The pages following memorialize the latest adventures of the Starship Westie. Our two-week mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new restaurants, exciting shows and entertaining lounge acts. To stay, play and win at the Tuscany. Yes, to boldly go where we have not gone before. Captainâ€™s Log Stardate 040907: I finalized our flight plan, printed boarding passes, organized coupons and printed our two-week schedule. We dropped Ziggy-the-Cat and most of his worldly belongings off at our neighbors while Max-the-Schipperke anxiously anticipates his two week spa vacation on Planet Cromwell. I am anxious, but confident of a successful mission based on past experience and training. I settle into bed and close my eyes, but cannot sleep, Ms. Westie is singing: Weâ€™re going to Las Vegas in the mornin'! Ding dong! The VP machines are gonna chime. Pull out the stopper! Weâ€™re going to have ourselves a whopper! Just get us to Las Vegas on time! Stardate 041007: We dropped Max-the Schipperke off and proceeded directly to Executive Valet Parking, while bypassing the opportunity to stop at the tacky Space Shuttle McDonalds in Windsor Locks, CT. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tips/getAttraction.php3?tip_AttractionNo==1873. Our starship was cleverly disguised as a Boeing 737 and painted with SWA colors and logo. We were first in line with our A boarding passes as befits the captain and his first mate. We were cleared for takeoff from BDL at 1315 hours. Following a brief stop at BWI to pick up a few Craboids, we were on our way. A preteen munchkin named Ella was enlisted by the flight attendants to assist in passing out peanuts to our passengers and collecting garbage. Our spacecraft failed to achieve warp drive so we arrived at our LAS destination on schedule at 1600 hours. There have been too many civilians reporting sightings at our usual arrival point in Area 51 so we established standard orbit along side Area I-215. Brown smog clung to the mountains, but our sensors reported the atmosphere breathable so I gave the command â€“ â€œScotty, beam us downâ€. Not wishing to draw attention to ourselves, Ms. Westie and I joined 200-300 other rubes proceeding to the baggage claim area. We secured a few pieces of matching luggage and took a shuttle to the recently opened consolidated rental facility. As a member in good standing of Alamoâ€™s Quicksilver club, I was directed to a line of compacts and chose a red Saturn. Departure from the facility was effortless and I proceeded to make 20 erroneous turns in order to make sure no one was following before we finally arrived at our hotel. We were staying at the Tuscany Suites for 14 nights with the first 2 nights comped and the remainder at the casino rate. For those with limited experience on Planet Vegas, comped nights and casino rates are the equivalent of â€œcome into my parlor, said the spider to the flyâ€. http://www.tuscanylasvegas.com/ Check-in went smoothly and we were soon on our way to room 302 on the third floor of building E. I initially thought this was too far from the casino, but it turned out to be a perfect location. The room itself was quite large with excellent soundproofing, but furnished with castoffs from one of those rustic lodges found in the Adirondacks. No big plasma TV for us, but at least all 6 channels were in living color. We got a king size bed, we got a kitchen with both a refrigerator and stove top, we got a couch, chair and kitchen table with 2 matching chairs, who could ask for anything more? The bathroom was large and featured both a tub and separate shower unit and enclosed toilet. The Tuscany complex includes guest washer/dryers, a well equipped exercise room with outside lap pool and nice size pool with Jacuzzi. Overall I would rate the Tuscany room a big step up from the Fiesta-Henderson and a notch down from the Orleans. One of the benefits of staying at the Tuscany is its proximity to the beautiful Ellis Island, a little more than a hop, skip and jump away, but still within easy walking distance. Actually, if we were young enough and could actually hop, skip and jump there is a cement wall between the two properties that could be scaled. We stopped at Ellis for a pair of merlots (Ms. Westie) and Hefe Weiss (me), courtesy of American Casino Guide (ACG) coupons before departing for the nearby Himalayan Cuisine for dinner. http://www.himalayancuisine.com/ This restaurant, located on Flamingo in a small shopping plaza, features the cuisine of both India and Nepal. We shared traditional Nepalese entrees of chili chicken and meat momo as recommended by Max Jacobsen. http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2006/06/01/taste.html The waiter asked how spicy would we like our chili chicken â€“ Indian spicy was my reply. Wow â€“ call the fire department â€“ we are talking smoking hot! Each order of meat momo order includes 9 momos (I love that word) which are steamed dumplings stuffed with ground turkey and vegetables. We also ordered naan, 2 mango lassis (yogurt based beverages) and 2 desserts (khir and Lal Mohan). The former is basmati rice in milk with raisins and nuts and the latter is similar to or the same as Gulab Jamun, but a bit denser. ($15.54, Restaurant.com (R.com), 4.5 Forks) As I approached Tuscanyâ€™s bank of full pay deuces wild (FPDW) machines seeking my first quad deuces of the trip, I thought of the similarity to Britney Spearsâ€™s rehabilitation It is not a question of if, but rather when and how often. As I returned to the room, tonight was eliminated from the possible answers to the question of when. Stardate 041107 â€“The first night of each new voyage is always characterized by my inability to adjust to the time difference so I was up at 0200 hours and proceeded to the casino where I got beaten to a pulp. An hour into the session a man tapped my on the shoulder and inquired if I was Westie. I feared my cover had been blown, but it turned out my name had been drawn for a chance to win free play. He was carrying a shopping bag containing plastic eggs presumably left over from Easter egg hunt. I selected one that contained a coupon for $75 in free play. This was the 2nd highest amount offered so I was feeling pretty good, but as sure as night follows day I managed to lose the entire amount plus a few additional macaroons over the next several hours. The accountants at Starfleetâ€™s home office have cut back on our expense accounts so we were required to sign up for the breakfast/pre dinner drink package at Ellis Island. http://www.ellisislandcasino.com/ This morning we each ordered the excellent vanilla French toast served piping hot and a solo coffee for Ms. Westie. ($4.25, ACG, 4 Forks). We walked back to the Tuscany and then drove to the nearby Clark County Library to make computer reservations for later in the week as well as to borrow a few books. Next stop was the Las Vegas Premium Outlets where I purchased much needed socks and Ms Westie acquired a less needed jersey and purse. The little red Saturnâ€™s next stop was the Wal-Mart on Flamingo for some sundry items, but we noticed Mrs. Waltonâ€™s cupboard was nearly bare and prices deeply discounted. At check-out we were told the store would be closing the following Tuesday. On our return to the Tuscany we discovered our room had not been maid (sic) up so we proceeded to the casino. The Tuscany was running a promo where for each 1,000 base points recorded in a day you receive a bottle of Tunnel of Elms wine so an hour later I was the proud owner of a $6 bottle of merlot costing us just a tad over $60. On Wednesday nights Toddâ€™s Unique offers free corkage so our choice for dinner this evening was a forgone conclusion. Toddâ€™s happens to be my favorite Las Vegas restaurant though physically situated on Sunset Road in nearby Henderson. Our karma was good this evening as we were assigned to one of Sheenaâ€™s tables. She appeared to be suitably impressed when I unveiled our bottle of Tunnel of Elms that sported a plastic cork. We allowed her to recite the daily specials, but our minds were made up beforehand. We shared a baby spoonleaf spinach salad with cranberries, goat cheese and candied walnuts tossed with a warm bacon dressing that was nothing short of sublime. Our entrees were teriyaki halibut served over steamed rice and baby bok choy. I have ordered this entrÃ©e at least 5 times in the past and it has never been anything short of exceptional and I donâ€™t even like teriyaki. Todd, owner/chef extraordinaire, stopped by the table and recognized my name from the Chowhound board and thanked us for our support. Meanwhile Sheena managed to keep our glasses filled while also attending to several other tables including a large party of 10. We passed on dessert, but Todd sent over 2 complimentary aperitifs. ($50.74, R.com, 5+ Forks) Our itinerary included stopping at the Orleans to see Elvis impersonator Brandon Bennett this evening, but it was too early and we were too tired so we returned to the Tuscany. I continued my losing ways while adding two more bottles to our rare and increasingly expensive wine collection. Stardate 041207 â€“ My very early morning session proved to be an exercise in both futility and humility. The Orleans buffet received the call this morning - grapefruit and orange segments, OJ, skim milk, an eggbeaters spinach and cheese omelet and home fries filled the bill and belly. ($6.41, ACG, 2.5 Forks) We drove over to the Sahara to pick up tickets for the Musical History of King show. I had originally planned to stop at the Las Vegas Hilton to pick up our Joe Piscopo tickets, but I learned a Star Trek conference was in progress and was concerned that we might be recognized. We returned to the room for R&R before heading out to Pho So 1 at 4745 Spring Mountain Road for lunch. http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2002/12_19/food_taste.html We shared a bowl of pho tai (rare steak) accompanied by very fresh basil, herbs, lemon and bean sprouts. A liberal skirt of Sriracha chili and I was happy. We also shared a delicious order of goi cuon (steamed egg rolls with shrimp, noodles and veggies) with a peanut dipping sauce. ($12, 4.5 Forks). I was tired of doing an Abe Lincoln impersonation I as I tried to read by the scant light provided by the bedside candles so we stopped at a Walgreens to purchase a few 100 watt bulbs before returning to the room. Later in the day we earned two additional bottles of wine so I upgraded to a bottle of Beringer cabernet by turning in 3 bottles of Tunnel of Elms. http://www.beringer.com/beringer/index.jsp This bottle was barely in the room before we started imbibing. Dinner this evening was at Penang (Malaysian) restaurant on Spring Mountain Road http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2006/06/29/taste.html The restaurant is located on the second floor of Pacific Asian Plaza, almost adjacent to Hueâ€™s Sandwiches. There were only 6 customers on this Thursday evening which had me a bit concerned, but we are operating under strict orders to seek out new restaurants so we made do. We shared orders of roti canai (Malaysian/Indian bread served with curry chicken as a dipping sauce), Penang satay (marinated and grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce), nasi lemak (coconut rice flavored with cloves and screwpine leaves served with chili anchovy curry chicken and hard boiled egg) and kari ayam (chicken and potatoes with red curry in coconut mild curry). The roti, satay and nasi lemak were all very good, but the curries were too largely indistinguishable. A bill was net of a $15 gift certificate from KSHP. http://www.kshp.com/ ($12.89, 2.5 Forks). Our next stop was the Orleans where we listened to a few songs by Brandon Bennett performing â€œElvis My Wayâ€ at the Bourbon Street Cabaret. http://www.elvismyway.com/ It is a shame this tribute artist has not been blessed with either rhythm or Big Elvisâ€™s voice. (1 Clap). Jean Scott, The Frugal Gambler, had posted on the VPFree board that she would be handing out pull tabs (coupons) good for free meals and drinks at the Silverton this evening immediately outside the Orleans showroom. It was serendipity that we would also be attending this eveningâ€™s Temptationsâ€™ show. I could hardly believe my eyes she showed up lugging a shopping bag half full of pull tabs. The showroom was packed and the Temptations put on a fantastic performance that showcased many of their biggest hits and trademark choreography. On the negative side, their outfits looked like piano keyboards and could only have been designed by Stevie Wonder. http://www.thetemptations.com/ (4.5 Claps). Immediately following the show we used the ticket stubs for free drinks. I needed to reconnect with my feminine side so I ordered my first ever toasted almond â€“so fine, my drink was so doggone fine, sendinâ€™ chills up and down my spine. Okay, I am getting carried away, but it was delicious and provided a much needed boost to my calcium level. Stardate 041307 That rascal RNG finally favored me this morning with quad deuces â€“ dealt no less on this Friday the 13th. Our breakfast was at the Original Pancake House at Green Valley Ranch. http://www.originalpancakehouse.com/ We each ordered the Grand, a senior special featuring 2 eggs (your choice), 3 pancakes, 2 strips of bacon or sausage. Neither of us finished. ($5.44, R.com, 3 Forks). We swung by the Fiesta-Henderson in order to put in a little play to keep our points current and then stopped at Samâ€™s to use a play $20 get $10 coupon before returning to our hotel. We played a bit more earning yet another bottle of wine. It was during this session that I ran into Jean Scott as well as Tom Ski who was watching his mother on the same bank of FPDW machines. Lastly, I managed to hit #2 quads of the day and trip. Later in the afternoon we broke out another bottle of merlot before departing for Texas Station where we dined at San Lorenzo. http://www.texasstation.com/templates/promo_logo.aspx?p=3&d=33&sd=26&v=144&pid=487&bp Entrees include a choice of soup or salad so we each ordered a mediocre Caesar salad which was accompanied by a bread basket. Ms. Westie ordered salmon alla spinach with a side order of spinach â€“ yes folks sheâ€™s strong to the finish cause she eats all her spinach. The salmon filet was large and perfectly prepared while the spinach looked to be both fresh and bountiful. My entrÃ©e was chicken carciofi â€“ sautÃ©ed skinless chicken tossed with fresh artichokes in a lemon white wine sauce. The sauce was too acidic for my tastes. I too wanted to be strong to the finish so I requested a side order of spinach. We finished the meal with a more than decent crÃ¨me brulee. ($21.06, R.com, 3 Forks). Note: I was not allowed to pay the balance with points. We departed for the Cannery to see the Lon Bronson Band performing in the Club with directions in hand, but I spent way too much time meandering over hill and dale. http://www.lonbronson.com/ We were lost, arrived late, the place was packed and Lon did not wait for us. On the positive side an usher found 2 seats for us at a table near the back and during the first break I was able to relocate us to a table immediately in front of the stage. The Club is an excellent venue for Bronsonâ€™s big band â€“ 6 piece horn session, 5 other musicians, and lead singers Rick Friedman and Lisa Mayer. He also had 2 dancers, as well as a Tina Turner impersonator with him this evening. (4 Claps). Stardate 041407 â€“ This is the third consecutive morning I found myself in front of a VP machine before 3AM. I was rewarded with my #3rd quad deuces of the trip, but somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After the usual morning routine of shower and shave (me), we drove over to the Orleans for the breakfast buffet. I once again bypassed the opportunity to have huevos rancheros and instead settled on fresh fruit, an eggbeater spinach and cheese omelet plus a small portion of home fries. ($6.41, ACG, 3 Forks). Earlier in the week we reserved computer time at the Clark County Library on Flamingo for 10AM so we had sufficient time to do a lap around the Orleans casino beforehand. After checking our emails and a few discussion boards we returned to the Tuscany. In an abbreviated session, Ms Westie and I lost, as usual. Around noon I heard a growl and realized my stomach was demanding a tribute so we hopped in our red chariot and headed to the Daily Chicken on Maryland Parkway. This is a Greek fast food restaurant that caters to the UNLV crowd. We each ordered spinach bread which was pretty bad â€“ no feta and frozen spinach. ($6.44, 0.5 Forks). Following an abbreviated VP session, I picked up another bottle of wine. We then adjourned to Ellis Island, our home away from home, for a few free drinks before departing for Chandelier Mediterranean restaurant in Henderson. http://www.chandelier.isqs.info/ We started off with a mezzah (appetizer) of baba ganouj â€“ smoked eggplant mixed with lemon juice, tahini and garlic. It was served with warm pita, but the taste of our baba ganouj was muted compared to our previous visit. Also disappointing was Ms. Westieâ€™s salmon with pesto sauce entrÃ©e. The portion was smaller than in the past and it was cooked until it was dry as a bone. My entrÃ©e, kafta kabob, also suffered a similar fate at the hands of the chef. At least we enjoyed our bottle of Tunnel of Elms wine. ($32.42 including $10 for corkage, R.com, 1.5 Forks). On our return to the Tuscany Ms. Westie hit #1 quad deuces, I hit #4 and another bottle of wine was added to our wine cellar. Stardate 041507 â€“ The early morning VP session beginning at 3:30 AM resulted in a small profit after I hit my #5 quads. For breakfast we walked to Ellis and enjoyed entrees of vanilla French toast (me) and pancakes (Ms. Westie). ($5, ACG, 2.5 Forks) On returning to the Tuscany we gave Dame Fortune another try and I hit my #6 quads before we departed for Valeroâ€™s Tropical Bake Shop on Sahara for some empanadas. Try as we may we could not locate it and 3 different locals, including a blind man, were of no help. I finally gave up and drove us to a nearby McDonalds for â€œCheeseburgers on Paradise (Road)â€. ($3, 0.5 Forks) This being Sunday our room was one of the last to be maid (sic) up so we returned to the scene of the crime and played some more VP earning yet another bottle of vino. Our room was finally ready for occupancy at around 4PM so were able to enjoy a few glasses of cabernet before departing for Red Rock Station. We decided to dine at the Cabo Mexican restaurant and chose the Pick a Meal Deal that Station Casinos is currently running. The complimentary taco chips were served hot and accompanied by two salsas plus a hot bean dip. We each selected the 2-item combination of chicken enchiladas and a chile relleno. Although the restaurant is gorgeous, the food was no better or worse than any of the other Station casino Mexican eateries. I used comps to pay the $17.22 bill. (2.5 Forks). We made the short drive to the Suncoast for the Frankie Avalon show. His show has not changed much in the past year â€“ same tribute to Elvis, Ricky Nelson and Bobby Darin, same movie excerpts of him and Annette playing on the beach, same this and same that. Enjoyable, but he really needs some new material if he wants to keep the seniors coming back. (2 Claps). This marked the end of the Tuscanyâ€™s wine promotion â€“ we earned a total of 11 bottles, net 5 after upgrading for 2 bottles of Beringer cabernet. Stardate 041607 â€“ I am starting to get on a roll now and hit two quad deuces (#7 & #8) this morning. After my session I drove over to the Einstein Brothers Bagel shop for a pair of cinnamon raisin bagels and a coffee that we enjoyed in the room. ($4.76, 4.5 Forks). We headed over to Bill Gambling Hall & Saloon where I parked the bat mobile and walked over to the Bellagio to see the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens spring exhibition. A beautiful oversized garden that included a giant straw hat, gardener's trowel, watering can, and pots were on display with each created from thousands of individual plants and blooms. We particularly loved the pair of great egrets and the butterflies, both real and imitation. Our next stop was the Jean Philippe PÃ¢tisserie where two 7-foot tall chocolate bunnies are seen fishing from an animated steamboat floating on a pond. I also managed to drool all over the dessert display case before Ms. Westie led me away. (4 Claps) On leaving Bellagio I headed to the Silverton where we attempted to use ACG coupons for free slot play for new sign-ups, but they still had a record of us last playing in 2000. Walking around the casino it was truly amazing how much casino the property has been upgraded since our last visit. We played a little on the Bob Dancer machines before stopping by the Sundance Grille for a snack. We ended up sharing a quesadilla and piece of 10â€ high chocolate cloud cake. http://www.silvertoncasino.com/categories/84CA1C7F-D73A-E3B0-D28AA98E599D2298/sundance_grill.htm The quesadilla was very good, but the cake was way too dense requiring copious amounts of whipped cream just to make it palatable. The bill was $15.84, but our pull tabs covered the entire balance. ($3, 1.5 Forks) An afternoon session proved to be a loser for both of us. In a late afternoon change of pace, we drove to the Orleans for pre dinner drinks and I followed Mrs. Buddhaâ€™s lead by ordering an amaretto sour â€“ not bad, but I prefer the more macho beer and ambiance at Ellis. This eveningâ€™s sustenance was provided by Austinâ€™s Steakhouse in Texas Station. http://www.texasstation.com/templates/venue_logo.aspx?p=3&d=33&v=143&IsRedirect=true http://www.vegas4visitors.com/dining/detail/austins.htm Based on extensive pre voyage research, we shared Austinâ€™s chopped salad, a rib-eye and baked potato. Excluding service and the bread basket, this meal was a disappointment all around. I just donâ€™t get this chopped salad thing â€“ is it for people without than own choppers? This salad had very little taste and was visually unappealing. The rib-eye was cooked medium rare as requested but was tough. Last and by all means not least in Ms. Westieâ€™s opinion, the huge Idaho potato was undercooked. We did learn, belatedly, the head chef takes seafood seriously and only serves fish that is environmentally friendly and renewable so should we return it will not be for the beef. ($39.13, R.com, 2 Forks). Stardate 041707 â€“ This morning I hit quad #â€™s 9 and #10 plus a ROYAL. This was day 7 of our voyage so we proceeded to our favorite wash and fold to have our uniforms cleaned before heading to Ellis Island for breakfast. We ordered the special of 2 eggs, whole wheat toast and home fries for $1.95. Unfortunately my poached eggs were seriously overdone. ($3.12, ACG, 1.5 Forks) Casino Royale was our next stop. After exiting the casino we removed our gas masks and proceeded to walk to the Venetian where we received $15 in free slot play for signing up online for a slot card. The free play was effectively tossed to the wind on their 8/5 JOB machines, but I managed to make the effort worthwhile by netting a whopping $5 for our collective efforts. We returned to the Tuscany and lunched at Marilynâ€™s CafÃ© on bowls of navy bean soup. These bowls were the worlds smallest and the soup was almost devoid of beans, but otherwise a great dining experience was had by all. The bill came to $7.44 which was paid using comp dollars. (0.5 Forks) I was too pooped to pop, but Ms. Westie extracted a pound of flesh from the Tuscanyâ€™s bottom (line) by hitting her #2 and last quad deuces of the trip. She came back to the room and announced she may have seen Bob Dancer at the 10-cent FPDW machines â€“ I donâ€™t think so. We once again chose Ellis for pre dinner drinks. I had now come to the conclusion that what I initially considered to be a positive of staying at the Tuscany has turned out to be a negative â€“ Ellis is just too convenient. Dinner tonight was at Border Grill. http://www.bordergrill.com/BGLV/bglv.htm I had secured advance using opentable.com, but requested patio seating on our arrival on this beautiful spring evening. Our request for ice water, tap is fine thank you, was soon filled and we received warm taco chips accompanied by 3 salsas (tomatillo, chipotle and some type of fruit) â€“ all were excellent. We both ordered the cochinta pobil - achiote marinated pork slow roasted in banana leaf with cinnamon, grilled onions, black beans, homemade tortillas, rice and plantain orange salsa. ($29.63, R.com, $4.5 Forks) We drove to the Las Vegas Hilton to see Joe Piscopo in the Shimmer Cabaret. http://www.joepiscopo.com/ Joe doesnâ€™t draw well outside the New Jersey/NY corridor so full priced tickets went begging as did a subsequent offer of half-priced tickets, but I jumped at the offer of free tickets. The room was almost full this evening and his show was pretty good for what is basically a lounge act. He sang many old songs (mostly Sinatra), did impressions (mostly Sinatra, but also an excellent Letterman) and told some inside (amusing and not so amusing) SNL stories. (2 Claps) Stardate 041807 â€“ After the good luck I experienced on the VP machines yesterday, I was fully expecting to pay the piper today â€“ pay the piper I did over the first 1.5 hours, but as I approached hour two I started hitting 5 of kinds (5OAKS) and natural quads. As the bell was about to ring in hour 3, I was dealt my #11 quad deuces and 5 minutes later was dealt 3 clubs to a royal. I held my nose, I took a breath, I even prayed and BANG!! I caught both of the needed cards for my 2nd ROYAL in 24 hours â€“ a personal best. We celebrated at the Paris buffet where I ladled copious amounts of food on my plate â€“ berries w/yogurt, Lyonnaise potatoes (disappointing), egg Benedict (overcooked), dried dates, brie, and Cajun sausage. ($8.60, LVA, 2.5 Forks) We returned to the Clark County library to check our email. It has now been 7 days since I picked up S. J. Rozanâ€™s book, Stone Quarry, and I am currently on page 6. I checked the schedule of fines and realized I am going to have to spend more time reading or the library penalties are going to cost us a fortune. Ms. Westie took the car and went to the Palms for a very much overpriced massage ($97.50, LVA, 2 Claps) while the VP machines called , but it proved to be a wrong number because I could not hit anything. Jean Scott again posted that many pull tabs were still available and she would be at the Tuscany this afternoon. I stopped by later that afternoon and picked up a few more for entrees at the Sundance Grill and margaritas at Mi Casa. We then adjourned to our home away from home at Ellis Island for a few free drinks before heading off to the Silverton for dinner. On arrival we again stopped by to view and take pictures of the large aquarium and waterfalls at the Bass Pro Shop. (2 Claps) http://www.silvertoncasino.com/categories/22C7A963-BDB0-351A-4F421BA4159EDA92/aquarium.htm We started off with an appetizer of spring rolls that were sliced in half lengthwise and served over dry noodles. Our entrees were 14-ounce cuts of prime rib cooked medium rare as requested. These turned out to be a notch above typical coffee shop fare. Being gluttons we also shared a very large piece of cheesecake that was pretty good, but would not have played well in NY. The bill with gratuity totaled $54.59. ($11.39, 2.5 Forks) On our return to the Tuscany I stopped I by the Piazza lounge to listen to a few tunes by Bill Mac. He aspires to look like Kenny Rogers, but that is where the resemblance ceases. (1.5 Claps) We concluded the evening with an unprofitable and, thankfully, abbreviated VP session. Stardate 041907 â€“ Some of my disposable income was disposed of this morning during a lengthy VP session. We decided to go light this morning so it was apple fritters from Albertsonâ€™s and OJ in the room. We then took a drive to Sunset Park where we visited the dog run and walked the jogging trail. Ethel Mâ€™s is but a short drive away so we grabbed our samples and toured the cactus garden. http://www.ethelschocolate.com/jump.jsp?itemType=CATEGORY&itemID=196 (0.5 Claps) Our next stop was Opus Too at the Art Institute of America, off Green Valley Parkway. The culinary school operates a student run dining room that offers 3-course lunches for $9.95 Tuesday â€“ Thursdays from 11:30AM-1PM â€“ reservations suggested. http://www.artinstitutes.edu/lasvegas/culinary/aboutus_facility.asp?facid=60 The menu changes weekly, but you have a choice of 3 appetizers/salads, 3 entrees and 2 desserts. I chose the Vidalia tart with red pepper coulis, seafood Newberg over basmati rice and poached pear with vanilla ice cream. Ms. Westie opted for the Caesar salad, seafood Newberg and apple bread pudding, but was advised that several tables of red hats had disposed of the bread pudding. I have never seen Ms. Westie more disappointed â€“ the red hats were fortunate her taser was in the shop for repairs. Service was very attentive and friendly though a little less than professional and the food very good with the exception of the rice which had dried out. ($24.43, 4 Forks) A well deserved afternoon nap was followed by an equally well deserved round of Hefe Weissâ€™ at Ellis Island. We drove to the Tropicana where we parked and crossed over to the MGM for the 7PM performance of Ka. http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirquedusoleil/ka/ On entering the theatre, I immediately ran into Panto the gatekeeper (aka Gary, GVNV or Gary the Mime) who gave us general directions to our seats. We were absolutely gaga over Ka â€“ the 90 minutes passed in a flash and there was not a single moment that I wasnâ€™t on the edge of my seat. (5 Claps) Feeling wired and a bit hungry after seeing the show we drove to Yokohama Kagerou across from the Hard Rock and Hofbrauhaus. Lt. Sulu highly recommended this small Japanese restaurant and we were delighted with our shared orders of ramen curry (spicy) and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers). ($18.55, 4 Forks). Stardate 042007 â€“ I hit an amazing number of natural quads during this morningâ€™s 3 hour VP session, fortunately 2 of them represented my #12 and #13 quad deuces of the trip. We departed the Tuscany and returned to the Silverton for breakfast at the Sundance Grill. We both opted for eggs Benedict â€“ the tab including tax and gratuity totaled $20.79, but most was covered by our pull tabs. ($4.89, 2 Forks). On exiting we drove to the Las Vegas Art Museum on West Sahara for the current exhibition featuring the works of Kaz Oshiro and Sush Machida Gaikutsu. http://www.lasvegasartmuseum.org/ Each artistâ€™s works were quite unique and interesting. There were several groups of school children this day and the docents spent considerable time explaining several of the pieces. ($10, 3 Claps) On our return to the Tuscany I enjoyed a nap followed by a less than enjoyable VP session. We cracked a bottle of Tunnel of Elms cabernet, 2004 vintage. I asked Ms. Westie if she detected a rich berry, blackberries and currants, flavor with overtones of vanilla with a structure of subtle tannins? She replied â€œare you out of your Vulcan mindâ€ It was off to CafÃ© Mastrioni on Rainbow for dinner. We had dinner reservations which on entry we realized were not needed. The waiter irritated me immediately by leading us to a small table when other couples were seated at larger tables. I told him a larger table would be where Captain Westie and his first mate would be seated this evening. We were served warm, but industrial Italian bread followed by cups of pasta fagioli brimming with beans, but not much else including flavor. Ms. Westie ordered the eggplant Parmigianino that was virtually tasteless and accompanied by a terrible marinara. I cast my lot with the penne with chicken and spinach in a pink sauce. Blah, blah, double blah. Our waiter continued to earn his paltry gratuity by failing to check back with us to see how we were enjoying our meal or if the water glasses needed replenishing. ($18.00, R.com, 1 Fork) A short VP session at the Tuscany recouped my earlier losses. On returning to the room I settled into bed with a book and checked the clock - 9PM. How lame is that? Stardate 042107 â€“ Three and a half hours of VP this morning made me feel like I was working along side Sam Cooke on the chain gang â€“ (hooh! aah!) (hooh! aah!) (hooh! aah!) My efforts were eventually rewarded when I hit quad deuces #14 and #15. I have now officially broken my all time record for deuces on a 14 day trip so I returned to the room singing â€œLord it is hard to be humble when you are perfect in every wayâ€. Ms. Westie seemed less than impressed and voiced the opinion that the Klingons most certainly have been messing with the RNG on her machines. I felt a return visit to the Orleansâ€™ breakfast buffet was warranted. This time I mixed things up a bit by having pancakes following my usual order of fresh grapefruit and orange segments plus a small portion of both corned beef hash and chorizo. We had time and energy enough for only one full circuit around the casino before it was time to depart for Lake Las Vegas for the spring Fine Arts and Crafts Festival. http://www.lakelasvegas.com/ The number of exhibitors had diminished since last year both in terms of quantity and quality so we did not spend much time or money before returning to the Tuscany. (0.5 Claps) It took less than a Â½ hour in the afternoon for me to once extend my Dimaggio type streak to #16 quads. Ms. Westie was beginning to turn ugly so I beat a hasty retreat to the room for fear she would taser me. Ellis Island was offering the usual special on pre dinner drinks (ACG) so that was our 5:30PM destination this evening. Dinner was at Origin of India courtesy of a 2/1 coupon celebrating their first anniversary. http://www.originindiarestaurant.com/ This restaurant is located in a small strip mall on Paradise Road, but the owners have obviously spent considerable dollars on the interior. Our waiter served us papadum accompanied by tamarind and cilantro sauces. We decided to try the high end of the menu sharing orders of Jhinga Dum Sunerhri (queen prawns simmered in coconut milk, yogurt and a touch of cashew nut sauce) and Goshet Rajawri (boneless lamb cooked in spices, tomatoes, egg, yogurt and a cashew paste). Entrees included basmati rice, a choice of naan or paratha (we tried both) and lentil side dishes. This was probably the best Indian meal we have had in Las Vegas. ($29.81, 4.5 Forks) Our show du jour was the Musical History of the King performed by the Dream King, Trent Carlini. http://www.elvismyway.com/ We have seen Trent 3 times previously â€“ twice at the Boardwalk accompanied by a karaoke machine and once at the LV Hilton where he was backed up by a big band. Tonight Trent left the karaoke machine at home and brought the big band. We enjoyed the show, but felt it lacked something compared to his Hilton performance. The show lacked continuity because of the number of costume changes plus song arrangements were weak. He also used video footage from his Hilton performance that included former band members. Fortunately I purchased a pair of tickets for only $33 during one of KSHPâ€™s sales. (2 Claps) Stardate 042207 â€“ It took less than a minute to hit #17th quad deuces, another 20 minutes for #18 and then just in over 2 Â½ hours to give much of it back. We returned to Sundance Grill this morning with pull tabs in hand. I chose ham and eggs and Ms. Westie went for the Belgian waffle with strawberries. Service was very uneven with us waiting far too long for our waitress to appear, but she was very attentive once she found us. We also requested slices of tiramisu and carrot cake as takeout. The bill including tax was $29.52, but once again we used our pull tabs courtesy of Jean Scott. ($6.23, 2 Forks) At around 2PM we shared the carrot cake which was pretty decent compared to the other desserts from the Sundance Grill. We also had a losing VP session before departing for the Society for Seven (SOS) with Lani Misalucha show at the Flamingo. http://www.societyofseven.com/ http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2007/Mar-09-Fri-2007/weekly/12981433.html We saw this same cast minus Lani a few years back and they are using the same bits when Lani is not on stage. In addition, their spokesperson seemed intent on boring me and totally destroyed whatever continuity there was to the performance. On the positive side Lani possesses a fantastic voice and she proved to be a showstopper. http://lani.eradioportal.com/index_events.htm ($33, KSHP, Lani 4.5 Claps, SOS 2) Mi Casa was our Su Casa this evening. This restaurant located in the Silverton is very upscale in terms of menu and dÃ©cor. We started off with a matched set of margaritas, the usual chips and salsa, and mini empanadas with roasted ancho chicken in white corn pouches accompanied by a spicy sauce. I ordered the shrimp Belize please (6 shrimp with caramelized onions, peppers, avocado and lime) while Ms Westie chose the margarita scallops (5 pan fried scallops finished in tequila, mango and mint salsa). Our dishes included the obligatory refried beans and rice. We concluded the meal with bread pudding and a Kahluha flan. I brought a piece of the bread pudding back to our starship for our scientists too analyze as a possible weapon of mass destruction. Everything with the exception of the bread pudding was pretty good though pricey. Our bill weighed in at a hefty $74.95 before credit for the pull tabs. ($10, 2.5 Forks) Stardate 042307 Though I hit quads #19 this AM, I returned to the room singing the blues because my money I did lose. We were feeling like Fearless Fosdick this morning so we headed to Terribles for the breakfast buffet. The buffet is available for only 250 points for two on a recurring basis. I was a bit hesitant so I scoped it out before making a commitment. We enjoyed the fresh fruit including both grapefruit sections and melon plus cooked to order eggs done easy over. Just like Douglas Mac Arthur, we will return. 250 in comp points covered our entire tab less gratuity. . (2.5 Forks). We drove to the Clark County Library where I returned my almost unread book and printed out our boarding passes. On our return to the Tuscany I redeemed most of my cashback and comps with the latter applied to our hotel bill. For lunch we shared the tiramisu cake which was a total waste of calories. (1 Fork) Later that afternoon we met Tiger of LVTalk fame and his wife Shirley for drinks at where else but Ellis Island. This was one of those Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus type meetings. Tiger and I exchanged emails for two years so meeting him was like renewing a friendship. We easily picked up on our usual discussions of Las Vegas, coupons, stock market and college basketball. Meanwhile Ms. Westie and Shirley were introduced for the first time, but easily fell into conversation covering family, pets and their dopey husbands. Time seemed to fly and next we knew Tiger found himself at the bottom of a very long list for a table at both the restaurant and BBQ. Belatedly it dawned on us that we didnâ€™t have reservations anywhere and we were two sheets to the wind and working on the third. We tried to join Tiger and Shirley for dinner, but their assigned table was for two so we headed back to the Tuscany and dined at the Cantina restaurant. For those counting this marked the fourth Mexican meal of our trip, but I managed to avoid huevos rancheros for the past 2 weeks. The chips were mediocre, but the salsas and hot bean dip were comforting. We each ordered a combination platter of cheese enchilada and chili relleno. The bill approximated $10 after applying a 2/1 coupon from a mailer with the balance paid by comps. ($4, 2.5 Forks). Stardate 042407 â€“ My quest for quads #20 this morning ended in failure at 5:30AM. We quickly showered and dressed before heading off to Terribles once again. This time the Bougainvillea coffee shop received the nod because the buffet doesnâ€™t open until 7AM. The wait staff seemed a little sleepy so service was very slow. I started acting like I had ants in my pants as the clock ticked down and then finally after a 10 minutes wait our waitress appeared. We each ordered the deuces wild special â€“ 2 pancakes, 2 eggs and 3 slices of bacon. The pancakes were way too thick, but the eggs and bacon were very good. The $10 bill was covered with comps. ($2, 1 Fork) I was now in a slight panic as we proceeded to the consolidated facility â€“ damned if I didnâ€™t take a turn into long term parking garage. I drove up one level, down another before arriving at the exit gate. I explained Ms Westie must have taken a wrong turn and the attendant allowed us to exit without paying. We took a few turns before ending up on I-215 and were at the consolidated facility moents later. Check-in went smoothly and we were soon whisked away on an airport shuttle. Our return to Hartford was uneventful and pretty boring. I hesitate to use the phrase â€œmission accomplishedâ€, but we managed to win at the Tuscany though Ms. Westie and I found ourselves on polar ends of the video poker bell curve. We tried 15 new restaurants, enjoying most, and saw 9 show/lounge acts. Thanks for taking the time to read and Nanoo Nanoo to one and all.