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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, December 26, 2015

Cosmo, Aria and Palazzo Oh My! Thanksgiving week of 2015!

I left San Jose airport late afternoon on Saturday the 21st for Thanksgiving with the family and some friends in Las Vegas. Why so early? Mom was flying in on the 22nd from Ft. Lauderdale on an early morning flight that would arrive at 9am and I wanted to be on hand to meet her, plus I had some friends that were leaving on Sunday that I wanted to meet up with.
I was meeting friends about a hour after my arrival for drinks and dinner and it worked out well since my flight was on time and luggage didn't take long to get, so I was in a taxi and on my way to Cosmopolitan quickly with luggage in the room by 6pm.
I didn't request a fountain view room but received one anyway on the 48th floor. Was surprised to get this view on a Saturday night but perhaps it was because I was only staying the one night at Cosmopolitan. As I entered the room the Bellagio fountains were playing!
Here's some photos of the one bedroom terrace:
As I was moving the next day to Aria I didn't unpack, instead I quickly left the room as I was meeting friends for a drink before dinner.
On my way to the Talon Club I ran into Alicia (Lady Clare) who was also staying at Cosmo that evening. Really happy coincidence to run into Alicia as I didn't know she was in Vegas!
After a short chat with Alicia I rushed off to the Talon Club to join VMB'ers for drinks before dinner. That's Vegaschic on the left, her friend Caroline, BeeeJay, Angie, Leslie Chow and me! I had met Vegaschic, Angie and Leslie Chow this past August but I had missed meeting Caroline that trip so was very happy to meet her.

Beeejay and I have known each other online for many years now and on so many Vegas/gambling/message boards, but have always missed meeting up in person, sometimes by just 5 minutes! It was great to finally meet him in person as he's every bit as nice and fun in real life as on the message boards. Both Vegaschic and BeeeJay write up great live trip reports on vegasmessageboard when they are in Vegas so if you love Vegas trip reports and haven't been reading theirs you are missing out!
Thanks to Vegaschic for organizing our get together and Leslie Chow and his Cosmo host, we had a hard to get reservation that evening at Scarpetta!
We started out with lots of appetizers to share. Oysters of course.
Lardo Wrapped Prawns with Rosemary Lentils & Chili Oil!
Creamy Polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms!
Mediterranean Octopus with smoked potato crema, and baby tomatoes.
I think this was the Pici with lobster tarragon, almond & chili pesto but there's a good chance I'm wrong. I was having way to much fun to pay much attention to the food others were eating.
Actually I was having such a great time I didn't even pay attention to what I was eating. I'm about 80 percent sure this is the Fennel Dusted Black Cod that I ate. LOL!
I think this is the Veal Chop with the semolina gnocchi and baby carrots.
Spiced Rubbed NY Steak with potato pave, spinach and mushrooms.
Beeejay enjoying what I believe was the bone-in Rib Eye and I think one of the specials that evening!
Our table shared two delicious desserts, the one below is the Mascarpone Cheesecake with peaches, blueberries, white chocolate & greek yogurt sorbet.
Leslie Chow had arranged for them to bring over the wonderful salted caramel Bundino dessert from D.O.C.G. 
After dinner it was time for a High Limit group pull! Beeejay was on a big winning streak on Video Poker and table games at Wynn where he was staying so his nickname this trip was Lucky Sack, LOL! Vegaschic, Leslie Chow, Beeejay and I each put $500 into the pull and Lucky Sack lived up to his nickname when he got a handpay on the first slot we tried, RedHot 7s Respin!
After that win we went over to $50 Top Dollar and hit the bonus first spin!
I captured some of the fun in this video!

We tried some Video Poker, Quick Hit, Cleopatra II and Diamond Queen but while we had a blast we lost on those slots. Final results was fun 1000 percent, each of us got our original $500 back with $100 extra so we were winners. Thanks Lucky Sack!

After our High Limit pull we went out to play penny slots at Cosmo. As I was playing Wonder 4 next to Vegaschic one of my readers of the blog recognized me. It was great to meet Tracy from Detroit!

After about a hour of slot play our group split up with Vegaschic, Angie, Caroline, BeeeJay and Leslie Chow returning to their hotels. 
All of a sudden I started to win at almost everything I played at Cosmo. It was like Beeejay passed his luck on to me!
I started winning on The Walking Dead again at Cosmo and while I didn't get a handpay on it this time, I had several great wins!
Hit a bonus on $5 pinball first spin and it ended up paying $495.00!
I hit on Pinball and ran to $5 Pink Diamonds and won $800.00! I was only playing one credit instead of the max which is three credits!
I had a great run on $1 Secrets of the Forrest until I was told to quit recording so I left the High Limit Room in a snit. Funny how they saw me openly recording during our HL live play but didn't stop me then. I assumed it was because Leslie Chow was with us and is a big player there that they didn't want  to upset. I used to be able to record at Cosmo without ever getting stopped but new management is living in the 20th century and hasn't joined the 21st yet so after years of no problems recording at Cosmo now I get stopped now and then. During G2E when I was playing there with Rex, one of the cocktail servers told me to stop. So there you go folks if you aren't getting your drinks quickly enough at Cosmopolitan it's because the servers are doing double duty and stopping people from recording their slot bonuses!
This is a link on  youtube to my live play on $1 Secrets of the Forrest.

I had some fun on the new 3d Dragon's Temple but I still can't get hit the main bonus on it!
The Fu babies briefly came out and played with me but I was getting tired and needed to get up early so I went to bed ahead about $2100.00
Next morning it was one of those beautiful perfect weather Las Vegas days!
Cosmopolitan registration area with there video columns.
I was up early at 7am to meet my Mom who was flying in from Ft. Lauderdale on an early morning flight.
That's Mom admiring my view.
Mom and I had a quick breakfast at Wicked Spoon Buffet using my buy one get one free perk for being gold with Identity. I usually like Wicked Spoon but have to agree with recent comments by others online that it's a bit off lately. Food was slow to come out and the selection wasn't as good as usual in my opinion. When we left there was a long line to get into Sunday Brunch and I was tempted to tell them it wasn't worth the wait!
After eating it was time for Mom and me to grab our luggage and a taxi and check in at Aria for the next two nights!
I was in a panoramic corner suite and Mom had a regular room but with a city view. I had access to the new Tower Suite VIP Lounge off the Aria registration area and they kind enough to let my Mom check in there and also have access to it during her stay since she was traveling with me.
There's a security guard at the entrance of the lounge so you have to show your room key to him to get admittance unless of course you are registering. There's also another door to the lounge off the casino that you can open up with your room key.
The lounge is large and has some snacks like pastries, fruit and candy. They had only been open for two weeks previous to our stay so unless they have changed since then there was no happy hour with liquor. There are soft drinks, water and some fruit juice available.
The Aria Tower Lounge like most M-Life VIP lounges is only open until midnight.  Venetian and Palazzo still get kudos from me for having both their Gold and Platinum VIP lounges open 24 hours a day with both serving liquor, and having more food items.
VIP registration arranged for us to be on the same floor together but since I was in a corner suite I was still about a three minute walk or so away from Mom's room.  Once at our rooms both of us quickly unpacked and then headed down to the casino.
We played some slots together but poor Mom wasn't having any luck while I was having some nice wins.
I love this quarter Irving the Viking slot which is just outside the high limit room. It's on my bucket list to make it to the end of the journey on the bonus and hit a handpay. I did get a little further on my journey this time. If you want to see this cute bonus here's the link to it on youtube!

I had a long session and some nice hits on Triple Cash Wheel Quick Hit Slot Machine. Mom tried every machine in the bank that I wasn't on and couldn't win. Of course as soon as she left the one to the right of me a couple sat down and starting winning. Poor Mom! If you haven't played this game yet and want to see live play and bonuses on it the link is here:

Fortunately we found the original Hangover slot and Mom finally had a hot slot and she was able to have fun on it for several hours and even walk away a winner on it!
I think Aria is the last casino on the strip to have Ruby Slippers 2  which I love so I was happy to hit a bonus on it and enter the Emerald City!
Dinner tonight was at Jean Georges Steakhouse. It was Mom's first time there and my fourth. Mom and I both ordered from the Pre-Theatre menu. I was glad I knew about the pre-theatre menu because we weren't given it until I asked.
Bread basket is good with several types of bread, including pretzel and parmesan cracker.
Mom had the Autumn Fruits with Burrata Mozzarella which she liked as Mom loves fruit.
I had the Caesar Salad which was good, nothing really special about it.
Mom really liked her Slow Baked Salmon with truffle crumbs and parsnips.
I ordered us a side of asparagus too as my filet didn't come with a vegetable.
My eight ounce Filet Mignon was cooked perfectly.
I love all the sauces that come on the side with the steaks! The sauces are a Soy Miso Butter, Bernaise, a homemade steak sauce and a spicy sauce.
We both enjoyed the New York Style Cheesecake with Yuzu Gelee and Strawberry Sorbet. The Strawberry sorbet along with whip cream was in the pastry.
After dinner Mom and I played a few more slots but she soon went to bed as she was on east coast time and had been up since 3am to catch her early morning flight out to Vegas.
The new Wheel of Fortune Paradise Jackpot Slot gave me some play and bonuses. It was okay but I don't see this as becoming a favorite game for me.
I was happy to see that Aria still has the two Winning Bid 2 slot machines. I had some fun playing it on the nickel denomination. Sadly Aria has recently removed the Monopoly Bonus City slot that myself and a few friends love. For fans of Monopoly Bonus City you can still play it at Venetian.
I had a nice run and bonus on quarter Coyote Moon!
The boys from Sons of Anarchy just don't love me like Rick and the Zombies from The Walking Dead but they did give me a couple wins this trip.
Before I retired for the night I tried Irving the Viking again and had another bonus on it.
Next morning we had brunch at the Aria Buffet because Mom who wasn't on a comp like me had a deal with her room for 2 complimentary buffets.
Earlier this year I would have said that Cosmo's Wicked Spoon was better then Aria's buffet but this time Aria's buffet was a lot better then Wicked Spoon in my opinion!
Here's some photos of the various stations. Click to enlarge if needed.
I really liked the pumpkin pie!
As we left the buffet to return to the casino we walked past the new restaurant Carbone. I know some of my friends have tried and liked this restaurant but so far I haven't been tempted, for some reason the menu just doesn't appeal to my personal taste.
Mom and I played a few slots but neither one of us could win anything so we walked over to Monte Carlo to try our luck there.
Again Mom couldn't win much, though she had one nice hit on Fu Dao Le!
 I tried all the old slots at Monte Carlo but couldn't get a bonus on my favorites like Cheese Caper, Survivor and others, though I did hit on on Russian Treasures which didn't pay very well.
Mom and I left Monte Carlo where she decided to once again return to her favorite Hangover slot. I tried a bunch of slots but was just losing. As I wandered around looking for my next loser, I was recognized by Stacey from Charlotte, NC who is a fan of this blog! It was lovely to meet you Stacey and I hope if you are reading this you had a fabulous trip!
After saying goodbye to Stacey I found my Mom still at that Hangover slot and staying even. I left Mom to return to my room to get more money. My winnings from Cosmo were gone and I was now losing my some of my bankroll.
I was annoyed when I returned to the casino at the penny slots that I had lost on most of the day so I decided to play the $5 reel slots that I normally don't play before Mom and I went to dinner.
All of a sudden I'm winning again and even for the day!
I continue to have some nice hits and I'm starting to once again be ahead for the trip!
My winning streak like a magnet draws me inside the high limit room to my favorite Davinci Diamonds slot and I start getting some nice hits from it and then the bonus drops for a lot of re-triggers and a handpay! Once again I'm ahead for the trip about $2500.00 and in my happy zone! I have a video of my live play on Davinci with the bonus dropping and the big win. Here's the link if you want to watch it:
At least once a year or sometimes more I meet up with Tricia and Michael for dinner in Las Vegas and tonight they were joining Mom and me at Bardot!
My favorite drink that is no longer on the drink menu at Bardot is the Voltaire, which is orange vodka, ginger and apple cider with apple bitters. Even though it's off the menu our great bartender made Mom and I one minus the apple garnish it used to be served with and when Tricia and Michael joined us at the bar they ordered one too, in addition to a couple other people sitting at the bar who had heard me talking about the drink with our server.
So far I have eaten at Bardot three times and each time at this table near the glassed in kitchen!
The Bardot bread is of course a crusty loaf of French bread!
Salade Bardot is gem lettuce, red oak, herbes, radishes with dijon vinaigrette!
Michael ordered the Steak Tartare and said it was very good!
I had the beet salad with goat cheese which must be tasty as I order it each time as my appetizer!
Parisian Gnocchi with black trumpet mushrooms, celery root, goat cheese, and roasted garlic cream. Michael ordered and enjoyed this entree.
My favorite entree at Bardot is the cod with the peas and it's a delicious Bardot speciality! Tricia, Mom and I ordered this.
Of course we are going to order dessert! Usually I order the Chocolate Macaron which is a rich dessert large enough for two, but tonight I branched out!
The wonderful Creme Brûlée that Michael ordered!
Mom and I shared the Lemon Meringue Tart, loved it!
Tricia had a very special dessert. It was on her bucket list to try the 23 year old Pappy Van Wrinkle Bourbon and she was thrilled to discover that Bardot had three bottles of Pappy Van Wrinkle, including the rare limited 23 year old family reserved! They also had the 13 year old Family Reserve Rye and the 20 year old Family reserve so Tricia ordered the $300 flight tasting to compare because you only live once and apparently only do this tasting once too!
They did a beautiful presentation and explanation of the flight! I had a sip of the 23 year old and it was the smoothest Bourbon I have ever tasted!
After dinner we had to part ways as Mom and I had comped tickets to Blue Man Group for the 9:30pm show.
I first saw Blue Man Group years ago at Luxor, then at Venetian and a couple years ago at Monte Carlo, it has now come full circle for me and is back at Luxor.
This was Mom's first time to see the show and I wasn't sure if it would be to her taste or not, but she laughed and had a great time!
Our audience that night really didn't know how to handle the sheets of crepe paper at the end of the show, some got really tangled up in it more then I have ever seen before at the end of a show!
After Blue Man Group we didn't hang around Luxor but returned to Aria. Mom had her favorite Hangover slot waiting for her, LOL!
Ruby Slippers 2 was calling to me and I had a fun journey to Emerald City!
Unfortunately after my win on Ruby Slippers 2 I started losing on everything! Deciding to call it a night while I was still ahead I was back in my room around 1:30am.
Next morning we checked out of Aria and were on our way to Palazzo. I was happy because after three nights in Vegas I was still $1500.00 ahead, happy times!
Check in was quick as our connecting room numbers on the 43rd floor 900 section had been arranged well in advance. I was also able to take care of my son's room in advance even though he wouldn't arrive until tomorrow. Matt would be on the same floor, same section but a few doors down for us. Something that keeps me returning to Palazzo even though this year all I have done is lose in the Venetian and Palazzo casinos is the excellent service I always receive from the VIP registration desk and also my ex-host Barrett who now works in the Palazzo hotel department instead of casino.
After Mom and I unpacked we had brunch and I ordered my usual, the Sonoma salad while Mom went for a healthy egg white veggie omelet.
After brunch we went to the Venetian box office to pick up our tickets to Human Nature the Christmas show and admired the car below was on display nearby and was available to purchase with points at the Grazie Gift Show. I heard that one of the whales did use their points for the car.
After we ate it was time to play a few slots before my husband arrived.
A nice hit on the oldie but fun slot Top Gun!
The only bonus I would get this trip on dollar Sky Rider!
Above my best hit for the trip on dollar Quick Hit!
Between my wins such as they were in the Venetian High Limit room I was able to meet up with Dailun from VMB (vegasmessageboard).  Dailun is a really nice guy and it was fun to meet up and have a chat!
After I left the Venetian High Limit room it was time to meet my husband who had just arrived. When I took him to our room waiting for us was a basket of snacks and drinks that I assumed was from my host, though whoever delivered it forgotten the business card this time.
After my husband unpacked it was time to meet up with Mom and walk over for a early dinner at Tao!
Tao's latest menu:
Tao keeps changing the recipe of our two favorite drinks while keeping the names the same. That's confusing if you are expecting what you had before so I wish they would just give them new names when they completely revise the recipe.

 Randy and I both like spicy drinks so we asked for Jalapeño peppers to be added and our server told us she would have to charge us an extra $1 per drink for that as the kitchen charged the bar for the peppers of which I think we each had three peppers per drink. LOL, first time I have ever had a restaurant or bar do that when requesting adding hot peppers to a drink! I've eaten at Tao for many years now but during the last year or so have noticed some changes that are just tacky and this is one of them.
Randy's drink above is the Phuket which isn't as good in my opinion as the original recipe.
Randy had Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp Toast, he liked it a lot. I had a taste of the shrimp toast, very yummy!
All of us ordered our favorite, the Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass!
For appetizers we ordered Asparagus, Garlic Green Beans, Onion Rings and Sweet Potatoes Tempura! Great as always!
Our fortunes below that were included with our delicious Giant Fortune Cookie that is filled with vanilla and chocolate Mousse and surrounded by luscious fruit! Service tonight at Tao was just fair in comparison to the many other times my family has eaten there with the exception of last year when I ate in the lounge area with Gwen and Teresa and it was just plain bad service.
The reason for the early dinner was we were going to the 7:30pm Human Nature Christmas Show!
This is the second time Randy and I have seen Human Nature and Mom's third. The Human Nature quartet has a fabulous high energy show and the Christmas show was no different. Sadly they will no longer be performing at Venetian in 2016 and I haven't heard any news yet on where they will be in the future.
The man from the audience that they brought on stage with them had a good voice!
Tonight they had a special guest to perform a few numbers with them, Ruby Lewis! This lady is the star of the upcoming Broadway show Paramour, a Cirque Du Soleil show which is not like any other Cirque show from what I've read so far. Ruby who is in the photo below has a outstanding voice and stage presence!
After Human Nature Mom, Randy and I went back to the casino for some more gambling.
Mom unfortunately wasn't winning much.
I was having some little wins but mainly losing.
I found a new Ultra Stacking game by Azuze who seems to be on a mission to make a Ultra Stacking slot for every theme they can think of, LOL! While I prefer their original Showgirls slot that had sticky  wilds and is no longer on the Vegas strip I had some fun with this game. Here's a video if you want to see what it's like:
 Randy had been taking a few videos for me on the Flintstones slot but finally stopped because they were low wins and he was near the security desk. As soon as he stopped recording for me he hit this! Imagine what it would have been if he had been betting max like earlier!
After Randy's win on Flintstones we went to try out a old favorite, dollar Jungle Wild. Jungle Wild gave us the worst bonus ever for $4 and the pain was only lessened by fortunately having a decent hit before that sucky bonus.
Fortunately the game redeemed itself the next day when I had a more normal bonus on it. The video of the hit, the sad bonus and the good one is at this link on youtube:
We played some more slots together but we were just losing so Randy decided to return to Flintstones and I decided to try the new Buffalo Grand, which the previous trip I failed to get one bonus on!
Fortunately this time I had a run of bonuses on it which was fun.
Here's a video of the bonuses if you haven't played this slot yet and want to see what it's like:
After my nice run on Buffalo Randy and I found Mom at the Big Bang Theory Slot and all of us called it a night.
Brunch next morning was at Grand Lux again with Randy getting his favorite egg sandwich, while Mom went with her egg white omelet again and me with the Sonoma salad.
After eating Mom and Randy went off to play slots while I went to meet our son at the Palazzo entrance where his long hauling taxi was dropping him off. Matt forgot to say anything to the driver about no tunnel and without asking Matt if he wanted the fast way or anything the driver long hauled him via the tunnel to the tune of $34.00 at 11:00am. Matt had texted me that he was on the freeway instead of the back roads so I met him and the driver when they pulled up. The driver of course was making excuses like the strip was busy due to lunch rush hour (LOL) that's a new one usually it's construction and I wasn't having any of it since earlier both Gwen and Ken had arrived at Venetian and had no problems at all going on the strip to get to Venetian. I told the driver I would give him $23 and that's all I gave him though he was very unhappy. While there are plenty of honest taxi drivers in Vegas it's time the dishonest ones got called on their actions. This guy saw my son was in his 20's and thought he could take advantage of him and not get called out for it, WRONG! The drivers that are dishonest need to be called out more and not rewarded with extra money for long hauling those they judge they can take advantage of and hopefully when called out they will hesitate before doing it to the next customer. Of course now that Uber and Lyft have recently been given permission to pick up from the airport there are more affordable options to use instead of avoiding taxis by taking limos.

Matt's room had been arranged in advance with VIP registration so all we had to do was pick up his keys and he was off and running.
Randy had a spa appointment this afternoon at Canyon Ranch Spa so after playing a few slots and mainly losing, Mom and I headed off to the Grazie Holiday Gift Show while Matt played a few games.
The line wasn't that busy so it only took a few minutes for us to register.
Photos of the holiday gift show and the amount of points it takes for slot credits or various gift cards.
This year I mainly used the majority of all our points for Macy's gift cards.
I've been going to the Holiday gift show/party now at Venetian for about 6 years and each year it gets a bit smaller and the decorations less elaborate.
I also miss the Costumed performers they had in previous years that would go around Venetian/Palazzo for photo ops and would perform a couple complimentary shows outside each evening where they used to also have an ice skating ring.
While I was waiting to pick up my gifts and do a photo op with Mom I was recognized by Jim and Robert who watch my youtube slot channel. Was great to meet you both and hope to see you again soon in Vegas!
Before Mom and I left the gift show we did the free photo op they have at the show. I've really enjoyed this the last few years and I hope it doesn't get discontinued in the future like the entertainers.
Mom and I returned to our rooms to put our gifts away and meet up with Matt and Randy as it was time for another early dinner. Tonight's dinner was at Table 10 with Mom, Gwen (yourstarla), me, Randy, our son Matt and Ken (CPT)!
All of us except Gwen had the prix fixe, this is the menu:
Four Courses - $48 (No substitutions allowed)
Add a Wine Pairing - $28

Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Toasted pumpkin seeds & pumpkin oil

Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo
served with rice

Mixed Greens & Pear Salad
Pomegranate seeds, toasted hazelnuts and manchego cheese

Caesar Salad

Margerum Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc ~ Santa Barbara
Banfi Chianti Classico ~ Italy


Candied North Country Bacon

Emeril's New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

Smoky Mushroom Pasta

**Yellowfin Tuna Tartare

Butternut Squash Raviolis

Charles & Charles Rose ~ Colombia Valley, WA
Elouan Pinot Noir by Joe Wagner ~ Oregon


Emeril's Pork Chop

Caramelized Sea Scallops

Wild Salmon

Braised Short Rib

**Filet Mignon $5 additional charge

Emeril's Private Reserve Chardonnay by ABC Winery ~ Santa Barbara, CA
Kunde Family Estate Merlot ~ Sonoma, CA



Above is the amuse it was like a tiny pot pie but I forget what it had in it.   Below the Caesar salad with gem lettuce and tomato Puree. Personally I prefer my Caesar salads without tomato puree.
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo with Rice.
Tomato Bruschetta with fresh grilled Bread, Parmesan and aged Balsamic.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with toasted Pumpkin Seeds. I really love this flavorful soup!
Candied North Country Bacon! Always a winner if you love bacon like my son and husband!
Emeralds New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, can't go wrong with this if you like shrimp.
Wild Salmon with Wild Rice and Tuscan Kale. My husband really liked this but my son not so much even though he likes salmon and kale.
Braised Short Rib looked good!
Iceberg salad with Candied Bacon, Tomatoes & Red Onion Maytag Blue Cheddar with a Green Onion Sherry Vinaigrette.
Caramelized Sea Scallops with Cauliflower Puree-Raisins, and Marcona Almonds. Of course it was me ordering the scallops, they were good!
Raspberry Panna Cotta with salted brittle and chocolate pistachio biscotto. Mom liked this a lot!
Spice Carrot Cake with Orange Bourbon Sauce and Candied Pecans. Ken said this was very good.
After dinner we parted ways as Mom, Randy and I were going to Show Stoppers, Matt and Ken were going to Harrahs to see the Improv Comedy show and Gwen had a mission with the slots!
Show Stoppers was excellent, the cast is very talented. However unless you are a fan of musicals it's definitely slanted at the 45 and above age demographic.
After Show Stoppers it was back to Venetian and Palazzo for more losing on the slots! Ken and Matt returned to Venetian about a hour after us and they both said they enjoyed the Improv Comedy show they saw at Harrah's.
Despite a few good wins we had lost the winnings I had arrived with and we were now losing some of my bankroll.
After my win on Cash Wheel I was playing dollar Pinball outside the Venetian High Limit room when I ran into Karen and her Mother Maria from Miami! Was great to run into you at Venetian tonight!
As I was leaving Venetian later I walked by the Bourbon Room where the crowd was having a blast.
Sadly with the closing of Rock of Ages the Bourbon Room is also leaving Venetian. I believe the Bourbon Room is opening up someplace else in the future but I can't recall where.
Back at Palazzo I had some fun with Top Dollar but it didn't last long.
I also tried some dollar Quick Hit in the Palazzo high limit room but despite a few hits, I lost more then won, so I headed back out to the penny slots.
I was playing Big Bang Theory at Palazzo when the gentleman sitting next to me recognized me from the blog. John, a pleasure to meet you!

Since none of us was winning it wasn't long before all of us went back to our rooms for the night.
Next morning it was Thanksgiving and we met up with Gwen at Grand Lux for brunch! Gwen and Mom!
Randy, me and our son Matt!
Grand Lux's Thanksgiving menu that none of us ordered.
I think this was the turkey sandwich that Gwen ordered.
Another egg sandwich but this time ordered and enjoyed by Matt. I had the usual Sonoma Salad, Mom her egg white omelet and Randy this time went with scrambled eggs and sausage.
After brunch all of us headed out for a bit of gambling. Randy and I played dollar Jungle Wild together with Matt looking on and hit the bonus quickly which redeem itself after yesterday's $4 bonus!

Mom went to the Big Bang Theory Slot which was giving her lots of bonuses with small wins that kept her a little ahead for hours. Matt and Randy went off playing various slots and I had a nice run on The Sex and the City slots.
Randy and I had played this 3X4X 5X Top Dollar slot at Palazzo at various times and liked it. This was our best hit on it for the trip.
Dinner tonight was at Michael Mina with Ken, Gwen, my friend Boots with her husband and his step-mom Anne. Boots and family had arrived the day before and were staying at Cosmopolitan.
Gwen and me at MM.
Ken and my son Matt!
Mom and me at Michael Mina.
Michael Mina for Thanksgiving was this Tasting Menu and the Vegetarian one below, no ordering off their regular menu.
Cable Car Cocktail that I frequently ordered at Mina when I'm not doing the wine pairing.
Vegetarian Tasting Menu:
I forget what the amuse was, sorry!
Gwen's salad from the Vegetarian Tasting Menu.
Butternut Squash Soup with Shaved Truffle  and Toasted Chestnuts.
Lobster Pot Pie with Seasonal Vegetables and Brandied Lobster Cream.
Lobster Pot Pie cut open. I did think they could have a little more of the lobster and vegetables in this, mine was only about an inch and half in the ramekin.
Traditional Turkey Dinner with Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Foie Gras Stuffing.
Japanese Tasting, Bamboo Rice, Tofu, Glazed Bok Choy and Tempura Hen of the Woods.
Snake River arms American Wagyu Ribeye with Braised Shortrib and Royal Trumpet Mushroom. I had this and liked it. My husband had the Chilean Sea Bass but they were late bringing it out because they said they were cooking another one due to some problem. I suspect the problem was they gave his to another table. Which brings me to talking about the service. It was okay but not the great service that I have received earlier this year when eating at Michael Mina during G2e or during my July birthday trip. The restaurant was busy but then it's been busy the other times I have eaten there. Not sure what the problem was but service was off.
White Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse with Caramel Corn and Spiced Pepitas!
Root Beer Float with warm Chocolate Chip Cookies.
After dinner we said goodbye to Boots and family. I'm looking forward to seeing Boots early next year in Vegas on a trip we are currently planning for January.

Photos of the Bellagio Conservatory!
After dinner we heard that a friend of ours Kim who had just arrived that night was near Lago playing the slots so Ken, Gwen, Randy, Mom and I went over to say hi before heading back to Palazzo.
After returning from Bellagio all of us except Matt started to play the slots but except for some action for Mom and us on Big Bang Theory at Palazzo we were just losing.
I was playing Top Gun when the nice couple playing Ruby Slippers nearby recognize me from the blog and youtube vids. Margaret and Michael from Glasgow Scotland who had just arrived in Vegas that day. I hope you had a great trip, it was fun to meet you both!
Mom had a early morning flight so I woke up at 7am to say goodbye to her and then went back to bed for a hour. Today we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Grand Lux and then went back to the room to pack up.
Before leaving for the airport we met up with Gwen to say goodbye. Thanks Gwen for taking this nice photos of the three of us in the Palazzo Atrium, we ended up using it on our Christmas cards this year.
Time to take the limo to the airport.
Won three days out of six which was certainly better then losing all six! Our score from the Grazie Holiday Gift Show in addition to a few other minor gifts was $775.00 in Macy's gift certificates! Biggest score was having a great time with family and friends!
Next trip is in a couple days because I'm such a slacker writing up my trip reports. I will be leaving for Vegas on the 28th for five nights to attend the Wonderland NYE party at Aria. I almost didn't get an invite to what I personally find the best NYE party on the strip but my host came through for me when I returned home from this trip! Looking forward to partying it up again with Sdguy, Gwen, Terri and hopefully some other friends!
If you want to read my live tweets during NYE, you can find them at the top right of the blog here or directly on Twitter at:

Hope all of you are having a Happy Holiday Day Season! Have a safe, healthy and winning New Year!


  1. Wow Diana, you sure did pack a lot into that trip! As usual all the food looked delicious :)

    Thanks for the pics of the Cosmo room, that's the same as we have booked for next year - really looking forward to staying there.

    So from reading about your successes it appears that playing the higher denomination slots paid much better than the pennies...perhaps you need to start frequenting the high limit rooms a bit more ;-)

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a great time at Aria!

    Andrea sends hugs!


    1. Hi Mark, please give hugs to Andrea for me!

      It varies each trip, sometimes I have more luck with the dollar and five dollar slots and sometimes even though the percentage is set lower on pennies they are the ones I hit big on, and of course we both know there's the trips where one can't win on any denomination of slots, LOL! Regardless I can never last long in the HL rooms on my gambling budget. :)

      If you and Andrea are early risers it won't bother you but the 1 bedroom Terrace rooms at Cosmo have the tub near the window and terrace and the blinds don't close tightly and since it's partially open to the bed, some light gets in and tends to at least wake me up. The studio terrace room which is the same size room but has the bathroom in the back doesn't have that light issue in the bedroom. Just something to consider if you two like to sleep in on trips to Vegas.

      We had a great Christmas and I hope you did too. Have a safe, healthy and happy new year!


    2. Sleeping late in Vegas is something we never seem to do what with the jet lag and time difference...last trip we were out and about a couple of times at 4:30am as we couldn't sleep! It did get a better later on but I don't think we ever made it past 8am.

      Have a wonderful time at Aria and can't wait to see what they put on for you this year.

      Happy New Year to you and your family and I'll keep my fingers crossed for some big wins for you :)


  2. Love reading about your trips! It's nice to see a little of how the other half lives and dream about being able someday to do some of the things you do on your trips. Good luck with your trip on New Year's. Looking forward to reading all about it.

  3. I enjoy your trip reports. I had a question about when you film - do you use a phone or a camcorder? Also, do you get hassled by security often? I'll be in Vegas for New Years as well. Can't wait!


  4. The last year I mainly use my iPhone6.

    Aria lets us record and most M-Life properties ignore it. Wynn will stop you if they spot you. Lately Venetian and Palazzo will stop you from recording at times and other times ignore one. I haven't gambled much at the CET properties to know their policy. Cosmo used to let us record but since new management took over a year or so ago sometimes we will get stopped other times ignored.

    Have a great trip and Happy New Year. If you spot me in the casino say hi. :)


  5. Dear Diana,

    Many thanks for your awesome TR as always! Your photos of your visit at Scarpetta almost made up for the fact that we missed it this past trip.

    What nice wins and comprehensive coverage of all your slot plays!

    Happy 2016 to you and your lovely family, and wishing you lots of slot wins on your NYE trip!

    Kind regards,

    Hio from Hawaii

    1. Hio, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the TR and the good wishes for 2016!

      Sorry you missed Scarpetta your last trip, hope you make it next time. :)

      Wishing you and your family a healthy, fun and winning 2016!


  6. Nice to meet you too, Diana. The wife was a bit miffed she didn't wander by until after you had left. Big Bang Theory is a fun machine to play with someone beside you to share in the fun.

    1. Hi John, sorry for the late reply but I was in Vegas for NYE. Wish I had met your wife too, perhaps next time! Wishing you both a healthy, fun and winning 2016!

  7. Love your blog, Diana! I am mainly a $1/$5 slot player. I also drift into the high limit areas for the $5/$10 slots. I seem to have pretty good luck there and it's always nice to get the extra attention and service.

    I am sorry your son got long hauled. It never happens to me when I am with my husband, but I make some solo trips and if I don't say something then I get long hauled. I like how you handled it and shame on the driver. One would think the city and taxi companies would like to crack down on this practice just for image purposes...

    1. Thanks for letting me know you enjoy the blog!

      There are some really great taxi drivers in Vegas but sometimes it seems like the dishonest ones outnumber them. I'm really glad that Uber and Lyte are now legal in Vegas and can pick up and drop off at the airport so I can avoid taxis. I ended up using Uber a lot during my NYE trip and it worked out great!

      Wishing you a great 2016!


  8. Hi Diana, it was wonderful to spontaneously meet you as our paths crossed in Aria. My hubby and I enjoy and appreciate your blog and all the awesome youtube videos you and the group put together.
    I am so glad you had a wonderful trip and look forward to your future posts.
    I most appreciate your restaurant reviews and the entertaining slot videos.
    Looking forward to all you share in the future.
    Best of luck.

    Stacey from Charlotte

    1. Hi Stacey, it was a pleasure to meet you too and I hope to run into you again sometime in Vegas. :)

      I appreciate you letting me know how much you and your hubby enjoy the blog and youtube videos.

      Have a healthy, fun and winning 2016!