Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Sinatra at Encore Las Vegas

November 27, 2009

We had a couple things to celebrate the last time we were in Vegas (other than the fact that we were there), and Sinatra was the perfect place to go. They truly made the evening special.

When we first entered the restaurant, the maitre’d handed us a personalized card, thanking us for choosing to spend our evening with them. They seated us at a table for two overlooking the garden area.

View from Table at Sinatra

Table at Sinatra

When the servers came to the table, they wished me a happy birthday. It was nice and understated– obviously, no Wynncore restaurant is going to have servers standing around your table and singing.

We looked over the selections on the menu, but found that everything we wanted was on the Taste of Wynn menu. The restaurant offered an appetizer, an entree, dessert, and a glass of wine (red, white, or sparkling) for $59 each.

As a beverage appetizer, Tim had the Sinatra Smash, a delicious blackberry cocktail.

Sinatra Smash Drink at Sinatra

The bread basket and the butter were outstanding. The butter was the perfect temperature (not too warm, not too cold) and consistency (not too hard, not melting) and flavor (salty and slightly sweet at the same time). We could not stop eating it, and it gave us a chance to try the several different kinds of bread.

Bread Basket at Encore

As we dined, we heard several songs from Frank Sinatra’s vast catalogue. The music was the perfect accompaniment to the evening.

For the first course, Tim ordered the Crudo (yellowtail, tomato, zucchini, pepperoncino, prosciutto chips, oregano).

Crudo at Sinatra

I had the Biete E Arance (beet salad with citrus, goat cheese, and candied pistachios).

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad at Sinatra

Both salads are among the best we’ve ever had. Each bite had a slightly different flavor, yet all the ingredients played off each other. The beet salad had several kinds of beets, including a mousse, which created an interesting variety in texture. Between the salad and the bread basket, my taste buds were in heaven. The components in each dish were like musical notes, and the combination in each bite was harmonious.

For the main course, Tim had the Ippoglosso (Alaskan halibut with cauliflower, almonds, raisins, and black olive sauce). Like the salad, each bite featured a slightly different twist of flavor.

Alaskan Halibut at Sinatra

I ordered the Chicken Saltimbocca (chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, asiago cheese, and sage). It was satisfying, rich, and delicious. The portion was huge, and I was unable to finish it due to the size and the richness of the dish. I didn’t let any of the prosciutto go to waste, though.

Chicken Saltimbocca at Sinatra

We each had a glass of prosecco to accompany our meal, and it was light and crispy and fresh.

We chose desserts on the lighter side. Tim selected the gelato and sorbet tasting.

Sorbet at Sinatra

I had sampled some panna cotta at the buffet at the M Resort a day earlier, so I had that on my mind. I was touched when they brought the plate to the table with a glowing candle.

Panna Cotta at Sinatra

The dessert was as delicious as it was beautiful. Like the earlier dishes, the panna cotta (one vanilla and one pistachio) had subtle complexities in flavor. The berries were fresh and juicy, and the sauce hit all the right notes.

I would wholeheartedly recommend visiting Sinatra. The experience far outweighed the cost, and the level of service was amazing.


Vegas Trip – October 2009, Day 5

October 31, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Because we’d been up until 2:30 the night before, we didn’t awaken until 9:30. We still had the rental car, so we drove to Planet Hollywood (parking at Paris due to the construction on Harmon) and had Earl of Sandwich for brunch.

I had an Earl’s lemonade with Earl Grey Tea and my favorite, the All-American sandwich.

All-American at Earl of Sandwich

We played more video poker and some Gold Fish slots.

As a testament to my husband’s love for me, he drove half an hour out of his way to the refurbished Silver Slipper sign.

We passed some idiots taking pictures in the middle of the road across from Wynn and Encore. They were standing in the middle of the left lane of Las Vegas Boulevard, and were about to get run over for the sake of a picture.

The placement of the restored signs north of downtown made me wonder if people would do similar dumb things to get pictures of themselves with the signs, which were on the strip of concrete separating the two sides of the road. However, because the signs are fairly far from most of the tourist areas, they might not be as big of a draw.

We drove back down The Strip to grab some snapshots of the Las Vegas sign, which now has a parking lot to prevent picture-taking roadkill. The sign, like the others, used to be in the middle of the road, and people would dash across to get pictures of themselves with the iconic sign.

We went back to the room to rest and change before dinner (driving takes a lot out of you).

We took a taxi to Encore. The driver (like the others we had this trip) made a time-saving move on Frank Sinatra Drive during rush hour, allowing us to have time for a drink at the High Limit bar before our dinner reservations at Sinatra. We were serenaded by Baby Spice, whom I always hear when I visit a Wynn property.

Drink Menu at Encore High Limit Bar

I had The Peared Ginger. I thought I’d pass on the Millionaire Margarita. Maybe next time.

The Peared Ginger at Encore High Limit Bar

Tim ordered the Cranberry Mojito. Both were light and refreshing and delicious.

Cranberry Mojito at Encore High Limit Bar

We were going to ask for the Asian Equation, which our friend Steve had heard was supposed to be served at every bar. He inquires at every Wynn restaurant, just for kicks, even though he doesn’t drink.

We had dinner at Sinatra, which was so lovely and wonderful that it deserves its own post.

Because Tim is a nice guy, he agreed to accompany me to the Manolo store. On the way, we went into the Taste of Wynn store in the esplanade between Encore and Wynn. Each area of the shop represented a restaurant, and the area was divided into three columns: ingredients, smaller tools, and large kitchen accessories. It was a nice concept, allowing people to take a taste of their meal home or a portion of the kitchen.

We stopped in the Manolo store in the Wynn esplanade so I could fondle some footwear. I particularly lusted after the Carolyne and Tuccio models, but left (as usual) without buying anything. The saleswoman was really nice, and we chatted with her for a few minutes about topics other than shoes, so Tim’s time in there wasn’t too painful. I hope.

We took a taxi from Wynn to the Paris Diamond Lounge, where we hung out with Sal and Michael until they closed down.

We did some gambling in Paris, then it was back over to Planet Hollywood to give the deuces one more shot. I switched to Bonus Poker, then Megabucks (I have to try it at least once), then Gold Fish slots.

I was starting to get tired, so I tried a Rockstar energy drink mixed with vodka. It tasted OK (better than Red Bull), but it had no effect on my growing desire to sleep, so we took another taxi back to our palatial suite.

Vegas Trip – October 2009, Day 4

October 31, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tim played video poker at Planet Hollywood as I slept in. He was sitting at the machines when a large woman dressed in bright pink approached him. She asked him how he was doing, and because he was so focused on gambling, he didn’t realize who she was and answered “fine.” She then asked him if he wanted to have a good time up in his room and touched him on the arm. Snapping out of his gambling zone for a minute, he told her to go away. Five minutes later, he hit a royal flush. Now he calls her his lucky prostitute.

I had a gift card for Lettuce Entertain You, so we treated ourselves to breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. We sat at a table outside near the doors.

Tim ordered the omelet with turkey and avocado.

Omelet at Mon Ami Gabi

I had the egg, bacon, and cheese crepe.

Crepe at Mon Ami Gabi

We split a chocolate bacon waffle.

Bacon Chocolate Waffles at Mon Ami Gabi

All the food was fresh and delicious and light. Tim said he didn’t get much of a bacon taste from the waffle, but the bacon must have been hiding in all my pieces. I didn’t even use the syrup or whipped cream, because the waffles themsleves were sweet enough.

We went back to play video poker at Planet Hollywood. As I was playing my usual nickel machine, I drew four deuces on the bottom line for a tidy $150 profit. I was quite excited.

We checked out of Paris and took a cab to THEhotel. We were fully expecting to check our bags until the room was ready,. The woman at the reception desk said that they didn’t have any rooms ready at that time, and they had a limited number of the rooms we’d booked. She went into the back room to check on something, and we thought it could be really good or really bad. She emerged a few minutes later and thanked us for waiting, and she told us she was able to get us a larger room. We tipped her $20 and thanked her profusely.

We got room 60903, which is one of their L suites. THEhotel has suites for each letter in “hotel,” with the suites getting progressively larger toward the end of the word. If you flip this picture, here’s a drawing of the layout.

It was a huge suite with many places to entertain.

As you walked into the suite, there was a small bathroom on the left.

There was a giant living room/entertainment area in front of us. On the right was a couch facing a flat-screen TV. Next to that was an area with some chairs. Across from that was a desk in an alcove. Next to the chairs was a dining room table with several chairs. Across from the dining room table was a bar area. There was an extra door next to the bar, which was handy for refilling ice. Here’s a long shot of the living/entertainment area.

The bedroom was also huge. There was a couch and a TV near the entrance of the bedroom. There was another TV across from the bed. There was also a TV above the tub, for a total of four TVs in the suite.

The bathroom was separated from the bedroom by a screen that could open and close. The bathroom contained a whirlpool tub, a steam shower (which Tim greatly enjoyed after a few nights of boozing), two sinks, a toilet, and a bidet. (A post on proper bidet use is coming shortly.)

We had a lovely view of Palms and Rio.

The suite was so large it was three times the size of the main floor of our house. If I was standing in the bedroom and Tim was standing on the opposite end near the bar, we couldn’t hear each other talk. It was crazy, but wonderful.

After absorbing the hugeness of our room, we drove to M Resort for lunch. M is nicely decorated, and it reminded me of Red Rock.

The buffet was outstanding. It offered a wide variety of Asian options (there were five Chinese/Thai salads alone, along with sushi, stir fry, noodles, and several other offerings). The meal came with a complimentary glass of wine or beer. I got a glass of cabernet, and Tim got a glass of lager from their in-house brewery. The lager was very good.

The dessert bar was the most impressive thing.

Desserts at M Resort Buffet

They had every kind of dessert imaginable– sorbet, pie, cake, tarts, you name it.

Dessert at M Resort Buffet

I settled on panna cotta, creme brûlée, and tiramisu. They were all delicious, and I managed to finish each of them.

Desserts at M Resort Buffet

On our way back to THEhotel, we stopped at The Liquor Outlet to get beverages for THEbash we were having that night. The guy at the store was extremely helpful. He pointed us to the Food 4 Less up the road for food and other supplies.

We hauled our stuff up to the room with help from the bellhop. I was really impressed with the service at THEhotel. Everyone had been very friendly and willing to assist us with any questions.

We set up the room, then had a quick dinner at House of Blues. We changed into our party clothes (including an ill-advised pair of four-inch purple suede heels that looked fabulous but made my feet ache after about 20 minutes). Guests arrived, and the rest of the evening, like the evening before, was a happy blur.

Honestly, I tried to write up some highlights of the party, but I don’t think “jizz crockpot” and “squeal like a pig” and “save Mike E’s taint” would make sense to anyone other than the attendees. The night was one of the best nights I’ve ever spent in this town, though.

Vegas Trip – October 2009, Day 2

October 26, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

After last night’s fantastic show, I had Fountains of Wayne songs popping in and out of my head for the next few days, like a soundtrack for the trip. I also heard a guy yelling “Troubled Times!” but that was only during my occasional loss at the machines.

We awoke in room 3164P, a Lyons suite at Paris Las Vegas. Last night, when we were checking in, Tim asked the clerk if there were any suite upgrades available, and luckily for us, there were. It was a smoking room, but we didn’t mind.

The suite had double doors which opened to an entryway with a small bathroom (toilet and sink) off to the side. Directly in front of us was a living room/dining area with a couch on one side and a dining table and desk on the other. Past the couch was the bedroom, with a TV that rose from and sank into an armoire at the end of the bed. There was a chair next to the bed, and above the chair was a picture of a chair. This amused me, for some reason. To the left of the bed was a small hallway containing a sitting area with a large mirror. This led to the bathroom, which had a separate shower and soaking tub. To the right of the tub was a sink, and to the right of that was a small room with a bidet and toilet. (More on proper bidet etiquette later.)

We had a nice view of the Strip and a partial view of the Bellagio fountains.

After basking in our glorious digs, we went next door to Planet Hollywood for breakfast at Planet Dailies. We both ordered the salmon omelet, which was delicious.

Salmon Omelet at Planet Dailies

We started gambling immediately after breakfast, and I was rewarded for my efforts by hitting four deuces on deuces wild. Yeah, it was nickels and a $50 payout, but it allowed me to gamble for a long time without losing, and that was my goal.

We walked down to O’Shea’s and had some morning beverages there (Bloody Mary for Tim and a Brown Cow for me). We continued down the Strip to Casino Royale, where we were disappointed at their shirt selection. We were hoping to find a blue shirt for Tim to match his black and red flaming dice shirt from last year. Oh, well. He wasn’t too concerned.

We tugged on the doors of Lagasse Stadium on the outside of Palazzo, but they were locked. We went inside and wandered around for a while before we found it. I was impressed with the place. It was quiet during our visit but it seemed like it would be a fun place to watch a game. It had several levels with comfortable seating and large video screens, and four different bars.

Lagasse Stadium at Palazzo

We played some video poker at Casino Royale and ordered a couple vodka and sodas (my downfall for the day).

As we walked past Flamingo, we noticed some guys handing out nightclub passes next to the usual pornslappers. The nightclub guy described his passes as a “titty buffet.”

We went to the Paris Diamond Lounge where Sal welcomed us with drinks, starting with a homemade Alize. Next up was a martini with Malibu, butterscotch schnapps, mandarin vodka, pineapple juice, and cream. It was light and refreshing and delicious.

Drinks at Paris Diamond Lounge

Our friend Brian was carousing in the vicinitey, so we met him on the way to Planet Hollywood and sat at the Extra lounge playing more video poker. We all needed to be hydrated, so when we were in the ABC Store picking up water, we saw this:

Horniest Goat Weed

We parted ways with Brian and had a late lunch at The Pub at Monte Carlo. They had several beers on tap. I chose a Delirium Tremens (because there’s nothing better for you after a day of drinks than a beer with 9% ABV), while Tim had Stella. We each had burgers and fries. They were tasty and filling, and definitely met our needs. But the burger was not life-changing like the burger at Bradley Ogden, for example.

Burgers at The Pub at Monte Carlo

The room was sparsely decorated and felt like a warehouse, so there wasn’t a lot of atmosphere to the place, and I would think it would get loud when it was crowded. I wouldn’t rule out returning if I happened to be in the area and had a need for some beer and some burgers, though.

We met our friends Hunter and Megan at a bar at Bellagio, which is funny considering we almost got kicked out of the place for being too rowdy a couple years ago. We had a good time catching up (and how I wish we could see them more often). Then they were off to dinner, and we went back to our hotel briefly before meeting some more friends at Bill’s Gambling Hall, Saloon, and Shootery. I did myself no favors by losing track of the number of vodka/sodas I consumed as we hung out with Dave, Olonzo, Robert, Mark, Mark’s friend whose name I can’t recall, Bob, and Beth, but I had a great time.

Vegas Trip – October 2009, Day 1

October 24, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flights had been delayed all day due to weather (snow for the third time in a week) and runway construction. Tim had been watching the flights carefully online, so we were able to wait for a few hours in the comfort of our own home instead of at the airport. We watched the balloon boy coverage on TV as I did some last-minute cleaning and packing. Tim hypothesized that the boy had never been in the balloon and was hiding out because he knew he was in big trouble.

We had dinner at the restaurant in the Humphrey Terminal, and started the trip off with a couple relaxing vodka/sodas. As we were eating, we overheard someone say they’d found the balloon boy in the attic and Tim exclaimed, “I knew it!” We both hoped his prognostication skills would serve him well in Vegas.

After we boarded the plane, the pilot announced with a sigh that Joe Biden was in town and that we’d have to wait for 30 more minutes to take off. Luckily, the delay was only 15 minutes, but the plane departed 4 hours and 15 minutes after its scheduled time.

We had tickets to the Fountains of Wayne show at 11:00 that night, and we wondered how close we were going to cut it.

We landed safely and had a good cab driver who knew the fastest way, and we had little traffic. We checked into Paris (more about our fabulous room later), changed clothes, and were on our way.

We had another good cab driver who bypassed some traffic on Harmon and got us to the Hard Rock in record time. We arrived at Wasted Space at 10:45, just in time to grab a couple drinks at the bar and find a spot near the stage.

The club is small– it only holds about 450 people. The back is lined with couches and seating for bottle service. The stage is directly in front of you as you enter, and there is a bar to the right. Outside the club is an annex with lounge chairs, and I almost walked in there by mistake.

As we were waiting for the band to start, we noticed an odd sight: Three generations of Ed Hardy. There was Ed Hardy, a middle-aged man with glasses and an Ed Hardy polo. There was Ed Hardy, Jr., a man in his 20s with the same polo but a matching belt. Then there was Ed Hardy’s mom, a gray-haired woman in her 60s who was rocking a t-shirt.

Normally we call the shirts “douchecapes” but these people seemed very non-douchy. Normally, you see this gear on people waiting in line outside Pure or XS or Tryst or one of the bazillion nightclubs and ultralounges in Vegas. I don’t think this gang would have been allowed in any of those places. When your mom is wearing Ed Hardy gear, it’s the beginning of the end of the trend. This is one trend death we’re happy to report.

The Fountains of Wayne show had been billed as an acoustic concert, but the band didn’t disappoint us by plugging in, even though my ears were ringing for hours afterwards. I was three people from the front of the stage, and I was in power pop heaven. When we saw their acoustic show this summer, I remembered thinking how much fun it would be to see them perform an electric show, and my wish was granted.


They mentioned that they’d been playing acoustic shows in places like “cultural centers” and they thought they’d balance that out by playing in a casino. I wanted to yell out “I was there!” or at the very least ask them if they remember the Cedar Cultural Center smelling like patchouli or if they’d found any stray beard hairs in their gear, but I didn’t. They had enough shenanigans to deal with, because the drunk guy in front of me wearing the Teenage Fanclub shirt yelled out, “Troubled Times!” every time the band finished a song. For example, they introduced “Hackensack” as a song about a town in New Jersey, the dude yelled out “Troubled Times!” and Adam responded that the town was not called “Troubled Times.” They were good-natured about it, and even included the song in the encore (and that was the point where I melted into a puddle of goo in the middle of the floor, after having my soul leaving my body at least 10 times before).



Songs they played, not in any particular order, and I’m sure I’m leaving some stuff out:

No Better Place

Someone to Love

Mexican Wine

Red Dragon Tattoo

The Summer Place (unreleased, but available on YouTube Records)

Leave the Biker (dedicated to the biker rally that was in town)

Sink to the Bottom

Hey Julie


Bright Future in Sales

Radiation Vibe (with bits of Jet Airliner, Let’s Go, Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 1, and Reunited thrown in)


Stacy’s Mom

Troubled Times


Wasted Space was a great venue. If you have a chance to see a band there, I would highly recommend going. It’s such an intimate place. I was five feet from the stage the whole time, and I felt like they were singing right to me. The staff was friendly, and the club didn’t have the exclusive vibe that some of the other Vegas clubs have. I felt very comfortable there and had a great time. The show was a wonderful way to kick off the trip.

Want to see more pictures? Here’s the Flickr set.

Vegas Trip – July 2009, Day 6

August 17, 2009

Sunday, July 20, 2009

We had breakfastes at the Augustus Cafe. I ordered the Augustus breakfast with eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes for $17. Pancakes are underrated. So is maple syrup, especially when it’s mixed with salty meats. Mmmmm.

I still had gambling urges, so I played Gold Fish slots until it was time to check out and won $10.

We took a cab to airport, and the cabbie was a really nice guy. He talked about the City Center development and how badly it’s needed for the Vegas economy. It’s so big it will have its own fire station. Speaking of emergencies, he also said that two people were checking out of Caesars yesterday and had to be carried away by ambulance. Crazy. From the heat. Or something.

At the airport, I made the mistake of playing the Wheel of Fortune slots. It teased me with the 1000 bonus on the wheel, but gave me 25. Bastards. I lost $10 on wheel and dwvp so I was even for the day.

I was a little cranky on the way home, as usual. The airplane had really small aisles, so I kept getting bumped by beverage carts, flight attendants, and people en route to bathroom. Luckily, there were no delays and it was a smooth flight, so we arrived exhausted but safe.

Vegas Trip – July 2009, Day 5

August 17, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

While I played bonus poker at Caesars, a woman near us on the Wizard of Oz machines was freaking out. She was yelling something about going over the rainbow. I did a stealthy walk-by, and she won about $170 on a bonus round, which was exciting, but not enough to scream over. By the way she was acting, we thought she had won the whole thing.

We had breakfast at the walk-up counter at Payard. We each had a salmon, cream cheese, and chive sandwich on pretzel bread. I ordered orange juice. which was ridiculously priced at $6, but I was thirsty. Water was $5, so for an extra $1 I got additional flavor and pulp and vitamin C with my beverage.

Salmon Sandwich on Pretzel Bread

I played a little more bonus poker. I didn’t win, but I played for a long time. If I can’t win, at least let me lose slowly.

We had coupons for two free frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity 3. They are full of win (really, see below). And chocolate. They are normally $8 each for 16 oz, but I would definitely pay for them again. The restaurant was busy, so we stopped by the window to pick them up, then we sat under the canopy outside Caesars.

It had been a few minutes since we’d gambled, so we walked back down to Planet Hollywood. I lost $20 on dwvp, then switched to bonus poker and hit the royal. Awesome.

My slot card decided to stop working, so I went to the booth to get a new one. I was rewarded with $10 in free play and two free buffets. I played Elvis slots with the free play and cashed out $15.

We had the P Ho buffet for dinner. They close down the food between 3:30 and 4 to set up for dinner. We got there at 3 and were able to finish. There was quite a run on the dessert bar. We passed on sweets, opting for liquid dessert  (chocolate martinis) at the bar upstairs and even more at the Paris Diamond Lounge.

We finally tried the infamous Merlot Martini. This has been an ongoing joke between us and Frank the server for ages, but we were pleasantly surprised at how good it was (then again, it was one of Sal’s concoctions, so we shouldn’t have been).

Merlot Martini

After bidding the Diamond Lounge a fond farewell, we went down to O’Sheas, where Tim programmed “She Bangs” to play 14 times in a row. Unfortunately the beer pong players thwarted our Ricky-roll and programmed a bunch of pseudo rap and paid more for priority status, so we only heard the song once. We have a strategy for next time, though.

We were craving meat, so we went to BLT Burger in Mirage. Tim got a burger and an adult milkshake, while I got the classic angus burger and skinny fries. Tasty.

Burger and Fries at BLT Burger

I went to bed, but Tim stayed up to gamble more, because he had consumed several energy drinks from the minibar in the room earlier. The next morning, I caught the gambling bug and I wished I had done the same.

Vegas Trip – July 2009, Day 4

August 17, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We decided to try the breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi, and we were not disappointed. We sat outside on the patio. The keys to the MAG patio are sitting in the shade and not getting waffle prints on your legs from the chairs. Then it’s very pleasant.

I had a delicious crepe with bacon, eggs, and cheese, along with freshly squeezed orange juice.

Crepes at Mon Ami Gabi

The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed looking at Bellagio (even though the fountains weren’t going that early) and the City Center construction.

After breakfast, we headed over to P Ho for some gambling. It was a great idea, because I hit a royal on a nickel dwvp machine by the poker nook. When the machine started slowing down, I cashed out with a tidy profit and went up to the room to check out and take 50 room pictures. Video poker called again, so I played some more and cashed out even.

We rewarded ourselves for our gambling efforts by visiting the Paris Diamond lounge again.

We needed some food to break up the beverages, so we walked over to Ellis Island for their steak dinner special for $7.77. It came with beer (we chose the Hefe Weiss, which was delicious), salad, baked potato, green beans, and steak. It was a great value and well worth the walk.

Salad and Hefe Weiss Beer at Ellis Island

Steak Special at Ellis Island

We were in the mood to see another show, so we visited the Harrah’s box office. We were going to see Legends, but they were sold out. We got tickets for Human Nature at Imperial Palace, and were glad we did.

We still had plenty of time before the show, so we played the new Jaws slots at Venetian. I was confused by them, but I’m not sure if it was the slot design or my inebriated state. Venetian had some tacky holes on the outside walls where they had removed banners but didn’t replace them with anything else. I also noticed that I used to love the Venetian smell, but it was too potent for me this time.

We stopped at the Harrah’s Diamond Lounge on our way to Imperial, and had a mudslide and an interesting drink called the “Back to the future north to alaska frozen tundra purple passion mother trucker.” It contains Jack Daniels, amaretto, chambord, Southern Comfort, sweet and sour, vodka, seven, and champagne. Really potent, as expected.

Drinks at Harrah's Diamond Lounge

We were really impressed by Human Nature in the Imperial Palace showroom. One person described it as “four white guys from Australia singing Motown,” which is accurate, but they have tremendous respect and passion for the Motown catalogue. They had a solid backing band and did great a capella work too, and they had a ton of energy. I would highly recommend the show to anyone who likes Motown. They had the whole crowd singing and dancing along.

After the show, we went to the Seahorse bar at Caesars Palace. We sipped vodka/sodas while watching chicks work the poles in the Pussycat Dolls pit.

We wanted to go somewhere secluded, because Saturday night on The Strip can be crazy town, so we decided to check out the Sin City Brewery at Flamingo. It was tucked away in the back on the way to the monorail station, so it had a few people stopping but it wasn’t crowded at all. We tried the Amber beer, the Weisse beer, and the light beer. The Weisse beer was definitely the best, but the Amber beer was very pretty.

Amber Beer at Sin City Brewing Co.

I vaguely remember helping Tim with his new stand-up act, which mostly involved insulting me, so that wasn’t cool. Some guys from the Air Force stopped by with a falcon head from their mascot, and we all took turns posing with them.

We desperately needed some food before bedtime, so we went to the Augustus Cafe. A chicken quesadilla did the trick. We stumbled back to our room at Caesars and slept.

Vegas Trip – July 2009, Day 3

August 17, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

I felt a little better about our room. It had nice Gilchrist and Soames bath products, which were nicer than the normal Harrah’s soaps and shampoos. And the room was a decent size, and it was clean, and it was larger than any other Caesars room we’d had. Not saying that anything that happened during our check-in process was right, but I won’t feel salty about the room because of it.

For breakfastes, we ate at Payard in their restaurant section, just around the corner from their counter. I ordered a broccoli, tomato, and cheese quiche. It was very good, but a little on the expensive side for breakfast (around $25 per person).

Payard Patisserie Quiche

We went over to Planet Hollywood to gamble. I lost a little, but I was able to play for a long time, so I felt sufficiently entertained.

We had reservations for noon at the Diamond Lounge, and we were a little thirsty, so off we went. When I was in the bathroom, the guy next to Tim said “your wife sure can drink.” They had seen us on a previous trip and had a similar thought. I told Tim he should have replied that this was our equivalent of the drinking olympics. We don’t do this at home, really. At least not every weekend.

We took a break from the beverages and played some more at Planet Ho. I found a decent video poker machine by the live poker area.

We were both fading, so we went up to our P Ho room for a brief nap before our show at 8:00. After we woke up, we watched the Luck Be a Lady fountain show as the sun was setting.

We had tickets for Peepshow on the main floor in Row W seats 126 & 127. The theatre was sparse. The section on the main floor with tables was about half full, while the theatre seats farther back was less than 1/3 full. The middle section was the only one with people, and there were still several empty rows.

If you haven’t seen Peepshow, it contains a lot of boobs. A lot. Picture as many boobs as you can, then picture some more. When I walked out, I felt a little too clothed. And then I thought every woman I saw was going to take her top off in the next five minutes, and I was wondering if I was supposed to do the same. It took a while for my brain to return to normal.

Holly Madison was a good performer as the main Bo Peep character, although it was hard to believe the beginning of the story that she was spending a Saturday night alone without a date. She didn’t have a lot to do in the show, but she basically had to stand there and look good and she did that well.

Shoshana Bean was excellent as the Peep Diva. She was a strong singer and had a great, sassy stage presence. She was the glue that held the show together, and I wish she had been on stage more often.

The show weaves a story of Bo Peep falling asleep and having really weird dreams about nursery rhymes, interspersed with scenes of the Peep Diva trying to find her a man. After a while, I found myself thinking, “Okay, we haven’t seen boobs in the last three minutes. There’s no way this song is ending without boobs.” And sure enough, someone (or several someones) would find her top too constricting and whip it off.

The most vivid scene was the Milkshake song, with ladies writhing in a vat of fake milk and pressing various parts against the glass. Ending, of course, with boobs.

There were a couple mildly disturbing scenes, when Bo Peep’s dog comes alive as a male dancer, and when a girl sang about her teddy bear (again, ending with boobs). The show culminated with Holly Madison taking center stage, and you’ll never guess what she did. (Hint: It involves her upper half.)

Me: “I close my eyes and I see boobs.”
Tim: “Now you know how I feel every day.”

After the show, we had dinner at Planet Dailies I had mac and cheese, which was incredible, even though the portion was about five times more than what I could eat.

There were tons of people in the casino waiting to get into Prive (which closed a few weeks later due to illegal activity). The foot traffic was badly set up, with people blocking the aisles with their posing. It might have made more sense to have the line upstairs because there was plenty of room up there, but I’m sure the casino hoped that a few people would be lured from the lines to gamble.

Vegas Trip – July 2009, Day 2

August 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We had breakfastes at Wynn buffet. The cheesy hash brown balls are little pieces of heaven. I also had an omelet with spinach, tomatoes, peppers, cheese, and egg whites. For meat, I grabbed a surprisingly tasty piece of chicken sausage with apples, and some surprisingly not tasty pieces of bacon. That was OK because I needed room for other things. Muesli and strawberries w/ granola were a fantastic end to the meal.

Breakfastes at Wynn Buffet

Tim had a $25 credit for his room stay, so I watched him play bonus poker. I was very content, and it was like meditation. My brain unwound a little, and it felt really good.

We went back to the room to pack. The only service glitch at Wynn occurred when we called down to have them take our bags, and nobody came. We waited for about a half hour, then brought our bags down ourselves and headed for Caesars.

We checked in at Caesars Diamond registration, and immediately the level of service took a dive. Let’s just say the lady working there wasn’t too happy with her life and was unnecessarily snippy. Our conversation went something like this:

Tim: “Hi, we’d like to check in. Originally we had an Emperor’s Suite but got a confirmation that it had been changed to an Augustus Tower room, and we were wondering if anything else was available.”

Clerk: “We’re completely sold out, and this room is all we have.”

[This was on a Thursday, in July. Typically a very slow time. And there were no major conventions or concerts or fights in town. Just had to be said.]

Me: “Well, would you be able to give us a Strip view?”

Clerk: “This room doesn’t have a view.”

Me: “What?”

Clerk: “This room doesn’t have a view. I don’t have that information. You’d be better off taking this room because we’re sold out and it might be gone in the next 30 seconds.”

So we begrudgingly took the room. It was a nice room, but my initial perception of it was soured by our check-in experience. We checked into room 2877 in the Augustus Tower. I opened the drapes and peered through the dirty window. I could see the Palace Tower and the Forum Tower. So instead of giving us an upgrade to the Emperor’s Suites, she gave us a room with a view of those suites, through a dirty window, no less. What a nice touch.

We walked over to O’Sheas to console ourselves with beverages.  I had a cape cod and rum/diet. Tim looked at the jukebox and got a crazy idea to put lots of money in the jukebox and Ricky Martin roll the beer pong playas later.

As we walked past the former Barbary Coast, we noticed a $9.99 all you can eat Chinese food special. We wanted to get more details but never did.

Bally’s had a Miller Lite kiosk set up outside the main entrance. The prices changed every time we walked by, although we never considered buying any.

We played some video poker at Planet Ho. Their playlist ranged from “You Better You Bet” by The Who (very appropriate) to “Let’s Go All the Way” by Sly Foxx (not so much). There were no  cocktail waitresses in my vicinity for an hour. I had a screwdriver and a bottled water at the Extra Lounge, where Tim had relocated.

We also had a room at Planet Hollywood through a player’s club promotion. We checked into room 3087, which had a nice view of the Bellagio fountains, Paris, and City Center.

However, the room and the window were really small, and there was no door on the toilet (just the main bathroom), which could be awkward.

We had a late lunch/early dinner at the Spice Market buffet so we could have a good base in our stomachs before our trip downtown. We arrived at about 3:45 but weren’t seated until after 4:00. They were changing over the food from lunch to dinner.

We took a cab to the Golden Nugget and walked to The Griffin just past the end of the Fremont Street canopy. I have a new favorite bar. Tim has a new favorite bartender. Her name was Laura, and she made fantastic beverages. We had a Hard Palmer, which was sweet tea vodka and lemonade, and it went down quite smoothly. She also made a honeydew martini, which was like a cosmopolitan but made with honeydew vodka. The Griffin had a great jukebox with songs ranging from classic rock (The Who) to modern rock (The Fratellis, The Hold Steady). The bar was dimly lit, and there were leather couches surrounding a fire pit. The bar was empty when we walked in around 5:00, but the bartender said that it picked up later and was packed around 10:00. We didn’t make it back to confirm this. She also said that a lot of the Cirque du Soleil performers hang out there, and when they start getting tipsy it gets a little crazy in there when they decide to do acrobatics.

Drinks at The Griffin

We needed to not drink for a while, so we stumbled over to the Four Queens. I lost $20, but Tim hit four deuces on Deuces Wild. He took his winnings over to the Vegas Club, where he played the Piggy Bankin’ slots and actually won.

We noticed a new trend of dancers in the gambling pits at two unlikely places: Vegas Club and Golden Gate. Vegas Club has a “naughty” theme. Just take your basic Halloween costume (cop, nurse, whatever) and attach “naughty” to it, and there are your pit dancers.

Golden Gate failed us in our quest for nachos, so we walked down to the Main Street Station brew pub, who met that need and provided us with a tasty Belgian beer called Summer Saison.

We mutually agreed that we were not to set foot in La Bayou this evening, because that would only result in disaster.

We ended our evening downtown at Sidebar. They had a swanky cocktail menu with lots of unfmiliar ingredients. I had a cantaloupe martini, which was refreshing and delicious.