Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vegas Baby

Since it had been almost 7 years since we last visited Las Vegas, we decided to use the long weekend to make a return trip. We booked a flight on Southwest and a room at the MGM Grand. We decided on this particular hotel as it seemed to have the best combination of price, location, quality, and food options. Our room was in the West Wing part of the hotel which we found out actually dates from 1974. Despite being smaller than we expected, the room was nice and decorated with a modernist theme. Our scenic view consisted of the expansive casino roof. The good thing about the West Wing is that it is pretty close to the casino floor unlike some of the more far flung parts of the MGM Grand.

While we were getting our rental car, the person at the desk said they were having a special on Mustangs and I could upgrade from a Chevy Cobalt to a Mustang for $10 a day. Of course I couldn't resist...

Thursday evening we arrived and cruised the casino well into the morning. Katie didn't do so well but I was having some luck making money on the slots... I was up roughly $75 at one point (pretty huge for us low rollers!).

Friday I woke up feeling the effects of too many beers! However I eventually recovered enough for us to take the monorail and get lunch at the Mesa Grill, the Bobby Flay restaurant at Caesar's Palace. I had the chile relleno, which was easily the best relleno I've ever eaten. It was also very artfully presented:

Katie had the pork sandwich which was also very good. We decided to try a dessert which was a strawberry/gooseberry shortcake dish that was really good but not heavy like so many desserts. We both enjoyed the food here and highly recommend it!

Friday afternoon we spent checking out the various casinos on the strip and blowing a little bit of money at each of them. By this point neither of us had any luck with the machines. After a lot of walking, we decided to figure out our dinner plan. We decided upon Shibuya, the Japanese restaurant at MGM Grand. This was also a good choice - the shrimp tempura was possibly the best tasting fried food I've ever eaten. The sushi was also excellent; my favorite was the basic spicy tuna roll but the yellow fin tuna and eel rolls were also good. For dessert we had a lychee cake and ice cream dessert, it was also excellent. A bonus was that this restaurant carried Hitachino beers - my first experience with Japanese microbrews. I had the espresso stout and Katie had the ginger beer; both were great!

Eel and yellow fin tuna sushi:

Cake with lychee filling, lychee, and ice cream:

Saturday I got up early to hike Charleston Peak (more on that in a separate blog post). Katie slept in a little later and lolled about the casino continuing her bad luck streak. She did grab lunch at 'wichcraft, a sandwich place at the MGM Grand. Katie says her turkey and balsamic sando was amazing and it certainly looks it:

I got back to the hotel in the afternoon and found out my bet on Serena Williams winning Wimbledon paid off. Finally something paid off - that and the fact that I refrained from the temptation to bet on Andy Roddick winning the Men's. For dinner we decided to try the Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in the MGM Grand. I had a pizza (always great after a long hike) and Katie had the BBQ ribs special. Both were good but more of the "average good" than the "memorable good" that characterized the previous three restaurants described.

After dinner we headed over to the Rio to watch the Penn & Teller show. While we were waiting I noticed the World Series of Poker was being held so I had to check that out. The conference center was absolutely packed with people, both players and spectators. The scene consisted of entire ballrooms filled with hundreds of poker tables and the requisite number of players. ESPN had a camera setup for the featured tables, presumably where the famous players were. Because of the horde of people, I didn't get anywhere near the feature tables. Just the sight of all of it was enough of a sight...

Penn & Teller put on an entertaining show. Their show gets addresses political and religious topics, which is something I wasn't expecting. Evidently they are well known for that sort of thing. It was my first time seeing a real "magic" show and I definitely enjoyed it; it's definitely not the sort of stuff you can easily figure out from being in the audience. Typically they perform a trick, explain how it is done, then apply some kind of unexplained twist that leaves you wondering.

Sunday morning we did some last minute gambling before heading to the airport. Before getting there, we grabbed lunch at the legendary In-N-Out Burger. It is actually a very good fast food style hamburger. Our flight home was uneventful but unfortunately paved the way for a return to work and the real world. Katie at least could look forward to her trip to LA which will hopefully be blogged soon!


MomV said...

What's Katie doing in LA?

Cathy said...

Sounds like you had a pretty great time in Lost Wages errrr... Las Vegas. It makes me want to get back there as it has been lots longer than 7 years for me!

zdv said...

You may not recognize the place... there has been a lot of new construction just since we were last there.