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).
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)