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  #1  
Old 06-30-2013, 05:25 AM
westie's Avatar
westie westie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,432
Default The Great Dessert Caper


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May 29-June 12, 2013

A number of bakeries and restaurants across the Las Vegas valley have reported desserts disappearing from their display cases and premises over a recent two week period. The perps were caught on video with the male best described as being a senior of average height and above average girth. The female was characterized as a cougar sporting an attention getting cast on her left arm.

A coordinated investigation was undertaken by members of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), FBI (Federal Bakers Institute) and local authorities. Anyone with information related to these incidents is encouraged to contact lead investigator Emeril Lagasse at 1-800-DES-SERTS.

May 29 -This trip almost did not happen because Ann broke her wrist in late April while rappelling down a cliff on Ragged Mountain. Okay, I exaggerate, it was while she attempted to rappel down the step (singular) to our deck. The bone was reset and hopefully future surgery will not be required.

Ann going casual



Ann dressed up



Ann flew free on a SWA reward ticket while I paid full freight. Eight hours prior to departure, I received an email advising that our flight status had changed and we would be taking off 20 minutes late. A 2nd flight status change advisory was received a few hours later notifying us that we would be departing 20 minutes earlier than scheduled. +20 -20 = 0

After dropping Max-the-Schipperke off at the VCA Cromwell Vet and Doggie Spa along with most of his worldly possessions, we drove to Ted's Restaurant for steamed cheeseburgers.

http://www.tedsrestaurant.com/





These burgers, a local favorite in central Connecticut, are very juicy and sure enough I managed to spill grease on my only pair of jeans.

($5.50, Restaurant.com (R.com), 3 Forks).

We parked at LazFly at Bradley International Airport for an all in rate of $50 for the duration and had her RAV4 detailed for an additional $99. http://www.lazfly.com/

Check-in at the airport went smoothly but when I took off my running shoes at the security gate, I discovered a 2nd wardrobe malfunction in the form of a large hole in one of my socks which is really annoying as I don't carry spares.

Our nonstop flight departed on time and we were initially told it would arrive 20 minutes (there is that 20 again) early, but there were a few big storms in the west so our pilot (and us) took a circuitous route and we ended up arriving a few minutes late. It took awhile to gather up our luggage and it was off to the remote parking facility.

I had a reservation for a mid-size car with E-Z Rent-A-Car. This being our first experience with this company, I also held a back-up reservation with Fox. The rental rate for 2 weeks was only $214 almost equally split between the car rental and fees/taxes. The rental process was going along smoothly until the clerk started a spiel on state law requiring insurance at which point I tasered him. After recovering, he showed a modicum of class by upgrading us to a Chevy Malibu with approximately 18,000 miles on the odometer and only minor scratches on the rear bumper.

I booked our room at the South Point before the $14 resort fee was instituted, so we were staying resort fee free. Check-in went smoothly and we were soon unpacking our bags in room #1454 overlooking the pool and a football field away from the nearest elevator.

I had scheduled us to meet the spikey haired woman and her posse from the Las Vegas Advice board at Ellis Island, but it was now 7PM (10PM EST) and both Ann and I were exhausted, hungry and grumpy so we canceled the meet and greet with much regret.

Instead we grabbed a free drink plus $5 in free play coupons in the showroom where Deja Vu Dance & Show were performing using expired (12/31/12) funbook coupons before heading off for dinner at Tofu Hut on Spring Mountain Road. http://www.dejavudanceband.com/

We have dined at this Korean restaurant several times either cooking on the tableside BBQs or ordering kitchen prepared entrees. This night we chose the latter, sharing orders of spicy chicken and bulgogi (grilled marinated beef).





The entrees were very good, but the 6 banchans (side dishes) were largely forgettable. I also tried for the first time a cup of mushroom tofu soup that I did not find to my liking.





($16, KSHP, 2.5 Forks)

It was now past 10PM (PST) so on our return to the room, we both crashed.

May 30 – Anyone who has previously read one of my trip reports knows that I wake up before the birds and this morning was not an exception. I make the 15 plus minute drive to the Fiesta and got beaten to within an inch of my wallet. I woke Ann up on my return and a few hours later it was off to Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro for breakfast.

Had I read my notes before departing, I would have realized that this restaurant is closed on Thursdays. Plan B was immediately placed in motion and we were soon feasting on an apple fritter, jelly donut and coffee for Ann at Ronald's Donuts on Spring Mountain Road. The jelly donut was pretty ordinary and the apple fritter was not as good as usual, but still better than most.





($4.10, 2.5 Crumbs)

Our next stop was the downtown edition of the Las Vegas Premium Outlets where Ann picked up a pair of shorts and I added holeless socks to my travel wardrobe. We also picked up a few presents for our nieces' children.

On our way back to the hotel, we picked up a couple of cases of H2O plus some sundry items.

At around 1:30PM it was time to secure our seats for the Dennis Bono show. This week's guests included Corrie Sachs (Country Superstars), 60's singer Gary Puckett, Bobby Brooks (daddy was Jackie) Wilson, singer/impressionist Doug Starks and singer LeAyer Dante. This afternoon show was free with our South Point slot card. (3.5 Claps)

We went our separate ways after the show with me embarrassing myself once again at the senior slot tournament while Ann lost money at the video poker machines.

We did a whole lot better in the evening when I redeemed a LVA coupon for free drinks at Ellis Island Spa and Casino.

Dinner was at the recently opened Amanta Real Thai Food on South Decatur Blvd. https://www.facebook.com/AmantaRealThaiFood?ref=stream This restaurant is new and relatively large, but largely undecorated. There were very few people in the dining room other than employees on this Thursday evening. Our appetizer was a crab cake served in a shell with a unique plum dipping sauce.



We also shared doo dee noodle soup containing slices of bbq pork, ground pork and fish balls that had the consistency of scallops. Our second entree was spicy hot chicken stir fry that included holy basil, bean sprouts and peppers. We ordered medium heat, but the latter was a bit spicy though not overly so.





Our bill was reduced by 25% as a grand opening special. ($23.82,4 Forks)

We stopped at the Gold Coast to play our LVA play $10, receive $10 in free play coupon. Ann played for on a NSUD (not so ugly deuces) machine netting us a combined $3.75 profit – woo hoo!!

May 31 – A loss is a loss of course, but this was a lesser loss than the loss I experienced yesterday.

We again ventured off to Pura Vida this morning. http://www.puravidavegas.com/ This vegan restaurant is still located in a less than desirable section of town and the furnishings are second hand store quality, but we were here for the food. Our server again attempted to sell us on an appetizer, but we learned from past experience that the quantity of food is too much for us.

Ann ordered Tha' Frenchie - vegan French toast with sliced bananas which turned out to be way too heavy and did not have offer much in the way of flavor. I fared no better with Tha' Waffle - a big waffle that I upgraded with sliced bananas and a dollop of whipped cream for $1 – heavy and tasteless.





Both the server and kitchen were on “don't worry, be happy” time, so it took awhile for our orders to arrive. Prices are high and this meal proved to be disappointing on several levels. ($18.84, Groupon, 1.5 Forks)

Next stop was the Paseo Verde Library to check our emails followed by the NBHA Super Show (barrel racing) in South Point's equestrian center. We also toured the small western gift show without making a purchase.

I returned to the room for a nap while Ann played some VP.

My dining schedule for this Friday evening was the recently re-introduced seafood buffet at Red Rock Resort. I was conflicted because I like seafood, but a) I do not usually enjoy lunch/dinner buffets, b) seafood in buffets is typically overcooked and c) I make a pig of myself. C did not happen this evening. The variety of seafood offered was surprisingly limited and everything turned out to be overcooked. I started out with cocktail shrimp that were undersized and most likely farmed raised in some far away land plus a few hush puppies that were drier than dirt.



Dishes were not turning over and when they did the staff was slow to replenish. The one item that turned over quickly was the hot snow crab legs, but these were on the skimpy side and tended to be overcooked. I tried stuffed salmon that was very tasty, but it too was overcooked. The one seafood offering that was undercooked was manilla clams in a Thai green curry sauce with most of them being unopened and uneaten.



I did not fare much better with my veggies: a couple of half decent salads, overcooked broccoli rabe and Chinese broccoli that was tougher than Mike Tyson in heyday.



Shall we discuss the desserts? Suffice it to say, the best choice was ice cream. ($31.01 LVA, 1.5 Forks)

We swung by the Orleans and redeemed our LVA play $10, receive $10 in freeplay coupons. Once again Ann did the playing and cashed out with an $8.75 net win for Team Westie.

Our visit coincided with the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend so there were many people in the casino dressed up in period attire. I suspect these same individuals probably attend the Hillbilly Weekend as well. http://www.burlesquehall.com/ I also spotted Tempest Storm at a table outside the showroom attempting to hawk off some merchandise.

Lastly, we stopped off at the gift shop where Ann redeemed a $10 off coupon for sleep ware of uncertain origin and quality.

June 1 – I lost again at the Fiesta this morning, but I received 2 x points – a very small consolation.

On my return I picked up a coffee for Ann plus a bagel from Del Mar Deli that we shared along OJ and grapefruit in our room. ($3.89, 2.5 Forks)

Later in the morning I dropped Ann off at the Gold Spa Foot Reflexology. http://www.goldspalv.com/s.p?m=b&sId=2619 ($42, LivingSocial, 4 Hands)



I continued on to the library to check my emails and discovered a message from Opentable confirming our reservation for the Border Grill for Sunday, but also a notation that the brunch would not be served that entire weekend. I quickly canceled our reservation and rebooked for the weekend following.

Lunch was at Taco Tijuana, a recently opened Mexican restaurant located on Tropicana that has received lots of love on the internet.



We ordered 4 adobada (marinated pork) street tacos that were finished with crema, cilantro, pineapple and a spicy red salsa.





The tacos were generously filled with thick slices of meat. A convenient alternative to our beloved Tacos el Gordo.. ($10.59, 4 Tortillas)

We decided to drive to Circus Circus to do the paper work to redeem our $150 comp to The Steakhouse rather than later that evening just in case it took longer than expected. The entire complex has a carnival atmosphere that assaults ones senses of sight, sound and smell.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon napping while Ann put in an abbreviated session on the NSUD machines.

We decided to start our high roller evening at Roy's on Flamingo for its Aloha hour. http://www.lvhhtime.com/roy%27s-las-vegas.html On the first round I ordered Roy's Original Hawaiian martini (SKYY Vodka, Stoli Vanil Vodka & Malibu Coconut Rum) while Ann went retro by choosing Roy's Island Mai Tai. The latter is a 1940s classic floated with Cruzan Black Strap.





On the second round, there had to be one, Ann wisely chose the Hapa Margarita martini (fresh citrus, Jameson's Irish whiskey, Grand Marnier and agave). Not to be outdone, I ordered the 1988 (Finlandia Grapefruit, SOHO Lychee & Patrón Citrónge).



The staff was excellent and each of our drinks were delicious. ($29.91, 4 Sips)

We valet parked at Circus Circus and made the short walk to the Steakhouse where we held an OpenTable reservation. http://www.circuscircus.com/dining/the_steakhouse.aspx This highly acclaimed restaurant has been a frequent Best of Las Vegas recipient over its 31 years of existence. It is noted for serving in-house dry aged beef from an in-house cooler located near the entrance to the dining room.

After reviewing the wine list and estimating our final bill, I selected a bottle of Rosemont Estate Shiraz. This $32 bottle of wine, featuring a twist off top, retails for approximately $8, but proved to an upgrade from what we drink at Ellis.

We started off with a grilled shrimp appetizer that included a delicious garlic butter sauce.



Dinners include a basket of bread and house salads.



We each chose filet mignon entrees that were perfectly cooked to medium rare as requested and accompanied by an impressive amount of garlic mashed potatoes plus several baby carrots. We doggie bagged a single slice of chocolate mousse cake.





Our food was very good and the service throughout the evening was seamless. The final bill came in just $3 short of our $150 comp. ($30, MyVegas, 4,5 Forks)

The evening was closed out at the Grandview Lounge listening to the one and only, Wes Winters. http://www.weswinters.com/ ($0, 2 Claps)
  #2  
Old 06-30-2013, 05:28 AM
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westie westie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,432
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June 2 – On the fourth hand, I was dealt 3 clubs to the royal and filled in for my first royal of the trip. Same machine 2 hours later and I hit my first quad deuces.

Glazier's Food Marketplace, a Best of Las Vegas recipient since its opening, serves breakfast on the weekends so that was our destination this morning. http://www.glaziersfoodmarketplace.com/



I found the market to be comparable to Whole Foods with more moderate pricing. We ordered at the counter and then retired to a table in the piano room where the food was delivered.



Our easy over eggs came with bacon, wheat toast and home fries.



The ingredients were good, but pricing was high and execution left much to be desired. The toast wasn't crispy, the bacon was limp, the potatoes tired and the egg whites watery. ($17.05, 2 Forks)

A short VP session later in the day at the Fiesta resulted in Ann hitting her only quad deuces of the trip and me losing.

In the late afternoon we returned to the Fiesta for a pair of house margaritas on the rocks at the Cerveza Cantina. The margaritas are poured directly out of a bottle and tasted like it. An order of shrimp fritters (beer battered minced shrimp, corn, peppers, and scallions with a not spicy, but flavorful chipolte dipping sauce) proved to be a winner.





($3, LVA, points, 2.5 Sips, 3.5 Forks)

We hadn't planned on dining this evening, but the cancellation of our Border Gill brunch required us (me) to adopt a Plan B. Bon Chef Cafe on Eastern, a casual restaurant with a Mediterranean flair, to the rescue. http://www.bonchefcafe.com/

I ordered macaroni el forno, a dish recently touted by restaurant reviewer Max Jacobson, as my entree while Ann chose the chicken marsala. Both entrees included fresh garden salads that were enhanced by house made dressings. My entree, similar to lasagna sans the ricotta, was accompanied by a flavorless Parmesan cream sauce. The pasta was layered with a meat sauce that proved to be little more than under seasoned ground beef. Ann fared no better with her over sauced and overcooked chicken marsala.







($26.53, Groupon, 2 Forks)

We rushed back to the South Point to see Gary Puckett and the Union Gap perform. I only faintly remembered this group from their 1960's hit “Young Girl”, but they performed several of their gold records this evening. http://www.garypuckettmusic.com/ ($35, LVA, 2.5 Claps)



June 3 – This morning's session netted me quad deuces #2 and little else.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of fruit and a shared bagel followed in order by reading the newspaper and a nap before setting off for the El Cortez (ElCo). http://www.elcortezhotelcasino.com/

We cashed our IRS refund and received a bonus of 5% in free play. In addition, we each redeemed a LVA coupon good for an additional $10 in free play. Ann played off $50 in free play netting a miserable $35.75 on the 25 cent, 8/5 bonus poker machine in the Parlour bar. I played $10 without hitting a single paying hand – good grief.

New zip line tower being constructed



In days of yore, a trip wasn't complete without a visit to Binion's for the bean soup, but much gas has been passed since our last visit. We each ordered a bowl of the days black-eyed bean and ham soup that was accompanied by a generous portion of corn bread.





The soup was under seasoned and the corn bread was dry due to over baking, so much for nostalgia. ($11.73, 2 Spoons)

Our next stop was Sam's Town where both of us won a few dollars – a miracle!

After returning to the South Point for some much needed R&R, we drove to Ellis Island for a pair of merlots courtesy of the LVA.http://www.shanghairestaurantlasvegas.com/index.asp

Dinner this evening was at Bund Shanghai Restaurant on Decatur. This 2 story restaurant was pretty busy for a Monday evening, but we were quickly seated.



The menu is very diverse and includes many funky dishes, but we went conservative by ordering Szechuan eggplant hot pot that came out sizzling and a lamb stir fry with green onions. Both dishes were executed to perfection and delicious.





Adding to our pleasure, we found the wait staff to be very hospitable and professional so this restaurant will remain on my To Do list. ($18.86, Groupon, 4.5 Forks)

The last stop was the Orleans gift shop to exchange Ann's sleep wear for a larger size. I am sure the sizes of this outfit run small. LOL

June 4 - Today's VP highlights include a dealt quad deuces (#3) early in the session. A half hour later I was dealt a junk hand, tossed it away and drew my #4 quad deuces of the trip. I won't be holding my breath waiting to duplicate this feat.

My uncanny run of luck continued first finding a nickle on the floor of the Business Center followed 2 minutes later when I spotted a 40 cent TITO (ticket in, ticket out) sitting upright in an ashtray outside the gift shop. Now we are talking serious money.

After showering and shaving (me), we departed for the Strip where we parked in Bellagio's garage. We made a quick tour of the Botanical Garden's summer exhibit before grabbing the tram to Aria.













We redeemed 3 rewards at the MyLife desk and proceeded directly to the Jean Phillippe Patiserrie. http://www.arialasvegas.com/dining/r...ppe-patisserie

Each of us ordered a souffle-style crepe with Ann choosing bananas Foster and me the mixed berries. The difference between these and regular crepes is the addition of a creamy custard in the center.





At first glance these might be mistaken for desserts, but the batter ingredients are similar to pancakes so they qualify as breakfast - right? Hers was very good, mine sublime. ($2, MyVegas, 4.5 Forks)

I also had a $10 comp for dessert so we chose a triple mousse and a flan that we brought back to the room. The mousse proved to be run of the mill and the flan oddly dense and heavy.





I would not reorder either. ($1.95, MyVegas, 2 Forks).

We returned to the room for an hour to re-energize before driving to the Paseo Verde Library again.

Our next stop was Ellis Island for merlots before departing for the Shish Kabob House for dinner. http://shishkaboblv.com/ There was a large sign on the front door indicating the main dining room was closed for a private function and directing us to a second room a few doors down that looked like it was primarily used for small parties.

The room was pretty full for a Tuesday night with a steady stream of diners arriving throughout our stay, but service was better than expected. We each ordered a combo kabob plate that included chicken, beef and lula kabobs plus 2 lamb chops.



Also included were pita bread and a salad. All the meat was cooked more thoroughly than we prefer, but each morsel was flavorful and tender. The singular disappointment was the industrial pita bread that was dry and flavorless. ($24.35, R.com, 3.5 Forks)

On exiting we beat a quick path to the adjoining Manan Bakery where a tea cup cappuccino mousse called out my name.



Ann closed out the night by playing VP while I wrote a few TR notes and tried to fight off Mr. Sandman, failing miserably.

June 5 – We were now 7 days into the trip, but it feels more like a week. My morning session resulted in a 5th quad deuces.

First stop of the morning was Val U Laundriana, formerly the Laundrimat, on Tropicana where we dropped off clothes to be washed and folded.

We returned to Ellis Island where we each had $10 in free play from redeeming American Casino Guide (ACG) coupons on our last trip, so we played it off netting a $21.25 profit. Since we each played $10, we piggybacked by redeeming LVA play $10, receive $10 free play coupons at the slot booth that we will play off on our next trip.

We then ordered breakfast in the Cafe and waited and waited. At first we noticed no one seemed to be receiving their orders, but then food was delivered to 2 tables that arrived after us. With the time for Ann's massage appointment rapidly approaching, we notified our server we would be departing.

After dropping Ann off at the Episage Wellness Center on Flamingo, I headed off for Hair Mechanix Family Hair Care, home of the $8 haircut, and got my silver locks trimmed. ($11, 3 Shears)

Teri at Episage does more of a therapeutic massage than most masseuses, but she was running late and I returned early so I caught a short catnap in the car. http://www.episagewellness.net/ ($66, 5 Hands)

We had lunch at Taco Taco on Tropicana, another recently opened Mexican restaurant. In contrast to its competitors, this restaurant is larger, cleaner and offers a help yourself salsa bar that includes warm beans, sliced cucumbers, multiple salsas and spicy pickled carrots.





We each ordered our usual al pastor tacos that proved to be equal or better than any of its competitors. ($10.54, 4.5 Tortillas).



Ann dropped me off at the Paseo Library on her way to have her hair washed and blown dry at Green Turtle Spa. After an hour on the computer, I realized she was MIA and started to grow anxious. What if something happened to her and all my slot cards are in the car?

As it turned out her hair dresser, Melissa, was also running late. I wonder if there is some bug going around in Las Vegas? ($30, 3.5 Brushes)

For our personal happy hour, we returned to the Fiesta and once again ordered house margaritas.($4, LVA, points, 2.5 Sips)

Stations offers half point dining for seniors on Wednesdays. We qualify so it was off to the Oyster Bar at Sunset Station for dinner. https://sunsetstation.sclv.com/Dinin...yster-Bar.aspx Ann ordered bouillabaisse while I chose the cioppino.





The major difference between these stews is the broth with mine being pommodoro-based and hers seafood enhanced by saffron. Both included unusually large shrimp, New Zealand mussels, white fish, a mahogany clam or two, and small crab legs. We were not tempted by the accompanying rice or dinner rolls. ($6, points, 3.5 Spoons)

On our return to the South Point we made two circuits of the casino floor before sharing the tea cup cappuccino in our room. ($3.49, 3.5 Forks)

June 6 – My first order of business this morning was picking up our wash and fold ($8, 4 Folds) before continuing on to Sam's Town. I inserted 2 bills into a VP machine, but no credits were registered so I turned on the service requested light. A tech came over and seemed incredulous that I would insert a 2nd bill when the first hadn't registered. After several minutes, a 2nd tech came over and checked the computer screen which showed 2 bills had not been accepted. I suspect the overhead video was also checked before I was finally reimbursed by a 3rd employee. The session itself was a loser until about 5 minutes before closing time when I scored #6 quad deuces.

Our Families Country Cafe on Rainbow was the source of our nourishment this morning. http://www.mycountrycafe.com/ Though the address may say Rainbow, you can't get there from here because the road remains unpaved some 4 years after the Sturtz family opened this restaurant. So forget the GPS and check the restaurant's website for alternative directions.



The restaurant is very homey and literally decorated with bric-a-brac taken from their home.



We each ordered easy over eggs which came with bacon and home fries. Ann in a senior moment substituted 2 hot cakes for the toast.





Everything was expertly prepared using high quality ingredients though Ann never came close to finishing her lumberjack sized meal. ($15, Groupon, 3.5 Forks)

We subsequently put in a short losing VP session at the Fiesta before returning to the South Point for the Dennis Bono show. This afternoon show is always entertaining and today's was no exception. His guests were entertainer Clint Homes, Zowie Bowie accompanied by his fiddling girl friend, singers Tara Palsha (Vegas The Show), Paul Stubblefield and Pascale Elia plus regulars Corrie Sachs (Country Superstars) and the Bob Rosario Ensemble. ($0, 4 Claps)

On exiting Ann beat a path to her favorite VP machine while I made my way, once again, to the senior slot tournament where I was not best in class.

The afternoon temperature of 109 degrees was a record, lucky us, but it did not stop us from heading off to the MGM for drinks in the Lounge at the Signature. I tendered a MyLife reward that the bartender initially misinterpreted as being good for only 2 drinks – au contraire my good man. I managed to convince him, with confirmation by the waitress, that it was good for $30 which translates into 5 drinkie poos Thursday evenings when specialty martinis are reasonably priced at $6.



Ann started with a Cinnamon Girl followed by a Winter White. I chose quantity over quality in ordering an Uptown followed by a Zen that was followed by a Winter White (see menu for ingredients).









http://www.signaturemgmgrand.com/fil...ounge_menu.pdf It was fortunate that these drinks were non alcoholic or I might have had a real buzz on. ($6, 3 Sips)

Dinner was at Gina's Bistro on Durango. http://www.ginasbistrolv.com/



This 32-chair, family-owned/operated Italian restaurant was fairly busy this evening. We started off sharing the passatina di ceci appetizer – rosemary grilled shrimp & scallops on a bed of garbanzo bean pure that was just okay.



Ann ordered pollo Sorrentina - chicken w/sliced eggplant, mozzarella cheese in a light tomato sauce. My entree was penne camagnola - pasta with broccoli, tomatoes sauce, chicken, roasted garlic and sundried tomatoes.





Each dish was pretty good, but nothing out of the ordinary. ($38.32, Groupon, 2.5 Forks)

Last edited by westie; 07-01-2013 at 01:03 AM.
  #3  
Old 06-30-2013, 05:29 AM
westie's Avatar
westie westie is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Kensington, CT
Trips To Vegas: 60
Posts: 3,432
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June 7 – I hit a multitude of 5OAKS (5 of a kind) and wild royals, but ended up losing during this morning's session.

KSHP had a quarterly marathon in progress so we visited its offices and purchased a pair of discounted dining certificates. The ink was barely dry as we pulled into the parking lot of Suzuya Pastries and Crepes on Durango Drive. http://www.suzuyapastriesandcrepes.com/



This small Japanese bakery, opening in October 2012, is owned and operated by a young married couple. Though the dessert case was tempting, we settled on crepes with Ann ordering strawberries and cream and me Nutella with sliced almonds. Watching as the wife prepares the crepes with an assist by hubby, you can tell they put a lot of pride into it. These Japanese style crepes, rolled up like a gyro, proved to be much lighter (that is good) version than what we have had elsewhere.







Both crepes were delicious, but I will be following Ann's lead when ordering on our next visit. ($4.85, KSHP, 4.5 Forks)

We returned to the South Point and toured the auto and home show. As seniors, we gained free entry during the first 2 hours and will be using our ticket stubs for free drinks.

In the late afternoon we headed downtown and valet parked at the Golden Nugget's Rush Tower entrance and proceeded directly to the bar at the Grotto Ristorante's bar. http://www.goldennugget.com/LasVegas/eat_grotto.asp Our arrival was timed to coincide with the daily happy hour so we each ordered one of its signature peach bellinis. ($7.50, 3 Sips)



We then made the short walk to the Plaza to attend the Phat Pack Show. http://www.phatpackshow.com/ The 3 member cast (plus Debbie Reynolds' piano player) of singers includes two from the “Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular” and the third from “Forever Plaid”. The only problem was one of the trio was performing in Canada that weekend, but the remaining two were pros and carried on seamlessly with an assist from Kirsten Hertzenberg, the female lead in Phantom. By coincidence, she mentioned joining Clint Holmes for this weekend's performances at the Cabaret Jazz which we will also planned to attend.

Kristen with her child



Bruce Ewing and a fan



The three of them covered a number of Broadway songs, but I felt there was a little too much reminiscing about their families and careers though I thoroughly enjoyed the show. ($44.18, Vegas4Locals, 3 Claps)

Our next stop was the Florida Cafe in the Howard Johnson's motel. http://www.floridacafecuban.com/



We were warmly greeted on entering and took a seat at the bar.



After reviewing the menu, we ordered mojitos and the pappas rellenos con aioli appetizer (deep fried mashed potatoes stuffed picadillo beef with aioli).





Our mojitos were probably the best we have ever had. The rellenos were grease free and tasty, but I would gladly trade the picadillo for more aioli. ($15, Groupon, 5 Sips and 3 Forks)

It takes approximately 3 hours to fly from Miami to Caracas, but in less less than 3 minute we were knocking on the door of Viva Las Arepas. This casual restaurant serves Venezuelan fare including its signature arepas.



Orders are taken at the counter and the food is delivered to the table along with 3 bottles containing different sauces. We each ordered the reina pepiada arepa – an interesting take on chicken salad made with shredded chicken breast, avocado, mayo, and cilantro. It is served between slices of flatbread that are made with precooked corn flour.



We enjoyed the arepas, but I am not in a rush for a repeat. ($11.85, 2.5 Forks and a napkin)

On our return to the South Point, we stopped at the Grandview Lounge where Wes Winters seranaded me to sleep.

June 8 – I hit my #7 quads this morning and was able to bring most of it back to the room with me. Our morning was largely devoted to reading the newspaper and attending the auto/home show again.

We departed for Mandalay Bay where we redeemed another reward for the Border Grill's weekend brunch including unlimited mimosas. I won't go into a lot of detail (see menu), but between the two of us we consumed 7 mimosas and 11 tapas size plates. http://www.bordergrill.com/PDF/bglv_...unch_flyer.pdf





We were served plates of fresh fruit and guava empanadas while reviewing the menu I printed from their website.





We ate, in no particular order, the short rib hash w/egg, chilaquiles, brisket omelet, churro tots and sweet potato pancakes. The weak sister being the sweet potato pancakes.











The stars of this performance were the bread pudding French toast and the fig and blue cheese quesadillas drizzled with chipolte aioli. These were so delicious an encore performance was deemed necessary.





Our seven mimosas included a nice cross section of the ones (watermelon, pomegranate, peach, passion fruit, cucumber) being offered this day with the best in class designation going to the cucumber.



Seven may initially seem like a lot, but, as I explained to our server, the first 2 were being charged to our friends Warren and LouAnn. LOL

Though I failed to note our delightful server's name, you will recognize her by the blue hair and assorted tattoos. ($18, MyVegas, 4.5 Forks)

As we crossed the parking lot to our car waves of heat hit us and we later read contradicting reports on whether or not a new record was set, but at 109 degrees it was HOT, HOT, HOT.

After resting for much of the day, we made our way to the bar and used 4 ticket stubs for merlots. The evening was concluded playing a little VP at the Fiesta with me losing (again) and Ann winning.

June 9 – Not much luck on the VP machines this morning, but I did not lose much either.

In mid-morning we drove to Sedona Restaurant & Lounge on Charleston for the Sunday brunch. http://sedonalv.com/ This upscale restaurant incongruously also serves as a video poker bar. We were one of the first through doors at 10AM and immediately seated at a table for four.



I ordered eggs Benedict Oscar style – described as “jumbo” crab cakes on English muffins topped with 2 poached eggs and Bearnaise sauce with sides of grilled asparagus and thick bacon. The only thing “jumbo” was the price tag because the crab cakes were not much thicker than my little finger. Ann chose pain perdu – walnut -raisin French toast with espresso anglaise and whipped cream served with a pair of breakfast sausages. Another pretty ordinary entree.





Our server never reappeared at our table after taking our orders and we noticed every other table being served complimentary snifters of champagne. Needless to say, her gratuity was comparable to the level of service provided. ($18, Groupon, 2.5 Forks)

Once more on our return to the South Point we attended the auto/home show and scored another pair of ticket stubs plus 2 small containers of cheap ice cream.

In the early afternoon we drove to the Smith Center and parked in the covered garage in order to see Clint Holmes perform in the intimate Cabaret Jazz. This month's show was titled “Beatles, Bacharach and Beyond”. His guest Kirsten Hertzenberg joined him in for a pair duets and almost blew the roof off on her solo number. Each month Clint and his musical conductor come up with an entirely new show that seems more entertaining than the last. ($102, 4.5 Claps and a standing ovation)

After returning to the South Point we rested for an hour before retracing our steps to the Grandview Lounge where we enjoyed free merlots courtesy of our ticket stubs and funbook coupons.

Dinner was at the Primarily Prime Rib where we ordered the 12-ounce prime ribs done medium rare. These were accompanied by a creamy horseradish sauce that cleared the sinuses. These generous slices of prime rib were both juicy and flavorful and most assuredly better than I expected. Our entrees included a decent spinach salad and garlic mashed potatoes.







We used funbook coupons good for free desserts with Ann choosing a somewhat heavy peach bread pudding while I went lighter with strawberries Romanoff.







($8, points, funbooks, 3.5 Forks)

June 10 – I broke even this morning in a session that featured my fourth natural straight flush of the trip. I don't ever remember hitting this many, but then again I don't remember a lot of things these days.

On my return, I treated myself to an eye opener in the form of a $1 Bloody Mary. After a breakfast of fruit and bagel, we went to the equestrian center to watch a little of the Pacific Cutting Horse Association's competition.

I then dropped Ann off at the Green Turtle Salon to have her nails done. I thought I would kill some time at the library only to discover once again that it is closed on Mondays. I returned just shy of 45 minutes later, but ended up sitting in the car with the engine running for an additional 45 minutes.

On our return to the South Point we headed to the hot dog cart for a pair of 75 cent Vienna all beef hot dogs. ($2, 2.5 Buns)

Drinks and dinner with musical accompaniment by Bill LeRoach on keyboards at Ellis Island. It just doesn't get much better than that folks. We both ordered entrees of wild coho salmon which came with garlic green beans, rice pilaf and a house salad.





The only negative was the salmon was overdone and dry. ($17.35, LVA, 2.5 Forks)

We made a hasty exit followed by a short drive to the Venetian where we valet parked and made our way to the theater to see Human Nature.



This quartet of Aussie singers perform Motown classics in a high energy show that never fails to entertain.



Our tickets were free courtesy of a comp received from Steve of Everything Las Vegas newsletter and forum. (4.5 Claps) http://www.everythinglv.com/forums/l.../41-Newsletter

http://www.everythinglv.com/forums/forum.php

June 11- I was hotter than a pepper pod, but could not pull the trigger on the quad deuces though I came close to breaking even.

On the return trip to our room, I made a seriously long detour to Ronald's for one last apple fritter and a crown donut.



Though guests of the South Point can use the computers in the Business Center without charge, the service provider is so slow that we decided to visit the Paseo Verde Library once more.

I then reversed direction and headed to Weeziana Gumbo & More on W Charleston. http://weezianagumbo.com/



We were greeted by the owner who was very nice and answered our questions. She was surprised that a pair of non locals had even heard of this restaurant located in a fast food court. We each ordered the Classic Creole Seafood Gumbo that is served in a styrofoam cup along with a spoon of rice.



It included a few skinny snow crab legs that were not worth the bother plus chicken on the bone, sausage, fresh okra, shrimp, tomatoes and more. This proved to be the best tasting gumbo we have ever including while on visits to NOLA and Biloxi.

Our visit would have been incomplete if we had skipped the Slap Yo Mama bread pudding. Ann prefers a more custard-like bread pudding, so I was "forced" to eat a little more than her.



($10.95, KSHP, 4 Spoons)

I hibernated like a bear for the remainder of the afternoon while Ann did a little stretching and played video poker.

In the afternoon we enjoyed our last merlots at Ellis prior to making the short drive to the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. We valet parked and made our way to the V-Theater to watch the Tribute Royalty show. This show features a trio of impressionists that cover Elvis, Lady Gaga and, lastly, Michael Jackson backed by dancers and a sound track.








Elvis had an excellent voice, but he just did not sound a lot like Big Elvis, much less Elvis. Lady Gaga was spot on and MJ was very good as well. Overall, I felt this was a very good show given its limitations (e.g. no band). ($54, Groupon, 4 Claps)

Our last dinner of this trip was at Veggie House, a vegan Chinese restaurant on Spring Mountain that we have enjoyed on our last 2 trips.



Orders of curry chicken with potato and sizzling beef were shared.





Since I had to rearrange our dining due to the Border Grill incident, I allowed this gift certificate to expire so only the paid value was applied to the bill. Not a problem as the promotional value was only $10. ($25.59, 3 Forks)

June 12 I experienced a nominal loss in an abbreviated VP session this morning before rushing back to the room to shower and shave. Breakfast was at the Garden Buffet where I filled my belly with OJ, huevos rancheros, corned beef hash and fresh fruit with yogurt. ($7.50, funbook, 2.5 Forks)

We returned the car without incident and arrived at the terminal with what we believed was time to spare. Problem #1 surfaced when we tried to check our bags. The kiosks were down so SWA personnel had to complete the process resulting in long lines. Problem #2 arose during the security scan prompting a search of my bag and confiscation of several apple fritters, a creme brulee and a bottle of CeraVe lotion. After promising to seek counseling for my dessert addiction, I was allowed to join Ann on an otherwise uneventful flight home.


Trying to fly home incognito.



Though this was our 16th winning trip in our last 24 visits, Team Westie's profit was minimal so we are still in the hole for 2013.

Thanks to one and all who took the time to read this long TR and feel free to ask questions or comment.

What you eat in Las Vegas comes home with you.

---------------Westie ----------------------

Last edited by westie; 07-04-2013 at 10:23 PM.
  #4  
Old 06-30-2013, 08:05 AM
wam wam is offline
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Thumbs up great report

as always frank, a five star(*****) trip report. thanks for taking the time to keep all of your readers well informed.
  #5  
Old 06-30-2013, 08:22 AM
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breanna61 breanna61 is online now
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The food porn did not disappoint! Where DO the two of you put it all? Lol
  #6  
Old 06-30-2013, 08:32 AM
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gambler gambler is offline
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Thanks Westie! Reading your report was a great way to start a Sunday morning.

I agree with breanna...where do you put it? I won't eat for a week after seeing all those food pics. You guys really are adventurous!
  #7  
Old 06-30-2013, 08:55 AM
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JosieCat JosieCat is offline
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I thoroughly enjoyed your trip report! Thanks so much for posting. And now I'm off to the kitchen for a snack as all of your wonderful pictures have made me hungry .
  #8  
Old 06-30-2013, 10:23 AM
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techie223 techie223 is offline
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Thanks for another great trip report. I love that you include ratings and pictures of all of the food, and that you go to a lot of non-tourist restaurants.

Good job
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:51 AM
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LV_Bound LV_Bound is offline
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Wow lengthy trip report with lots of food pictures but no pictures of your wins. Wonder if they really happened.

It appears you are definitely the person to talk to about those secret "off strip" places.
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Please send funds for my next Vegas trip!!!!!
  #10  
Old 06-30-2013, 12:15 PM
VPDana VPDana is online now
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Very enjoyable Tr, even if written by a guy in greasy jeans and holey socks.
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