Have Slot Card, Will Travel reads the card of a man A VP player without armor in Vegas land Westie, Westie why do you roam? Westie, Westie, Far, far from home. I realize many of you do not have the time or inclination to read a detailed TR so here is the Campbellâ€™s (i.e. condensed) version: BDL, LAS, Dollar, Samâ€™s, zzzz, Bam, $$$, burp, crunch, wow, applause, South Cost, BRAVO, burp, LAS, BDL 9/20 â€“ the big day arrives as it surely must so we depart from home at 10:30AM with Max-the-Schipperke riding shotgun. First stop as usual is Hotel Carlton where Max sucks it up big time and bravely trots off with Hey Boy. Maxâ€™s accommodations on this trip have been upgraded. In the past he had an upper berth in Alligator Alley, but he has taken to territorial marking which the lower berth tenant has not appreciated. By direction of hotel management, Max-the-Schipperke will heretofore be assigned to a larger, lower and decidedly more expensive berth. We are finally on the road again and stop near the airport for a pair of double cheeseburgers and large fries. This turned out to be an excellent move because after clearing security we discover the airport MickeyDâ€™s is offering those very same double cheeseburgers for a decidedly less than frugal $5.19 each â€“ wow what is Ronald making those suckers from - Kobe beef? (0.5 Forks, $4.50). We had 2.5 hours to kill, but on the plus side I am situated in the highly coveted numero uno position in Southwestâ€™s A line. A few other people arrive and position themselves behind numero uno. As the clock slowly ticks down toward departure time we notice the immediate area is not crowded. Sure enough after waiting a full hour and 45 minutes, an announcement is made that there has been a gate change. We rush to the new gate only to discover we are now in the less coveted 25th position. I serenade Ms. Westie with Bobby McFerrinsâ€™ song â€Donâ€™t Worry, Be Happyâ€ and sure enough on entering the plane we discover the exit row seats are still available. Our flight crew was auditioning for roles in Second City as they delivered one amusing quip after another with the high (or low) point being a toilet paper race. The plane landed on schedule and we were one of the first to arrive at luggage carousel #15 only to discover some 10 minutes later that there had been a change. We lucked out and found both bags took the same flight as us. I notified the shuttle driver that I am a Dollar Express member, but my name was not on his list. I now feared our 4-month old reservation had mysteriously been lost in cyberspace. I visited the office and seconds later I am directed to the tent outside. I inquire if an upgrade from my contracted economy car to a Chrysler 300 was doable while fetching a Hamilton from behind the attendantâ€™s left ear. She voiced a small grunt before accompanying us to a 2007 Chrysler 300 with 67 miles on the odometer, no license plates and a temporary registration dated 4 days prior. We had 3 separate reservations totaling 11 nights at Samâ€™s so it took the desk clerk several minutes to combine them. I received a Boyd logo bag for booking online and was directed to room 867 situated a floor short of the penthouse and some 30 kilometers from the nearest elevator. At this point you can color us both hungry and tired so we opted for the Yukon Grill at Arizona-Charlies-Boulder. http://www.arizonacharliesboulder.com/las_vegas_steak_restaurant.html# We do not eat a lot of beef at home so we were both looking forward to a juicy petite filet served medium rare. Our entrees included the soup du jour, sweet potato, and delicious garlic mashed red potatoes with a few baby carrots. The sole problem with the meal was our filets looked and tasted like they may have been broiled. The accompanying bÃ©arnaise sauce was a further, though anticipated, disappointment. (1 Fork, $36.71, POV) We stopped by the lounge to listen to a few songs by the Vegas Road Band who I believe were attempting to impersonate a bad lounge act. (0.5 Claps). We were overcome with exhaustion so on their first night in Las Vegas we find the Westie tucked securely in their bed at 10PM. 9/21 I am an EST type person temporarily living on WCT so I awoke at 1:30AM. I decided to put in a few hours on the FPDW machines and then quietly return to our room before Ms. Westie awakes. I hold my own for the first hour while hitting 4 natural quads, a pair of wild royals and a natural straight flush. The next hour saw more of the same and I now feel like I am soldiering, but, stand back Emeril, BAM! I hit #1 quad deuces of the trip. Hour #3 finds me again holding my own, not in a literal sense, but you catch my drift. As I enter hour #4, I am running on fumes when BAM! I hit my #2 quad deuces. I return to the room around 6AM and, after a short nap, drive to Smiths Supermarket to purchase OJ and a pair of low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol apple fritters. We shower, read the LVRJ and drive to Wal-Mart for additional supplies before departing for Planet Aladdin. First stop was the slot booth where we tendered $20/$20 Casino Player free slot play coupons and proceeded to the lone 8/5 bonus poker machine located near the sports book bar. Ms. Westie played first and cashed out with an additional $21 and I did even better with a heart stopping $35 profit â€“ if only the stock market was so easy. Next stop was Commanderâ€™s Palace where we learned Mike Smith, the long time manager, had departed for Texas, but I am recognized and warmly received (big hug) by Santino, the Maitre dâ€™. I request a table in the Garden Room, but it is temporarily closed due to work on the front faÃ§ade so we are seated in the Wine Room. We ordered the 3-course $18.80 lunch special: http://www.commanderspalace.com/las_vegas/menu_detail.php?menu=13 I started off with the housemade crispy Andouille cake with green onion crÃ¨me fraiche and baby greens. My entrÃ©e was a 3 ham (Tasso, peppered wild boar and Parma) salad with creamy roasted garlic-artichoke dressing which sounded better than it tasted, but the frozen bananas foster mousse dessert made my cares go away. Ms. Westie chose the Creole vegetable bisque followed by beef debris â€œen Planketâ€, slow roasted and braised beef tenderloin in a spicy jus over French bread with shoestring potatoes and horseradish emulsion, plus the aforementioned mousse. We consumed a total of 5 martinis at 25 cents each: 2 juicy cupcakes and 3 Commanders Palace. (3.5 Forks, $21, Restaurant.com) 2.5 hours following our entry we were prepared to leave, I wobbled and weaved my way toward the exit where Santino stood with a praline in hand for each of us. The ride back to Samâ€™s and the remainder of the afternoon are a bit hazy, but I am sure I was happy. Fast forward another 2 hours and we find Ms Westie announcing her return to the living by issuing forth a loud belch and declaring she could no longer dine, or was it drink, at Commanderâ€™s Palace. Her resolve will be tested on our next trip. In a late afternoon VP session I lose, but Ms Westie comes through with her #1 quad deuces of the trip. Neither of us was hungry so we were sent to bed without dinner. 9/22 Fiesta was offering 5 x points so I saddled up the Chrysler 300 and headed to Henderson at about 4AM. On my return I checked with the front desk for mail that I was expecting. It could not be located, though I had a tracking number and determined it had been delivered on 9/20 at 6AM. The hotel clerk promised to follow-up so we headed to Paris for the breakfast buffet. This is a super buffet and I took little bitty morsels of several items (yeah right) including OJ, mixed fruit, chicken apple sausage, andouille sausage, Lyonnaise potatoes, egg Benedict, assorted cheeses and a Belgian waffle covered with fruit and a smear of whipped cream. Service was excellent and the only negative was the egg was overdone. Burp! (4 Forks, $6.36, LVA) We drove to Casino Royale where we parked and walked to Harrahâ€™s to pick-up our previously reserved Â½ priced tickets for the Clint Holmes show using a LOV coupon. Next stop was the Stardust where Â½ priced tickets for the Rick Thomas show were purchased using an ACG coupon. Our energy meter was registering empty so we returned to Samâ€™s. I awoke some 2 hours later to find Ms. Westie had departed for the VP machines so I followed in her footsteps â€“ she won, I lost â€“ go figure. On our return to the room we had a message advising that our mail had been found on someoneâ€™s desk. Late that afternoon we drove to the Gold Coast for a couple of free, pre dinner drinks courtesy of the ACG. A piece of advice for anyone still reading this TR â€“ do not, repeat after me, do not under any circumstances order red or, worse yet, white wine at any Gold Coast bar. In an attempt to salvage the evening we proceeded to Giorgio CafÃ© at Mandalay Place. There are at least 3 separate dining sections offering the same menu and prices so we opted for the more intimate back room. http://www.lasvegas.com/searchagent/restaurant/ViewRestaurant.do?restaurantId=3735 We shared a pretty good Caesar salad and each ordered the eveningâ€™s special of seared escolar with green peppercorn and heirloom tomato sauce accompanied by pencil asparagus and butternut squash. The esocolar was moist and the accompanying sauce was incredible. (3.5 Forks, $42.56, Restaurant.com) On our return to Samâ€™s we stopped by Roxyâ€™s where the energetic, but talent deficient Stinson Brothers were performing. One thought kept running through my mind as I watched them â€“ could these two be the illegitimate offspring of Tommy Rocker? (0.5 Claps) 09/23 Samâ€™s FPDW extracted a pound of flesh at this morningâ€™s session. We drove to the Gold Coast for the breakfast buffet where I sampled the fresh fruit (limited variety), assembled a huevos ranchero (overdone easy over eggs) and a few sides. There were not many patrons on this Saturday morning so turnover proved to be a real problem. (1 Fork, $6.95, ACG) I stopped by the box office to redeem a coupon for 2 free tickets to Forever Plaid for the Thursday following. We then drove to Fiesta-Henderson where we each made a craps bet using free bet coupons. Ms. Westie played the come line and I chose the dark side. This strategy guarantees one of us will win unless a 12 is thrown on the come out roll â€“ any guesses on what the shooter threw? Fortunately, the next 2 rolls were an 8 followed by a 7. We wanted to play some FPDW, but the points were not registering so we beat a hasty retreat back to Samâ€™s where Ms. Westie got in a little playing time and I relaxed in the room. At around 4:30PM we drove to the South Coast, but I missed the LV Blvd. turn off and ended up heading south on I-15 where I exited at the Blue Diamond exchange. Traffic was backed up as we approached the intersection with the LV Boulevard so I slowed down and finally stopped. The driver in the car behind us must have been attracted to my car because his car kissed my bumper leaving a small dent. We called in the incident and after a 45 minute delay we were on our way again. It took a few free (ACG) drinks at the South Coast before my blood pressure returned to near normalcy. Dinner this evening was at Chandelier Mediterranean, Henderson, located at the junction of St. Rose Parkway and Eastern. We toured one shopping center for around 15 minutes before giving up and sought directions at a nearby gas station. As it turned out, there was another shopping center (Loweâ€™s) on the northwest corner, but even then it wasnâ€™t all that easy to find the restaurant. The menu is billed as Mediterranean which is a stretch, but do I care? http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Aug-25-Fri-2006/weekly/9131005.html We start off with an amazing mezzeh (appetizer) sampler that included the baba ghanosh, tabouleh, hummus, and 2 falafel ringed by slices of warm pita bread. The plate was beautiful and the food a pure delight. Ms. Westie chose the kafta kabab (3) entrÃ©e which was served over lemon rice. The minced beef was combined with aromatic spices that lingered long after we departed the restaurant. I chose the pesto salmon which was beautifully presented. The salmon was moist and the pesto so fresh and bountiful that I wish I could have taken the leftover home to serve with pasta. My meal came with mashed potatoes, but they accommodated my request to have it served with lemon rice. We both agreed the lemon rice was pleasing to the eyes, but a tad too dry. (4 Forks, $25.39, Restaurant.com) We returned to the South Coast to see the dueling pianos, but learned they did not start until 10PM so we played a little bonus poker with me redeeming an ACG coupon for a free buffet after hitting a 4OAK before returning to Samâ€™s. 9/24 This morningâ€™s VP session at Samâ€™s fell into the no pain, no gain category. Breakfast was at the Village Pub (Cannery) on Flamingo. It is basically a bar that offers pretty much the same menu found at Ellis Island or the other Village Pubs scattered across the valley. We opted for the 2 eggs, hash browns and toast special. (2 Forks, $5.25, LVA daily deal) I had reserved computer time from home for us at the Clark County Library on Flamingo so that was our next stop. We then drove to Terribles where we each signed up for a slot card and received a T-shirt (me) and baseball hat (Ms. Westie) â€“ she got the better of the deal. Our next stop was Ichabods Lounge on Flamingo that is reportedly favored by locals for the quality of the food served. http://lasvegas.citysearch.com/profile/7035392 When we requested cups of pasta fagioli the waitress suggested we choose the salad bar because the soup was included, but we were not that hungry. The soup could have used more seasoning, but it filled our tummies. (1 Fork, Entertainment, $5.03) The remainder of the day was devoted to reading and snoozing in the room, before our departure for Spiediniâ€™s in the J. W. Marriott. http://www.spiedini.com I requested the spinach salad which was not available because of the e.coli situation. We ended up sharing a fairly decent Caesar salad though the dressing probably came directly from a bottle. I ordered breast of chicken involtini â€“ breaded and apparently deep fried until ever bit of moistness had been cooked away. The breast was stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and fontina cheese and accompanied by lukewarm rosemary potatoes and a mix of summer squash. It was only after our departure that I realized the accompanying lemon basil sauce had been AWOL. Ms. Westie fared better with the roasted chicken, spinach and ricotta ravioli in a light pinot grigio sauce with tomatoes entree. Neither of us desired dessert, but Ms. Westie requested coffee which was initially served cold. (2 Forks, $22.80, Restaurant.com) We drove the short distance to the Suncoast to attend the John Pizzarelli concert. http://www.johnpizzarelli.com/ He is an accomplished jazz singer/musician who is currently touring in support of his recently released album titled â€œDear Mr. Sinatraâ€. One interesting bit of trivia is that he was the first artist to perform in Bellagioâ€™s Fontana lounge. (4 Claps). On exiting the showroom I realized the night was still young, but I am not so we returned to Samâ€™s and went nighty night. 9/25 The early morning session at Terribles was not great, but it wasnâ€™t a stinker either. Our choice for breakfast was Le Village buffet at Paris. Same menu, egg Benedict (overdone), fresh fruit, Belgian waffle with fresh berries and whipped cream, Lyonnaise potatoes, OJ and assorted cheeses. (3.5 Forks, $8.60, LVA) I eased myself back into the car, readjusted the seat to accommodate my expanded girth and headed to Terribles. Ms. Westie hit quad quads while my quad was the loneliest one in the casino. We returned to Samâ€™s in the early afternoon where we read and napped until it was time to leave for the Rick Thomas show. The audience at the Stardust numbered less than 100 and Rick turned out to be a far better magician than entertainer. Nevertheless we enjoyed the show. (2 Claps). Our next stop was the nearby Fashion Show Mall which we toured before arriving for happy hour at CafÃ© Ba Ba Reeba. http://www.cafebabareeba.com/ This tapas restaurant by way of Chicago offers Â½ priced Sangria and an assortment of $3 appetizers in the bar area on weekdays from 4-7PM. Our waitress also served as bartender so service tended to be on the slow side. We started off with a carafe of red sangria ($10) and a chicken empanada (3 Forks, $3) served with what tasted like mustard spiked mayonnaise. Our next round included a tiny portion of seafood salad (1.5 Forks, $3) and a large portion of spicy potatoes with tomato aioli (3 Forks, $3). Meanwhile we kept working on the Sangria while enjoying the bar scene. It was at this point that we decided we were not going to be in the mood for a full meal so we asked the waitress/bartender if we could use the Restaurant.com certificate for the Sangria and appetizers. Not a problem said my now much more efficient waitress. As the bewitching hour of 7PM approached we quickly requested the Serrano ham and tomato bread tapas. (0.5 Forks, $3) I did a quick calculation using the Dewey Decimal System and determined we were going to have a difficult time reaching the $35 minimum required for use of the Restaurant.com certificate so we ordered the goat cheese baked in tomato sauce tapas (5 Forks, $7). We were now satiated and ready to quit, but we ordered 2 mini desserts, coconut bread pudding with sorbet and a truffle chocolate cake (2.5 Forks, $4). Based on my updated calculations we were still nominally short of the requirement, but I asked the waitress for the bill â€“ wow 14 cents to the good. (2.5 Forks, $19.14, Restaurant.com) It was at this point in the trip that I figured out why I have been so tired, it was because my body had been working overtime converting calories to fat. We trudged off to the car and returned to Samâ€™s. I head upstairs while Ms. Westie directs her feet to the FPDW machines. It is an hour or so later when Ms. Westie returns holding a fistful of greenbacks after recording a Royal Flush. I believe I smiled, turned over and fell back to sleep. 9/26 The early morning session at Samâ€™s culminated in my #3 quad deuces. Breakfast was at Ellis Island where I enjoyed the poached eggs, toast and taters special. Ms. Westie settled on the vanilla, cinnamon French toast and coffee. http://www.ellisislandcasino.com/ We have noticed a marked improvement in service on the past two trips and I suspect it relates to hiring an individual to deliver all orders rather having the waiter perform this function. (3.5 Forks, $4.35, ACG) I dropped Ms. Westie off at the Palms for her usual Swedish massage (3.5 Hands, $85.70, LVA) and headed off to Fiesta-Rancho to use our free play. Note: the Palms spa is currently undergoing extensive renovation so many services such as the Jacuzzi are not in available. After returning to pick up Ms. Westie, we drove to El Coqui for a cup of their fabulous chicken noodle soup and a slice of their equally delicious coconut flan. (4 Forks, $8.18, Entertainment) I devoted the remainder of the afternoon to reading and snoozing while the little Olde Money Maker known as Ms. Westie hit her #2 quad deuces of the trip. Feeling refreshed and financially secure we drove to Ellis Island and ordered glasses of Louis Jardot Beaujolais using another ACG coupon. Our enjoyment was marred by the nonstop talker on the stool next to us. Next stop was Buzios Seafood Restaurant at the Rio where we each ordered the lobster vichyssoise which was deficient in lobster, taste and temperature. Our entrees were decidedly better with Ms. Westie ordering potato and wasabi coated ahi tuna and me the corn husk roasted Alaskan halibut. Both entrees were moist and delicious. (4 Forks, $18.96, Harrahâ€™s dining certificates) http://www.harrahs.com/casinos/rio/restaurants-dining/buzios-seafood-restaurant-detail.html One problem with staying at Samâ€™s is you have the opportunity to see a lot of lounge acts appearing at Roxyâ€™s. On Tuesday it is the Ultimate Variety show which I understand changes weekly. Neither the blonde singer nor the comedian/magician were worthy of our time. 9/27 I drove to the Fiesta-Henderson in the morning for the 3 x points for seniors, but the slot club was offline and I do not think I ever received credit for my play. Our breakfast this morning was at the Orleans buffet where I indulged in huevos rancheros, fresh fruit, a cherry crepe, OJ and bacon. Though I usually consider the breakfast buffets at the Gold Coast and Orleans to exchangeable, the Orleans was by far the better of the two on this trip. ($6.95, 2.5 Forks, ACG) The next stop was the Las Vegas Premium Outlets where Ms. Westie scored a long sleeve jersey at Liz Claiborne and I purchased 5 T-shirts at Izod and Ralph Lauren. After returning to Samâ€™s in mid-afternoon, we each put in a short VP session with the home team throwing a no hitter. Ellis Island got the early evening beverage call and we requested Beaujolais again, but the bottle had run dry so we selected the house merlot. We then departed for Mingâ€™s Table @ Harrahâ€™s. http://www.harrahs.com/casinos/harrahs-las-vegas/restaurants-dining/mings-table-detail.html. It was several minutes before the maitre dâ€™ arrived and we were told it would be a 30 minute wait for a table though it was obvious several tables were available. We sat in the nearby keno area with a unobstructed view of the entrance and in less than 10 minutes I observed 2 separate groups arriving and being seated. It was obvious neither had reservations as each paused to read the menu posted outside. I walked over to the Maitre dâ€™ and politely asked why these groups were being seated while we were told we had to wait. The maitre dâ€™ claimed I was told we would be seated at the next available table, but the placard on our table stated 8:45PM (i.e. 30 minutes from the time we arrived). Under normal circumstances I would have left, but I was too hungry and the other dining options were less appealing. We ordered the crab Rangoon appetizer for $6.99. There was just an itty bitty smear of cream cheese in each (4) Rangoon and I would guess the closest any of them came to a crab was when the chef waved a crab claw over each. It was therefore with much trepidation that we waited for our entrees of Singapore noodles and pad Thai to arrive. The Singapore noodles turned out to be very good and spicy, but the pad Thai was unrecognizable, by either looks or taste. (1 Fork, $5, Harrahâ€™s dining certificates) It was still early so we drove to the Sahara to see Bertie Higgins in the Casbar Lounge. I stopped at the bar immediately outside and requested 2 glasses of ice water. I offered the bartender a $1 tip, but he waved it off â€“ I pinched myself because this just doesnâ€™t happen in Las Vegas. We had never seen Bertie though I previously checked out his website, http://www.bertiehiggins.com/, so I had no clue that this pirate was a munchkin He reminded me of Dustin Hoffman in the movie Hook, but proved to be a more than capable performer. (2.5 Claps). 9/28 I was optimistic that at this morningâ€™s session at Terribles I would be able to capitalize on the double royals promotion. I subsequently learned all 9/6 JOB machines are excluded so I demonstrated my ire by not hitting one â€“ take that Mr. Terrible. I returned to Samâ€™s and in short order proceeded to hit my #4 quad deuces of the trip, on the redraw no less - a first! We drove to Paris for what seemed the umpteenth time. I enjoyed a mushroom/cheese omelet, OJ, fresh berries with strawberry yogurt, assorted cheeses, dried fruit and Lyonnaise potatoes. (4 Forks, $8.60, POV) It was time to bite the bullet and file an accident report with Dollar. The process was reasonably painless and we were soon on our way back to Samâ€™s. Ms. Westie returned from her VP session aglow after hitting her #3 quad deuces of the trip. Our pre dinner bar of choice this night was the Gold Coast where we each selected a draft rather than assault our taste buds once again by ordering wine. We still had several Harrahâ€™s dining certificates so we chose to return to Buzios because the other restaurant options were uniformly mediocre and overpriced. Our lump crab cakes (2) appetizer was just fair. We chose the combination pan roast entree listed as a Buzios Signature Dish - shrimp, king crab and oysters in a cream style stew. I have had this same dish countless times at more than a half-dozen places in Las Vegas and hands down this was the worst. An odd flavor and a real shortage of seafood characterized this entree. (1 Fork, $16.19, Harrahâ€™s dining certificates) The evening changed for the better as we attended Forever Plaid at the Gold Coast. http://www.goldcoastcasino.com/entertainment/index.html This was the third time we have seen this show and, possibly because we were seated within 5 feet of the stage, the best. This was a 4 Kleenex performance for Ms. Westie as tears rolled down her cheeks for much of the performance. We even purchased their CD which the cast autographed. I, for one, sincerely hope the show finds a new home after their run at the Gold Coast concludes on or about year-end. (5 Claps) 9/29 I may have confused the VP gods by using Ms. Westieâ€™s slot card at Fiesta-Henderson this morning and the result was my 2nd lifetime dealt royal flush â€“ WOW! Returning to Samâ€™s I felt at the top of my game so we decided on the Original Pancake House at Green Valley Ranch for breakfast. http://www.originalpancakehouse.com/ We each opted for the Grand Treat â€“ a senior special of 3 buttermilk pancakes, 2 slices of bacon (or sausage) and 2 eggs. How Paul Bunyan, much less a senior, can finish this meal is beyond comprehension, but much to our amazement we saw several cleaning their plates. The pancakes were light and fluffy, the bacon thick and lean, and the eggs cooked as requested. Who could ask for more? Well actually it gets better - the restaurant is several notches above Ellis in ambiance and the service is faster than a speeding bullet. What you wonâ€™t be able to do after consuming all this food is leap tall buildings. (4 Forks, $4.79, Restaurant.com) We drove to the Strip, parking at the Barbary Coast, split up with me heading to Caesars to pick up a â€œGold Medallionâ€ for my buddy Tiger and Ms. Westie off for a little window shopping in Bellagio. We then regrouped and walked over to view the Bellagioâ€™s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens which were not quite as beautiful as on past visits. I felt bad for the 200 banyan tree suffering in quiet from the humiliation of having its limbs spray painted. On the positive side the topiary mallard ducks, pumpkins, flowers and cider mill were all wonderful. (3 Claps) We decided to see if lightening would strike twice and drove to the Fiesta-Henderson. This time, using my own card, I hit my #5 and final quad deuces of the trip. On our return to Samâ€™s I stopped by Panda Express and ordered a pair of tasteless vegetarian spring rolls. (0.5 Forks, $3 approx.) The Gold Coast again received the nod for pre dinner drinks (ACG). Dinner was at the Voo Doo CafÃ© on the 50th floor of the Rio. We shared an appetizer of coconut (4) shrimp with a tasty citrus Malibu rum sauce and sunflower sprouts. Our entrees were pan roasted Chilean sea bass wrapped in bacon accompanied by a fingerling potato, 2 Jonah crab claws and a baked tomato in a white wine sauce. What the menu failed to mention is the sea bass was served on a bed of mashed potatoes. (4.5 Forks, $12, Harrahâ€™s dining certificates) We then followed the stairway up to the patio of the Voo Doo Lounge and enjoyed the incredible views on a clear and beautiful evening. http://www.harrahs.com/casinos/rio/restaurants-dining/voodoo-Cafe-and-lounge-detail.html I was exhausted from all this high living so we returned to Samâ€™s where I retired to the room while Ms. Westie played a little more VP. Shortly after my return I began hearing boom, boom, boom. I looked out the window and saw fireworks off in the distance â€“ a wonderful surprise! 9/30 I drove to the Fiesta-Henderson to use a 3 x point mailer, but I lost x times more than the value of the points. After 10 days straight of playing VP for 4-5 hours per day I found my tushy was in dire need of a cushy. Never one to refuse giving a buffet a second chance we returned to the Gold Coast this morning. My trough included huevos rancheros, grapefruit, OJ, and corned beef hash. Senior Editorâ€™s Note: Ms. Westieâ€™s personal tasting menu is more limited in terms of both variety and volume than mine, though bread pudding serves as the base of her individual food pyramid. We then drove out Flamingo on our way to the Summerlin Art Festival where I spotted a gas station offering petro at $2.459, a full 10 cents less expensive than surrounding stations. It got even better when I pulled in and saw the pump price was only $2.359. The festival was pretty interesting though we have encountered many of the same vendors at similar shows in Lake Las Vegas, downtown Henderson and Boulder City in the past. Students and an instructor from the local Culinary Institute provided a fruit and vegetable carving demonstration and students enrolled in the Nevada Ballet Academy performed both ballet and other dance routines much to our delight. Other highlights included sidewalk art and the winning photos from the townâ€™s photo contest. The Bitch of the Day award was extended to a local who on noticing Ms. Westie Terribles ball cap remarked â€œyou donâ€™t play in that dump do youâ€? Last, but by no means least, Ms. Westie purchased a beautiful pin/broach. It was turning from warm to hot so we drove to the nearby Red Rock Station. Wow â€“ just beautiful. Earth tones throughout with each separate area and restaurant in harmony with its immediate surroundings. As hard as it is to believe, Red Rock Station proved to be more gorgeous and upscale than Samâ€™s â€“ lol. Dinner this evening was at our favorite Las Vegas Indian restaurant, India Palace located on Twain. http://www.usmenuguide.com/indiapalace.html We ordered naan, basmati rice, chicken tika marsala and rata lamb. We received naan, basmati rice, chicken tika marsala and rata chicken. Not a problem because we have never had rata chicken or rata lamb or rata anything for that matter. Each entrÃ©e was both flavorful and spicy. (4.5 Forks, $26.48, Entertainment) 1,872 performances spread over 6.5 years while performing at Harrahâ€™s for the last time in front of a packed house, we knew Clint Holmes was going to soar this evening. The crowd was abuzz with loads of insiders in attendance including Norm, Mike Weatherford, Robin Letch (Leach) and his girly toy dressed in hot pants, Mama Holmes, girl friend Kelly Clinton, his children and Smokey Robinson. And soar he did with one of the best performances we have had the privilege to witness. It was like a greatest hits show with many of the best pieces taken from his prior shows. He spent much time, as he has in the past, spotlighting the talents of the various band members, his music conductor Bill Fayne and the two back-up singers that included his sister Gail. Highlights included a tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. and excerpts from West Side Story that left us with goose bumps. The show closed after he called the entire band to the front of the stage and sang â€œYou Are So Beautifulâ€ to them. (5 Claps) 10/1 They say go west young man, but I sought fame and fortune this morning to the north at Boulder Station. In retrospect, I coulda/shoulda listened to them. Ellis Island drew the long straw today with me feasting on poached eggs, sourdough toast and home fries. Ms. Westie countered with another order of vanilla, cinnamon French toast. The service was once again excellent. (3.5 Forks, $4.25, ACG) We then visited Terribleâ€™s on a 3 x points day. A quick return to Samâ€™s for check out and it was off to the South Coast for the next 3 nights. I went down to the casino shortly thereafter and quickly hit a pair of quads and redeemed ACG coupons for (2) free buffets. The big mistake of the day was when I used the 2 free buffet coupons later that Sunday evening. Everything was awful. The highpoint was the small shell on shrimp and salad. I next tried sushi that was drier than a bone and entirely tasteless, I also checked out the carving station and chose the chicken that turned out to be drier than dirt. Ever resilient I also tried lo mien, a tamale and a dessert with similar results. This is an example of a free meal being too expensive. We then cruised north to the Suncoast for the Dr. John show. Dr. John, along with the Neville Brothers, Pete Fountain, Paddy Oâ€™Brienâ€™s and Louis Armstrong, epitomize New Orleans music for me. http://www.drjohn.org/ If you attend one of Dr. Johnâ€™s shows and donâ€™t feel the need to dance, stomp your feet or at least tap your fingers, I suggest you have your partner check your pulse because you more than likely are dead. 10/2 This morning found me on the BP machines at South Coast. I hit 2 more quads including Aces, but I learned from the floor supervisor that the free buffets must be used by 10/23 when signage to South Point is expected to be completed. What a bummer because I planned on trading them to the unsuspecting for an S&H green stamp or two. Note: those under 60 will have to look up that reference along with the words to the theme song for the classic TV show Palladin. We then drove to Paris for the buffet where I enjoyed copious amounts of food including a Belgian waffle covered with fresh berries and whipped cream, an egg Benedict Arnold, fruit both fresh and dried plus OJ. Once again service was excellent. (3 Forks, $8.60, LVA) We proceeded to the Fiesta where we both lost before returning to South Coast for late afternoon lounging by the pool and Jacuzzi. Somewhat surprisingly an announcement was made at around 5:45PM to vacate the area because they were closing for the evening. We took a quick shower before heading downstairs for drinkie poos. I was feeling particularly macho this evening so I ordered a raspberry martini (ACG). A drink or two later and it was off to Caesarâ€™s where we had dinner reservations at Bobby Flayâ€™s Mesa Grill. http://www.mesagrill.com/ We started off with the goat cheese â€œqueso fundidoâ€ with roasted green chile sauce and blue corn tortillas appetizer and could easily have stopped right there and been happy. We each ordered the highly acclaimed New Mexican spice rubbed tenderloin with bourbon-ancho chile and a sweet potato tamale with crushed pecan butter. The only side we ordered was a grossly overpriced and underwhelming double baked potato with horseradish, green onions and crÃ¨me fraiche. In actuality the potato turned out to be one-half of a small spud that had been overcooked. I tendered the last of our Harrahâ€™s dining certificates, but was told 2 of them did not have a casino stamp on the back and therefore could not be accepted. (4 Forks, $34.40, Harrahâ€™s dining certificates) The evening was picture perfect so a stroll along the sidewalk in front of the Bellagio fountains was in order. It was pure happenstance that both Sarah Brightman and Andre Bocelli were in the immediate area, though we saw neither, and chose to accompany the fountain show. Before calling it a night we drove to the Orleans, but the band performing at this eveningâ€™s Rock Nâ€™Roll Fantasy show was pretty lame so we called it an early evening. 10/3 I am still experiencing nightmares over this morningâ€™s VP session so mum is the word. Breakfast was at the South Coastâ€™s Coronado CafÃ©. We ordered one of the Graveyard specials at $1.29, available until 9AM, eggs, toast, bacon and taters. The downside was Ms Westieâ€™s $2 coffee cost more than her meal. (2.5 Forks, $5.85) As we tried to walk off our breakfast, we passed the sports book where Ms. Westie noticed that Max West was running at the Meadowlands. I made a $2 across the board bet and we then headed to the Green Valley library to check our email and print our SWA boarding passes. On our return to South Coast I caught the finish of the race with Max West in the in the lead only to be beaten at the finish line. My $6 bet cleared a $1.40 profit, not quite sufficient to cover this morningâ€™s coffee. In the meantime Ms. Westie was luxuriating at the Costa del Sur spa and taking advantage of the 2/1 special included in our room rate. Her massage and facial were both excellent. (4.5 Hands, $162). We had an option of dining at either the Flavors buffet @ Harrahâ€™s for free or Toddâ€™s Unique using a Restaurant.com gift certificate. We chose Toddâ€™s and shared a very much overpriced and underwhelming roasted beet, fennel and grapefruit salad. Ms, Westie ordered the seared Ahi tuna entrÃ©e served wasabi mashed potatoes and crisp leeks - excellent. My entrÃ©e was the braised boneless short ribs, gravy and jalapeno mashed potatoes. My dish was good, but not the type of dish I enjoy. http://www.toddsunique.com/contactus.htm (3 Forks, $45.42, Restaurant.com) 10/4 I am up early for a VP session characterized by a number near misses. We used a 2/1 buffet coupon from the South Coast funbook. It was okay, but again suffered because customers were few and far between. (2 Forks, $6.95) We returned the car to Dollar, filled out second accident report and arrived at the airport early. Security backed everyone up and we found ourselves delayed for 30 minutes, but eventually arrived at the gate only to learn the entire east coast was delayed. At first we thought it was due to weather, but more likely it was related to strong tail winds and the unavailability of a gate in Hartford. As it turned out, we left Las Vegas more than an hour late and arrived home almost on time. Overall we had a super time and made enough money to cover Max-the-Schipperkeâ€™s kennel bill. Thanks to one and all who read the whole trip report.