fried dumplings with special sauce that were filled with fresh and delicious ingredients.

We shared orders of Dolsoi bimimbap and very spicy grilled chicken with mozzarella on the top. The former is a popular Korean dish of stir fried vegetables, beef and egg on rice served in a very hot stone pot that serves to caramelize the rice. Both dishes were very good, but the chicken with mozzarella will bring us back. We also received 6 banchans (small side dishes): kimchi, daikon, sweet daikon, a seaweed type concoction with cream cheese, greens and some form of noodle dish.

($32.11, 4.5 Forks) at fried dumplings with special dressing 6

Flat fried dumplings with special dressing 6

May 29 – I lost again and to add injury to insult I developed a video poker elbow. Ouch! Following our usual in room starter breakfast of OJ and grapefruit, we ordered one coffee and shared a bagel and cream cheese at the Del Mar Deli. ($4.39, 2.5 Forks)

After reading the newspaper in the room and checking our email at the Paseo Verde Library, we made the short drive to The Art Institute of Las Vegas’ Opus Too Restaurant. This restaurant is a white table cloth affair that is run by the students of the culinary school under the supervision of a pair of professional chefs. http://www.artinstitutes.edu/las-veg...estaurant.aspx

A 3-course, $10.95 lunch is served Tue-Thur while students are in session.

We each started off with the arugula salad that included goat cheese barquettes and port wine poached pair.

Ann’s mushroom & roasted vegetable strudel with beets and a carrot ginger sauce was beautifully plated and delicious.

My baby clams and rapini over Tagliatelle Pasta was less successful because of the addition of chopped canned clams.

For dessert we each ordered cardamom rum cake with berry compote and crème fraiche. The cake was not what we envisioned, but it was saved by the compote.

Given its modest price and the upscale atmosphere, this luncheon deal is hard to beat. ($26.96, 3 Forks)

I spent the afternoon in the room once again recovering from the excesses of too little sleep and too much food. At the stroke 5:01PM, we headed to Ellis Island once again for a pair of merlots before making the short drive to Harrah’s for the Legends in Concert Show. It has been several years since we last attended this show and I could not have been happier with this evening’s line-up of impersonators: Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Blues Brothers, Lady Gaga, and Elvis. ($39, KSHP, 3.5 Claps)

It was too early to call it a night so we stopped at the Silverton for the ½ priced tapas and drinks in the bar/lounge of the Twin Creeks Steakhouse. Tonight we ordered toasted almond martinis which have an in-house made cream base with vanilla beans. (4.5 Sips)

We also ordered meatballs (3 Forks) and bacon wrapped dates (2.5) The tapas were good, but the kitchen has some consistency issues.

We have had the dates on at least 4 occasions and twice they were served with very little balsamic reduction. I think we will have to keep going back until they get it right. LOL ($20.79)

May 30 – In an only in Las Vegas moment this morning during yet another losing VP session, a guy sat down next to me with a parrot on his shoulder. It would not have been a problem, but the bird kept his beady eyes fixed on me and squawked whenever I made a strategy error.

We have reached the half way point in this trip so a visit to the Laundrimat (sic) on Tropicana to have our clothes washed and folded was a priority. The new owners are only charging $1 per pound for this service and assured us the clothes would be ready in a few hours.

It was a short drive to Ellis Island where Ann ordered the cinnamon vanilla French (Texas) toast.

I ordered my usual easy over eggs, home fries and wheat toast. The home fries here are just amazing – crispy with a soft center.

Our server was funny and very good.

($8.29, ACG, 3.5 Forks)

We then played off our $10 free play from the LVA with Ann losing it all and me cashing out with $5.50.

I dropped Ann off for a massage by Teri at the Episage Wellness Center on Tropicana ($77, 4.5 Hands) and proceeded on to Sam’s Town for another losing session of VP. http://www.episagewellnesscenter.com/

After picking Ann back up, we returned to the Laundrimat ($13, 4 Folds) for our clothes and headed back to the South Point.

On our arrival we went to the box office for tickets to tomorrow’s Dennis Bono show and picked up our shiny, new credit card at the Business Center.

At 5:30PM we went to the Déjà Vu show courtesy of another funbook coupon and again received $5 in free play and a free drink. Dinner tonight was at Rhythm Kitchen, a Cajun/Creole restaurant located on South Decatur. http://www.rhythmkitchenlv.com/

We received a basket of warm and crunchy hush puppies to start.

Ann chose the crawfish etouffee served with Cajun rice.

My entrée was catfish and shrimp Creole over rice with mixed vegetables. My dish included 4 pieces of blackened catfish and a similar number of medium shrimp.

We concluded the meal with a delicious creme brulee.

Overall, both meals were above average. ($34.73, Groupon, 3 Forks)

May 31 - I lost of course and discovered the parrot had switched games and was now playing video slots this morning.

For breakfast we headed to the highly acclaimed Bread and Butter bakery/restaurant on Eastern where I got takeout on our last trip. http://www.breadandbutterlv.com/

We each decided on muffins; orange/cranberry for Ann and blueberry for me. Each was light and delicious.

As I was preparing to clear off our dishes, owner/baker Chris Herrin quickly came to the table to take our plates. He ended up sitting with us for about 10 minutes, providing us with a quick summary of his past work experience and plans to open another restaurant in two months.

($5, KSHP, 4 Forks)

We revisited the Paseo Library again to check our email before returning to the South Point. On entering, we proceeded to the hot dog cart near the sports book and ordered a pair of Vienna all beef hot dogs, bargain priced at 75 cents each. ($2, 2 Buns)

We again joined the senior crowd in the showroom for the Dennis Bono show at 2PM. Before each show 4-5 tickets are drawn for prizes. This week the first prize awarded was a pair of tickets to any headliner show at the South Point and the winner was none other than my favorite travel companion – drum roll please – Ann!

Today’s guests included Debbie Reynolds, Louis Prima Junior with a 7-piece band and back-up singer, comedian Dennis Blair who opened for George Carlin for 18 years, singer Dave Starks plus regulars Corrie Sachs and the Bob Rosario. The quality of the show did not approach last week’s but you cannot beat the price for an afternoon of entertainment. ($0, 2.5 Claps)

At the conclusion of the show, Ann headed off for the VP machines while I entered the slot tournament. This time my score was almost embarrassing. I then played off this week’s $5 in slot play and cashed out at $2.50 which covered the tip I left when we had a pair of merlots in the Grandview Lounge using our show stubs.

Dinner was at Giada’s Italian Cuisine on Anthem Drive in Henderson. http://www.giadasitaliancucina.com/

This is a small mom and pop restaurant that had only 3 other tables occupied on this Thursday evening. We received menus followed by warm bread and a tasty olive tapenade. A house salad with a creamy balsamic dressing was included in the price of our entrees.

Ann ordered chicken convertino – a thinly sliced chicken breast stuffed with asparagus and fontina cheese which was topped with a mushroom marsala sauce.

I chose pollo Giada – a boneless chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto, spinach and fontina cheese topped by a brandy tomato sauce.

Each was served with a side of penne. Mine was a little more tender than Ann’s, but both were delicious. ($22.67, R.com, 3 Forks)

On our return to the South Point we watched a barrel racing competition for about a half hour before calling it a night.

Last edited by westie; 06-18-2012 at 07:06 AM.
Old 06-11-2012, 06:37 PM
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westie westie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,440

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/ (3 Claps)

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.

($8.50, ACG, 4 Forks)

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.”

---------------------VP Pappy----------------------

Last edited by westie; 06-18-2012 at 07:45 AM.
Old 06-11-2012, 06:59 PM
raraavis's Avatar
raraavis raraavis is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NJ
Trips To Vegas: 7
Posts: 1,009

love all the pictures you put in your report! i especially like the last one .
Solo Christmas Trip!
Old 06-11-2012, 07:47 PM
dbueler dbueler is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Trips To Vegas: 50
Posts: 368

So here I sit in a boring hotel room in a boring city (on business), and imagine my surprise and glee when I hopped on the chat board and found a fresh-off-the-press Westie report! You were just THERE!

Another great report. I vow to do my next trip like Westie does it, get around more and relax...all the food and naps sound just wonderful.

thanks for taking the time to post another epic report, enjoyed it!

ps. In true gambler fashion, my money is on the 'hot' guy Westie...LOL
Old 06-11-2012, 08:00 PM
thespiritoftruth thespiritoftruth is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Trips To Vegas: 8
Posts: 42

Thanks for the TR and the extra effort with the attention to detail and photographs. You sold me on DW Bistro, as we will check it out in a few weeks, and tell him "Westie" sent us.
Old 06-11-2012, 08:08 PM
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ABQJeff ABQJeff is offline
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Trips To Vegas: 50
Posts: 332

Excellent trip report. My only complaint is that now I'm hungry!
Old 06-12-2012, 03:59 AM
volfaninbama volfaninbama is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Tennessee
Trips To Vegas: 15
Posts: 698

Just an awesome trip report. Can you tell me where the library
And the laundry you mention are located.
Old 06-12-2012, 04:12 AM
westie's Avatar
westie westie is offline
Super Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,440

Originally Posted by volfaninbama View Post
Just an awesome trip report. Can you tell me where the library
And the laundry you mention are located.
Paseo Verde library is located just past the District and Green Valley Ranch Resort at 230 S. Green Valley Parkway. There is another Henderson library branch much closer to the South Point, but the Paseo Verde branch has more computers. We have never had a problem finding an open computer at this branch. You will need to sign-up for a free library card, but you cannot borrow books.

The Laundrimat is located in a shopping center on Tropicana at Spencer Street immediately across from the former Liberace Museum. The new owners are very accommodating and had our clothes ready for us in less than 3 hours from the time we dropped them off.

Last edited by westie; 06-12-2012 at 07:15 AM.
Old 06-12-2012, 05:53 AM
Candy Apple Candy Apple is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Trips To Vegas: 17
Posts: 1,464

You just made me very hungry!
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