page contents
Only a hour flight away from Las Vegas we visit frequently, sometimes once a month. I'll be sharing our trip reports, tips on making the most of your stay in Vegas, reviews of restaurants and shows we have seen, along with my thoughts related to our favorite place to get away from it all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vegas in June with friends for Grazie Summer Gift Show!

I'm so late with this trip report, but I had too much fun not to write it up. This was a quick two day trip to Vegas before going on to a JWE (Joker's Wild Gambling Emporium) Meet in Lake Tahoe. A reminder for those of you who prefer live trip reports that I frequently tweet during my trips at:

 The flight out of San Jose Airport on Southwest was on time and arrived at McCarran a few minutes early!
I didn't have to wait long for my luggage and my limo driver quickly drove me to Palazzo where VIP registration had me in one of my favorite suites in the 900 even section on a high floor.
After dropping my luggage off in my room it was time to meet my friend Leah for lunch at Yardbird!
It was restaurant week but both of us passed on the menu because we didn't want so much food, however it was a great deal.
The Yardbird lunch menu:
I like spicy drinks and they didn't have any on their speciality drink menu but our server suggested that the bartender could make me a spicy jalapeƱo Margarita and it was very good!
Leah and I share the appetizer BLT which is Pork Belly, Greens, Tomato Jam and house made Pimento Cheese. It was tasty!
Both of us ordered the light and delicious Mango Salad with the addition of seared Florida Shrimp.
After lunch we met up with Bill and his brother Nick to go to the Grazie Summer Gift Show and on our way there ran into our friend Alicia (Ladyclare). Alicia was in town for fun and also to work at EDC which would start in a couple days.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Joel Robuchon Restaurant at MGM Grand

It's been on my Las Vegas bucket list now for years to eat at Joel Robuchon's restaurant at MGM Grand. My husband never wanted to try the degustation 16 course dinner so I knew that like e' at Jaleo I would eventually have to go with a friend to this restaurant, so I was thrilled when Noleman told me had comps to burn on his June Vegas trip and invited me to be his guest!
It got even better when I found out that Joel Robuchon now had other options then their four hour plus 16 course dinner! In addition to the degustation 16 course dinner there are now four different prix fixe menus to select from called "Choix Des Plats De Menu Express" which means you might be able to get a quick dinner under 3 hours! The prices for these dinners before drinks, tax and service start at $127.00 per person, then $169.00, $198.00 and $250.00 per person which compared to the $445.00 per person for the degustation gives you plenty of food to taste at this 3 star Michelin restaurant at a more reasonable price point.
In the past Joel Robuchon's restaurant would send a limo to bring their guests to the restaurant but this has recently been discontinued (it's possible this is only temporary so check with them when you make your reservation) so Noleman and I met up in the MGM Grand Casino prior to our reservation. This was the first time Noleman and I had met in person. Some ladies I know had met Noleman at a past message board Meet and told me I would enjoy his company and I liked his sense of humor on the boards so I was looking forward to his company at dinner and I guess Noleman felt from reading the blog that he would enjoy mine.
The restaurant seated us immediately in their smaller dining area with the living wall. The restaurant might call this something else, but living wall works for me. From our table we could look into the main dining room which is intimate and elegant but I preferred our smaller room.
The moment we set down we were greeted, and the first amuse was set out which had quinoa in it. I'm not sure what else, but I did like it. Drink orders were taken and we were given time to decide which prix fixe we would like. Both Noleman and I decided to do two appetizers, a main and dessert which was the $198.00 per person option.
Calling all bread lovers this is your restaurant! They come around with a bread cart with about twenty choices or more! Noleman went with a baguette and I had the brioche with gruyere, there was also a second type of cheese roll that wasn't soft. Both of us had the bacon roll, don't miss that!

There's a second cart (see photo above) where they carve butter off a huge mound and I believe they said was it was hand churned from Brittany, France. They finish the butter off with a sprinkle of  fleur de sel. There's also a special olive oil from Spain that they place on the table.
The second amuse was a delicious strawberry tomato gazpacho with cheese, pistachio and a drizzle of balsamic.
My bread selections, brioche with gruyere, and the bacon rolls.
Both Noleman and I had Le Homard for our first appetizer which is Maine lobster in thinly sliced turnip with a sweet and sour dressing. I loved this appetizer and would have gladly had it as my second one too.
Noleman had foie gras for his second appetizer and I forgot to take a photo of it. He wasn't able to finish the generous portion because it was very rich. I had the white asparagus appetizer and while good it wasn't a stand out and I would not order it again. Someone plating seems to have a sense of humor, notice the one asparagus spear standing up? ;)
Below is Noleman's entree. My bad because I can't recall what it was!
I had the Le Black Cod in Malabar pepper sauce with bok choy. It was very good but I wouldn't say it was the best black cod entree I have ever eaten. The best for me was at Alain Ducasse's Mix restaurant  which closed last year.
A signature side dish of Joel Robuchon is his mashed potatoes. They were creamy and delicious and tasted like they had more butter then potatoes in them!
Noleman ordered the chocolate shuffle for dessert and it looked great!
For my dessert it was the lemon sugar sphere which looked like a glass sculpture of a lemon!
It was filled with lemon sorbet and surrounded by a wonderful panna cotta! This desert was a stand out and tasted as good as it looked!
After our desserts they came with the mignardises cart, translation seductive sweets and they were! I was handed a tiny lollipop that unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of before I ate it! The cart has a huge variety of miniature desserts and candies.
We shared a modest selection of sweets since we were full but apparently not so full we couldn't eat a few more sweets! I loved the ladybug chocolate tart!
At the end of the evening they presented us with a pound cake stuffed with fruit which Noleman insisted I take.
I tried it the next day and it was delicious, easily the best pound cake I have ever eaten!
So, how was service? Noleman and I really hit it off, we had so much to talk about and were switching subjects so quickly that we could hardly break off to talk to the servers when they came around, so service was just right for us that evening.  However in hindsight if you aren't with company having a lively conversation, service might seem a bit slow. We only had one service issue during dinner and that was at the end when I asked to see the list for the dessert ports and the sommelier didn't make it to our table until after we had finished all desserts, which at that point I declined the port.

Michelin rated this restaurant 3 stars but I've also been told that was back in 2009, the last time they reviewed Las Vegas Restaurants. I'm not sure if they would still get the 3 star rating today or if they would perhaps lose a star.  I do know that I enjoyed my food and would return here to eat when I have a large MGM resort credit, but wouldn't go out of my way to return if not using comps. On the other hand perhaps I would if I was celebrating a special occasion where I required a quiet elegant setting with good service and food, then this would be one of my top choices as other fine dining options in Vegas tend to be noisy. Also the fantastic bread and dessert cart here are something you won't find any place else in Vegas, so it's worth experiencing if it fits your budget!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Vegas in May or Yourstarla Wins Big!

I wasn't going to Vegas in May, my plan was to save my bankroll for June and July but when some of my friends, SDGuy, Dan (Dproxima) and Brent (BrentWolgamott) who have youtube slot channels scheduled a trip and then my friend Gwen agreed to go at the same time, there was no way I wasn't going.  Shocker, right?
This trip was three nights at Aria.  I had a fabulous offer from Mandalay Bay I was going to use but SDGuy and Gwen convinced me I was silly to stay so far away from Aria when everyone else was staying there so I did the smart thing for a change and stayed at Aria and saved the MB offer for a  future trip.
Gwen was the first of us to arrive in Vegas and check in to Aria! Turns out that the early arrival wins the money! While I was still in the airport waiting to fly off to Vegas Gwen had already hit her first jackpot for the trip of 6K!!!
Check in at Aria was easy as there were no lines at the time I arrived and my room was ready! I quickly unpacked and was down in the casino meeting up with Gwen. The first thing I said to Gwen after congratulating her on the fabulous jackpot she won on Ultimate X was lets go play the new Friends slot. Gwen had already tried it out and led me right to it and surprise there was Derek and his wife Amy playing it!  Derek is dvandentop on a couple online forums (JWE and VMB) and writes some great live trip reports and also shares his slot bonuses on youtube.  Amy and Derek were at the large Joker's Wild Emporium Forum Meet I attended in Vegas in April and are also going to be at the Meet I'm going to in June at Lake Tahoe.
Gwen and I went around to the other side of Friends and found seats there and had some fun playing this slot together but no big wins on it. Derek on the other hand had a few good bonuses on Friends!
Moving on from the Friends slot, Derek showed Gwen and me the new slot that combines Quick Hit with the Triple Slots like Triple Trouble which this new slot has replaced in the casinos. Gwen had two or three bonuses that paid well, while I had one that was just okay. As I was finishing up my bonus who came up to surprise us but Dan (dproxima)! After quick hugs Dan went to drop off his luggage in his room with promises to catch up soon in the casino.
After we said goodbye to Derek and Amy who would be going to the Rock in Rio concert that evening, we played the Walking Dead slot. I was getting a couple weak bonuses on WD but Gwen wasn't getting any and decided to play the Monopoly Luxury Diamonds Slot nearby. I soon joined her at this slot and while I had a hit for $144.00 Gwen was getting lots of bonuses.
All of a sudden after my hit above Gwen gets another bonus and it lands on Jackpot!
Gwen's 2nd handpay of the day for over $4,000!!!
After Gwen's jackpot I slunk off (LOL) to the quarter slots where no luck was to be found, at least not by me.
After my fail on the quarter slots I met up with Dan and we played one of my favorite new slots together, Elton John! While we were playing fans of our youtube channels, Leslie and Keith from Walnut Creek, CA saw us and we had a nice chat with them.
Dan and I continue to play Elton John until SDGuy sent him a text that he had arrived and to meet him at MGMGrand to walk with him to Aria. Why the walk, SDGuy likes to walk. ;) Before Dan left I had my best hit of the trip on Elton John for $459.00!
After Elton John I continued to play various slots but wasn't winning much.  I was about ready to go up to my room before dinner when I hit a great bonus on Lord of the Rings for $240.50 and during the end of the bonus Brent found me and said hi on the way up to his room after checking in!