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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.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Celebrating Husband's birthday at Palazzo and THEHotel

First Evening, October 15th: 

Our trip starts out during the evening of the 15th at San Jose Airport flying Southwest. I like the night flights out ofSan Jose airport on Southwest as so far they are never crowded. Flight was smooth, we had seats in the front and were quickly off the flight.

Once off the plane, I made a stop at the ladies room and then we were on the tram to baggage claim when I recalled I left my library book which had been too large to fit in my handbag in the ladies room. Asking Randy to go get our luggage I take the tram back, book is still there and I finally make it to baggage area to find him waiting with luggage. As those who followed me on Twitter during this trip know, this would be just the start of me misplacing items.

We take a cab to Palazzo and while the driver didn't take the tunnel he did manage to long haul us which we decided to ignore and not set the trip off on a bad note. Both Randy and I are starting to get a bit cranky due to missing dinner, but check in goes smoothly, and we are on the 38th floor with a few of Treasure Island and the section of the strip you can see from Palazzo.

We unpacked quickly and since we missed dinner we decide to eat at Palazzo's, Grand Lux restaurant since it's almost 11pm at this time and most restaurants are closed. We're seated in the bar area and Randy orders the egg sandwich, along with 2 spicy's Mary's and I get the Manhattan salad with shrimp and chicken and a glass of Riesling. We have a tradition each trip of usually going to Olives if not for dinner at least to have a drink at their bar for the spicy Mary type drink they have with the olives stuffed with hot peppers. R having the Grand Lux version of the drink for the first time said it was just as good as the one we had been enjoying at Olives and for half the price. R's egg sandwich was huge and served with hash browns, and my salad was also large and very fresh tasting with a light vinaigrette dressing.

After dinner it was off to the slots and our favorite wolf run machines, where we had a run of luck.

Photos of the meal in addition to slot wins taken with my Iphone are at:
Note: You do have to click on the links on my page to reach the photos taken with my Iphone. The photos I will post within this TR were taken with our digital camera. 

After our meal we were ready to hit the slots and hopefully have our first win of the night. We quickly make our way to the player's club at Palazzo and have them put Randy's free play on his card. Walking away from the player's club desk we spot the new Star Wars machine and take a seat. Of course the free play doesn't work in this machine, but we're still excited about a new Star Wars slot. There are a couple themes with these machines but we decide we like the graphics on Duel On Mustafar the best so we start playing it and quickly hit the 5 symbols needed for entries into their bonus round. If you are playing max credits like we were which I think was $3, you win 4 entries. Unlike other slots with timers for bonuses (like Ebay) when the 60 second timer pops up for the new Star Wars slots it means bonus in exactly 60 seconds. If you don't have any entries, then you can play as quickly as you can to try to get some, or you might want to pause and wait for the next bonus round to come up. Bonuses seem to come up on a regular basis and I thought more frequently then the other community games like Monopoly and Ebay. When it enters the bonus round you are in a race with the other player's who have entries and the more entries of course the better chance of winning the race.

This first race there was only one other player with us at a bank of 8 machines and he only had 3 entries and we had 12 at the time the bonus hit, so we won the race and went on to the next part of the bonus round and the other player just got the minimal amount you get for the race. The next part of the bonus round is selecting targeting graphics on the screen to hopefully hit the fighters and go on to the next round. Unfortunately while we played this at a couple casinos during our trip, we never got past the 3rd bonus so I believe our highest win on any of the bonus games for max credits was about $79.00.

TIP: If no one else is playing the new Star Wars community slots with you, or if someone is but doesn't have any entries you automatically win the race. When we understood how that worked, we played Star Wars late at night when no one else was on it. image 

After Star Wars we search out our favorite Wolf Run Slant top and voila the free play works in it. We're playing $2 a push and out of the free play when we hit for $271.25. There's a photo on twitter of that win. 

We decide to cash out of Wolf Run and take a walk over to the Venetian to play WOZ as the ones at Palazzo are full. Of course the WOZ at Venetian are full too, but just when we are going to walk away someone leaves and one of us quickly sits down and pops in our ticket from the Wolf Run win. We're holding our own, though no bonus rounds when we hear the beautiful sound of Glinda arriving. Glinda turns 4 columns wild, our first time for 4! We hold our breath hoping for wilds and praying the progressive and bonus symbols don't get in the way, but one of them does and the others aren't high paying symbols so it pays $255.00 on a max bet. Not to be greedy or anything but we've hit 3 wilds before on trips and gotten lucky with a few where the pay offs have been usually over $500, up to about $1000, so with the 4 wilds we were a bit disappointed on that win, but still a lovely sight to view.


After that we went on a slot spree until about 5am with ups and downs. Since it's no fun seeing the losses and other then before and after photos of ones credits in and out how do you capture losses, here's a photo of a second Wolf Run win that evening.


During our slot play I'm enjoying using Twitter (Randy might not have been enjoying me using it so much) and my Iphone both of which I have not yet totally mastered, when the Iphone starts to do strange things like not take any photos, or allowing me to access the internet. As I start to fuss and wildly click on the screen, even taking off the plastic cover which is now history since I seem to have lost it during my hissy fit with the Iphone, Randy suggests I reset the phone. Oh great, how does one do that again? Turning it off doesn't work, geeze there's nothing labeled reset in settings or anywhere. Finally I manage to touch a button that takes me to a Iphone help screen where I curse the day they decide to make me click through 5 or so screens to get a answer on resetting the cell when the touch screen is flaking out on me, and finally there's the answer, you have to touch 2 buttons at the same time, geeze how intuitive is that! 

Before we went back to our suite around 5am and then to sleep at about 6m, we had played a lot of Wolf Run, Star Wars and various machines, so we were about $200 ahead after 5 hours of steady slot playing and no big wins. 

Friday, October 16th: 

While we stay up late at home, going to bed around 6am is never a good idea. While our suite at Palazzo was quiet, the bed great and they give you enough pillows even for a pillow diva like myself, neither of us slept well. I woke up around 11:30am and started to get ready first, waking up Randy about 12:15pm and wishing him Happy Birthday. Shortly after I woke him up, the first of his birthday baskets arrived, and I had just finished taking a photo of it, when the second one arrived. I did tell the gentleman we already had one, but his reply was now you have two. There's a photo of both baskets together on my twitter account. I only took these with the Canon. 


The baskets had the same contents which were spa products, bottle of Louis Perdrier Brut Rose, box of 2 yummy filled chocolates and a gift which was a wine bottle stopper with a crystal dice that on the side where it would have had 6 die, it had the palazzo/venetian label. 


The spa products were the LeliaSea from the Dead Sea brand. Each bag contained foot cream, hand cream, bath salts and lip balm. We tried the creams when we returned home and both like them, which is a shame because it means Randy won't give me the 2nd hand cream and is using it for himself. If I continue to like this hand cream, I'll be seeking it out during our Thanksgiving trip and stocking up. 

Since one of my friends is a licensed Sommelier and has a extensive wine cellar at her home, and also is nice enough to take me to a few private trade wine tasting events since we are surrounded where we live by some of the finest wineries in California if not the world, we drink a fair amount of wine. Unfortunately Louis Perdrier is not a rose we enjoy and it has nothing to do with its inexpensive price as there are plenty of inexpensive wines we love, so we left the bottles for housekeeping when we checked out of THEHotel later in the trip. 

We finally made it down around 1pm to the Grand Lux where we ordered the exact same meals we had around midnight, minus the wine and spicy Mary. After that we were so full both of us didn't think we would be hungry enough at the 6:30pm reservation I had made for Wolfgang Puck's restaurant Cut so we walked over to the restaurant and change our reservation to 8pm that evening. This meant we wouldn't be able to order from the $75.00 tasting menu which is only good until 7pm each evening. 

We were walking over to Treasure Island to use the $101 free play they had offered me even if we weren't staying with them, since they were no longer part of the MGM/Mirage holiday gift shoppe. On our way over to there we stopped to play a Jeopardy machine I had never seen before and R had birthday luck and immediately hit the bonus round. This luck continued during the bonus round when he hit double Jeopardy twice during it for a total win of $520.04 on a max bet of $3.00. 


We cashed out our win and continued our walk to Treasure Island, stopping at Walgreens first to pick up some glue for Randy who had broken part of the frame on his eyeglasses. This was my first time in the new Walgreens outside of Venetian and it sure is convenient with normal prices as far as I could tell. 

We have never played much at Treasure Island so the previous free play offers this year for my birthday and such were a surprise because I could use them without staying there. TI, both the casino and its restaurants has never personally thrilled either of us, but we always run any free play they give us through the slots and usually end up losing a couple hundred there if we see machines we like.

After getting my free play on the card we start touring the casino to see what's new and we see a favorite of ours that we discovered on our last trip to Mandalay Bay and that is Kitty Glitter. We love the bonus games on Kitty Glitter due to the possibility during the bonus round of eventually turning all the cats to wilds and if you retrigger you can make some major money. In fact according to the Bellagio website someone on a $5 Kitty Glitter recently hit for over $800,000! We of course play the penny or 5 cent machine if they have one, and a good thing too, because we couldn't hit anything on Kitty Glitter, it sucked down our free play like a Hoover and then we continue to lose on it with our own cash. 

Finally giving up on Kitty Glitter we decide to leave when we stumble upon the newly released GOLDFISH 2 slot, across from the high limit room, yippee, I'm excited1 At the time I just noticed 4 of them and not the other 2 around the corner, and that was due to a woman who was having a crying, yelling, meltdown and argument first with one guy and then another one joined them and it went on for 15 minutes before security finally came and tried to sort things out. It was really hard to tell what that argument was about other then they left her someplace. It was also hard to enjoy GoldFish 2 during this due to the yelling, but we did hit 2 bonus rounds though they didn't pay much. I tried to take a movie during one of them but gave it up because her screaming was too much in the background to hear the sounds of GoldFish 2. I did take a photo with the Iphone of one of the bonus wins and it's on my twitter link. When we turned around to leave we saw about 50 people sitting at slot machines not playing, but just watching the argument and now security trying to deal with it. Since they weren't there earlier I guess they just stopped to enjoy the fight. 

At this time Randy lets me know he needs a couple new shirts and we leave for Fashion Mall with me grumbling that if he had said this at home or even done his shopping at home the weekend before we left I had 20 percent off coupons for Macy's and I could have brought them with me. We usually don't shop during precious Vegas time so I had to keep reminding myself this was Randy's birthday and not to get annoyed paying full price for those shirts when I knew we could have had at least 20 percent off. Yes, I know it's a bit much to throw money into slots like we do and then get annoyed about not using coupons, but it's the way I roll.

Randy, at the bridge from Fashion Mall to the Palazzo/Wynn with his shopping bag. 

We walk back to the Palazzo to take R's shirts back to the room and as it is starting to get late, to change our clothes for our reservation to Cut. On the way we stop by the fall display at the Palazzo Fountains. 

Myself in front of the Palazzo fountains. 


Photos taken earlier that morning of the view from our Palazzo Suite. 



We then went to play the old Star Wars machines which Palazzo has added near Carnevino restaurant and the walkway to Wynn. Playing those slots we hit a couple bonuses but they paid under $100. We had just switched to a new Star Wars machine when I saw a slot attendant come stand by me and start looking around, so I looked up and smiled and said lose something? Looking at my machine, she says are you Randy and I say no that's my husband here, who was standing off to the side a bit. Slot attendant then lets us know that we won 2 free tickets to Blueman group for the next night and which show did we want. While we have already seen them a couple times we selected and signed for the tickets for the 10pm show planning on giving them to our friends we were meeting for dinner at Craftsteak the next night. Later however we got a call from them and they had already seen it too so I used Twitter to let anyone know who was following me I had the tickets if anyone wanted them. A nice guy from another message board was interested so we save them, but unfortunately got a call Saturday afternoon from him and turned out he couldn't use them after all. 


As you can see from the photo they say slot promotion on them. First time while gambling at Palazzo/Venetian this has happened to us that we know of, perhaps we won before but kept switching machines and walking between the two casinos they couldn't catch up with us? image 

Going forward again, we change and go to Randy's birthday dinner at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant Cut. We only had to wait about 5 minutes and then we were seated. Cut was very busy, but they had a nice large booth waiting for us and service was excellent. 

They first bring out thin Parmesan bread sticks which I didn't get a photo of because Randy ate them really quick while I was still organizing myself. Three kinds of bread were offered, pretzel, focaccia and some sort of other roll. We both tried the pretzel roll and focaccia bread which was very good.


I ordered a bottle of Riesling to drink which was one of their less expensive bottles at $60.00 and Randy ordered something with Grey Goose in it according to my copy of the bill. Cut makes a big production out of pouring the wine. They bring a rolling metal cart which they put in front of your table with several wine glasses on it and they then prime the glasses by pouring a bit of wine in them, then swishing it around, pouring it out and then pouring again before one tastes it. It makes for a small show, but really is unnecessary. I've had my share of Grand Cru wines (when we're not paying for it), and if you don't do that for a bottle that is well over $500.00 you certainly don't need to do it for a inexpensive Riesling. 

First course selected by Randy was: 
The maple glazed pork belly with cherry compote. This was super rich and he found it a bit too fatty, though he enjoyed eating it. 

I had the beet salad with French feta. 


Note to self, learn to turn off camera flash. 

Randy's entree was a filet which he later said was the best he had for the trip so we're going back to Cut to eat the day before Thankgiving. Randy ordered their homemade steak sauce with this and they also put a additional 3 sauces on the table which were wonderful and since we had ordered a side of herb fries (fantastic) we kept dipping them into the sauces. 


My entree was Kobe (I doubt that) short ribs with the bone removed, indian spiced with a pumpkin puree (menu says something else but it was pumpkin that evening) and a masala sauce. These were melt in your mouth and thankfully didn't taste too fatty. 


Dessert was their chocolate souffle with whipped creme fraiche and Gianduja ice cream which was delicious and I plan on ordering again. The server explains the toppings as he places them in the center of the souffle and also gives you the option of refusing any, which we didn't. 


The check wasn't that bad considering we changed our reservation and weren't eligible for the pre-theatre prix fix. Since we had a opentable award check for $50.00 the tab came to $192.14 and with tip ended up $240.00. In case anyone else is using opentable for making reservations and hasn't used one of their rewards yet, it's very easy, just place it with your credit card and they subtract the amount automatically without comment. 

After dinner we went back to the slots, first to Palazzo where we hit our largest Wolf Run win of the trip for $895.00. This win took place after we had just taken the bet from $4.00 max down to $2.00 for some reason. Since I had previously gotten scolded by a security guard at Palazzo for taking that photo of our Jeopardy win, I only took a Iphone photo since they don't seem to notice those. 

I have never seen so many wolves drop before. I can only imagine what the pay off would have been if the bonus symbol and 9 had been something else. 

Feeling Randy was having birthday luck we decided to go play Star Trek, oops, no wins there. Moving on to 3d reel Wizard of Oz and the machine I had the hand pay last trip on due to a monkey bonus, nope no win here either. New Star Wars machine, yep, hit bonus, but couldn't get past 2nd level so only about $65.00 win. Hmmmm, wander over toward high limit room, nah, we didn't win that much. Ah, $5 WOF, lets put $100.00 in it and see what happens. After about 5 spins at max we hit the spinner! Randy's birthday so he spends, crossing fingers for that birthday luck and yep, not the highest prize but he hits for a $1000.00! 

Frankly after the drinks at dinner, a couple bailey's with coffee in the casino, the rest of that night is one big blur, other then wandering back and forth from Palazzo and Venetian trying various machines. We were still winning but smaller wins so by the time we did make it to our room about 4am, we were only up about $500.00 but still not bad for playing about 9 hours that day/night. 

October 17th, Saturday: 

Still didn't sleep well, but not due to any fault of the Palazzo. Dragged myself out of bed around 10:00am, take a shower and get ready to wake husband at 11am. Using the perk of a noon check out on his gold card we have a hour to make it downstairs. Packing only took a few minutes for me so I tried to do the check out by TV but I guess after the normal 11am check out time it doesn't allow that. Since I'm nearsighted I put my glasses on to see the TV screen, and that was the last memory I had of wearing them. I mention this for reasons that will become clear in a bit. 

I'm in a rush now to get to THEHotel at Mandalay Bay because we enjoy eating at THECafe, Randy because they offer eggs even after 11am, and myself because I love the lobster cobb salad that I have been ordering there the last few years. So without our morning jolt of caffeine, or anything for that morning we quickly check out downstairs and grab a taxi. In fact we left so quickly we forgot to go to the players desk and get our points for that trip turned into free play. Just as well, now we'll have it for the start of our Thanksgiving trip. 

The last few trips the taxi drivers we have had even if I tell them up front I've been coming to Vegas since I was about 8 (totally true as my Dad who is now deceased, was a big craps player and we went to the grand openings of Caesar's, and MGMGrand years ago, and about 12 years ago Dad retired and live in Vegas for several years before moving back to Florida) and we visit regularly, continue to try to long haul us. I understand times are tough and I tip generously but not if they deliberately take me for a long haul me. 

This time I just flatly told the driver I wanted to go to THEHotel via Sinatra drive and he decided to oblige. Traffic was very light on that drive, due no doubt to all the other cabs taking the long way. We got to THEHotel quickly and the fare was only $12.00 compared to our last trip from Palazzo to THEHotel where the driver managed to take the long way around to the tune of almost $19.00. It's not the money that's the issue, it's more the attitude don't treat me like a idiot just because I'm a tourist when I've already told you I visit here a lot. 

THEHotel doesn't have invited check in line like Mandalay Bay, though I can check out using VIP services at Mandalay Bay and while they have a person who has a invited guest plate in front of her there is only ever one line for all guests. This time we were lucky, there wasn't a line and we got checked in very quickly. They had a suite immediately available with a strip view if we were willing to settle for the 9th floor which we were so in about 5 minutes from leaving the taxi we were in our room. Here's the view we had. 


We quickly unpacked as we were hungry and made it to THECafe where I discovered after all these years they had take the lobster cobb salad off the menu. Normally I'm not a big fan of lobster, but for some reason I just love this salad which has hearts of palm, avocado, other goodies and a light vinaigrette
 dressing. According to our server this is their best selling salad of all time but the chef took it off the menu because he wasn't able to get fresh enough lobsters. Hmmm, with lobster on almost every dinner menu in Vegas, this is the only chef that can't get fresh lobster or are the other restaurants just serving bad ones? 

After politely lobbying for the lobster salad to be put back on the menu I settled for a new salad that had smoked shrimp, beets, feta, hearts of palm and spinach. Randy ordered his usually scrambled eggs, english muffin, very crisp bacon and instead of potatoes asked them to substitute fruit. When you ask for fruit instead of potatoes at THECafe they bring out a medium size plate of mixed sliced fruit large enough for 2 at least, in lieu of just putting a couple slices on your plate. The food was good, but I did miss that lobster salad. Our server did come back at the end and said the chef was considering putting it back on the menu in the future so even though he was just trying to be nice, I said great, ask him to do that before we return at Thanksgiving. Breakfast was about $40.00 before the tip, but since they always comp our food at THEHotel unlike when we stay at the Palazzo, the price is good. 

Randy went briefly back to the room after brunch and I went on to the player's club desk to get our $350.00 free play put on our card. If we had come in during the week instead of the weekend the free play would have been more. 

It was after leaving the player's club desk I saw that I no longer had my glasses which I usually hook on to the front part of my outfit. I only use these glasses for distance, so frequently have to take them off to see people's faces who are sitting across from me, the slot screens and of course to read menus. They are called invisible glasses because they are only glass with the screws for the part that fits around your ears inserted into the glass itself, no frame at all around any part of the glass. This makes them very light and they blend in well with ones face, but they also blend in with any surface you put them down on. I don't want to drag this out as long as it did for the next day and a half, but I went back everywhere we had been so far which were few places indeed and everyone checked and said no glasses. This led me to think I left them back in the Palazzo suite when I put them on for the TV in case we could check out on it. 

Going back to the room with my tale of eyeglass woe to relate to R, we decide to call the Palazzo, they give us security which is the start of us being on the phone with them every few hours that day as their story changes regarding how and when housekeeping checks the rooms and when they turn things in to lost and found. Drat, this really puts a damper on things, but hoping for the best we go down to the Mandalay Casino ready to use our free play and to hope our luck continues. 

It's been almost 4 months since we've been in the Mandalay Bay casino which used to be our favorite of all not only because the casino seems light and airy to us and the machines will spaced out, we prefer its smell to Venetian/Palazzo. The last couple years though they have taken out our favorite theme slots like Star Wars, Men in Black and others and replaced them with slots that didn't thrill us. This meant that on some trips our host Tina wasn't exactly thrilled with us because we would get bored and end up gambling more at Luxor and NYNY because at the time they had more of the themed slots we prefer. This trip as we're walking around we finally see a lot of new machines. Jaws is there, the respin Zeus II, the new Star Wars, Time Machine, Fireball, and some others, in addition to the WOZ machine they have had for over a year. 

Last trip we were lucky on Kitty Glitter at MB which is why we used up all our free play at Treasure Island on it. There are two Kitty Glitter in separate locations at MB, one is a slant top and the other a upright. Despite the many new slots we sit at the slant top one which isn't far from the hall to MB registration, and start to play. Just small wins, and no bonuses, <sigh>. 

A year or so ago we had some luck playing a WMS money burst glitz slot, but other then the one time, it's been a loser for us. However, I was reading on another board that a lot of people like the Jungle II slot so I'm looking around at the slots near Kitty Glitter and spot one lone Jungle II slot next to a Glitz and I want to try it next. Randy not thrilled with money burst slots reluctantly agrees. About 6 pushes in we hit the bonus round which pays $246.25 on a $3 bet since we are playing 2 cents demon. 


Hmmm, perhaps our luck isn't all used up despite my eyeglass situation. We cash out and are walking over to the Star Wars slot when oh no we spot the other Kitty Glitter machine, which gave us so many fun bonuses last trip. We sit down and finally a cocktail waitress comes and they can be few and far between during the afternoon hours at MB so we order 2 baileys and coffees and settle in to hit those bonus games. Fifteen minutes later and no free play left, including no winnings left from Jungle Wild 2, we get our drinks. We saw the trend about 8 minutes ago and should have stopped and just waited for our drinks and moved on. This is the reason you won't usually see us referring to ordering drinks during casino play, because waiting around for them while playing a losing slot is usually more expensive then us just going to buy them and so it was this time too. 

Taking drinks over to Star Wars we do hit a couple bonus games there and because we are playing with no one else, we win the race but again can't get past the second level of this bonus so wins both times are around $70.00 but we end up playing that down waiting for the next bonus round, which as I mentioned before does seem to hit at regular times. 

At this point we have to go up and change for dinner at Craftsteak with our friends. I also waste another 30 minutes or so with security at Palazzo going around in circles with them and finally being told to call back at 8pm because housekeeping still hasn't reported in to lost and found. 

This is also the time period I decide to recharge IPhone battery which loses its charged quickly since I'm using it for twitter. Found the cord which I packed, but alas, when I pulled it out of the socket below the desk in our room, the white square plug back of it stayed in the wall and I didn't notice that. Great, another call to Palazzo security, who assures me their housekeeping staff is trained to check all plugs before clearing the room for the next guest and it should be at lost and found again at around 8pm. 

As I'm putting away my Iphone, I get a text from our friends, Marty and RJ, who went to the Palms to meet up with the fivehundy podcast group at the Vegas Podcast-A-Palozza, something we had been considering meeting them at before I had my eyeglass meltdown. Podapalozza got boring for them so they hit the craps table and some guy had a hour long roll, making them both a lot of money! 

Thanks to all my phone calls to Palazzo we are now running late for meeting RJ and Marty at Craftsteak at 7pm and where we would normally take the tram to Excalibur and walk over to NYNY and then MGM, we had to grab a cab. Even with the cab after walking all through MGM to Craftsteak it took us so long that they were already at the bar finishing off a half bottle of wine. 

We were quickly seated at a nice table and while our server was explaining the tasting options I asked about the fall tasting menu for $70pp since we had already tried their Spring and Summer ones and enjoyed them. Surprisingly he said the fall tasting menu wasn't available on the weekends (something the website does not mention and I'm pretty sure we had the spring tasting menu previously on a Saturday night), so we ended up going with the $130pp tasting of Kobe Style Wagyu Beef, which is a 3 course meal served family style. 

RJ who is a 
sommelier and works for Mountain Winery in Los Gatos during their concert and dinner season, ordered our wine, which was $180.00 a bottle and was excellent. This is a moderate priced bottle for Craftsteak where the wine list starts at about $55 a bottle I believe but goes up past $5,000. 

The food was great, but my husband did say he enjoyed his filet at Cut over the beef tonight at Craftsteak. Due to having too much fun with our friends, I neglected to take photos of all the food but desserts. 

The first course was, Caesar salad, Hawaii pawns, heirloom tomato salad, and fresh buffalo mozzarella with red peppers. They also serve some great warm bread rolls at Craftsteak that remind me of Parker House rolls. 

Photo of RJ and myself at Craftsteak. 

Second course was 4 platters of steak of which we left a lot. There was sliced filet, flat iron, New York, and rib eye. 

Third and last course was desserts and there were 5 of those served with the tasting and the 6th was the dessert that our host Tina had ordered for Randy's birthday. 


The desserts were cinnamon monkey bread with ice cream, cheesecake, sorbets, a crisp with ice cream, molten chocolate with ice cream and a dish of fresh fruit. 

Previously I had forgotten to mention that there were 4 sides with our dinner at Craftsteak and they were Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, which are exceptionally creamy and flavorful, grilled corn, fresh brussels sprouts with a bacon sauce and assorted mushrooms served in copper metal serving bowls which are about 3 inches deep. I enjoyed everything but I couldn't coax anyone else into trying the brussel sprouts which were very tender and tasty. 

Before we left since it was after 8pm, and time to call the Palazzo lost and found regarding my misplaced items, I excused myself to the ladies room and made the call there. Lost and found said nothing was turned in at all and to call back tomorrow. Now I know for a fact I left the plug to my Apple Iphone charger in the wall there, so much for the security guard who claim they check all plug outlets when a guest checks out. Regarding the eyeglasses I'm not so sure about those, and even though the places I stopped at when we first arrived at MB said I didn't leave them there, I decide to check with MB security later. 

Going back and collecting Randy and our friends, I take them on what my husband refers to as one of my death marches. That is Randy's, description for me dragging him or others through casinos while they are tipsy at a very fast pace, which seems to sometimes make him and others a bit queasy. Randy, generally also follows me because he says that as I'm setting this fast pace, I find the small space between the crowds of people for myself and brush him off on to other people or walls.  

At any rate, I walk my husband, and our friends through MGM from Craftsteak to the escalator near the RainForest Cafe, we go up that and walk the bridge across to NYNY, enter the casino and take a left to the walkway between it and Excalibur, to the tram where I walk them to the front so we can be in the first car to beat the crowds exiting to the MB casino escalator, which we do. 

Once we get there I go to security and learn that lost and found is closed for the night and I will have to check back with them in the morning regarding any eyeglasses that might have been turned in, well, the way my luck has been going today that's just par for the course. 

Meanwhile Randy and my friends have recovered from my death march and we take Marty to the craps area where he settles in very quickly. Now my Dad tried to teach me craps over the years and back then I was a blackjack player and just not interested. My attitude toward this has changed now and during our dinner at Craftsteak I told Marty I was finally ready to learn and he has offered to teach us. Having decided to try craps in the future, we should have joined Marty at that table and just followed what he did that evening instead of waiting for our future lessons from him, but instead we took RJ who plays slots on a tour of the machines. 

RJ is a fan of WOF, so we take her to the $1 machines, there's only 1 opening so we can't join her and settle in to watch. It's a lively crowd playing and cheering each other on, but as RJ hits spin after spin, for $30 or $40 dollor wins, you can her some comments about how lucky she is, which I happen to agree with. It's just about then that RJ hits another spin and it lands on the $1000.00, and while everyone cheers we hear a few comments such as we've been here for a couple hours and she gets the $1000, well, yes, that's why it's gambling and luck, not who plays the longest. 

At this point Randy and I are tired of watching so we take her on a tour of our favorite machines, slots she usually doesn't play like Wolf Run, Zeus II and Jaws, and she wins on them all, not huge amounts but nice wins from around $50.00 to a couple hundred. Meanwhile we're playing next to her now and while we had some moderate wins, we're basically breaking even. At the time I didn't think to take any photos and now I wish I had. RJ told me later she ended up about $1500 ahead at MB that evening during her 2 hours of slot play. 

RJ doesn't keep late hours like we do so it's midnight and she wants to return to the Golden Nugget. We go pick up Marty at the craps table and find out he has had another lucky streak and has added to his previous winnings earlier in the day at the Palms. 

After Marty and RJ leave MB, we go back to our room to change clothes where Randy surprisingly decides he just wants to read. We've still had enough small wins today to hold our own and are still about $400 ahead. Unfortunately I decide to go down for a hour and play alone. Yep, everything I played lost, it didn't matter what I tried, nada, so by the time I went back upstairs, and rejoined my husband, at around 3am, we were no longer ahead. 

Next morning I get up about 10:30am, do the shower routine and wake Randy about 11:30am. While he is getting ready I phone the Palazzo lost and found and still no luck. While I'm not 100 percent positive I left my eyeglasses in the room I know the cell phone plug is in the wall, but the policy is that if the present guests of the room won't let housekeeping in to check and remove it, they can't do it. I understand housekeeping can't just remove it during their normal cleaning, because it might actually be something that belongs to the present occupants and I can appreciate that. At this point I write off the plug and plan to buy another one when I return home and since my cell phone is now without a charge that's the end of Twitter until our Thanksgiving trip. 

My eyeglasses are a different story of course, I want them back. It's starting to seem unlikely that those could have been missed or found and not turned in as they are prescription. I call MB's lost and found and describe them and they did have some eyeglasses turned in yesterday and they will send them down to casino security for me to look at. Feeling a bit hopeful even though everyone yesterday said I didn't leave them anywhere, Randy and I make the trek to casino security and lo and behold they did have my eyeglasses! I suspect what happened is I left my eye glasses on the table during our first meal at THECafe and living up to their name of invisible glasses they blended in with the black shiny surface of that table and when the staff checked for me they didn't see them at first. 

Feeling good at this point we go back to THEHotel cafe for brunch again and each of us order the exact same menu items. Yes, we are creatures of habit, and for the first meal of the day tend to go to the same place we like at whatever hotel we are staying at. 

After brunch I'm hopeful that my bad luck last night during my solo slot play is gone and we'll be on another winning streak. We try Kitty Glitter, Glitz, Zeus 2, Star Wars, Wolf Run, err nothing, we are about $600 down now. 

We walk over to MB Vip Lounge and grab some water and soft drinks. I walk over to the desk and ask about a 2pm check out time which they agree too and they adjust our key cards to the later time for tomorrow. 

I decide to print out our boarding passes for tomorrow's flight. For our return flight on SW I did the EB boarding option ($10 per ticket) which preassigns your boarding pass 36 hours ahead so that you don't have to be glued to a computer 24 hours prior to flight time hoping for the A boarding pass. This worked out well for us as I guess not many people had taken this option and when I printed out our passes we had A21 and A22. 

We decide it's time to branch out and we walk over to Luxor to play some slots. When we get there we play some Goldfish which we lose on and after leaving that area we decide to cut across to the other area of the casino via the main registration area only to find it's all blocked off. We turn around walk through the casino and notice all entrances to the main registration is blocked off with security guards turning people away. Hmmm, I go up to one and ask what's happening and they say they have to keep everything clear for a VIP but won't tell us who. 

The Aurora bar overlooks this area so we decide it's try to have a drink and see which VIP rates them closing down the main registration area including the escalator that takes one up to the level where the Body and Titanic exhibits are. 


Photo isn't very good, I had to take it without the flash on because security was telling people no photos, but you can see there's no one there in front of registration where usually there are huge lines of people checking in and out. While we waiting to order drinks people are complaining to security they need to check out and security starts directing them to tower check in registration. Crowds start to form in the roped off area, obviously wanting to see like us who the VIP is, and security chases them away. 

Cocktail waitress comes by and we order a Margarita and Pear Martini 

Randy, above with the Margarita he ordered and my pear martini. 
About 20 minutes later when we are finishing those drinks, a man with a clipboard comes down on the escalator, talks to security and they start letting the public use the escalator and they open up registration again. We really have no clue what that was all about, but my speculation which is really worth nothing wonders if some VIP wanted to see either the Body or Titanic exhibit in private and after they saw it, instead of exiting out the front entrance they ended up taking a back way out instead.
Excitement such as it wasn't, being over with we decide to walk over to MGM to get husband's birthday free play which is only $50.00. For once there isn't much of a line at the MGM player's club desk so we quickly get it and try Wolf Run, which is still losing for us today. 

We have a remaining $20 of free play left and as we leave Wolf Run, I see a bank of several Kitty Glitters behind it. We sit, we play and our luck changes and we hit a bonus round finally and have a win of $325.00 With all the Kitty Glitter we played this trip I can't believe I didn't take one photo.

We cash out of Kitty Glitter and decide to go to NYNY and try a few of our favorites hoping this means our luck is on the upswing. Walking in to NYNY we head to the VIP lounge for some water since it's on our way to a certain Wolf Run machine we like across from the main registration area, but VIP is closed down for some reason. Not sure what was up with that, but we go across to the gift shop and buy a couple soft drinks. 

Trying our lucky Wolf Run did not work, we lost. We walk to the other side of the casino and our GoldFish and Hitchcock slots we like are full up but there's a seat at our lucky Mermaid Gold machine. We had a few bonus rounds on this, enough to break even from Wolf Run losses but that's about it so we decide to walk back to Luxor where I want to stop in at the bar at Tender steak & seafood restaurant for my favorite martini which is called "fireaway". 

We walk over to the Luxor and enter the bar area of Tender steakhouse. This is basically the same excellent steakhouse that Luxor has had for years, but for some reason they changed the name a year or so ago. The prices at Tender are reasonable due to several recent advertised and unadvertised pre-fixe menus that start at $29.95 on up. We've eaten there several times over the past few years and the steaks and seafood we have ordered have been great, and service is usually good. They also have very comfortable well spaced out booths in addition to tables. 

We had a very nice bartender this time who took about 10 minutes with us showing us how to make the fireaway martini which we enjoy. If you like spicy drinks this one is a bit different and here's the recipe. 

Fire Away cocktail (makes 2 servings) 
2 pieces of cucumbers, peeled and seeded (muddled) 
1 lemon squeezed 
1 ounce of Trader Vic's rock candy syrup 
4 ounces absolute citron vodka 
5 drops or more to taste of Habanero Tabasco sauce 
Shake in cocktail shaker with ice and strain

If you use regular Tabasco sauce it does change the flavor, as the Habanero Tabasco gives the drink a slight smokey taste. 

Our bartender apologized to us several times during our time there as they were out of the Habanero Tabasco and had to use regular and when R, went to order a second round and wanted to try the Noble Pepper cocktail they were out of the sweet banana peppers for that one. We thought those were odd ingredients to be out of for featured drinks since both have a long shelf life. 


Above, I'm enjoying my Fireaway martini. 

We have a love/hate relationship with Luxor. We miss the Egyptian motif but like some of the changes with the lounges. In the past we have stayed in a Pyramid spa suite which we didn't like, they are dim, no safe or full length mirror and were shabby at the time we were guests. We've also had a 1 bedroom suite in one of the Luxor's tower and loved that, as it's a actually 2 room suite like at THEHotel but larger and even has a coffee pot at the wet bar. 

Since the renovations and the laying off of our Luxor host, our offers are no longer for a 1 bedroom tower suite, instead the current offer is: 3 nights in a player's suite, but they will also include 1 free night for a friend in a second tower room. The free slot play is only $250.00 with a $150.00 resort credit, free spa (don't care) and VIP lounge check in. We used to get limo service round trip and a lot more free play with the host picking up all the meals at the end, but I believe they want a younger or wealthier demographic then us now. 

After our drinks at Tender we played Deal or No Deal, the fishing reel community slot, Village People and a couple other slots that I can't remember the names of and lost. We're getting grumpy about our losses, even though we know it's unreasonable after 3 steady days of slot play to continue to win. Time to try and change our luck by taking a break and eating dinner back at MB. 

Earlier in the day we had walked by the Mix downstairs reception and found out from the hostess there they had taken the cod dish off the menu that we loved. I know cod sounds boring but the black cod they have always featured on their menu is delicious and we love it. We were disappointed and canceled our reservation though it's likely we will go there for Thanksgiving dinner since I have one of those $50.00 coupons from for Mix. 

I ended up making our reservation at China Grill where we have eaten numerous times and always have a good time. Thankfully they still had the black cod on their menu though they have renamed it butter fish since I guess the public tends to think of cod as the seafood in the fish sticks. 

Below is Randy, and that's the pose I get when I tell him to smile. image 


We were seated as usual in a booth in their bar area in the front part of the restaurant. We ordered the classic tasting menu which is $72.00 a person. Randy went with cocktails and I ordered the wine pairing. Unfortunately I can't remember the names of the 4 wines they served me, but all did pair well with each course. We substituted the curry miso butter fish for the grilled garlic shrimp and asked them to leave off the crackling calamari on the tri-star salad. All the dishes are served family style. 

First up was the amuse, which is usually some type of raw seafood and we don't eat sushi. We got lucky this time and it was a small bit of crispy pork belly which was quite good. 

The first course was their version of Caesar Salad and an asian chicken salad. The 2 other dishes for this course was lobster pancakes and beef dumplings. 


Sorry, I only remember my camera after we had eaten the amuse and most of the first course. 

The intermezzo was strawberry sorbet in champagne. 


Second course was the curry miso butterfish with tempura asparagus and green beans and other veggies below it : 

The Grilled Szechuan Beef with thin crispy potatoes, also the side of wasabi mashed potatoes: 


The other sides were Crispy Spinach, and 5 veggie fried rice. Needless to say there was a lot of food left. 


The dessert, a marvelous tower of chocolate. 


After charging the meal to our room, we waddle out of China Grill. Hoping dinner has changed our luck we go over to Wolf Run, and lose, we go visit Jungle Wild II again and more losses. 

Randy decides he wants to play WOZ, I'm a bit reluctant because while we have had some nice pay outs due to Glinda in the past here at MB, the couple times we could get near those machines this trip other then the 4 wilds at Venetian we couldn't even hit a bonus. However, I tell him if there's a empty seat we'll play it. Drat, there's a empty seat, so Randy sits down since I'm still not that thrilled with playing it as it tends to suck down money so quickly at max bet. 

We're playing and no Glinda, then we get a bonus, I pick and it's the cash prize and only $15.00 not even $30 on a $3.00 bet. I sigh and start looking around for another slot to coax R into playing when the bonus comes up again, R, selects and it's the monkey bonus. Hmmm, I did have a hand pay on the 3d slot earlier this year at Palazzo on a monkey bonus, but our usual luck with this bonus is even if it stops on the monkeys, we are lucky if they pay us $10.00. Well, this time we had a horde of monkeys and they turned almost the whole screen wild for a total of $576.00! We cash out. I can't believe I didn't think at the time to take a photo but I didn't. Must have been the wine with dinner and the cocktails before that at Tender. 

Our luck after that was all over the place. We had a win on Zeus II though I'm not sure if this was the photo of it, or one from earlier. 


We go to the upright Kitty Glitter and it gives us 4 bonuses during our play there and while nothing was huge we walk away about $150.00 up from that. Not big wins, but that slot is just so much fun to play when the bonus round comes up. 

We also played for a while on the new Time Machine slots by WMS, but that basically sucked away a few hundred. We tried the MB $5.00 WOF and had a spin come up after we had played about $60.00 into it for $300.00. 

However, we played too many machines for too long a time since it was our last evening and by the time we went to the room around 4am, we were just even. 

The next morning we packed and then I went down to VIP services and since our host Tina was on vacation another host checked us out and ended up taking all the food and bar bills off with the exception of Craftsteak where they only subtracted $100.00 off that tab. 

Cab ride to airport was fine. We did play a few machines at the airport and lost, so we stopped. 

Flight back hit some bad weather and was bumpy but it's less then a 90 minute flight so not that bad. 

Since we returned home, our host Tina emailed this invite to us: 

Dear XXXX, 

You are invited to…Tina XXXX & Ricardo XXXX Host Weekend 

When: December 11th & 12th, 2009 

Where: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino 
Schedule of Events: 
Friday, December 11th Come join Tina & Ricardo for a special dinner at Strip Steak at 6:00pm. 

Saturday, December 12th, See Larry the Cable Guy with Tina & Ricardo in the Skybox at the Mandalay Bay Event Center. 

2X POINTPLAY for the entire weekend! Earning period starts at 12:00am on Thursday, December 10th - 
11:59pm on Sunday, December 13th AND Don't forget that this is the last weekend for Holiday Gift Shoppe! 

We can't make those dates but it's the first time Tina has sent us a invite to join her for anything with or without a group of other players. 

Next trip and likely the last one for this year will be Thanksgiving week. 

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