Las Vegas, It's Human Nature TR

Oct 4th, 2009, 10:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 237
Las Vegas, It's Human Nature TR

September 16-30, 2009

The following TR is a true and almost factual account of our vacation. I know this because I saw it with my very own eyes.

Several months ago I booked our basic travel arrangements; Southwest Airlines nonstop from Hartford, (2) 1-week Alamo rentals using the infamous Maui code, reservations for Max-the Schipperke at the Motown Kennel & Spa and lodging for 14 nights at the Eastside Cannery. I was working on our dining and entertainment options when I received the following telegram:

Western Union Telegram
June 15, 2009, 11:07AM
To: Westie
From: Benny Binion
I hear ya been bad mouthin’ me since I whupped ya (stop).
Also heard ya been hidin’ out at the Eastside (stop)
You’re a yella bellied dawg (stop)
I challenge ya to a duel – you chose the time and weapons (stop)

For those unfamiliar with Benny Binion and our adversarial relationship, I should explain that he was one of the pioneers of downtown Las Vegas, operated the famous Horseshoe Casino and originated the World Series of Poker. Benny cashed out in 1989 and shortly thereafter a statue of him was placed downtown where it remained until relocated to the South Point Casino in 2008. Needless to say Benny was not consulted on the move and has taken to placing a curse on anyone, notably yours truly, found gambling in his shadow.

Back to my story, nobody calls Westie dawg and lives to boast about it, so upon receiving the telegram I immediately rebooked all 14 nights at the South Point during a 50% off sale, cashed out the remaining balance in my 401-k during a 50% off sale and sent off the following response:

Western Union Telegram
June 15, 2009, 2:15PM
To: Benny Binion
From: Westie
Who ya all callin’ yella, you piece of bronzed horse dung (stop)
The South Point ain’t big enuff for both of us (stop)
I accept, only one of us will be left standin’ (stop)
Weapons: slot cards and video poker machines at dawn (stop)

Such is the enmity with which Benny holds me that shortly after receiving my telegram, he oversaw the downgrade of the 9/6/90 JOB video poker schedules that I intended to play. I decided at that point to retain our reservations, ignore Benny to the extent possible and take my gambling dollars elsewhere. Subsequent to our departure, I received a postcard offer of 2 free nights, 2 free buffets and a small amount of freeplay so I rebooked our last two nights.

9/16 We departed Hacienda de Westie at around 8AM and dropped Max-the Schipperke off at the Motown Kennel where he had reservations for deluxe accommodations on Alligator Alley. Our nonstop SWA flight received the benefit of strong tail winds so we arrived in Las Vegas at 1:10PM, approximately 25 minutes earlier than scheduled though much of that was lost waiting for our luggage to appear. We took the shuttle to the car rental facility where I attempted to check-in at the Alamo kiosk. Because I had used the Maui code, I was informed I would have to stand in a long line at the counter so I decided use a back-up reservation I had with Dollar.

There were only 2 compact cars on the lot, both Dodge Calibers which turned out to be pretty low caliber; 50,000 miles on the odometer, manual door locks and hand window cranks – we are talking roughing it in the extreme! On exiting the rental facility I rolled down the window and burst out in song; “Get ready 'cause here I come”.

Check-in at the South Point went smoothly and we were soon in room 2372 in the new tower facing the pool area. The room was spacious at 450 square feet, nicely appointed, clean and well lit. The one downside was the towels are now of Super 8 quality.

After emptying our bags we proceeded downstairs to the Lobby Bar where we ordered a merlot for Ann and a Smirnoff Ice for me. As per usual, all drinks in this TR were free courtesy of coupons from the Las Vegas Advisor (LVA), American Casino Guide (ACG) or old show ticket stubs.

Dinner on this uncomfortably warm evening was at Brio Tuscan Grille in Town Square. This local outpost of the upscale chain of Italian eateries is visually impressive. We each started off with a rich and amazingly delicious cup of cream of morel mushroom soup.

For an entrée Ann ordered the shrimp and crab cakes with grilled vegetables and creamy horseradish. Her entrée was very good, but the vegetables were over cooked. I chose chicken alla Sorrentino; pesto marinated and grilled chicken served over crispy eggplant with fresh Mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, pizzaiola sauce, citrus pesto and arugula which had been tossed in Tuscan dressing. Unfortunately my chicken suffered the same fate as Ann’s vegetables.

I used a gift certificate purchased from a local radio station. I suppose the “morel” of this night’s dining experience was to order the soup and go elsewhere for your entrees. Did I really write that? ($34.73. 2.5 Forks)

Feeling a little overcooked ourselves; we stopped at a CVS store for a case of water before retiring for the evening.

9/17 It was officially half way to St. Patrick’s Day so I was feeling lucky as I headed off with my shamrocks for the Silverton where 95% of my gambling was done on their trip. As it turned out, I should have remained in bed because I had terrible luck, hitting only 2 quads in 4 hours of play. I eventually became both tired and broke so I sought solace at Ronald’s Donuts where I purchased a crown donut and an apple fritter. I also made a quick stop at a nearby Wal-Mart for soda and sundry items before returning to the room.

After we shared the apple fritter and OJ ($2, 4 Forks), my next assignment was going downstairs to purchase a coffee for Ann at Seattle’s Best ($2, 3 Sips) and a Review Journal (R-J). While Ann prepped herself for the day, I read and dozed.

I purchased a discounted gift certificate for Rhythm Kitchen from KTNV, the local ABC affiliate, which needed to be picked up, so we drove to its offices on Valley View Drive. Prior to returning to our room, we put in a short and unproductive session at the Silverton. I put on enough points the morning to upgrade Ann’s slot card to silver, as well as earn a set of “as seen on TV” fruit/vegetable storage containers.

On returning to the hotel we dined at the sports book on Vienna hot dogs. These are served with your choice of condiments, but the only mustard available is French’s yellow which I don’t like. ($2, 1.5 Forks)

The remainder of the afternoon was spent catching up on the news and snoozing. As luck would have it, I woke up just in time for pre dinner libations at Ellis Island Casino. Koval Lane proved to be a nightmare due to ongoing construction so the drive took much longer than expected, but we managed to arrive in time for our personal happy hour. Ann chose merlot, she was Annie one note on this trip, and I went with their in-house brewed Hefe Weiss (2.5 Sips)

Dinner this evening was at McCormick & Schmick’s where I used a free entrée coupon received for my birthday this past July. Our waiter handed us menus as we were seated in a booth as requested at the time I made our Open Table reservation. As we were reviewing the menus, I was surprised to read “Happy 35th Anniversary” Neither of us mentioned that our actual 35th wedding anniversary was in August, a mistake (wink, wink) I made when signing up for their Preferred Membership club.

Our shared roasted beet salad with warm goat cheese and a balsamic reduction sauce was pleasing to both the eye and palate. Ann chose the English sole that was crusted with artichoke and served with a sun dried tomato sauce, white rice and a vegetable hash. I went with Chef Talbott’s Recommendation: ono (wahoo) crusted with coconut, topped with a tropical salsa and spicy brown butter, and accompanied by bok choy and jasmine rice. Both dishes were excellent. I had a free dessert coupon so we decided to share a crème brulee, but first the waiter delivered a pair of chocolate cups filled with a chocolate and whipped cream mixture to our table in recognition of our anniversary. Our crème brulee, as usual, was both delicious and on-the-house so I saved the coupon for a future visit. ($38.08, 4.5 Forks)

On exiting we journeyed to Green Valley Ranch Resort to hear the Lon Bronson All-Star Band. The band was cooking as usual so we hung in there way past my normal bedtime. (4 Claps)

9/18 The Silverton was offering 2 x points on Fridays so I racked up a lot of points, but very little money. On returning to the South Point I inquired about the free buffet coupons that were to be included in our package, but unavailable at the time of check-in. The clerk asked me to return with a copy of our postcard. As it turned out, someone booked us under the wrong package code, but the problem was soon rectified.

We decided to have the breakfast buffet at the South Point and were pleasantly surprised to find the buffet has been upgraded since our last visit. ($7.51, LVA, 2 Forks)

Cirque du Shriners, better known as the Las Vegas Circus Spectacular, was playing in the South Point’s arena and this was opening day so we joined several thousand grade school children for the festivities. This circus was anything but spectacular – many of the acts were not as described on the website and it appears the second team was sent to Las Vegas. We still managed to have a good time though both of us had nagging headaches from all my screaming. (Comps, 1.5 Claps)

On exiting I truly needed a drink so my feet directed us to the Lobby Bar where we consumed spicy Bloody Marys. (1.5 Sips)

I spent the remainder of the afternoon alternating between Richard North Patterson’s latest book and dozing until an announcement was made over the intercom that pre dinner drinks were now being served. The Coronado Bar received our business with Ann ordering another merlot and I a pina colada. The last time I can remember having a pina colada was some 33 years ago on St. Martin or was it Martinique? In any case, it was very good, but in all likelihood it will be my last for another 33 years. (2.5 Sips)

Mi Peru on Horizon Ridge Parkway was the location for dinner this night. This small, informal restaurant serves Peruvian fare - duh. We started off with a complimentary salad of jicama, carrots, cucumber and onion in lime juice and a cup of aji dipping sauce. This salad proved to be both spicy, refreshing and the best dish we consumed this evening. Our shared appetizer was papa a la huancaina - boiled potatoes covered with a mild aji sauce and cream. I could not taste the aji sauce and the overall flavor was muted. I also tried a glass of chica morado – a purple corn drink which was pretty good though it won’t be replacing diet Pepsi at Hacienda de Westie.

Ann ordered arroz con Mariscos – a mixed seafood dish with rice billed as being Peru’s take on paella. I settled on a mixed seafood soup called parihucla that the menu described as Peru’s take on bouillabaisse. Both entrees were bland and compared unfavorably to their better known counterparts.
($23.99, (, 2 Forks)

After dinner we drove to the Henderson Events Center on Water Street for a classical piano recital by Alpin Hong. This was the culmination of his second residency with the Basic High School in Henderson. Alpin clearly connects with the music students who attended the recital along with two seniors from Connecticut. (4 Claps)

09/19 I headed for Fiesta-Henderson this AM for what proved to be my only extended FPDW (full pay deuces wild) session on this trip. Over the next 3 hours I hit a Royal Flush (4,000 coins) and a natural quad deuces (1,000 coins). On exiting, Westie was “dancin' in the street” or at least in the parking garage.

We decided to celebrate our good fortune with breakfast at Chez Ellis. The economy seems to be having a positive impact on service at Ellis as there were more servers than we have seen in the past. Our orders of vanilla French toast were served hot and as close to perfection as one could hope. ($7.95, ACG, 3 Forks)

I made computer reservations at the Whitney Library before leaving for home so we checked our email accounts and then viewed a small, but very interesting photography exhibit. (2 Claps) We then delivered some cash to the Silverton Casino before returning to the South Point. I immediately headed for the sports book for my 2nd hot dog of the trip ($1, 1.5 Forks) and then continued on to the room where we spent the remainder of the afternoon counting my, oops, our money.

Merlots at the Lobby bar were soon followed by a drive to Rhythm Kitchen on Decatur. The outside of this Creole restaurant looks very much like a miniature Orleans Casino. The inside is spacious with an open kitchen, several dining areas, a bar and several private function rooms on the second floor. Shortly after our menus were delivered we received a basket containing 2 rolls and 8 hush puppies. The rolls were left untouched, but the hush puppies were rapidly consumed in fear one or the other of us would eat more than his/her fair share.

We both ordered the New Orleans seafood delight – 3 pieces of blackened catfish plus 3 shrimp over rice covered with a spicy Parmesan cream sauce and served with mixed vegetables. Although this meal will never replace our lunches at Commander’s Palace, I thought it was the best of the trip though Ann was a little less enthusiastic. The price of this and other meals in this TR includes the cost of any gift certificate used. ($32.89, 4.5 Forks)

We returned to the South Point in time for the Sheena Easton show.
Although born in Scotland, I believe Sheena now resides in Las Vegas. She has shed several pounds since we saw her at Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Cabaret in early 2003. She put on a good performance with the proper mix of old and new songs. (3 Claps)

We celebrated the conclusion of another great day in Las Vegas by having Irish Coffees with Bailey’s Irish Cream before returning to our room. (3.5 Sips)

9/20 My early morning VP session was notable by the scarcity of quads, but a rash of full houses and flushes allowed me to “Keep Hanging On”.

We drove to the 50’s Diner on Decatur for breakfast. We previously dined at this colorfully decorated coffee shop on our last trip and were served by the same very personable and efficient waitress. Ann again ordered the French toast stuffed with blueberry cream cheese. I opted for my first ever country scrambler – 2 scrambled eggs with ham, onions and mushrooms topped with cheddar cheese and served with spuds, similar to fresh potato chips, and whole wheat toast. Note to Westie - prices for the specials are $1 higher on weekends. ($10.12, KSHP, 3.5 Forks)

It was too early for us to visit the Las Vegas Outlets so we put in an hour of play at the Silverton. Ann was looking for a pair of shorts, but the fall fashions were already on display at both the Bass Shops and the outlets. The remainder of the day was spent in the room though Ann managed a short video poker session downstairs.

We enjoyed a pair of merlots at the Lobby Bar before departing for Los Molcajetes on Eastern Avenue in North Las Vegas. This small family-owned restaurant, situated in a working class neighborhood, serves authentic Mexican fare. We were served warm tortilla chips and a watery, but spicy salsa.

Based on my extensive pre trip research we started off by sharing a very good burrito with pork in a green chili sauce. We also shared a unique creation served in and named after the 3-legged stone tool, molcajete, used in Mexico to grind chilies and spices. This artfully presented dish included, in our case, a combination of beef, chicken, shrimp, nopales (cactus), scallions and slices of avocado in a rich red sauce and served with flour tortillas. You grab a forkful of anything or everything, place on a warm tortilla, fold and enjoy. It proved be very tasty, but more than we could finish.

As we waited for our check, I remarked that we probably were among only a handful of tourists who have ever dined here. Hearing this, one of the guys at an adjoining table turned around and remarked that he was from Brooklyn. ($23.10, 3.5 Forks)

9/21 I managed to breakeven at the Silverton, courtesy of a late flurry of quads before departing for Ronald’s Donuts on Spring Mountain Road for an apple fritter that we enjoyed with OJ in our room. ($1.25, 3 Forks) After finishing, I went downstairs to pick up a coffee at Seattle’s Best for Ann that she enjoyed while we read the R-J. ($2.15, 2.5 Sips)

We put in a short losing session at the Silverton, but picked up a second set of “as seen on TV” veggie/fruit containers that we gave to our housekeeper.

Lunch today was at H K Star Seafood House on Jones Boulevard which offers excellent luncheon specials ranging in price from $4.95 - $6.95. I noticed on the way in that Maine lobsters are offered for only $8 a pound and crab, I assume Dungeness, at $11 per crab. We were served complimentary rice, a pot of tea and glasses of a strange iced tea that I am not entirely sure how much I enjoyed. We chose to share #55, stir fried choy sum with garlic, and #73, shrimp and vegetable chow fun. Both dishes were entrée sized and delicious. Service was friendly. ($15, 3.5 Forks)

Prior to departing for this evening’s entertainment, Ann enjoyed another merlot while I had my first ever Modelo – especial. This is a light beer brewed in Mexico that compares favorably to Corona. (3 Sips)

I purchased our LOVE tickets under a special promotion in celebration of 25 years of Cirque du Soleil. One ticket was fully priced while the second cost only $25. Our seats, located in Section 208, Row R, provided us with a perfect view of the entire performance area. This was our second time seeing this show and we continue to be awed and amazed by Cirque’s interpretations of the Beatles’ musical legacy. 4.5 Claps)

We were soon seated at the bar at the Brio Tuscan Grille ordering off the Tuscan Tasters’ happy hour menu. Unlike many restaurants offering happy hour specials, Brio does not require the purchase of an alcoholic beverage so we settled on glasses of ice water. We were shortly served a basket of Italian bread, sesame seed cracker bread and a crock of butter. Each appetizer is priced at $2.95 so we shared orders of margherita flatbread (fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil), braised meatballs and creamy polenta (topped with a Marsala tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and parsley) and spicy shrimp and eggplant (grilled shrimp with Romano crusted eggplant and black pepper cream sauce). The meatballs and shrimp/eggplant dishes are highly recommended. ($11.57, 4 Forks)

9/22 This morning’s session at the Silverton was pretty good in no small part due to numerous pat hands.
We drove to the Green Valley Ranch to sample the buffet, but were really disappointed to discover it had been further downsized and now ranks well below similarly priced buffets. ($2, LVA, Points, 1 Fork)

Our next stop was the Bellagio where we followed our usual routine of visiting the hotel lobby, conservatory and botanical garden, Chihuly shop and Jean-Phillipe Patisserie. This fall’s exhibit included a replica of the Bellagio’s exterior including the fountains. (2.5 Claps)

On returning to the South Point, Ann headed for the Spa for a Swedish massage. She was very happy with the quality of the massage and the spa facilities. The price of the massage was discounted by 25% with a funbook coupon we received at checked-in. ($100.50, 4.5 Hands)

In the meantime, Westie whiled away the afternoon on the Silverton’s video poker machines.

In the late afternoon we headed to Ellis Island using a circuitous route to avoid the construction on Koval Lane. The time consuming drive proved worthwhile because I thoroughly enjoyed my first ever in-house brewed hard lemonade. (3.5 Sips)

Dinner this night was at Origin India. We were disappointed to discover Raja, the owner, was on vacation. The new Executive Chef, Kuldeep Singh, has reworked the menu so we had difficulty choosing from the listing of new entrees. Our first selection was the grain-fed chicken breast stuffed with wild mushroom and black prunes, served with cashew nut korma sauce accentuated with truffle oil and pulao rice. Our second entrée was baked baby eggplant in Hyderabadi sesame, peanut sauce tempered with curry leaves, mustard seeds and whole red chilies which included lemon rice. Our choice for bread was naan stuffed with sweet apricot and raisins.

Everything was visually spectacular and equally delicious. I used a $25 gift certificate purchased from a local radio station and also gave our server my VIP card. I was hoping to receive credit on the card, but she applied my $10 balance toward the bill leaving us a balance due of only 89 cents! ($6, 5 Forks)

We had some time to kill so we drove to the Eastside Cannery to play a little video poker; Ann on the 10-coin 9/6 JOB machines while I enjoyed playing the FPDW slant tops. Prior to exiting we each swiped our slot cards at the kiosk. Ann received 15 entries into a contest while I won $5 in free slot play that I soon turned into $20.

We made the short drive to Sam’s Town where the group SRO was playing, but first we grabbed a pair of vodka tonics to take into Roxy’s Lounge. SRO lead singer is something to behold in his red suit and matching fedora. Their set list included a mix of blues, soul, rock and R&B including the Temptations “My Girl” and Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean”. (3.5 Claps)

9/23 I tread water during this morning’s video poker session. Ann woke up with a sore throat so I went to the Seattle’s Best outlet and purchased a cup of tea for her. She remained in bed so I used our funbook coupon for 50% off one buffet. ($3.70, 2 Forks)

While Ann was sleeping I dropped our dirty clothes off at the laundromat. We have been using their services for so long that we are now one of their few remaining wash and fold customers.

My next stop was the Clark County library, but on entering I discovered it was in process of being renovated so the computer area was closed. I continued on to Terrible’s where I put in an abbreviated video poker session in order to keep Ann’s slot card current.

I then proceeded to Casino Royale where I parked in the garage and made the mistake of exiting via the stairwell which reeked of urine. I hastily walked over to the Imperial Palace where I attempted to pick-up our tickets for Human Nature that I purchased at, but was informed that I had to wait until 2 hours before the performance. Having left my haz-mat suit at home, I avoided the Casino Royale stairwell on my return.

My next stop was Bon Jour Euro Bakers on Rainbow where I invested in a Marquis and a mille-feuille. On my return to the room Ann, the trooper that she is, gathered up enough strength to share the Marquis with me. ($7.25, 4.5 Forks)

In the late afternoon I filled up the tank at a nearby gas station and picked-up our laundry ($9, 5 Folds). Ann was still under the weather so we decided to dine downstairs at Don Vito’s Italian restaurant. This attractive restaurant serves standard southern Italian fare like you can find everywhere.

Stand aside Donald Trump because here is Westie’s version of the “Art of the Deal”. We both chose eggplant Parmesan which was very reasonably priced at $13.95; entrees include a basket of warm rolls and choice of either a house salad or soup. Ann chose pasta faglioli which was delicious while I paid an extra $1 to upgrade to a mundane Caesar salad.

Sounds like a pretty good deal so far, but by ordering 2 entrees between 5PM and 6PM we received a complimentary half bottle of Ruffino Chianti. Our entrees were very good and each came with a side order of ziti topped by a serviceable marinara.

This would have been a good deal had we stopped there, but it got better when I brandished a funbook coupon for 2 free desserts under the waiter’s nose, mine a pretty credible version of crème brulee while Ann’s tiramisu was blah.

Hold on to your toupee Donald because there is more, on Wednesdays all food is half off when using points. Our total bill before application of coupons, points and other discounts was $53.97, but only $14.95 (5,000 points) was charged to my slot card. You may be thinking; where does Westie find these deals, the answer is I “Heard it through the Grapevine”. ($7, 3 Forks)

Tonight’s entertainment was provided by Human Nature at the Imperial Palace showroom. Was it “Just My Imagination” or were there 4 Aussies singing and dancing to some of Motown’s greatest hits for 90 full minutes? These have to be the four hardest working guys in all of Las Vegas and every minute of their performance was nothing short of outstanding.
($71.10, 4.5 Claps)

On exiting we watched a few Dealertainers perform, my only hope is they are more accomplished at dealing than they are at entertaining. (1 Clap)

We then walked to the parking garage, but could not locate our car. After several minutes of holding my breath and stamping my feet I finally realized we were in Harrah’s rather the Imperial Palace’s garage. As the Greek philosopher Aristotle Gump once said, “Stupid is as Westie does”.

9/24 I traveled to Terrible’s this morning because 5 x points were being offered. The session was long with many ups and downs, but I basically broke even. On my return to the room I realized Ann was feeling even worse than yesterday so I headed off to pick-up some over the counter cold remedies and a coffee and muffin at a nearby Dunkin Donuts for her. ($3.34, 2 Forks)

Rather than disturb Ann I traded dirty towels with the housekeeper before driving to the Gold Coast for the breakfast buffet. This buffet has declined in terms of both quality and selection since our last visit, so I see no reason to return any time soon. ($3.75, ACG, 1.5 Forks)

I drove to Terrible’s for a short session before returning to the room. Ann was feeling hungry so I picked up a large bowl of chicken noodle soup at the Del Mar Deli. It proved to be a hearty broth with an ample supply of both chicken and vegetables. ($5.35, 4 Spoons)
In the late afternoon I went downstairs to the Lobby bar for a Negra Modelo (2 Sips), but sitting alone at the bar got boring, okay I confess I was lonesome, so I brought my drink back to the room.

For dinner I returned to the Delmar Deli for a corned beef sandwich on rye which came with a small container of potato salad and ½ sour pickle slices. The corned beef was plentiful and served to quelch our appetites. ($10.43, 2.5 Forks) For dessert we shared the mille-feuille that I purchased yesterday.

9/25 The Silverton was offering 2 x points so that was my destination this morning. When I returned to the room with a big smile on my face, Ann asked “What’s Going On”? I told her “Baby, everything is all right” cause Westie hit both a straight flush and a second Royal Flush.

After showering I took off for Carlito’s Burritos on Patrick Lane. This small, casual restaurant serves authentic New Mexican fare so I ordered two breakfast burritos to go. The super-sized burritos were filled with scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheddar cheese and your choice of red or green chili sauce, I chose Christmas style. The filling in the burritos was on the greasy side and neither of us enjoyed our Carlito experience. I used a 2/1 coupon found in the R-J. ($4.27, 1 Fork and 3 belches)

While Ann slept, I returned to the Silverton and made a small profit after hitting a large number of quads. On returning to the South Point I took a long nap before heading downstairs to play off my freeplay. I cashed out with a whopping $11.25 win, splurged by purchasing a large tea for Ann at Seattle’s Best ($2.32, 3 Sips) and thumbed my nose at Benny as I passed by.

Later in the afternoon I went down to the Coronado bar and brought back a Modelo especial for me and a Jaegermeister for Ann. I figured this drink was either going to cure or kill her. (3 Sips)

We decided Ann was in no condition to go out for dinner so our dinner reservations at IBO (Turkish) were canceled and I was set off to find some takeout food. After much searching, I found The Thai House Restaurant in a shopping center on Maryland Parkway. The restaurant was both sparsely decorated and patronized early this Friday evening. I stuck with the basics and ordered pad Thai and spicy chili mint chicken. Neither dish was very authentic or good, but they served to fill our bellies. ($21.30, 1.5 Forks)

We had tickets for Vocal Soup at the Suncoast this evening so I decided to go on my own rather than waste them. The show stars Clint Holmes, Susan Anton, Domenick Allen and Martin Nievera. This proved to be a high energy show that just did not come off as well I would have expected. I don’t think either Allen, former member of the rock group Foreigner, or Nievera, a recording and TV star in his native Philippines, were suited for the material performed ensemble though each was entertaining when performing solo.
(2 Claps)

9/26 It came as no surprise when I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat because I knew Benny wouldn’t allow me to get away with burning him for $11.25 like I did yesterday.

My morning video poker session at the Silverton resulted in a very small loss. I drove over to Ronald’s Donuts once more for an apple fritter, some type of apple filled roll and coffee that I brought back with me to the room. ($3.15, 3.5 Forks)

I left Ann in the room and headed over to the Tuscany to play off $25 in freeplay, netting $16.25, and continued on to the Spring Valley library to exchange two books that Ann had read for 2 new ones. On my return Ann was feeling like she needed some exercise so we took in the Jack’s Big Toy Box show in the South Point arena. Helicopters, motorcycles, strip clubs etc. Not my bag. (0.5 Claps)

Ann needed a second helping of chicken noodle soup ($5.35, 4.5 Spoons) so she returned to the Del Mar Deli while I picked up a pair of hot dogs ($2, 2 Buns) at the adjacent Sport Book. I don’t care for the yellow mustard served with hot dogs so I snuck over to the Del Mar Deli and loaded up on their spicy brown mustard. If you are counting, this makes 4 hot dogs I have eaten on this trip, a personal best.

In the late afternoon I went to the KSHP road show held at Romano’s Macaroni Grill on Stephanie Street to exchange a $10 KSHP certificate for a similar denominated certificate for the 50’s Diner. On my return we headed downstairs where I enjoyed Ann’s company and a pair of merlots.

As Ann exited the South Point after being confined to the room for most of the past 4 days, she saw her shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of fall.

My “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” and I went to the Twin Creeks Steakhouse at the Silverton this evening for dinner. As their advertisements state, this restaurant offers “Strip quality dining at stripped down prices”. We were served a basket of artisan rolls to start off. Both of us ordered the queens cut roast beef, medium rare, off the Classics section of the menu. Our entrees included a very good house salad and two sides. Ann chose mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus. I selected broccolini and asparagus while requesting balsamic vinegar which our server indicated would have to come from another of their restaurants.

Our prime ribs were more than ample, perfectly cooked and the best I have had in ages. Given the quality of our entrees, the attentive service, reasonable pricing and overall ambiance, it is difficult to beat Twin Creeks, but it got better. The Silverton has a long running a 2/1 dining special for its Silver and above cardholders. The total bill charged to Ann’s slot card was only $20 plus applicable tax. ($7, Points, 4.5 Forks)

Ann used this as an opportunity to play and win a little on the 9/6 JOB machines while I toured the casino nursing a, or was it two, Sambuccas? (4 Sips)

9/27 A very small win was registered during this morning’s session. We snacked in the room on OJ, a banana and the now stale apple roll. The rest of the morning was spent reading the Sunday edition of the R-J and napping. For the past few days, these 2 old geezers have been sneezing and a wheezing our way through a box of Kleenex a day and this day was more of the same.

At noon time we went downstairs for the Sunday brunch compliments of the 2 free buffet coupons received as part of our postcard offer. The brunch proved to be, as expected, a disappointment with everything of mediocre quality. I sampled shrimp cocktail, Mongolian grilled chicken and vegetables, chow fun and (3) itty bitty desserts. ($3, 1 Fork)

In the late afternoon we enjoyed a merlot (Ann) and Blue Moon draft (me) downstairs. Dinner was at Tides Oyster Bar at the Green Valley Ranch Resort. We both ordered the cioppino which came with a choice of rice (Ann) or pasta (me). We both felt the cioppino served at the Oyster Bar at Sunset Station was superior. I took advantage of the Sunday - Thursday 2/1 entrée promotion currently being offered at all Station and Fiesta Casinos.
($28.70, 2 Forks)

We returned to the South Point in time for the Debbie Reynolds show.
For the first 15 minutes I was really disappointed in her voice, but either it improved or I got used to it because the remainder of the show was reasonably enjoyable. Her show was pretty much a tribute to the 1940-50’s though the highlights were her rendition of a rap song and impersonation of Barbara Streisand. (1.5 Claps)

9/28 I was way past due for another bad session so today’s loss came as no surprise though I did manage to hit a pair of straight flushes bringing to 5 the number I have hit on this trip.

We drove to Egg Works on Sunset Road for breakfast. Ann ordered the blueberry pancakes which were old fashion and way too dense. I fared only a modestly better with my easy over eggs, work potatoes and banana nut muffin. I feel the food is overpriced in relation to quality though I eased my pain by using a printable 2/1 coupon found on the R-J website.
($11.96, 1.5 Forks)

We continued on to the Henderson Convention Center for an exhibit titled the Dolls of Japan. There were a total of 70 pieces on display from the collection of the Japan Foundation. This exhibit arrived from Cuba via Canada and would next be shown in Guam. Those dolls get around! (4 Claps)

In the late afternoon we enjoyed mudslides at the South Point, (3.5 Sips) before heading off for IBO Turkish restaurant. On arrival we were disappointed to find it was closed for the evening, but I had a back-up plan so we made the short drive to Café Deia.

We first dined at this tapas restaurant last December and really enjoyed the experience. We ordered a total of 5 dishes and asked the waiter to space them out appropriately. Our first dishes were albondigas, meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce (2.5 Forks), and shrimp ajillo, shrimp marinated in garlic & olive oil and then sautéed in white wine with parsley (4 Forks). We were next served bacon wrapped figs (4 Forks) and papas bravas (roasted and sautéed potatoes served with a spicy sauce (3.5 Forks). After a long wait I reminded our server that we had one more order to come. Our last tapa was fried calamari with a very spicy sauce. The calamari were lightly breaded and very tender (3.5 Forks). ($22.93,

9/29 I managed to win back a large part of the money I lost yesterday thanks to numerous quads and yet another straight flush.

Breakfast this morning was served at the Sunset Station buffet. This buffet continues to be the best we have found in the mid-price range. ($0, LVA, Points, 2.5 Forks)

We returned to the Silverton for a one hour session with Ann winning and me losing. On our way back via the Las Vegas Boulevard I saw a sign for Raising Caines so I made a quick U-turn. I remembered reading that this franchise primarily serves chicken fingers so I bought two to go as well as a small container of sauce. The chicken fingers were very good, but I will be saving my meager allotment of fried food for fish & chips and fried clams. ($2.67, 3 Forks)

Our pre dinner drinks this evening were a Blue Moon (me) and merlot (Ann). Dinner tonight was at McCormick & Schmick’s where I had a booth reserved. We found business much slower than on previous trips, a sure sign of the dismal economy. We passed on the basket of bread, but gratefully accepted an amuse bouche of shrimp cocktails served with pico de gallo sauce.

We shared a delicious spinach salad with fennel, dried cranberries and carrots in a balsamic dressing. Ann chose ahi tuna served very rare and thinly sliced along with mashed potatoes (a substitution), pickled ginger and a very potent wasabi sauce.

I opted for the English sole. Yes, tonight Westie was a “Sole Man”. My entrée was crusted with artichoke and served with a sundried tomato sauce over a vegetable hash and wild rice (substitution). I used a $50 gift certificate that was given to me so our entire bill including tax came to only $3.08. ($11.08, 4 Forks)

Our last show of this trip was ICE at the Riviera. Though we redeemed our gift certificate only 30 minutes before show time, we were seated in the fourth row of the center section. This troupe of Russian skaters put on an amazing performance only partially limited by the size of the stage. Their sixty minute performance left me wanting for more. ($39, KSHP, 4 Claps)

9/30 I gave back a little of our winnings this morning. After enjoying a hardy breakfast at the South Point buffet ($2, LVA, Points, 2.5 Forks), we spent the remainder of the early morning in our room reading.

In mid-morning I completed the express checkout process, failed to locate the nearest Jersey Mike’s and returned our rental car. Our nonstop flight departed on schedule at 1PM, was uneventful and arrived in Connecticut almost 45 minutes early.

Thus concludes our latest Las Vegas adventure. Though our Benny inflicted colds caused us to deviate from my script more than I would have preferred, we still managed to have a pretty good time. Team Westie was also able to beat the house for the 10th time in our last 12 trips. You may question how we were able to achieve this feat, all I can offer in explanation is it was:

A B C, easy as
1 2 3, as simple as
do re mi, A B C, 1 2 3
Ann and me

Thanks to all who took the time to read this TR; hopefully, you enjoyed the read, learned something or at least had a chuckle because for people like us there “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to keep us from visiting Las Vegas.

If you want to “Reach out for Me”, feel free to comment, criticize or ask questions.

Truth in Trip Report preparation disclosure: All songs referenced in this TR, with the exception of “Soul Man”, were performed by Human Nature.
westie is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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I am curious what is this? "Alamo rentals using the infamous Maui code"
hpeabody is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 01:57 AM
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Someone on another board posted a Maui code that brought down the weekly rental rate down by 50%, but the folks at Alamo caught on and canceled it. Renters using the code, which was originally good through the end of the year, must talk to an Alamo agent at the airport and get hassled about using the code. I thought I could avoid the problem by doing an check-in from home or at least using the kiosk, but neither worked. The line at Alamo was 30 deep so I used by my back-up reservation with Dollar.
westie is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 03:11 AM
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I bet when you grocery shop, you pay half what I do, because you use coupons and get every deal in the world. I would be certain you would only shop on double coupon day, even if you were starving. lol
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Another great report, westie. You should teach a class on being frugal in Vegas. What I can't quite reconcile though, is how you can spring for bottled water. Seems out of character. Is the tap water that bad in Vegas?
Brian_in_Charlotte is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 03:04 AM
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We use tap, filtered, water at home, but the water tap water Las Vegas is pretty bad.
westie is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 04:05 AM
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Loved the report from someone who goes to Vegas to do Vegas. We use it as a starting point for other places in the southwest and take off as soon as possible. Who knew you could actually spend two weeks there?

Thanks for a new perspective.
emalloy is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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I don't really care to gamble much, so I can't imagine staying 2 weeks there. However, I do like it for a couple of days.

We use to own a grocery store, I must say that there are a few people like Westie who can take coupons to a whole other level. There is one woman I remember shopping every week that could take a $200 grocery tab down to $50 just using coupons.
spirobulldog is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 06:01 AM
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I love your reports, but I will woefully admit that I can't possibly imagine spending more than a long weekend there...You should put out your own Vegas Guide, Fodors should take note.
SAnParis2 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 08:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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I fear Las Vegas restaurants and your trip report has only validated my fears. We're going to be there for a couple nights and I am anticipating big disappointment while planning on eating at one or two of the big name restaurants. But, while cruising the internet reviews, one of two restaurants that caught my attention is Eliseevsky

There is a website but it's awful, at least on my mac

The other one is a neopolitan pizza joint:

When is your next trip?
pdx is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 04:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 391
Great report.
As another miser I take my hat off to the master.

On our last vacation we bought refillable filtered water bottles for around $10 each. Saved us a bundle of money.
zlaor is offline  
Oct 12th, 2009, 03:04 AM
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Thanks everyone for their comments.

I seldom use grocery coupons at home because most of them are for products I never use. I do use gift certificates for local restaurants extensively either from or other sources.

PDX - I don't understand your statement about fearing Las Vegas restaurants. Las Vegas is full of dining options in terms of price, quality and ethnicity. I love to discover new restaurants even though I realize I am accepting a degree of risk. It would be way too boring to always return to the same restaurants and dine on the same entrees time after time.

On this past trip we discovered several restaurants that I that I look forward to visiting again (i.e. HK Star, Los Molcajetes, Don Vito's and Rhythm Kitchen).

Of the new restaurants we tried the only disappointments were Carlito's and the Thai House.

FYI - Eliseevsky is out of business. Settebello is very good for Neapolitan (thin crust) pizza. I prefer Grimaldi's coal fired pizza, but both are very good.

Our next trip to Las Vegas is 12/2-16 which overlaps the NFR.

ZLAOR - We use those bottles at home, but in Las Vegas the quality of the tap water is such that we prefer bottled spring water. I therefore don't pack our bottles when traveling though it would be the "green" to do so.
westie is offline  
Oct 12th, 2009, 03:06 AM
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PS - if anyone would like to see some photos of the trip, check out my TR at the following website:
westie is offline  

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