October 10-24, 2012
October 10th – Me, my machez amio and Max-the-Schippeke departed Bayou St. Westie on our pirogue at around 10AM. We dropped Max off at the VCA Cromwell Vet where he had reserved a luxury suite on Alligator Alley.
Max is a member of their frequent guest club so he earned enough points on this stay for one free night. http://www.vcahospitals.com/cromwell
I had a prepaid parking voucher good for 50% off the MSRP at Executive Valet Parking so our all in cost for 15 days was $66.14. As a member of the Express Club, I earned points good for ½ off one week of parking. http://www.executivevalet.com/
As usual Ann was flying on a reward ticket and I paid full price ($390). We paid $10 each for Early Bird check-in and received boarding passes A 24 and 25.
Bradley is a small airport so clearing security was a breeze in comparison to larger airports. Our flight was delayed by inclement weather, but we managed to gain back some lost time after making a connection in Chicago so we arrived in Las Vegas only 20 minutes late.
As we were exiting the plane, a woman immediately in front of us pulled out a cell phone and told someone she had just arrived in Chicago where she would be making a connection to Las Vegas. She was obviously experiencing something stronger than a Rocky Mountain High.
After retrieving our luggage we caught the rental car shuttle and then a 2nd one to the Fox rental car lot. Fox has recently instituted a $1.50 per day shuttle usage charge that is onerous for anyone renting for more than a few days.
The rental process went smoothly and we were soon on our way in a Mitsubishi Galant with 8,135 miles on the odometer at an all in cost of $309.21. http://www.mitsubishicars.com/MMNA/j...om/overview.do
Check-in at the South Point went smoothly and we were soon situated in room 1557, a room with a king size bed at the far end of the hallway as requested. After unpacking, we immediately headed to the showroom with our funbook coupons for the Déjà vu show that we exchanged for free entry, a free drink coupon, a drawing ticket and a certificate for $5 in free slot play. We are not fans of this band, so after picking up our merlots and giving away the drawing tickets, we retreated to the relative calm of the Silverado Lounge.
Prior to exiting for dinner, we stopped by the box office to redeem a certificate for 2 free show tickets that Ann won on our last trip. In addition, we requested free tickets to Thursday afternoon’s Dennis Bono show, but were told there were no more tickets available. Bummer!
The rain was beginning to fall more heavily as we exited the parking garage. We made an intermediate stop at a nearby Walgreens for a case of water and a few sundry items before continuing on to the Garden Café.
This Mediterranean restaurant looked to be closed as we arrived, but a waitress indicated it would remain open for another hour. This restaurant was large, plain and totally empty at 9PM this Wednesday evening though one customer arrived for take out.
We each ordered a chicken kabob plate that included rice, pickle, a mayonnaise/lemon sauce and house baked pita bread. The small pieces of chicken were not on kabobs and the longer we lingered, the more dry each morsel became.
($17, Groupon, 2 Forks out of a possible 5).
Note: all prices cited in this TR include tax, gratuity and the cost of any certificate used.
We were exhausted after the long day so we called it an early evening.
October 11th – I am an (very) early riser so it came as no surprise that I was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 2:30AM this morning. The rain had continued overnight so driving conditions were less than ideal for my long trek to Sam’s Town where I would be earning 5 x points. Over the course of 4.5 hours of play, I managed to break even after hitting my #1 quad deuces of this trip.
I am sure many will question the wisdom of my frequent cross town travel to Sam’s to play video poker (VP), but it is the closest casino offering full pay deuces slant tops with the exception of Green Valley Ranch which I find too noisy.
I made an intermediate stop at a nearby Albertsons to pick-up some fruit and OJ before returning to the room at around 8AM.
We subsequently learned that 2/3rds of an inch of rain had fallen which broke the existing record of 0.12 inches. Back on the bayou we consider anything less than an inch to be a drizzle.
We decided to jump start our engines by visiting the Garden Buffet this morning. I had a small orange juice, fresh fruit with yogurt, easy over eggs, hash browns, bacon and a blueberry crepe. Everything was okay, but I am rapidly becoming disenchanted with buffets in general. ($9.50, funbook, 2.5 Forks out of a possible)
To avoid the rain to the extent possible, we decided to spend the morning hours at the Paseo Verde Library on the internet.
Well that did not work out very well.
After departing the library, we drove to Sam’s Town to attend the Variety Toast of the Town show. http://www.samstownlv.com/whats-new/...st-of-the-town
Entry is free for B Connected Club (slot) members who need only to swipe their cards at a kiosk prior to entering. Bill Fayne continues as musical conductor with this week’s theme being Latin music. Hosting the show were singers Louis Martinez and Roseanne Talont (SP?) who performed a variety of songs including ones originated by Carmen Miranda and Tito Puente.
Comedian Peter Vaccarrelli (SP?) and singer Mark (I dropped the ‘) OToole also appeared. ($0, 3.5 Claps)
We stayed and played a little video poker (VP), but ended up losing. After returning to the room to don our party clothes, we were off for our much anticipated first visit to Ellis Island Casino & Brewery. http://www.ellisislandcasino.com/
Ellis' new BBQ
In addition to our customary glasses of merlot, courtesy of an American Casino Guide
(ACG) coupon, we ordered a $2 basket of chicken wings, a special during NFL games. There were 5 of the smallest (parakeets per chance?) wings in a basket along with a blue cheese dressing. The only positive was the special came with a 12-ounce glass of any in-house brewed beverage. ($3, 1 Fork for the wings)
Dinner this evening was at Weera Thai, a small mom and pop restaurant that excels at dishes from the Issan region of Thailand. This was our 3rd visit this year so we are obviously fans. http://www.weerathai.com/
We shared orders of Pad Thai and kai soi with chicken. The latter, also known as Chiangmai, is made with wide noodles, coconut milk, chili paste, fish sauce, ginger, curry powder and a touch of sugar.
Both were very good renditions of these popular entrees, as was the service. ($15, Yelp, 4 Forks)
October 12th – My early morning at the Fiesta was highlighted by quads #2 and #3.
On my return, we enjoyed our usual OJ and grapefruit in the room before departing for the Grand Café at Texas Station. I was surprised at the large size of this coffee shop that includes several booths, a large counter and many tables. https://texasstation.sclv.com/Dining/Grand-Cafe.aspx
We opted for counter seating to facilitate our request for separate checks in order to use a pair of Las Vegas Advisor (LVA) $5 off a $10 purchase coupons.
We each ordered the bananas Foster French toast, a house specialty.
In order to meet our purchase requirement, Ann ordered a coffee while I requested a fruit cup. The French toast was good, but the whipped cream topping was a bit excessive and the sauce was completely devoid of any rum or banana liqueur flavor. Service was very good and everyone from the cashier to the manager was very friendly. ($4, LVA, points, 2 Forks)
We then made our way to the downtown premium outlets where I picked up a fleece jacket at Izod and Ann purchased a few gifts for our nieces’ children. Our next stop was Sam’s Town where we played some VP and ended up losing.
On our return to the South Point, I read and slept while Ann read and played VP.
It was Friday evening when all drinks at the South Point were just $2 so we headed to the Grandview Lounge to listen to Wes Winters ($0, 2.5 Claps). https://www.facebook.com/wes.winters.31
I used a combination of free drink coupons, one from the funbook and another someone left behind after cashing a paycheck, for first round of merlots.
As we sat listening to Wes and enjoying our wine, I noticed a sign on the bar indicating the popular $2 Friday night happy hour was being discontinued after a 2-3 year run. For our second round, we each ordered our last $2 Cosmo – sigh.
($6, funbook, paycheck, 3 Sips)
In a related news event, 2 of Wes’ fans went into cardiac arrest after being informed of this change.
Our plan was to dine at the nearby Shabu Grill, but the doors were shuttered and the lights turned off. We beat a hasty retreat back to the hotel and dined at Don Vito’s Italian Restaurant. http://www.southpointcasino.com/dining/don-vitos.php
We typically pass on bread baskets, but that would mean we would have to forego the accompanying olive oil, tomato, spices and roasted garlic dipping sauce. No way!
Entrée prices are very reasonable and include a choice of soup or salad. Ann opted for a cup of the always excellent minestrone while I chose the always mundane house salad – will Westie ever learn?
We ordered our usual eggplant Parmesan that is baked with marinara sauce, mozzarella and ricotta. This dish melts in your mouth and, even though I was not overly hungry, I managed to finish every morsel earning me a gold star.
Neither of us could handle dessert, but we had free dessert coupons from our funbooks so we asked to have two tiramisus packaged up for later consumption. These turned out to be very large and exceedingly runny, but tasted pretty good.
($5, points, 4 Forks)
The night was young, but we aren’t, so after dinner we walked around the casino a few times before retiring to the room.
October 13th – The Fiesta-Henderson was offering double points so that was my destination this morning. I could not hit the quad deuces so I ended up losing and am now all even for the trip.
Breakfast this morning was our usual OJ, grapefruit and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel from the Del Mar Deli. http://www.southpointcasino.com/dining/quick-bites.php
This deli consistently serves good food and our bagel today was no exception.
($1.46, 2.5 Forks)
We made a short stop at the Paseo Verde library this morning to purchase a few books for Ann and check our emails. As non residents, we have access to the computers, but cannot borrow books. ($3, 3 Books)
I was a little hungry so we drove to downtown Henderson and visited the Detroit Motor City Coney Island Restaurant for hot dogs. The restaurant is covered from wall to wall to ceiling with Detroit memorabilia. We each ordered Coney Island style - natural casing hot dogs served on steamed buns and topped with all-meat chili, onions, and yellow mustard. We also shared a Faygo, “The Original Party Pop”, diet root beer that was very good. https://www.faygo.com/
($6.13, LVA, 3 Buns)
We headed west to the Fiesta-Henderson for an abbreviated and losing session of VP. On our way back to the South Point, we stopped off to purchase another case of water. What remained of the afternoon was spent restfully.
In the late afternoon we decided it was too early to “Party with the Clydesdales”, so we headed for the Grandview Lounge and a few merlots. Much to my disappointment we learned that show ticket stubs good for a free drink must now be used on the day of issue. Plan B was a pair of funbook free drink coupons.
I am sure someone is wondering how Westie was able to amass so many funbook free drink coupons. Well – earlier this year I broke our 2-week stay into 4 consecutive reservations and received 2 funbook for each. Most of those coupons were saved for a rainy day. Note: the South Point subsequently changed its policy to limit each party to a total of 2 funbooks regardless of the number of reservations held - sigh.
We could dally no longer as it was now time to party so we headed off to the equestrian center for a meet and greet with the Clydesdales. On entering we listened to a country band perform while nursing complimentary Budweiser Lights.
At a separate table, we were served mini shots of Spicebox whisky with grapefruit juice. http://spiceboxwhisky.com/
($0, 2.5 Sips)
Ann pulled me away from the Spice Girls and directed us toward the arena where the crowd was still waiting for the Clydesdales to appear. Though the doors opened at 5PM it was 6:15 before a stage coach pulled by the Clydesdales came through the doors and traveled no more than 200 yards before pulling to a halt. After a few minutes, the public was invited Price Is Right style to “come on down” and join them for a photo opportunity. ($0, 2.5 Hoofs)
I managed to drag Ann away and it was off to Black Mountain Grill for dinner. We had an excellent meal at this lodge-like restaurant on our last trip. http://www.blackmountaingrill.com/
Once again we were not overly hungry so we bypassed the salad and appetizer section of the menu and only ordered entrees. Ann chose halibut stuffed with crab, rock shrimp and brie accompanied by a mushroom risotto and julienne vegetables. The halibut steak was moist and delicious.
I ordered the evening’s special, beer braised short ribs in a veal stock with sweet potato mash and Asian slaw. Another winner though the mashed looked and tasted more like regular potato.
($44, KSHP, 4 Forks)
Our last stop of the evening was the Ovation Lounge at Green Valley Ranch Resort to see Michael Grimm. http://www.michaelgrimmmusic.com/
He was born in the swamplands of Mississippi and grew up listening to the blues, funk and soul of New Orleans. Tonight’s show ran 75 minutes and featured cuts from Gumbo, his latest album, as well as cover songs such as You Don’t Know Me. t7MIaIain7I
($10, 4.5 Claps)
10/14 My morning session at Fiesta-Henderson netted me #4 quads and little else.
The recently opened New Day Café on Silverardo Ranch Blvd received our patronage this morning. http://www.newdaycafe.com/
This is a large, clean and bright coffee shop that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We each ordered eggs Benedict that came with a choice of home fries (Ann) or hash browns (me).
The eggs were cooked “easy over” as requested, but we thought the English muffin would have benefited from a little more time in the toaster. Also, the Hollandaise sauce was a little out-off-balance due to an excess of lemon juice. ($15, LivingSocial, 2 Forks)
We stopped at a farmers market in the Sansoni Plaza on Eastern Avenue where we purchased a few more presents for our nieces’ children. Sugar’s Bakery had a tent where we purchased a small loaf of raspberry cream cheese bread for the following day’s breakfast.
We continued on to the Fiesta where we put in a short VP session before returning to the room. I spent the remainder of the pre happy day reading and snoozing while Ann managed put in another almost even VP session.
Ellis Island received the happy hour nod this day with us enjoying a pair of merlots using an ACG
Panna Thai was our dining destination this evening. The atmosphere is a bit more upscale than most Thai restaurants while menu prices are more than reasonable given the quality of the food. On this evening over ½ the restaurant was set up for a large party, but our karma was good so we were able to order before most of the guests arrived.
We began with yum-wood-sen, glass noodles with ground meat and shrimp with Thai spice and lime juice on lettuce.
For entrees we shared orders of scallop tamarind and spicy eggplant. All three dishes made our taste buds jump for joy.
($21.30, Restaurant.com, 4 Forks)
It was back to the South Point for the Winter Dance Party. http://www.winterdanceparty.com/
This show is a tribute to the memories of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Jay Richardson (aka Big Bopper).
I owned two of Buddy’s albums back in 1959 and can remember “the day the music died”. uAsV5-Hv-7U
($0, 4 Claps)
Since the South Point wouldn’t be accepting our ticket stubs past this evening, we were “forced” to order a pair of Kahlua and creams.
On our way back to the room we decided to check out the conference center area where encountered a pair of inebriated women with wine glasses in hand. They were looking for a restaurant and I suggested they had gone up the wrong elevator and offered them directions to the Primarily Prime Rib. When last seen they holding each other up and staggering off in the general direction of the restaurant.
October 15th – It was back to Sam’s Town this morning for the 4 x points. I managed to hold my own before hitting my 5th quad deuces of the trip.
Our usual OJ and grapefruit was supplemented this morning with small slices of the raspberry cream cheese bread we purchased yesterday. This turned out to be more of a dessert than the breakfast item I expected. ($3, 2.5 Forks)
While Ann was prepping for the day, I went downstairs to Seattle’s Best to pick-up a coffee for her. ($1.95, funbook, 3 Sips)
We made an intermediate stop at Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits to pick-up a bottle of wine, but the owner was late so we decided to head off rather than wait.
Our next stop was Sam’s Town for some VP with both of us losing and me spending more time walking than playing.
Lunch was at Tacos El Gordo, our favorite destination for street tacos. We each ordered our usual – one soda plus a pair each of adobada (spicy pork) tacos topped with crema, cilantro, pineapple and onion. I requested a complimentary side order of grilled peppers and scallions, but ended up only eating the scallions. ($3, KSHP, 4 Forks)
Back to Khoury’s where we were told our gift certificate could only be used for wine or beer by the glass. No problem, like Douglas MacArthur we will return.
I spent most of the afternoon napping while Ann engaged in a fierce and unsuccessful battle with the VP machines. In the late afternoon we drove to Bill’s Gamblin Hall to see the Blues Brothers Reborn lounge act only to discover the boys are no longer in residence. http://www.stogeeblues.com/Stogee_Bl...ribute_Sh.html
Plan B was a tour of the fall exhibit in the Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden. Photos speak louder than words so here are a few of my favorites. ($0, 3.5 Claps)
We also toured the lobby area, Jean Phillippe Patisserie and the Chihuly Shop before making the short hop, skip and a drive to Ellis Island for our customary merlots.
It was but another short hop, skip and drive to India Masala Bar and Grill for dinner. This relatively new restaurant is an upscale offshoot of the India Masala located in the Riviera food court. http://www.indiamasalalv.com/ordereze/default.aspx
We shared vegetarian and tandori thalis that included a variety of vegetarian entrees and sides, pappadum with chutneys, tandori chicken, rice pudding and carrot halwa.
I thought everything was good though portion size was less than one would expect given the price. ($20.96, Restaurant.com, 2.5 Forks)
It was still too early to call it a night so we continued down Flamingo
to Sam’s, my 3rd visit of the day, for yet more video poker. Ann hit her first quad deuces of the trip while I broke even in an abbreviated session.
October 16th – Today’s session could have been a whole lot worse or a whole lot better. On the way back to the hotel I picked up some apples and a bottle of wine for tomorrow’s dinner.
We had our usual breakfast in the room supplemented by a toasted bagel from Del Mar Deli. ($1.46, 2.5 Forks)
On our return Ann went to the showroom to attend Bob Dancer’s introductory and intermediate classes on not so ugly deuces. In the meantime I had a hotdog from the cart near the sports book before returning to the room to nap.
Ann decided to apply her new skills on the video poker machines later in the afternoon before we departed once again for Ellis Island and our free merlots.
After much pre trip consideration, I decided the best place to dine prior to attending the Dr. John concert was Lola’s – A Louisiana Kitchen. Lola’s has been on my To Do list ever since it first opened back in October 2009, but never made the final cut. http://lolaslasvegas.com/
The restaurant is very small and almost full as we arrived, but we managed to score an outside table overlooking Charleston Blvd.
At this point the camera battery died and the spare was back in our room - damn!
Ann ordered the shrimp etouffee which was tasty but a little thinner than she would have preferred. I chose a house specialty, bronzed catfish over Gouda grits served with an Andouille sausage and mushroom ragout. The fresh catfish were by far the best I have experienced as were the grits - a 5 Fork experience. ($41.44, 4.5 Forks)
We then made the short drive to the Smith Center for the Dr. John and Blind Boys of Alabama’s “Gospel to Funk” show. Dr. John meandered on stage in a salmon colored suit, black fedora and sunglasses before serving up a musical platter of swamp funk that included “I Been Hoodood” and “Right Place, Wrong Time”. eP9GX4O2fbg
When the Blind Boys took the stage, Dr. John accompanied them on both the organ and piano. Perhaps the highlight of the evening came when Jimmy Carter, a founding member of the group, was lowered into the audience and led the audience in a revival style rendition of “Free At Last”. eJbPKDmxkC4
In the final segment of the 90 minute show, Dr. John performed a variety of songs including “Let the Good Times Roll”. For a finale, he was joined by the Blind Boys for “When the Saints Go Marching In”. ($118, 4.5 Claps)
A few notes on the Smith Center: the acoustics in Reynolds’s Hall this evening were excellent so I did not need the assisted listening head phones and parking/exiting proved to be a relative breeze.
October 17th – I hit quad deuces #6 and #7 during this morning’s session at the Fiesta.
The priority #1 this morning was a visit to the Laundrimat (sic) to have our clothes washed, but we discovered the drop off time would not begin until 9AM so it was off to Ellis for breakfast. http://www.ellisislandcasino.com/ellis/dining.html
We ordered our usual – cinnamon French toast for Ann and easy over eggs with wheat toast and breakfast potatoes for Westie. Service was very good as was the food.
($5, LVA, 3.5 Forks)
We returned to the Laundrimat before proceeding to Episage Wellness Center where Ann had an appointment for a massage. I killed time driving around before returning to pick her up only to discover Teri, her masseuse, was running behind schedule so I caught a cat nap in the car. ($60, 4.5 Hands)
We then picked-up our clothes ($10, 4 Folds) and returned to the room. As I was putting away clothes I realized I was missing 2 pairs of undies. Ann said “good, now you will have to go out and buy some new ones”. “Huh, those were only a few years old”. Much to my relief, I subsequently found the missing items hiding in the trunk of the car.
We stopped at the box office to pick up tickets for the following day’s Dennis Bono show and then drove to the Green Turtle Salon where Ann had a hair appointment with Melissa. ($35, 4 Curls). Not to be out done, I drove to a walk-in hair salon and had my locks clipped. ($14, 3.5 Curls).
Next stop was the Paseo Verde Library to check emails before returning to the room. I immediately crashed while Ann played some video poker.
At around 6PM we went to showroom for the Déjà vu show, once again picking up free drink and $5 in free slot play coupons.
Dinner this evening was at Todd’s Unique Dining where on Wednesdays the customary corkage charge is waived. http://www.toddsunique.com/
Ann’s entrée was grilled fresh halibut served with mashed potatoes and beets. I chose the miso and mirin marinated black cod in a soy/ginger sauce that was accompanied by Asian vegetables. Both dishes were excellent and service, as usual, was stellar.
Todd stopped by our table to thank us for our continuing patronage which dates back to October 2005. Over the years we have ordered a wide variety of entrees, though almost exclusively seafood, and have never been disappointed.
He subsequently sent out a cup of silky textured butterscotch pudding topped with a caramel sauce that was just amazing.
I was able to apply a $50 OpenTable check, earned by using this reservation service, to our bill. ($11.97, 4.5 Forks)
October 18th – I hit my 8th quad deuces this morning at Sam’s while earning 5 times points.
The House of J Café was our breakfast destination. This small restaurant is located in the back of a shopping center off Silverado Ranch Blvd. We both decided to try huevos rancheros, a house specialty. Crispy tortillas topped by a thin layer of refried beans and 2 easy over eggs that were smothered in a slightly spicy house made rancheros sauce topped with a dollop of sour cream. ($14.95, KSHP, 3 Forks)
Next was a visit to the Bellagio’s Fine Art Gallery where we enjoyed the current exhibit, Claude Monet: Impressions of Light.
Although a handful of other artists were represented, Monet’s were by far the best. These painting are currently on loan from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. ($26, senior discount, 4.5 Brushes)
We also toured the adjoining Jeff Mitchum Gallery. ($0, 3.5 Flash Bulbs) https://www.bellagio.com/shopping/jeff-mitchum.aspx
In the early afternoon we attended a live performance of the Dennis Bono radio show. Today’s guests included Rich Little, Tony Orlando, Spectrum (a Motown group), Corrie Sachs (Country Superstars) and Laurie Schaffer (singer). ($0, 3 Claps)
On exiting we parted ways with Ann heading for the VP machines and me to the slot tournament where I again achieved an embarrassingly low score. All was not lost, however, because Ann won $30 playing my $5 free slot play coupon. I tipped her $2.
We then made our way to the Grandview Lounge for 2 free merlots using our show tickets.
Dinner was at R Steak & Seafood in the Riviera.
We started off by ordering a bottle of Liberty School cabernet sauvignon.
For appetizers we shared orders of crispy battered calamari and miso butter seared scallops. The calamari were sliced lengthwise into wide strips that were both tough and flavorless. We fared better with the scallops which were delicious.
For entrees we each ordered 6 ounce filet mignons and requested that they be prepared medium rare, but were served closer to medium.
Our sides were grilled asparagus that were pencil thin with little discernable flavor and garlic mashed potatoes that were garlic-lite. We also shared a warm bacon salad that included onions, hard boiled egg and mushrooms.
We concluded this feast by each ordering, no sharing thank you, crème brulees with berries and Godiva chocolate hazelnut coffees (French blend coffee, Godiva chocolate and Frangelico liqueurs topped with whipped cream).
I used a $150 comp that I won in an American Casino Guide
contest and our bill, much to the amazement of our server, came in at precisely $150. ($25, 3 Forks)
October 19th – Today’s session was disastrous to my financial health.
We had our usual OJ, grapefruit and shared bagel in our room prior to departing for the library to check our emails. Lunch was at Fresh Mama’s, a vegetarian café. On entering the building I realized we had visited these quarters several years ago when it was occupied by the Aroma Café. http://www.vegashot.com/fresh-mamas-smoothies/
We each ordered a combo that included a spicy Thai wrap and a smoothie. The wraps were pre made with the wrap constructed of rice paper. The ingredients were fresh, but virtually tasteless without the accompanying tahini almond butter sauce.
For smoothies, Ann chose the banana bound locust (spinach, mango and banana) while I opted for the coconut cobra (banana, cacao, coconut water and meat).
While the smoothies were very good, the wraps were disappointing. I used a KSHP certificate with a face value of $10, but it doubled in value when used on a Friday.
($5.01, KSHP, 2.5 Forks)
On our return to the South Point, Ann went to the lobby to use the free Wi-Fi while I took a few spins around the casino floor before retiring to the room for a long and much appreciated nap.
In the late afternoon we reconvened at the Grandview Lounge where we enjoyed free merlots courtesy of a combination of funbook and paycheck cashing coupons.
Dinner tonight was at Marbella Tapas on West Flamingo. http://www.marbellalv.com/
This restaurant is much nicer and more upscale than one might expect given its location in a scruffy shopping plaza. We started off at the bar nursing glasses of red sangria while enjoying the music of Spanish guitarist Ricardo Griego. The sangria was excellent and best of all free courtesy of two coupons I printed off the Vegas4Locals website. http://www.vegas4locals.com/couponmarbella.html
After listening to several tunes, we moved into the beautifully decorated dining room where we ordered the following:
1) cheese and chorizo empanadas – light and flavorful (3 Forks)
2) piquillo peppers stuffed with crab – small portion considering the price (3 Forks)
3) lamb sliders – a bit dry due overcooking, but otherwise delicious (4 Forks)
4) cucumber and yogurt with toasted pita chips – refreshing (2.5 Forks)
5) boneless pork ribs – a cloying BBQ sauce and a bit tough (2.5 Forks)
($24, Vegas4Locals, Groupon)
After exiting, we made the short drive to the Orleans to redeem a pair of LVA play $10, receive $10 in free slot play coupons. Ann played them both and we/she walked off with a net win of only $9. We stopped by Brendans Pub to see Smokin’ Smitty and the Masters of Funk play, but the band was too loud for the size of the room so we made a very quick exit.
October 20th – I broke even this morning after hitting my 9th quad deuces.
We could wait no longer so it was off to Ronald’s Donuts this morning for a shared apple fritter and cake donut.
The fritter was a little drier than usual, but still the world’s best.
($3.80, 3 Forks)
We made a quick stop at the Gold Coast in order for Ann to play our LVA play $10, receive in $10 in free slot play coupons - netting just $10 in profits.
We drove out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area with an intermediate stop at the visitors’ center. It was an archaeology day of sort so there were several exhibits on display and the center itself was packed with people.
No the above wasn't a desert tortoise, but an endangered Eastern box turtle that I found in our driveway a few days before this trip.
We then followed the scenic 13 mile loop drive making a few stops along the way for photos and to view the many rock climbers.
On next stop was at Meghan Romano’s Chocolate & Spice bakery. http://chocolatenspice.com/
Meghan was the highly acclaimed pastry chef at Aureole Restaurant before leaving earlier this year to open her own shop. I was disappointed to discover they were out of French macaroons, but managed to soothe my hurt feelings by sharing a mini lemon meringue pie with Ann.
Note to self: the fresh baked scones looked delicious. ($6.49, 3 Forks)
In the late afternoon we returned to Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits where we enjoyed 5 ounce glasses of Pietra Santra merlot. ($11.62, LivingSocial, 4 Sips)
Penn’s Thai House was our dining destination this evening.
This homey, slightly rundown restaurant is in a homey, slightly rundown shopping plaza. I recently read an article by restaurant critic Max Jacobson that identified it as serving the best Thai food in Las Vegas. In a curious twist of fate, guess who was seated in the booth next to ours?
We shared orders of green curry and pad prik khing.
Penn makes her curry from scratch rather than using a prepared paste though it proved to be a bit thinner than what we are accustomed to. The dish included skinless chicken, bamboo shoots, chili, basil and green pepper. Pad prik khing is a famous Thai dish that we somehow have managed to overlook in the past. It included stir fried skinless chicken, fresh green beans, chili, kefir lime leaves and curry paste. Both dishes boasted fresh ingredients and flavor warranting a return visit. ($24, 4 Forks)
After exiting the restaurant, we walked two doors down to the Pop Up Art gallery which was hosting the opening of a new show titled October Surprise.
On entering, we were immediately greeted by gallery owner Shannon McMackin. This show featured the works of several LA artists who were in attendance. According to the press release, works of art ranging in price from $50 to $30,000 were on display, but the more expensive pieces must have been in hiding.
I did score an IZZE sparkling juice drink and a few chocolate chip cookies at the bar that was set up in the parking lot so the exhibit wasn’t a complete waste of time. ($0, 1.5 Claps).
We once again made the trek over to Sam’s Town where Ann put in a short video poker session and I listened to Touch of Silk in Roxy’s Lounge. (2.5 Claps)
October 21st – I registered a lesser loss, but a loss no less.
We enjoyed our usual sources of citric acid before departing for Bread & Butter in Henderson. http://www.breadandbutterlv.com/
We each decided on a cheese Danish with a creamy filling that was delicious. We talked for several minutes with owner/baker Chris Herrin’s cousin who seemed to be managing the place in Chris’ absence.
($4.32, KSHP, 4 Calories)
We then drove to the Corn Creek field station of the Desert National Wild Life Refuge where we walked the various short trails and read the newly installed informational signs.
We regularly visited this migrant bird stopover back in the days when we did a lot of birding and were happy to see all the improvements that are in place and on the drawing board. http://www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/desertrange/
We continued north on Route 95 to the Kyle Canyon turnoff and drove the scenic loop that includes the Kyle and Lee Canyon highways that are connected by the Deep Creek Highway.
We were fortunate to spot a herd of 7 wild horses grazing in a meadow as we approached Kyle Canyon. After spending a ½ hour observing and photographing the horses, we continued on our merry way.
As we were approaching the Resort on Mount Charleston we noticed the trees and bushes were ablaze in brilliant shades of gold and orange.
($0, 3.5 Claps)
In the late afternoon, after a much needed nap, we went to Ellis for our usual glasses of merlot before departing for dinner at the Tofu Hut.
We usually choose to cook on the grill in this Korean restaurant, but decided to try a few kitchen prepared meals for a change of pace. Orders of spicy chicken with mushrooms and onions on a hot platter and shrimp & scallops barbecue with Italian squash, mushrooms, green beans and onions served in a pan were shared. We also received white rice plus 6 banyans (side dishes) – kimchi, scallion pancake, cucumber salad, fish cake made with cod, and rice noodles.
Everything sans the fish cake was delicious.
($15.50, KSHP, 4 Chopsticks)
We were not ready for bed, but did not want to make a long drive so we stopped at Palace Station and played some 5 cent video poker. I managed to lose $20 while Ann won $5.
October 22 – While putting on my jeans this morning, I realized I must have gotten them wet on our first Thursday in town because they had clearly shrunk, most noticeably at the waist line.
I have been holding my own gambling front for most of this trip, but our net worth plummeted as a result of today’s VP session.
We decided on the Village Buffet at Paris
this morning. I did not realize, or more likely forgot, that there was a discount for slot members so we ended up paying an additional $3 dollars per person.
I started off with a bowl of fresh berries with strawberry yogurt and a sampling of different cheeses.
My next plate featured Lyonnaise potatoes, Andouille sausage, poached pear, a cheese and spinach omelet and a few strips of bacon.
As I was preparing to make one more pass, I realized the staff was making the switch over to lunch so I grabbed a pair of desserts that were both light and delicious.
($19.44, LVA, 2.5 Forks)
Sam’s was our next destination where we earned 4 x points and I hit my #10 quad deuces of the trip. The remainder of the afternoon was spent napping.
The beginning of today’s happy hour was the Parlour Bar at the El Cortez with us each ordering “The Bullet” (Tanguray Ten gin, Romana sambuca and lemon juice).
It wasn’t quite as good as I remembered, but I did not waste a drop. ($10, 4 Sips)
Our happy hour continued after we walked less than 100 yards down Fremont Street to the Vanguard Lounge. http://www.vanguardlv.com/
The bar was empty with the exception of a couple from Saskatchewan. The woman said she was enjoying an Ichabod Crane’s Last Meal (Absolute vanilla vodka, Amarula ((a cream liquer from South Africa)) and pumpkin puree).
We took her advice and ordered a pair - needless to say this drink was delicious. Drink prices were on the high side so any return visit will be either during happy hour or when I have some other form of discount.
($12, LivingSocial, 4 Sips)
Dinner was at the Oyster Bar at Palace Station. When we arrived there were only 5 other people waiting in line, but it took forever for the bar stools to turnover so we ended up waiting almost an hour for a seat and then another 30 minutes for our meal to be prepared. We each ordered bouilabaisse which is the best we have found in Las Vegas, but not worth the long wait. ($6, points, 4.5 Forks for the food only)
On our return to the South Point we went to the equestrian center where there were 2 year old bulls with mechanized dummies being judged. This was supposed to be a paid event, but I guess we arrived near the end so we were allowed to just walk in. I found an abandoned ticket stub good for a free drink and added a paycheck coupon so headed directly to the Silverado Lounge for a pair Kahlua and creams.
October 23 – Ann went to bed last night with a sore throat and I woke up with one – how does that happen? I also suffered through another lousy video poker session at the Fiesta.
After having our usual vitamin C booster in the room, we made our way back Downtown for a breakfast at the newly opened Eat. http://downtownproject.com/2012/2400/
This is a modern looking eatery serving both breakfast and lunch though its location is a bit challenging. Located at the corner of Carson and 7th Streets, it faces a vacant lot which I believe is included in the Zappos’ Dowtown Project initiative.
We requested a single order of 5 small beignets, hold the chicory coffee, which were served with strawberry jam and mascarpone.
Owner/chef NatalieYoung stopped by our table and posed for a photo.
I feel menu prices are too high given the restaurant’s location and portion size though both Ann’s coffee and the beignets had a high quotient. ($13.88, 3 Forks)
We traveled out Fremont Street to Sam’s Town where Ann won a little and I lost more. We knew Romney was appearing at the Henderson Pavilion earlier in the morning, but expected the crowds to have dispersed well before noon, but the entry road to the library was closed and we were told that he hadn’t arrived yet.
On our return to the hotel we decided on a quick bite for lunch. Ann ordered a bowl of chicken noodle soup at Del Mar Deli ($6.37, 4.5 Spoons) while I downed a Vienna beef hot dog with sauerkraut, onions and double mustard from the hot dog cart. ($1, 3 Forks and a napkin)
I retired to the room while Ann put in a short video poker session highlighted by her #2 quad deuces of the trip.
Our water supply was nearly depleted so we redeemed another ACG
coupon for a pair or merlots and bottles of H2O.
For dinner we went to R M Seafood in Mandalay Place. This is a large, loud and casual restaurant owned Chef Rick Moonen. We ordered a 12.5 ounce carafe of Scott Harvey barbera.
Ann’s entrée was wild coho salmon with a cucumber gazpacho sauce and heirloom tomatoes and chili threads. Mine was a whole Florida pompano steamed Thai style with a green cabbage slaw. The fish was desirably moist, but would have benefited from additional chili sauce.
We also shared an interesting side of mashed potatoes that were topped with capers.
Overall I felt prices were out of line in relation to the casual nature of the restaurant and the quality of food. ($81.18, Groupon, 3 Forks)
On our return to the South Point, we visited the equestrian center for the Backseat Buckers Finals – yawn.
Next stop was the Grandview Lounge for the initial appearance of the “The Magic of Motown” act. We apparently we did not linger long enough because I subsequently found a group photo of 4 male singers as compared to one female singer who entertained us. ($0, 3 Claps) http://tinyurl.com/8erxmx6
October 24th – At 2AM the fire alarm went off and continued for several minutes before we finally got dressed and joined others headed down the stairwell. On exiting we were greeted by a security guard who informed us that we should return to our room with no explanation of what caused the alarm. I departed for the Fiesta shortly thereafter and put in my last losing session of the trip.
On my return at 8AM, my usually smiley face wife had turned into Miss Pouty Mouth because the fire alarm had rung twice more in the interim.
We both needed additional rest so after our usual starter breakfast, we read the newspaper and dozed before completing the online check out process.
At a little past noon, we arrived at Veggie House, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant that opened this past April. We parked behind the restaurant on the 2nd level of the plaza and entered through a rear door. The restaurant is bright, meticulously clean and tastefully decorated. We were greeted at the door and seated by Mimi who was incredibly cheerful as were both chef/owner Kenny and another server who we believe may have been his wife.
The meal started with complimentary cups of soup – a clear broth with a few vegetables and tofu.
For entrees, we shared the crispy spicy eggplant and spicy crispy beef. Both were delicious, but the “beef” dish, made from tofu, was interesting due to its crispy, but soft texture.
($19.60, KSHP, 4 Forks)
We returned the car with an additional 1400 miles on the odometer and were soon shuttling off to the airport. I was surprised when we printed off our boarding passes and received #’s B-12 and 13, but it turned our all right. Our flight was again delayed, but we caught a good tail wind and arrived in Hartford approximately 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Ann made a few dollars on this trip but I dragged us down though our loss was nominal. Our win/loss record over the past 8 years has now fallen to 15 wins out of 22 trips.
I want to extend a warm thank you to all who have taken the time to read this long and windy TR. Please feel free to make comments and/or ask questions.
For my own amusement, I maintained detailed notes on the specifics of each coupon/certificate used on this trip. The total turned out to an amazing 82.
1 Executive Valet – prepaid parking voucher 50% off
2 South Point showroom voucher – 2 free tickets
3-4 South Point free entry to any weekly entertainment show - funbook
5-6 South Point free drink coupons - on entry to the Déjà vu show
7-8 $5 free slot play received on entry to the Déjà vu show
9 Garden Café - $25/$12 Groupon
10-11 Garden Buffet 50% off any buffet - South Point funbook
12-13 Variety Toast of the Town – 2 free tickets
14 Ellis Island 4 free drinks – American Casino Guide
15 Weera Thai $20/$10 – Yelp
16-17 Grand Café $5 off a $10 purchase – LVA
18-19 Paycheck voucher good for a free drink - found
20-21 South Point free drink - funbook
22-23 Don Vito’s free dessert – funbook
24 Detroit Motor City Coney Island Hot Dogs 50% off - LVA
25-26 South Point free drink - funbook
27 Black Mountain Grill $25/$7 – KSHP
28 New Day Café $20/$10 – LivingSocial
29 Ellis Island 4 free drinks – ACG
30 Panna Thai $25 off – Restaurant.com
31-34 South Point free drink – show ticket stubs
35 Seattle’s Best 10% off – funbook
36 Tacos el Gordo $10/$3 – KSHP
37 Ellis Island 4 free drinks – ACG
38 India Masala $25 off – Restaurant.com
39 Ellis Island 4 free drinks – ACG
40 Ellis Island 2/1 menu item – LVA
41-42 Déjà vu free entry – South Point funbook
43-44 South Point 2 free drinks – on entry to Déjà vu show
45-46 South Point $5 free slot play – on entry to Déjà vu show
47 House of J Café $15/$5 – KSHP
48-49 Dennis Bono tickets – free for slot club members
50-51 South Point free drinks – show ticket stubs
52 R Steak and Seafood $150 comp – ACG
53 Seattle’s Best 10% off – South Point funbook
54 Fresh Mama $20/$3 – KSHP
55-56 South Point free drink - funbook
57-58 South Point free drink – paycheck voucher
59-60 Marbella free sangria – LasVegas4Locals coupon
61 Marbella $40/$20 – Groupon
62-63 Orleans play $10 receive $10 free slot play – LVA
64-65 Gold Coast play $10 receive $10 free slot play – LV
66 Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits $20/$10 – LivingSocial
67 Bread & Butter $8/$2 – KSHP
68 Ellis Island 4 free drinks – ACG
69 Tofu Hut $20/$6 – KSHP
buffet $10 off per person – LVA
71 Vanguard Lounge $20/$10 – CrowdSavings
72 South Point free drink – funbook
73 South Point free drink – show ticket stub
74-75 Ellis Island 4 free drinks - ACG
76 RM Seafood $92/$46 – Groupon
77-78 South Point free drink – funbook
79 Seattle’s Best 10% off – South Point funbook
80 Veggie House $15/$8 – KSHP
Airlines free drink – award vouchers