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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.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Restaurant week in Vegas March 2013

This was a quick two night trip to Las Vegas to see my friends Terri and Claire and go to a couple restaurants during Three Square restaurant week. Flew out on Sunday March 10th at San Jose airport after first having breakfast at the airport at Ruby Tuesday.
Flight was uneventful and while waiting for luggage I ran into Claire waiting for hers. Don't try to spot Claire in the photo above she managed to escape my camera. :)  After jumping up and down in glee at being back in Vegas, oh alright, after a sedate chat, we parted ways after getting our luggage as Claire was checking in at Cosmopolitan and I was using a Myvegas reward for 2 complimentary nights in one of their one bedroom tower suites.
When I arrived at Mirage there was a very long check in line, but I patiently waited my turn to find out they were completely full due to a convention. Since I had arrived around 11am I was going to have to wait for the suite to be made ready, though the nice man at the registration desk promised me he was putting a rush on it. So I checked my luggage and went off to find some luck which so far during 2013 has been doing a great job of eluding me.
One of my friends Brian T was texting me to play Clue while I waited for my suite so being the low maintenance friend (LOL) that I am, I obliged.
Playing Clue at Mirage was a good suggestion, thanks Brian, as it was active with some bonuses and wilds which was a nice surprise.

At this point I'm briefly up for the trip and could have gone home a winner if I had stopped gambling.
Of course I had to continue to press my luck and for me nothing is more fun then Clue when the bonuses and wilds are hitting.
All good slots, at least the ones that I play always dry up too quickly and soon I had to leave Clue. Perhaps I shouldn't have left Clue because I ended up playing and losing on the new Kiss slot, Lord of the Rings and Aladdin. Of course people to either side of me were winning on these slots!
Deciding that the penny video slots had turned on me I sought out $1 Top Dollar and found a bank of 8 Top Dollars at Mirage that were also a progressive.
My luck started returning playing Top Dollar and I had quite a few medium size bonuses.

Top Dollar eventually went cold and I went off in search of my nemesis the penny video slots. 
I was happy to see they had one of my favorites, the original Goldfish at Mirage and really happy when for once I picked correctly and got Award All on the bonus that I usually call sucky fish!
Goldfish was briefly hot for me and I also got the redfish bonus or as I call them kissy fishes!
Unfortunately Goldfish dried up for me after I screwed up a Fish Can Bonus with some lousy picks. Good thing I had 4 Fish Cans or the bonus would have been even lower.
After Gold Fish I found a few new slots that have become favorites of mine, Mummy, and Beverly Hillbillies but I gave away my winnings to them. Bye Bye winnings!
Fortunately I then had some brief luck on WMS Spinning Streak Bamboozled slot.
This run of luck on Bamboozled was lovely but the next day all I could do was lose on them.

After Bamboozled I had a lot of ups and downs before my suite was ready which despite the promise of a rush on it I wasn't able to get until almost 4pm! The wait ended up being worth it as it was a fabulous suite!  For a description of the suite with video and photos go to the below link.

My suite had a fabulous view of the Mirage Volcano and part of the strip. Unfortunately the great view of the strip and Mirage volcano was marred by the advertising strip that Mirage has plastered across their building's top floors.
After unpacking and admiring my suite I went down to the casino floor to wait for Terri and Claire. I was down several hundred dollars when I met up with Terri and Claire for dinner. After I gave them a tour of my suite, Terri drove us to Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crabs. While we could have ordered from the regular menu I was there for the Three Square's Restaurant Week menu where participating restaurants not only have a pre fixe menu at a lower cost then their normal prices but some of the money from the dinner goes to the charity to feed the homeless. Here's a link to their site:
Above was the menu choices for the Pre Fixe dinner. Some restaurants also do breakfast and lunch pre fixe menus for restaurant week.
Joe's Seafood had a nice selection of some of my favorite breads. Cracker bread with parmesan cheese, pretzel, onion and more.
I had the mixed green salad which was nice and light.
Of course I had to order the Chilean Sea Bass which was delicious and almost as good as my favorite entree at Tao!
Claire ordered off the regular menu and said her herb roasted chicken was great.
Claire also ordered sweet potato fries of which I ate more then I should.
I also liked the broccolini with garlic butter.
I didn't eat any of the Jennie's mashed potatoes but Terri liked them. From the photo I want to say it had some sort of cheese crumb crust.
It was time for my favorite part of any meal, dessert!  Above is our server and she was very friendly and efficient.
Terri and I both had the peppermint ice cream with hot fudge. We also had whip cream added to ours and enjoyed it a lot!
I'm not sure what Claire's dessert was called on the menu but it was vanilla ice cream with a hard chocolate shell and some nuts.
After dinner the three of us briefly walked around the shops at Caesar's Forum but ended up only going into one shop and not staying very long.
After the forum shops Terri at my request dropped me off at Palazzo before returning Claire to Cosmopolitan. Even though it had only been 2 weeks since I was in Vegas for Jeff's birthday there were several new slots at Palazzo. I quickly found the Beach Boys slot and while it was fun I very quickly lost on it, though I did get one bonus out of it.
I tried to win the penny Wheel of Fortune progressive and failed. It did give me one spin however.
The Chinese New Year decorations were gone and spring had arrived at the Palazzo Waterfall area.
My favorite Lord of the Rings slot at Palazzo was fairly indifferent to me, though it gave me one nice hit.
I was excited to discover the new WMS Rapunzel slot and I did have one good hit on it but never could get the bonus on it and soon lost quite a bit trying. The slot plays a lot like Alice in Wonderland so I'm suspecting the bonuses are similar.

Of course I had to try my favorite $1 DaVinci Diamond slot at Venetian and while it gave me a couple hits on it, I still lost.

I did have a lot of fun playing slots that evening at Palazzo and Venetian but lost a few hundred before walking back over to Mirage around 11pm.
During my walk back I was just in time to catch the last Volcano show of the evening. After all these years of going to Vegas this was the first time I had stopped to see this show!
Once inside Mirage I gave Kiss another try as earlier I saw a woman win quite a bit of money on this slot.
I did get a bit of play on it but no big wins for me. I do feel Kiss has potential though after seeing the other woman get some big hits.
Lord of the Rings at Mirage gave me one bonus before taking back my win and more.
I've played Shadow of the Panther on Facebook for free and was thrilled when I got the bonus imagining the big win I would get. What I got was a ZERO bonus! Yep, this was the beginning of a streak of losses after which I went back to my suite pouting all the way.
I had a cobb salad for a late night snack before eventually going to sleep. Room service at Mirage was quick and the salad was good.
After waking up late the next morning it was time to go meet Claire and Chris for lunch at Delmonico so I walked over to Venetian.
The gondola rides were already busy. I have yet to be on one of those gondola's, perhaps someday. ;)
Second story view of the Palazzo waterfall atrium as I trek to the casino.
I had time before lunch to briefly play Hangover and get one bonus. I've picked worse!
I had a great lunch with Claire and Chris as they are both always interesting to talk too and there's never a boring moment!

All of us ordered from the pre fixe lunch for restaurant week at Delmonico's and had the ricotta cheese grilled sandwich with tomato soup for our appetizer. It was large enough to be the meal, on their regular menu this is a entree but with both halves of the sandwich and it's delicious.
Claire had their hamburger which was huge and she could only manage to eat a small portion of it even though it was good.
I had the chicken cobb salad and I think Chris did too. I've had this before and it's always tasty.
All of us had Emeril's famous banana creme pie which is delicious and one of my favorite desserts but we were full and couldn't do justice to the huge pieces we were served. It was around this time I forgot to ask our server to take a photo of the three of us, darn it!
I said goodbye to Chris for this trip but it won't be long before I see her again around April 10th for the Slot Fanatic's annual Meet in Las Vegas!

After lunch Claire and I had plans to see the Andy Warhol exhibit with Terri but first we split up so I could gamble a bit.
I found the new Judge Judy slot and while not a fan of Judge Judy I gave it a try.
I hit a bonus fairly quickly but found it boring.
I was lucky enough to pick the right selection and be a winner each screen but as you can see the pay outs were low.

The final win of the bonus was $17.20 on a $2.00 bet.  It was okay, but I don't think I'll be playing Judge Judy anymore mainly because the theme wasn't that fun for me.
I went over to the $1 slots and played 5 line Jungle Wild and was lucky enough to hit the bonus and win $235.00.
After Jungle Wild the slots at Palazzo went cold on me so I walked over to Venetian to what has become a favorite,  the Beverly Hillbillies slot.
I was disappointed when I picked the London bonus and then the lower paying symbol of the hat for the free spins. But amazingly enough got all the hats and hit the Silver Progressive! If I had picked a higher paying symbol in the beginning I would have had a chance to win the Gold Progressive.
After Beverly Hillbillies I tried Top Gun, Hangover and Wizard of Oz but lost all my winnings from Beverly Hillbillies and Jungle Wild on them.
Slinking back to Palazzo I decided to low roll on a G+Deluxe wicked Beauty slot because I liked the blue kitty graphic. I was rewarded with a bonus that paid $101.25 because during it I almost got a full screen of those kitties.
I low rolled Neptune's Quest and had a very brief run of luck on it.
When I spotted Fiesta Chihuahua at Palazzo I was excited thinking it might have a bonus similar to Kitty Glitter but it didn't. While better then my zero bonus of the previous evening I wasn't impressed.
Fortunately Terri arrived as I entered another losing streak and she drove us all to Bellagio.
Before going to see the Warhol Exhibit we had to check out the Bellagio Conservatory Spring Display.
The Flowers were so fragrant and to make it even more perfect we arrived just in time to hear the guitar player.
I thought he was pretty good and enjoyed listening to him while admiring the dancing waters.
Claire and Terri cleverly avoided the camera but I'm always happy to pose for a photo. :)

After the Bellagio Conservatory, Claire, Terri and I went to the Warhol exhibit. While they won't let anyone take photos of the exhibit the conservatory had this flower arrangement celebrating it.
I enjoyed the Warhol Exhibit especially since we all had free admission due to our M-Life status. It doesn't take that long to go through it so if you are interested in Warhol think about seeing it.
Before leaving Bellagio I had to try the $1 Top Dollar in the High Limit room that I've had some luck on in the past. Oops, forgot that my luck is stuck back in 2012!
While I had a couple decent hits on it, I still ended up losing about $100 on it.
Terri then drove us to Mandalay Bay because even though it was part of restaurant week we had decided to try out the new restaurant Citizen's Bar and Grill. Above is Claire's Trendsetting cocktail which had Grey Goose Vodka, Cranberry and Champagne! For some reason I wasn't in the mood to drink so just had ice tea.
Terri ordered the chicken club with bacon, lettuce and tomato and it came with waffle fries. I would say her sandwich was the best of anything we ordered. The waffle fries were also good.
I ordered a shrimp cocktail which was just okay.
Both Claire and I had the chicken noodle soup which came with ritz crackers with butter between them. I was very disappointed in the chicken soup, it really didn't taste homemade to me. If it was homemade I hope they find a new recipe soon!
Claire ordered the 7 layer chocolate cake for 2 with vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was fine the cake was not good. It tasted like it had been frozen. Frankly I've had better frozen Sara Lee Chocolate cakes then what they served us.

I was very disappointed in Citizens Bar and Grill which replaced the previous Red, White and Blue restaurant at Mandalay Bay. For the prices they are charging for a upscale coffee shop the food wasn't worth it, in my opinion, though admittedly there were a lot of things on the menu that I didn't taste. But I figure if you can't make a good chicken noodle soup or chocolate cake, how great can the rest of the menu be?
Before we left Mandalay Bay we gambled a bit. I mainly lost with the exception that I finally got to solve the Clue Mystery and win the progressive for that! This was the first time solving the puzzle for me so I left Mandalay Bay fairly happy.
Terri let me off at my request back at Palazzo and took Claire back to Cosmopolitan. I wouldn't see either of them again this trip but I knew it would be only a short 3 weeks until I at least got to see Terri again.
It was during dinner that I found out from Terri and Claire how unobservant I can be since I didn't notice despite signs all over that a lot of the slots at Palazzo now had the feature of ordering drinks from the slot machine. So of course I had to go back to Palazzo and order drinks from a couple slots. Unfortunately I lost at the slots during this experimentation but I had fun with Drinks2U. Click on the link below for photos and a description of ordering drinks at your slot.

After losing at Palazzo I walked back to Mirage.
Back at Mirage I decided to play Clue and lucky me it was active with bonuses and wilds for about a hour!
All good slots I guess must come to a end and Clue eventually went cold on me and even though I tried Goldfish, Mummy, Kiss, Top Dollar and numerous other slots nothing was hitting so I went back to my lovely suite to pout.
Back at the suite I watched the Mirage Volcano show which would have been a lot cooler without the advertising banner in the way. It wasn't that late so I had some chicken fingers for a snack and discovered that I should have ordered the cobb salad again as they were terrible. More breading then chicken so I suggest staying away from that on Mirage's room service menu.
Next morning I had a early flight out so I tried to check out using the Mirage TV system but for whatever reason it wasn't cooperating. Fortunately they let you check out by phone as you want to avoid going downstairs as their registration lines at Mirage always seem long.

I ended up having breakfast at Sammy Hager's Beach Bar and Grill restaurant at the airport before catching my flight which was not to return home, but to L.A. to meet up for a couple days with my friends Gwen and Liz. My flight to LA was quick and smooth and Gwen was waiting for me at the airport. I had a great time with them showing me around Santa Monica before heading back to San Jose.
I've been such a slacker finishing up this trip report that it's time for the next trip to Las Vegas which is for the annual meet of the Slot Fanatics Forum!  I arrive Monday April 8th and will be staying until Friday.  In addition to the organized Meet on Thursday, I'll also be doing a tour of WMS studios again, a tea at Bellagio, the 2nd meeting of the ECC (exotic cocktail club) at Cosmopolitan, a trip downtown to a new place for me (surprise!),  and I have plans to see Human Nature at Palazzo. Most of all though I'm looking forward to meeting up again with so many friends that I have had fun with on past trips!


  1. Always enjoy your trip reports.
    Leaving again tomorrow? Lucky girl!
    I'm thinking of Vegas in Mid June, if you and/or any of the others are in town, I'll meet up for a drink or two.
    Have yourself a winning and joyful trip!

  2. There are a few bonuses that you video taped where you have a gun and knock people over in the clue bonus, what room do you have to pick for that one? I have played Clue a few times and can never seem to find that bonus?

  3. D-Thanks for a great report!-and,as usual,wonderful pics!!!!
    Sounded like you had a good trip-meeting friends,eating,a few drinks,and many slots!!!-my sort of trip!!!
    Hope to see you soon in Vegas my friend!!! Have another great trip tomorrow!!! Be Lucky!!! Chriss.

  4. Thanks for another great report! The "sucky fish bonus", haha...I still enjoy the original Gold Fish too, but I always seem to pick the wrong bubble on that bonus. Thanks for mentioning the Warhol exhibit, I'll have to check that out when we go in a couple weeks. I still have to try the banana cream pie too! Hope you enjoy Human Nature. We really liked the show. Have fun and good luck on your trip.

  5. Susan, I'm very sorry but I'll miss you in mid-June. Have a great trip!

    Anon, I don't recall a Clue bonus where it knocks over someone with a gun unless it's the Ballroom bonus when the dancers fall down or the Conservatory bonus when one of the musicians has a extra amount and they topple over. Sorry I can't be of more help.

    Thanks Chriss, it would be great to see you again in Vegas. :)

    Thanks Shorelinepaws, and good luck on your trip later this month!

  6. I was referring to where you pick one and they either have credits or more free spins..

  7. That bonus is the Conservatory Bonus. :)

  8. Hi,

    I've long enjoyed your trip reports. You mentioned that you received free admission to the Warhol Exhibit due to your Mlife status. What tiers provide free admission? Also, is the admission free for only the cardholder or is it good for the cardholder and a guest? Thanks!

  9. Platinum and NOIR qualify for free tickets to Warhol, Shark Reef and Mirage Secret Garden. At least that's the way it worked last year and so far this year. How many tickets you get depends on your level. For NOIR it was 2 free tickets for Warhol, not sure if it's the same for Platinum.

  10. Nice report! I hope you're having a great time in Vegas. Win HUGE!!!