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Palace Station April 22-25, California April 25-28

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, Apr 30, 2017.

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  1. Michelle H

    Michelle H Tourist

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    I'm a barber and that's definitely not a proper shave. You are right hot towel first to soften your beard. Maybe I should move to Vegas and open a proper barber shop!
     
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  2. figmentdj

    figmentdj Tourist

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    Great report. Did you have to make text reservations for the Laundry Room? If so, how far in advance?
     
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  3. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    I made the text reservation in February, as soon as I knew that we wanted to do this. I tried to make a group of 10, but they only accept groups up to 6.
     
    2017 Poker trip!
    Super Bowl or BUST!
  4. justchuck

    justchuck Tourist

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    Great trip report, I always enjoy your reports!
     
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  5. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Confession time. I've got a busy weekend, and won't be able to get back to this until Sunday. However, I should be able to complete both of the last two days at that time.
     
    2017 Poker trip!
    Super Bowl or BUST!
  6. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Thursday, April 27th - I give my wife a lot of credit. We'd been to Las Vegas for five days, and although I am sure that she had a great time, the bulk of the trip was what I wanted to do (other than the circus acts and Gordon Ramsay Pub, but that doesn't count because they were the "Separate Activities"TM portion. Date Night was her idea, but a joint effort). So when planning this trip, she wanted a day to walk The Strip.

    As a Vegas Obsessed, I've grown weary of The Strip. Not necessarily the parking fees, bad gaming conditions and such, but mainly because of the crowds and hassle. Driving on The Strip (and I always rent a car) is a pain, and when you are walking anywhere, having to deal with the moseyers is a pain in the keester, too. But I know this is something that my wife wanted to do, and long walks are a good exercise component of our weight loss journey, so it was easily something that that we built a day around.

    After getting a very long day on Wednesday, I kind of slept in while my wife got up earlier. She did a walk around downtown and picked up some breakfasty stuff from Walgreens. I didn't want a full breakfast, as our first lunch reservation was at 11:00 AM.

    The Strip walk was going to start and end at the Venetian. You know what that means...

    FREE PARKING!

    We had heard good things about Yardbird Southern Table at the Venetian prior to seeing that restaurant as the prize on the most recent season of Hell's Kitchen, but since we follow Senor Ramsay, we had to decided to give this a shot. Looking at the menu at home, we knew this would be a weight gainer. But before we even ordered, it was mentioned that if we wanted the special dessert, we needed to order it up front due to the cooking time. Peach Cobbler. Sigh. "One, please".

    Knowing that we'd already ordered dessert, we skipped the appetizer and we both ordered the Blue Plate Special (mine all dark meat, Melissa's was all white meat). It came with chilled spiced watermelon and a biscuit ($16)

    Thursday afternoon 1.jpg

    The "all dark" is one small leg and one thigh.

    Thursday afternoon 3.jpg

    The "all white" is a breast and a wing.

    Thursday afternoon 2.jpg

    A "southern" meal (to us Yankees, at least) has to include Mac and Cheese ($10). The waitress said that it was "award winning". We didn't ask which award it won, but it was very good.

    The chicken tasted great. Now in fairness, this was our first fried chicken since June 2016 (which, coincidentally was our Last Meal before starting our diets) so month old KFC might have tasted great. But the skin was very light and crispy, and the meat was very juicy. My wife let me have her wing, so I soaked that in the hot sauce that was served alongside (which kinda just tasted like Frank's Red Hot). I liked the watermelon (I could make out the balsamic and the basil, but I don't know what else made it "spiced") while my wife did not, so I had hers. The biscuits were also remarkably moist, and could be deadly to a diet.

    Then the Peach Cobbler ($15) came. Had it just been peaches and cobbler, it would have been great. Instead...

    Thursday afternoon 4.jpg
    They served the damn thing with iced cream and a cinnamon churro.

    Thursday afternoon 5.jpg

    Don't be fooled by the picture, though. I may have had more ice cream than that.

    The bill, including two of those cute, 10 oz bottles of Diet Coke ($5/each!!!) for my wife (I had water) came to $67 before tax and tip. It tasted very good, though I believe we paid a $20 "tax" for being on The Strip. On a scale of 1 to 5 running chickens (check out the url of the Yardbird website) I rate Yardbird a 3.75. Great tasting food, but $16 for leg, thigh and one biscuit? Even for The Strip, Yardbird is overpriced.

    Bleeding gambling money on this trip, we decided that we weren't going to gamble at every casino on our walk, so we left the Venetian without wagering a nickel (well, at this point). Next on The Matrix was an outdoor Gondola ride. While walking from Yardbird to The Strip, we decided to skip that rather expensive activity, not because of the cost, but rather because compared to a zip line and helicopter ride, the Gondola seemed rather tame. Melissa has become a Woman of Action on this trip.

    Heading south on Las Vegas Boulevard, we quickly happened upon Casino Royale, and you know what? I had never in my life set foot in that casino. Federal Law requires me to get as many $1 chips as I can, so being the law abiding citizen that I am, I sunk a fast (really fast) $20 into a video poker machine. Having met my conditions of getting a chip, I go to the cashier and ask for one. Some properties won't sell them from the cage, rather making you buy one from a table. Not at Casino Royale. The cashier asked if it were for my collection, and when I said that it was, he gave me one that he said had not yet been in circulation. Nice customer service (are you reading that, California employees?)

    Continuing south, we get to Harrahs. I hadn't been taking a lot of Strip photos, in part because I feel that I have most of them, but also because it being such a bright, sunny day, I could barely see the display on my phone screen so I didn't exactly know what I was photographing. While walking past Harrahs, my wife pointed out this, which I can't recall seeing before, so I did snap it.

    Thursday afternoon 6.jpg

    While standing right there, I remember a photo that one of my poker buddies, Pete, posted on his Facebook page when he was on his bowling trip a few weeks earlier.

    Pete.jpg

    Well, when I looked around while standing by Harrahs, I saw that the Mirage entrance. I looked around and saw the balcony in which Pete must have been standing. Then it occurred to me.... He took that photo before (or after) he had eaten at McDonalds. Therefore, if he was taking a photo of the Mirage for me, I'd return the favor for him.

    Thursday afternoon 8.jpg

    I am nothing, if not a good friend.

    Continuing on - but not very far - I see the Margaritaville Casino within the Flamingo. I had not been there, either, and though I wasn't sure if they had their own $1 chips or if they just used the Flamingo ones, we went inside. I noticed they used the Flamingo chips, so I was ready to walk out when my wife headed to a roulette table.

    A little explanation is in order... Last year, a friend of my wife's wanted her to put $5 on black, and she did, and it was a loser. Earlier in this trip, again my wife was to put $5 on black, but since the table we saw at the time was a $10 table, my wife made the $10 on black and it lost again. Why my wife picked the Margaritaville roulette table is unknown, but she decided to chase that loss by putting $10 on red. And the result was...

    RED! My wife was thrilled that she made her money back.

    While walking The Strip, my wife and I took particular notice of just how many non-tourists were cluttering up the walk... Time share hawkers, make-up samplers, Transformers, tour sellers, club promoters, discount to show giver-outers, and especially the Jesus People. I'd bet (Vegas, you know) that there was a 1:1 ratio of tourists to clutter. Worst were the Jesus People. Dozens and dozens of guys (all guys) wearing sandwich boards and yapping into megaphones about how "If you do not love Jesus, then you hate Him and you shall be cast into the Firey Depths of Hell" (and the message must have gotten through if I could recite it two weeks later...) I was trying to enjoy the walk with my wife on a beautiful day, but it took a lot of effort to dodge all of these people. Not wanting to make eye contact led to a lot of looking at the sidewalks instead of taking in the sites. I know the ACLU and freedom of speech issues on public walkways, but I still wonder why Clark County (and the city of Las Vegas downtown) don't sell the public areas to the casinos, which would thereby make those walkways private land as a way to rid the scourge of the Gauntlet of Villains.

    But you know what we did not see a many of? Porn slappers. Vegas is changing.

    Thursday afternoon 7.jpg

    Continuing down The Strip, "Red" is her favorite M&M.

    Our first real test of the walk came when we got to the MGM Grand, and wanted to cross Las Vegas Boulevard to New York New York. The elevated crosswalks were under repair, so we were directed inside the MGM to take the elevator to the second level to cross the street. We found the elevator easily enough, but the door never opened. We pressed the "up" button, and we think it arrived because the light on the button went out, but the door never opened. We waited and waited, while a crowd started to gather (including costume characters with the heads off... they'd never last at Disney World). People kept pressing the button, but the door wouldn't open. Eventually, we walked out a different door and crossed the street by the Coca-Cola Store.

    We finally make it to New York New York, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (which my wife has always wanted to do, although we did take a train over the REAL Brooklyn Bridge, once) look at the Statue of Liberty, and decide to walk through the casino. We hadn't gambled much in the previous 90 minutes or so, so we shred a few 20s, then continue on.

    Another thing my wife was looking forward to was a walk in The Park. Unfortunately, there was nothing going on, and there was nothing to see. She was so disappointed, as she was expecting something more like Central Park rather than, well, more restaurants. We continue our trek north through Crystals (proving that you can buy and privatize a pubic walkway). On our way out of the mall and back onto the sidewalk, the last store there is Prada. There was a security guard standing at attention at the entrance, and though my wife would have liked to walk through, but was intimidated by the guard. Not that my wife would buy a Prada, but I wonder how many potential sales are lost, versus thefts that are prevented?

    We finally get to our next destination, the Bellagio, where the plan was to walk through the Conservatory, as well as dinner at the buffet.

    Thursday Bellagio 1.jpg

    Thursday Bellagio 4.jpg

    This one is cool, as it is an actual tree with actual flowers.

    Thursday Bellagio 6.jpg

    Thursday Bellagio 11.jpg

    The conservatory is about a 15 minute walk-through, which is perfect as my enjoyment of flowers and trees lasts about fifteen minutes and thirty seconds (true the Vegas motto "Always leave them wanting more").

    Not quite ready for dinner, we play a few slots (I won something!) then I cash out and book my win, but without a plan. I mean, I won about $150 (thanks, Ooma Loompas) in about five minutes. Still not ready for dinner, my wife and I decide to head to a video poker bar for a drink. The bartender says that drinks up to $16 are comped with regular play of at least $2 per hand. Unfortunately all of the machines were $1, so I slid in my $100 and made sure I ordered a $16 drink (a Manhattan). My VP luck for the week was holding true, so after a remarkably short time, I hit the "cash out" button and grab my $70 Manhattan and start walking towards the buffet.

    Last year, my wife and I hit a buffet during the lunch hour on the way to the airport and didn't really enjoy it... in part because one eye was on the clock and the melancholy of going home. This year, armed with my MyVegas BOGO, we arrived at dinner time and the goodness within. Crab legs, these cute (and tasty) smoked salmon tarts, prime rib, hangar steak... I could go on and on. The only thing that wasn't great was the carved brisket, as it was pretty dried out. My wife ate wife foods and she appeared to really like it. Even though we had dessert at Yardbird, I did have a pecan pie and a key lime tart. They were very good. On a scale of 1 to 5 unshelled mudbugs, the Bellagio Buffet rated a 4, only because you can't give a buffet a perfect score. You just can't.

    We check the time and see it is 5:20, so we hustle outside to see the 5:30 fountain show. By 5:35, we determine that the show must have been cancelled for some reason, so we make our way back to the Venetian.

    Thursday Bellagio 14.jpg

    Thursday Bellagio 15.jpg

    One way that I can tell that our weight loss is effective, as that we still look relatively fresh after a full day of walking.

    We get back to the Venetian around 6:00, so we have time for some gambling before we need to get in to see Human Nature Jukebox. Summary, I won again! Frogger, Man. I am really starting to sour on video poker, but slot machines are at least offering me some money wins to keep my playing for awhile.

    Our seats for Human Nature Jukebox were in about the sixth row, and right on the aisle. The show was a lot of fun, and the dancing talent of those guys was very entertaining. We don't know about the singing, though, as they lip synced most (if not all) of the show. It was obvious to me early, as the vocals were in perfect harmony though a choreographed routine, then when the song was over they were gasping for air. However it was confirmed when the guys would go out into the crowd. Being on an aisle, they came past us one time - then even danced with my wife another time - all while "singing". It did take a little of the enjoyment away, but I kept trying to think of it as everyone says to do with the Britney Spears Lip-Sync Fest... enjoy the entertainment, and be glad they aren't gasping during the song. The show was really good, and my wife - who said that she didn't notice the non-singing by the singers - absolutely loved it.

    Having walked almost 10 miles (according to Fitbit) my wife was too pooped to pop, so I drove her back to the California while I went back to continue my last night in Vegas.

    My buddy Glenn and his mom had their own Strip day, with the Terry Fator show at the Mirage, then the plan was to meet for drinks at Parasol Down at the Wynn. Even after taking my wife back, we arrived at the Wynn at almost the exact same time. We were seated right away on the patio, and the calm lake and lit trees was very relaxing.

    Thursday evening 1.jpg

    Some things in Las Vegas are legendary based on word-of-mouth. The Verbena at the Cosmopolitan, for example.

    Thursday evening 2.jpg

    The Sinatra Smash at Parasol Down is another example. Problem is... I thought it was just alright. Not quite fruity, not quite anything, but I tasted the alcohol. Maybe I was comparing it to the drinks I'd had at The Laundry Room, but considering the price was the same, maybe that's a fair comparison. Then the show started. I'd heard that the shows at Parasol Down don't necessarily rival the Bellagio Fountain show or the Mirage Volcano. But nothing had prepared me for this...



    That certainly wasn't worth a $16 drink. Neither was the next show, the infamous Mating Dance of the Balls (or whatever its called). Luckily, some more bowling buddies arrived to the impromptu party so the focus wasn't so much on the ridiculous shows.

    Thursday evening 3.jpg

    Glenn's mom was a good sport, and we wrapped up the party around 11:30. As I was making my way back to the parking garage, I had gotten turned around, so I had to ask for directions out. On the way back across the casino, a slot machine called my name and I won another $40. Finally, some gambling luck was going my way.

    I get back downtown but I am not ready to go to bed. I decide to go over to Main Street Station again for a few beers at the Boar's Head, but I spied a Sizzling 7s machine. The $1 machines had my number all weekend (in checking my records, I would say that close to 100% of my gambling losses equaled the amount lost on video poker and $1 Sizzling 7s). But when I saw a reasonably high number on a $0.25 progressive, I thought that I'd take a shot. Good thing I did...

    Thursday evening 4.jpg

    If nothing else, it gave me stake money for the evening. I try to parley it into a $1 machine, but after donating $100 to someone else's benefit, I just go right to the Boar's Head. About $150 later (and only one scratch off), I decide that slots might be the best play. I head down into the corner and slide a $20 into one of them... and pull it out with $50. Take that $50 and it becomes $75. Repeat, repeat. I finally get to an old Buffalo machine that gives me a bonus and a retrigger, so my cashout ticket is about $260. Not bad with a $20 start. It also makes me wonder two things... 1) why wasn't I playing slots the entire trip, and 2) why couldn't my luck start hot so I didn't have to consider spending May's mortgage?

    By this time it is about 2:30 AM and I consider bedtime, but on the last night of the trip, there really is no bedtime (right, Honey)? I head to the craps table. That's probably my all-time favorite casino game, but I am about $400 up on the evening (more if you consider the little wins at the Bellagio, Venetian and Wynn) so I plunk down my money and play. I play for over an hour - mostly even - but a couple of shooters where all my come bets are out and followed by a sevenout knocks me down and I decide to color up with a $165 loss. I am still thinking about bed, but I saw a Quick Hit with a $0.90 max bet, so I played that for awhile. I hit a 7 Quick Hit progressive for about a hundred bucks, so at 4:00 AM I decide to book the win and go to bed. Finally, a gambling day in the win column.

    Early morning came and later morning followed, the sixth day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    2017 Poker trip!
    Super Bowl or BUST!
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  7. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Friday, April 28 - As I say on every trip report, anyone who says that they are ready to come home is crazy in the noggin. I lost more money gambling than I ever thought I would, I've run myself into exhaustion, and I've grown frustrated with crowds. And you know what, it's STILL better than another day of staring at a spreadsheet for eight hours.

    However, since I didn't get to sleep until about 4:30 AM, I wasn't ready to get started until about 8:00 AM or so. After a quick shower and some time assisting my wife in packing the room, we decided to take a quick walk downtown and spend some time at Blonde4Ever's Royal Flusher's my favorite video poker spot... the end machine at the 4 Queens poker bar.

    20161106_070021.jpg

    It offers a wide open view of Fremont Street, even though not usually much is going on at 9:00 AM. Well, in November it was a wide open view...

    Friday morning 1.jpg

    Those aluminum frames and the doors seem awfully permanent, ain'a? (That's a Wisconsin phrase; short for "ain'a hey?") It was kinda chilly that morning with a cool wind (it was more than a breeze)... but it was still warmer than many other days in Las Vegas. I've got a feeling that's the new normal for 4Q now.

    We had plans to pick-up Glenn from Bally's and take him to the California (where he would be staying Friday night) and in exchange for helping him move twice, they were going to buy brunch this day. So after a short time - basically, it was long enough to nab a quick four 3s and cash out - we left. I decided that I needed a pre-brunch meal (what do they call that meal?) so we walked into the Fremont, where I dropped the wife at a slot machine before sneaking to the Dunkin' Donuts for a couple of Bavarian Cream diet-busters. We gambled for just a little while, and while doing so, I got a message crawling on the card reader "Congratulations for reaching Sapphire level".

    I think that meant that I hit the Sapphire level on my BConnected account.

    With an eye on the clock, we head back to the California where my wife changed into more appropriate slacks for the weather, while I went and talked to the slot host about back-end comps. I mentioned this exchange in a different thread about the California, so I won't overdo it here, however I got the feeling that Bonita had no time for me (and possibly people like me) who beg for freebies based on little play. She looked up my account and said that the want about 3,500 points per day to cover hotel rooms, and that I wasn't even close. Without making eye contact, she then said that she could write off one of the meals, but other than raising her head to look me in the eye, she didn't move until I actually asked her to do that and thanked her for it. While she was writing up the slip, I said that Sapphire status requires 25,000 points and asked if what she was looking at included all downtown properties. She looked up at me over her glasses and told me "It's a corporate screen". This lady wanted nothing to do with me. I schlepped over to the registration desk with the comp slip and asked the same robotic droid that checked me in to process the comp.

    In addition to the above, when I later went back to the BConnected counter to see if I actually did make Sapphire, I was the only customer there, and one clerk was typity-typing into the computer and - again without looking - said that the other lady would help me. However, that other lady was sitting with her back turned to me, watching... well, I am not sure what. So I kind of inched back to the typity-typing clerk, who kind of snapped at me that she couldn't help me. I had had enough, and I snapped back that I didn't want to be helped by someone who has turned her back on me. That woke her up a bit... but no apology or even acknowledgement was ever offered.

    What is with the California employees? Other than every valet attendant that I interacted with, every single California employee acted like I was a waste of their time. I really like the property. I loved the room, the gambling wasn't too bad to us, I liked the Oxtail Soup so much I had it twice, and we were anxious to eat at the Redwood Steakhouse had we not run out of time. But there were no smiles, no thank yous, and certainly no Mahalo.

    In fairness, with the help of another poster on this board, I was put in contact with another Boyd host who reviewed my play and back-ended all of it and has put through the credit on my card. So I've received the credit I've earned. But it shouldn't be so damn hard, should it?

    Back with my wife, we get the car, get Glenn, his mom and his stuff and bring it back to the California. On the way back, we stopped at possibly my all-time favorite Las Vegas restaurant, Eat. After a short wait, we were seated and was given the lunch menu. I looked in abject horror as I saw that the Country Fried Steak was only available until 11:00 AM. I had never had anything else at Eat... what was I going to do?

    I made do by ordering the Shrimp Po'Boy with Kick Ass Tomato Soup (their name for it, not mine).

    Friday afternoon 3.jpg

    The sandwich was great with tasty shrimp, and bee tee double-U, the soup was legit, too.

    Friday afternoon 2.jpg

    Glen raved about his Reuben sandwich (which looked dynamite in person, too) and he also had the soup.

    Friday afternoon 1.jpg
    Not sure why my wife's chicken sandwich is so small, but she liked her meal, too.

    Glenn's mom had eggs. I don't like eggs, so I refuse to photograph them. I blame eggs for that. On a scale of 1 to 5 new Eat locations, I rate this a 4.25, which is taking off one point for every hour in which I missed the Country Fried Steak.

    After brunch, the game plan would be that I would drop the ladies off at the Downtown Grand (the closest place in proximity to the Mob Museum), take the car back to the California to unload Glenn's bags and load mine, park it there, then walk to get the get the ladies and then to the Mob Museum to use this special, which saves about $4 on admission and offers a free photo or audio tour (we did one of each, and I found the audio tour quite useless).

    While waiting for Glenn to check in, I sat at one of the ancient $1 coin dropper video poker machines near the front desk. I slid in a $100 bill, and in the time it took Glenn to take care of business, I cashed out for $200, getting nothing more than a full house and a couple of flushes. I don't think I can explain how cool it is to scoop up 200 dollar coins from the coin hopper as it is spitting them out.

    Glenn and I find the ladies at the Downtown Grand, and we gather around Melissa as she is playing a slot machine. We politely tap our feet and talk about getting the entire museum done before we have to head to the airport, and she just keeps spinning and spinning. She says "Last spin" and gets nothing. But before she can hit the cashout button, I decide to be a bit of a dick and hit the MAX credit button. Almost instantly, she snaps at me but gets a bonus game, which pays her about $250. And instead of glory, laud and honor, I get "I didn't want to pay $8.80 for one spin". To which I attempted to cite the court ruling that the person that initiates the spin rightfully wins the money. So my loving wife - the one with whom I shared a spectacular Date Night just a few days earlier - handed me a $1 bill. Sigh...

    We cross the street to the Mob Museum and the line is out the door. It takes almost 20 minutes to get from the line to the elevator, and even once inside I was amazed at the number of people there all at the same time. My wife and I "do" the museum in about 2-1/2 hours (which is 90 minutes less than my solo trip four years ago).

    Friday afternoon 5.jpg

    The Mob Museum isn't very photogenic... except for this part. All I was missing was a wet sponge.

    Once complete, we sign-off from Glenn and his mom, and Melissa and I walk back to the California to have one last dinner and retrieve our car. Our flight left at 7:00, and it was about 3:30. We figure that since we're TSA PreChecked that if we get to the rental car return at 5:00, we'd be in good shape. We decided to hit the Redwood Steakhouse for dinner and dine on their Happy Hour menu and pay with our accrued points.

    We arrive a little before 4:00, and found that they don't open until 5:00 (5:00? With all the blue hairs at the Cal? Really?) We then decide to take the skywalk to the Triple 7 at Main Street Station, but we get as far as Aloha Specialties and decide to eat Hawaiian instead. We get all the way through the ordering process before being told that we can't use our BConnected points. Although once the cashier said it, I seemed to remember reading that somewhere, but it was very frustrating as that was the only reason we had selected a Boyd property for dinner (I had a $10 food credit at The D that we also had been considering). But since we were there, and with one eye on the clock, we decide to just pay for the meal and have what we ordered.

    My wife's teryaki chicken was delivered first, and she dug in before I got the camera into position. She said that it was "alright". I waited what seemed like forever (but was probably about two minutes) before my meal was delivered...

    Friday afternoon 6.jpg

    I forget the name of this dish (and I can't find a menu online) but it was basically a Salisbury Steak, which works well as I like Salisbury Steak. The meat was a little overdone, but the gravy and onions did a good job of adding enough moisture to make the dish pleasant. The macaroni salad was better than it had to be, and the rice tasted like rice. I also had an order of kimchi, which was pretty good, but since my wife didn't want any, the portion seemed a little too big for one person. On a scale of 1 to 5 skywalk restaurants, I rate Aloha Specialties a 3. It was average. Solid. Not so bad that I'd reject it, not so good that I'd crave it from home.

    We had a little more time to kill, so we decided that we had time for one last gamble. I first stayed upstairs to see if Dino was paying out again (and he didn't... in record time) while my wife went downstairs. I found her after Dino threw a rock at my head, and she was a little ahead so I let her play. I sat at the machine next to hers (Three Kings, to be specific) and played what was left of my hundred dollar bill. Just about the time I was about to say "we should wrap it up", I got three Red Lions, which gave me an impressive 43 free spins. During the spins, I got a few different retriggers, giving me a final total of 85 free spins.

    Talk about nerve wracking... each spin takes its time, then totals up the win, then spins again... all with us watching the clock. I kept pressing the "spin" button to stop the reels and speed up the payment, and I was doing it so vigorously that you'd think I was in a slot tournament. When all 85 spins were complete, it was almost 5:00 (the time that we wanted to be at the rental car return, as the flight was scheduled to leave in two hours) and I won a little over $300. On one hand, you'd think that 85 spins would net more money, but on the other hand, I was only betting about a buck per spin. That last win put me ahead for the second day in a row. Too bad about the other five days, though...

    Racing the clock aside, we didn't hit significant traffic on the way to the rental car facility, and the process of dropping off our bags and getting to and through TSA took no time at all. Even had time to lose a last $50 on airport video poker.

    Our flight back to Milwaukee was on time and not full, so there was an extra seat between me and my sleeping wife. Good thing, because the flight attendant couldn't pass out snacks fast enough, and I needed somewhere to put them. No issues at all with the flight, baggage, car shuttle, etc. There was one little issue, though. By the time we got to the car around 12:30 AM CDT, we were hungry again. There aren't a lot of quick eats at that time of day, so we Ran to the Border for quite possibly the best Double Decker Taco Supremes (with Diablo sauce) ever assembled.

    As I sit back and reflect on the trip and all that we'd done (bowling well, helicopter rides, Grand Canyon, etc., etc) it just reaffirms that despite the corporate nickel-and-diming that is occurring in the city, Las Vegas is still a magical place where no vacation is ever the same as the previous one. And I can't wait to get back.

    Luckily, the DAY BEFORE we left, our poker group booked our tickets for our annual fall poker trip. Late October... I'll be back.

    And by early November, you'll get to read another endless trip report!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    2017 Poker trip!
    Super Bowl or BUST!
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  8. vwhiten

    vwhiten VIP Whale

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    Thanks for sharing--your wife sounds like me. I would not go to the edge at the Grand Canyon. We did the tour bus in January 2016. There was snow and the rocks were icy. We took a different bus company. If we ever do it again I think I would opt for the VIP smaller Mercedes bus. Our seats were terribly uncomfortable.
     
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  9. zignerlv

    zignerlv High-Roller

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    Nice report!

    An FYI on the aluminum framed windows you were disappointed to see near the Four Queens bar VP. Those are not permanent. They are able to slide them in or out according to the weather. There are some borderline days where they are closed when they could be open.
     
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  10. Hardwaze

    Hardwaze Tourist

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    Awesome TR ! Had a great time following along your great time....
    So much so that you've inspired me to get moving and book an overdue return to Las Vegas. Two guys, gambling too much, drinking too much and eating too much (not necessarily in that order). Question: Would you recommend we stay at the Cal or should we stay at another Downtown property ?
     
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  11. Kevke

    Kevke Vegas Addict

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    Awesome stuff ! :)
     
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  12. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    I would absolutley recommend the Cal... except for the surly employees. They did a great job with the renovations andI liked all parts of the property.

    The skywalk to Main Street Station gives quick and easy access to the Triple 777 microbrews, too.
     
    2017 Poker trip!
    Super Bowl or BUST!
  13. Treb23

    Treb23 Tourist

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    Great Report! You guys fit a lot into a week!
     
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  14. DharmaForOne

    DharmaForOne Tourist

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    Sounds like a good time.

    It's a lot of fun to read trip reports. Besides living vicariously through the reporter, you find good recommendations of places to go or ways to do stuff that you may not find out about otherwise. It's also just fun to see the different ways people enjoy their trips. I'm not a bowler but I still dig the enthusiasm of your report.
     
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  15. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    If you read any of my old trip reports, I usually make a similar comment to this one... I write these as much for me as for anyone else. I go back and read them all the time. Since it became easier to embed photos on this board, I include a ton of them as well.

    But in a way, I want to give back, too. My first "modern" visit to Las Vegas was in 2005 and I know I used the internet quite a bit in advance of that trip. But I also recall using it when I came back... kind of an attempt to judge my trip (and choices) with those of others. By 2009 (the trip where my parents, sisters and friends all came along) I used a zillion different websites to get cheap hotels and car rental codes, dinner ideas, etc. As a matter of fact, aimless searching pointed me at a promo code for The Rat Pack is Back show at the Plaza where "VIP" seating came with a steak dinner... and the cost was the same with the dinner as the VIP seat at the box office.

    So when the internet helps me find a gem (like the Donut Bar from last April's trip, or attending the Louie Anderson Presents: After the Show) that I hadn't known about otherwise, I kinda want to show off and give everyone else a chance at that experience.

    Thank you to everybody for the good words.

    PS - my review on Louie Anderson Presents: After the Show would have been posted on Vegas Bright had the editor not taken a week off. My review should show up next week.
     
    2017 Poker trip!
    Super Bowl or BUST!
  16. 93 Octane

    93 Octane Chief bottle washer

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    I'm really digging the bowling shirts you designed....BRAVO! BRAVO!
     
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  17. 18000rpm

    18000rpm Tourist

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    Awesome report! Really enjoyed it. Can't wait to be back.
     
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  18. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Great report and pics! And awesome bowling shirts!
     
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  19. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Thanks, I had fun reading your trip report. Also thanks for listing the prices of your meals, good to know how much they cost.

    I think the meal you had at the Aloha Specialties was a hamburger steak plate.

    The way I eat oxtail soup is to ask for another small plate. Then take out one oxtail bone and put it on the plate and use the chopsticks to hold down the bone and the soup spoon to take the meat off the bone. After the meat is removed I dip it in the ginger mix (add soy sauce to it) and dig in and eat it with the rice. When the soup cools off then drink some of it and enjoy the peanuts and cilantro/greens with the soup. You can also ask for a fork to use to hold down the bone while you take off the meat.

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun at the bowling tournament. I have friends who go every year to the USBC tournament but I've never been invited (they have enough people bowling, like you enough for 2 teams at least). Wish they had an opening, I never bowled in Reno. But I think the problem is that I am more of a handicapper (....cough....sandbagger...cough cough, lol) so I rather bowl in handicapped tournaments and my friends are more the higher averagers.

    Wow, you throw a DV8? I always thought that their balls wouldn't hit as well with most oiling patterns. They work in Hawaii because our lanes are mostly bone dry so they actually are too strong (!!) if you can believe that.

    I am always appalled when I see pictures of lake mead and the dam. The water level is going so low I am afraid that in a decade or two the whole thing may be a thing of the past.


    Thanks for giving us an insight to your trip. Most of us aren't the types to write about our trips, mostly because we forget what we did, lol.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  20. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the good words. I am going to respond in chunks. I was there seven days and didn't always remember prices. I did take a few photos of receipts with prices for the meals that I specifically plan on reviewing in a Vegas Bright article.


    It likely was, and a gripe I have with Aloha Specialties is that there are no descriptions with the meals... the menu items were just posted on a wall. I know that the Cal caters to Hawaiians and therefore Hawaiians likely know what all of the items are. However, as a doughy tourist from the Midwest, I had no real chance. Even a description written in PR gobbledy-gook ("Our beef is humanely harvested from cattle that spend their lives watching Family Feud on leather sofas, with the processed steak gently seared before being served nestled in the finest long grain rice that is flown in twice daily from Viet Nam") I can read that and decipher that its a hamburger patty on rice. I am sure that if other menu items carried some description, I would have tried something outside my comfort zone - yet made with familiar ingredients.

    In addition, when I asked the cashier if anything comes with the steak, she said "no" which is why I ordered the kimchi as a side. However when the meal was delivered there was enough rice to throw at a dozen weddings. I was very disappointed overall with Aloha Specialties, and a month after dining I'd like to downgrade my rating to 2.5.


    Again referencing life in the Midwest, chopsticks are for bracing small plants (or in my case, jimmying a desk drawer shut). I never even bothered with the spoon. I grabbed the bone and peeled off the meat with a fork. A few times I did put the bone on a plate to cool off. But I have to say that I LOVED the Oxtail Soup, and I am going to include The 4th Meal into more Vegas trips so that I can have it more often.


    This was my 24th tournament, (the last 20 consecutive). I love all of them, even the ones in which I bowl like my wife. I make a vacation out of every one of them, as you can see on many of my trip reports. Next year the tournament is in Syracuse and am already planning on spending a day in Niagara Falls and another one at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.


    There are now three divisions... for bowlers averaging 180 and under, 181 through 209, and over 210. Also, I know from experience that there are always teams that come up a man short... usually due to something happening at the last minute. There are internet forums (both official and unofficial) in which you can indicate your intent to bowl as a sub, and you can also just show up at the venue and put your contact information on the official Sub Board. Bowling the USBC Open Championships is still a thrill for me, even 30 years in, so I can only imagine the thrill to someone bowling his/her first one.

    On a related note, my wife (who has booked 127 average the past two seasons) just competed last weekend in the women's Nationals in Baton Rouge and is currently sitting in 6th place in singles with a 455 series. Her division is for women with averages 129 and below. She never thought that she was good enough to bowl Nationals, but she did just fine.

    As a matter of fact, I am trying to set up a lower-average team for my uncle... c'mon out to Syracuse in late-April and I'll set you up.


    DV8 is known for having a quite aggressive line of bowling balls. The Ruckus Feud (shown in the photo) is my favorite of the three DV8 that I own. I've got the pin down slightly and keep the surface around 2000. It rolls very smoothly off the pattern, and still hits hard. It was the perfect ball for opening the shot up in doubles/singles as there was sooooo much oil.


    I dug up an old photo from 1989 for a Vegas Bright article. A stark contrast.

    Thanks again for the good words.
     
    2017 Poker trip!
    Super Bowl or BUST!
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