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TG Weekend Trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by joanna, Nov 30, 2004.

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  1. joanna

    joanna Tourist

    Sep 14, 2003

    My Trip Report

    Long time trip report lurker, first time at writing one, so I hope you enjoy the taste of Vegas through thirty-something-almost-marrieds eyes.
    It was me, 34, and my fiancé? David, 37. This is our 5th trip to the desert together and is definitely my favorite all time vacation. We travel 1 or 2 times a year and, in fact, we haven?t gone anywhere else on any other vacation since 2002 except Las Vegas. I?m hooked!
    Travel and Hotel:
    We flew from BWI on Friday the 26th at 8:00 am and landed in Vegas at around 10:00 local time. A very smooth flight, except for the anticipation! I borrowed a portable DVD player for the trip and it made the time go much faster. We picked up our car at Hertz and headed for Downtown. We have always stayed at the Golden Nugget and I love it there ? beautiful and classy, but not a monstrosity. I?ve thought about trying the Strip sometime, but would feel like I was being unfaithful! David makes our trip arrangements through Private Arrangement and we were due a free night. The last few times we?ve stayed here, we tried to upgrade to the North Tower, just for the convenience of being closer to the casino and Fremont, but have always been turned down because they were sold out. I had been trying to talk David into trying the $20 trick, but he wasn?t going for it. We were told North Tower was available this time for an extra $25 per night, maybe not worth it for some, but we wanted to try it and the free night offset the upgrade price. We much preferred the North Tower simply for the convenience ? the trip to South Tower can be long after a night of ...whatever. Comparing the two, we?ve stayed in King rooms in both now. South rooms are bigger, North has a whirlpool tub (for one) and two sinks ? and if you aren?t used to sharing a bathroom, two sinks can save your vacation! Both have the Vanity table, in the North it?s outside the bathroom with sink, and in the South it?s out in the room w/o sink.
    First stop Friday on Fremont was Golden Gate for lunch. I had the obligatory Shrimp Cocktail and Chili. David has a huge sandwich with roast beef and I don?t remember what else.
    Dinner was the Main Street Station Buffet. I wanted to try this since it makes so many of the ?Best of? lists. Friday was also their Seafood, which we thought we would like. The line was looooong ? we waited 1-½ hours, and having traveled from the East coast that morning, it seemed even longer. When we joined the line, it didn?t seem too long and I thought it would be a shorter wait, or else we may have reconsidered ? but once you?re there, I felt like we should stick it out. The food was good. Peel and eat shrimp, cracked snow crab legs, raw oysters, calms, lots of fish, plus the other standard buffet items. If you?ve been to Bellagio or Paris, this is not the same, but good in it?s own way for only $15.99 for the Seafood Night.
    On Saturday and Sunday morning we had Golden Nugget?s Champagne Brunch at the buffet. I like this little buffet! It?s no comparison size-wise with many, but the food is always hot, fresh, and well prepared. Plus, the best Bread Pudding ever ? not the usual yesterdays-bread-and-pastry-in-a-pan variety. When we arrived at the buffet at 8:30 Saturday morning, I immediately looked over at the dessert side to find it, and it wasn?t there! We had always had it at their brunches before and I was so disappointed. David asked the chef behind the line when it would be coming out and he said not until 10:00. I was so bummed; we certainly would be long gone by then. First, we got the chef to agree that he would give me a piece if we came over to the food line and asked for it. I was OK with that and went back to the table with my breakfast. I guess the discussion continued among the chefs while one of them was making David?s omelet, and they agreed to bring it out early. I felt a small victory, like we had affected change! In fact on Sunday, we got to the buffet to about 9:00 and we found bread pudding. Ok, I?m a geek, but small things make me happy!
    We were open for dinner on Saturday. We were at Caesar?s and I remembered that Bobby Flay had just opened a restaurant there (Mesa Grill). I like him on Food-TV and wanted to try it. We went in early at about 4:00. I was assuming that it would be like Emeril?s or Spago ? café seating for walk-ins, dining room for reservations ? but it?s not. There is just one dining room, open for lunch, then closing before dinner at 5:00. No problem seating us at 5:00, so they took our name and we came back an hour later. I thought it would be a bit more casual dining than it was (entrees were $30 and up, sommelier, etc). Delicious food! I had Pork Tenderloin, grilled and spiced well, just so it didn?t knock-your-socks-off. David had rotisserie chicken, also spiced just right. We shared fabulous chocolate and pear shortcake with ice cream for dessert. The service was impeccable as well, not a need unmet. It wasn?t what I thought it would be, but loved it all the same. I would definitely go back, but for us, this is more of a special occasion place, not the type of place we usually happen across.
    Sunday night, we had already made plans for Mon Ami Gabi. Also a great place with a great view of the Bellagio Fountains from our seats by the window. I had read that the French Onion Soup was the best, so we both had it?definitely the best. I could have stopped then, I was so full from the bread and the huge crock of soup. David has a steak with blue cheese, I had skate ? a thin, flaky, mild fish ? both were great. And of course in a French restaurant, Crème Brulee for dessert and the best coffee known to man if you enjoy the high-test variety. We were also surprised to learn that this is a chain with a location in Bethesda, MD ? not far from where we live and we had no idea. We?ll be visiting again for sure back home!
    All in all, a great weekend chow fest ! Be warned, don?t go to Vegas when you?ve been dieting for your wedding dress for a few months! It?s too easy to go completely overboard! I already knew I was going to treat myself to whatever I wanted the whole weekend, but this was out of hand!
    We are complete low rollers. I like penny and nickel slots and cheap roulette (I know, terrible game with terrible odds, but I think it?s fun and that?s why I play cheap). David plays craps and BJ, both at $5 or less if we can help it. We scanned Fremont on Friday to what was up where. David was on a quest for the Holy Grail ? Single-deck BJ at 3:2 for $5. I knew he?d never find it and would have to settle on some compromises and I was right. He did find SD 3:2 for $10 at Four Queens and that was the best he could find. I was happy to find 50cent roulette at a few places and intended to go back later in the weekend. But of course, on Friday night the limits went up and I had to stick to slots. David played a little SD BJ and some craps. No big wins for either of us. Saturday we ventured to the lower end of the Strip. We knew Stratosphere has a single zero roulette and wanted to check it out, but at a $10 limit there was no way I would play. David actually blew $20 on two spins to no avail. We played $1 craps at Slot-a-fun, my first time actually playing and now I actually understand it a bit better, usually David has to re-explain the whole game every trip. We didn?t win anything, but it?s a fun table! Saturday night, with not a cheap table to be found, I made a bold move and suggested a walk on the wild side. Yes, our first trek to El Cortez. Now I read this board and I had an idea of what we were getting ourselves into, but David was just along for the ride and had no idea. After getting over our choking on the smoke, we found the 25-cent roulette table and played for quite a while on a small amount. Quite the unique crowd to say the least!! We ended up there again on Sunday afternoon, so we didn?t get scared away! All in all, I came home about $60 light and David maybe $125, but played a lot so I?m OK with that. Not too bad for a whole weekend of entertainment.
    Saturday afternoon, we checked out the new Fourm Shoppes. The new section is beautiful with spiral escalators ? I?ve never seen these before! I pointed out many, many items that I would like for Christmas and my upcoming birthday, but I don?t expect to see them ? he was only half paying attention and I could see the pain that the price tags caused on his face!
    There were bands on Fremont Street Friday and Saturday night. The one we liked was an 80?s band called Love Shack ? they were really fun! The male singer dresses like the guys from Devo and the girl was dressed like Terri Nunn from Berlin. A blast from the past for the thirty somethings out there.
    On Sunday night, we saw ?O?. This was our 3rd Cirque show, so we knew what to expect, but I was blown away! The stunts in the water were spectacular. I really can?t even describe it ? you have to be there!
    Other Miscellaneous Vegas musings:
    · They were taking apart the floral display at Bellagio to prep for Christmas by the time we got to it Sunday night. I was bummed.
    · We thought there would be drunken debauchery on this trip, but I guess we?re getting too old! We were both quite buzzed after one yard from the Bayou! The closest we came was when I tried to climb on the car by the Poker area at the Plaza (I had that song about 1985 in my head ? about shaking your ass on the hood of Whitesnakes? car). I was of course pulled down quickly before making a fool of myself!
    · We only saw the fountains from our table across the street at Mon Ami Gabi; the rest of the shows we were around for were cancelled due to high winds. Another bummer!
    · What?s the reasoning behind raising the limits only to attract no players? I saw tables full on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon when the limits were low, but empty tables in the evening when they raised the limits. I totally get that the higher the bet, the more the casino makes, but they make nothing at all with no players.
    · Binion?s is not what it used to be ? ?nuff said.
    · Someone downtown needs a craps table right on Fremont just like Slots-a-Fun!
    · Saw Celine?s hubby, Rene, playing at a reserved table at Bellagio Saturday night. Question: Does Bellagio have a separate high limit room for folks like him? He was at the table right on the corner of their high limit area with $100 tables. I would think he would prefer something private.
    · We?re getting married in July, so our honeymoon will probably be our only vacation next year. I makes me sad to have no idea when we?ll get back. I arrived home at 9:10 Monday night, turned on the TV and what did I see immediately ? flash pan down the strip on ?Las Vegas? ? I had a bit of a tear L. Hope you enjoyed our view of the town!
  2. DaveP

    DaveP VIP Whale

    Aug 24, 2004
    At work
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks Joanna! You're a woman after my own heart. A trip report that goes right to the food! Gotta love it.
  3. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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

    I *loved* this trip report...lots of good eats, lots of gambling, and lots of great info.

    I've always said that if I owned the Horseshoe, aside from the obvious changes, I'd put a couple of tables outside under the lights of Fremont Street. How fun would that be! I can't believe the people in charge won't do this.

    Of course, it's the same people that would rather a table stand empty and hope for a drunk with deep pockets shows up, than to provide a cheaper game that would easily be filled.


  4. jenaphir

    jenaphir Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2004
    we also love the golden nugget buffet. my mother is a bread pudding addict. the golden nugget uses steve wynns mothers recipe. i found a recipe for it online one time, but i cant remember where.

    im usually in vegas every thanksgiving (except this one - withdrawal is a bitch) and i always get to see them just starting the bellagio christmas display. this year will be the first year i get to see it completed. its almost a fair trade off for having to wait an extra month to go.

    thanks for sharing your report - i loved all the details!
  5. Vegas Tonya

    Vegas Tonya Margarita Connoisseur

    Mar 30, 2004
    Fabulous Las Vegas
    Great report. I will have to try the new Bobby Flay place. Sounds like great food was found all over Vegas. I love going to Vegas and not eating in the same place twice...Even if you are there for a week or two.

    Thanks for posting.
  6. joanna

    joanna Tourist

    Sep 14, 2003
    Thanks for your comments, all.
    Jenaphir - I have the recipe that you're talking about. I searched it out online a few years ago to make on Christmas. I'll dig it out and post it in the Misc. board.
  7. Thekiller

    Thekiller Tourist

    Jan 6, 2004
    Joanna, you didn't say where you were taking your honeymoon. Why not Vegas?

    Just about every other report has a mention of Mon Ami Gabi. I'll have to give it a try next time. Does that translate to "my friend talks too much" [​IMG]

    Thanks and good luck in July
  8. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

    Apr 20, 2002
    For a lurker, that was an oustanding trip report. You made the read quite interesting. Hope to hear more from you in the future.
  9. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Nov 25, 2002
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    "Someone downtown needs a craps table right on Fremont just like Slots-a-Fun!"

    Amen. 'Course, somebody also needs to throw the T-shirt vendors out of the Pioneer Club, and run Binions like an actual casino, and - hey, where did this soapbox come from and how did I wind up on it?

    Nice report. I'm looking forward to seeing the new Caesars wing. Sure, it's just a mall, and I never buy anything there, but it's fun to walk around in.
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