Wow, so the self imposed non-Vegas time is finally over. I just feel I'm so behind because of a Vegas trip, it takes me a week or so to think about Vegas again. Anyway, we left on a Thursday, doing our usual booze and pizza pre-flight ritual at the airport. The new southwest boarding policy makes it nice as we can enjoy some CPK pizza and Gordon Biersch beer right up until boarding time. As soon as we landed, we headed toward the MGM check in at the airport. The airport checkin has elevated MGM to one of my favorite hotels, especially since we got a west wing upgrade. The West Wing at MGM isn't for everyone. the rooms are similar size to the regular rooms, but they are much darker and more 'Nouveau Chic'. Personally, I like the rooms, and the location can't be beat. there is a special entrance for the West Wing rooms that's about 40' from the strip, combine that with our room right near the elevator and it makes for a great location. It was closer for us to walk to NYNY to get a cab than walk through the entire MGM complex to the taxi line. Most of the trip is a bit fuzzy, but I'll hit the highlights: FOOD: Saturday Brunch at Mon Ami Gabi: The weather was terrific sitting outside watching the Bellagio fountains. We started with a Kir Royale for me and a Bellini for Em. For food, we decided on the Frisee and Bacon Salad and the Onion Soup au Gratin. Both were delicious. The poached egg on the salad added a delightful twist to the already delicious vinaigrette dressing. And, if bacon is included, it's always a bonus. The Onion Soup au Gratin (aka: French Onion Soup) was as good as it always is. It's easily the second best French Onion Soup I've ever had... which is saying a lot. Very tasty. After these two wonderful dishes, we knew that dessert was in order and asked for the Waffles Bananas Foster. We are both recent inductees into the Bananas Foster fan club but have become the biggest supporters of this fabulous dish. We both adore bananas foster and order it whenever it's on the menu. To top this entire meal off, we were entertained by two Bellagio fountain shows, cementing a brunch trip to Mon Ami Gami into all of our Vegas plans. Drunken night at Hard Rock: After a most incredible run at the blackjack table at Hard Rock, we decided to try our Pink Taco. to our pleasure, the food was quite good. We both had the 'taco sampler', or some such name, as we had a mix of fish, chicken and pork tacos. To be truthful, I can't remember the name of the dish as we were both pretty wasted. The food might not have been very good, but it seemed like the best taco we've ever tasted that night. We did some taste tests on all of their salsas. We were repeatedly warned by the wait staff that their 'hottest' salsa (can't remember the name..) shouldn't be tried. I took that as a challenge and remember enjoying the salsa quite a bit. It was extremely hot, but also has some flavor to it. I plan to go back to Pink Taco when a bit more sober to test out the food again. GAMBLING: Mostly down the whole trip. Played lots of Blackjack, lost lots at Blackjack, but made up some of the losses at blackjack playing craps. I played craps sporadically before NSF and now I'm addicted. The session at NSF with Marty put me over the edge and I can't get enough of the game. I finally got up gambling when we went to the Hard Rock and I went on an incredible run at Blackjack. At one time, I must have been up at least 3K at the table. I was tipping like Jer and all the dealers loved me. Our table was much fun and no one was leaving, but I left the table only up about 1K. The booze took the best of me and I didn't leave when I should have, but it was a super fun run (almost 5 hours.. I'm expecting some offers from HR...) and I walked away 1K up, so I was still super happy. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to Nine Fine Irishmen many times, as we usually do in Vegas, to see Sin e Ri Ra. The didn't fail to disappoint. This was a birthday trip for Emily, just about 30 days too late. I asked the band to play Happy Birthday for her (which they do often for patrons), but when it came time for Emily's turn, the did something a bit special (without me asking.. we go there that much...). Just before one of their sets started, Emily told me: It would be a perfect birthday if they sang Happy Birthday to me, THEN dedicated "Dublin in the Rare Ould Times" to me. That is her favorite traditional celtic song. So, with no prompting from me (other than me asking them to sing Happy Birthday...), they sang her Happy Birthday, then said... "It's our friend Emily's birthday today, and we're going to sing one of her favorite songs for her tonight, Dublin in the Rare Ould time. Emily, this one's for you". Imagine that line said with an Irish accent (the lead singer is from Ireland...). Like many girls, Em has a soft spot for Irish/English accents, but especially Irish accents and just about started crying during this song (it's a slow, beautiful song.. google it.). Basically, no matter what happened that weekend, because of what the band did, it was going to be one of the best weekends ever. I'm so happy they remembered that was one of her favorite songs and that they decided to play it for her. I'm indebted to them for a very long time. Wow, the trip report is getting long! I guess it's about time to wrap it up! Overall, a great trip as usual, I can't wait until St. Patrick's Day!