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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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lucky Thanksgiving 2009 at Palazzo & THEHotel at Mandalay Bay

Randy and I flew out of San Jose on Southwest at 9:00pm on Monday the 23rd of November. Flight was smooth and arrived in Vegas around 10:15pm. 

When we caught our cab to the Palazzo I said no tunnel since we have gotten tunneled twice this year and once was to Mandalay Bay! Cabbie turns around and says what tunnel is that? I replied are you new and he said no, so I replied,  then you know what tunnel. I gave him the directions I wanted him to take and of course he used them mumbling about waiting 2 hours for a fare at the airport like that gives them the right to long haul us? Once at the Palazzo, avoiding the one lane traffic that was the strip this trip due to them catering to City Center's needs before it opens in December, we made our driver happy with a generous tip and he cheered up at the loss of his wild tunnel ride. 

Check in went smoothly and we had a strip view from our suite of Treasure Island. 


After going down to get our free play and point play that we earned on previous trip we made our way to Wolf Run only to find that our free play wouldn't download to the machine. After trying it on 3 other slots we went back to the player's club where they told us they had newer cards now and that's what we needed so they issued us new cards. Hmmm, new cards since October and why didn't they notice the old cards when we were at the desk 15 minutes ago? 

Back to Wolf Run where we hit our first win of the night of $180.00. 

Thinking that Wolf Run might be lucky again for us this trip, we went to the slot that has the 4 screens. We had some small wins on it and later in the trip hit a bonus where the screen thankfully goes full size at that point, but nothing substantial and we discovered we personally prefer single screen slots.


Randy then went to the bank of six, I dream of Jennie 2 slots where he was lucky enough to hit the Magic Carpet bonus within a few pushes. The bonus hits when Jennie flying on her carpet is on the first and last lines, or if you get the bettor chance symbol as these slots supposedly give you a better chance of a bonus hitting if the bet amount is over a certain amount.

During the course of our stay at Palazzo, Randy would try the I dream of Jennie slots several times and always got the bonus. For us they tend to pay somewhere around $80.00 to $100 per bonus but I think what made him love those slots was Jennie constantly calling him master and not the amount he was winning.


After that since we were ahead thanks to some wins using our free play, we went to one of our favorite slots from last October the $5 WOF. Our strategy when betting $10 a push is to try it about 5 or 6 times and if we don't get a spin to move on to a slot with a lower max bet. We were immediately lucky though and got a spin after 3 pushes and hit for $250, which we then took to the WOF machine next to it where after a couple pushes we hit a spin for again $250! 

While I'm detailing all our wins which for some reason always stay in my memory while losses sometimes fade quickly (no doubt the reason we return to Vegas so much), we were trying lots of slots that evening like Jeopardy, the new Star Wars, Stonehenge and not hitting and moving on. 

For old times sake we moved on to our old Star Wars slot at Venetian, which Randy a year ago hit a hand pay on at NYNY during a bonus round. We did get the thrill of a bonus and one that retriggered like the one on the former hand pay but the win was a modest $100. 

Wandering around Venetian for a while playing Twilight Zone, Stonehenge and a few other slots we had modest wins and losses. 

It's now about 3:30am and we're getting ready to return to the Palazzo to get some sleep when I spot the new Sex in the City machine! I'm excited, Randy less so for some reason. image I enjoyed playing it for a bit even though it was a 4 screen slot and hit a couple bonuses on it. Both times my bonuses were wins on Charlottes's progressive which is the lowest one and only paid about $30.00 something. I did quickly tire of it, mainly again due to personal preferences of not enjoying 4 screens at once. Of course one can elect to play only one screen but when you do it's doesn't enlarge it, something I would like them to do and then I would play it more. It does enlarge to full screen size when you hit a bonus. 

After that it was back to the suite to get some sleep around 4am or so. We were happy to find that we were $500 ahead for our first evening as it's always nice to start the trip on a winning streak! 

Tuesday-the 24th 

We dragged ourselves out of bed at noon because we had 2 meets scheduled today with friends from some of the Vegas message boards I enjoy reading. I had sent texts to all we hoped to meet today before I went to bed last evening so I checked my cell first thing to see who we would be meeting with. I had 4 who were going to meet us and a couple who couldn't, but more on this later. 

We had breakfast/brunch at Grand Lux ordering the same dishes as in our past October trip.

We were $500 ahead for the trip so the first thing we did after brunch was visit the $5 WOF and again got lucky by immediately hitting a spin and winning $400. We took our WOF money and ran to the Venetian, where we proceeded to lose our winnings on Twilight Zone, Star Wars, Wolf Run and Stonehenge. Walking around I spotted Sex in the City and made a beeline for it, while Randy was rolling his eyes. At this point it was decided we would briefly split up and I played Sex in the City for a bit and Randy went off to a slot I can't recall. I hit a couple bonuses with Sex in the City, one was shoes where you select shoes to see if you get one of the progressive bonuses or money and the other was diamond rings I believe with the same type of selection process. Have I mentioned that I'm usually lousy when it comes to picking? Well, typically I am and today was not any different. 

Having lost another $100 at Sex in the City and knowing we are now only $100 ahead and feeling our luck was going sour, I started walking toward where I thought Randy might be, when I spotted a empty seat at the Wizard of Oz slot, which is almost unheard of this time of day at Venetian. I quickly grabbed it and sent a text to Randy, letting him know where I was and to come on over. Just as I'm putting away the cell, Glinda decides to pay a visit, but instead of my usual excitement at her appearance, I'm glaring at her, thinking oh yeah, the way my luck is starting to go I see a single wild in my future paying $2.00 (I'm betting $3.00). My glare gives way to shock as I see Glinda light up the screen with 4 wilds, and as I watch the non-wild reel slowly rotate the graphics, I see a wild fall into place, along with the ruby slippers and the tinman, scarecrow and lion! 



Yep, I'm in my happy place as Randy, walks up just in time to see the Jackpot, call attendant message appear for our $1650.00 hand pay. BTW, Randy was waving his ticket at me to show me he had won $100 on the machine he had played. 

As we're taking photos the attendant shows up and does a pretty quick job of paying us. This was our second hand pay this year, and both were mine and on WOZ machines though the first one earlier this year, was on the newer reel machines featuring the wicked witch and the win was for over $1750 on a monkey bonus. We tipped our attendant $20 which made her happy and is the amount we always tip on hand pays under $2,000. I know from reading various Vegas message boards that some feel that's too little while others don't tip at all. We basically just do what feels comfortable to us and
 so far we haven't had a attendant yet who has acted unhappy with the amount, instead they seem pretty cheerful about it. It's now close to 4pm so we walk back to our suite at Palazzo to get ready for our 5pm meet and greet and dinner at Cut afterwards. It's our first time at Sushi Samba and as we arrive we bump into Jaclyn (JaXprat) from the Trip Advisor message board. We get a seat in the lounge area and as I'm checking for texts I see one from Lisa (BigVegasFan) from TA which says she is sitting at the bar and sure enough there's a lady there smiling at us who quickly joins us. As we're making introductions both Jaclyn and Lisa's husbands join us and so does Terri who is socalgirl from the blonde4ever message boards.


What fun people everyone turned out to be and I would love to meet all of them again in Vegas.


All of us had lots of stories to tell, but after a couple drinks each it was time to break for our various dinner reservations. Many thanks to Lisa and husband (bigvegasfan) as they picked up the check. 

Randy and I were then off to dinner at Cut, where they gave us our requested booth again and we ordered the prefix dinner for $75.00 a person. Unfortunately most of the photos I remembered to take were with the Iphone. image 

I was able to take one of the bread sticks this time though the photo doesn't do a good job of showing how delicious they are. There was a cute amuse too, but Randy ate his before I could take a photo of them and then asked if I was going to eat mine so I quickly ate it before it disappeared and then went oops, photo op missed again. 

We had already had 2 drinks at SushiSambi so I kept to one glass of wine at Cut a Boxler Riesling while Randy ordered the above Wilshire cocktail which was really good, and made me sorry I ordered the wine. 

Cut offers four dinner type of bread/rolls, but we stayed with the pretzel and focaccia, pictured above. 

Randy ordered the Butter Lettuce, Avocado, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Champagne-Herb Vinaigrette salad pictured above, while I had the same beet salad as last time so didn't bother to photograph it. Both were delicious. 


We both had the above 6 ounce filet mignon with the house steak sauce and assorted mustands/dressings and was served with Cavatappi Pasta, "Mac & Cheese", Quebec Cheddar, braised greens and Organic Carrots, Haricot Vert, and Shallots. Once again the filet was terrific and better then what we had last trip at Craftsteak. 


Once again dessert was the chocolate souffle which I couldn't resist taking another photo of, but this time we had 2 and could only eat half since they are of sizable and rich proportions. 

After dinner we walked over to Wynn as we had a M&G at Parasol Down at 10pm. Since we were a bit early we found a 25 cent Stonehenge and had a bit of luck on it. 


Unfortunately that was to be our only bit of luck at Wynn as we proceeded to lose $300 on Wolf Run, Zeus II and others. 

After losing we went to Parasol Down and quickly found Pennyplayer from the Blonde4ever message  boards and her husband, and in a short while BigVegasFan from the TA board joined us without her husband who was playing poker. 


We had a lovely time chatting with the 3 of them and enjoying our lemon martinis with the dusting of cayenne powder on the rim. Randy usually doesn't want to do meet and greets very much since he doesn't have time to be on the message boards due to a heavy work schedule but this time he enjoyed meeting everyone so much he's willing to continue to have me book us for them, which means it's looking good for me to coax him into joining me for the April mega meet with the Blonde4ever forum members. 

After drinks Randy and I returned to the Palazzo where we were going up and down with wins, but still ahead thanks to the earlier hand pay. We were on our way back to our suite when we passed the Palazzo's, Penny Goldfish machines and I talked Randy into playing for a few minutes. Goldfish gave us a couple bonuses and we were holding our own at max credits when we hit the bonus with the red striped fish and Randy picked the right symbol and we ended up with 20 free spins. This is also the bonus where when you win something on your spin it tells you to look up and it gives you X times amount. As the spins are flying by and they are not huge, but not small either, we hit the fish can bonus within this bonus and while we are usually out quite fast with this we finally had some additional luck in picking and ended up with $85.00 from it. Imagine our surprise when the bonus told us to look up and we got X10 on that win amount for over $800.00 and a total win on Goldfish of $941.00! 

After that we decided to go to sleep on a big win and off we went to bed around 3:30am. 

Wednesday the 25th, still at Palazzo/Venetian. 

Woke up around 11am and since Randy, was slower then I was, I went down to the casino alone to play a few slots before brunch. 

Tried the $1 Jungle Wild machine, which ate $100 in about 5 minutes and I swore off it for the trip. Actually this didn't last and later we played it again, hit a bonus and won $300.00 on it before we retired for the night. Went back to Goldfish since it was daytime all the machines were taken except for one in the very back of the casino. Had a lot of fun on this Goldfish as it kept hitting the fishcan bonus and random bonuses, however I picked lousy on all the fishcans, and the bonus where you have to pick from among about 10 bubbles kept repeating for the most part and I would pick the bubble each time with the lowest amount. I've never felt quit so unlucky to be lucky to get bonuses before. I hated to leave that particular Goldfish machine to join Randy at Grand Lux for breakfast/brunch, since I was having fun and not losing any money, though not really winning anything. When I did leave a lady jumped on it and for the rest of the day when I went around trying to get it again she was always there, so I guess it continued to be lucky! 

At Grand Lux Randy had his usual eggs and I had the Shrimp & Crab Cobb Salad which was good, but I prefer my usual Manhattan Shrimp Salad and Chicken salad. After eating we walked to one of the Venetian Ballrooms where the Gift Show Extravaganza was being held. I was really surprised at how nicely it was decorated and organized. Oops, they had a buffet of food and non-alcoholic drinks set up, so we could have eaten there instead of Grand Lux! Below is a Photo of me in front of one of the decorations. The process is to check in, they give you a clipboard and a sheet that has your current gift points on it, and on that sheet you write down the gifts you want. If you don't want gifts then you can choose free play or gift cards. To check out there is another line at the opposite end of the room. We had been warned earlier by the player's card desk that lines were long and to go early, but when we were there about 3:30pm, the lines were very short. The Gift Show was closed on Thanksgiving so even though we had more points to spend for gifts before we checked out the next day we never used them due to being too lazy to go back on Friday. 

We ended up selecting a $100 gift card for Best Buy which is being mailed to us, and a nice pen and book mark. At checkout they also gave us a gift of a small case of nail care and facial items. Unfortunately we didn't have enough points for the car on display. image After leaving the gift show we walked through the Venetian casino playing some more slots but mainly just lost some of our winnings from last evening and it's starting to look like our luck is running out. 
We went back to our suite to change for dinner and made it to Botero in time for our 6:00pm reservation. After the previous evening at Wynn and Encore we passed on playing any more slots there. Botero was empty at that time except for 3 other couples, so why did they squeeze us all in together? I really should have spoke up but I didn't. Also like fools, we didn't get the inexpensive pre-fix that everyone else seemed to have selected because it had a item on it we didn't like, so we ended up ordering off the menu. We only have photos from the Botero dinner taken with my Iphone due to my small evening purse and that I didn't know if they allowed cameras into Penn and Teller, and I didn't want to have to check my camera. Above was the olive and sourdough bread. It was fine, but not as good as the breads we like at Cut. 

Randy ordered a cocktail and I ordered a bottle of Riesling for us to both share, but the waiter got the order wrong and at first bought me just a glass of wine even though the bottle I ordered didn't come by the glass. This was just the start of spotty service at Botero, which there really wasn't much of a excuse for since they weren't that busy that early in the evening. I did enjoy the appetizer above which was their shrimp and chips dish, served with four sauces. Randy liked his Caesar Salad above. We both made the mistake of ordering the oil poached Atlantic Cod (sometimes known other places as black cod, butter fish, or sable fish), since we normally love it at China Grill and The Mix). Darn, it was pretty bad even though it had a little crab added and whatever the foam was that surrounded it, not very good, nor did it look very nice. I'll spare you what we thought the foam surrounding it looked like, though I'm sure Botero's intent was ocean foam. Use your imagination or better yet, don't. The jalapeno glazed assorted baby carrots on the other hand were outstanding. Our desserts were also delicious, above is Randy's donuts with carmael and vanilla sauces and below is my candy bar desserts with peanut butter and chocolate. R, really enjoyed the donuts but said the newspaper wrapping got in the way. After dinner we had just enough time to catch a cab to the Rio, pick up our tickets at will call and lose money for 30 minutes, before going on to the Penn and Teller show. 

Since we had VIP tickets they gave each of us a large souvenir booklet and our seats were in the 3rd row. Most of the members of the audience were making their way on stage at this time to examine the stage for trap doors and to sign the envelope that would later be part of the show. While up on stage I noticed that one of the musicians playing the Jazz we were listening to was Penn himself and he didn't have his hair tied back yet and was in sort of scruffy clothes. Shortly there after we saw him go back stage, I assume to tie his hair back and put on the suite he wore during the show. Above is Randy signing the envelope on stage. 

We both enjoyed Penn and Teller, but for a show that is suppose to show you how the tricks are done most of them are actually not explained. For example while they duplicated the feats of the magicians that do mentalists tricks I have no idea how they did that. There's lots of audience participation which we love as long as we aren't selected. The last trip of the evening that involved 2 audience members (military and police to inspect the guns and sign the bullets), and Penn and Teller shooting themselves with 2 guns with laser sights we haven't a clue how they could do that, fantastic trick though! After the show Penn and Teller stand separately for photos and while we usually dart out of shows as quickly as possible and did fly by Teller, we took advantage of a brief lull around Penn to get our photo taken with him. 

Standing in line for a cab at the Rio we heard the couple in front of us say they were going to the Palazzo and I spoke up and said that's where we're staying too, so we ended up sharing a cab back with them. Very nice couple from our area of California so we enjoyed chatting with them. 

So far gambling wise the day didn't go well, so we start playing some slots around the Palazzo like Wolf Run, no luck, then I Dream of Jennie where R, hits a bonus again and gets back the money we lost on Wolf Run. After that we can't decide what to try next or even perhaps call it a night, when WOF calls to us again. Luck came back with a vengeance when I hit a spin on the 3rd try and the wheel landed on a $1000.00! After that for the next few hours we had wins and losses, nothing again as big as the $1000, but we played quite a few machines and I'm sorry to say that Randy, having gone to the player's card desk before it closed cashed in his points for the trip into free play and feeling flush from previous wins decided to use it in the high limit room! This would have been great if he had hit anything for his $50 a push bets in Wolf Run and a few other slots, but unfortunately nothing hit. 

After our brief disastrous foray into the high limit slot rooms we went back to the $5.00 WOF machines, hit 3 spins but they were low level wins for those machines at $150 to $200.00 each time. By the time we went to sleep that evening we were only $1500.00 ahead. 

I should mention that what led Randy, to his brief fling with the $1 Wolf Run and Stonehenge Slots (50 lines), was earlier that day we saw a woman win $18,000 outside the high limit room on a $1 Diamond Queen slot, which is one we enjoy playing the penny version of but seldom hit the bonus on. Also we saw a hand pay on a Stonehenge earlier that day for $1750.00. When we noticed the hand pay no one was at the machine it was like they just walked away from it, but about 3 minutes later these 2 men who looked to be in their early 20's came by and the winner said he had just gone to get his passport for the slot attendant. We chatted with them for about 5 minutes since that's one of our favorite penny slots and they were very friendly and talkative, and it turned out that was the one guy's second hand pay on the particular $1 slot this trip! 

Thursday, Thanksgiving day. 

As gold card members we were told at check in we had a check out time of noon, and since we went to the front desk before we retired the previous night and requested and received, a 1pm checkout it was a surprise that morning to wake at 11am to find our message light blinking with a message asking if we knew check out was 11am. I called down and got that cleared up, but 30 minutes later even with the do not disturb sign on the door housekeeping was knocking inquiring about the same thing. 

After showering and packing we went downstairs to see our host who we have never met and are likely never destined to meet, as of course it was her day off. We did speak to a host who comped our dinner at Cut and since our offer had taken care of our brunches at Grand Lux, our bill only had our tips listed on it when we checked out at 12:45pm. 

As we were sitting down in our taxi to take us to THEHotel at Mandalay Bay I asked our driver to take us via Industrial and then Sinatra Drive and he claimed to not know where it was. I then asked if he was a new driver and sure enough had only been driving for 2 weeks. Told him to take the interstate since he claimed to know where THEHotel entrance was from there, he didn't, after we exited and he took a wrong turn we had to tell him where to find it. 

After paying too much for that taxi ride, but cutting him a break for being new and hoping it was the truth, we checked in and got a high floor with a strip view. 

Since we hadn't eaten yet and if you have read my trip reports in the past you know we went to THECafe. You know you're in a rut when your server (Hector) greets you by name and already knows your order and tells you it's good to see his family back.  Randy's order is eggs and mine since they took my lobster cobb off the menu and didn't bring it back so far as promised is the smoke shrimp salad with avocado, beets, goat cheese, and hearts of palm. 

After eating we went to the player's club got our free play put on and immediately headed for the slant top Kitty Glitter machine. We hit a bonus and a few wins on KG and left $400 ahead. 

Unfortunately after that almost every slot we played from Zeus II, WOF, HexBreaker 2, Genie, Shimmer and of course Wolf Run was losing for us. 

Thankfully it was time to go back to our suite, make phone calls to all our different family members, get dressed for dinner and head to The Mix restaurant on the 64th floor of THEHotel for our Thanksgiving dinner. 


The Mix restaurant has 3 booths that I guess are called pods and we asked Tina our Mandalay Bay host to booked one for us and she was successful. 


We started out with a free glass of Champagne, compliments of a coupon they gave us at check in. We then decided to go with the Grand Tasting menu after making a substitute of Halibut for the lamb. Our server did offer to substitute the beef filet for the lamb which surprised me since it was a bit more on the ala carte menu then the lamb, but we went with all seafood tonight. This was our second time with the Grand Tasting menu as we had it for the first time several years ago, but the price due to the economy has come down a bit for both the wine pairings and tasting, so since it was Thanksgiving we went for it again. 


Unfortunately my photos taken with the Canon didn't come out very well due to the lighting and my lack of photography skills. 

First course was a spicy crab salad, guacamole, hearts of palm and cilantro. I really liked this dish, but Randy wasn't that fond of it due no doubt to the spicy sauce that made the dish having fresh tomatoes and onions in it, and he doesn't like either. (yes, it makes cooking for him very difficult at times, since he also doesn't like bell peppers or mushrooms!) 


I wish I could remember the names and years of the wines we had with each course, but I don't. image 

Next course was potato gnocci, pumpkin and crispy bacon which we both thought was delicious. 


After that it was the seared scallop and sweet corn fricassee which turned out to be Randy's favorite dish of the evening. 


Following the scallops was the roasted Maine lobster au curry with coconut basmati rice. I loved this and Randy enjoyed it too though he's not a big fan of coconut. 


As mentioned previously we substituted
 the Colorado Rack of Lamb for the pawn encusted halibut. I found my halibut slightly on the dry side but R's was perfect. I'm afraid the photo makes it look sort of awful but honestly it's me and my lack of photography skills along with the restaurant lightning. image 
The pre-dessert which was a foamy sorbet type drink was so delectable, we both could have just had another one of those for dessert and been very happy! 


We've had the mix candy bar dessert before and it's wonderful but oh so rich. 


Before we staggered out of The Mix (those wine pours were way to generous) our server took a photo of us on the outside patio with the strip in the background. 


The following is my photo of the strip taken from the elevator as we go downstairs to Casino level. 


So far gambling isn't going well, and it continues not to go very well. By the time JaXprat from the Trip Advisor boards sends me a text they are done with their dinner at Aureole which they loved, it's almost midnight. We met JaXprat, her husband and brother near Candy Lounge and after a short chat we took her to see our suite as she was curious what they were like at THEHotel and her DH and Brother went off to gamble. After the tour of the suite and fond goodbyes, Randy and I were off to see if our losing streak was going to continue.

We did start out losing again, and likely due to drinking way too much wine we're getting grumpy. We end up at some slots near Mizuya and the band playing there which is Aquarius sounds pretty good. We decide to take a break go in and listen and really enjoy ourselves. We also heard them the following night and they are well worth going to see. One interesting thing is since we had so much to drink earlier we turned down the cocktail waitress when she came by our table and it wasn't a problem at all to sit there and listen and not order anything. Of course they had a lot of empty tables that evening so I'm sure it would have been necessary to order something if they were busy and others were waiting for a spot. 

After leaving the lounge our luck started to switch to the good side again with first a bonus on 5 cent Brazilian Beauty that retriggered. 

Then going on to Glitz which we are seldom lucky on we hit a little luck there too. 

However what saved us that evening and put us back up ahead around $1500.00 was Wizard of Oz. As we were returning to our room WOZ was on the way and was finally empty no doubt due to being almost 4am, so we decided to both play it side by side and then take turns on whatever was the luckier machine. This turned out to be my machine and it hit more bonuses and Glinda's in a shorter period of time then I have ever experienced playing it before. 

One of the best Emerald City bonuses I have ever had. 

Then Glinda hit 3 times for nice amounts, each time increasing our win. The first time: 

The second time: 

The third and final time: 

I'm not sure we will ever have so many bonuses in such a short time period again on WOZ, but I'm willing to try. image 

Friday, November 27th. 

We woke up late and Randy was dragging his feet getting ready so I said I would meet him downstairs for brunch and I took off to the casino. I headed straight to the Wizard of Oz machines and surprisingly one of them was open. More surprising my luck from last evening continued and I hit this bonus on a trip to the Emerald City! 

Usually we never pick a character so I was very happy to get two of them and then the top prize for each. Thank you Wizard! 

Feeling pretty good, thinking our lucky streak of 4 days was going to continue I joined Randy at THECafe for our usual brunch, and was served by Hector as usual. While eating I sent a IM to Heather (Hshearer) from the Blonde4ever message boards and told her we were off to Bellagio and hoped to see her later that day or evening. 

Once at Bellagio I headed for my favorite Hitchcock slots which now instead of being a whole row of the same slots have Gold Fish mixed in with them. Randy started playing Gold Fish, I played Hitchcock and while he was winning I was busy losing. We broke even during that session only because Randy won what I lost. 

Next up we notice the 5 cent WOZ machines, and decided to see if Glinda and the Wizard would continue to spoil us but alas they decided we were due for a spanking and it was a good one to the tune of a couple hundred! 

After that we noticed a 5 cent Kitty Glitter and started playing that and had a brief win on a bonus game. 


Alas, that was the last win at Bellagio as every slot we tried after that we lost at. Deciding it was time for a break from gambling we went to the conservatory which was very crowded. Below is Randy at the entrance. 


It took about 4 tries to get this photo as people were walking in front of me all the time. image 


I really like the trees, especially the one I took with the Iphone. 


Last shot there with Randy and the pumpkins. 


As we left Bellagio we decided to take a cab to NYNY and walk back to Mandalay Bay from there after stopping to see Heather and play a few slots. Heather is a real sweetheart and so lucky. Here she is after a win at one of her lucky slots, but before we left her Heather had managed to hit 2 more really nice wins! 


After leaving Heather we hoped to have some luck at the Hitchcock and Mermaid slots at NYNY which are usually lucky for us, however this time Hitchcock was on union break and the Mermaid's must have been caught by someone else, because all we did was lose. 

Walking around we encountered the new WMS slots with the Penguins and it's a really cute and fun slot to play. We did have some fun but small wins on this machine. 


NYNY though was treating us the way Bellagio did so before we left we stopped at our lucky Wolf Run machine which is near the registration desk. Next to us was a nice couple taking turns playing Da Vinci Diamonds and they were having a incredibly lucky streak with bonuses on that machine and winning quite a few dollars considering they were only betting 30 cents a push. 

At Wolf Run our lucky changed and we started winning again and after we recovered $200 of our losses, we left that machine and were heading to the exit when we walked past the high limit room and spotted two $5 WOF machines. Yep, we couldn't resist and lucky us hit a spin right away, and then a second spin on the machine next to it. However, no big wins, hit the $125 and then $150.00. 

After that we returned to Mandalay Bay got dressed for dinner and headed over to the Luxor where we managed to lose on the penny WOF that spells out WHEEL and is a max bet of $4. Spotting a new slot, at least new to us, based on the SF TV show StarGate Atlantis which was mixed in with a circle of Deal or No Deal. Hit a couple bonuses on this machine and they were fun but it really ate our money fast since the bonuses and hits were few and far between. 

Thankfully it was now time for our dinner at Tender Steak and Seafood so we could stop donating to Luxor. We've eaten at Tender a number of times including back when it was the same restaurant with mostly the same staff and as far as I can tell the main change is to the name of the restaurant. 

We didn't have wine tonight with our meal but instead my favorite Fire Away cocktail which is the spicy cucumber martini that I talked about in our October trip report. 

Tonight we started out with the cheese plate and we selected 3 cheeses, a bandich cheddar, the gouda and a truffled goat cheese. These were served with baguettes, honeycomb, fresh dates, quince paste and cherry fig chutney. The cheeses were wonderful and we enjoyed the accompaniments with the exception of the fresh dates. 


Both our salads were good, I had the house salad with artichokes, fennel and radish. 


Randy's salad was butter lettuce, blue cheese and bacon. 


Unfortunately Randy's main course the lobster tail was rubbery and tasted like it had been frozen. 


My 12 ounce filet with green peppercorn cognac sauce that I share with Randy was good. Since there's only a $6 difference in price between the 8 ounce and 12 ounce filet it sort of a no brainer to order the 12 ounce and share. 


The asparagus side we ordered that you can see in the background above was also good. 

After that being too full for dessert we ordered some of their hand made chocolates packed up for later, which we ended up taking home instead. These turned out to be okay, but in my opinion don't measure up to the handmade chocolates that most of us can find at our local chocolate specialty shops. 

We once again waddled out of dinner and walked back to Mandalay Bay. 

For the next several hours at MB we commenced to lose at everything we played and basically lost everything we had previously won. (hanging head in shame) Such is the life of a video slot player.

Saturday, the 28th. 

Woke up around noon to a hazy sky and the sour taste of losing last evening. While our living room at THEHotel had a view of the strip, the bedroom had a view of the new tethered balloon attraction which in my opinion doesn't look too exciting. 


Ate like usual at THECafe for brunch and this morning our server Hector was excited and couldn't wait to point out to us all the secret service persons surrounding us because Nancy Pelosi and I assume members of her family were at a nearby table. Here's a very blurry photos of her take with my iphone, too bad I didn't have the digital camera on hand since you can't really tell it's even Nancy. 

After Brunch we went to the computer kiosk near the player's club at MB to use our holiday points and not seeing anything we wanted, we just took out free play for them. They didn't have a holiday gift show set up at MB like the Venetian did, but we could have gone back to Bellagio or on to MGM which we were told had the gifts on display but since it didn't sound like they had refreshments like the gift show at Venetian we passed. 

Leaving the Kiosk we went and printed out our Southwest boarding passes. While I don't love that the new optional early bird boarding pass feature with Southwest costs $10 per ticket, it's very convenient to pay and use it during our Vegas trips so we don't have to be at a computer terminal the moment the 24 hour boarding pass window opens up to ensure the A boarding pass. Since we had the EB feature on our tickets we were A 22 and A23 and checking in and printing out the passes are free and painless in the little side room by THEHotel registration desk. 

We decided to use our free play on various favorite slots and while no big wins, we basically won enough to get the free play out in cash. We then took the cash and found a $1 slot at MB that looked like the one that hshearer had been winning on when we paid her a visit at NYNY. It was a nice surprise when we hit $300 on it and then shortly after when playing Wolf Run hit $150.00. 

After that we tried Hexbreaker 2, WOZ again, Zeus 2 but basically our luck was all over the place, with mostly losses but enough wins to make us break even for the day mainly due to the free play earlier. 

Since we have to leave around 7:30pm for the airport to catch the 9pm flight out, we went back to our room to pack where we found housekeeping had gotten a little excited about the tip that we left and was very generous with their soaps, shampoos, etc... 


Not liking airport food, we decided to eat a early dinner at 5:30pm at China Grille, where we shared, butter fish, veggies and rice and ended up with their chocolate wall dessert which is like a version of baked Alaska with ice cream, meringue, cream and fruit. 


After dinner we stopped by the VIP room at MB and they comped off our dinner at The Mix, THEHotel Cafe brunches and some drinks we had at the bars. We did end up paying for the dinner at Tender Steak and Seafood at the Luxor. They also promised to send us a fly back free voucher which they did by email. I like these vouchers though they are only good for one of us and while they are only good for a value up to $350.00 our Southwest flight is always cheaper then that even at their higher end of the ticket price from San Jose. Only draw back I suppose is you can only use it if you book with THEHotel or Mandalay Bay. 

Checking in at Mccarran was painless as Saturday night is not a busy time and the flight was smooth. 

We both had a great time, though of course gambling wise if we had left a day and half earlier we could have come home winners instead of just breaking even again. 

Next trip is the Pig Skin 125k slot tournament at Bellagio, where we have been assigned a new host we will be meeting for the first time. We'll leave the evening of January 22nd and return on the 25th so it's a short trip and hopefully our luck isn't due to run out in 2010! I

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 

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