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My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 - 2/11

Providence, Rhode...
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My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Melissa (M) and I returned from our 8th trip to Vegas together and my 10th trip overall about a week ago. Our age averages out at 30 and we try to eat well when in Vegas so much of this report is food based.

This is a very long report even though I tried to spare details of every time we gambled or got a drink.

Years ago I had to convince M to go to Vegas like so many others and now she loves it. It had been a whole 10 months since our last trip, our longest drought since we started to go. This trip was booked back in March of last year after we had a great time in Vegas for the Super Bowl last year. Originally we were going to do 4 nights in Vegas and 3 nights in Napa, but decided a few months ago to just stay in Vegas. We ended up “stuck” a couple more nights due to the blizzard that hit New England so we ended up in town for a total of 9 nights.

I will post as replies for each day of the trip followed by some random thoughts. For your reading convenience, I also provided a little index of food and shows / attractions if you want to jump around. The number in parentheses is the day of the trip we visited. Hope you enjoy.

FOOD:

Bacchanal Buffet (2)

Canaletto (7)

Circo (4)

Cravings Buffet (5)

Diegos (6)

Gordon Ramsay Steak (1)

Holsteins (9)

Javiers (3)

KGB (2)

Lotus Of Siam (4)

Mesa Grill (7)

Mon Ami (1,6, 9, 10)

Onda (8)

Sage (5)

Sea (8)

Stack (8)

Trattoria Reggiano (3)

SHOWS / ATTRACTIONS / EVENTS / PROMOS:

Carrot Top (6)

Cosmo Slot Promo (5)

LV Welcome Sign (4)

Mystere (8)

Neon Boneyard (4)

Super Bowl (2)

Providence, Rhode...
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1. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 1: Saturday

Our flight from Providence was uneventful except the 3rd guy in our row gave us 4 drink coupons to get us going on the way. Bags came out quickly, no cab line and a real nice cabbie took us to Paris bypassing the tunnel as requested.

We arrived at Paris around 1pm and got in line to try to check in early as M really wanted to freshen up a bit before we got some food. The line was short and moved quickly, but the check in was a bit of a mess. We had reserved a King bed, first they said we had to wait, then she said they had 2 queens available, then she said we had to pay an early check in which we refused and said we would just wait for the King, then she waived the early check in… . and off we went. We were tired and didn’t really care what we got for a room at that point, but we weren’t going to pay to check in early to a room we didn’t really want. We don’t mind the rooms with 2 queens usually as we just end up spreading clothes out on the 2nd bed.

The room was rundown a bit, but we have stayed at Paris a few times now so expected that. We enjoy the casino there, the restaurants and the location and for the price we think it’s a good value. The worst part about the room was its location directly across from the housekeeping / maintenance workshop area. We didn’t realize this right away, but were woken up a few times by things falling, carts crashing etc. We also had some toilet issues . . . more on that later. But overall it was clean and comfortable with hot water and good water pressure.

We freshened up and headed down to Mon Ami for lunch and a drink. Mon Ami is always good enough and we use it as our “café” when we stay at Paris. This trip we ate there 4 times overall. We were exhausted and headed up for a nap, but I couldn’t sleep so I headed downstairs to play some JOB, get the Super Bowl Parlay sheet, have a beer and then took a walk over to ABC at the Miracle Mile Shops to get some waters and sodas.

Headed back upstairs to get ready for our reservation at Gordon Ramsay Steak later that evening. Before dinner we sat down at the “Shoot To Win” craps machine (pop up craps), which we frequented this trip and M went on a good run right as our reservation time came up. We won a couple hundred bucks and literally walked up to the hostess stand to the minute for our reservation.

We were seated in the Chefs table area next to a couple from Texas celebrating their 25th anniversary. We had fun chatting it up with them and picking on each other. The difference in accents was amusing to the point where the guy looked at me at one point and said “I have no idea what you are saying.”

Service was slow at first as it took over 30 minutes to get our first drink, but picked up after that. I got the rib cap which was hands down the best steak I have ever had, but the foie gras and sashimi apps, mac and cheese, and M’s beef Wellington were all good, but not great. The sticky toffee pudding everyone raves about was good also, but I honestly don’t see the hype. One word of caution that I know will sound foolish . . . read the menu! I had looked online and knew I wanted the foie app that came with English Muffins so I just ordered the foie app without reading the menu. Apparently the version on the current menu is not with English Muffins.

While we were dining Mr. Ramsay made an appearance and stopped by to say hello. He was very nice complimenting M and giving me crap for not putting a ring on her finger. We are not huge fans, or haters of his at all, but it was fun to meet him although we were unable to get a picture with him as he was bouncing around a lot. After dinner we did a little more gambling and called it an early night. We got back to the room and when M used the toilet she said, “Uh I think it’s broke.” Sure enough, it was as it was barely flushing. We didn’t want to wait for maintenance and decided no big deal as it could handle … um liquids . . . and we would just call in morning.

This turned out to be a problem . . ..

Providence, Rhode...
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2. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 2: Sunday

2am I woke up with a terribly upset stomach and headed to the bathroom when I remembered our toilet was broke. Well there is no way to truly spare you the details but I am glad we had some really large zip lock bags I could use to throw up in . . . or things would have been really messy. I guess waiting up for maintenance would have been worth it. Felt great after I got that out of my system and headed back to bed and woke up around 7 feeling just fine.

I went downstairs to make our Super Bowl bets, got ready and we headed over to Bacchanal at Caesars for the Sunday champagne brunch buffet. We were seated quickly as there was no line and was still really no line when we left a couple hours later. I like the atmosphere of the place, the food overall was decent and refills on the champagne was good enough. We had been to the Bellagio champagne brunch a few times before and loved how they would just top off champagne constantly. At Bacchanal each one had to be ordered so it was not as efficient. The standouts for me were the gelato – the brown ale caramel one was unbelievable. We played some pop up craps at Caesars, which went terribly so we moved on.

At this point we were still debating where to watch the Super Bowl. When I thought my Patriots would be playing I was willing to pay a couple hundred bucks each for a spot like the Pub at MC, but I cancelled that as soon as they lost. We really just wanted a bar and headed up to Venetian to see if anything looked fun. Nothing really did and we were going to just head to the circle bar at Paris, but we decided to take a walk by Casears and check out their outdoor bar. There were tons of people at tables all along the outside, we walked up to the bar as a guy was walking away and had 2 seats open up with a TV right in front of us. Good service, good drinks and a whole lot cheaper then any of the parties I looked at, plus we got to say we watched a Super Bowl outside. Lost all of our bets, but enjoyed the game.

We headed right over to KGB at Harrahs for dinner as we had only ate some nachos from Serendipity since the buffet. KGB was good as always, but nothing notable to mention. We ended up at Ballys playing some slots and more pop up craps and ended up doing pretty well but called it an early night again. We were walking down the hall towards our room and we noticed a guy standing at our door trying to get in. As we got closer I looked at him and said I think you are at the wrong room. He looked very confused and just kind of stood there and I said “This is our room and we don’t know you.” I didn’t want to be a jerk, but thought it was a good idea to be firm enough that he got the hint. He still looked confused but said thank you and walked away.

We found maintenance had fixed the toilet while we were away as well.

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3. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 3: Monday

Well I was glad they fixed the toilet since I woke up sick again at almost the exact same time as the night before. A working toilet made this event much less eventful.

M and I headed down and had breakfast at Mon Ami including some ridiculous bowls of coffee. I expected a really big cup, not a literal bowl, but it was all good. We gambled poorly a bit at Paris and Ballys and took a walk up to Venetian for lunch at Trattoria Reggiano. For those of you who have not been here this is a real small place tucked away near the food court with a handful of tables “outside.” I had ate here when it was a sandwich shop / deli on my 2nd trip to Vegas, years before meeting M and we now try to hit it up once a trip at least. We split a Capresse salad, the eggplant appetizer and a pizza. The eggplant rollatini is delicious and one of the main reasons we head back there.

We made a stop at Walgreens as neither of us was feeling great and headed back to take a nap. As we were getting ready for dinner, the toilet broke again and we called it into maintenance on our way out the door.

Dinner that night was at Javier’s over at Aria – our first time here. We used to love La Isla at TI for Mexican on the strip so we are now on the hunt for a new Mexican spot we enjoy. This place is really cool on the inside and the service and drinks were great. Andrew was our waiter and did a great job recommending his favorite drinks and meals. The food was good, but I wasn’t feeling good enough to eat all that much so I cant give a real fair review. Some dishes were a bit expensive and overall I would say this place is a bit over priced even for the Strip. We ended up pretty late, but did terrible gambling at Ballys. Headed up to the room, no random people at the door and a working toilet again!

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4. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 4: Tuesday

This day got off to a great start since I didn’t end up throwing up in the middle of the night! We had a car reserved for today so I headed downstairs to take care of the paperwork and grab some coffees. We headed up to the Neon Boneyard for our 11am tour, taking the long slow route all the way up the strip. The staff here was great and the tour was excellent and well worth the time and money. We got some great pictures and loved hearing the mix of history, science and legends told by our guide. I had to talk M into this and thought she would hate it, but as soon as we left she said she loved it and would give it 5 stars.

We then headed over to Lotus of Siam for lunch, which ended up being disappointing. We had never been here and were really looking forward to it, but got off to a bad start when it took 15 minutes to get a waiter to stop by. We each had a soup (mine as an entrée) that were very good but M said her Pad Thai was just decent and I would say the same about my garlic pepper chicken wings.

From Lotus we headed down to stop at the sign and ended up tipping Lynn to take some pictures of us. I know we didn’t have to pay anyone, but we are terrible at asking random people and I have to say Lynn got some great pictures of us. Since we are terrible at asking others to take pictures, we don’t have many good ones of us so it was well worth the tip.

Since we had time we took a ride down to check out the M resort . . mostly we wanted to go for a ride and needed a destination. I liked the place and hit 2 4OAK in a matter of about 20 minutes. M lost about $40 at some slots so we walked around a little and headed back to Paris for a nap.

Dinner Tuesday night was at Circo over at Bellagio. Again service was slow to start, but picked up once we got some drinks. The food here was excellent and I would put the lamb I had up against Ramsay’s Rib Cap as my favorite dishes of the trip. We also shared a beef tartare, M had a veal ravioli and we shared a banana soufflé – all of which were very good to excellent. The wine we had here was great as well although I forget what it was. I know my California wines well, but am a complete idiot when it comes to Italian wines. I believe it was a red blend that we picked because it was in the same category as Ferrari Carrano’s Sienna which we know we liked. Gambling after dinner was terrible and we called it a night around 1 am.

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5. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 5: Wednesday

We slept in on Wednesday, got up and heading over to Mirage to use our Travel Zoo deal for the Cravings buffet. We are not ones who usually go out of our way to get a deal on vacations, but $26 for 2 people with bottomless “champagne” was tough to pass up. We figured we couldn’t really have breakfast or lunch anywhere for that price even if we just got a drink a piece. The food here was actually pretty good for a buffet. We love soup and they had 10 or so different soups which is a pretty ideal buffet dish. The service was great and we each had 6 champagnes while eating. I handed our waitress $20 and thanked her and she asked if we wanted another. We declined, but then she offered them to go so we said sure. Well I look over and see her at the bar pouring 2 more champagnes each into coffee cups for us. We topped them off with a little OJ and were on our way. 16 champagnes, lunch, tax and tip for under $50 . . . not a bad deal. For a weekday deal I would probably head back here even to pay full price on a next trip.

We headed down to Cosmo to try out their $100 back promo since neither of us had an Identity card. We started playing just on my card, but I got up about $85 so we switched over to using M’s. We eventually lost her $100, went up to the desk to get the free play. For anyone who has not done this, once you get the free play you need to just bet through the $100. You don’t need to lose it, just need to play $100 worth of spins or bets. I sat down at a JOB machine and played right through the $100 needed and ended up with $95 left. That was good enough for us – we cashed out and headed on our way.

Headed over to Aria for dinner at Sage – this was our 2nd time eating here. The first time we both had the Chef’s tasting menu, which we thought was good, but had a couple dishes we really did not like. We figured since reviews are still so good, that we should give it another shot, but just order off the regular menu. The service here has been great both times and this time we liked the food much better overall. The sashimi appetizer was great, M loved her black bass and my NY Strip was very good although it of course didn’t compare to my steak at GR.

We then redeemed a My Vegas award I had used to get Absinthe service. The amount was $70, which let us pick even the 2 highest priced Absinthe’s off the cart. We chose this for the My Vegas redemption because its something we have wanted to try, but would never justify the price if we were paying. I am glad we had the voucher and didn’t pay. It was fun and cool to see and all, but I realized I could not handle that much liquorice flavor. I knew nothing about Absinthe really and expected a small glass, but this was a good size drink of which I drank maybe 1/3. M liked hers more then I did, but she only finished about 2/3 of it. Dessert was some coconut key lime pie combination and we finished off with a shot of white chocolate “soup” compliments of the chef that was delicious.

That night we also changed our return flight on Southwest due to the blizzard pending for New England. They opened up a travel advisory which let us change without any additional charges so we took advantage. Our flight was originally scheduled for Saturday and we were due to arrive around 11pm local time. The blizzard was supposed to be done by around noon that day so technically we could have tried to fly back. Our layover though was in Chicago and we wanted to avoid being stuck in Chicago at all costs. So to try to ensure we didn’t get stuck with the storm, we just moved the flight to Monday, which gave us 2 additional nights. We called it an early night and back in the room I moved some money in envelopes around to cover our additional 2 days!

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6. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 6: Thursday

I headed downstairs to add 2 nights to our reservation. The clerk called Total Rewards for me so I could get a reduced rate using our player cards. Ended up paying about $100 a night for a Saturday and Sunday, which was fine given that we already had 7 nights at reduced or comp rates. We had breakfast again at Mon Ami and stayed pretty local for most of the day just gambling and drinking without anything too memorable happening.

After another nap we headed over to Diegos at MGM for some more Mexican. I know most people dislike the monorail, and I agree it is often a waste of time and money, but when going to one of the restaurants in the back of the MGM I think its very convenient. The food here was very good as well as the service and the portions were rather large for a reasonable price. We then took a short cab ride over to Luxor to see Carrot Top. I know it’s a short walk to Excalibur for the tram to Luxor, but we just didn’t want to deal with that and were a bit pressed for time. Gave the cabbie a good tip and he seemed fine.

CT was very good and we were glad we went thanks to the recommendations here. We were pretty much front row center and were a bit surprised CT looked as normal as he did. The guy next to us had a bandaged finger and when CT asked what happened the guy replied that he cut it while doing an autopsy on a buffalo. This threw CT off a bit, but was very funny and was revisited multiple times during the show. M got covered in a roll of toilet paper as part of the Blue Man Group bit and overall we had a great time. We did some more gambling and ended up breaking even for the day.

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7. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 7: Friday

This was supposed to be our last day and we had no plans at all for it. We slept in a bit and after getting ready headed over to one of our other favorite lunch spots – Canaletto at the Venetian. We have had lunch here probably 5 times over our trips and every time M gets the calzone and loves it. I had a pizza, we drank a bottle of wine and relaxed for a bit before heading down to Flamingo.

One of the other days we had stopped by the Margaretville Casino for some roulette in the afternoon and had a good time. We decided to try that again, but the table was full so we played some JOB and then headed to the main casino. We found an empty roulette table and got ready to settle in for a bit. After 1 spin, these 2 girls came up very loudly telling the dealer “We’re back! Did you miss us?!?!” It took about 5 minutes to figure out what they wanted for chips and by then the rest of their crew arrived. This was another lady who didn’t know how to bet and 3 guys who yelled “RED! We want RED!” about 4 times right near our ears. There was of course talk of how it HAD to be red next since the last few spins were black. This always makes me want to bet a bunch on the zeros of course. We enjoy a fun table, but this group was just obnoxious and annoying so we colored up and left.

We headed over to Casears to play more of the pop up Craps game. The gambling didn’t go well, but we had the sweetest cocktail waitress ever – Stephanie. Every time she would bring a drink she would say “My name is Stephanie, please let me know if you need anything at all.” After a while of Craps we headed over to Mesa grill, sat at the bar and had a couple appetizers. Food and service were great, but M said her margarita was the worst drink she had that trip. We then headed over to Ballys for more pop up Craps where we played with the same guy for the 2nd night in a row. Overall a decent day gambling and we called it a night around 2am.

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8. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Day 8: Saturday #2

We woke up glad to not be heading home and decided we should go see a show since we had no plans for the next couple days. We debated between seeing La Reve for the first time or seeing Mystere again. Since La Reve was expensive (even with a discount I found) and we did not really enjoy O (other water based show) we decided to go see Mystere again. This was the first Cirque show we had seen, but that was about 5 years ago. I tried getting the $50 tickets online and could not so I called just to find out that offer was not good on weekends. The lady could not offer me any other discounts so I said no thank you. I checked online again and found a 35% off code and booked using my phone.

We did not want to go far and decided to try lunch at Sea – the Thai place at Ballys. This place is pretty nice and the food was good. We did some gambling at Paris and Ballys without any major wins or losses. While playing the pop up craps again I checked Southwest to find out that our original flight had gotten cancelled once it landed in Chicago. It was nice to be having a drink and gambling instead of being in Chicago trying to find a hotel room.

We headed over to Mirage and stopped by Stack for an appetizer and drink. Years ago we had tried the hot rocks app where you use chopsticks to put slices of beef on a very hot rock. We were too drunk to do it well then, but this time we had much more luck. Those and some crab tacos were very good. We bounced over to Onda, another favorite spot, but we had not been here in a while. Raul the bartender still remembered us though. Here we had some drinks, delicious risotto balls and a cheese plate.

Headed over to TI via the tram and got in line to pick up our Mystere tickets when I realized I didn’t have my credit card and realized I must have left it at Onda. They only asked for my license when I picked up the tickets so that wasn’t a problem thankfully. While in line and on way into show I called Mirage to get connected to Onda 3 times with no luck, getting disconnected each time.

On the way into Mystere we grab a couple drinks and make our way to our seats. There was a couple in the first 2 seats of our aisle and the guy joked about us not bringing him any drinks. Well by joked I mean he called us a__holes, but I guess everyone has a different sense of humor. A minute later he asks us if we want a drink, we laugh and say no and he gets up to go. The show starts and about 15 minutes in they let him back to his seat and he hands us 2 Guinesses and says something like see I am not an a__hole like you. He then starts speaking loudly to his date and people all around are telling him to shut up. After a few minutes he gets up, has words with a guy who told him to shut up, walks away and is never seen again, leaving his date there alone.

Mystere was good and it was fun to check it out again. I always think it’s a great first show for people who have not seen Cirque. We then headed back over to Mirage and I caught Raul as he was closing up Onda. He said Oh you forgot your card! It’s at the security booth. He then called them up and walked me over to get my card back. I gave him a tip and thanked him – great service!

This ended up being a late night – M called it a night around 3, but I was up until 5. We played a bunch of pop up craps at Ballys and I ended the night playing roulette at Paris. Ended the night up a few hundred bucks.

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9. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

Days 9 & 10: Sunday #2 & Monday #2

I didn’t take notes on these days so these will be short. On Sunday we slept pretty late and when we finally got up we went and grabbed lunch at Holsteins. We really liked this place overall. Service was good and the Drunken Monkey shake was excellent. We spent a while playing pop up Craps again at Caesars. While we were there a group of women were playing the electronic big wheel and it malfunctioned. It was amusing watching them try to convince people that it stopped on 12 before it broke. They had 3-4 employees over there for about 20 minutes. I have no idea the resolution but it was interesting to watch.

While we were playing craps again I checked Southwest out of curiosity and found that if we had left today our flight again would have been cancelled once it landed in Chicago. This made us happy that we made the right decision to stay until Monday!

We ended up just going to Mon Ami for dinner and it was good as always. We started with a very good plate of oysters, had a bottle of wine, steak for me and tuna for M. As I said before its always good enough there – not something we consider a special meal or anything, but a good standby. Nothing too exciting the rest of the night, just some decent gambling and we called it a night around 1am.

Monday morning up to pack and head out. I went downstairs to settle up room charges and we hit up Mon Ami again for breakfast. Played $25 bets on 4 different roulette numbers on the way out the door with no luck and headed to airport.

Flight home was uneventful and on time. Overall a great trip – will post some random thoughts in my next and last post. Please let me know any questions.

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10. Re: My first TR - 9 nights in Vegas: 2/2 – 2/11

is this the first ever TR with an index?

Bravo!