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Pre-Trip Report for 5/1-5/6: Help Wanted

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DaveP, Mar 16, 2005.

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  1. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report


    When: Arriving late Sunday night, May 1st. Not MM2, but what the heck.
    Where: 5 nights at Treasure Island
    Who: I'll be solo until noon Tuesday, when my parent get to town. Will probably spend a few hours a day with them.
    Other: I'll have a rental car. I've been to Vegas 15+ times, some solo, some with family.

    This is my list of "things to do in Vegas". Much too much for one trip, but I'm going to make a stab at it. I'm looking for comments ("Don't do that!!") or suggestions (what show to hit, which strip club to visit). Bold items are things I think I'm going to focus on. The rest depends on time, alcohol, and gambling success.

    Places to eat
    - Grad Lux Cafe. Never been before.
    - Get a 1 1/2 pound burger at The Plaza Diner
    - Peppermill. Never been before, but dying to try it.
    - Check out the Freakin' Frog for a beer or two
    - Sam Woo Bar-B-Q
    - Burger Bar at Mandalay Place
    - Burger Palace at IP
    - Dishes at TI
    - Paris buffet breakfast. I've only been there for dinner before.
    - Get a beer sampler at a brew pub, probably Monte Carlo (been there before) or Ellis Island (never been)
    - Pig out on meat at a Brazilian restaurant - Samba Grill, Rum Jungle, Yolie's. Only been to Samba before.
    - Get a Double-Double-Animal-Style with grilled onions, no tomato at In-N-Out. I've been there once in my life, but only had a basic burger.
    - Sonic (only been there once before)
    - Try Schoop's for a burger.
    - Capriottis for a Slaw Be Jo
    - L&L Hawaiian Barbecue on Maryland Pkwy
    - Tacos Mexico on W. Sahara
    - Eat 'Em Sandwiches on E. Sunset

    - Play some Hold 'em. I've played 7-card stud in the casinos, but never Hold 'em.
    - Play more blackjack

    - Go see Ka at MGM
    - See We Will Rock You at The Paris
    - Forbidden Vegas at the Westin
    - Wonders From Down Under at The Hilton (?)
    - Barry Manilow at The Hilton
    - Penn & Teller
    - Zumanity (Not sure about this one. I'm open minded, but I can't tell from reviews if this is entertaining or not.)
    - Ron Lucas at The Rio

    Other Things To Do/See
    - Check out the new Wynn.
    - Valley of Fire
    - Garden of Eden sanctuary at The Flamingo
    - Spend some time people watching, probably at Harrah's Carnival Court
    - Visit a strip club. Never been to one in Vegas. Looking for a place where it's not too weird for a guy to go alone, and where the women don't "harrass" constantly.
    - Watch some Kereoke at Tequila Joe's (not enough liquor in Vegas to get me to participate)
    - Gambler's Book Store
    - Visit a casino(s) I've never been too - Boardwalk, Palms, GVR, Orleans, most downtown casinos.
    - Get a specialty drink somewhere - like a yard of some really strong drink somewhere
    - Guggenheim at The Venetian (so I can call this a cultural trip)
    - Go to the Atomic Testing Museum
    - Check out the Casino Legends museum
    - King Tut museum
    - Ride the monorail at least once
    - See the Freemont Experience (been to the old one, prior to the new high resolution version)
    - Thunderstorm at the Desert Passage
    - Watch the whole fountain show at Bellagio (only seen pieces of the show before)
    - Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts
    - Bacchus Show at the Forum Shops (Just saw pieces before while walking by)
    - Great Hall Epic Battle at the Forum Shops (Same as Bacchus show)
    - Dragon Battle at Excalibur
    - See an IMAX movie at The Luxor
    - Sky parade at The Rio (saw it once before, and enjoyed it)
    - Visit the wine cellar for a tasting at The Rio
    - Go to the top of the Stratosphere and avoid the rides at all costs.
    - Wildlife walk at The Tropicana
    - Go to Neonopolis (is it still there?)
    - Titanic exhibit at the Tropicana

    This is a pretty ambitious list, I know, but I'm going to do what I can in between gambling binges.

    What do you think? Anything I should scratch off the list? Anything to add? There's plenty I've done and seen as far as restaurants, shows, and attractions goes, but I'm always open to suggestions.

  2. Skyy

    Skyy High-Roller

    Sep 15, 2004
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    Since you have a car check out Lake Las Vegas.
  3. milehiman

    milehiman VIP Whale

    Sep 21, 2002
    Scottsdale, AZ
    The Bacchus show isn't worth it. Very boring, the other show is OK.

    The Dragon show at the trashy castle (Excaliber) isn't there anymore. Big empty moat.

    The Bellagio gallery has a Monet exhibit and the Guggenhiem is showing the treasure of ancient Egypt - go to the Monet exhibit.

    Sonic? Are you talking about the drive-in hamburger place? Go back to In and Out instead.

    I heard the King Tut musuem isn't worth the money.

    Great people watching place is at the Forum shops at CP
  4. sanonofresurfer

    sanonofresurfer Dude

    Jul 12, 2002
    Somewhere at the Beach
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    The Flamingo sanctuary is cool to walk through if you're staying there, but I wouldn't go out of my way to visit it.
    Repeat after me: I will not eat anything at the IP!
    Absolutely play Hold 'em. I was intimidated when I first sat down at a 2/4 table. But after I found out that my $100 buy in last no less then 6 hours, I'm hooked!
    Valley Of Fire: Go, and then tell me if it's worth it to drive out there. I've always wanted to make the trip too.
    Go into La Bayou downtown and ride the "Grain Train." Most of the MM2'ers will make a stop there. It's a must do. The Yard Long glasses are really only a foot and a half for $8 of frozen rum drink. For $1 more, you get a hefty shot of extra rum or vodka. For $2 more, you get a hefty shot of 180 proof grain alcohol (which I highly recommend!). One puts you on a nice level (although the entire roof of my mouth went numb)...two will get you pretty tanked. I don't think anyone has finished 3 and lived to tell about it. And remember, if you do it...start the drinking day with it...DON'T try drinking one of them after you've been drinking all day.
    If you ride the monorail, DON'T get off at MGM. The walk through the casino to the strip is longer then the monorail ride from the Flamingo to the MGM. Seriously, it's at least a 20 minute walk through the casino.
    And one more thing. ARE YOU HIGH? How can you go to the top of the Statosphere and not ride the Big Shot or their other new ride? Don't waste your time on the roller coaster though.
    Most of your list is on my list...but I still only manage to see 2 or 3 new things a trip.

    Good Luck!
  5. vegasbound

    vegasbound VIP Whale

    Mar 3, 2002
    Las Vegas
    My suggestions & recommendations

    - Get a 1 1/2 pound burger at The Plaza Diner - Diner was closed for remodel, not sure if it has reopened. I have had it, it’s tasty and huge.
    - Burger Palace at IP - Skip it, since you have a car I recommend Kilroy’s (2 locations: Flamingo at Grand central pkwy; Charleston at Buffalo)
    - Dishes at TI – I recommend it
    - Get a beer sampler at a brew pub, probably Monte Carlo (been there before) or Ellis Island (never been) Both are worth a visit;
    - Sonic (only been there once before) Skip it – try Fatburger instead
    - Capriottis for a Slaw Be Jo – Bobby is a favorite at my office

    - Valley of Fire - worth a visit
    - Watch some Karaoke at Tequila Joe's - Check out karaoke after 9pm at Ellis Island and try the EIB Beers. Beforehand, go for dinner either to the restaurant for steak special or the BBQ Patio for ribs.

    - Get a specialty drink somewhere - like a yard of some really strong drink somewhere - Must do, La Bayou!!!
    - See the Fremont Experience – worth a visit
    - Thunderstorm at the Desert Passage – Skip it
    - Watch the whole fountain show at Bellagio – Must do
    - Bacchus Show at the Forum Shops – Skip it
    - Great Hall Epic Battle at the Forum Shops – Skip it
    - Dragon Battle at Excalibur – Skip it
    - See an IMAX movie at The Luxor - Can’t recommend it, I fell asleep.
    - Go to the top of the Stratosphere and avoid the rides at all costs. Recommend it and each the rides (except high-roller), especially the Big Shot.
    - Go to Neonopolis (is it still there?) It’s there, there's a gambling museum at Lost Vegas. Movies are cheaper than other theaters in town and Jillians can be fun.

    Most importantly, have a great time!

    [ March 16, 2005, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: vegasbound ]
  6. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Nov 25, 2002
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Barry Manilow? To paraphrase Vegas Vacation, how 'bout we go out back, you give me half your money, and I belt out Mandy until 'you send me away'? ;)

    Going to a strip club solo is weird? Solo guy travellers are the foundation of the industry. So I've heard, anyway.

    Neonopolis is pretty dull, unless you are really into old neon. If so, go north from Fremont on the street that leads up to Lady Luck for another couple cool ones.

    The Grand Lux is a good pick. You might also consider taking your folks to dinner at one of the downtown gourmet places - Great Moments, Redwood Grill, Center Stage, something like that. The latter is more for the view, and it depends on what your folks like, but it's kind of an 'old vegas' dining experience, IMO.
  7. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Skyy -
    I forgot all about Lake Las Vegas. I've never been, but it's on the list now.

    milehiman -
    I added a new section to my To Do list- "Do only if you're in the neighborhood". I'll add the Bacchus show and the King Tut museum to that list. Thanks for the tip on the Dragon show. Wouldn't want to make the trip and find it's gone. As far as art goes, I don't think I could tell you the difference between a Monet and some ancient Egyptian artifact. I may do one, maybe both, maybe neither. Depends on which casino I end up in.

    As far as In-N-Out vs. Sonic goes, I'm definately doing In-N-Out. I may do Sonic again, just because they're 24 hrs., and my flight gets in at 11:00 PM. Just a quick bite on the way to the hotel.

    sononofresurfer -
    The Flamingo sanctuary is another thing I just put on the "Do only if you're in the neighborhood" list. I ate at the Imperial Palace buffet a long long time ago. I was pretty naive to Vegas, and expected a Chinese food buffet. It wasn't Chinese, and it wasn't all that good. Even back in the 80's. I've heard mixed reviews about the Burger Palace.

    I'm going to play Hold 'em. Got to. Got to. Maybe some 7-card stud too. If they go bad, I'll probably make it to the Valley of Fire too.

    The Grain Train sounds good. I'll have to leave the rental car at TI if I try that, and do a cab instead. Then I can do the extra shot. Maybe that'll get me on a Stratosphere thrill ride.

    vegasbound -
    I've heard rumors that the 1 1/2 pound burger is available at the LVC until the Plaza Diner reopens. Dishes is a definate, since I got free passes as part of my TI package. I'll add Kilroy's to the To Do list. I did Fatburger on my last trip, and wasn't overly impressed. The food was good, but the service was bad and that kind of hurt the first impression. I may give it a second chance though.

    Thanks for seconding La Bayou and Valley of Fire. Ellis Island brew and their specials may get combined into one trip. And thanks for the "Skip It/Must Do" recommendations.

    doctor_al -
    I'm embarassed to say it, but I liked Barry Manilow music when I was in high school. I've heard he's got a good show, but it's not that high on my priority list. Just a maybe.

    I'm not into neon, so I think Neonopolis drops down on my list.

    Grand Lux is pretty close to a definate. I've heard such good reviews on this site, we'll have to try it.

    Thanks everyone. I can't wait. I can't wait. I can't wait....
  8. farkingidiot

    farkingidiot High-Roller

    May 19, 2003
    The Great Midwest..Ugh...
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Fatburger: I gotta say Dave, try it gain. I don't know what I like better, watching the folks in there or the food. I'm not going to overhype it or anything, but I've had the opposite experience from yours. Both times, I had someone walking around with "Can I take that for you and give you some room." "You need anything?" I was pleasantly surprised.

    Here's what may seasl the deal for you going. I've been two times. First time, late afternoon, with a bunch of guys on their way to getting drunk. They loved the food and thought it was "cool."

    Second time, midnight? With my wife, and SHE loved it. Couldn't believe how nice this kids was who brought us extra napkins, cleared our trays, etc.

    Barry Manilow: Okay, I LOVE him. I really do. And you'd never know it looking at me. I'm a 6'1 black man who at any given time will have 50 cent, Q-Tip, or Snoop in my Cd players, but when it all comes down to favs, I loves me some Barry Manilow. A girl I work with and I would skew Barry projected crowd demographics all to hell. We call him our secret shame.

    Grand Lux?? Are you kidding. You HAVE to go. I say that because they have a really large menu with a surprisingly nice variety and it's well made. I used to run a kitchen, so I know a tad about food.) Lux is great for an extremely nice dinner with good size portions, or the 5 am drunken foodfest.

    That's a nicee little list. I may just print that off and use it as the blueprint for next time I go.
  9. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

    Apr 20, 2004
    that is a great list, with many of my to dos on it.

    on behalf of the beef industry, god bless you.

    grand luxe, yes it is a must. i will even let you off the hook and say that you should not have a burger there! everything is great, portions are huge, you will like it.

    let us know about wynn, our trip in mid may does not leave us much extra time on the strip, and my guess is that it would take a good half a day to look things over, if that is indeed the case, we may just skip it until the august trip.

    i havent rode the grain train either, but did find a back bar in fitzgeralds one time, with big slushee machines full of all the frozed drink flavors, then they just added the booze, while you sat there and played the video poker machines, it is on my list to find that place again.

    have fun, looking forward to your reports.
  10. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    OK farkingidiot (nothing personal, especially if you're 6' 1"), you've convinced me. I'll add Fatburger back on my To Do list. I forgot what I ordered last time, but the problem was that they got the whole order wrong. That was the location near MGM Grand. Maybe I'll get off the Strip and try another location.
  11. YoungGun

    YoungGun VIP Whale

    Aug 4, 2003
    Southern California
    As far as shows and attractions go, just choose a few you must do and set out to do them each day. In all of my trips to Las Vegas combined I've probably visited less than 10% of the places I wanted to due to constantly being sidetracked (or, in the case of Manhattan Express, chickening out). I can comment on your food choices though. I'll only comment on the places I have some knowledge of so here goes:

    Places to Eat:
    Grand Luxe- I'm a big Cheesecake Factory fan and the Grand Luxe is operated by the same company. Personally, I would choose the Cheesecake Factory over the Grand Luxe if I had to choose between the two, but the Grand Luxe isn't a bad choice either.
    Sam Woo- This chain used to be found only in Asian areas, but they're starting to open all over the place now. I have eaten at the Las Vegas one and it is slightly more Americanized than some of the others, but if you know what to order you can still get a pretty good authentic Chinese meal.
    Sonic/In-N-Out/L&L- Sonic is eh for me and the roller skating waitress thing adds nothing for me. In-N-Out is good. I like the double-double animal style, hold the pickles. May I also suggest asking for your fries well done. L&L just opened a location in a shopping center near my house so I've eaten there a lot lately. It is decent food though nothing really worth going out of the way for. They have Spam sushi which is pretty interesting.
  12. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    kitson -
    Those big slushy machines sound like some I saw while I was down in New Orleans (i.e. Sin City II). I'll put Fitzgerald's on the To Do list. Can't beat liquor and video poker. Except maybe liquor and blackjack, liquor and Hold 'em, liquor and slots,....

    YoungGun -
    I'm a fan of Cheesecake Factory too. I've only been to the one in the Forum Shops, but really liked that. That's part of the reason Grand Luxe is high on my list. The only time I was at a Sonic was when I flew into Vegas around 11:00 on a Sunday night, and I stopped on the way to the hotel. It was pretty deserted, and there were no waitresses on rollerskates. I ordered through their speaker, and the food was run out by some guy. I guess I have to go early to get the full experience. Thanks for the tips on Sam Woo's and L&L too.
  13. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    With one month to go, the trip plans are shaping up. Here's the plan so far:

    - Leave Hartford at 6:00 PM. Have a quick bite in Cincinnati. Arrive in LV around 11:00. Wait an unreasonably long time for luggage to come off the carousel, and then pick up the rental car at Budget.

    - Stop at In-N-Out. Get a Double-Double Animal Style without tomatos, Fries Well Done, and either Vanilla Shake, Iced Tea (if it's fresh brewed and unsweetened), or Diet Coke (Yes, diet. Not for health reasons, but for the taste). Eat in the car for the In-N-Out experience of food-in-a-box.

    - Check into TI, try the $20 trick to get a Strip view (it worked last time) or other upgrade (didn't work last time).

    - Drop luggage in the room, head back downstairs for a little video poker and a drink or two. About all I can handle, since I'll have been awake about 21 or 22 hours at that point already.

    Wake up at an ungodly hour for Vegas, since my internal clock will still be on Eastern time, and I'm used to getting around 6:00 or 6:30 Eastern. Hope to sleep 'til 7:00 Vegas time, if I'm lucky.

    Breakfast - Peppermill. Maybe I'll walk and take in some "old Vegas" casinos at the same time - Stardust, Frontier, Riviera.

    Morning - Have a walk down the Strip, taking in the sights, playing along the way. Maybe catching a few of the small free attractions on my list.

    Lunch - Burger Bar at Mandalay Place.

    Afternoon - Walk leisurely back up the Strip to TI to relax a bit.

    Night - Le Reve, 7:30 showing, at The Wynn. Got the ticket. Will check out the restaurants, shops, casino while there.

    Dinner - Plaza Diner (if it's open) or Las Vegas Club for a 1 1/2 lb. Barrick Burger. Yes, another burger, but I have to try this one out. Weight-wise, it's about the same as two Double Whoppers With Cheese at Burger King. I think I can do that.

    Breakfast - Maybe the Wynn buffet. Maybe the Paris buffet. Maybe Cravings. Not sure.

    Afternoon - Pick up the folks at the airport, and take them to the hotel.

    Night - Ka at 7:30. Section 103, row R.

    Thats about as firm a plan as I've ever had in Vegas. Don't know if I'll be able to stick with it, especially the food quantity, but I'll give it my best.
  14. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Jan 25, 2002
    Southeast of Sin City
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    If you're hitting the Grand Luxe, I have two words for you--Asian Nachos. We ordered a *lot* of different stuff--all good--when the T2V gang invaded during the Madness, but the Asian Nachos really stand out as one of the better things I've eaten in Vegas.

    Also, by all means, get thee to the Peppermill for breakfast, preferably if you're hungover. Their quart-o-Mary will fix you up right! [​IMG] If vodka for breakfast isn't your thing, than a $5.50 milkshake will certainly make you feel better (Even better than Mia Wallace's Five Dollar Shake at Jack Rabbit Slim's!).

    The microbrew beer sampler at Main Street Station is excellent, as is the brew at Ellis Island. Ellis Island is also a damn fine place to eat a cheap meal. If you're there drinking beer, might as well try the BBQ. Can't be beat.

    Also, you can't go wrong with seeing the Fremont Street Experience with a Yard of La Bayou's finest in your hand. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Since you're down there already, you could also play some 2/4 Holdem at the Plaza. They run a good game there, with plenty of fish at the tables (ahem, Terry...) (Sorry dude, Doc Al made me!)

    Although some may disagree, but I think I'd rather see Manilow at the Hilton than We Will Rock You. I've heard nothing but good reviews about the Manilow show, and a lot of poor reviews about We Will Rock You. In fact, they do a lot of advertising on the local radio stations for WWRY, and the music from the show they try to sell it with actually sounds pretty bad :(

    By the way, you don't need to go to the Guggenheim to experience culture. Just hop on the 301 bus and take a ride down the strip--Vegas culture in spades!

    Kellee-- You ate the 1 1/2 pounder at the Plaza?!?!? Impressive. [​IMG]

    Mikey [​IMG]

    [ April 01, 2005, 10:49 PM: Message edited by: HurricaneMikey ]
  15. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

    Nov 2, 2001
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I might add this to my "might do" list as well. I can just see the look on my buddy's face when I order it [​IMG]
  16. JR Swift

    JR Swift VIP Whale

    May 15, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Hmmm...a 1 1/2 pound burger, eh? I could somehow see this in my future. Afraid some diminishing returns are going to set in but why not.
  17. rje

    rje High-Roller

    Jan 14, 2003
    ambitious list... on several past trips to vegas, i have always made a list of stuff to do. outside od shows bought in advance, and a nice diiner or two where reservations were made in advance, there have always been things on the list that i never got around to... i would make a short things that you really want to do, and make sure you do then, then just play the reat by ear and see where the day takes you...

    a few things on your list i would personlly like to do on my next trip:
    -See Wynn

    i would also try the grand lux. i have never been to the one in vegas, but have been to the one in chicago. very good food, and reasonanlr prices. the family is actually going to the grand lux here in chicago for my cousins b-day on thursday...
  18. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Again - thanks everybody. With each response, I have to add something new to my "to do" list. Now it's the Asian nachos. I've heard lots of people say good things about them.

    Then Mikey gives me more good ideas. The milkshake at The Peppermill is going on the list (I'm not a bloody mary person). And the microbrew sampler at MSS. And at Ellis Island. And the BBQ at Ellis Island. The list keeps getting longer and longer. I'm going to have to start planning my fall trip to continue working on it.

    It's good to hear some input on Manilow too. I've been going back and forth on that and We Will Rock You. I love Queen music, but I can always pop a CD into the stereo. I've got two shows booked, and I really have to leave myself plenty of time for drinking and gambling. I'm guessing I can get tickets to We Will Rock You if I'm in Vegas already and need to kill some time. But I'm thinking Barry Manilow is something to book in advance. I just don't know what to do. Maybe a drink will help....
  19. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Oh, and about the 1 1/2 lb. Barrick Burger, if anyone's going to try it:

    I contacted the food/beverage people at The Plaza. They said that the Barrick Burger is now being offered at The Upper Deck at The Las Vegas Club since the Plaza Diner is closed.
  20. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I just had my first win of the upcoming trip.

    I got an offer from TI for comp nights and an event the same time I'm going to be staying there. The bad news is, it's the same week I've already booked and I can't combine it with the package I already have. The good news is, the event is the...


    I'm sure these tanned little ladies are going to be all over the casino looking for 40-year old guys playing low limit tables. And I'll be arriving just in time to help them out.

    Can you guess what I'd like to add to my "to do" list now?
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