Surgeon Generalâ€™s Warning: reading this trip report in its entirety may cause one or more of the following conditions: eye strain, increased appetite, excessive drooling, or drowsiness. If symptoms persist, eat 2 Twinkies and call your travel agent. A special welcome to those who have never read one of my prior TRs â€“ pull up a chair, grab a coffee and hopefully you will enjoy the ride. The pre-arrival details are way too boring so I am offering multiple choices so each of you may customize this section to your liking. 1) On being advised of our travel plans, Max-the-Schipperke immediately: a) Dialed 1-800-THE-ASPCA. b) Reserved the King Tut suite at the Cromwell kennel. c) Made several dog-rogatory remarks. 2) Ziggy-the-Cat spent the two weeks at: a) Our neighbors. b) The Spa and Sushi Club at Feline Ridge. c) Home alone with a case of Perrier, a rotisserie tuna and a copy of the Kittyâ€™s Guide to operating a commode. 3) I could not sleep the night prior to departure because: a) Ms. Westie was singing â€œI am in the mood for LOVEâ€. b) A roll of quarters fell out of my luggage causing a lump in the bed. c) Max became violently ill and I stayed with him for most of the night. 4) We departed from Bradley International Airport on: a) Orville & Wilburâ€™s Kitty Hawk Express b) Bubbaâ€™s Long Distance Baloonary c) SWA 5) Our in-flight meal consisted of: a) Rack of lamb with mint jelly, truffled mashed potatoes, haricot verts, and chocolate soufflÃ© b) A six-pack of Billy Beer and a bag of pork rinds c) Snack crackers, 1/32nd of an ounce of dried fruit and 15 honey roasted peanuts. 6) The heaviest item in my carry-on luggage was: a) A folder containing coupons, restaurant reviews and gift certificates. b) My rabbitâ€™s foot, shamrock, and horseshoe. c) A Gideon bible. 9/12 - On arrival at McCarran we followed the masses to the baggage carousel and chose several bags that did not clash with my sky blue seersucker suit before proceeding to the shuttle area. The temperature was hovering north of 100 degrees so it was a pleasant surprise to find the shuttle bus for the consolidated rental facility waiting at curbside. As a Dollar Express member we were able to by-pass the desk and proceeded directly to the kiosk. I reserved one of those non existent economy cars and was expecting a compact, but the agent said he was upgrading us to a mid-size 2008 Dodge Avenger. As he escorted us to the car he repeated this at least 5 times before I finally stuffed a few dollars in his mouth and sent him merrily on his way. I originally had all 14 nights booked at Tuscany Suites, but our short lived infatuation with this casino ended in divorce proceedings when I learned the FPDW (full pay deuces wild) schedules had been downgraded to OFDDW (Only for Dimwits Deuces Wild). Yes folks: go tell Aunt Rhody, the old gold goose is dead. On learning of the downgrade, I rebooked at the Silverton, but kept our Tuscany reservations for the first 2 nights in order to blow off our remaining comp balances. About a week prior to departure I learned the Bob Dancer machines with the FPDW schedules at the Silverton had been removed from the casino floor so I hastily rebooked at the Gold Coast. We are beginning to feel like nomads and are currently in the market for a pair of low mileage camels. Note: I subsequently learned that the video poker machines, formerly known as the Dancer machines, have been returned to the casino floor. Our dinner reservations reservations this evening were made through Open Table at Origin India on Paradise. http://www.originindiarestaurant.com/ We discovered this restaurant on our last trip and were anxious to see if it was as good as we remembered. Complimentary papadum was served with tamarind and cilantro dipping sauces shortly after we were presented with menus. The waiter convinced us to try the eveningâ€™s special appetizer, a crepe made with corn, homemade cheese and potato which proved to be an excellent choice. Our first entrÃ©e was Murg chili milli kebab - tandori chicken marinated in Indian spices and accompanied by an East Asian sauce. The chicken was amazingly moist, tender and very flavor-ific. Our second entrÃ©e was Baingan dahiwala â€“ roasted eggplant cooked with yogurt and onions in a cashew sauce. This dish was not as smooth textured as similar dishes served elsewhere, but was very tasty. Menu prices may initially seem high, but most entrees include a side salad, choice of naan or paratha, basmati rice and a lentil dipping sauce â€“ we chose black. ($28.63, 4.5 Forks out of a possible 5) 9/13 I woke up this morning at 1:30AM and realized today is the tomorrow I looked forward to yesterday. I pinched myself and sure enough I was in Las Vegas, NV. I quietly dressed, grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and exited the room without waking Ms. Westie. I hastily backtracked when I realized in my haste I had forgotten my wallet, car keys and strategy sheet. Terribleâ€™s was offering 3 x points today so that was my casino of choice. Over the course of the next several hours I managed to hit numerous quads, ran up my slot point balance and lost several dollars. I finally abandoned ship at around 6:30 AM and returned to the room. The Paris buffet received the nod this morning â€“ fresh berries with crÃ¨me fraiche, Lyonnaise potatoes, juice, skim milk, bacon and assorted cheeses. Having eaten at this buffet numerous times in the past, we both agreed the bloom is decidedly off this particular rose. ($11.72, LVA, 2.5 Forks) Shortly before departing for this trip I purchased a gift certificate for the Country Superstars show @ Fitzgeraldâ€™s during KSHPâ€™s Marathon show so we drove to the redemption center located on Jones Boulevard. The list price for a pair of tickets was $79.90, but KSHPâ€™s price was $24. http://kshp.com/ We next proceeded to the Dessert Breeze Spa on west Flamingo in order to scope out the premises in case Ms. Westie needed to rejuvenate during the trip. http://www.desertbreezespa.com/ The next stop on the Westie Express was the Silverton in order to play a little video poker. The Silverton offers a 65,000 square foot casino, 117,000 gallon aquarium, and 165,000 square foot Bass Pro Shop. The latter is advertised as a sportsmenâ€™s paradise, but it also attracted Ms. Westie who wouldnâ€™t know a big mouth bass from Robin Leach. http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPage?storeId=10151&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=9 In an attempt to rejuvenate my spirits we stopped at Ellis Island for a Hefe Weiss (me) and Kaluha and cream (Ms. Westie) plus 2 bottles of water. Note: all drinks mentioned in this TR were free of charge courtesy of coupons from the ACG, LVA or funbooks. We then returned to the room for the much needed 3Râ€™s â€“ Reading, Rest and Relaxation. Ms. Westie called our vet to check on Maxâ€™s progress and learned he was in their hospital unit. On subsequent calls made over the course of the next several days we learned he had recovered and was his normal joyous self, but this entire incident put a damper on the first week of our vacation. In the early afternoon I walked over to the casino to redeem my remaining cashback balance and on my return I passed by the pool area. The temperature was 100 degrees so the pool area was pretty much unoccupied with the exception of 2 mad dogs and an Englishman. We could have walked to McCormick & Schmicks (M&S) on Hughes Center Drive, but it was way too hot outside so we made the 2 minute drive. http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/ This was our first visit and we were favorably impressed by both the dÃ©cor and hostessesâ€™ greeting. We were escorted to a booth and shortly thereafter presented with menus. According to the M&S website, at least 30 varieties of fresh fish are offered on the changing daily menu. I did not count the number of fish, but this dayâ€™s offerings were pretty impressive. We started off with the seafood and roasted corn chowder which was not overly thick, but very good. Ms. Westie ordered the black sesame crusted Pacific snapper served with a Thai chili sauce and coconut jasmine rice. The fish was cooked to perfection â€“ succulent and delicious. I chose the artichoke crusted English sole which was accompanied by vegetable hash, jasmine rice and a mild spinach pesto sauce. Again, the fish was perfectly prepared and delicious. I used a $25 gift certificate printed off the M&S website and made reservations using Open Table. ($30, 4.5 Forks) On departing we traveled to Boulder Station for the Roy Rogers and the Delta River Kings show at the Railhead, but the amps were cranked too high so we listened from immediately outside while playing the 10-coin, 5 cent FPDW slant tops. http://www.roy-rogers.com/home.php (2 Claps). I managed to hit my #1 quad deuces of the trip shortly before calling it an early night. 9/14 I had $25 free play at the Tuscany and 5 x points were being offered this morning so I played it off netting $10 in the process before returning to Boulder Station where I hit my #2 quad deuces of the trip. For breakfast we walked over to Ellis Island where I noticed the sign advertising the steak special reflected a $2 increase. I talked to a restaurant employee and learned the increase was recently instituted, but now includes a choice of either a micro brew or homemade root beer. We each ordered the cinnamon vanilla French toast. I enjoyed mine, but Ms. Westie was turned off by the miniscule amount of egg batter used in the preparation. ($6, ACG, 1 Fork). What happened over the course of the next two hours is a blur - maybe I gave voice lessons to Wayne Newton or assisted Britney in choosing her wardrobe for the upcoming MTV awards show or possibly joined OJ on a short visit to Palace Station? Around noon we swung by the Cold Stone Creamery on Rainbow only to discover it was closed. On a closer inspection we realized it was the adjoining store, but it did not matter since neither store had any customers. We pressed our faces to the window, an employee emerged from somewhere in the back and gave us the come hither look. Our smoothies were average at best, but at least we used a 2/1 coupon. ($3.99, Entertainment, 1.5 Forks) We checked into the Gold Coast and requested a room on an upper floor, away from the elevator. We were not offered funbooks, but received 2 when I made an inquiry. We were assigned to #774 which was located the length of a football field from the nearest elevator. I have read many TRs describing the bathrooms as small, but you may ask, Westie how small are they? I am going to tell you â€“ picture the bathroom in an airplane and then multiply by two and add a full size shower unit and you have a pretty good approximation of our bathroom. After unpacking, I hit the mattress and Ms. Westie ht the video poker machines. I slept, she hit her #1 quad deuces of the trip. Dinner was at the Aroma Garden CafÃ© on South Rainbow. We requested a table in the atrium known as the Small Talk Garden which was filled to capacity with beautiful plants and a humongous fountain. The owner, a former executive chef at Draiâ€™s, greeted us, he did not need to introduce himself, you just knew from his demeanor and appearance. http://www.aromagardencafe.com The food is described as being pan Mediterranean â€“ a little French, a little Middle East, a little of this and that. Ms. Westie chose the Patagonian toothfish, an 8-ounce filet sautÃ©ed and served over mashed potatoes and bokchoy simmered in ginger and lemongrass sauce. I chose a crispy chicken breast served with mashed potatoes, asparagus and creamy mushroom sauce. My chicken was overdone and both sauces were uninspired. ($20.33, Restaurant.com (R.com), 2 Forks) We motored on down to the Orleans for The Temptationsâ€™ show. http://www.thetemptations.com/ We saw them on our April trip, but the lineup has changed and greatly improved by the addition of lead singer Bruce Williamson, a Las Vegas resident no less. Bruce needs to lose weight and work on his dance moves, but he did the group proud in belting out many of the Temps greatest hits. I should also mention the groupâ€™s suits this evening were much improved from those worn in April. (4 Claps) 9/15 â€“ My early morning video poker (VP) session netted a $20 profit sufficient to cover the cost of our Orleans breakfast buffets. Mine consisted of grapefruit sections with strawberry yogurt, OJ, skim milk and huevos rancheros â€“ Ole! ($6.41, ACG, 2 Forks) I had secured computer reservations for us at the Clark County Library prior to departing from home so we checked email, printed a second M&S coupon and made an Open Table reservation for later in the trip. Ms. Westie borrowed a book and then we headed for Boulder Station to see if I could duplicate by my recent success â€“ neah. We also toured the local Wal-Mart before returning to our room. I spent the afternoon watching the Red Sox hand it to the NYY, read and lost a few coins playing video poker. Drinks this evening at the bar near the poker room in the Gold Coast were free courtesy of show ticket stubs from past performances at both the Suncoast and Orleans with some dating back to early 2006. We tried a drink special that included Absolut pears and soda that tasted pretty bad so Mr. Merlot was requested during the second round. We had an Open Table reservation at Mary and Sueâ€™s Border Grill for 7PM with a request for a table with a view of the outside patio. Our view was better than anticipated as we were seated on the patio, but the night was comfortably warm so we registered no complaint. http://www.bordergrill.com/ The complimentary taco chips and two salsas were a cut above your typical cantina. A special menu was offered in celebration of Mexican Independence Day so I chose (by pointing) the manchamanteles â€“ even the waitress admitted being unable to pronounce it. As it turned out the kitchen was out of this stew-type dish, so both Ms. Westie and I settled for chili rellenos - roasted poblano peppers stuffed with manchego, panela, and cotija cheeses served with both roja and tomatillo salsas, two types of rice, and black beans. The poblano peppers were super sized and the amount of cheese used in the filling was over-the-top, but tasty nonetheless. I used a $20 coupon from one of the freebie magazines to ease the financial burden, but we were $8 short of the required $50 tab, not a problem as we shared a large slice of tres leches. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tres_leches_cake ($40.33, 3.5 Forks) It had been a hard dayâ€™s night and I thought I should be sleeping like a log so we returned to the room early this evening. 09/16 Luck was no Lady at this morningâ€™s VP session so we opted for a return engagement to Ellis Island. Ms. Westie was boycotting the French toast so we each ordered 2 eggs easy over, toast, and hash browns. Service was both friendly and quick. ($6, ACG, 2.5 Forks) For some now unknown reason we drive to the Fiesta-Rancho this morning where I proceeded to lose my shirt, but Ms. Westie hit her #2 and #3 quad deuces of the trip. We returned to the Gold Coast by mid-afternoon for rest and contemplation though Ms. Westie managed to squeeze in another VP session. We chose the Orleans for pre dinner merlots this evening which were enjoyed while watching the Patriots humiliate San Diego. We then drove out Flamingo to the 215 beltway where we had Open Table reservations at the very contemporary Sedona Restaurant and Lounge. http://www.sedonaclub.com/home.htm Much of the bar area was taken up by a good sized wedding party and the noise level on this Sunday evening was very high. I chose the fresh Alaskan halibut with chorizo, new potato, zucchini and clams finished in a saffron beurre blanc. My counterpart ordered the pepper crusted Ahi tuna, served with Provencal vegetable relish, roasted eggplant whipped potatoes and lemon oil. Both entrees were delicious, but Ms. Westieâ€™s won this eveningâ€™s award for best entrÃ©e. ($38.20, R.com, 4.5 Forks) We planned on seeing Swift Kick at the Orleans, but they were not going to begin until much later in the evening so we settled on after dinner drinks, Sambuca straight up for me and Irish coffee prepared with Baileyâ€™s for Ms. Westie. The Past Prime Time Players once again called it an early evening and returned to the room by 9:30PM. 9/17 The morningâ€™s VP session was a lot like Mortonâ€™s salt â€“ when it rains, it pours. Breakfast was at the Gold Coast buffet â€“ grapefruit sections, corned beef hash, a baby pancake and melon slices. ($5.33, LVA, 2.5 Forks) After exiting I saw a poster on the wall touting the 2,500 point birthday bonus offered at Coast Casinos, but noticed, oh horrors, that it is now limited to one casino only. Next we drove to Bellagio, parking at Billâ€™s, and toured our usual haunts â€“ the Conservatory and Botanical Garden, hotel lobby, fiori di como (aka as the pretty colored glass sculpture on the lobby ceiling), Chihuly shop and Jean Phillipe Patisserie. (3.5 Claps) After leaving we drove down the Strip to the Peppermill parking lot to see what shows and restaurants were being offered at the tix4toniteâ€™s outlet before continuing further north to the Sahara to redeem a voucher for 2 tickets to the Jay White show. Oops, wrong casino, quick retreat back to the Peppermill parking lot followed by a sprint to the Rivieraâ€™s box office. I spent the remainder of the afternoon reading and napping while Ms. Westie experienced a very profitable VP session after #4 and #5 quad deuces within 5 minutes of each other. We were enjoying pre dinner/show drinks at the Orleans when I suddenly realized I had not left sufficient time for us to both dine and pick-up our show tickets. Not a problem, I knew a short-cut to the Mirage â€“ follow Abbey Road for 2 miles and a quick left on Penny Lane into the parking lot. Our tickets to LOVE had an MSRP of $330, but I was able to take advantage of a summer sale and paid only $114.50. After ticket pick-up we checked out the food options at the Mirage before heading across the Strip to Harrahs. We found a small food court just to the left of the north entrance and dined sumptuously, tongue planted securely in cheek, on cheese pizza slices. ($7.64, 0.5 Forks) On returning to the Mirage we spent several minutes viewing and taking pictures of the white tiger before it was show time. The pre show entertainment was fun and I spent the remainder of the evening amazed at both the creative genius of Cirque and the music of the Beatles. At the conclusion I gave some consideration to returning to the box office to request a refund as there was no way the show could have lasted more 10-15 minutes. http://www.mirage.com/entertainment/entertainment_cirque_trailer.aspx (5 Claps) We dined at Ping Pang Pong on our return to the Gold Coast sharing orders of ba bao noodles (Mandarin noodles topped with a spicy shrimp sauce and peanuts) and Singapore rice noodles (light curry-flavored rice vermicelli with shrimp, BBQ pork and onions). Both dishes were very good. ($24.45, 3.5 Forks) We returned to the room and I soon was asleep dreaming of an Octopusâ€™s Garden and Strawberry Fields Forever. 9/18 I played 3 Â½ hours this morning at Boulder Station, took 2 facilities breaks and somewhere at a Station Casino the Jumbo Jackpot was hit. Everyone, except those of us using the facilities, received $25 in free play. We returned to the Orleans buffet this morning where I drowned my sorrows in OJ, skim milk, grapefruit sections, 2 little bitty pancakes and a dab of corned beef hash. ($6.41, ACG, 2 Forks) Ms. Westie had one of those hard to find Chicoâ€™s coupons set to expire so it was off to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets this morning. Her motto is Veni, Vidi, Visa - I came, I saw, I charged. I headed to the Le Gourmet Chef store for some serious sampling while Ms. Westie toured Chicoâ€™s and Liz Claiborne. I added an inch to my waistline while Ms. Westie added 2 sweaters and a belt to her wardrobe. A wrong turn exiting the outlets ended up taking us through Downtown on our way to Boulder Station for some low limit VP. On our return to the Gold Coast we listened to the Las Vegas Classic Jazz band for awhile before retiring to our room. (2 Claps) Pre dinner merlots were served at the Orleans before we departed for Bella Luna restaurant. The place looked dark and the doors were locked so adding one and one together we decided this wasnâ€™t going to work out for us. Fortunately I had previously cut out a coupon from the phone book for Khouryâ€™s Mediterranean Restaurant located on Fort Apache. The restaurant is the Las Vegas Review Journal staffâ€™s pick as the best Mediterranean restaurant. It is a neighborhood type of restaurant, but the immediate area is currently under development. http://www.khouryslv.com/ We were served homemade pita with a delicious dipping sauce. We each ordered the lamb shish kabob which came with rice and vegetables. Everything was good, but nothing stood out. ($29.25, 2.5 Forks) We chose to close out the evening by listening to karaoke at the Gold Coast hosted by Country Chuck. The performers were pretty sad and Country Chuck kept reminding the audience that this was just a warm up for the main show - Front Page. (0.5 Claps) 9/19 This morningâ€™s VP session was another loser and, since I had eaten enough fish on the trip, I decided to cut bait and return to the room. Breakfast this morning was apple fritters from Smithâ€™s ($1.88, 2 Forks) and OJ in our room. Today we had to answer the question was this the trip half empty or half full? I checked my billfold and decided both were Â½ empty. We dropped off our laundry at our favorite wash and fold before going to the nearby Clark County Library to check our email as well as to pick up a book for each of us. After a short rest in our room we drove to Mantra Masala on West Warm Springs Road for some healthy (their words) Indian food. http://www.mantramasala.com/ There was only one other couple in the restaurant at 12:30PM and we were told our coupon retrieved from the telephone book could not be used for the buffet. This was not a problem since buffets that donâ€™t turn food over are not especially high on my dining To Do list. There was a problem however, no lunch menu is available. We ended up sharing orders of naan, chicken mantra (house special chicken in a mild cashew gravy, yogurt and fresh coriander) and malai kofta (mixed vegetable dumplings in a savory creamy spiced sauce). Our entrees were dummied up for American palates so neither dish was a winner. This was one of those times when I wished there were two of me so I could boot myself in the rear for going to this restaurant. ($33.45, 1.5 Forks) At 5PM the Westies had a meet and greet with GregRio at the back bar at the Gold Coast. It was enjoyable to finally meet him and the hour went by more quickly than anticipated. As a bonus he gave us a very nice picnic blanket which I managed to tote home in my carry on bag. Just past 6 PM we decided it was time to pull up stakes and head to our respective shows. I dropped Greg off at the TI and continued on to the Riviera for the Neil Diamond Tribute show by Jay White. I have been a fan of Neil Diamond since the 60â€™s so I expected that I would enjoy the music, but I was pleasantly surprised how good Jay was as an overall entertainer. ($20, KSHP, 3.5 Claps) After the show we were ready for some fun food so I headed over to Dragonfly on Paradise. The restaurant is located in a shopping center hosting a number of restaurants including the wildly popular Firefly which shares the same ownership as the Dragonfly. Unfortunately the Asian bistro concept has fallen on deaf wallets and, other than a few people at the bar; the restaurant was empty at 8:40PM this Monday evening. In contrast, it was standing room only over at the Firefly. Ms. Westie ordered a Thai beef salad with pickled cucumber in a warm spicy sauce which was excellent. I ordered the banana leaf salmon steamed with miso and shitake mushrooms. The Atlantic salmon was very good, but it obviously had not been steamed in the banana leaf which was cold to the touch. A very good side dish of baby bok choy stir fried with oyster mushrooms was shared. Once again I made a reservation through Open Table. ($20.78, 2.5 Forks) http://www.dragonflylv.com/menu.html 9//20 This morningâ€™s VP session was another loser, so I took Hall of Fame Coach Kate Yowâ€™s words, â€œYou cannot change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sailâ€, to heart and set sail for our room. We once again chose to dine at the Gold Coastâ€™s breakfast buffet â€“ this time I settled on grapefruit and orange sections with strawberry yogurt, OJ, skim milk, and huevos rancheros. ($5.33, LVA, 2.5 Forks) We returned to the room to read the RJ and I ended up falling asleep. In the early afternoon I was feeling rested so we drove to Boulder Station to play some VP while listening to the Jerry Tiffe band in the Railhead. http://www.jerrytiffe.com/ After suffering through another terrible VP session we returned to the room. Later in the evening we drove to Ellis Island for a few glasses of merlot before venturing off to Musashi Japanese Steakhouse located in the same shopping center as Dragonfly. We had reservations for the Teppanyaki grill which proved to be unnecessary as we were the only ones in the room for most of the evening. http://www.musashilv.com/ Our chef was the owner who most recently served as the executive chef at the Hamada on Flamingo. We each ordered the skinless chicken breast with vegetables which included miso soup and shrimp appetizer. Our personal chef put on an exceptional show and everything was cooked to perfection. Menu prices are moderate plus I had a $30 certificate purchased for $12 during a recent KSHP marathon show. ($13.79, 3.5 Forks) After dinner we drove to the Orleans to see Swift Kick in the lounge, but a baseball game was in progress so we made it an early night. 9/21. Let the healing begin â€“ this morning I finally hit my #3 quad deuces of the trip. For those counting, and believe me I was, it had been 7 long days since my last quad. We decided to celebrate the event by going to Ellis Island again. It took much encouragement on my part to convince Ms. Westie to give the cinnamon French toast another try. It has now been returned to most favored breakfast status. I went with my standard easy over eggs, sourdough toast and home fries â€“ I am on vacation, cholesterol be damned! ($6, ACG, 2.5 Forks) The Fiestas were offering 5 x points so we drove over to the Henderson location for an abbreviated session. On our way back to the room I made a short detour to Java Detour on E. Tropicana. I had a $10 certificate that I converted to a gift card and then purchased a strawberry/banana smoothie that we shared. (KSHP, 2.5 Forks) The remainder of the afternoon was spent reading and relaxing in the room though Ms. Westie put in an hour on the VP machines. Our pre dinner drink provider this evening was the Gold Coast where Ms. Westie ordered a merlot. I ordered a Wet Pearl. Ky-Tu, Stoli Vanil and pineapple juice served in a martini glass â€“ delicious. Dinner was at the Agave located near the junction of Charleston Boulevard and I-215 where we had yet another Open Table reservation. http://www.agavelasvegas.com/ This is an upscale Mexican restaurant in terms of both dÃ©cor and menu. We were served a colorful basket of warm tortilla chips along with 3 salsas. We shared a bowl of black bean and smoked cheddar soup that was finished with a spoonful of salsa fresca and cilantro. Ms. Westie ordered the shrimp and crab stacked enchiladas with sweet corn and chili sauce and micro greens. I opted for the taco sampler â€“ birria de chivo (marinated goat, avocado puree, cilantro and onion), carnitas with nopales salsa and tomato purcee and fresh fish with Mexican slaw and salsa fresca. The kitchen made a mistake preparing carne asada (grilled skirt steak) instead of the carnitas, not a problem since all 3 tacos were delicious. When I brought the mistake to the waiterâ€™s attention, he offered to bring me an additional taco, but I was satiated and waived him off. ($21.95, R.com, 3.5 Forks) We drove to the nearby Suncoast for the Paul Revere and the Raiders show. http://www.paulrevereraiders.com/ The show was entertaining on two different levels â€“ the music and humor. Paul Revere is still going strong at age 69 and, as he said, good numbers, lousy age. Some of his routine reminded me of Spike Jones, a popular band leader of the 40-50â€™s who often used gunshots, whistles and cowbells in satirizing popular tunes of the time. You ask â€“ does Westie have any other interesting tidbits â€“ the answer is yes. The Raiderâ€™s lead singer is Darrin Medley, the son of Bill Medley of Righteous Brothers fame. Paul frequently referred to Darrin as Baby Raider because, at 42, he is by far the youngest member of the group. (2.5 Claps) 9/22 I hit a weekâ€™s worth of wild royals (5) this morning as well as my #4 and #5 quad deuces of the trip. As I related my experience to Ms. Westie I quoted William Shatner, â€œI am so good even I donâ€™t believe it.â€ Ms. Westie gave me one of those eye roll things and directed me to the door. We visited the Orleans buffet once again and I reloaded with an overcooked Egg Benedict, orange and grapefruit sections, milk, OJ and a small fruit crepe. ($6.41, ACG, 2 Forks) Samâ€™s Town was offering 6 x points this weekend so off we went. The session was basically breakeven for us, but we added points to our joint slot account. On our return to the Gold Coast we relaxed in the room followed by a brief VP session in which I added a few points to both Tiger & Shirleyâ€™s slot cards so each would receive 2,500 birthday bonus points. We had merlots at Ellis Island before driving to Marcâ€™s Italian Steakhouse on West Lake Meade Boulevard. http://www.marcsitaliansteakhouse.com/ I was surprised that entry was through the bar area and no one was staffing the hostess station. On entering the restaurant proper we were directed to wait in the bar area until someone could seat us. The place is attractive, but neither upscale nor particularly intimate though we required a flashlight to read the menus. We shared a full size house salad that was described as field greens tossed walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, onions, carrots and berries in apple pear dressing. The salad was very good even though the gorgonzola was MIA and the berries were represented by 2 slices of strawberry. Ms. Westieâ€™s entrÃ©e of spinach lasagna in a tomato vodka sauce was prepared with fresh pasta and was melt in your mouth delicious. I chose the penne alla Dean Martin â€“ a thick pink vodka sauce with peas, chicken and prosciutto served in a martini glass. Just kidding about the glass, but there is an appetizer on the menu called a lobster martini that is served in 2 martini glasses. ($33.69, R.com, 3 Forks) I managed to walk off most of the calories on our return to the Gold Coast by walking down the long hall to our room. 9/23 A return visit to Samâ€™s this morning yielded 6 x points and a dealt quad deuces (#6). Our breakfast buffet of choice this morning was at Paris. The line was short and I soon had my plate(s) filled with fresh berries, an overdone Egg Benedict, assorted cheeses, Lyonnaise potatoes and a micro quiche. I ordered small glasses of OJ and skim milk, but the latter tasted skunky. ($11. We drove back to Samâ€™s where I managed to lose playing both FPDW and the 9/6 JOB progressive (meter in excess of $1,200). We spent the early afternoon reading and otherwise resting in our room before departing for the 4:30PM performance of Mystere. http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirquedusoleil/en/showstickets/mystere/mystere-las-vegas.htm Our seats in Section 202 row DD provided us with an excellent panoramic view of all the action. The MSRP for our tickets was $185, but I was able to book them on at summer special rate of $113.50. We saw this show some 8-9 years ago, but memory cells were awoken during the performance. Like LOVE and Ka, the entire 90 minutes passed in a flash. (4.5 Claps) Once again we held Open Table reservations at McCormick & Schmicks and were brandishing a free $25 gift certificate. The hostess greeted us and escorted us to a booth. I ordered the spicy (PEI) mussels in a chunky tomato sauce served over linguini. Ms. Westieâ€™s entrÃ©e was the coconut crusted mahi mahi accompanied by assorted vegetables and plain white rice. We also shared an order of wilted baby spinach with mushrooms and shallots. ($24.02, 4 Forks) The remainder of this eveningâ€™s activities was called off due to darkness so we returned to the room early. 9/24 The morning VP session was not going my way until I drew 3 clubs to the royal. Before hitting the redraw button I said a silent prayer to Saints Bernadine and Dancer, the patron saints of gamblers and video poker players, respectively. My prayers were answered when the Jack and Queen of clubs appeared. It was senior day at the Fiesta so we drove to Henderson where triple points and Â½ priced dining were being offered. We each ordered the $1.49 weekday special of 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns and a solitary piece of toast. (Comp, 3 Forks) We played for almost 2 hours without hitting anything so we cast off for The Cupcakery on Eastern. I chose the Oh My Gosh Ganache! (vanilla cake with silky truffle filling topped with a chocolate butter cream) while Ms. Westie selected kir royale (moist raspberry cake drenched in a bubbly champagne frosting). These were packaged to go and later enjoyed with a glass of milk in our room. ($2.50, LVA, 3.5 Forks) Prior to leaving the area we stopped in at Sweet Water Prime Seafood to check the menu and made reservations for later that evening. In the afternoon we each enjoyed a Wet Pearl at the Gold Coast before heading off for dinner. http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/content/nc/a-e/taste/single-story/article/a-good-catch/ http://www.sweetwaterprimeseafood.com/ After receiving our menus we were served a complimentary shrimp cocktail. Ms. Westie ordered the Ono (wahoo) medium rare, but the waitress encouraged her to order it done medium which was unfortunate because the grilled fish was too dry even with the Thai peanut sauce. I ordered pan seared san dabs served with a fantastic green pepper sauce over garlic leek mashed potatoes and broccolini sautÃ©ed in garlic and oil. Ms. Westie was disappointed, but my meal was the best on this trip. ($23.16, R.com, 2 Forks by Ms. Westie, 4.5 Forks by me) Before returning to our room we drove to Fiesta-Henderson for yet another VP session. I did not fare well, but Ms. Westie hit quads #6 and #7 within 5 minutes of each other. 9/25 An ugly VP session at the hands of Boyd Gaming Company started my last full day of the trip on the wrong foot. I drowned my sorrows in Huevos Rancheros at the Gold Coast buffet accompanied by fruit and juice. We quickly departed for the library where we checked our email, returned books, printed boarding passes, purchased a used book for Ms. Westie to read on the return flight, made our final Open Table reservation for M&S and printed out yet another gift certificate â€“ whew! We played VP for an hour or so at Samâ€™s before departing once more for The Cupcakery. This time we chose coconut bliss (sweet coconut cake with a cream cheese frosting sprinkled with coconut flakes) and an El Rio (milk chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache topping finished with caramel). ($2.50, LVA, 3.5 Forks) We polished off the cupcakes in our room along with glasses of milk prior to a serious R&R session. It was our last night, last chance for merlots at Ellis Island so we headed east on Flamingo, right on Koval. I think I now could probably make this drive in my sleep since we have been there so often on this trip. McCormick & Schmicks was but a few miles away, but a world apart in terms of ambiance, clientele etc. We were again greeted warmly by the maitre dâ€™ and shown a booth. I have been remiss in not previously mentioning the very good warm bread that is served at M&S. Ms. Westie chose the fresh crab and shrimp cakes entrÃ©e served with red pepper aioli. My entrÃ©e was pecan crusted catfish with Cajun remoulade sauce. We also shared another order of baby spinach sautÃ©ed with shallots and mushrooms. Both entrees were delicious and each was accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes and crisp green beans. ($25.05, 4 Forks) Harvey Jesus and Fire, direct from New Orleans, were playing at the Orleans so we made the short trek to the Bourbon Street Cabaret. We arrived early, listened to a few songs and by the time Harvey was happy with the sound system we were tucked away in bed. (1 Clap) 9/26 I woke up early with one goal in mind, to hit one more quad deuces on this trip, but my efforts were in vain. We had an early departure so I picked up a few apple fritters at Albertsonâ€™s and a coffee at Seattleâ€™s Best. The process of returning the car, catching the shuttle and clearing airport security was a relative breeze and we were soon standing in spots #3 and #4 in the A line at our SWA gate. Approximately an hour before boarding an announcement was made advising passengers-to-be that the plane would be delayed for at least 45 minutes and to standby for further updates. Groans were muttered throughout the waiting area and cell phones pulled out as people notified their relatives, friends, business associates etc. of their impending delay. 15 minutes later a second announcement was made that the traffic congestion in the skies had cleared and the plane would be arriving on time. Big sigh of relief. Our flight went smoothly and we arrived at Bradley on time thus concluding another fun trip. And now, the end is near; And so we face the final curtain. My friends, weâ€™ll say it clear, Weâ€™ll state our case, of which weâ€™re certain. Weâ€™ve had a trip thatâ€™s been full. Weâ€™ve traveled each and every highway; And more, much more than this, We did it our way. Thus concludes the 7th trip in a row that Team Westie has challenged the odds and won though my contribution was, to be kind, minimal. I estimate Ms Westieâ€™s hourly wage approximated $19 while mine came in at 62 cents. Needless to say, if I had a day job, I would not be giving it up any time soon. I want to thank everyone who read the entire TR and hope you did not suffer too much. Lastly, there are but 75 shopping days until our next trip so keep those cards and letters coming.