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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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday the 19th, last day for November trip.

I woke up late on the 19th, the last day for this trip and didn't leave the suite until close to 1pm.  Socalgirl wouldn't be joining me for a few hours so I went to lunch at Zine Noodles at Palazzo. The restaurant was doing a brisk lunch business and I was seated in a small booth in the back. I ordered their spicy black bean scallops and they turned out to be delicious but very spicy, which was fine by me, but others might want to be cautious when ordering entrees listed as spicy at Zine, because they actually do mean  they are hot!
I also had a side of spicy cucumbers which I enjoyed a lot. Deciding to have a glass of wine I ordered their Riesling which tasted suspiciously like a Chardonnay.
After lunch I then played a bunch of penny slots at Palazzo, and was just losing, no decent hits or bonuses. I decided to go to the Venetian Gold room to get a soda and since you have to pass through the high limit room to get there, I stopped to play a quarter slot called Ruins there and had a half way decent bonus. After that my luck improved a bit.
The above hit was on $5 pinball.
The $5 Wheel of Fortune decided to give me a spin but only landed on the $200.00.  At this point Socalgirl was there and had been losing too. We decided to meet up at the Gold Lounge, and once there Socalgirl told me she had just witnessed a lady playing the $5 Top Dollar in the high limit room get the offer for 1000 credits so she hit for $5,000!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grazie Gift Extravaganza VIP Party

I'm exhausted, it's a good thing I return home tomorrow. I'll post the details of the last day/night of my trip in a day or two, but for now I wanted to share photos of the Grazie Gifts Extravaganza VIP evening which was Friday, November 19th, from 5pm-9pm.
I believe the only thing VIP about it was we got in a day early before the rest of the Grazie player card members.
Socalgirl and I arrive at 5pm and there was already a reasonably long line in place. Our host met us about 2 minutes after we arrived and kept us company at the event for about 2 hours, and then walked us back to the Palazzo.
The Grazie gift party is set up a bit differently then last year. Now you enter a room with a counter and a handful of employees who take your player's card and ID and then issue you a badge to wear. They hand you a clip board with a form that has the number of points you have to use, and point you out the door where you go around to the Bellini ballroom where the gifts are displayed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fun at G2E

Socalgirl and I finally made it to G2E! After some danish and coffee at the Venetian Gold Lounge we made it to the shuttle area where there were tons of busses waiting along with lots of HP employees. I'm not sure where the HP employees were heading out too, but it wasn't long until the greyhound shuttle bus for G2E arrived and took us to the convention center.

The above photo was some of the entertainment playing outside of the main exhibit hall.

Registration was quick as there's no lines on the last day. When I asked about taking photos I was told to just check with each exhibiter. I found most of the slot companies to not mind photos taken with the Iphone, though one IGT employee was funny when she said to go ahead just do it when they aren't looking (wink wink).
All my photos of the various slots we tried at G23 are on my Twitter account, so sorry for the poor quality. The great photos will be found on the slot manufacturer's web sites and of course the ones the press took. What I will share is my personal impression of the new slots and their potential fun factor.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Up, down and all around at Venetian-Day One!

Driving to San Francisco airport was almost bumper to bumper the whole drive from South Bay, but my husband safely got me to the airport in time and a good thing too because it was very busy. Fortunately I got a bargain price upgrade to select so was able to check my luggage for free and use the priority line for Virgin America and airport security. Virgin America flies out of the International terminal and the lines were long even for those of us in the priority lane.

Boarding was pleasant, the plane was completely full and the flight was smooth. I managed to get the only seat on the aircraft where the entertainment center wasn't working but that was a minor inconvenience as I had a book with me. They did offer to swap my seat with a pilot who was off duty and had a seat where the TV worked but I turned them down, karma and all that.

Once at McCarran I didn't have to wait long for my luggage and I was lucky enough to find the the free shuttle for gold grazie members ready to leave so no wait.  I was initially told my suite at Venetian wasn't ready but they called my cell 5 minutes later so it wasn't long until I was up in my room admiring the view of the strip just in time to catch the Bellagio Fountains going off.

For anyone who read my tweets you already know after I unpacked I headed off to the Venetian high limit room to see if luck was with me and for the next couple hours I had quite a few bonuses on the various slots in that room. I started out with a bonus on the $5 Pinball and received 92 credits. Moving on to $5 Top Dollar I accepted the 3rd offer for $40 credits. The first two offers were both 30 credits.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

G2E and Grazie VIP Gift Extravaganza

Today, I'm packing and getting ready to leave for Las Vegas tomorrow morning. This trip's original purpose other then fun was to attend the VIP premiere night party for the Grazie Gift Extravaganza at Venetian with my friend Socalgirl.

It has now turned into catching the last day of G2E (Global Gaming Expo) and as I start to receive texts from them on the welcoming party and opening ceremonies as they celebrate their 10 year anniversary, I'm just sorry I didn't arrive yesterday instead. I might be able to catch a couple hours tomorrow before the Expo floor closes at 5:00pm but it's looking doubtful due to flight arrival, checking in at Venetian and then getting over to the convention center by at least 3:00pm.

Wish me luck that I make a couple hours on Wednesday since they close early at 3pm on their last day which is Thursday and there's a lot of exhibits that I just won't have time to check out. I definitely plan on going first to the WMS booth and then on to IGT, following up with Ballys, Aruze and Konami so hopefully I will have some information to share on their upcoming new slot machines.

More to follow tomorrow night!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Olives Restaurant Review

Nighttime view of Bellagio Fountains from the patio at Olives.
Olives, one of Todd English's restaurants is located at Bellagio and is moderately priced for Las Vegas. We eaten there at least 8 times in the past few years and 3 times this year. While there are other good Italian/Mediterranean type restaurants on the strip, Olives stands out above all the rest for their patio seating overlooking the Bellagio Fountain show. If you like the Bellagio fountains the patio at Olives will provide a wonderful experience. The only draw back is the limited seating on the patio, so if you don't have a reservation at the time the restaurant opens or aren't prepared to wait a hour or more you are going to be seated instead inside a crowded noisy dining room and bar area.

I've only eaten once inside Olives and even though we had a window table overlooking the fountains it just didn't have the ambiance of the outdoor patio seating, so my advice is to make a 5:00pm reservation when the restaurant first opens and arrive around 4:30 to 4:45pm to stand in line, to be sure you are seated at one of the patio tables. 

Here's a link to one of the fountain shows as seen from a table on the patio of Olives. As with any venue, it's all about location baby!

Ambiance of course isn't everything, we look for good service and fabulous food too. I've been very lucky and out of our 8 dining experiences at Olives we've only once had poor service. This year 2010, the service was spot on and the servers also made a effort to be extra friendly. 

I've never had a bad lunch or dinner at Olives and sometimes it's likely just a matter of personal taste and what I don't love, someone else might. Consistently over the last few years everything has been good, but some of the recent meals really stood out and below are just a few of our favorites.

The meal begins with a assortment of flat cracker bread with cheese, focaccia and rolls served with assorted olives, along with green and black olive tapenade.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas" during Bellagio Fountain Show

Fountain Show at Bellagio with Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas". View is from patio table at Olives Restaurant.