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Oh La La Las Vegas

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by westie, May 11, 2018.

  1. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,318
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60

    My Trip Report

    April 20 – May 4, 2018

    April 20 - Our dog Brody was once again booked at Midge's Salon and Spa for the duration of our trip. Midge has 4 dogs and a cat of her own so we know he won’t get lonely. As we headed for the door to depart, Brody started to whine nearly breaking our hearts though we knew he would eventually settle in. What we did not know at the time is 2 hours later he was lounging on her chair being petted by our neighbor.

    We were flying on Southwest Airlines out of Bradley International Airport and parked at Executive Valet Parking using accumulated points so the only out-of-pocket cost was for the last day. I used Rapid Rewards points for my ticket and Ann was flying free on a companion pass. TSA check-in proved worthwhile because the regular security line was a 1/2 mile long with students heading somewhere on Spring break.

    We picked up a couple of rice bowls at Fresh City for lunch, Thai for the lady and the Big Easy for the gent with chicken our chosen protein. Ann's proved to be far better than mine though the included snow peas appeared to have been harvested sometime in early February. Mine was 99% rice with assorted red and green peppers tossed in as an aside. 2 Forks

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    Our plane, us included, landed a few minutes too early because our gate was occupied, but we were soon on the shuttle heading to the remote parking facility. I had booked our rental months ago and watched rates rise in the interim so I was shocked when earlier this morning I checked once more and our rate had dropped by $40. Needless to say, I quickly re-booked, my first win of the trip.

    As a Budget Fastbreak member in good standing, we went directly to our car, a Kia Forte with one small ding on the door and 5,451 miles on the odometer.

    Once again check-in at the Grandview timeshare was a breeze and we were off to the Iris Tower with 4 South Point funbooks in hand. Our room, 504A, had a beautiful view of an adjoining building, not a problem. After packing away our clothes, we headed off to the Grandview Lounge, located in the adjoining South Point Casino, where we enjoyed free Budweiser drafts while semi enjoying the music of Wes Winters.

    We typically are not very hungry after a long flight so we drove to The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill on Blue Diamond, ordering their eponymous gyros (beef+lamb, lettuce, red onion, feta and tzatziki). I upgraded each with extra tzatziki sauce for a nominal up charge though it proved to be unnecessary. Was the Great Greek's gyros great? You betcha your sweet bippy they were.

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    On our return we stopped at a CVS for incidentals.

    We have come to realize that after so many trips to Las Vegas we tend to do the same things over and over so on this trip we decided to get out of comfort zone. Instead of walking around the casino every night in our usual counter clockwise direction, we circumvented it clockwise on this trip. Whew!

    April 21 - I found myself bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3AM so I made the 6 mile drive to Green Valley Ranch (GVR) for a session of video poker (vp). The usual cast of characters were occupying several of the full pay deuces wild (FPDW) machines on my arrival:

    1) Tappy - uses one finger to tap the buttons in rapid fire fashion,

    2) The Sam's Town 2 - husband and wife who frequented Sam's Town until Sam removed most of the FPDW machines and

    3) Smokey The Bandit - cigar in hand and ashes everywhere.

    My session was pretty ugly until about 20 minutes before closing time when a single deuce was held and I drew its 3 siblings for a much needed $250 win. I managed to walk away at 7AM with my original investment which is better than one of the two alternatives. Before actually departing, I paused to swipe my slot card at a kiosk and played the Golden Knights game, winning 1,700 slot points good for a whopping $1.70 in food or free play.

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    On my way back to the room I stopped in an Albertson's to purchase a few items for breakfast. Prior to checking out, I noticed a display of Robert Mondavi wines which were on sale plus a coupon for an additional $2 off a bottle so I picked up a pair.

    Brunch was our usual vegetable quiches with small salads at Baguette Cafe. Olivier's mother took our order and advised us it would be 10 minutes in order to reheat them. Ann got her usual "small" coffee which weighs in at 16 ounces while I chose to go caffeine free with an 8 ounce glass of water. The quiches were creamy deliciousness as we have come to expect. 4.5 Forks
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    In the afternoon Ann played not so ugly deuces (NSUD) at the South Point Casino while I spent time counting sheep and reading. I also walked around the South Point and checked out the movie schedule.

    An American Quarter Horse competition was in progress that bored me beyond silly in a record 2 minutes. My boredom did not end there because I followed it up with a quick walk through the accompanying western gift show.

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    Robert Mondavi and his friend Merlot joined us for happy hour in our room before it was time to set off for dinner at Big Jerk on Silverado Ranch Blvd.

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    This is a fast casual restaurant where orders are taken at the counter and the food is delivered to the table. We each chose a two piece jerk chicken plate that came with a choice of sides with the Mrs. choosing mac and cheese and her hubby peas and rice.

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    We were disappointed in the meat, though flavorful, because instead of the promised leg and thigh as noted on our bill, we received a drumstick and a small piece of cartilage with virtually no meat on it. Also, the rice and mac were served lukewarm. On the plus side, our plates also included sweet plantains that were excellent as was Ann's pineapple and ginger beverage. (2 Forks)

    Later in the evening we attended Stayin' Alive, a Bee Gees tribute show in the South Point showroom using a 2 for 1 coupon from the Las Vegas Advisor (LVA). We both agreed these performers were better than the long running Australian Bee Gees that play at Excalibur though the lead singer looked a lot more like Paul Williams than any of the original Bee Gees. 4.5 Claps

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    Following this evening’s walk around the casino, we enjoyed a pair of free Bailey's & creams using our ticket stubs.

    April 22 - The usual gang (Smokey, Tappy and the Sam's Town Duo) were onsite this morning, hopefully they did better than me.

    On my return, I sashayed over to the South Point to purchase a Review Journal and a much needed $1 Bloody Mary to drown out my sorrows.

    After a lite bite in our room followed by a short nap, we drove to Bomb Tacos on Durango Blvd where we shared 4 street tacos, 2 carne asada, 1 each chicken and al pastor. The small kitchen was backed up so the wait for our food to be prepared was excessive. When the food finally arrived we could not distinguish, by taste nor sight, one taco from another other than the al pastor because it was topped with pineapple. All the meat was finely diced and fried beyond recognition plus the toppings proved to be nothing special. A rating of 2.5 Forks is considered to be more than generous.

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    We returned to the room to rest for about 20 minutes before it was time to head off for the Eagles Greatest Hits Album show in Freedom Hall at Sun City Anthem. The pair of singers use local talent which included a 4 piece backing band. The duo covered the entire album (Take It Easy, Witchy Woman, Lyin' Eyes, Desperado etc.) plus a few subsequent hits including the Hotel California. These guys proved to be spot on. 4.5 Claps

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    There was no rest for the wicked, so on departing the showroom it was off to Ellis Island for adult beverages with a LVA coupon and slot card in hand. Ellis has upgraded its wine glasses by going stemless. Four glasses, 2 each, of Robert Mondavi merlot later, we departed for dinner at Red Rice - oops, the restaurant closes at 7PM on Sunday so our fallback was Purple Potato on Eastern Ave.

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    We both ordered Darma bowls, but were told there was only enough chicken for one so I chose pulled pork. These were not nearly as good as our choices last trip (Ali and Umami) though all the ingredients (baby spinach and arugula, cucumber, spiced chickpeas, homemade hummus, parsley, and feta tossed with a sesame orange miso dressing) were fresh. Once again the restaurant was vacant so I question its viability. 2.5 Forks

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    April 23 - This morning's vp session kicked off on a positive note when I hit a wild royal flush on my 3rd hand, held my own for the following 45 minutes and then hit my 2nd quad deuces of the trip. From that point on it went downhill for the remainder of the day’s session.

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    I spent a little time on the Grandview's computers before returning to the room where I found Ann, if not raring to go, at least awake.

    Brunch was at Rosallie - Le French Cafe on Rainbow Blvd where we were torn between the appetizing pastries or our usual quiches. The quiches won, but we did not neglect the pastries, purchasing a large raspberry croissant for dessert later that evening. Christophe, the new manager who previously served as lead baker, took our orders with Ann choosing the tariflette (tartiflette cheese, bacon, sauteed onions and red potatoes) and me the chevre (spinach, goat cheese and tomatoes). Both proved to be excellent. 4.5 Forks

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    On our return we walked around the entire Grandview property in order to obtain a better overview of the parking situation at each building. We then separated with me destined for the room and Ann to the South Point to put in a vp session where she hit her #1 quad deuces of the trip. Way to go!

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    Later in the afternoon I dropped her off at A Healing Touch inside the Body Shop off Paseo Verde Pkwy for a Swedish massage while I made the short drive to Green Valley Ranch Resort to pick up a new slot card and put in an abbreviated vp session. Within 2 minutes of me cashing out, the casino-wide jackpot hit for $19,700+. While it would be highly unlikely for me to be the big winner, I would have at least won a little free play had I continued playing for just 2 more minutes. Good grief!

    Ann received the Groupon rate and confirmed that she would receive a similar discount in the future. 4.5 Hands

    I spent what remained of the afternoon reading and napping while Ann sustained a nominal loss in an abbreviated vp session.

    Happy hour was held in our room with a bottle of Robert Mondavi Cabernet sauvignon serving as this evening’s beverage of choice.

    Seniors are charged 1/2 points on Mondays at the South Point’s restaurants so we chose to dine at the Silverado Steakhouse. A basket containing a variety of rolls and butter was followed by house salads tossed table side.

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    Each of us chose the 12 ounce prime rib, medium rare thank you, along with a baked potato. The prime rib was good, but the baked potato was probably one of the best we have experienced. I inquired and was told it was brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt 3 times during the baking process while being triple wrapped. 3 Forks

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    The raspberry croissant from Rosallie proved to be as tasty as it looked. 4 Forks

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    April 24 - I lost my first Benjamin faster than a speeding bullet, but eventually caught my #3 quad deuces of the trip allowing me to return to the room with a wee bit more money than when I arrived.

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    I did win a $5 futures bet at the kiosk on the Vegas Golden Knights’ winning the Stanley Cup, but to collect the $20, I will have to fly back to Las Vegas by June 30th.

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    We enjoyed a light breakfast in the room before heading off to the south Premium Outlets. Ann was disappointed by the Chicos’ store so a return visit is considered unlikely. I, in turn, was smiling because I managed to acquire 6 pairs of much needed socks at the Adidas store and did not incur a parking fee.

    Lunch was at Habaneros Taco Grill where the Tuesday special is $1 chicken tacos. We assumed these were street tacos, but they were deep fried with a minimal amount of flavorless chicken, iceberg lettuce and crumbled yellow cheese added. This small chain originated in Reno and has 2 other Las Vegas locations that we won’t be visiting. 2 Forks

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    The US Open Wrestling Championships were being held in the South Point this week with contestants ranging in age from 5 year olds to the US Marines senior team, hopefully the Marines go easy on the kids. On our nightly walk, we met a few families including one from Alaska with a 6 year old girl and another from Colorado with 2 young boys and a girl who will all be competing.

    In the late afternoon Ann put in a losing vp session while I napped. Later this same afternoon, we could be found in Ellis Island's karaoke lounge where Chris Heers and band performed a number of country tunes and Monique was serving our wine. 2.5 Claps

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    We planned on dinner downtown at Carson Kitchen, but decided to go "lite" by dining at Pizzeria Monzu on Flamingo Rd. We settled on a "small" pizze (sp). 1/2 vegetarian (heirloom tomatoes, Mediterranean olives, spinach, eggplant, onions, peppers, rapini, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella) and 1/2 Vegas meets Italy (scamorza, mozzarella, ricotta, pistachio, dates, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto and date cream). A small side of Gorgonzola cream sauce was provided which served to enhance the flavor of the outer crust. 4 Forks

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    April 25 - The usual gang was in place on my arrival with the exception of Smokey who was MIA without a doctor's excuse. In an otherwise ho hum session, I hit my #4 quad deuces, but walked away neither richer, nor poorer.

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    We enjoyed OJ and fruit in our room before heading off to Kitchen Table Squared on Russell Rd for an improper brunch. The restaurant is located in the Gramercy and occupies the space formerly housing DW Bistro. Ann ordered the strawberry shortcake French toast (challah, orange zest, strawberry gastrique, whipped cream and powdered sugar) while I jumped started my day with the pork belly green chili (braised pork belly, house potatoes, 2 poached eggs, tortilla chips, salsa verde and roasted jalapeno). Both were delicious though portion size was outrageously large. Our excellent server, Josh, suggested we should share an entree should we return for dinner. IMHO, the same sage advice would apply to breakfast as well. 4 Forks

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    On our return we picked up our complimentary tickets to tomorrow's Dennis Bono show and walked around the casino.

    Ann put in a nominally profitable vp session while I spent time on the computer then read one page of my book before falling asleep.

    As frequently happens, we drove to Ellis Island for our nightly wine fix which we enjoyed in the karaoke lounge while listening to country singer Chris Heers and 3 other musicians. Neither of us felt like a formal meal so we ordered from the adjoining Village Pub Cafe with Ann choosing fish & chips and me the apple pecan salad with grilled chicken breast. On receiving the check, I tendered a LVA 2 for 1 coupon. 3 Forks

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    On exiting, we made our way to the nearby Tuscany Suites where Kelly Clinton-Holmes was performing in the Piazza Lounge accompanied by a 3 piece band. Kelly is okay, but there are easily 100 or more better female singers residing in Las Vegas so we took the first opportunity to depart. 2 Claps

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    April 26 – The royal flush, wild royal and quad deuces were not seen this morning, need I say more?

    We enjoyed a late, light breakfast in the room before it was time to set off for Green Turtle Salon for Ann’s weekly wash and style while I shopped at Sprouts.

    Lunch was at Fat Boy in the adjoining plaza using a 2/1 coupon that I found on the zip code magazine website. We each ordered 1/4 pound fat boygers (sp) opting to top them each with cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. These were pretty good considering each was a bit more done than we would have preferred. 2.5 Forks

    On our way back we made a quick stop at the German Bread Bakery on Eastern Ave for a quartet of rumballs which have sustained a 25 cent increase to $1.40 each.

    Ann rested on our return while I headed to the South Point’s showroom to secure our seats for the Dennis Bono show. Today’s show featured a number of excellent singers including Nikki Scalelra (Cocktail Cabaret @ Caesars), regular Corrie Sachs, Ashley Fuller who we will seeing next Monday, Carmine Mandia (Italian American Club), Andrew Heller (a Sinatra interpreter) plus Denise Clemente and Marc Love who performed with 4 members of Blood Sweat and Tears. 4 Claps

    Ashley Fuller
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    In the early evening or was it the late afternoon, we were joined by Deanna of Las Vegas Advice fame in the karaoke lounge at Ellis Island. The noise level was such that it was difficult to hold a conversation.

    We had reservations at Lotus of Siam, generally considered one of the best Thai restaurants in the country. The original location suffered extensive water damage last year and has not reopened, but the owners are now operating out of the former Roy’s location on Flamingo. It has been over 15 years since our last meal at Lotus and we started with the same appetizer, nam kao tod, a crispy rice salad with diced sausage. This was delicious though it was difficult to locate any of the sour sausage.

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    For entrees we ordered seafood drunken noodles and catfish with curry paste, each a bit of a disappointment given our high expectations. The seafood in the drunken noodles included a single green lip mussel and mostly surimi (imitation crab) while the problem with the catfish was several pieces were overcooked. Service was good, if not a bit rushed in an effort to turn over the tables as quickly as possible. 2.5 Forks

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    The evening’s last stop was M Bar at M Resort to see Jimmy Hopper perform. Many will remember Jimmy with a 5 octave range performing regularly at the Voodoo Lounge in the Rio and subsequently in Fontana Lounge in Bellagio a decade ago when he was backed by an excellent band. Tonight he accompanied himself on piano in a venue that is open to the noisy casino. There are very few seats that allow anyone to actually see and hear him so we sat through a few numbers before departing. 2 Claps

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    April 27 Today’s session resembled pigs being led to slaughter though near the end I managed to catch my #5 quad deuces.

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    Near miss
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    dealt 5 OAKS
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    I departed and headed to Friendly Donut House on Boulder Hwy for an apple fritter, discovering these had undergone an 11% price increase, 20 cents, since our last visit. First the rumballs, now the fritter, will the gouging never cease? Price and calories be damned, these fritters are just too big and flavorful for us to give them up. 4 Forks

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    We drove to Casino Royale where we parked for free and made the miserable, hot and congested walk to Harrah’s to pick up Tenors of Rock tickets previously purchased through Travelzoo. The advantage of using Travelzoo rather some other discount services, such as the tix4tonight kiosks, is we purchased them well in advance and the seats, 5 rows back and dead center, are assigned ahead of time.



    Next I put the car on auto pilot and we arrived at Ellis Island where we redeemed a $10-$100 freeplay coupon with Ann winning $10 freeplay and me $15. These were cycled once through the NSUD machines, netting us a grand total of $3 profit. Ugh!


    It was a little past lunch time when we arrived at Cured & Whey, a fine foods purveyor located in a commercial section on Valley View Pkwy. The Las Vegas Weekly recently featured an article on the 25 sandwiches to eat now and included The French that we ordered. The sandwich includes Parisian ham, green apple slices and Brie layered on a baguette that had been lightly caressed with Dijon mustard and a balsamic glaze. A return visit has been planned, possibly for The Italian. 4.5 Forks

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    The happiest hours of the day were again celebrated at Ellis Island with the Ellis Island Elvis, Gary Benson, entertaining the packed karaoke lounge. We were happily surprised when Deanna joined us though the music was so loud it was difficult to hold a conversation.


    Dinner was at Elia Authentic Greek Tavern, an upscale white tabled cloth restaurant located on S Durango Blvd. The small dining was filled to capacity with diners including what appeared to be a large family gathering though service to our table never faulted. We received a basket of grilled bread along with EVOO. Next came an order of horta (greens with EVOO and lemon).

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    Ann ordered what turned out to be the best farm raised salmon dish that she has ever experienced. My Colorado lamb chops, served with lemon potatoes and cooked medium rare as requested, were also excellent. 5 Forks

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    On our return Ann punished me for failing to schedule other entertainment for this evening by making me sit through 4 songs by Wes Winters in the Grandview Lounge. 2 Claps


    April 28 – A flurry of wild royals early this morning only served to postpone the inevitable loss. Prior to exiting GVR, I played the Vegas Golden Knights kiosk game winning 1,000 points worth a staggering $1. How can Station Casinos afford to be so generous?

    We arrived at Klondike Sunset Casino for breakfast in Sarah’s Kitchen at 11AM. Our server, April, proved to be excellent taking our order quickly and returning to refill Ann’s coffee cup. We each ordered the $1.79 breakfast special, up from $1.49 last trip, that includes 3 slices of crisp bacon, a pair of easy over eggs, hashbrowns and hot sourdough toast. This has to be the best breakfast deal in town. 3.5 Forks

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    Next stop was the Skyline Casino where I inquired about its new slot club and subsequently shared the information with both the LVA and VPFree2. The slot club offers a decent return when one considers the machine inventory though I will not be playing there because the machines are, like me, old and slow plus the entire casino floor reeked of smoke.


    We also stopped at GVR to pick-up new slot cards for Ann who also won 1,000 points in the Vegas Golden Knights game.

    On our return Ann and I did our usual, vp for her, nap for me. When she returned to the room and in response to my request for her to flash the cash, she threw me the bird. I am just guessing here, but she may have lost.

    Both Elvis and Monique, the latter being our favorite server, were in the karaoke lounge this evening.

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    Dinner tonight was at OhLaLa French Bistro on Rampart Blvd in Summerlin. Regular readers of my trip reports may have noted that I have affinity for French bakeries, cafes and restaurants, but probably do not completely understand the reason why. A few years back I became suspicious of my origins so I undertook a comprehensive DNA test by a certified lab that disclosed that I am the product of a brief affair between Jacques Pepin and Julia Child.

    We started off with a goat cheese tartine with honey and pistachio and a La Betterave (roasted beets with goat cheese, orange wedges and vinaigrette) that we enjoyed immensely.

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    Ann once again hit a home run by ordering sole meuniere (pan seared sole in brown butter with garlic, capers, lemon and parsley) accompanied by crisp asparagus stalks. I too fared well though not as well, with an order of Bavette a L’Echalotte (flank steak with a red wine and shallot sauce plus French fries).

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    We concluded the meal with a crème brulee.

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    I did not catch our server’s name, the bill indicated Hend, but service was consistent with the quality of the meal. Overall, this proved to be the best meal of the trip, deserving the highly coveted though previously (see Elia) elusive 5 Forks designation. Yes, you read it correctly, there were a pair of 5 Fork ratings on this trip, a new record.


    April 29 - I hit a 6th quad deuces this morning, but ended up breaking even.

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    Wait, Wait, that is not entirely true. Sitting on the machine next to mine was a 10 cent TITO ticket. I considered 3 options, leave it be, call security or give it to a needy person. I opted for option 3, I took it and played the 10 cents on a Kitty Litter or maybe it was a Kitty Glitter penny machine, risking the entire amount on one exciting spin at 2 cents per line for 5 lines. I tapped the spin button, closed my eyes and low and behold won 15 free spins. The credits kept piling up as I sat in utter amazement as the final tally of 790 credits was reached. Yahoo!

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    I figured security had been notified so I wiped the machine clean of fingerprints, beat a hasty retreat to the car and laid rubber as I exited the parking garage.

    It is time for me to relate a modern day love story, one that is true though the facts have been synthesized. D met K, actually she picked him up, at McCarran Airport early yesterday morning. They soon discovered they shared much in common including being Young at Heart, a love of both Las Vegas and Puerta Vallarta, as well as being lifelong Parrotheads. Since both were staying at the Orleans, they agreed to share a ride.

    Over the remainder of the day and early evening the couple were virtually inseparable. K, ever the romantic, proposed marriage following a brief call to his financial adviser and after checking out D's coupon portfolio. Being the Son of a Son of a Sailor, K wanted to weigh anchor immediately, but D, the more cautious of the two, suggested waiting a week or three. K responded, long engagements are for wimps, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, let’s do it now. D assented, so off they went to the Clark County offices for a marriage license.

    Fast forward to earlier this morning when Ann & I were departing the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop after hocking the family jewels, D drove up and asked us to join them. Ann & I have never witnessed a Las Vegas wedding so why not?

    The wedding was held nearby at “The Wedding Chapel of Las Vegas” on 6th Street. The bride did the usual something borrowed, something blue thing while the groom did the usual groom thing by showing up. The couple exchanged custom made wedding rings in a simple ceremony. My only mild disappointment was they opted to pass on the Jimmy Buffet option which included an impersonator singing Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes.

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    While we waited for the newlyweds to pay the piper or, in this case, the photographer and officiant, we were asked by another couple if we wanted to be guests at their wedding, but we begged off claiming to be on the one-a-day plan.

    Margaritaville was booked so the wedding reception was held at Fat Choy where we were greeted and seated by owner Jenny Chou at a table reserved for 4. Jenny’s husband, Sheridan, was recently nominated for the James Award for Best Chef - West.

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    Cheeseburgers in Paradise were not on the menu so D+K’s first meal as husband and wife included a Fat burger and a Fat Benedict that they shared. Meanwhile, Ann & I split an order of their award winning wings and a short rib grilled cheese sandwich, the latter proved to be even better than I remembered. Being a thrifty-some foursome, a pair of LVA 2 for 1 coupons were used to settle the bill. 5 Texas Bluebonnets for the wedding and 4 Forks for the food

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    Once again we chose Ellis Island for happy hour starting off with Hefe draft beers which our server questioned given their lowly $2 price tag. The second round found us reverting back to our customary glasses of Robert Mondavi Cabernet sauvignon.



    We both were a little full from the wedding reception so on our return to the South Point we ordered French onion soup in Coronado Cafe which we again found to be delicious. I also ordered a side salad that was just okay. Ann covered the bill with points. 4 Spoons for the soup, 2.5 for the salad.

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    April 30 – My last vp session in April was thankfully my last vp session in April. Maybe May will be a little kinder to the Westies’ bankroll.


    We had a little fruit and OJ in the room before heading off to Neighbors Cafe on Fort Apache for breakfast. Ann ordered the coconut pancakes (berry lemon compote, toasted coconut chips and honey whipped butter) while I tried the shakshuka (poached eggs, stewed tomatoes, bell peppers, chili and feta) with toasted sourdough bread. Both were just okay and we felt the serving size to be excessive so a return visit is not in the cards. 2.5 Forks

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    Next stop was the Orleans where we played play $10 and receive $10 in free play coupons from the LVA. We had a difficult time getting our play accepted as well as accessing the resulting free play. Next we went to the Gold Coast to play a similar coupon, but each of us only received $5 in free play. Our combined total win from both coupons was $26.50 which found its way into Ann’s purse.

    Ann hit quad deuces for the second time plus she put 300 points on each of our cards qualifying us for the free swipe for prizes promotion.

    Back to Ellis where the newlyweds, D + K joined us in the karaoke lounge. They had plans for dinner in the adjoining Village Pub & Cafe while we were soon off to Ojax Mediterranean Grill.

    This restaurant was not easy to locate being without signage and set in the back of a shopping center, but well worth the effort as it turned out. It is immense, beautiful and largely unoccupied on this Monday evening. We were warmly greeted at the door, seated and soon served a basket containing 5 different types of rolls and bread along with olive oil and butter.

    No sign, no food porn

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    We shared an order of baba gangush (fire roasted eggplant whipped with olive oil and lemon) that was served with pita bread plus an eponymous salad that included fresh greens, arugula, radicchio toasted almonds, baby beets and goat cheese tossed with a red wine vinaigrette. For entrees we both settled on kabobs, chicken for Ann and beef lute for me. The chicken proved to be very moist and both were nicely seasoned. 4.5 Forks

    Our entertainment choice this evening was Lady Soul starring Ashley Fuller at The Space. Ashley is a high energy soul singer who was backed this evening by a pair of singers and 15 piece orchestra. Her show is described as a musical journey from Motown to the rising stars of soul. Other than one quick change of dress, Ashley entertained for 90 minutes straight. There were many entertainers in the room enjoying her performance including Kenny Davidsen, Bill Fayne, Jerry Jones and Dennis Blair.

    On our return to the Grandview we walked over the South Point and swiped our cards earning a coupon good for $10 off any restaurant and a $25 resort credit.

    May 1 – May kicked off by kicking my butt. After a light breakfast in the room, we went to Bellagio to view the spring exhibit in the conservatory and botanical garden. This year’s theme was a Japanese Garden featuring 65,000 flowers, cherry trees, a tea house, koi pond and floral birds decorated with seeds. 4 Claps

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    We usually include a stop at the Chihuly shop, but it has been closed and I am not sure if it has been relocated within Bellagio or not.

    Vegas Golden Knights chocolate sculpture in Bellagio's Patisserie
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    For a light lunch we tried the Made in Argentina restaurant on Valley View Pkwy. We received a basket of grilled bread along with a chimichurri sauce that was delicious. On the recommendation of our friendly waiter Lao, we shared a pair of empanadas, beef and chicken that were both delicious. 3 Forks

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    On our return I spent time on the computer while Ann played vp, putting the necessary 300 points on each of our slot cards to earn a swipe, winning 2,500 points ($7.50) and $25 free play, then turned the free play into $80 before quitting.


    The room was being made up on our return so I walked over to the South Point to purchase a bottle of Murphy-Goode merlot for our happy hour. 3.5 Sips

    [​IMG]

    It was raining on our way to dinner at Andre’s Bistro & Bar on Fort Apache Rd. The interior has undergone a few changes since we dined here when it was occupied by DW Bistro. We started off with a Lyonnaise salad that was impressively large and delicious.

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    Ann chose sauteed salmon with me opting for moules frites. Some of my mussels were under cooked, detracting from an otherwise flavorful dish. I did not remember that our Groupon included 2 free glasses of Champagne until I pulled it out to pay, so we gave them to the folks at the adjoining table. Javier, our server, was quite good. 3 Forks

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    Since we had passed DW Bistro a few times on this trip, including earlier this evening, I was reminded of its wonderful Jamaican carrot cake so we stopped in for dessert. Co-owner Bryce Krausman warmly greeted us at the door and when I advised him of our dessert choice he responded, of course. What we did not realize was the piece of cake could easily have served 4. 4 Forks

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    Because it was raining, we again got out of comfort zone, this time by parking in the South Point’s garage in order to make our nightly (clockwise) circuit of the casino.

    May 2 – The rain continued, the temperature dropped and Westie suffered a small, but bitter loss.

    My choice for breakfast was Mothership Coffee Roasters on N Green Valley Pkwy. Ann chose the blueberry scone that we enjoyed on our last visit while I tried a crustless vegetable quiche. Though there has been a change in chefs in the interim since our Nov 2015 visit, there has been no decrease in the quality of the baked goods. 4 Forks

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    We next visited the Henderson Birding Preserve and walked around several ponds though the number and variety of waterfowl was less than in the past likely due to migration. The cactus in bloom.

    [​IMG]

    On our return we picked up our Dennis Bono tickets and then went our separate ways – Ann to the vp machines and me the room for a full afternoon of relaxation. Ann broke even on vp, but earned the necessary points for another pair of swipes netting $50 in free play on one card and $15 on the other.


    It was at this point in the proceedings that I realized Ann has been determinedly depositing money in the safe while I have been withdrawing it at a faster clip so the good ship Westie is beginning to sink.

    Tonight we bid fond adieu to both Ellis Island and Monique.


    We generally have an aversion to dinner buffets, but I wanted to give the recently opened A.Y.C.E. buffet at the Palms a try after reading so many glowing reports. The interior and exterior of the casino are undergoing construction following the purchase by Station Casinos so parking was a bit of a hassle.



    Overall we were disappointed by the offerings having expected to find more unique dishes. The best items were the duck cassoulet and the ambrosia salad. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated (by Ann) bread pudding was dried out and could not be saved by the addition of a copious amount of caramel sauce. Though we saved 50% by using a LVA coupon, the possibility of a return visit is considered remote. 2.5 Forks

    New England clam boil with a mudsucker?
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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We then drove to Harrahs, parking for free in the Venetian parking lot, for the Tenors of Rock show. In lieu of me trying to describe the show, here is a link to an excellent review with which I totally agree with: https://www.vegasbright.com/2018/01/02/tenors-of-rock-will-blow-away/

    The highlights, and there were many, for us included their rendition of Mama Mia, Music of the Night and Desperado. 5 Claps

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    May 3 - This morning’s vp session is one I likely will not be forgetting soon. I was losing as usual when I held a deuce and caught 3 more for my #7 quad deuces of the trip. I cashed out, tipped my chair up against the machine so no one would play while I went to retrieve my camera in order to document my good fortune. On my return a lady was seated at my machine. I cursed her under my breath and then laughed because she failed to realize that the machine would not be dealing another premium hand for hours, maybe days.

    [​IMG]

    I smugly settled in at another machine on the opposite side of the bank and started playing again. Not 5 minutes later I noticed the light on her machine was on and I thought, ha ha, her cash out ticket was no doubt jammed. A minute or two later 2 suits walked by in her direction so I peaked around the corner to find a royal flush on “my” screen. She, now forever known as "the bitch", plays $1 double, double bonus poker and just won $4,000. I am not one to be envious of others good fortune, but I began having bad thoughts about her and her entire family.

    Could it possibly have been less than 15 minutes later that I again noticed the same light and those same 2 suits returning? Oh my god, the bitch just hit quad aces with a kicker for another $2,000. That is it, I have tolerated more than enough, she has been crossed off my 2018 Christmas card list.

    My blood pressure was rising along with the sun so I cashed out and called it a day.


    My high expectations of having great crepes at Crepe Expectations this morning were fulfilled. Ann was more than delighted with the Ana Banana Foster crepe (bananas in a brandy crème de banana sauce, whipped cream and powdered sugar). I was similarly delighted by the Frisco (fresh blueberries in lemon curd, whipped cream and powdered sugar). Prices are reasonable, ingredients are fresh and service came with a smile. 4.5 Forks

    Ana Banana Foster crepe
    [​IMG]

    I then dropped off Ann at the Green Turtle Salon returning 45 minutes later. 4.5 Curls

    On our return we walked over to the South Point with Ann putting in a losing vp session though on swiping our cards she won $50 in free play and another $10 off any restaurant coupon. I spent some time watching a practice session of the Silver State 2018 held in the Priefert Pavilion.

    [​IMG]

    In the afternoon we attended the Dennis Bono show again. This week’s guests included singers David Halston, Steve McCoy (Tom Jones impersonator), Ryan Baker, regular Corrie Sachs, Spectrum (Motown), and Vanessa LeGrand with Doug Taylor plus comedian Sue Castillo from the Laugh Factory. 3.5 Claps

    Spectrum
    [​IMG]

    Steve McCoy
    [​IMG]

    A bottle of Calina Cabernet sauvignon was shared during happy hour before setting off for dinner in the Primarily Prime Rib in the South Point. We were served warm sourdough bread followed by a spinach salad tossed tableside. Each of us ordered the 10 ounce South Point cut prime rib done medium rare which came with au jus plus horseradish sauce and another very good baked potato. The prime rib actually turned out to be more tender and flavorful than the one we enjoyed earlier in the trip at the Silverado though YMMV. I used both of our $10 off coupons plus a wee bit on our credit card to settle the bill. 3.5 Forks

    [​IMG]

    May 4 - Early to bed, early to rise, so it was not exactly a surprise when I woke up at 3AM. GVR was beating me down for much of the session when I was dealt 4 deuces for my #8 quads. I immediately cashed out and headed to the car for my camera, on my return I found Tappy sitting at the adjoining machine.

    [​IMG]

    I played a few hands before cashing out and went to a kiosk to play the spin to win promotion winning a lofty $4 in free play, but was given the option of spinning one more time for a different prize. Thinking how much worse could the prize be, I spun once more and won $3 free play which I quickly lost on a penny slot machine.

    I returned to the same bank of vp machines, sitting down this time at the "bitch's" machine where I held my own for about an hour before catching my #9 quad deuces that were quickly followed by quad deuces #10. I know from experience that Lady Luck can be revengeful, so I cashed out and ran to the car with my winnings.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On my way back to the room I took a detour, stopping at Friendly Donuts for an apple fritter, version 2.0. 4 Forks

    [​IMG]

    Later in the morning Ann went off to play yesterday's $50 in free play which she lost while I worked on my trip report notes.


    Since we had a nonstop flight that arrives in Hartford after midnight, we decided to have a late lunch at Thailicious on N Stephanie St. The restaurant offers a luncheon special that includes a spring roll plus a choice of soup of the day (vegetable) or salad (iceberg with peanut dressing). My choice of soup was the clear winner while Ann’s salad should be avoided at all cost. Ann’s pad Thai with chicken was excellent as was my pad kra pao (ground chicken with garlic, bell peppers and basil leaves). The serving size was immense so only the hungry need apply. 4 Forks

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    Our return flight proved to be uneventful with no cracks in the windows and the following morning we found Brody waiting for us at Midge’s door ready to go home.



    This was another wonderful trip though once again I failed in my pursuit of the ever elusive royal flush.

    I appreciate everyone taking the time to read this trip report, hopefully you found something to make your
    time worthwhile.



    These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
    Nothing remains quite the same.
    Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,
    If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane
    --------------------Jimmy Buffett-------------------
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  2. Sunfish8

    Sunfish8 Tourist

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    Great ending...jimmy Buffett ....thanks for the report. Sounds like an awesome trip
     
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  3. Niteshade

    Niteshade High-Roller

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    Another fantastic trip report by the Westie crew. So enjoyed
    following along on your adventures and as always loved
    all the great pictures of your dining adventures. Thanks for sharing again!!
     
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  4. nancyf

    nancyf Low-Roller

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    great trip report - super pictures - always love the food forks.... and now I am wanting to play deuces wild...
     
  5. letsgotovegas

    letsgotovegas High-Roller

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    Wow! Another EXCELLENT Westie trip report! You do know how to spin a yarn, sir! Congrats on a pair of 5 fork dinners in the same trip. That has to be nearly unprecedented!

    Thanks for taking us along for the ride!
     
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  6. luridludicloco

    luridludicloco Low-Roller

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    Great trip and report. Enjoyed the variety of food and the many quad deuces, not to mention all the activities during the two weeks. It was lots of fun to follow, thanks for sharing.
     
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  7. Farner

    Farner Low-Roller

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    Excellent read. Thank you for sharing. I now will have to check out Karaoke at Ellis Island. Sounds fun.
     
    Stevie Wonder!
    Día de Independencia en Las Vegas
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  8. Multifarious5

    Multifarious5 VIP Whale

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    Always love, love, love your reports! Thanks for taking the time to do another stellar one, and I ALWAYS look forward to your epic food write ups....they are wonderful!
     
    My end of the year Cosmo fix!
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  9. wam

    wam Low-Roller

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    another 5 star ***** trip report frank. looks like ohlala and elia were great. love the photos and of course cant wait until we get to read your next report.
     
  10. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Oh lord that strawberry shortcake french toast looked amazing and enough to feed a small army. I am always starving after reading your reports.

    I am a bit confused by the wedding story. Did you know D and K prior to the meeting at the Pawn Shop? Did they really just meet the day prior?

    That lady is now that bitch in my books too.

    Great report and reviews as always westie!!
     
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  11. acccrow

    acccrow Low-Roller

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    Since I do not frequently visit the slots, I am unfamiliar with the Generally Accepted (a)Occupation Principles:

    When do the rights expire once you mark a machine and move away from it? I'm not being argumentative, I'm genuinely curious. I've seen words exchanged over this issue in a casino but, of course, opinions vary wildly on what the norm is.
     
  12. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Thanks. The wedding story is a distorted view of their marriage designed to elicit a smile. D & K have known each other for decades and recently decided to get married in Las Vegas. She arrived earlier in the week and picked him up at the airport on the Saturday prior to their wedding. We have met them in Las Vegas previously and she knew we would be in town so she asked us to be witnesses. Most importantly, I still have the family jewels and my only connection to the Pawn shop was we passed by it on the way to the wedding chapel. There are other parts of my trip report that are pure lies, for example, we walked the casino in both directions on this trip. :)
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  13. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Mine was a lighthearted account of what happened and my feelings. I only put the chair up against the machine so someone would not "erase" my quad deuces before I photographed it. I thought it was more than a bit nervy of her to take over the machine given my obvious attempt to hold the machine, but I really could have cared less. I frequently take breaks during a vp session so changing or staying at the same machine is not a concern of mine.

    I am not sure if it is still true, but I remember a time when a regular would have an attendant put a machine out of order while they went to lunch or dinner.
     
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  14. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Another comprehensive, gastronomical tour of Vegas from Westie. Every nice!
     
    Anniversary trip
    Sept 7-11 trip. I feel the luck already.
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  15. luck.ofthe.draw

    luck.ofthe.draw High-Roller

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    Awesome trip report! I liked reading about all the different places you dined at!

    Thanks for sharing :)
     
    BELATED BIRTHDAY (the big 3-0) Adventure!
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  16. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Great report. Never seen so many sets of Deuces!
     
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