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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, December 5, 2011

Las Vegas 2011 Thanksgiving weekend at Palazzo and Mandalay Bay!

We left for Vegas on Friday leaving our 22 year old son at home with Thanksgiving dinner leftovers for 10 people. Flight was good, limo was waiting when we arrived, VIP check-in was quick and except for forgetting my makeup bag at home everything was going smoothly. We came in this trip on a offer for a Fortuna suite at Palazzo, $700 free play, $150 food& beverage and 2 tickets we requested to Phantom for our friends.
After unpacking and a quick trip to the Walgreens for some substitute make up, we went to our favorite slots in the Venetian high limit room to see if we were going to start out lucky. We started out with a win of $375.00 on the $5 dollar Pinball, not great, but good enough. Switched to $5 Top Dollar and hit for only $150.00.
Tried the $5 Wheel of Fortune but no spin for us. Went over to our favorite slot $1 DaVinci Diamonds and lost a few hundred as it was cold as ice. Tried the $1 Cleopatra slot and had a bonus for $500 that put us even as we walked out of the high limit room.
We basically had broken even by the time we were to meet our friends Tricia (Pennyplayer), Michael, Yoke and Graham for dinner at Tao for dinner and that was better then being down so we were happy.
Tao was busy but we ended up with a good corner table upstairs. This is the first time I've been seated upstairs and I think I prefer it over downstairs.
Ceiling shot of Tao.
Buddha outside of restroom area at Tao.
One of the appetizers that someone in our group ordered.
Garlic green bean and onion rings tempura, very tasty.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wynn's Country Club Jazz Brunch!

We loved the Jazz Brunch at Wynn's Country Club restaurant. The views, the service, the Jazz Trio and the food were all fabulous!

Can't decide if you want to order off the menu or do a buffet for your Sunday Brunch? Then I have the solution for you, book the "Cookin' with Jazz Brunch" at Wynn's Country Club restaurant and have the best of both dining experiences. The brunch is priced at $59 for adults before tip and taxes and is every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This price includes coffee, tea and juices but alcohol is extra. 
The Jazz brunch is unique because in addition to a buffet set up, there's also a limited menu of items you can order as much as you want from, of food cooked fresh to order and it has several egg dishes, french toast, shrimp and grits, hot dog and chicken with parmesan on it. Since we were there with our close friends Yoke and Graham who were staying at Wynn this trip I was a bit distracted and neglected to take photos of that menu and also didn't get any photos that showed the complete buffet but since I intend to return to eat here again, I'll be sure to do that next time!
Above is the poached eggs with BBQ smoked pork, bacon cheese muffin and green chile hollandaise sauce that you can order from the menu. Graham said it was delicious!
For those of you like my friend Kydds who joke I never eat a hot dog when in Las Vegas here's the proof that I will at least pose for a photo with one. The hot dog is also on their menu cooked to order and I was told it was one of the tastiest hot dogs on the Vegas strip.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Las Vegas Halloween Stumble Trip Report

This was a last minute trip to Las Vegas due to me telling the organizer of the Slot Machine Forum's Halloween Stumble Meet that I would attend if I won 20k on my earlier trip to G2E in Vegas this month. The improbable happened and if you want to read about that trip and win, here's the link:
My husband wasn't able to join me again this trip due to work but was  kind enough to get up early and drive me to the San Jose airport on Saturday the 29th. Security was speedy and since I had a couple hours until the flight left I had breakfast at the airport Chili's restaurant. The egg, bacon, avocado quesadilla above was really tasty but huge, I had to leave two thirds of it.
The flight to Vegas was smooth but crowded. I didn't have much of a wait for luggage and soon I was in the Palazzo limo arriving at the VIP check in desk. My room was on the 33rd floor of Palazzo and had the typical view of Treasure Island.
The suite was in good shape, though I found out when I went to check my bill the last evening of the trip that both televisions weren't working correctly. For those who might be wondering how the offers are at Grazie these days, they seem to be coming back for mid-level gamblers. My upfront offer was 3 nights in a suite, $600 free play and dinner for 2 at Venetian's Valentino restaurant and since I'm platinum level it also included limo transport to and from the airport.  Current offers from them online are very similar to this one, though some include slot tournaments and there's a offer for New Year's Eve with dinner, dancing and entertainment by Huey Lewis and the News.
While my husband remembers room numbers, I can sometimes get confused so lately I have resorted to taking a photo of the room number with my cell when on a solo trip.
After unpacking I headed down to the casino where I first stopped and played the Hangover slot. I played a bit of Hangover this trip and had some bonuses but most of the time picked badly during them and ended up with the cash payout bonus instead of a fun one like Mr. Chow's below.
I played a few more penny slots including the new Joker's Heist which was a disappointing slot as far as pay outs are concerned, but just continued to lose so I made my way over to Venetian's high limit room where my luck started to change!
I started out playing the $5 Pinball at 3 credits and hit a Pinball fairly quickly that paid out $450.00 which recovered my previous losses.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My 20k win on Top Dollar at Aria, Trip Report!

I slept in late at Wynn but was able to get packed and moving around by 12:45pm. Taxi ride to Aria was uneventful after I convinced him I didn't want to go via the interstate. Service started out well at Aria with the bellman quickly checking my luggage and no wait at the invited guest check in area. My offer this time for Aria was again a corner view suite with city view, $100 a day for food (this was actually a decrease from July trip when it was $150 a day) and $500 free play.  I had a nice man checking me in who gave me the panoramic corner view suite with city view but since I insisted that I wanted to be far away from Cosmopolitan and their Marquee nightclub noise I was only able to get a room right away on the 14th floor.
I still found the view mesmerizing at night with all the neon and video flashing on the strip hotels.
The bell man had my luggage to my room in 5 minutes. I was impressed that instead of asking me if I wanted ice he already had it in a plastic container and immediately put it in my ice bucket, while going around and showing me different features of the suite. While I already knew them it was enjoyable to watch someone who is so good at their job.
I hadn't eaten anything yet so I ordered room service which I have found at Aria to be quick and also efficient in that they have yet to forget anything I have ordered which has happened frequently at other hotels.
I had the grilled chicken cobb salad with red wine vinaigrette dressing and a side of balsamic vinegar since they didn't have a balsamic dressing, I made my own.
The breadsticks and pretzel bread that Aria room service always brings is yummy. Here's a tip about their ice tea, if you order a glass they still bring it in a half liter container and it's much less inexpensive then the half liter or liter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Las Vegas Trip report for October at G2E and Encore

Driver picked me up at 6:30am for my early morning flight and since traffic was light despite the rainy weather we quickly got to San Jose airport and I was through security in record time. Flight was on time, but due to weather a bit bumpy. Luggage was quickly out and I was in a taxi and checking in at Encore about 10am.
I was in a rush to get to G2E as this was the second day their exhibit hall had been open but as I walked by the only $1 DaVinci Diamond slot at Wynn I had to try my luck, and with a couple pushes hit for $1060.00, a great way to start my trip! I usually say I can't win at Wynn, but now I'm going to have to stop saying it.
I was already registered for G2E so a quick stop at registration and I had my badge and was on my way to the exhibits. Unfortunately since I wasn't there as press I wasn't able to take videos or photos of the new slots. However I was allowed to take a photo of one of the original GhostBusters cars used in the movies and to sit in it too.
Terri was to join me a couple hours later but in the meantime I was in a flurry of running around trying all the new slots that will be available soon at a casino near you with the exception of a few they are still testing which might be tweaked or even never released.
In addition to viewing and playing new slot machines, there is entertainment at G2E, such as the Elvis impersonators setting up to perform above, also plenty of other acts, though I didn't catch most of them. They had Penthouse playmates signing posters and giving out free copies of the magazine, lots of drawings and contests to enter and free food at many of the booths.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Palazzo, part 2 of a August La Vegas Trip Report

I met Terri at 1pm at THEHotel valet after we checked out and she drove us to Palazzo where I quickly checked in at the VIP desk which as usual didn't have a line. We hadn't eaten yet and were planning on eating at Grand Lux when I received a text from Huddler that him and Brian were having a bite at Dos Caminos. I know plenty of people who love the food at Dos Caminos but Terri and I weren't in the mood for Mexican so we walked into the restaurant, looked around and didn't spot Huddler and Brian and I was texting back asking them where they were when they waved from the bar. A few minutes later Erin joined us too, and so we left Dos Caminos and went to the Platinum lounge at Palazzo where some of us had cappuccino's.
I asked our server if they had any chocolate croissants and he went into a back room and came out with a plateful, way too many for us to finish so next time I guess I better specify just a couple. We had fun chatting with Erin, Huddler and Brian, so much fun I forgot to take any photos. The photo above of the cappuccino is from later in the trip. After they left to return to Aria and NYNY, Terri and I decided it was too late to eat at Grand Lux or anywhere else since we had to leave in a few hours for our dinner at Cosmopolitan's, E at Jaleo. So of course we decided to try our luck with the slots. Terri stayed at Palazzo while I immediately headed over to the high limit lounge at Venetian to try the only $1 Da Vinci slot there and quickly got a win for $260.00, but DaVinci started to act coldly toward me so I left the high limit room.
I next found the Great Goldfish slot that has a max bet of $1.50 and briefly played it, but nothing much was happening with it so I grew bored. These slot acts a bit similar in my opinion to the Mummy slots. Someone else might love this new slot, I have to admit that the only Gold Fish slot I love is the original and I've tried very hard to love Goldfish 2 and Race for the Gold.
Nearby was a Black Widow slot so I tried that for a few minutes and hit what looked to me like it should have been a great win, but was only $43.00 on a $2 bet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

THEHotel at Mandalay Bay part 1 of a 2 part August Las Vegas trip

I left San Jose on Thursday the 25th of August and had a smooth flight on Southwest. My friend Terri picked me up at the airport and since I usually kid her about long hauling me via the tunnel this time she took my suggested route which ended up being longer due to all the road construction going on so I guess next time when Terri is driving we'll take the tunnel out of the airport and no more teasing from me!
Terri who lives in Las Vegas was staying 2 nights at Mandalay Bay and I was staying at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. Once at Mandalay Bay we split up to check in and I had the friendliest registration agent ever, he was incredibly good natured and in a wonderful mood, so for the first time I ended up in a V suite on the 36th floor. A V suite is not that much different then the normal suite at the THEHotel other then the living area is a lot wider and due to it being a corner suite you have views from 2 different angles.
In addition to the view of the pools, I had a partial strip view out of the 2nd window in the bedroom, but I can't seem to locate a photo of that view. This suite ended up being very quiet which I loved due to being at the end of the hallway and the bed was much more comfortable then the one I ended up with later in the trip at Palazzo.
While I was unpacking I had a call from Terri and MB had offered her a suite at THEHotel on the 35th floor so that worked out well for us. We had quite a few friends visiting Las Vegas this trip and I had a few of then sending me text messages during this time to tell me they had either landed or were just taking off and we were looking forward to seeing everyone soon.
Terri and I met at THECafe after unpacking to have lunch. I was really looking forward to this as my favorite lunch dish years ago was their lobster cobb salad and before I left home I had found out it was back on the menu. Lunch at THECafe started out well with our server Hector recognizing me even though I hadn't been there for over a year. I was a bit dismayed though when the lobster cobb arrived as it used to be a medallions of lobster and was a various generous portion of lobster and now it was served in the shell and there wasn't much lobster after you detach it.
Terri had a chicken caesar salad which she said was alright. Normally on past trips to THEHotel I would make a point of eating every breakfast/lunch at THECafe but this trip once was enough. It was fine, just not as good as in years past.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

E at Jaleo Review

For the latest review of e' at Jaleo from February 2014, please go to the link below. 

My best dining experience so far in Las Vegas was during my most recent trip in August 2011 at Cosmopolitan's E at Jaleo. E is a small surreal room behind the above bar at Jose Andres' Jaleo and it focuses on Tapas and Molecular Gastronomy. If you want to dine at E, you must email a month in advance to the minute to get a reservation. There are 2 seatings a night of 8 people at each sitting, one at 5:30pm the other at 8:30pm. REMEMBER TO CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE THEM.
My friends Claire, Terri and I had planned to eat at E months in advance and thanks to Claire doing all the organization and emails to E we were able to obtain our golden tickets for Saturday, August 27th for the 5:30pm. Thanks Claire!
We were told to get there 15 minutes early and my husband's flight wasn't arriving until 4:15pm that day so Terri and I were waiting impatiently at Palazzo for Randy to arrive. Fortunately his plane was on time so the limo dropped him off at 4:30pm and we barely gave him time to put his luggage in our room before Terri drove us all to Cosmopolitan. Randy had declined eating at E a month earlier due to concerns of his flight possibly being late and their rules saying they wouldn't seat latecomers. Also he felt the menu was a bit too adventuresome for him. While we were dining at E he ate at Holstein's and gambled which turned out well as he hit a hand pay on $1 DaVinci Diamonds during our dinner!
We arrived early as mandated at 5:15pm and were seated at the bar with complimentary drinks which for us was mineral water. At this time before entering E we gave our drink orders for the evening with some of the 8 in our group selecting the wine/beer pairing for the meal at $110.00, Terri and Claire selecting the non-alcholic drink pairing and I went with the suggestion of the sommelier after I declined the wine pairing and picked a white, red and then dessert wine to be served with the Tapas. I wish I had wrote down what she suggested as I drank and enjoyed all 3 selections. My 3 wines ended up being about $48.00 total. The cost of the Tapas tasting at E is $160.00. At 5:30pm there was 7 of us at the bar waiting to be seated at E. The final guest arrived at 5:45pm without a apology to the group for rudely holding everyone up. As we learned later that evening he is a restaurant owner and since he's in the business I really felt he knew better then to arrive late and hold things up, so shame on him!
All of us then entered the small private room which has a curved bar that we were seated at. The walls were covered with library card catalogs and numerous whimsical items that all have some hidden or perhaps obvious meaning to chef Jose Andres'.
Let your imagination go wild!
Staircase to heaven? Perhaps not, <wink>.
Wine and card catalogs!
The entire meal would be prepared in front of us. No video was allowed but photos without the flash were permitted. The photos above and below shows the preparation of the first course which was "Gin & Tonic". There's a lot more review, click on read more to see the rest.