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The Wrong Side of Goodbye

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by westie, Nov 17, 2016.

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  1. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,450
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60

    My Trip Report

    October 22 - November 5, 2016



    When does a vacation begin is a question that I have pondered into the wee hours of the night. Is it when one begins the planning process? Steps outside the door on the way to the airport or on arriving at his/her/their final destination?



    In my case, and this is the only case that matters at this moment, it is when I book the flight, in this case early May. Also in this case it was flights, numbering 3 on 2 different carriers. The planning process also included a pair of 1 week car reservations and a pair of 1 week hotel, actually timeshare, reservations though in actuality I only figuratively booked the latter which is another story best left untold.



    Confused? Uncork a bottle of wine, read on and your confusion will dissipate by the 3rd glass.



    October 22



    Our nonstop flight on Southwest Airlines (SWA) was scheduled to depart at 3PM so we exited our home at around 10:30 AM – huh? Ann had completed Brody’s application for part time employment at Beaverbrook Animal Hospital the night prior, but we figured the interview and paperwork would take a long time, but the owners were immediately impressed by his laid back demeanor, friendliness and experience so he was hired on the spot leaving us with more than ample time to get to Bradley International Airport.



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    We looked for a place for lunch near the airport and spotted Skooters Diner. http://www.skootersrestaurants.com/ Most of the customers, the place was busy, were having breakfast, but we opted for grilled cheeseburgers that were cooked on a grill that was used for everything from French toast, burgers and very likely liver. Our overcooked burgers included grilled onions, very good, the onions not the burgers, and were accompanied by previously frozen French fries, not so good. As they say, and who are we to disagree, you get what you pay for.

    ($9.70, 2 Forks out of a possible 5)



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    Our nonstop flight on SWA were on the house, or in this case the airline, but first we had to drop off our car at Executive Valet Parking where I used a LAZ FLY coupon good for an all in cost of $50 for unlimited parking. I am a member of the Express Club, membership does have its privileges, so I was credited with 15 days parking.



    The 5 hour and 30 plus or minus minute flight to Las Vegas was uneventful other than a measure of discomfort attributed to sitting for 5 hours and 30 plus or minus minutes in a seat designed for a 10 year old. On exiting the plane we found the appropriate luggage carousel and waited for way too long for our luggage to arrive.



    We caught the shuttle to the remote parking facility and proceeded to the Budget counter where I held a reservation (thank you COSTCO) for a one week rental of a full size car at an all in price of $173, but hold the phone, you say you do not have a full size car? Oh, you are going to upgrade me to a premium car, a.k.a a Toyota Avalon, with just over 14,000 in mileage? Yes, that is acceptable.



    Next stop was the Grandview, located 7 miles south of Mandalay Bay, but only a few steps from the South Point Casino, where we were assigned a 2nd floor room in Iris Tower, overlooking the driveway. I was not too worried about window peepers, it would serve them right if they peaked in our window and witnessed a pair of seventy year olds romping around in their birthday suits.



    After tossing the luggage on the bed, we headed off for dinner at Stephano’s Greek and Mediterranean Grill on Fort Apache Road. http://stephanoslv.com/ On our last trip we dined at this local restaurant’s Henderson location and were disappointed so the owner reached out in a meaningful way, $20 coupon, that we gratefully accepted. This time we ordered gyro, say yee-row, plates that included a Greek salad, pita bread, rice, tzatziki sauce and hummus. The lamb and beef yee-row, if you will, was freshly sliced, bountiful and juicy. ($10.70, 3.5 Forks)



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    Before giving each other a goodnight kiss in front of the window, Ann & I stopped at a Walgreens for some incidentals including 2 cases of water.



    October 23



    It was shortly after 2AM when I found myself awake and almost raring to go, so go I went to Green Valley Ranch Resort (GVR). Over the course of the following 4 hours, minus a multitude of bathroom breaks, I managed to lose a small fortune. I converted my final Benjamin ($100) into twenties and played the first one, hitting a number of wild royals and 5OAKS (five of a kind), cashing out at $100. I tried repeating this performance with another $20 and sure enough I cashed out again at $100. Would this work with yet another $20? Yes – my #1 quad deuces of the trip, cashed out again.



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    Lost the next $20 in a heart beat, but on my final $20 I got a lot of play before being dealt a 2nd quad deuces.



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    Station Casinos was running another of its low value promotions on weekends in October so prior to departing I swiped our cards, netting Ann $3 in freeplay and 1,500 points ($1.50 value) on mine. I also swiped our cards so we each received 3 x points for this morning’s play.



    Prior to returning to the room I stopped in an Albertson’s for some fruit and walked over to the South Point where I picked up a Review Journal.



    Sunday morning brunch was at Rosallie – Le French Cafe on Rainbow Blvd. http://rosallie.com/ We started off sharing a canele.

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    Ann again ordered the quiche chevre salad – spinach, goat cheese and tomatoes that we have enjoyed a few times in the past. I ordered chevre chaud, but in a communication error ended up with the nord sandwich – smoked salmon, cucumber, sweet onions and capers on a crusty roll. I could have sent it back, but decided, and I am so glad I did, to try something different. Both dishes were excellent.



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    ($25.64, 4.5 Forks)



    Prior to returning to the room, we stopped in a CVS for a box of Lipton tea and postcards. In the afternoon, after reading the newspaper, Ann walked to the South Point for her first video poker (VP) (lost) session while I drove over to a Sprouts for some granola, fruit and mixed nuts.



    On returning to the room I watched most of the Patriots versus Steelers game.



    In the late afternoon with the appropriate Las Vegas Advisor coupon (3 rounds of drinks for 2) in hand plus a slot card, we arrived at Ellis Island Casino for our personal happy hour. The casino was busy with people watching football, but we managed to score 2 stools at the main bar where we ordered glasses of Robert Mondavi merlot. After 2 rounds of wine, we departed carrying our customary bottles of water.



    Dinner was at Siamese Bistro (Thai) on Rainbow, a fairly large and nicely decorated restaurant though pretty empty on this Sunday evening. New owners took over in late August, renaming the former Pin Kaow, but retaining both the chef and servers. The restaurant came up on my radar when I checked for new restaurants on Restaurant.com (R.com). https://www.restaurant.com/ We started with an order of shrimp rolls that were largely devoid of shrimp. For entrees we shared orders of spicy basil shrimp and catfish.



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    I was disappointed by the catfish that was not at all crispy while the spicy basil shrimp was merely okay. ($26.39, R.com, 2 Forks)



    We walked around the South Point Casino before retiring for the evening.



    October 24



    I lost during this morning’s VP session at GVR, giving back 50% of yesterday’s win. Double points were offered on either Mondays or Tuesdays in October so today I played on Ann’s card. It was early when I returned to the Grandview so I headed over to the South Point and purchased a newspaper that I read in the Grandview Lounge while nursing a $1 bloody Mary.



    I finally woke Ann up at 7:30AM, but she did not sleep well so I walked over to computer room in the pouring rain and killed sometime on the internet. I had promised myself that I would spend less time on the internet, totally avoiding Facebook including the MyVegas game, on this trip. The upside of this decision is I managed to start and finish 2 excellent novels, John Sandford’s “Escape Clause” and Steve Hamilton’s “The Second Life of Nick Mason”. Typically I bring one book with me, reading about 1/3rd on the outgoing flight, 5-10 pages while in Las Vegas and another 1/3rd on the return flight.



    Ann was showering when I returned to the room so it was not long before we departed for lunch (in the rain) at Frijoles and Frescas Grilled Tacos (Mexican) on W Charleston Blvd. http://frijolesandfrescas.com/ On entering I realized we had been previously dined at this location when it was another Mexican eatery. This is another fast casual restaurant where you order at the counter and servers bring the food to you.



    Ann ordered a (large) soft taco that was filled with chicken, beans, cilantro, guacamole, and pico de gallo. I chose a pair of mini (street) tacos with al pastor, cilantro, pineapple and onion.



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    The quantity of meat was above average, but the flavor was lacking. I also noticed that although an al pastor was on an upright spit, the meat for my taco had not been sliced to order. ($11.05, 2.5 Forks)



    It was still raining so on our return I dropped Ann off under the South Point’s portico and returned to the room to read and take a short nap. In our absence, the housekeeper dropped off additional towels, a pillow and some soap. I had planned to go to the South Point’s box office to purchase show tickets, but it was raining even harder so I returned to the room.



    After Ann returned from her losing VP session, we headed off to Ellis Island for drinks, demonstrating our flexibility by switching to BV merlot after learning the casino was out of Robert Mondavi.



    Dinner tonight was at Hachi – Japanese Yakitori Izakaya on Jones Blvd. http://hachilv.com/

    We settled on a series of small plates that included: cucumber salad w/seaweed & yam (3.5 Forks), bok choy ohitashi (2.5 Forks), garlic edamame (4 Forks), chicken thigh steak (4.5 Forks), enoki mushroom wrapped w/bacon (3 Forks), shishito pepper (2 Forks), tsukune (4.5 Forks), age nasu & mochi oroshini and a small rice (2.5 Forks). ($37.36, 3.5 Forks)



    cucumber salad

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    chicken thigh steak

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    bacon wrapped enoki mushroom

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    On returning to the room we made Whoopie!



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    October 25



    I played on my card this morning in order to earn double points, managing to break even thanks to my #3 quad deuces.



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    On my return we had breakfast in the room before departing for the north Premium Outlets. As usual, Ann headed to Chico’s while I walked around landing in the Jockey outlet where I purchased a total of 9 pairs of unmentionables. In addition, I picked up a couple of T’s at Van Heusen.



    Ann had gotten a little disoriented, no doubt after venturing too far from Chico’s, so she was several minutes late returning to our designated meeting spot. I was shocked to discover she could not find anything for herself so I checked her vitals which seemed fine.



    We planned on lunch at Tacos el Gordo on Charleston, but I spotted Cornish Pasty Company across from the Arts Factory so we decided to give it a try. http://www.cornishpastyco.com/



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    The restaurant had reopened at this location the day prior and it was obvious the move was a work-in-progress. A wide variety of pasties are offered with us deciding to share one filled with lamb, mint, potatoes, rutabaga, and onion that was accompanied by a side of red wine gravy. The pastry was flaky with an ample filling. ($12.81, 4 Forks)



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    The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to reading/napping (me) and playing/losing (Ann). Had the prize patrol from Publishers Clearing House been looking for us between 5PM and 6PM this evening, they would have found us at the center bar at Ellis Island Casino sipping on glasses of BV merlot. Thank you LVA.



    Dinner was at Il Chianti on Horizon Ridge in Henderson. http://www.ilchianti-italian.com/home.html

    This is a small Italian restaurant that opened this past May. Chef Rudy previously served as executive chef at the long standing Ventano’s where we have enjoyed a number of meals in the distant past. Warm garlic rolls were served which were largely ignored.



    We decided to share the chef’s eponymous salad, but what arrived at our table 20 minutes after ordering was the frisee classica (frisee, cherry tomatoes, caramelized walnuts and apple wood bacon dressing) which was light and delicious.



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    The restaurant was busy for a Tuesday evening and Rudy had only a sous chef in the kitchen so it was a full 45 minutes after ordering that we received our entrees. Had Rudy stayed in the kitchen instead of schmoozing, we might have been served a little sooner.



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    I had hitched my wagon, or at least my waistline, once again to the chef by ordering Chef Rudy’s Adobo Nation (chicken Adobo, pork tenderloin, soy, red wine vinegar) that was served with a side of creamy asperagus (sic) risoto (sic). This dish was very good with kudos extended to the the excellent risotto. Ann was not as fortunate with her chicken Marsala entree that came with pasta awash in Marsala sauce. ($62.12, 2.5 Forks)





    Chef Rudy’s Adobo Nation

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    chicken Marsala

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    We made our customary walk around the casino, stopping by the western gift show where I scored a can of Outlaw energy drink before retiring for the night. ($0, 3 Sips)



    October 26



    This morning’s VP session was called a draw. After some fruit and OJ in the room, we headed north toward the Spring Mountains, stopping at Lulu’s Bread and Breakfast for sustenance. http://lulusonthemove.com/ This is a fast casual restaurant where orders are taken at the counter. Ann chose the stuffed French toast which was okay, but nothing to write home about, though I am mentioning it now. I chose benecio del porko (grilled cornbread topped with a generous portion of BBQ pulled pork, Hollandaise sauce, easy over eggs, charred corn, cotija cheese and cilantro) that you should only order if you are or want to be a porko. ($24.28, 3 Oinks)



    stuffed French toast

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    benecio del porko

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    I was ready for a nap, but our mission was the Spring Mountains Scenic drive. http://www.exploringnevada.com/scenic-drives/spring-mountains-scenic-drive.php

    We followed 95 north before taking a left on route 157 where we immediately began to gain altitude, ultimately traveling from around 3,000 feet to just shy of 8,500. I also noted the temperature dropped from 73 degrees to a blustery 59.



    Part way up we made an extended stop at the visitors center that opened last year. There were several interesting exhibits with the highlight being Austine Wood Commarow’s 70’ window installation made up of 25 individual panels. To the unaided eye the panels look like frosted glass, but when seen through polarized viewers, each panel offers colorful images of native flora and fauna. http://austine.com/ ($0, 4 Claps)



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    We also walked the grounds that include access to a few hiking trails, a memorial to the Silent Heroes of the Cold War and Seven Stones Plaza, a tribute to the seven southern Paiute tribes. We continued on to Kyle Canyon ski area before completing the loop via routes 158 and 156. ($1, 4 Claps)



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    On our return we picked up tickets for Thursday afternoon’s Dennis Bono show at the South Point. I returned to the room while Ann put in a VP session, hitting her first quad deuces of the trip.



    It was back to Ellis for drinks, but Ann’s stomach began doing flip flops so we canceled plans to dine at Lola’s in favor the Coronado Cafe in the South Point.

    http://southpointcasino.com/dining/coronado-cafe Ann’s had her go to meal when feeling under the weather of scrambled eggs with bacon and toast. My stomach, other than being extended, was doing just fine so I chose a nightly special, western chicken salad bowl. Mine was a nice mix of greens, chicken and dressing while hers was merely okay. ($4, points, 2.5 Forks).



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    October 27



    My VP session resulted in a small loss so I am now dead even for this trip. We had breakfast in the room before heading off for Elements Massage. Ann had an appointment at an agreed price equal to the current Groupon offer. ($69, Four Hands)



    After retrieving her, we headed to Target to burn off an expiring $10 gift card on some beauty product for you know who or is whom? We then proceeded to Blaze Pizza on Eastern Avenue where we shared a personal sized simple pie (tomato sauce, mozzarella, oregano and Parmesan). The pizza was awash in a bland tomato sauce so we will not be rushing back. http://www.blazepizza.com/ ($5.78, 2.5 Forks)



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    I then dropped Ann off at Green Turtle Salon on Horizon Ridge where Melissa washed and blow dried her hair. http://gtsalon.com/ ($50, 4 Curls) In the meantime, I made a quick jaunt to the nearby Sprouts Farmers Market for some granola and nuts.



    We made it back just in time for the Dennis Bono afternoon show that featured performers we have seen in the past: Tyrone Fox (singer @ the Tropicana in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City), Corrie Sachs (singer on Dennis Bono show and Country Superstars), Niki Scalera (singer seen on Dennis Bono show), Rich Little (impersonator at some charity show), members of the Phatt Pack (showroom at the Plaza) and James P. Conway (comedian on Dennis Bono show). ($0, 3 Claps)



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    Dianna, our new favorite server at Ellis Island, spotted us as we approached the center bar and pulled out a bottle of BV merlot and 2 glasses. She may not know our names, but she does know what we drink. She also handed us 2 bottles of water without asking shortly before we exited.

    (5 Claps for the service, 3 sips for the wine)



    Dinner tonight was at Lola’s - A Louisiana Kitchen (Creole) on Charleston Blvd. We have previously dined at both this location and its sister restaurant in Summerlin so we barely looked at the menu before ordering bronzed catfish and Gouda grits entrees along with a side of rainbow coleslaw.



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    There may not have been as much catfish as in the past, but the generous portion of Gouda grits more than compensated. ($46.98. 4.5 Forks)



    Prior to calling it a night, we walked around the South Point Casino.
     
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  2. westie

    westie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,450
    Location:
    Kensington, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    60
    October 28



    Green Valley Ranch (GVR) was still running a swipe after earning 5 points promotion so swipe I did with both of us earning certificates good for mystery gifts that we subsequently exchanged at the slot booth for stuffed animals. In other exciting early morning news, I lost.



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    For breakfast we went to Sarah’s Kitchen in the recently reopened Klondike Sunset on Sunset Road. The casino is petite with the restaurant probably accounting for 30-40% of the total space. http://www.klondikesunset.com/sarahs-kitchen/ We both chose the $1.49 special of eggs (easy over please), 3 slices of bacon (yes!), toast (wheat) and hash browns.



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    Ann also ordered a coffee that cost 80 cents more than her eggs though she did get 2 refills. Late breaking news: it looks like the price of this breakfast has undergone a price increase to $3.99 – ouch! ($5.51, 3.5 Forks)



    We then went to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve where we walked around a few of the ponds while viewing a variety of birds including a white ibis. ($0, 3 Claps)

    http://www.cityofhenderson.com/henderson-happenings/facilities/henderson-bird-viewing-preserve



    great egret

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    No trip, actually there have been a few, is complete without a couple of rumballs from the German Bread Bakery. http://www.germanbreadbakerylasvegas.com/ We picked up a pair plus 2 slices of crumb pudding cake that were filled with Bavarian cream. ($8.70, 4 Forks and 2 Smiles)



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    On our return to the Grandview we walked to the equestrian center at the South Point to watch a few minutes of the California Saddle Horse Futility show competition – yawn.



    I am not sure if she is in the show or trying out her halloween costume.

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    Ann played a little VP while I stopped by the gift shop for a bottle of Firesteed 2013 pinot noir that we enjoyed in the room during our happy hour. ($13.29, 2.5 Sips)



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    Dinner was at Fuego in the Fiesta Henderson.

    https://fiestahenderson.sclv.com/Dining/Fuego-Steakhouse.aspx This is relatively large steakhouse that never seems busy because of its circular layout. We were brought menus and a bread basket that contained a couple of popovers plus some rolls that we ignored. The one popover we shared was piping hot and delicious.



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    Ann ordered the petite filet mignon while I ordered the halibut. Hers was served medium rare as requested and mine on the well done side which I did not request. Entrees also include a house salad that was decent plus haricot verts and mashed potatoes. ($10, LVA, points, 3 Forks)



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    Entertainment tonight was provided by Michael Grimm backed by a 7 piece band and 2 singers in Club Madrid inside Sunset Station. Michael put on another exceptional performance mixing original songs along with covers including his signature closing number “With A Little Help From My Friends”.

    ($10, slot card, 4 Claps)



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    October 29



    I broke even again on VP – thanks for small favors. We had breakfast in the room and then I cleaned out the car before returning it to Budget. I pulled into the Dollar area and realized I had forgotten to fill the tank so I made a not so quick exit, delayed because the attendant had to complete another vehicle inspection form.



    No paperwork was required for our next rental thanks to my new Fastbreak membership. I just checked the board and proceeded to my assigned space, driving away with a full size Kia Optima with just over 15,000 miles for an all in price of $185.82. This car was a major step down in terms of comfort from the Avalon though the one feature found in both rentals that I really enjoyed was the backup cameras.



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    We drove to KSHP on Jones where we exchanged $5 for a $15 gift certificate for Bell’s BBQ. When the clerk looked at my KSHP card she said you are really old – quickly recovering by claiming she meant the card. LOL http://www.kshp.com/



    It was time for a light lunch so we made the short drive to the So Good Cafe (Vietnamese/French). Though redecorated, I had a deja vu moment after realizing we had been in this restaurant in the past when it was the short-lived Arisra Thai. We ordered a pair of pate chauds, one filled with pork and the other chicken. The fillings were enveloped in a delicious, flaky pastry.



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    The gregarious owner stopped by our table and said he has served as the M Resort’s executive pastry chef since its opening. Darest we leave without trying one of his desserts? The short answer is no, so we shared an almond croissant with a generous almond cream filling that will require a return visit or two on a future trip. ($8.27, 4 Forks)

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    In the afternoon I read while Ann put in a break even VP session.



    Later that evening we met our nephew Jay and best (his) buddy George in the Karaoke lounge in Ellis where Monique serves as bartender and server. Jay will be attending a conference in a few days in order to receive a work-related award, but in the meantime these 2 “studs” are painting the town. They took it easy by nursing a couple of craft beers (George) and diet cola (Jay) because they had plans to visit the Ghostbar in the Palms, a step down from Ellis IMHO, later that same evening.



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    After parting, we proceeded to what is now our favorite Thai restaurant, Chada Street. http://chadastreet.com/ We are working our way through the menu that centers on the street food of Thailand, but always request orders of hor mok phuket (steam fish in banana leaf – 4.5 Forks). In addition we ordered street pad Thai (2.5 Forks), moo ping (garlic pork skewers – 3.5 Forks) and yum yod tua (pea sprouts, shrimp, ground pork, chili, lime juice, fish sauce and shallot - 3 Forks) ($45.47)



    moo ping

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    yum yod tua

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    hor mok phuket

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    On our return we listened to song and piano man Wes Winters in the Grandview lounge, then went to the equestrian center and were allowed free entrance to the BlueDEF bull riders competition that was nearly finished for the evening. On exiting I was able to snag a can of Outlaw energy drink.



    October 30



    This morning’s session made my brown eyes blue. I attempted to cheer up with a visit to Pink Box Donuts on Eastern Ave. choosing two from the gourmet section, caramel cheesecake and mocha.



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    Both were fresh and light, but also over priced and flavor lite so I cannot see returning. http://pinkboxdoughnuts.com/ ($3.90, 2.5 Forks)





    In the late morning we walked to the South Point and visited the Preifert Pavilion where there was a poker cattle round-up competition in progress that held our interest for about 15 minutes. We also visited the PBR fan zone with the highlight being an opportunity to pet a pair of black Clydesdale horses that were both beautiful and gentle. One of them began to gently licking my hand. http://www.expressclydesdales.com/index.cfm?fa=our-story



    Anyone want an autograph?



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    I learned only 10% of all Clydesdales are black and each weighs between 1,700 and 2,300 pounds with hoofs the size of dinner plates. Each horse consumes 12 pounds of food and 12-15 pounds of hay per day while needing to be re-shooed every 6 weeks so I am glad I am not responsible for either their feed or shoe bills.



    Lunch was at Taco y Taco on Eastern. We each settled on a pair of al pastor street tacos while sharing a diet coke. The meat is sliced to order and topped with crema, onions, cilantro and canned pineapple that I supplemented with sides of salsa, beans, and grilled onions from the salsa bar.



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    The one negative note was the taco shells were heated on the same grill as the al pastor so they were a bit messy. ($12.71, 3.5 Forks)



    I realized after finishing that I had not washed my hands since being licked by the Clydesdale - yuck!



    I dropped Ann off at the South Point for a VP session before returning to the room where I dried and folded our clothes, read and dozed in that approximate order.



    At around 4PM we drove to Ballys to see the Bronx Wonderers. http://thebronxwanderers.com/ They have a limited engagement in the intimate Windows showroom that runs through year end. The band, fronted by father Yo’ Vinny and his two sons, covered hits from 50’s – 70’s by the likes of Elvis, Dion, Chuck Berry, Billy Joel, Beach Boys, etc. I used a discount code (BWNEB), found on their facebook page, to purchase a pair of premium, stage front tickets that cost us $55.50 versus a list price of $142.92. (4 Claps)



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    The ladies in the audience were encouraged to join them on stage.



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    After exiting the show we made the short drive to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino where we redeemed LVA coupons at the Center Bar for a pair each of their signature cocktails, starting off with a Pear of Aces (Grey Goose La Poire, amaretto St. Germain, and fresh lime Juice).



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    Ann chose a Painted Lady (Ciroc Red Berry, X-rated Fusion, prickly pear juice, lime juice and orange blossom water) on the second round while I went with a Cherry Mule (Stoli, brandied cherries, Pechaud and Cherry bitters, ginger beer and lime juice). These run $12 each so our LVA coupons provided $48 in value. ($8, LVA, 4 Sips)



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    Neither of us was hungry though we managed to devour our 2 remaining rumballs after returning to the room.



    October 31



    Another disappointing loss – no details required. Grapefruit and OJ in the room before heading off to Baguette Cafe (French) for a proper brunch. We each ordered a vegetable quiche along with a side salad plus a large, I do mean large, coffee for Ann.





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    In a long line of quiches consumed in recent years, this was the best. Flaky crust, juicy interior, an assortment of vegetables, delicious and reasonably priced. ($22, 5 Forks)

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    We drove out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and walked the Red Spring boardwalk trail. http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/Red_Rocks/Red_Spring/_RedSpr.htm This 0.5 mile trail makes a loop that travels from the parking lot up a marshy hillside and then circles around a meadow with a number informational signs. We saw several what looked like chipmunks that I subsequently discovered were white-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrels. We also were happy to see an accommodating phainopepla who settled in a nearby bush.



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    Next stop was the Red Rock Canyon visitors center where I toured the exhibits, both inside and out, while Ann became trapped in the gift shop, only securing her release after purchasing a logo top.



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    We then drove the 14.7 mile scenic loop without stopping because of construction that closed 2 of the parking lots causing an overflow in those that remained open. http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/

    ($0, America The Beautiful senior pass, 2.5 Claps)



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    Someone hit the $25,000 super progressive bonus during Ann’s VP session, earning her $25 in free play though overall it was chalked up to a loss.



    Our destination for drinks was once again Ellis Island. We met 2 couples from Michigan at the bar who were Vikings fans though it was clear the better team was the Bears this Monday evening.



    Sister Diana dispensing tonight's wine.



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    We dined at Pure Indian Cuisine located on Sunset Road overlooking the runways of McCarran from its second story windows. http://www.pureindiancuisinevegas.com/ The restaurant was not busy so we secured a prime location in this modestly decorated restaurant. We received papadum and a cilantro chutney with our menus. Our order included garlic naan, butter chicken, basmati rice and lamb saag. There was not much protein in either entree and the naan seemed dry, but the saag was above average. ($27.63, R.com, 2.5 Forks)



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    On our return we walked around the South Point and the PBR fan zone.



    Nov 1



    Another loss. I had won another mystery gift on Sunday so I stopped by the players’ club this morning, but the selection was now between a cheap football or a bag of Russell Stover hard candy with me choosing the latter. After reading the label that included the disclosures “produced with genetic engineering”, “we use a sugar substitute the US Government refers to as sugar alcohol” and “excessive consumption may cause a laxative affect”, I decided this mystery would remain unsolved and trashed the bag.



    After grapefruit and OJ in the room, we drove to Ballys/Paris where we parked, hoofed it over to Bellagio, and caught the tram to Aria to redeem a pair of MyVegas rewards for crepes at Jean Philippe Patisserie. https://www.aria.com/en/restaurants/jean-philippe-patisserie.htmln



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    On ordering we were informed Jean Philippe had failed to secure the cream required to upgrade the dessert crepes to souffle style. Ann went for the mixed berry crepe anyways while I decided to venture into savory by ordering an Italian crepe (prosciutto, seasoned zucchini, roasted red peppers, pesto sauce).



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    As expected, hers proved to be okay, not great, while mine was worthy of a repeat performance. ($2.11, MyVegas, A = 3 Forks, F = 5 Forks)



    On returning to Bellagio, we redeemed MyVegas rewards and proceeded to Gallery of Fine Arts to view the “Town and Country: From Degas to Picasso” exhibit.



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    This exhibit, organized in conjunction with MOFA in Boston, proved to be a mild disappointment. I did not feel any of the works on display represented the featured artists, including van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec, best work though the visit was interesting. ($0, MyVegas, 2.5 Claps)



    We also toured the autumn exhibit in the Conservatory and Botanical Garden, Jeane Phillippe Patisserie, the hotel lobby and the Chihuly shop before exiting. ($0, 3.5 Claps)



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    On our way back to the car we passed Masatoshi Izumi’s “A Gift From the Earth” sculpture representing fire, wind, rain and earth.



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    Ann was too tucked out for VP so she joined me in the late afternoon for a short snooze and a little reading.



    Our personal happy hour vendor this evening was Monique who grabbed a pair of wine glasses and a bottle of BV merlot as we entered Ellis Island’s karaoke lounge.



    We decided to eat healthy this evening at Eatt Healthy Food (French), a recently opened restaurant on W Sahara Avenue. http://eattfood.com/ The 3 young, personable owners include the chef, pastry chef and manager. The provided menu was more limited than found online, but we had no problem choosing since everything looked so inviting. We started off by sharing ratatouille rolls that were a delight to both eye and palate.



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    Each of us chose the wild salmon entry that was marinated in miso and served with beets, apple and soy sprouts. For dessert we settled on classic crème brulees that proved to be larger than expected so we would likely share one next time.



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    Overall, I thought this was best meal of the trip though it is not one for those who value quantity over quality. ($71.73, 5 Forks)



    Nov 2



    My streak of bad luck continued. We had OJ and grapefruit in the room before heading off for the PBR Fan Zone in the South Point where we and about 10 other people listened to a set by Baylor Wilson.



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    We also spent a little quality time with the black Clydesdales, but now the horse decided my fingers looked like fresh carrots because it took to nibbling on them. I did remember to wash my hands this time before heading off for the Bronze Cafe at the Center on Maryland Parkway for lunch. http://www.bronzecafe.com/home



    We have dined here several times and almost always order the same 2 items, but I had my mind set on a nice healthy salad only to discover these are pre-made so we both ended up ordering our usual. The Tree of Life, a vegan sandwich with roasted red peppers, avocado, mixed greens, house made pickled onions, cashew crema, Brazil nut crumble and mango cilantro ginger vinaigrette on pita flatbread for Ann. I tossed any thoughts of eating healthy to the wind and ordered the LGBTQ = house made bacon jam (Yes!), maple cured bacon (Yes!), basil aioli, mixed greens, lemon vinaigrette on a ciabatta roll.

    ($13.41, R.com, 4 Forks)



    Tree of Life

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    LBBTQ

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    Later that day while I read, Ann played VP and hit her #2 quad deuces of the trip. Double Yeah!



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    The decision to go to Ellis Island for drinks was pretty much a non starter.


    Dinner was at Soyo Korean Barstaurant on Rainbow where 2 years ago we had enjoyed a very good meal. http://soyolv.com/ This small restaurant was very busy so we were told it would be 20 minutes for a table though we actually were seated in under 10. We were served a bottle of barley tea along with 5 banchan (side dishes).



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    This time we decided to share 2 new entrees, jap chae (noodles stir fried with bulgogi and vegetables flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil) and cha dol baak boo choo moo chim (stir fried sliced marbled beef, grilled onions and garlic served with chive salad and special sauce). Both dishes and the banchan were very good though the freshly made kimichi could have been a little more pungent.

    ($34.20, 3.5 Forks)



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    On our return we walked around the South Point before retiring.



    Nov 3



    This morning was memorable because I hit my #4 quad deuces of the trip. It had been a full 8 days since #3 went into the record books so I was so shocked that I forgot to memorialize this historic event in photo.



    Stay tuned to find out if the dam has finally been breached and if Westie can turn this nightmare around?



    I decided to celebrate by swinging by Donut Mania on Green Valley Parkway. http://www.donutmanialv.com/ On entering this small bakery, the display case and overall set up was reminiscent of my visit to Pink Box earlier in this trip. I inquired if the donuts were made there and the owner responded affirmatively though he acknowledged a few specialties were baked in Durango location. I chose an apple fritter that Ann and I subsequently shared.





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    Was it as good as the ones from Friendly Donut? Without a side by side comparison, which will be undertaken on a future visit for scientific purposes, I would say maybe. ($2.25, 4 Forks)



    Ann had another wash and blow dry appointment at Green Turtle Salon. After picking her up, we made a final visit to Sprouts Farmers Market for lunch. Ann chose a bowl of Southern style corn chowder while I ordered a smoked BLT sandwich. Both were very good and reasonably priced, but mine was too large to qualify as a “lite” lunch so next time I would either share a sandwich or order soup.

    ($8, 3 Forks)



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    We barely had time to return to the South Point for the start of the Dennis Bono show. This week’s lineup featured 90 year old comedian legend and former Las Vegas headliner Shecky Greene. In addition, singers Rita Lim, Corrie Sachs, Gregg Austin and Second Wind, Michael Monce, Jonathan Karrant and Shawn Barker all performed. ($0, 4 Claps)



    Before departing for Ellis Island, Ann won $30 playing VP while I read in the room.



    Dinner this eve was at Valley Thai Restaurant E Warm Springs Road. The restaurant is owned and operated by a family from New Jersey. There were no other customers on this Thursday evening, no doubt attributable to its location in a commercial section of town. We started off with fried mermaids - shrimp, ham and scallions wrapped in rice paper that have been deep fried and served with a sweet and sour sauce.



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    Our shared entrees were spicy eggplant with chicken and pad se ew with shrimp. Each dish was visually appealing, prepared with fresh ingredients and delicious. ($23.27, R.com, 4 Forks)



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    Entertainment tonight was provided by Tresure (a.k.a Mark V. Brown) and his band Dreamstone in Marilyn’s Lounge inside the Eastside Cannery. The music was a little too loud for our tender ears so we headed for the doors after the first set. ($0, 2.5 Claps)



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    On our return, we polished off the last 2 rumballs.



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    Nov 4



    So much for the dam being breached. I now know how this guy feels.



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    OJ and fruit in the room before we returned to Ellis Island for drinks – oops, I mean breakfast. There was a line at the Cafe, but we were soon seated with orders taken.



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    Ann chose her usual cinnamon French toast while I went the easy over eggs, hold the bacon, wheat toast and O’Brien potatoes route. Overall our breakfasts were good, as was the service, but a notch down in terms of quality and assuredly more dear than at Sarah’s (see Oct 28). ($9.12, LVA, 2.5 Forks)



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    Before departing we redeemed our LVA play $10, receive $10-$100 in freeplay coupons netting us a minuscule profit of $12.75.



    Next stop was the Orleans where we played LVA play $10, get $10 freeplay coupons, but we ended up losing $3.25. sigh!



    On our return to the Grandview, Ann headed off to play VP while I stopped at the computer room to quickly check for emails. On my way back to the room I spotted a woman sitting in the grass with a toddler and baby so I hastily retrieved our 2 stuffed animals from the room which mom accepted with a big smile.



    Ann had a losing VP session, but put enough points on our slot cards for free buffets for tomorrow’s brunch at Garden Buffet.



    In the early evening I uncorked our bottle of Dancing Bull zinfandel that we enjoyed before setting off for Bell’s BBQ on Eastern.



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    The restaurant was fairly large, but surprisingly empty early this Friday evening though the waitstaff and cooks seemed busy. http://www.bellsbarbecue.com/ We decided to share a full rack of ribs that came with a choice of 2 sides (JB’s coleslaw and smashed potatoes), but I added a third (Buffalo fried cauliflower). The ribs arrived pre-sliced with a small quantity of BBQ sauce applied to each. Had I known, I would have requested them served intact without sauce. The sides came up short so we have no compelling reason to return. ($18.74, KSHP, 2.5 Forks)



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    Our show this evening was Man in Black, a Johnny Cash tribute show performed by Shawn Barker that was pretty entertaining. http://www.shawnbarker.com/ ($10, LVA, 3 Claps)



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    On exiting we exchanged the ticket stubs for a pair of Bailey’s and cream at the Grandview Lounge. ($3, 3 Sips)



    Nov 5



    My last morning’s VP session was thankfully my last VP session of the trip.



    The South Point’s weekend brunch at the Garden Buffet once again proved to disappointing though convenient. There was almost no fresh fruit available and many of the prepared dishes looked tired even though we arrived prior to the buffet’s opening. I settled on a few shrimp with cocktail sauce, easy over eggs with bacon and red potatoes, Brussel sprouts and some other unmemorable vegetable dish. Service was a plus as was the warm breading pudding. ($5, ACG, 2 Forks)



    The return of our rental went smoothly and we were soon checked in our American Airlines flight via a change in planes in Chicago.



    Overall we enjoyed our trip, but as we taxied down the McCarran runway, I was not disappointed in saying “goodbye Las Vegas, see you next spring”.



    Thanks are extended to anyone who took the time to read this lengthy trip report.







    “If you ain’t a little scared when you enter a casino, you are either very rich or you haven’t studied the games enough.”

    VP Pappy
     
    • Like Like x 7
  3. Rush

    Rush MIA

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    As always.....OUTSTANDING!
     
  4. vegasvette

    vegasvette High-Roller

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    Westie, another exquisitely done report.
     
    Leap Day trip
  5. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty Doing retirement again and happily so....

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    Quite a review of the eateries. Thanks much. Do you make your evaluations based on comparison to those places you have found locally at home to be favorites? We often do and still long for Tex-mex comparable to our favorites. Seems you lean to far eastern fare which we also love but not as literate in some of the dishes you had. Enjoyed the variety. Thanks for the report and pictures. Good luck in the spring.
     
    Halloween vs Solidified-ween. What?
    NFL Wild Card--
  6. zenvegas

    zenvegas High-Roller

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    Wow. This was a great report. I really enjoyed your culinary travels. It seems many (too many) people show food porn and name drop restaurants to impress others. You on the other hand have gone out of your way to enjoy the dining experience. Very impressive.
    I also can't believe how much you did during your trip.

    Thank you, I enjoyed reading it.
     
    We begin again
  7. Geogran

    Geogran texas yankee

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    You had me at the Lipton tea, lol!
    Thoroughly enjoyed tagging along - felt like I was right there with y'all. Except I don't think I could keep up with your pace! Love the claps, oinks, forks and your apparent enjoyment of each experience. Thanks for sharing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  8. VegasJmr

    VegasJmr Low-Roller

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    Great report, I always look forward to reading about your adventures.
     
  9. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Tacos are always better with a light glaze of Clydesdale spit. :)
     
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  10. Yall

    Yall Low-Roller

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    Superb report! Thanks!
     
  11. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer High-Roller

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    Well written! Thanks for the humour and extensive reviews. Well done on the DW hits. Is that all you played?

    GG
     
  12. LV2GAMBLE

    LV2GAMBLE Certified LOW Roller

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    As always a great trip and some nice dining experiences. Always fun to visit and read about the 'out of the way' . Thanks for taking us along.
     
    Whooping it up with the in-laws
  13. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

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    Great report as always westie.

    I'm a huge fan of rum balls but can only get them seasonally here at my favorite bakery (yeah for Christmas season :)) I always have to prepare myself before reading one of your trip reports because I know you'll indulge every time. And have a pic!!

    I'm not sure what I'd enjoy more - actually trying a rum ball from the German bakery or just the anticipation of someday having one.

    That was a really enjoyable report westie. Thanks!
     
  14. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report! Hope you can find the Royal next time!
     
  15. Multifarious5

    Multifarious5 VIP Whale

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    Amazing report! I also loved the detailed food write-ups, with pics and fork ratings (or other tongue-in-cheek ratings, when applicable). Truly an enjoyable read, thank you!
     
    First time in Tahoe!!!
    Mother-Daughter trip-Tower Suite (roll away for me!)
  16. vegasnut

    vegasnut VIP Whale

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    What a nice TR, plenty of beautiful pictures as well.
    I enjoyed it,thanx.
     
    vegasnut going nuts again in his 2nd hometown
  17. Grandmaw

    Grandmaw Tourist

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    Thanks for the great report Westie. I used your promo code for The Bronx Wanderers and I thank you very much. My friend and I are staying at Bally's in December so your Trip Report was perfect timing.
     
  18. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Great - I hope you enjoy the show as much as we did.
     
  19. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    As always, I great dining TR.
     
  20. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC TBD

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    I always enjoy reading your trip reports. I just let out a notch in my belt reading your restaurant reviews
     
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