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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.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Vegas Shore and Wedding Trip Report!

July in Las Vegas, the heat, the crowds, the renovations going on at the hotels, not the best time of the year to visit, unless one is meeting up with a group of friends who know how to get the most fun out of any place they travel to especially if it's Vegas!
Prepare yourself for my longest trip report yet since I stayed 6 nights and I'm not breaking it up by hotels stayed at this time. Normally if I go to Vegas in the heat of July it's due to a fabulous birthday offer I can't turn down. This July I passed on going during my birthday to meet up with a group of about 30 plus friends for what became known as our Vegas Shore trip, a take off on the Jersey Shore TV show. However the special finale to the trip was a friend's Vegas wedding!
My Southwest flight out of San Jose was fine. My limo driver was the same man I had on my June trip and we had a nice chat on the drive to Palazzo. My room had the typical view of Treasure Island.
VIP check in was fast, and I had my usual view of Treasure Island from my suite. Waiting for me in the suite from my host was a gift of snacks and lots of Fiji water.
Unpacking quickly I headed down to do a little gambling and I ran into the walking vine ladies posing at the entrance to the Palazzo casino as I walked over to Venetian.

The week before I arrived I had read  a live trip report of Trey's on the Slot Machine Forum that the Venetian Gold Room and High Limit Lounge was closed for renovations and a good part of the Venetian casino slot floor tented off and unavailable. Sadly everything was still in that state and getting worse each day as they closed more slots and floor area off. As of the date this trip report was published the Gold Lounge and Venetian High Limit room has reopened but the Venetian slot floor continues to be under renovations with a lot of slots not available.
Once at Venetian I started out playing my few favorite slots that were still on the floor but was losing on everything and my $600.00 free play went quickly. I did have a little luck on a Miss Kitty bonus.
Giving up on Venetian since the construction was getting to me, I went back to Palazzo and hit a decent bonus on Aladdin. I had a meet scheduled for this afternoon with a couple of my favorite members from the Blonde4ever board but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances one had to cancel and the other one when she tried to call to tell me she was waiting for me at Palazzo received messages that my phone was unavailable so we never ended up getting together. Not sure what was up with the phone problem perhaps something related to her being from the UK and I assume it was trying to do a international call.  Chriss, so sorry about that!
I had a brief win of $165.00 on $1 Texas Tea in Palazzo's HL room but after that went on a long losing streak.
While I was busy losing at Palazzo a man walked up and asked if I was the writer of this blog and we had a nice chat. David it was great to meet you and I hope to run into you again in Vegas! After talking to David I walked over to play Ruby Slippers and hit a hand pay of $51.50! Yep, you read that right, my luck was so bad at that point the slots were taunting me. After getting paid I walked by David who seeing the slot attendants thought I had hit a legitimate hand pay and I gave him my sad news.
It was soon time to meet Gwen (yourstarla) for dinner at AquaKnox. As I was walking to Venetian I saw some of the Carnevale performers near the Palazzo waterfall.

Gwen and I have known each other online for years and finally met in March at Teresa's 40th birthday party and then had fun again in June celebrating Liz's birthday. I adore Gwen (and Liz), she's such fun to be around both online and even more so in person.
I've eaten at AquaKnox quite a bit over the years but this was Gwen's first time. Fortunately as in the past service and food was great. Above is the Pacific White Pawns entree that Gwen ordered. This dish has a lemongrass-cavier cream sauce that Gwen said was very good.
I ordered the wild Alaska Halibut which was so delicious I did everything but lick the plate when eating it! Each of us had cocktails, with Gwen trying a blueberry mojito while I went for a spicy margarita.
For dessert Gwen went for creme brûlée that had to be great as there wasn't a morsel of it left.
My dessert a type of smore chocolate cake was yummy and again not a morsel was left. While we were finishing up dinner the Carnevale entertainers had their nightly parade and went by AquaKnox and it looked really cute.

Gwen insisted on buying my dinner because I had a birthday the previous week and she also gave me this hilarious Magic Stache birthday card that sings a funny song while the stache moves up and down. Gwen, thanks so much, loved the dinner and especially the card which I just had to play again while writing this up!
Gwen and I didn't linger at the restaurant it was time to get our gamble on and gamble we did! We walked back to Palazzo and hit Wizard of Oz hard, with Gwen on Ruby Slippers and myself on the original version.
Gwen had a good hit with 3 wilds on Ruby Slippers while I had an average win on 2 wilds.
I had more bonuses on Wizard of Oz that night sitting next to Gwen then I've ever had when playing it the last 4 years or so. Every time Glinda would visit I would chant 4 wilds until I finally had my best WOZ hit of the trip when I hit 4 wilds at max bet for $711.00!
The four wilds were followed by a decent WOZ bonus for $168.50. While I'm usually very quiet when hitting wins, when I'm with Gwen we are screaming and shouting and having our own party at the slots!
After Wizard of Oz we were lucky to find 2 seats next to each other on the new Michael Jackson slot. Above is my win of $214.25 on a bonus while Gwen hit one almost at the same time for $551.25.
We had quite a nice run on the MJ slots at Palazzo and had a blast singing along to the music. Since we were making a happy spectacle of ourselves it wasn't difficult for our friends Robin and Anne-Lise to find us. All of us had fun chatting and then it was time for Robin and A-L to meet up with Lisa and Rodney for drinks.

Gwen and I then made the mistake of visiting the dollar slots where we lost and then on to Video Poker where Gwen had been lucky with a big hand pay earlier in her trip but tonight nothing. We split up for a bit to later find each other at Aladdin but the Genie wasn't kind so Gwen headed off to bed since she was getting up early to move to Wynn the next day and while I intended to also go to bed instead I started to play some Monster slots.
My hit of $111.30 was the best one playing Monster Slots this trip and since I quickly started to give it all back I walked over to Venetian where I tried the new Jaws slot machine since our friend Teresa had a big hit on it a couple days before I arrived.
No luck for me on Jaws at Venetian as my best hit was $86.10 and the great mood I had been in when playing slots with Gwen was turning sour. As I was getting ready to quit playing or should I say paying Jaws,  Robin, Anne-Lise, Lisa and Rodney stumbled into me. Rodney and Lisa are pretty funny and had me laughing in no time so as they left to go out for dancing or more drinks I was again in a good mood.
Making my way though the renovations where most of the slots were closed off I found that Wizard of Oz, Hangover and Top Gun over by Grand Lux were still there so I started playing Top Gun. I quickly got a bonus that paid me about a hundred and then right after that a flyby bonus that hit for a handpay of $1252.40! Now I'm really happy, thinking gambling this trip is going to be different then earlier this year!
The noise of Venetian was starting to get to me again and with no Gold Lounge available for a quiet break I walked back to Palazzo and had a brief bit of luck on the Frodo bonus of Lord of the Rings for $176.75 on a $1.75 bet.
When I started to lose on Lord of the Rings, I left and tried Clue but no luck there, in fact no luck on Clue at all during this trip. I found the Life of Luxury II slots at Palazzo and played some Bier Haus for a win of $257.61 but it was soon time to move on.
Before I actually went to bed around 6am that night err morning I went back to the WOZ that I hit the $700.00 on earlier and once again got 4 wilds during a Glinda bonus from it, but this time it only paid $355.00.
The next morning while more friends were arriving to join us at the Vegas Shore and Gwen was moving to Wynn I slept in until around noon. Not feeling like making the trek to Grand Lux to eat alone I ordered room service and had a club sandwich and a shrimp cocktail. Food was good and Palazzo's room service was quick!
After cleaning up and eating I went downstairs to the casino to of course play slots. At around 3pm or so and after more losses, I had a fun meet at the Platinum lounge with two Trip Advisor members doublediamond777 and Lovelasvegas_Canada! I really enjoyed chatting with both these ladies who were staying at their favorite casino, Harrah's.
After the meet I tried a few more slots at Palazzo but while I was having some minor wins on various slots I was still losing.
How bad was my luck going and how annoying were the renovations at Venetian? Well, I went to play Top Gun again only to discover they were shutting it down along with Wizard of Oz, Hangover slots and other slots I enjoy due to the renovations!
By the time our first group dinner rolled around for our Vegas Shore trip I was more then willing to stop gambling. Liz whose birthday we had celebrated in Vegas in June had arrived and I met her and Gwen at Palazzo and we walked over together to Venetian. I was really happy Liz was here and I was walking to Tao with two of my favorite people. Good thing I was happy because Gwen was leading the way and we definitely went the long route to the restaurant, LOL! While a lot of the group wouldn't arrive until Saturday tonight we had a dinner for 12 of us at Venetian's Tao restaurant tonight and then 6 other friends on our trip were eating at Golden Steer and the plan was for all of us to meet up after our dinners at Bourbon Bar.
The first photo above is of Michael and Teresa and the right above this is Lisa and Rodney. The rest of our group tonight was Brian, Sharon, Liz, Gwen, Jonathan, myself, Sherrie and Bob.
Before we were seated Teresa had bought me a Phuket at the bar which is my favorite Tao cocktail with thai chili's cucumbers and Tequila. During dinner I ordered a second Phuket so darn if I can remember what the names of these dishes are, but I do know we all enjoyed them and are planning on returning to Tao for another group dinner early next year!

After Tao we lost a few members of our dinner group for various reasons but met up with the group from the Golden Steer at the new Bourbon Bar at Venetian when La Scena used to be located.
Having so much fun at Borubon Bar some of us are almost falling out of our seats! And they said I was the tipsy one, HA!
It was at Bourbon Bar that I made the mistake of mixing Champagne with the two Tequila's I had at Tao.
Brian and Sharon who by the end of this trip would be married!
Gwen, Lisa and Thomas.
The entertainment at Bourbon bar is fun, lots of contests and audience participation.
After Bourbon Bar the group went to the Zebra Lounge at Palazzo. Above is Rodney, me and Robin.
Yes, it was at the Zebra Lounge (formerly Salute) where Gwen was buying drinks that I made the mistake of mixing a Corona with the 2 tequila's and the champagne. Notice the kleenex in my drink hand? Well, I managed to pour some of the beer down my jacket, some in my eye (don't ask) and had to mop up a bit. Yes, I'm half Italian and I talk with my hands. Deal with it or duck!
Thomas, me, A-L and Dana.
Our group broke up after Zebra lounge with me deciding to sober up by playing slots at Palazzo.
I had some wins but believe me I was putting in more then I was getting out!
It was when I was taking a photo of my sad Monster Slot win that I noticed a young woman playing the slot next to me was watching me. I smiled at her and she got up to tell me she reads my blog and was thinking that was me since I was taking photos. Great to meet you Julie and I hope you had better luck gambling then I did!
After playing more slots and having some minor wins on Wolf Run but basically just continuing to lose, I went to bed around 5:30am very sober as my last drink was around 11pm.  Woke up at 7:30am feeling very sick. That will teach me to mix tequila with champagne and finish it off with a corona!
Due to feeling ill, stayed in room until noon while my friends are having a great time partying it up at the three Bellagio cabana's that Teresa had booked along with a Fajita buffet lunch she had catered. More friends had arrived in Vegas this morning and there was about 30 having fun at the Bellagio cabana's.
 Finally dragged myself out of room and went to Palazzo's Grand Lux for a Sonoma Chicken salad.
Decided to play Wizard of Oz again after lunch as the progressive was almost to a million and it usually hits around that amount.
No progressive for me but Wizard of Oz continued to give me some action.
Despite the earlier wins on Wizard of Oz, I starting losing on it and other slots.
Since the Venetian High Limit Lounge was closed due to renovations I decided to try my luck with the $1 Quick Hits in the Palazzo HL room where the minimum bet is $15. I was happy to get the bonus but I picked poorly and didn't get many free spins and only won around $229.00.
However, after my bonus for the first time ever I got 6 quick hits and thought I had won over $2K! Alas, reading the fine print that was only if I was playing max which was $45 a spin so instead of the 2K I won $750.00. 
After Quick Hits I went to a old favorite the $1 Texas Tea slots where the minimum bet is $9 a push and while I hit for $161.00 on it, that didn't last long.
After more losses then wins, yes that's the gambling theme of my trip,  I had a nice meet at the Palazzo Platinum lounge for a hour or so with a couple ladies from the Trip Advisor Forum, "lovelasvegas_Canada and doublediamond777. It was fun chatting with them and hearing stories about their favorite place to stay which is Harrah's casino.
After the meet it was time to change and meet up with Gwen. Tonight was our official Vegas Shore Family Dinner for 33 of us as arranged by Brian at Casa di Amore. However before our late night dinner Gwen and I were sharing a cab to meet up with part of the group who were gambling and drinking at the Riviera.
Arriving at the Riviera there was about 15 or so of us. Above is a bit of a bro-romance going on between Shrek and Lowrance!
 Before we left for Casa di Amore I think some if not all in the above group (Rodney, Lisa, Robin, Thomas and A-L took a walk across the street to the Peppermill. While the rest of us stayed at The Rivera gambling or having drinks. For now I was sticking to drinking only diet Coke!

When it was time to leave for Casa di Amore for our at 9:30pm reservation, Gwen, Jen, Gina and I shared a taxi. Gwen who was sitting upfront in the taxi likes to make conversation with the cabbies asking where they are from and other small talk, but this time she hit the motherlode as this driver started talking about his gambling problem the loss of his wife, etc...then to make things even more of a downer when we pulled up at Casa we saw their beautiful limo had just been in a fender bender in front of the restaurant!
However once inside the restaurant as we rejoined our friends at the bar, let the party and fun begin! I can't recall who first suggested Casa di Amore as the perfect Italian restaurant for our family dinner but it was perfection. Brian made the arrangements and not only did he get the restaurant to agree not to limit our choices which some Vegas restaurants tend to do when serving large groups, but he arranged for a comped champagne toast and complimentary plates of bruschetta and antipasto. While we had to wait a bit for them to put together tables for our large group they seated us right in front of the singer and band! What can I say about the service, they were marvelous and the best service we had the whole trip in my opinion. Glasses constantly refilled, smiling servers, the singer taking requests, and I was amazed that the small kitchen got all the entrees out to everyone at the same time! Looking for a restaurant that can handle a large group and keep you happy, look no further then Casa di Amore!
During the months leading up to our Vegas Shore trip as we discussed what we would wear, where we would go, we all ended up with Jersey Shore type nicknames. I can't recall all of them, but I'll include some of them now.  Roz (Puts up with Jeff a lot), Paul, Julie (J-Cat) and Sharon (Boom Boom Pow).
Dana (Vitamin D) is standing, then the next five are Lisa (L-Cat) A-L (Eskimo Pie), Theresa (Cherry Bond) and Gina (Pebbles)
Liz, Gwen and Jen or if going by their Vegas Shore nicknames, L-Stipper, G-Unit and J-Woww! Ladies you rock, love ya!
Gina (Pebbles) and myself (Sunny-D).
Thomas (Tommy Dice), Brian (B-Train) and Sharon (Boom Boom Pow)
Bob (B-Cap) and Sherrie (Bubbles). I felt bad for Sherrie and Bob this trip as United Airlines lost their luggage, which is always a nightmare for any traveler especially when it's not the trip home where at least you have other clothes waiting for you. To make it worse, United didn't locate and return their luggage to them until 3 days into their trip when their vacation was about ready to end!
Dan, Mary Ann, Roz and Lowrance.
A-L, Paul, Julie, Sheri (Bubbles) and Bob.
One of the complimentary Appetizers at Casa di Amore. Delish!
Bacon wrapped scallops with broccoli. At this point I don't recall what everyone was eating. I took a few photos of the entrees around me. Your guess is as good as mine!

I'm pretty sure these are my scallops florentine which I loved, with a stuffed baked potato and delicious red peppers.

A month before the trip Thomas had run a Trivia contest for all of us going on this trip where we were to guess what song would be the first song on the Sinatra CD he was putting together for us and he would pick up the tab for the winner at Casa di Amore! As I was getting ready for Liz's June Birthday trip in Vegas I didn't take any guesses. When I returned I saw that no one had won yet and some songs were already eliminated due to incorrect guesses by others so Thomas had started given out some clues.   I took a couple of guesses and won when I guessed "Prisoner of Love" thanks to the clues, otherwise never in a million years would I have won! Thanks Thomas for dinner and the fun of the contest. Usually I never win anything in contests even if I'm in a raffle that only has 10 participants, so it was a thrill to finally win a contest!
I at least remember that Thomas ordered the steak florentine above. While I couldn't recall what everyone ordered I remember that all of us thought the food was good!
Teresa (Snickers), Barb (Hot Spot) and Ger (G-Man).
Introducing our star, Lola on her stripper pole. So there's a story about Lola (also one about butter) and without going into too many details Lola is presently traveling around the USA, Canada and perhaps other countries in the future and getting caught in a lot of comprising photos so of course she had to make a appearance at the Vegas Shore!
Speaking of butter jokes, here's Gwen with the take out box of butter that Jane (Dirty Rocks) gave her after dinner.
Gwen (G-Unit) having fun with Lola.
Thomas (Tommy Dice) with Lola.
Lowrance (sir eats a lot) in one of his more sedate photos having just taken one of me upside down. ;)
We also had a birthday tonight to celebrate! Sherrie's husband Bob getting his surprise birthday cake. The real surprise for all was the cake said Happy Birthday Boo instead of Happy Birthday Bob! And so a new nickname is born, Boo!
The birthday cake that Sherrie bought from Retro Bakery was one of the best tasting cakes I've eaten.
Is Lisa (Tyra Spanx) tipping Lola or the singer?
To cap off our dinner Brian had these great matchbooks made as a souvenir for our family dinner! Brian, thanks for the souvenir, the touching toast you made and organizing such a fun night!

After dinner our group split up to do various things. Gwen and I shared a taxi back to Palazzo where Gwen walked back to Wynn to gamble and I commenced losing more money at Palazzo before going to bed.
The next morning I tried to check in at Wynn before brunch but my room wasn't ready yet, thankfully I had a late check out at Palazzo for 3pm so wouldn't have to rush out of brunch to check out at noon. The photo above is me trying to get a close up of Señor Frogs to show how in my opinion it ruins the theme of Treasure Island.
Brunch at 11am with friends at the Country Club Jazz Buffet. The review and photos are at this link on the blog.
My brunch review above was mainly about the delicious food, but what really made it special was the company, just too much fun when I'm with Gwen, Jen, Gina, Thomas, Brian, Sharon or any of our Vegas family! After brunch we split up for different activities.

Thomas had generously booked a limo bus to take a group downtown to gamble. Others were going to Aria where Marie (Heatwave) and Jim had generously arranged for pool cabana's for the sun lovers, Gwen was going to get her make up and hair styled for Jersey err Vegas Shore night at Cosmopolitan's Bond Bar and I went back to Palazzo to check out and move to Wynn.
When moving to Wynn I was a bit nervous that my taxi driver would be upset with the short trip but he was really nice about it and said it was fine instead of complaining, so I gave him a generous tip. My room at Wynn was lovely as always and came with a fabulous view of the strip and the Wynn Lake of Dreams. Since I was there from Sunday to Tuesday the nightclub at Wynn was closed so no night club noise this trip!
Once I had unpacked I started to gamble at Wynn hoping my losing streak would end there. It didn't, it got worse. While I had some nice hits and Gwen even shared her secret winning extra rewards slot with me, I just couldn't get ahead or break even.
I did have some brief fun with the new Jaws slot at Encore.

Once again trying for the million dollar progressive and not hitting it. :)
Gwen's secret slot not so secret now, did give me quite a few wins at Wynn.
My day started out with our fabulous brunch and was ending with our night of Shore Guido's and Guidette's party at Cosmopolitan's Bond. Above is Liz (L-Stripper) and Gwen (G-Unit) in their Guidette outfits. Gwen told her stylist at Wynn to make her look obnoxious but instead she made her fabulous and perfect for the Vegas Shore!
Gwen, Liz and I headed out to Caesar's Palace so Gwen could use her free play there. We joined up with Jen, Brian and Sharon at CP and then headed off to Cosmopolitan where we met up with Gina for dinner at China Poblano. I'm not sure what the restaurant staff thought as they seated us in all our Jersey Shore glory. LOL! I started out with one of their signature cocktails the China Paloma, tequila, grapefruit juice, lavender syrup and soda. Yummy but I think I prefer my drink from my last visit which was the salt air Margarita.
I started with Palmitos which is a shaved salad of hearts of palm with a grapefruit and tamarind dressing. For some reason no one wanted to share this dish with me, but I really like it.
After that I can only remember what a few of these dishes were as most were ordered by my friends and shared.

Brian and Sharon ordered assorted tacos, from what I heard some were good, some not.
A Gwen and Jen favorite, Chilaquiles which is tortilla chips, green tomatilla salsa and cheese.
Below is Ten Treasure I believe with Shrimp, Veggies, mushrooms and noodles.
My entree was the Fire Phoenix, crispy bone in chicken with peppercorns and seasoned pork rinds. Loved the chicken didn't care for the pork rinds.
All of us shared my favorite the chocolate terra cotto warrior with caramelized bananas and sesame. Break it open and there's wonderful mousse filling to enjoy too.
As were fishing dinner at China Poblano we were joined by Teresa who was looking totally Snooki and fabulous!
When we arrived at Bond most of our group was already seated in a semi-private enclosed corner of the lounge. We immediately ordered drinks with Jen and I starting out with a refreshing spicy drink called a pineapple express.
Sheri, Barb and Jer. I heard later I missed some fantastic dancing that Sheri did at Bond.
Sherrie who finally had her lost luggage delivered by United after waiting 3 days for it and Teresa. In my opinion award for best Shore Costume is a tie between Gwen and Teresa!
Gwen and Maggie with their great smiles.
Part of the group in our semi private Bond bar booth area. Paul and Brian are in front.
Jen had a box of left overs from our China Poblano dinner that she gave to Thomas to eat.
Dana, Liz and Anne-Lise, looking "shore" good ladies,
Lawgirl and DirtyErnie surprised us with their news that they had gotten engaged this trip in Las Vegas! Congratulations!
My favorite drink of the night, basically a lemon drop martini with a whip cream foam on top, so yummy!
Gwen with her friend Michelle who is a sweetie. Hi Michelle, hope to see you again in Vegas soon!
I was taking a photo of Jen and Gwen when a random stranger pops into the photo as I'm snapping it and then thankfully is lost to the crowd.
Jen, Michelle, Teresa, Gwen and moi.
Brian, rocking the Vegas Shore at Bond.
Naughty Lola, always in trouble but only visits the best places!

I was on my 3rd drink and having lots of fun but decided I wouldn't have a repeat of Friday evening so while others were off to catch Vegas Limit and do some dancing at Mandalay Bay, I left with Gwen and returned to Wynn.  Gwen did a little gambling but headed to bed early as she had a big day tomorrow. I stayed up longer, losing more money.
Gwen's big day and a great day for all of us, was a surprised Bachelor and Bachelorette party for Brian and Sharon. Gwen like Teresa and Marie had rented out at her expense 3 cabana's at Wynn. Not being a sun lover even though I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, this would be my first time at a Vegas pool since becoming a adult.
I dragged myself out of bed around 9am and made it to the cabana's at 10am, where Gwen, Liz, Barb, Jane and Ger were setting up the decorations. Barb and Jane were in charge of the decorations and they did a fabulous job! The center cabana was decorated for the party, the left one had the food and the right was for just relaxing and storage.
Due to a misunderstanding Brian and Sharon showed up a little early so Gwen made them hang out in the storage cabana while our decorators finished.
Above our Gwen with a funny gift that had been given to her.
Gwen, Barb, Jane and Liz thought of everything!
What is it about sheep and bachelor parties. ;)
Barb, Maggie, Dana and Robin looking great.
Our bride and groom with the wonderful Las Vegas theme cake that Gwen had ordered from Wynn!
Not only did the cake look beautiful, it was delicious with one tier chocolate and the other vanilla. It had a mousse filling that was out of this world, yum!
Even the cards on the cake were edible and I claimed the Queen of Hearts!
Lowrance and Lisa having some cake and drinks.
Maggie and Roz enjoying all the comforts of a Wynn Cabana.

There were a lot of goodie bags given out this trip. This one was from Gwen, with the CD being from Thomas.
Gwen didn't miss a trick, there were cold cuts to eat, fruit, cheese, chips and a wonderful guacamole!
Jen, Gwen and Roz talking about Jen's late night and escort back to her room by Brian and Sharon after a fun night of partying.
Sharon unwrapping one of the many gifts they were given.
Above is the congratulations poster we all signed.
I had warned Gwen earlier in the trip that I wouldn't be able to take the sun and heat longer then a hour  but the Wynn Cabana's were so comfortable, the fans and misters did so well at relieving the heat that I ended up staying for about 4 hours!
On hindsight I should have stayed the rest of the day at the Wynn Cabana's as with the exception of a good hit on Pink Diamonds at Wynn and a half way decent hit on the WOZ yellow brick road slot, the slots were not kind.
Tonight the Vegas Shore group was going to dinner at Strip Burger and then on to Mirage's Rhumbar. I was passing on those activities because I wanted to see my friend Terri who lives in Vegas and friends Tricia and Michael who were also visiting during part of my trip.
Terri picked me up at Wynn and drove us to Mandalay Bay where we were having dinner at Rick Moonen's, RM Seafood with Tricia and Michael. In one of those coincidences while we knew each other on Vegas message boards, I first met Terri, Tricia and Michael in person during a meet 3 years ago on a Thanksgiving trip to Vegas. While I'm usually fortunate enough to see Terri on every trip I take to Vegas, I've also been lucky to have trips coincide with Tricia and Michael at least once or sometimes twice a year!
The cracker parmesan cheese bread was really good and Terri said the corn bread muffins were good too.
 The above photos is of the crab cake I ordered as a appetizer, lots of crab, loved it!
Terri's BLT iceberg salad with bacon, tomatoes, blue cheese and ranch dressing looked good.
I'm thinking the above photo was one of Tricia and Michael's appetizers and it was the Steak Tartare with truffles, parmesan and miso egg yolk.
Loved the Diver Scallops with pork belly and eggplant. However this was not my first choice as unfortunately the restaurant was out of 2 of their entrees before 7pm!
Tricia and Terri both enjoyed their seafood entrees, but I no longer recall exactly what they had.
Michael ordered and enjoyed sushi as his entree.
Terri and I shared the dessert sampler, as did Michael and Tricia and eating them did briefly sweetened my mood. The sampler included Blueberry Cobbler Beignets, Key Lime pie, Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, and a decadent chocolate dessert. There was also some ice cream and the most marvelous refreshing sorbet I have ever had. It was a very unique flavor and darn if I can remember which one it was.
The food was good at RM Seafood but then the food is good at a lot of Vegas restaurants and competition is fierce. However, even though the good was great I won't be returning there anytime soon, if ever again because service was really lacking from the start of the meal to the end. While the restaurant was busy, it looked like they had a lot of management walking around not doing much while they didn't have enough servers. I'm not going to go into a lot of details and I usually cut restaurants a lot of slack when they are busy, but not this time, service was really just terrible, more suited to a diner then fine dining.
Terri and I briefly played some slots at Mandalay Bay but none of my favorite machines would give me a win. Even tried my favorite $1 Da Vinci there, but it took way more then it gave back. Shocker! LOL!  I briefly sat down next to Tricia to play some 5 cent Da Vinci Diamonds but when my tito slipped into a crevice between the ticket taker and slot and I couldn't get it out, I just gave up and Terri drove me back to Wynn.
At Wynn that evening I tried everything, the new Jaws, Grease, Pinball, and about the best hit I had was for $70.00 on Lord of the Rings. I got so disgusted with my luck at Wynn that I check out the next morning a day early which likely will penalize me on any future comp offers and checked in a day early at Cosmopolitan.
When I arrived at Cosmopolitan for whatever reason the bell man took me to VIP check in but not Identity VIP instead it was the VIP checkin for gold Marriott members. While this made for a quick check in they didn't upgrade me like usual and didn't give me a room with a view because I wasn't a Marriott VIP. When I went to go down to get my free play put on my identity card I asked about the monthly artifact for Gold and Platinum members and they finally had them. They gave me the art for June and July in a keepsake box. The box and art is in the photo above but it really doesn't do much for me.
I had to remind Cosmopolitan again to send up my welcome amenity for Gold Identity members and then once I got the tiny bag of popcorn and trail mix in a small box I wondered why I had bothered.
I hadn't eaten yet and decided to eat at the Cafe Bellagio using my M-Life Express comps.There was a long line when I got there but since I'm NOIR I was seated immediately, however that was the last of the good service. I was seated next to a table of 6 who hadn't had their order taken yet, and 10 minutes later none of us had our order taken while a table of 4 seated after us had their drinks and order taken. I was in a hurry so I finally got up and just left, the first time that has happened to me at Cafe Bellagio.
Since I was now in a bit of a rush I decided to go to the Bellagio Buffet which also had a line but once again the NOIR card worked its magic and I was seated immediately.
While the buffet was busy, my server immediately took my drink order and was excellent with refills and removing plates. It's strange when one gets better service at the Bellagio buffet then at their cafe!
I had eaten earlier this year at the Bellagio Buffet for dinner and had been disappointed in food offerings. This time for lunch is was a totally different experience, I loved the selection and everything I ate was excellent for buffet quality food.
I'll let the photos of the food speak for themselves. All the photos of the buffet were taken with my cell phone.

After stuffing myself at the buffet I had to quickly walk back to Cosmopolitan and get ready for the event of the trip, Brian and Sharon's wedding!
Brian and Sharon had booked their wedding at the Venus Garden at Caesar's Palace which is near the pools. It was a lovely garden with statuary that was roped off for privacy. They had hired a professional  photographer and also had a man who was playing a keyboard.
The above photos are of us early arrivals.
Gwen, myself and Jen so hot we are steaming up the camera lens!
Sharon and Brian with Sheri. I love Sharon's dress, she looked fabulous!
Vegas in July is hot hot hot, I felt sorry for Brian in his tux though he was looking good. Gwen fans Brian with the cute "Just Married" sign she had made.
Great photo of Brian and Sharon, can you tell it's not mine? I think it's one the professional photographer took. The wedding was beautiful and I was so happy to share their special day with Brian, Sharon and the rest of our friends. The justice of the peace had asked that we not take photos during it or else you would see a lot more photos here!
After the wedding while the photographer was taking photos of the bride and groom, Gwen led the group through Caesar's to the Il Mulino restaurant. Gwen is leading, and following her is Liz, Gabby, Roz, Lowrence, Theresa, Julie, Marie and others.
Teresa's generosity and organizational skills had kicked in again and early this morning she had arranged for us to wait at Il Mulino and to toast the bride and groom with champagne!
Before the champagne toast I ordered a diet coke which also came with a cute carafe.
Jane, Jon, Suzanne and Sylvia.
Moi, with Jen, Barb, Joe and G-Unit, err I mean Gwen.
Il Mulino smelled great, and I liked the way they were decorated. They also have a outside patio overlooking the strip which is great for any smokers in the group.
It wasn't long before the bride and groom joined us. Sharon, Gwen, Brian and Teresa.
Of course I had to get in to the picture.
Our wonderful Maggie who flew in from the UK to join us on the Vegas Shore. Below is Theresa with the bride and groom.
After our champagne toast to the bride and groom at Il Mulino we boarded the limo bus that Teresa had also arranged, got to love Teresa and the rest of the organizers, they do everything with style!
It's party bus time!

Of course we have to stop at the Las Vegas sign for photos!

Our group goofing around.
Our more serious Las Vegas sign photo. :)
The wedding dinner was at House of Blues, Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay. While we had planned to go there for dinner before we knew the wedding would take place, Teresa who is a member there organized a great dinner and was able to convince the staff not to limit us to the usual preset menus for groups but to let us order off the full menu.

Jen, Lowrance and Ger. I think Lowrance is thinking it's such a small chocolate martini that he needs at least 4 to make a drink. ;)
The view of the strip from the Foundation Room Balcony.
Gwen, Sharon and Jen.
It wouldn't be a wedding dinner without Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads!
One of the delicious flat bread's that Teresa treated us to.
My Moscow Mule drink. Loved it and the mug.
Statue near the hosting stand.
Jen and Gwen either have small hands or large mouths, insert your favorite caption here!
My salad was very good.
Random shots of the Foundation Room.

Half roasted chicken on tomato fondue, one of the specialities of the restaurant.
Liz's shrimp and grits were very spicy, I loved the taste of them I was given.
I'm going to go wild and guess another chicken entree above. ;)
Prime Filet Mignon.
I'm going to guess that the above was the dry aged Duroc Pork Chop.
I give up, something with olives. :)
Prime New York Strip.
Brian, ready to eat his steak.
Above is the halibut entree that I order, it was delicious. Special thanks to Jen who kept reminding me tonight and at China Poblano to take photos of the food otherwise I wouldn't have any. As it is I can't remember what most of these entrees are!

Of course it wouldn't be a wedding dinner without our stripper Lola in attendance!

Teresa out did herself planning a wedding dinner at Foundation Room at the last minute with another delicious and lovely cake, toasting flutes and even engraved serving utensils.

After dinner at HOB Foundation room the group again split up and I shared a taxi back to Cosmopolitan with Lowrance and Roz. I was hoping to see Lowrance and Roz again later that night in the casino but I ended up going to bed early.
I played Electrifying Riches at Cosmopolitan due to reading on the Slot Machine Forum board how lucky some of the members were getting on this slot. I managed to get lucky too winning 150 free games which then retriggered a few times for some additional extra free games, but the final win on that bonus was a disappointing $197.00. I expected more out of 200 or so free games at $1.50 bet!
I found most of my favorite slots at Cosmopolitan had been removed like Pink Diamonds and others I had wins on last trip. On previous trips I always left Cosmopolitan a winner, on this trip despite a few wins I lost.
The new Super Team Slot is cute, but the pay outs I got were sad.
One last try at the Wizard of Oz progressive which of course I didn't get but Ruby Slippers gave me one last win for the trip.
I was suppose to stay another 2 days and night at Cosmopolitan and I had a couple meets planned with some Facebook and message board friends who I really wanted to meet in person for the first time but I had to cancel them. My son had called me when we were taking the photos at the Las Vegas Sign and had given me some bad news. I called my husband who didn't know anything about it and I decided to return home and end the trip on the high note of the wedding. I checked out of Cosmopolitan at 6am and took the first flight home on Southwest. Breakfast at Sammy's Beach Bar and Grill was good and reasonably priced taking in consideration it was at the airport. Flight back was fine, husband picked me up before he left for work and I spent the next few weeks dealing with son "issues". :)
This was one of those Vegas trips that I came home with more then I took, no not money, LOL, that I lost. There were lots of goodie bags given out to all of us. Liz made up cute gift bags for all with our Shore nicknames, cup holder, CD of Vegas songs and for the ladies sandal earrings. Liz earlier in the trip had also given me some lovely birthday gifts too.
Wedding souvenirs and below the gift bag that Teresa gave out at her Bellagio Cabana party.
Gambling really sucked this trip but I didn't care (at least not too much) because the main purpose was to have fun with friends and that I had. I'm very lucky all my Vegas trips have been fun and in most cases because of the people I'm hanging out with, but this week of parties was just extra special.  The only thing that could have made this trip more fabulous was if everyone of our family members could have attended and shared the fun!

As it was those who could attend donated their time and money to make things fun for all of us and you all rock! However special thanks and Kudos go to our organizers of various events, Brian, Gwen, Marie, Teresa and Thomas!  I'm really looking forward to our next group trip in 2013!

I'm leaving for Vegas again for 4 nights starting Saturday, August 25th and I'll be staying at Palazzo for a couple nights and THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. Originally my husband was going with me to G2E in October but he had to cancel that trip so we rescheduled a last minute trip for this month so he could finally get to Vegas. We're going to have dinner one night with Terri and my friend Boots from the Slot Machine Forum, but other then that we're going to relax and enjoy our first trip this year with each other. :)


  1. Awesome TR. I love reading it through your words and pics. Don't make it too long until I see you again. We have to do the Michael Jackson dance again soon.

    Love ya!

    G_Unit. :)

  2. I'm bummed I'll miss you and Jen in September but I'll be there in spirit, sort of, LOL! Hope to see you soon and we'll add Grease to our lists of dances. ;)

    Sunny D

  3. Great trip report! Those $1 Quick Hits slots can be very volatile, but I only play the ones with $5 min bet $15 max. If I am betting $15 a push you better believe I want a hand pay for six QH! Food at Tao looks great. They took us for a lunch at Tao for work this summer in NYC and now I can't wait to try the one in Vegas. Next trip is in December. Have fun this weekend! -Tim (Inceptiongeek)

  4. Thanks Tim. You won't be disappointed with the Tao in Vegas. We just ate there again tonight and it was great. We're having a great trip with a record number of hand pays, so far 6!

  5. I am bummed that it wouldn't give you the wins you wanted (although I now know good things come to those who wait ;) ), I did enjoy living vicariously thru the pictures. The wedding looks like a dream to me - still sad that we got married here in Maryland under family pressure. Grr.

  6. Excellent trip report. Sounds like a blast! Glad you had fun (except for the gambling). Loved the detail. Sorry you didn't enjoy RM. I've been there a number of times and have enjoyed it very much. I was hoping to get your take on Il Mulino once you mentioned you went after the wedding. This is another terrific restaurant and very much underrated in terms of vegas cuisine. Give it a try sometime, I'm sure you'll love it.

  7. Craps1, I liked the food at RM seafood but the service was terrible that night and of course it didn't help that they were already out of the 2 entrees at 7pm that I wanted to order.

    I would like to try Il Mulino at some point as it certainly did smell delicious.

    My husband and I just returned from a 4 night trip to Vegas and this won we hit 7 hand pays, so I'll be writing up a winning trip report soon for a change!

    Thanks for reading!

  8. Thanks, Momnkid Palmo! Yep, can't wait to write up my winning report. Hope to have it up on 9/4 or 9/5. :)

  9. Diana, it's so much fun and joy to read every trip report along with photos of yours. Look forward to read your winning report soon. Hope to meet you in early October.

  10. Hi Diana,

    Great to finally meet you in person and thanks for the "shout out". Hope to see you again in Vegas. Best of luck always.

    Thanks. David

  11. Thanks David, hope to see you again too. Good luck on your next trip!

  12. Oh !! wow!! Seems you had loads of fun!!