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The Westies Get Smoked in Las Vegas

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by westie, May 13, 2017.

  1. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,116
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60

    My Trip Report

    The Westies Get Smoked in Las Vegas TR

    April 21 – May 5, 2017



    Many of you have commented in the past on how much you love reading long and detailed trip reports, this one falls into the category of “be careful of what you ask for”.



    Trip Highlights



    Here, there and everywhere an Elvis.

    Food porn on steroids.

    Grizabella married a Lettermen.

    Smoke gets in your eyes

    Jimmy John’s john.

    Putting a smile on Jacques Pepin’s face.

    Brunch with Buddha.

    Frankie Moreno, the love child of the Rat Pack and Janis Joplin.

    Ellis Island – yesterday, today and tomorrow.



    April 21 - Travel to Las Vegas was via a nonstop Southwest Airlines flight from Bradley International Airport. Ann was flying courtesy of frequent, though frequency at our age is not a given, flier mileage while yours truly paid $450 give or take a penny or three.



    But let us not get too far ahead of ourselves, I am sure everyone is curious about our fur baby, Brody, a.k.a. bed hog. Once again he secured a suite at Beaverbrook, though I have seen neither beaver nor brook, Animal Hospital for the duration of our trip.



    We parked Ann’s RAV4 at Executive Valet Parking for the all-in price of $75 thanks to a LAZ Fly online coupon that was accepted by the manager. Meanwhile, my vintage RAV4 was in a local automotive hospital undergoing multiple transplants procedures as a result of an ice missile launched from the roof of a tractor trailer truck that hit the right front fender and a rear bumper replacement following a parking lot incident while I was in a supermarket.



    We experienced mild turbulence on the flight along with an unusually entertaining flight attendant.

    Viva Las Vegas!



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    Our flight arrived on time and we were soon on the shuttle destined for the remote parking facility. I re-booked our car rental several times over the course of the preceding six months ending up with a mid-size Kia Forte with 33,389 miles from Dollar at an all-in price of $145 per week plus double frequent flier mileage.



    Once again we stayed at the Grandview, a timeshare located across the street from the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa. My reputation must have preceded me because check-in went smoothly and the timeshare sales person handed out the parking pass without going into a long winded sales pitch.



    After tossing our luggage on the bed and putting our gambling funds in the safe, we headed off to the karaoke lounge at Ellis Island Hotel, Casino and Spa for our usual 2 glasses of wine and a bottle of water to go courtesy of a Las Vegas Advisor (LVA) coupon. In a startling change of pace, Ann chose pinot grigio while I ordered our customary merlot.



    After we were sufficiently lubricated, a short drive was taken to Tuscany Suites where we dined at Pub 365. http://www.tuscanylv.com/restaurant/pub-365/ The front bar and dining areas were reasonably busy for a Friday evening, but we were seated in the large back room where there was only one other table occupied.



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    Ann ordered fish and chips while I chose the Stumptown brisket dip (coffee rubbed brisket presumably Stumptown’s), Swiss cheese (not likely from the land of yodels), caramelized onions and au jus).



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    Hers was okay, while I remain stumped as to why mine was so mediocre considering the menu description. The meat was dry with nary a hint of coffee flavor. The highlight of the meal, the only one as it turned out, was a side order of sweet potato fries that I begrudgingly shared with you know who or is it whom? (LVA, $23.94, 2 Forks out of a possible 5)



    April 22 – I was up and ready for my first video poker session at Green Valley Ranch Resort (GVR) at 3AM. Session #1 of the trip started off a little choppy, but turned decidedly ugly after about 3 hours so I did my impression of Roberto Duran by calling out no mas.



    I made an interim stop to visit Albertson where I picked up milk, grapefruit, apples and OJ on the way back to the room.



    Our first brunch of the trip was at Baguette Cafe where we once again ordered vegetable quiches with side salads that were enjoyed on the outside patio on a gorgeous day. Baguette may be a little hard to find, but it is easy to love. Our quiches are always generously sized, moist and delicious.

    ($22, 5 Forks)



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    We stopped at a nearby table to request a picture of a toddler who was just finishing a chocolate croissant. The child’s mother told us a photo of the baby, presumably before dining, and her husband have been featured on the Wounded Warrior Project’s website.



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    Our next stop was the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park to see the Paiute: A Journey Through Traditional and Contemporary Art exhibit. http://parks.nv.gov/parks/old-las-vegas-mormon-fort There was very little in the way of art on display and it was impossible to tell what was part of the permanent collection and what, if any, was part of the exhibit.



    Also scheduled this day was a portrayal of soldiers from different historical eras in the fort’s courtyard that drew little to no interest from either us or anyone else. None of the participants were particularly outgoing, preferring to stand around in period costumes and talk to each other. Lastly, we walked around the old fort and took a few photos. ($2, 1 Clap)



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    Ann put in 1.5 hours on the vp machines in the late afternoon, suffering a nominal loss. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I dosed for an hour and then proceeded to the South Point’s equestrian center where I watched an American Quarter Horse Association’s event for possibly 5 whole minutes. ($0, 0.5 Claps)



    Monique was handling the bar tending chores this evening in the karaoke lounge at Ellis where a pinot grigio was requested by the lady and a merlot for her charming companion.



    Dinner this night was at Pier 215, an Asian seafood restaurant located near the junction of Durango and I-215. http://www.pier215restaurant.com/ Our appetizer of tempura vegetables was a ripoff, 1 thin slice of five different vegetables for $5. We fared far better with our entrees. Ann requested miso salmon with brown rice risotto while shrimp and scallop tobanyaki with assorted mushrooms, asparagus and yuzu soy sauce caught my eye. Both dishes exceeded our expectation. ($66.21, 4.5 Forks)



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    We closed out the evening by strolling around the South Point Casino before stopping by the Grandview Lounge to listen to Wes Winters. There were signs posted in the casino indicating Vanessa LeGrand would be joining Wes, but either the signs were wrong or Vanessa pulled a LeGrand no show this evening. (2.5 Claps)



    August 23 – VP Session #2 proved to be little better than VP Session #1. Breakfast was served at Hi-Coffee Cafe on Stephanie St. The Hi is in references to the cafe’s Hawaiian origin and the fact that 100% Kona coffee is served. The cafe was not busy on this Sunday morning so our order of blueberry and white chocolate scones was quickly filled. Ann also enjoyed a small, which turned out to be fairly large, coffee. ($8, 3 Forks)



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    We stopped in a nearby Sprouts Farmers Market for dried apricots, strawberries, cashews and granola before returning to the room.



    In the late afternoon we headed off for the Starbright Theater in Sun City Anthem, but made a short detour to Pita House Authentic Mediterranean Grill for spinach fatayers (pies) takeout.



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    The flavor of the spinach was good, but the encompassing pastry was more like a roll and way too dense. ($4.29, 2 Forks) http://www.pitahouselv.com/



    This sold out show, Las Vegas to Broadway and Back Again, starred Mark Preston and his wife Michelle Murlin.



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    Michele opened the show by singing a number of songs from shows she appeared in on Broadway including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Les Miserables” and “Cats”. In addition, she performed several hilarious impersonations including Cher and Tina Turner. Mark was a member of the The Lettermen for 11 years so his portion of the show included a 6 minute segment featuring several of the group’s hits plus a large measure of comedy. ($40, 4.5 Claps)



    In the early evening I set the car on auto pilot so we were soon seated in the karaoke lounge in Ellis Island with glasses of Chardonnay and merlot in our paws.



    We next made the short drive south along Koval Lane then east on Harmon before pulling into the parking garage at the Hard Rock. https://www.hardrockhotel.com/las-vegas-dine/oyster-bar.php Our timing proved to be impeccable because we immediately found a pair of unoccupied stools at the Oyster Bar.



    Executive Chef Bradley Manchester, former owner/chef of the shuttered Glutton restaurant, has upped the ante by modifying a number of classic oyster bar dishes as well as introducing several new ones. Ann went with the combination seafood pan roast that included Old Bay seasoning that she judged to be better than Palace Station’s. High praise indeed.



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    I gravitated to the curried coconut seafood stew with jasmine rice and pickled chile, a perfect marriage of impeccably fresh seafood and curry sauce. We were also served Old Bay spiced potato chips directly from the fryer. ($60, 4.5 Forks)



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    On our return we made one circuit around the South Point before calling it a night or so we thought.

    As we approached our exterior door, shared with the occupants of the adjoining room, we saw a (inebriated) man placing a piece of cardboard between the door and latch. Caught in the act, he explained his friend was at Kmart picking up something for dinner and did not have a key. This should have been a tip off – who shops at Kmart for dinner?



    An hour later I was awakened by Ann because security was attempting to gain entry into the adjoining room and there was an overwhelming odor of smoke. Soon the fire alarm went off and an announcement made to vacate the building. I opened our door and was immediately engulfed in smoke. Apparently our “under the influence” neighbors vacated the room with food still baking in the oven.



    It was probably 20 minutes or more later that we and other building occupants were able to gain access to our respective rooms.



    April 24 – There was a noticeable odor of smoke in both our room and the hallway when I departed early this morning for GVR. Again, I could not hit the deuces, but I did receive double points for my efforts.



    We enjoyed fruit and juice in the room before stopping by the front desk to complain about the lingering odor. The manager offered us a different room, but we declined so a QT Thunder was temporarily set up in an effort to deodorize our room. http://www.queenaire.com/qt-thunder-qtt3f/ Later in the day I figured out how to open our windows which over the course of the following few days finally did the trick.



    It was almost lunch time when we finally settled in at a table in Sarah’s Kitchen in the Klondike Sunset Casino. http://www.klondikesunset.com/sarahs-kitchen/ We each ordered the $1.49 breakfast special which included a choice of eggs (easy over), 3 strips of bacon (or sausage), home fries and toast (make ours wheat). Service was excellent and the eggs were perfectly prepared, but a 1/2 fork deduction was made because the bacon could have been crispier. ($7.52, 3 Forks)



    I drove us out to the ghost town known as Lake Las Vegas where we walked around Monte Lago Village. One store front after another had “Available” signs posted in the window. The only operating businesses seemed to be restaurants and water activities.



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    Our next stop was Heritage Park. http://www.cityofhenderson.com/henderson-happenings/parks-and-trails/locations-and-features/heritage-park I chose this park because it encompasses 3 dog parks and a walking trail, but was surprised to discover it also included both aquatic and senior centers. We spent time talking to a few locals who had brought their dogs to the park for exercise. ($0, 4 Paws)



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    We also stopped at the German Bread Bakery for a quartet of rumballs and a piece of Mandarin orange cake.



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    Fearing the cake might go stale, we ate it almost immediately after returning to the room. The filling was very good, but we were a little disappointed by the cake which was not very soft.

    ($2.80, 2.5 Forks)



    Naps for 2 were in order though Ann soon headed off for a vp session while I read and spent time in the computer room.



    In the late afternoon we headed off for Ellis Island for you know what.



    Dinner was provided by WuHu Noodle in the Silverton Casino. http://silvertoncasino.com/dine/wuhu-noodle/ Orders are taken at the counter in this small restaurant, but all the food is freshly prepared. We had coupons good for free appetizers so we started with salt and pepper shrimp and crab rangoon. The shrimp should have been crispier and the rangoons should have had more crab flavor, but who could argue with the price? For entrees we shared Singapore noodles and eggplant with ground pork which were measurably better. This was way too much food so we departed with doggy bags in hand that eventually ended up in the garbage can. ($23.98, 2.5 Forks)



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    Once again we walked around the South Point before retiring to our room where we shared a rumball. ($1.25, 4 Forks)



    April 25 – VP session #4 was very similar to VP sessions #1, #2 and #3.



    In other exciting news, I ran out of shaving cream and had to lather my face with soap suds.



    After juice and fruit in the room, we drove to Cafe Breizh. https://www.cafebreizh.com/ On entering I heard a chorus of “Monsieur Westie” emanating from the pastry display case which included the most eye appealing croissants and other pastries I have ever found in Las Vegas. I was sorely tempted by those little voices, but I chose a chevre, mushroom and bacon gallette that was a bit dry.



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    Ann’s sugar deficiency was (temporarily) satisfied by a caramel butter, apple and cream crepe that brought a smile to her face and a vow to return. Though the restaurant no longer participates in https://www.restaurant.com/ chef/owner Pierre Gatel allowed me to use one. ($12.98, 4 Forks)



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    Next up was a visit to the North Premium Outlets where Ann picked up a top at Chico’s while I exited with a pair of running, or in my case shuffling, shoes from Asics.



    On our return to the room we washed a load of clothes before Ann traipsed off for a losing vp session and I retreated to the bedroom for a nap.



    My casino host at GVR made dinner reservations for us at Hank’s Fine Steaks & Martinis, but on entering I asked the hostess if we could split the comp between the lounge and dining room in order to take advantage of happy hour half pricing on martinis. The hostess said yes and so advised the bartender. https://greenvalleyranch.sclv.com/Dining/Hanks.aspx



    On the first round Ann went with an Elvis Presley martini (Stoli raspberry and vanilla vodkas, light Creme de Cacao, and fresh strawberries) while I chose the blackberry martini (Tangueray gin, St. Germain elderflower liquer, Funkin Blackberry, basil syrup and fresh lemon juice). So Good!



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    For round 2, you knew there would be a round 2, Ann got a bit tipsy on a Bo-Pino (Absolut raspberry vodka, Chambord liquer, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice) and I may have got giddy on a Ginger martini (Absolut pear vodka, Stirrings ginger liquer, St. Germain liquer, pineapple juice, lemon twist and raspberries). ($6, comp, 4.5 Sips)



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    Shakily we made our way to the dining room where we were presented with menus and a bread basket with soft herb butter. We shared a California salad with each of us ordering the petite 8 ounce filet mignon that was nicely charred while remaining medium rare as requested. These were tender and flavorful, and among the best we have experienced. For sides we chose grilled asparagus that still had a nice snap to them plus a baked potato. Service throughout was excellent. ($26, comp, 4.5 Forks)



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    On exiting we walked around GVR followed by another walk around the South Point. Shortly after entering our room, we, actually Ann, heard an argument emanating from the adjoining (smoke filled) room. One of the 2 occupants felt he was not being appreciated enough and threatened to kill the other.



    April 26 – During VP session #5, I hit a week’s worth of wild royals and my first quad deuces of the trip. Prior to departing, I checked my points at a kiosk and discovered last night’s adult beverages were charged to my slot card rather than to the comp so I stopped by players club to explain the situation and was told to check back later in the day. Since it was senior day and I am not a local, I asked to be credited with double points.



    We had breakfast in the room prior to departing for Elements Massage where Ann received her usual pampering in the form of a Swedish massage. ($59, 4 Hands)



    I killed time by stopping by the Paseo Verde library where I donated a hardcover book and purchased a used one, not the same one, for $1. I also stopped by the GVR slot booth and was told their manager needed to talk to Hank’s manager later in the day. This all took longer than I expected so I was already running late to pick up Ann when I managed to catch every single stoplight on the way.



    Plans for a pizza at Blaze were put on hold so we looked for something to hold us over until dinner in the same shopping center and found Jimmy John’s just 2 doors down. https://www.jimmyjohns.com/ After looking at the menu, we decided to share the Italia sub – 3 micro thin slices of cold cuts, a similarly skinny piece of cheese, tomato slices and shredded iceberg lettuce in a skinny, taste challenging roll made for one pitiful sandwich.



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    The only interesting part of our visit to Jimmy John’s was the men’s john. ($8, 2 Forks)



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    I then dropped off Ann at the Green Turtle Salon ($48, 4 Curls) for her usual wash and blow drive while I killed time shopping for strawberries and cashews at Sprouts.



    Ann has been unable to charge her Galaxy 6 in the car so we stopped at a Verizon store to pick up a charger that could be used in the room. I am sure everyone reading this TR at this point is on the edge of their respective seats as our exciting trip continues to unfold.



    Later in the day she won $10 playing VP while I killed time writing trip notes and reading.



    We got our happy on this evening in the room by sharing a bottle of very mediocre bottle of King Stag Cabernet Sauvignon while munching a bunch of cashews.



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    It was back to GVR for dinner at Barracha Mexican Cantina. http://borrachavegas.com/ We were served the usual bowl of chips with a tasty housemade salsa. The roasted corn salad described as grilled corn, cotija and panela cheeses, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, pickled red onion, jicama and cotija cheese vinaigrette looked mouth watering on the menu, but the portion size was minuscule, the cotija cheese was limited to a few small pieces and the corn must have come directly out of a freezer bag with no time spent on a grill.



    We fared much better with our entrees with Ann choosing the chille relleno and me the slow roasted pork carnitas. The carnitas were different than I have experienced previously in that it was not shredded, but it proved to be both tender and delicious. The accompanying Spanish rice though was beyond blah and largely ignored. Alicia, our server, seemed disengaged. It being senior day, I was charged ½ points. ($5, points, 2.5 Forks)



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    This evening was closed out with a pair of rumballs ($2.50, 4 Forks) after we walked around the South Point.



    April 27 – Session 6 had me down on the canvas when I was dealt 3 deuces and caught the fourth for my #2 quads of the trip. I managed to turn in a small profit after hitting several wild royals immediately prior to calling it quits.



    We decided to have brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Rosallie – Le French Cafe. http://rosallie.com/ Once again we ignored the beautiful looking pastries and chose quiches that come with salads. Ann went with our usual chevre while I tried the tartiflette that has been introduced since our last visit. Hers was excellent as we have come to expect, but mine (tartiflette cheese, bacon, sauteed onions and red potatoes) would put a smile on Jacques Pepin’s face. ($24.97, 5 Forks)



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    Our next scheduled stop was downtown to view the “Tilting The Basin – Contemporary Art” exhibit on Commerce Street, but there was construction in the area and we could not figure out how to get there.



    On our return we went to the gift shop at the South Point to pick up a bottle of wine and encountered about 100 school children exiting the movie theater, a number of whom gave us high-fives. One of their teachers raised an arm and called out “seniors crossing” in order to allow us to exit in front of them.



    Ann’s afternoon vp session was a loser, while my afternoon nap proved to be a winner.



    Later in the afternoon we drove to Planet Hollywood, parking for free in the garage. I had a coupon good for same day tickets to see “All Shook Up”. After picking up the tickets, we had an hour to kill so we walked around the Miracle Mile Shops. The only miracle I could see about this shops is how any of them manage to stay in business.



    The intimate theater was on the 2nd floor where we found our seats in the first row, stage left. Comedian impersonator Rich Natole served as announcer and stage hand while providing comic relief during the intermission. On the negative side, most of his impressions were of dead comics and none were spot on.



    Travis Allen’s, backed by a 3-piece band, first set covering Elvis’ early years was pretty good, but when he donned a Las Vegas outfit for the second half the quality of the show elevated several notches. Travis has the look, voice and mannerisms of “The King”. Viva Las Vegas! ($24.75, ebay, 3.5 Claps)



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    After the show we showed up at Ellis where we enjoyed a glass of wine in the karaoke lounge before bringing the second one into the recently renamed Village Pub and Cafe. Ann had a Reuben sandwich while I enjoyed a bountiful order of fish and chips. ($11.64, LVA, 3 Forks)



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    Last edited: May 13, 2017
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  2. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,116
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60
    April 27 – Session 6 had me down on the canvas when I was dealt 3 deuces and caught the fourth for my #2 quads of the trip. I managed to turn in a small profit after hitting several wild royals immediately prior to calling it quits.



    We decided to have brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Rosallie – Le French Cafe. http://rosallie.com/ Once again we ignored the beautiful looking pastries and chose quiches that come with salads. Ann went with our usual chevre while I tried the tartiflette that has been introduced since our last visit. Hers was excellent as we have come to expect, but mine (tartiflette cheese, bacon, sauteed onions and red potatoes) would put a smile on Jacques Pepin’s face. ($24.97, 5 Forks)



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    Our next scheduled stop was downtown to view the “Tilting The Basin – Contemporary Art” exhibit on Commerce Street, but there was construction in the area and we could not figure out how to get there.



    On our return we went to the gift shop at the South Point to pick up a bottle of wine and encountered about 100 school children exiting the movie theater, a number of whom gave us high-fives. One of their teachers raised an arm and called out “seniors crossing” in order to allow us to exit in front of them.



    Ann’s afternoon vp session was a loser, while my afternoon nap proved to be a winner.



    Later in the afternoon we drove to Planet Hollywood, parking for free in the garage. I had a coupon good for same day tickets to see “All Shook Up”. After picking up the tickets, we had an hour to kill so we walked around the Miracle Mile Shops. The only miracle I could see about this shops is how any of them manage to stay in business.



    The intimate theater was on the 2nd floor where we found our seats in the first row, stage left. Comedian impersonator Rich Natole served as announcer and stage hand while providing comic relief during the intermission. On the negative side, most of his impressions were of dead comics and none were spot on.



    Travis Allen’s, backed by a 3-piece band, first set covering Elvis’ early years was pretty good, but when he donned a Las Vegas outfit for the second half the quality of the show elevated several notches. Travis has the look, voice and mannerisms of “The King”. Viva Las Vegas! ($24.75, ebay, 3.5 Claps)



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    After the show we showed up at Ellis where we enjoyed a glass of wine in the karaoke lounge before bringing the second one into the recently renamed Village Pub and Cafe. Ann had a Reuben sandwich while I enjoyed a bountiful order of fish and chips. ($11.64, LVA, 3 Forks)



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    Aug 28 – VP session #7 was another loser. I checked at a kiosk prior departing and discovered that my points had been restored. Amen!



    After enjoying some fruit and OJ in the room, we drove to Bellagio.



    We then took the tram to Aria where we stopped at the MyLife club to get our Jean Philippe Patisserie MyVegas rewards loaded on our slot cards. There was a 20 minute wait for crepes to be prepared, but we would not be denied. Ann ordered the mixed berry souffle crepe that we have enjoyed several times in the past while I chose to go savory with an Italian crepe (galette) that included sauteed zucchini, roasted tomatoes, arugula, ricotta cheese spread, basil pesto and a copious amount of prosciutto.

    ($3, MyVegas, 4 Forks)



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    On our return to Bellagio, we stopped at the MyLife desk where Ann presented her shiny new MasterCard and was upgraded to the Pearl level with the primary benefit for us being free parking.






    We then made the hike to the Forum Shops to find a store that carries Raymond Weil watches so I could have my battery replaced. We stopped in the Cartier store where one of the sales clerks directed us to the Tourneau shop which carries a wide variety of watches including mine. After filling out an incredibly detailed form, we were told it would take 30 minutes and to make ourselves comfortable. ($37.85, 4 Tick Tocks)



    It was when we attempted to exit the parking garage that we discovered the upgrade to Platinum takes between 12 and 24 hours to become effective so assistance from an attendant was required to exit without incurring a $12 fee.



    I was exhausted by the time we returned to the room, but Ann had enough energy to play vp, hitting her #1 quad deuces of the trip.



    The Ellis Elvis, Gary Benson, was performing in the karaoke lounge so we placed our rumps on empty bar stools in order to enjoy both the wine and song. The place was hopping with one long table of regulars and several others occupied by a large group of family and friends from Washington State celebrating a young lady’s 21st birthday. (3 Claps)



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    Monique, our server.



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    Plans for a rack of baby back ribs at Sin City Smokers in Henderson were cast aside after being informed they were sold out. Plan B was adopted, dinner at Thai Chili, located in the same shopping center. The restaurant is quite small and on the frumpy side, but service by the owner was very good. Seating for approximately 30 is available, but most orders were to go. We shared orders of pad Thai and chili mint with ground chicken that were decent though you, we and they can do better. ($30.38, 2.5 Forks)



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    The night was concluded after we walked around the South Point and listened to Wes Winters in the Grandview Lounge.



    April 29 – Session 8 ended in a draw with the highlights being many 5OAKs and a few wild royals.



    After breakfast in the room, we headed to the Silverton for a craft show in Veil. Oops, one day early, someone should have consulted his schedule rather than relying on his memory.



    We amused ourselves by walking around the casino, shopping in the adjoining Bass Shops and viewing the inhabitants of the aquarium.





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    Lunch was at Blaze Pizza where we shared an Art Lover pizza (artichokes, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic and dollops of red sauce). The overall flavor was good, but the crust was a little too thin. I had a gift card so our only cost was for a single diet cola. ($2.11, 2.5 Forks)



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    We, mainly me, washed clothes in our room in the afternoon. Ann also put in another winning vp session after hitting her #2 quads of the trip.



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    There was a car show in progress at Ellis, but we did not let us deter us.



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    We dined at the recently opened Meraki Greek Grill. http://www.merakigreekgrill.com/ One of the owners formerly operated the Great Greek in Henderson where we previously enjoyed a few meals good meals. We started off with a shared order of spanakopita that was excellent.



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    Ann chose the gyro Meraki while I went (too) hearty by ordering a gyro plate that included a copious amount of meat plus Greek rice, Greek salad, tzatzki, and slices of pita. Even though I did my best, I could not come close to finishing my meal. My sole complaint, admittedly a small one, is the Greek salad included lettuce and not enough feta. ($27.91, 3.5 Forks)



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    We did our usual walk around the South Point before stopping by to listen to Wes for a half hour.



    April 30 – Today’s VP session resulted in my #3 quads. Some would say I gave most of it back, but, in actuality, GVR took it from me.



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    After OJ and fruit in the room, we headed off to Chaiya Meditation Monastery for its month food fair. http://www.chaiyacmm.org/ The parking lot was full so we parked on a residential street leading to this Buddhist monastery.



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    We checked to see what the various vendors were offering after exchanging $10 for $10 in Thai coins. There was no signage, but each vendor proved to be friendly and helpful. Upon deciding what we wanted to try, we encountered long lines at most of the tables and even longer wait times for the food to be prepared.



    We started off by ordering a pair of roti canai ($1 each) that were prepared on a grill and topped with condensed milk and powdered sugar before being rolled up. The estimated time before pick-up of 15 minutes proved to be optimistic, but worth the delay because each tasted far better than one would expect given the list of ingredients. (3 Forks)



    There was no wait time for our second order, 4 skewers of BBQ pork satay ($5) that were also enjoyable. (3 Forks) In addition, we picked up a bottle of water ($1). Our last order, pad Thai, proved to be a steal at $5, but the estimate for pick-up proved of 40 minutes proved to be highly optimistic.

    (4 Forks)



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    Though the cost of brunch exceeded my initial $10 buy-in, we discovered the vendors readily accepted American dollars.



    Prior to departing, we visited the main meditation room and walked around the outside courtyard. The entire experience was unique, one I would not hesitate to repeating in the future should our vacation coincide with the date of the food fair which is often the last Sunday of the month. (4 Claps)



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    Since it was Sunday and I had checked our schedule earlier in the morning, we drove to the Silverton with a reasonable degree of confidence that the Las Vegas Craft Show would be in progress. The show was smaller than expected, but Ann thought it was great so who am I to disagree? I picked out a bib for Coady, our niece’s soon-to-delivered baby boy, while Ann purchased a box of chocolates for her favorite pedicure technician.



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    I meditated in our room for the remainder of the afternoon while Ann put in a losing vp session.



    Happy hour was held in the room where we had a few glasses of lousy Chardonnay and some almonds before setting off, once again, for GVR where we held reservations at Bottiglia Cucina Enoteca. https://bottiglialv.com/



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    This may or may not have been our mode of transportation this evening.



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    We ignored the basket of bread that arrived, but not the glasses of Spring Fling that we ordered. A roasted beet salad that included buffalo milk yogurt, hazelnuts, blue cheese and honey proved to be almost as tasty as it looked.



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    For entrees we each selected pan roasted halibut that were accompanied by farro risotto. The crust of the fish was nicely seasoned and the flesh was both moist and delicious. Our sides of broccoli rabe and wood roasted cauliflower were tasty, albeit a bit disappointing because each was served at room temperature.



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    At this point we could have and should have stopped, but Ann ordered a tiramisu and I a slice of chocolate caprese cake. The tiramisu lacked flavor and the cake was just so so.



    Those of us in our declining years are offered 2 for 1 entrees on Sundays between 5 and 7PM which I parlayed with a $100 comp. ($20, Comp, 3.5 Forks)



    Ann and I dragged our bodies around the South Point before retiring for the evening.



    May 1 – VP session #10 was another loser though I avoided financial ruin by making a modest comeback shortly before departing.



    I stopped on the way back at Donut Mania to pick up donuts named the Nevadian and strawberries and cream. http://www.donutmanialv.com/ These were shared though my share proved to be a bit smaller than her share. Both donuts were fresh, but we found neither to be worth the extra calories.

    ($3.80, 2.5 Forks)



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    We ran out of deodorant yesterday so it was best to avoid us early this morning though I noticed the label stated 48 hour protection.



    I fell asleep while Ann prepped for the day so we did not exit the room until 11AM. First stop was Ellis Island where we used American Casino Guide play $10, receive $10-$100 in freeplay coupons. Ann’s initial play did not register so she ended up playing an additional $10. We won $10 in freeplay, netting a combined $12.50 profit, of which, I walked away with a mere $2.



    Next we drove to Taco Y Taco, but a sign on the door indicated it was closed in solidarity with International Workers’ Day. Prior to returning we stopped at a CVS for the much needed deodorant.



    We then visited the South Point with me dining on a $1.25 hot dog and Ann putting in a losing vp session. This was the first day of a new promotion so Ann put 300 points on each of our slot cards and swiped for prizes, earning each of us 2,500 points worth $7.50.



    The mandatory visit to Ellis was followed by dinner at Olay’s Express, a Thai restaurant by way of Hawaii. We shared a beef salad (yum neau) that our waitress recommended over the waterfall salad that I initially requested. For entrees we ordered Thai basil stir fry and stir fried vegetables, both with chicken. All the ingredients were fresh and satisfying. ($20.79, Groupon. 3 Forks)



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    The sun was low in the sky on exiting but we had sufficient time to take a long walk around Sunset Park, discovering several new amenities since our last visit.



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    Once again we concluded an evening by walking around the South Point.



    May 2 – VP session #11 ended with my wallet noticeably lighter.



    We were served breakfast this morning at Served in Henderson. http://servedlv.com/ We initially thought the restaurant was closed, but we were told by our waitress that the blinds are closed in the morning because of the intensity of the suns rays.



    In a less than surprising decision, Ann ordered the baked berry French toast (sliced bread pudding, seasonal berries, sliced almond, powdered sugar and a barbecue glaze). http://servedlv.com/



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    I initially ordered the corned beef bread pudding Benedict, but was told the kitchen was out of corned beef so my second choice was the roasted pork belly Benedict served with breakfast potatoes.



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    Both entrees were bone dry as were my potatoes. The absence of any other customers during our entire visit suggests others may have also come to the conclusion that the elevated menu prices are not justified by the quality of the food. ($42.77. 1. 5 Fork)



    We headed off to the Hidden Falls Park for a walk, but this small park offered little in the way of landscaping or shade on this very (90 degrees) hot afternoon. There were several teens utilizing the skate park, but the dog enclosure was empty suggesting the local dogs were demonstrating better judgment those teens.



    On our return we made a circuit of the South Point before I departed for the Grandview’s computer room and Ann put in a vp session with today’s swipes netting her another 2,500 points (the lowest price offered) and me a $10 dining credit. Better yet, she hit quad deuces for the third time.



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    There may have been a visit to Ellis Island before we made the short drive to Urban Turban this evening. http://www.urbanturbanusa.com/ A 2-piece band was playing while a vegetarian buffet was in progress though there were no other customers at this early hour except for a table of 3 who also ordered off the menu.



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    The crispy, thin papadum with mint chutney that was served to kickoff our meal was very good. We settled on orders of garlic naan, butter chicken royale and palak (spinach) chicken that were served with basmati rice. I sent back the “garlic” naan because it was obviously not “garlic” naan plus it was dried out. In a quick flash a fresh order of “garlic” naan appeared which was actually “garlic” naan.



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    The butter chicken sauce was excellent though both entrees had less than $2 of chicken split between them and each morsel was tough. Also, the spinach looked and tasted like it had been recycled from yesterday’s buffet table. Not to be completely negative, we did enjoy the music.

    ($26.73, Groupon, 1.5 Forks)



    Chef Tarun Kapoor



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    Entertainment this evening was provided by Frankie Moreno and band in the Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center, but we arrived early so we walked around the beautiful grounds.



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    I purchased tickets well ahead of time so we got prime seats a few tables from the stage for his sold out performance. Our table mates turned out to be the former head wrestling coach of Michigan State Tom Minkel, who retired in 2016 after a career spanning 25 years, and his wife.



    We last saw Frankie play the piano and sing 10 or more years ago when he frequently played in Brendan’s Pub at the Orleans so I was unprepared for how much his showmanship has evolved over the intervening years. He is known for mixing up his shows so when this one was billed as “The Great American Song Book”, I was thinking along the lines of Sinatra, Bennett, and Goulet. Hell no, this was a party that included him entering carrying a ½ gallon jug of booze, 2 intermissions on stage so the band (mostly him) could enjoy a sip or two, lap dancing, sing-a-long, dancing, audience requests and participation.



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    This is this evening’s set list:



    Mustang Sally – Wilson Pickett and Elvis

    I want to get lost in your rock n’ roll – Bob Seger

    Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet

    Friends in low places – Garth Brooks

    Take it easy - Eagles

    Sweet home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

    Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond

    Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

    Route 66 – Nat King Cole and others

    Superstition – Stevie Wonder

    You lost that lovin’ feeling – Righteous Brothers

    Old Time Rock N’ Roll – Bob Seger

    Plus a couple of originals and a George Strait tune that I did not recognize.



    The show lasted just shy of 2 hours with us wishing for more. ($98, 5 Claps and an encore)



    May 3 – Session #12 is now in the record books as being more of the same and that ain’t good. I headed east to the Boulder Highway in order to pick up an apple fritter that was a little less crunchy as in the past – an off day? ($1.85, 2.5 Forks)



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    I spent most of the morning reading while Ann played vp on my card, losing $60, but winning a $25 resort gift card.



    Shortly before lunch we made our way back to Blaze Pizza where we shared a Veg Out pizza (zucchini, mushrooms, red onion, mozzarella, gorgonzola and dollops of red sauce) that I modified by adding fresh basil. Once again I used a gift card and shared a soda. ($2.11, 3 Forks)



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    I dropped Ann of at Green Turtle Salon for another wash and blow dry and make quick stops at Paseo Verde Library to donate a book and GVR to get 2 x points credited.



    Later in the afternoon Ann played some more vp, earning a $10 breakfast/lunch comp, while I multi tasked by washing/drying our clothes, reading and napping.



    Following drinks at Ellis, we proceeded to Viet Bistro on S Grand Canyon Drive. http://www.vietbistrolvnv.com/ Our shared orders of shaking beef and seafood crispy noodle were good to very good though the beef could have been a little more tender. ($28.36, 3 Forks)



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    During our nightly walk around the South Point we encountered a pair of new retirees from Washington, Michael and Chris, who we congratulated.



    As I went to pull out the room key, I realized I had left my credit card in the restaurant. Though the restaurant was now closed and the employees gone, the owner answered his cell phone and confirmed that he had the card.



    May 4 – We never got around to using our freeplay coupons at any of the Boyd casinos on this trip and I needed to keep our points current so I headed over to Sam’s Town. The sole quarter FPDW machine was occupied so I sat down at one of the 10-coin nickle machines. You can probably guess what happened, but I am going to show you anyways.



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    Since the $100 win was 40% of what I would have received on a quarter machine, I regard this as my #3.4 quads of the trip.



    I cashed out after earning a few points on each card and returned to GVR where I spent much of the remaining predawn hours handing back my winnings, but, just when it appeared to be kaput, I was dealt 4 lovely deuces for my #4.4 quads of the trip. I immediately hit the cash out button and went to retrieve my camera only to discover on my return that someone, and I know who you are, had played a hand in the interim and departed leaving cigar ashes all over “my” machine.



    I was more than a little hesitant to dine a the Garden Buffet in the South Point because we have not been happy the past 2 visits, but the $10 dining and free breakfast/lunch coupons we held alleviated some of my fears.



    I started off with a free Bloody Mary and a plate of fresh fruit with yogurt. My second and last plate included a surprisingly good spinach and cheese omelet, bacon and hash browns. ($4, 3 Forks)



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    It was now time to retrieve my credit card, and we did, at the Viet Bistro - thank you. The next stop was the South Premium outlets where I returned my new “shuffling” shoes because they proved to be uncomfortable and then purchased 6 pairs of socks at the Adidas outlet.



    Later in the day Ann put in another vp session while I picked up a newspaper and an inexpensive bottle of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon. The total charge was $7.77 so I was confident this was an good omen for our futre. Ann’s last 2 swipes netted us a pair of now worthless free breakfast/lunch buffets.



    We next attended the live broadcast of Dennis Bono’s radio show in the South Point’s showroom. Today’s guests included comedian Henry Cho and singers Clint Holmes, Corrie Sachs, Michael Monge, Spectrum and Vanessa LeGrand. ($0, 4 Claps)



    The Dark Horse Cabernet proved to be pretty decent for a $5 plus change bottle of wine though it maybe only so in comparison to the other cheap wine we have drank on this trip.



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    Dinner was at Don Vito’s Italian Restaurant where we shared a shrimp cocktail and calamari appetizers. The shrimp, numbering 4, were good sized, but the dish would have benefited by more cocktail sauce. The calamari were lightly fried, but the portion size proved to be too large for us. http://southpointcasino.com/dining/don-vitos-italian



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    A bread basket with the Don’s excellent dipping sauce proved too tempting though I knew we had over ordered since entrees include a Caesar salad or soup with us ordering the former. Ann ordered the chicken Angelo entree with me going for our usual eggplant Parmesan. Both were very good though belt busting. I used our $25 gift card plus 2 ACG free appetizer coupons. ($41.96, 3 Forks)



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    Following one last tour around the casino, Ann put in a losing vp session while I retreated to the computer room to print off our boarding passes.



    May 5 – My #14 vp session of this trip did not improve our financial situation. I again stopped to fill up the tank and picked up one last apple fritter at Friendly Donut that was much crispier than our prior one. ($1.85, 4 Forks)



    Returning the rental car proved to be hassle free and, after catching a waiting shuttle, we were soon boarding our flight to Chicago where we had a 2 hour layover during which we enjoyed our last meal of the trip at Luigi Stefani’s. Ann ordered an Italian combo panini and me a deli salad trio. Hers was very ordinary while the combination of 3 salads in my dish proved to be very good. ($24.20, 2.5 Forks)



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    May 6 – Brody attempting to put Beaverbrook Animal Hospital in his tail lights.



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    Ann’s winnings on this trip were once again more than offset by her companion’s losses.



    Congratulations to those who completed the current assignment, you will receive a grade of 5 Claps at the end of the semester.







    ”You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.”

    --------Janis Joplin-----------
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
    • Like Like x 19
  3. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
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    Location:
    Abilene, Texas
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    Fantastic Trip Report!! As always, wonderful
    pictures and descriptions of everything you
    did. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. MGinCO

    MGinCO Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
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    Location:
    Denver suburb
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Hey now!
    I loved the look of those Martini's!

    Thanks for sharing your adventure in forks!
     
  5. wam

    wam Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
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    Location:
    new york
    westie, once again a five star trip report. thanks so much for all the information and pictures. glad to see that bradley manchester is still in las vegas.
     
  6. 21wins

    21wins VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
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    Westie- Great as usual. I always look forward to your TR.

    The pictures were outstanding and the information and detail you provide is always so helpful.
     
  7. jasmyne

    jasmyne Tourist

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
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    I enjoyed thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip report. Thanks for sharing.
     
    Vegas, here I come!
  8. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
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    Wisconsin
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    Westie,

    I love reading the details of your reports. You enlighten us with the variety in the Las Vegas region. There can be so much enjoyment one can partake in, besides countless hours of gambling and drinking. While the things you two do in Vegas are not for everyone, you are able to convey the fun you both have. Thank you.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. dcrawf

    dcrawf Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
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    Metropolitan Cleveland
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    Great report, great photos! Always enjoy your restaurant descriptions especially since you get to parts if Vegas we never seem to venture into.

    I give you 5 claps !
     
  10. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    I'm always hungry after reading your reports :). Another great one. Groupon has tickets for Frankie Moreno through to August; will check later to see if theybhave them again for September; sounds like an enjoyable show.
     
    Bruno Mars Concert Trip
  11. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Thanks Breanna - I assume if the show at the Golden Nugget is a hit it will be renewed, however, he did mention at the end of his Smith Center show that he will be back later in the fall. I know we will be looking to see him again regardless of where he is performing.
     
  12. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Great report, interesting stuff to see as well. thanks
     
  13. JeJas

    JeJas VIP Whale

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    great trip and great report!
     
  14. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
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    Yay for westie food porn TRs. Thanks for sharing another great TR with us. Loved all those deuces too.
     
  15. pebbles

    pebbles VIP Whale

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    We were at Ellis Island on a few days that you were too, may I ask why you drive over each day for a beverage? It seems a long way to go every day.

    We stayed at Platinum next door, and didn't visit as often as you did. Is there a secret coupon that I missed?
     
  16. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    The Las Vegas Advisor has a coupon good for 3 rounds of drinks for 2 people that we used.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Geogran

    Geogran Tea Sipper

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    Encore.

    5 claps, 5 bars, 5 stars.

    Thanks and wish we could tag along just one time!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. DrLect

    DrLect Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The North Coast
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    Nice report! But I am curious why you now stay at the Grandview instead of South Point? It seems as if Ann plays VP at SP but you do not?
     
  19. Geddy3

    Geddy3 Tourist

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
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    Perfect review, we get these for lunch meetings at work all the time and they are always like this. Not sure why some people love them.
     
  20. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Correct. FPDW has an EV that is 1% higher than NSUD so I play in the mornings at GVR because the South Point does not offer FPDW. As far as staying at the Grandview, we like the amenities and I have been getting a good deal.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017