page contents
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, January 27, 2014

Las Vegas Winning Christmas Trip with my family and friends-part one at Palazzo

I've been visiting Las Vegas a lot the last few years, but never at Christmas time which has always been celebrated at my home, Mom's house or another family member's home. This year when Mom mentioned she would just as soon be in Vegas as at my house with potentially bad weather I was happy to oblige and plan our first Christmas trip to fantasy land. :) The plan was for me to fly in late Saturday night the 21st, Mom would arrive the next day and my husband and our son would join us on Christmas Eve the 24th.

The plan worked with the exception that bad weather backed up McCarran airport and delayed flights out of San Jose so that I arrived an hour late. Not a big delay but since I was meeting friends Trey and Linda that evening at Palazzo, I kept texting them with updates on my delay until I'm sure they wanted to say enough already, cease and desist!
Once I arrived at McCarran,  Lenny my limo driver was waiting at baggage claim for me. Lenny was a friendly driver, he's 76 years old and has been driving taxis and living in Vegas for 40 years so he has lots of stories! I was glad Lenny was interesting because my luggage was delayed too! Once we had my luggage Lenny drove me quickly to Palazzo and I was checked in at the VIP desk around 11pm.

I scurried to my room and just left my luggage so I could run down to the casino and meet up with Trey and Linda. It didn't take long to find my friends and soon we were enjoying champagne in the Platinum Lounge at Palazzo! I've know Linda and Trey a few years now thanks to the Slot Machine and Slot Fanatics message boards.  They are always fun to be with and Trey writes up great live trip reports on SF.
After drinks at the Platinum lounge we started playing slots and drinking at Palazzo. Normally I don't order the complimentary drinks at Venetian and Palazzo because I usually don't like them, with the exception of their Bailey's and coffee with whip cream. This trip Trey told me that V&P makes a great spicy Bloody Mary and will bring extra olives on request. Who knew? Not me!  I can be a fast learner when there's a drink involved and soon I was also enjoying what was a great spicy Bloody Mary. I discovered one needs to be careful about ordering extra olives as some servers will being you a extra glass full of them and even I don't need that many olives, LOL!

I had fun playing slots with Trey and Linda, though I had a slow start until I hit the above bonus on Super Monopoly Money. While over $400 looks great for a win on a $3.50 bet it wasn't that great since the game kept having re-triggers and I had over 100 free spins and was envisioning at least a win of $900 or more. I recorded a video of it but it's too large to post on youtube as the bonus was 18 minutes long!
At the end of my long bonus my Grazie host found me (it can be hard to locate me because I'm on the move so much from slot to slot so he was amazed I was still on the same slot as his computer claimed) and let me know that Mom and I didn't have comped tickets to the new show Panda because the show was delayed due to some of the performers having Visa issues. B offered me other comp tickets but Mom and I had seen those shows so I decided to pay (ouch) for tickets and we would go see Terry Fator's Country Christmas show instead.

I played a few more slots with Trey and Linda but they decided to retire for the night as they would be checking out of Palazzo in the morning and into Wynn next door, so I walked over to Venetian. I had some luck on the new Phantom of the Opera slot! Here's a video of that bonus:

Also had a bit of luck on Hangover and the $5 Cheeseburger slot at Venetian.
I can't seem to walk by the $1 Sun and Moon slot in the Venetian HL room and frequently get a bonus on it, but so far the bonuses have been disappointing.
$1 Quick Hits was calling my name as I walked by and I had a decent hit on it though usually it's the Quick Hits in the Palazzo high limit room that I have my most luck with. When I have luck that is, which this year hasn't been very often.

I was staying even with my gambling for the most part but my luck started to go south and I left to play the penny slots. One of the few wins I had was on the Footloose slot, most of my play was losses so when I went to bed I was down a few dollars.
Good morning Las Vegas! The usual view from my Palazzo suite of Treasure Island and Mirage!
The weather was fabulous during all the days of this trip so I didn't need the hot cider these cute elves were offering as I left Palazzo.
I was meeting my friends Laura and Yon who were picking me up for Sunday Brunch at MOzen Bistro! I only waited about 4 minutes outside admiring the strip before Laura and Yon drove up to whisk me away.
I've reviewed MOzen back in September when my husband and I ate there.
It hasn't changed but if you didn't read that review and view the photos, here's new ones!
As I said in previous review the unlimited Veuve Clicquot champagne is a deal at MOzen for $35.00 a person! Most places like the Jazz Brunch at Wynn's Country Club restaurant charge $50 or more per person.
I have a lot of photos of the different buffet stations in my September review. If you want to see more go here:
Photos of our plates of food. I enjoyed everything, it was fresh and delicious!
Either Laura or Yon had this dish so I'm not sure what it was. I'm guessing some sort of soup?
Laura and I are in our happy place!
We each ordered one entree made to order. Yon really enjoyed his Black Angus Strip with Trumpet mushrooms, garlic and miso mustard sauce.
Laura and I both ordered the pan seared Diver Sea Scallops with artichoke, black olives, in a tomato broth.
Laura and Yon at the dessert station. They both have a lot to be thankful for this year as Yon suffered a stroke that almost killed him earlier this year and has made a great recovery.
It was hard to pick a favorite dessert they are all great. I gave the edge to the petite chocolate mousse.
Notice the festive rain deer on top of the counter that is the meat and soup station.
Laura and Yon are always so helpful they insisted on picking up my Mother at the airport. We had a few minutes before her fight was due in so before we walked back to the car parked in Aria's self-park we tried out Avatar for the first time. Both Yon and I got a bonus on Avatar but I can't locate the photos I thought I had taken so I'll just put in a photo of a Willy Wonka win that my Mom had during the trip. LOL!
Mom's flight actually arrived a few minutes early plus we didn't have to wait long for her luggage so we were back at Palazzo very quickly where both Laura and Yon also checked in at the same time as Mom. Palazzo was very good about giving Mom and I connecting rooms as they did back in August when we were celebrating Mom's 80th birthday.
After Mom unpacked we had fun with the slots. I was actually staying even which made it even better.
Not a bad bonus on $1 Jungle Wild for a $5 bet. Earlier in the year they had removed the $1 Jungle Wild slot so I was happy to see it back on the floor, well happy until I hit the next bonus below which was terrible. Naughty slot, had to give it a bit of a bitch slap!
Mom was doing okay on the slots but not as lucky as back in August. I gave $1 Quick Hits a few spins and hit a bonus of $183.00 on it which is not really good when betting $15 a push.
We were having an early dinner with Laura and Yon since Mom was still on east coast time, but there was time to hit a bonus on the Wizard of Oz for $183.50!
The offer that Laura and I had come in on included a prix fix dinner at Pinot Brasserie so we ate a  dinner there on Sunday evening. This was the first time any of us had eaten at Pinot Brasserie. The offer was a prix fix menu with several choices for each course.  Mom and I ordered the Caesar salad for a starter. It was a tasty bundle of romaine wrapped with some prosciutto and a parmesan bread stick!
 Laura's said her French onion soup was delicious with lots of lovely cheese.
 Mom enjoyed her scallops. I skipped scallops for once since I had them earlier for brunch.
 While it resembles salmon, Yon had the Scottish trout which is he said was just okay.
 I had the Jidori chicken prepared two ways, it was fine but more like something I could make at home.
The Bread Pudding was good but I'm not a big fan of bread pudding.
Pinot Brasserie had good service, prices were reasonable for a Vegas strip restaurant and the food was fine. However it I was paying for my dinner and didn't have a comp for that particular restaurant I would pick someplace else on the property, as there are other restaurants with the same pricing I like better.
After dinner Mom was tired and after looking at decorations around Venetian and Palazzo and playing a few more slots she left the casino for her room. I continued to play and had some minor luck for a bit with Outback Jack!
Here's a video of 3 of those bonuses if you like this slot:

After Outback Jack I found myself pulled to the Palazzo HL room to play $1 Quick Hits. I was really happy when after a few spins I hit for $530.00!
I did a hit and run and ran to the $1 Jungle Wild outside of the HL room and had a bonus for $152.00.
Decided I was on a lucky streak and went back to $1 Quick Hits where I had a bonus for $249.00. Gave Quick Hits a few more spins and decided to take my winnings back to the penny slots.
Playing Treasures of Troy paid off with a win of $305.00! I had a ticket of over $700.00! I was happy but the next few slots like Super Monopoly started to take my winnings, bah humbug!
I looked around for slots I don't normally play and decided to try Crown Jewels. I had a fun bonus for $299.25 and then went oops, I forgot to record it for youtube!
My TITO was now over $900.00 so happy days are here again!  I tried a WMS progressive game and even though I hit a bonus with a lot of spins it only paid around $99.00 but the winning was continuing!
It's getting late but I was having so much fun I continued to play. I started to lose again on numerous slots so once again I returned to slots I don't normally play and since I wanted to slot my losses down I switched from max bet to $1.20. That's when I hit this win on Raging Rhinos which helped a lot. Though the bad bonus after that one brought me back to reality. Here's a video of both the big win bonus and the one where a bonus guarantee kicked in!

After Raging Rhinos I noticed my favorite Twilight Zone slot was finally free to play. The streak was back on with I hit my best win so far on Twilight Zone for $496.00!  This win involved the angel flying around giving me wilds and then for the first time when the clock kicked off it landed on X10 for a big win!
I had a few more wins on slots like Ferris Bueller but I was starting to stay too late at the party and by the time I hit the $250.00 win on $5 Wheel of Fortune my TITO was back down to around $700.00 and I decided it was time to go to sleep a winner!
Next morning I woke up happy to be ahead for the trip.  Mom and I had brunch at Grand Lux on Monday. I ordered the Sonoma Chicken Salad and Mom had the chopped Manhattan salad with chicken and shrimp.
After brunch we went over to Wynn to see Trey and Linda and also meet up briefly with my host Edward.
We had to take some photo ops in front of the lovely floral Wynn Carousel. Trey and Linda had just come in from enjoying the Wynn Pools.  Had a lovely chat with them but this was the last time I would see them this trip though I'm looking forward to more fun times with them in April!
At the high limit room at Wynn, save me! LOL! After a chat with my Wynn host Edward who always has time for me even when I'm not a guest at Wynn, Mom and I left Wynn to gamble at Venetian.
Mom and I had fun on the penny slots. She was having a lot of bonuses on the Foot Loose Slot, while I tried out the new Wyland slot. If you haven't play it, here's a video of a couple of my bonuses on it.

After we had fun at Venetian we headed back to Palazzo where Mom went off to play the 5 cent Willy Wonka and also some penny slots. I briefly played some penny slots like Wizard of Oz over by the table games and I was recording a video when a suit came by and asked me to stop. Not liking a confrontation (there's a story here when my New Year's Eve trip report is finished)  I  quit recording during the rest of my stay at Palazzo/Venetian. I decided to return at this point to the Palazzo HL room to play my beloved $1 Quick Hits.
Yes, I said beloved Quick Hits!. I couldn't say that earlier this year, but Quick Hits gave me a lovely holiday gift or three! I started out with a bonus for $795.00 and was very happy with it.
Another bonus followed for $227.00 and I'm still happy!
A few spins later and I'm thrilled as I hit 7 Quick Hits for a hand pay of $1500.00! I didn't get the progressive of $2,256.00 because I was betting $15 a push instead of the max which is $45.
I continue to play hitting another 5 quick hits and a bonus after that but all good things come to a end and QH quit paying and it was time to move on.
As I getting ready to walk out of the Palazzo HL room I notice that on the side of the two $1 Quick Hits I play each trip there's a new $1 Quick Hits that has been installed. I can't resist trying it and 3 spins in I hit a great bonus for a hand pay of $3717.00!  I'm so happy and the slot attendants are thrilled too because of course I always tip them. Sadly though I didn't get a video of this bonus due to earlier getting scolded by the suit and the fact that in the high limit room there are always employees standing around though frequently in the past they have ignored my recording of slot bonuses.
After that great bonus I played a bit more but except for the 5 quick hits below my slot grew cold and it was time to escape with my winnings!
I picked up Mom at the penny slot she was playing and told her the happy news. I also mentioned to her that if this was one of my solo trips I would be tempted to take my money and fly home the next day just so I could have one winning trip for 2013!
It was now 5pm and time for us to be walking over to Venetian for our early dinner at Tao so we would have time to walk to Mirage for the Terry Fator show. Lots of Winter in Venice characters were out and about on our walk.

Once seated at Tao it was a given what we would order. I had to celebrate with my favorite drink the Phuket! This is the original Phuket not the one currently on their drink menu. If you like a spicy drink ask them for the original which is muddled cucumbers with thai chilies!
Of course we had our favorite Miso Glazed Sea Bass with Wok Vegetables!
We also had some tempura vegetables as a starter. Asparagus, onion rings and garlic green beans.
Fortune smiles on the lucky diners who order the Giant Fortune Cookie!
After dinner at Tao, Mom and I walked over to Mirage and Venetian's Winter in Venice was in full swing with lots of characters outside entertaining.
It was a easy walk to Mirage and once inside we admired their pretty holiday display of snowman and trees set up in their main walkway.
We went directly to the Terry Fator Theatre where the pre-show was already going on.
Mom and I loved Terry's Fator's Country Christmas show and if he does it again next year and you're there it's worth seeing in my opinion.
I always appreciate that Terry lets his audience take photos and short videos of his acts. Here's a short video of part of the show!

The act where Terry brings up a guy from the audience was the only part of the Country Christmas show that I recognized from his regular show.
I'm glad he has it in each show because it's so funny and since it's a different person each time performing with him there's always something different and hilarious about this act.
Walking back to Venetian we came across one of the acts that performs before the main Winter in Venice show.
Once back in the casino Mom and I had fun on the penny slots like the Wizard of Oz Haunted Forrest and the penny Willy Wonka slot.
Once Mom got tired and went back to her room I headed back to the Palazzo high limit room for, what else, $1 Quick Hits.
I decided to play the $1 Quick Hits which is on the left when facing the 2 slots. Normally I only play the one on the right which earlier I had the $1500.00 hand pay on. I was happy that it started out immediately giving me some wins.
I was really happy to hit the 6 Quick Hits for $750.00 but almost went into shock when very soon after that hit I had another 7 Quick Hits for another $1500.00 hand pay!
What a day, I've been long over due for some luck and I'm thrilled.  Of course I decided then to visit the Venetian High Limit room where unfortunately my luck didn't continue with the exception of a bonus on $1 Sun and Moon.
I decided to play a few penny slots before going to bed but with the exception of a couple decent wins on Phantom of the Opera nothing of note.
Today we move to THEHotel at Mandalay Bay and my husband Randy and son Matt will join us. I'm still floating on air from my wins the previous day and actually wishing I didn't have 3 more days in Vegas because I wanted to take my winnings and run!

Before our move it was time for lunch at Palazzo's new restaurant Buddy V's owned by cake boss Buddy Valastro. This restaurant is in the former location of First Food Bar which of course closed down earlier in the year. On the way to the restaurant Mom and I stopped to view the gondolas.
Our group for lunch besides Mom and I, were Yon, Laura, Lori (Jackpot Mistress on Slot Fanatics) and her husband Mark!
I can't remember who ordered this salad or which one it was but it looks good!
My Mom had the Caesar salad with shrimp. It was good but then hard to mess this up if it's fresh.
I had the pan seared salmon with tuscan kale, roasted tomatoes, peppers with a apple cider and balsamic dressing. I would order this entree again it was excellent.
I think Yon ordered the Calamari Fritti that has a tomato-aioli sauce. He seemed to enjoy it, I'm not a fan of Calamari so I didn't try it.
Spaghetti with meatballs, yum!
Buddy's Favorite Pizza which has spiced sausage, caramelized onions, fennel with 4 cheeses!
Time for the truth. I don't go to Buddy V's for the Italian home cooking, I go for the desserts!
The Cake Boss dessert menu!
Lori ordered the cannoli's and they look great and I heard tasted the same!
Mom and I shared the Buddy's XL lobster tail! OMG, not to be missed!
Laura ordered the Italian Birthday Cake!
The inside of the Italian Birthday Cake so you can see the delicious layers!
While we didn't order every dessert off the menu, I'm sure there's isn't a loser in the brunch. I plan to return to Buddy V's and try it for dinner in February. As much as we enjoyed our lunch and the great company we ate with, the service could be improved at Buddy V's. Our server was friendly but needs improvement.
Mom and I at Buddy V's in our comfy booth.
View of the strip from our table at Buddy V's.
After lunch we said goodbye to Mark and took Lori to see Venetian's gold room. Unfortunately we couldn't stay long and chat because Laura, Yon, Mom and I were checking out of Palazzo. Continued at link below, three nights at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay!


  1. Omg. You have the most amazing trip reports, and I always learn something new. I may be in Vegas for 2 days in March so i plan to visit Mozen Bistro for the 1st time, it looks so good! Thanks for the first part of the report, it's really great!

  2. I'm happy you enjoyed reading it. Good luck on your trip in March, it's a given you will have a great time!

    I haven't eaten at MOzen for any meal but the Sunday Brunch but that's great so I'm thinking their regular menus are good too. These days I'm starting to prefer the MOzen brunch over the Jazz Brunch at Wynn's Country Club and the Fountain Brunch at Bellagio's Jasmine restaurant.

  3. Great trip report as usual :) crammed with useful info, great photos and oh my god...those desserts look to die for! thank you Diana

  4. I just figured out how to join this. So excited bc I love reading your adventures on Slot Fanatics and now I can follow you here. Thanks for sharing such great trip reports!

    1. Hi Kimber, glad you figured out how to join. :) Hope to see you in Vegas on a future trip. Good luck in 2014!