Saturday, November 14, 2015

Las Vegas Trip Report - Nov. 8 - 14, 2015

I was very excited for this trip.  Two reasons.  First one being that I got to go with my favorite person in this world, my son (25).  He hasn't been able to vacation for two years now, and I was happy it was me that was going to have the pleasure of going with him.  He chose Vegas and I, of course, had no complaints.

Second reason was that we were staying at the Wynn.  We were looking forward to a luxurious stay!  I first went into this hotel on my last solo "Strip" trip while staying at the Bellagio.  I went to the Wynn for brunch (Tableau Restaurant) and it was love at first sight!  I told myself that the next "splurge" stay would be here.

I got what I thought was a reasonably good rate for it back in August.  The deal for 6 nights: Wynn Deluxe Resort room with 2 double beds, daily buffet (breakfast, lunch or dinner) for three days for two, including all taxes & resort fees was $1440 all in.  Now when you convert that to our lousy Canadian dollar it turned it into almost $2000 but if I didn't think about that part - the deal made me happy!  I put in the upgrade request for $20 more a night for a Panoramic view but wouldn't know if I got it until we arrived.  My son paid his share of the trip too.  This is pretty much the first time he's had to on vacation with me, so I felt very proud of him, but nonetheless, also guilty, though I did pick up all food & entertainment costs...

I found out online reading Trip Advisor reviews about the Wynn that the buffet was closed during our stay.  After emailing the hotel to confirm, they said it was indeed closed and they would issue me a $150 food & beverage credit.

Sunday, November 8th:

This was our first time flying "Rouge" by Air Canada.  I was fine with the flight time going but not happy coming home (too early as in 7am and I was hoping to enjoy the noon checkout) but it was cheap.  My son paid $345 CAD including all taxes and I used Airmiles for mine so it was $150 for the taxes.  Departure was scheduled for 2:30pm arriving at 5:15pm.  The flight was really painless from everything like getting to airport,  security and customs.  No lines anywhere and we arrived 25 minutes early in Vegas too.  A very stress free day which was nice.

We got a taxi.  No wait and were on were way.  He was super friendly until I said "No Tunnel" then never said another word the whole ride.  Fare was $24 after airport fee.  Check in was also painless.  No line and I walked right up to registration.  She was very nice and asked us if we any special requests such as "close to elevator" or "view" so I asked for both.  She said she had done that for us and handed us our keys for the 8th floor with directions to the elevators on a map.

She was correct in telling us that we were close to the elevator, only a couple of doors away, however, the view was nothing to write home about.  It wasn't even worth trying to take a night time shot of it.  I would have to wait till morning to see what structure I was looking at.  The room was lovely though.  The bathroom had a separate toilet area, two sinks, a deep soaker tub, huge shower and a T.V.  I quickly set up my laptop so I could check the NFL scores only to find my Broncos were handed their first loss of the season from Indy.  :(

I was surprised, but these beds were not that comfortable.

We settled in, unpacked a little and realized we were starving.  So down to the casino we went.  It was about 7pm now and we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast.  I knew Grimaldi's was on the 2nd floor at the Palazzo so we asked for directions for the closest exit to get there.

Very simple, follow all the high end shops out, take a left to the bridge, cross it and then you were there.  We walked in and could smell the glorious smell of pizza wafting down on us. Up the escalator and there it was.

We were seated and menu explained to us.  Our server was very good though asked us how we were every single time he walked by which was a little annoying after the fifteenth time.  It did not ruin our experience by any means and I was able to watch the Philly/Dallas game on t.v. there.  We started with a Caesar Salad.  He advised us to get the small one ($7) and said it was perfect for two people.  He was right.  It was very good.  Crisp fresh lettuce and a great dressing that was garlicky and I could taste anchovies.  We both liked it.

For pizza we ordered an 18" and split it choosing two types ($25).  One side was three meats (sausage, meatballs & pepperoni) called "The Don" and the other was called "The Brooklyn Bridge" which had sausage, peppers and ricotta.

The pizza was delicious!!!  We both enjoyed "The Don" the most.  I managed two slices.  My son three.  He told me how happy he was to be on vacation with me and it warmed my  heart.  It was a fantastic dinner.  The game went to overtime and the Cowgirls lost.  My son ordered Tiramisu ($5) and it was also fantastic.  I just had a bite, he polished it off.  Our waiter packed up the leftover pizza for us.  With a half carafe of house wine and soda, bill was $49 before tip.  Very good value, excellent meal.  We were extremely satisfied.  AND, this restaurant had its own bathroom!  Very rare to find in Vegas.

We walked over to Walgreens after, a block further and got some water, wine, snacks, etc. for the room.  Then we hauled it back and decided it was time to gamble.

We stayed on the Wynn floor.  I quickly lost my $100 budget for the day.  My son fared a bit better and only lost $50.  We returned to the room before midnight and called it a night.  Not before we each had another slice of pizza though.

I'm strong to the finich, 'cause I eats me Spinach, I'm Popeye the sailor man! (toot, toot)

Monday, November 9th:

We awoke about 10am.  I opened the curtains to look at our "non-view"...

 Looking Left

Looking Right

I decided we should go to the Peppermill for brunch.  I have always wanted to check this place out.  It was a bright sunny day, about 70 degrees.  Perfect weather for me.  We got directions to cut through the self park lot and it would take it Las Vegas Blvd a couple of blocks away.  And it did.  We were there in no time.

It was packed and a line up as well.  The hostess took our names and we went into the Fireside lounge for a drink while we waited.  This was a nice dark comfortable place.  I ordered champagne and my son had a Pina Colada.  Our view was into the fire pit, below.

After our drinks were served, we were called to our restaurant table.  We carried our drinks over.  It is really nice in there too.  Soon after we were seated a photographer came by the table and said we would receive a "complimentary" photo.  We posed and off she went saying she would return.  My son ordered Eggs Benedict, below.  He said they were fantastic and cleaned his plate clean.

I ordered the soup and salad which was Potato, Cheese, Bacon and a Spinach Salad.  I asked her what it was dressed with and she said a "sweet red sauce".  I'm not sure why I didn't change it to Blue Cheese now that I think of it...our photographer came back as soon as our food was dropped.  She gave me the complimentary photo (like a postcard) and then offered to sell us the photos, 2 for $21 or 1 for $16.  I declined the offer.

The soup was served luke warm and it had zero flavor pretty much.  I jazzed it up with hot sauce but I ended up not eating this.  The salad dressing was super sweet!  I did eat it all though.  We departed and decided to make a stop at "Ross Dress for Less" which is right next door.  I found a few things and my son was bored out of his head though he did buy some cologne.  We walked back to the room to drop the load off.  We checked out the pool as our maid was in our room when we got back.

When we got back the second time, she was done.  I had a glass of wine and then we departed to walk to the Tropicana.  It was nice but a little windy.  It didn't bother me once we started walking.  We made a quick stop at the Cromwell.  Lost $20 each in about a minute and then carried on.  Next stop was at the Hard Rock for Happy Hour.  We had five drinks (3 well and 2 wines) for $23 before tip.  Felt rested from the walk but were hungry now so we headed across the street to Shake Shack.  I had wanted to go to the original in New York years ago but never made it, so now would be the time.  Just like Grimaldi's too.  I knocked off two "To Do" restaurants from my list this trip.

We ordered 2 single burgers.  I had a special with caramelized onions called the "Roadside".  Son got a "Smokehouse" and rootbeer float.  I got a wine.  We shared a side of cheese fries. They have all the calories listed beside what you select so you can see how bad you're being.  Meal came to $34.  They give you a buzzer and you pick up your order when its ready.  My wine was served first.  They had the Monday Night Football game on so we caught a bit of it.  Below, my burger is the top one.

The burgers were great.  Really enjoyed them.  Nothing special about the fries, nor the 685 calories or the $4 price for them.

Then we were stuffed!  So we waddled our way over to the Tropicana.  We went to the ticket desk.  I had vouchers for both the Laugh Factory and Raiding the Rock Vault.  I asked which show was first and it was RtRV, so we went with that at 8pm.  I have seen it before when it was at the Las Vegas Hilton which is now the Westgate.  I thought the show was fantastic so hoped my son would enjoy it too.  I was very excited to see Tracii Guns this time too.

Got our tickets and went and played slots.  I lost another $60 here but that included my drink for the show that I bought outside the theatre.  The show started right on time.  We were seated to the right of the stage, about 5 rows up after all the VIP booths.  Perfectly fine seats for General Admission.

 Andrew Freeman

Tracii Guns

The show was really good again.  Different than the last time I saw it too, so good to know it's always changing.  My son really enjoyed it and told me he only didn't know one song which I'm sure made it more enjoyable for him.  We discussed whether we should walk back.  I left it up to him but was secretly hoping he didn't want to.  He said it was cold so I jumped on that and told him we'd get a cab.  :)

$13 pre-tip and we were back at the Wynn.  We decided to gamble.  I only had $20 left of my daily budget so I was playing slots very slowly and waiting for a drink server.  My son got ID'd by every staff person that walked by him.  Everyone all day long told him he looked 12 years old.  One bartender at the Hard Rock told him he should just staple his ID on his forehead.  Anyway, we got a drink and managed to play for an hour or so.  I doubled my money so could play a little longer.  

We moved around and he got ID'd again and again, sometimes one would walk away and then another would walk over and ask him.  Son picked a "Spartacus" machine and I chose the "Lil' Red" machine beside him.  We ordered a second drink and this server said they were ID'ing everyone who looks under 40.  When she walked away I said to him, "Why didn't she ID me then?".  That made him laugh.  I'm 50 though lots of times feel like I'm a hundred.  As I was waiting for that second drink, my son had cashed out and I had $8 left.  I was slowly playing it, down to about 2 spins left when I got a bonus.  I ended up with $150 so I made back my $100 budget for today and a little extra.  I was happy.  It was a nice way to end the night.

We grabbed snacks from the "Drugstore Cafe" - $40 ouchie but it would go against our $150 F&B credit.  We went up to the room and retired for the evening.

Tuesday, November 10th:

It was our plans to get up and go to the pool.  However, when we looked at 9am it was cloudy and not a soul laying on the deck so I wrote this report and son went back to sleep.  When he awoke at 11am, he didn't want to swim anymore.  It was sunny and there were people around the pool now, go figure...

We showered and agreed we would go to Guy Fieri's for lunch.  Once upon a time, I was a fan of him and his Triple D show but his over saturation on the Food Network turned me off to the point of despising him.  However, my son likes him and I have to admit, I was curious if his food would be know that saying "curiosity killed the cat"...

So, looking in and around the restaurant that seemed to be half empty, I was surprised when she told us there was a 25 minute wait unless we wanted to be seated at the bar, which was pretty much empty.  My son wanted a table so I said OK and went and found a slot to amuse myself at.  When I finished (broke even), we went back and our names were called shortly after.  While we were sitting/waiting, there was this mother and daughter beside us.  The mother sounded like shows on t.v. where a Jewish mother with a New York accent is talking.  There was a large wall photo of Guy Fieri.  The mother waved her daughter over there.  She said, in the accent, "Get over there, go stand by "The Guy" and let me take your picture".  The daughter was embarrassed and smiled  sheepishly at us.  It was very cute.  :)

Our server was nice and friendly.  I ordered a "Tennessee Tea" drink special which was Jack Daniels Honey, Peach Schnapps and Sour mix for $5.  It was not bad.  So....let's just say that this place was going to be hard to please me, and it turns out I really was not pleased with the food I tried.  I ordered wings.

tossed in house-made buffalo sauce infused
with fireball cinnamon whisky, paired with Guy’s
blue-sabi (blue cheese + wasabi) dipping sauce
+ raw veggie medley

The word of the day was DRY.  These suckers were tough!  I personally don't like giant wings like that either unless they're turkey wings.  Tough to get off the bone, I really had to work at it.  One wing was whole too and I ended up having to eat it by cutting the meat off by knife and fork as I couldn't pull it apart.  Veggies were dry at the ends and didn't seem fresh.  Onion straws were dry and lifeless.  Dipping sauce was bland (I thought it was Ranch and was surprised when I read it was supposed to be Blue Cheese & Wasabi).

My son really enjoyed his burger.  I had a bite of the beef and the mac & cheese.  I found the burger dry and the mac & cheese just OK, nothing stand out.  I was glad he was happy with it and he said he liked it better than Shake Shack's burger.  Son did say the fries were not very good and dry.

Crispy applewood bacon, six-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty cheese) + donkey sauce, all stacked on a garlic-buttered brioche bun

Lunch was $60 after tip and I've now been there and done that.  We departed for the "High Roller".  We had a voucher for "Happy Hour" ($29 x 2) which was all you can drink for the 30 minute trip.

You go in to get your pictures taken by a green wall, then make your way to the pods.  They line you up on a mat, then have you all jump in.  The bartender was ready to mix some drinks.  We had about 10 others in our pod.  He mentioned tips/gratuity at least half a dozen times and expressed that is how he gets paid.  I drank an Orange Ketel One vodka and my son had Bacardi/coke on our way up to 550 ft.

They count you down when you reach the top.  We all counted down too and the bartender poured everyone shots.  And then it was back down.

The bartender offered drinks to go.  Everyone took his offer except my son,  but then everyone,  including the bartender made him.  :)  So he finally cracked to peer pressure and got one to go.  I think we had three drinks each and a couple of shots, then the one to travel with.  Tips went in the jar by most and then it was time to jump off.  A nice short and sweet journey.  I wouldn't feel the need to do it again but once was a good thing.  We bought our digital pictures (6) for $30 as we really liked one of them.

It was really cold and windy when we got off.  We were in shorts, so just quickly walked back to the room as it looked like it was going to storm.  Dark black clouds were hovering in the sky and the wind was swirling.  It was 54 degrees now.  We changed and went to the Encore to gamble.  While we were playing, I couldn't help but overhear a couple near to us.  He hit a bonus and then I could hear him saying to his wife, "Why are you never happy when I win?  I'm always happy when you do but I when I do, you just whine.  All you do is whine all day".  I didn't hear her, just saw her reaching into her purse for more money.  :)  Our gambling daily budgets soon dwindled so we went to the Terrace Pointe Cafe for dinner in the Wynn.

This casual eatery which overlooks the pool was open for dinner only because the buffet was closed.  Our hostess explained that there were many upset people because lots of others had the same offer as I did (3 buffets), but were not informed the buffet would be closed.  I told her that I had to choose "select dates" for my offer so I was also surprised when I found out online.

They started us off with some maple glazed dinner buns.  I ordered the unlimited wine package for $21.99 and started with sparkling.  I then chose a 3 course Prime Rib menu for $44.  My son chose Blackened Shrimp Fettuccine for $28.  This took care of our remaining credit.

My first course (below) is Crab Cake w/ spicy remoulade.

The sauce was Alfredo

The back side of the plate.  Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, haricots verts, mustard peppercorn sauce

These meals were really good.  I can't complain about anything except the outside of the prime rib was overly salty.  It was melt in your mouth tender.  I barely made a dent so packed it up for later.  I gave my son my dessert.  Two could have easily shared it, but I was stuffed.  I also had 4 glasses of wine now so was tipsy too.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae

We finished gambling our daily budget at the Wynn and then went up to the room for the evening.  It was close to midnight.

Wednesday, November 11th:

My son awoke about 10am and said he was heading to the pool for a swim.  I declined and just lazed in the room, pecking at writing this report.  I finally made my way to the shower and he returned as I was done.  We both got ready and he said he was starving.  I asked him if he wanted breakfast or lunch and he said breakfast so we returned to Peppermill.

This visit was so opposite of last time, bad service, bad food. Neither of us were happy with our menu items.  Too bad but no love here this time, unfortunately, especially for $50 after tip.

Mediterranean Omelet

The omelet was supposed to have Jack & Cheddar and Crab & Shrimp inside. It turned out to only have fishy tasting shrimp.  Below, I had something called "Munch's Breakfast".  This too was devoid of any flavor.  I ordered soft poached eggs, but got hard.  When I got the bill later, I saw my order was put in as hard poached.  Both dishes were super bland, but on the bright side, we were stuffed.  I only ate a quarter of my dish.

We made our way out and started walking the strip again.  I got quite a chuckle out of the street beggar with  a sign that said, "$$ Help me $$.  I need a penis reduction"...

Gondola ride at the Venetian

Our first stop was the Bellagio.  We took a wander through the Conservatory, and as always, was gorgeous.  I've seen Christmas, Spring and now Fall.

We trammed over to City Centre and walked to the Cosmopolitan.  I finally got my Identity card.  After all these trips, I got it done.  We played there, had a drink and lost most of our daily gambling budget.  Next we went to Aria.  Son had a MyVegas voucher for a crepe at Jean Phillippe so he filled that and got a Nutella crepe.  It would have been $11.50 if he was paying.  I didn't take a picture of it, just a few display cases while I was waiting for him to eat it.

After that we headed back to the Tropicana to pick up tickets for Laugh Factory.  Then we went over to MGM while we waited for the show to start.  Lost our remaining gambling money and then I was hungry so we went to Tap Sports Bar.  Unlike this morning, service was really good here.  And this restaurant also had its own restrooms.  We decided on some appetizer Nachos and I got a hot dog.  We were unprepared for how big the servings would be!  I ordered a Draft Pinot Grigio wine by Coppola.

Chili Nachos w/Pickled Jalapeños, Pico de Gallo, Fresh Guacamole, Sour Cream ($20)

House-Made Jalapeño & Cheese-Stuffed Frank, Pickle Spears,Sport Peppers, Red Onion Relish, Spicy Brown Mustard, Chicago-Style Poppy Seed Bun  $12.50

The hot dog was really good.  I ended up taking it out of the bun and just eating it with knife and fork as it was so big.  (I didn't need the bun carbs anyway, I had more than enough of those going on).  We got a choice of fries, onion rings or half and half so chose the latter.  Both were good.  I really liked the nachos.  I think because the chili was so good.  The two of us barely made a dent in them so got them packed to go.  We took the onion rings too.  I swear that bag felt 5 lbs. heavy!

Then it was time for the comedy show so we went back to the Trop.  The show was really, really funny.  The host was good and the two comedians were excellent.  The headliner made me laugh till I had tears.  His name was Carl LaBove.  I got to shake his hand after and he was a nice person too.  Great time!  We always do this when we're together on vacation.  

It was really cold so we decided to taxi back.  My son told me we had only walked 9.8 KM today.  I was ok with that but it felt like more to me.  When we got in the driver asked me if I wanted to go the fast way or the slow way?  I said, "well obviously I'd like to get back the fast way".  He said, "Great, I'll take the freeway then".  So, I said, "Sure, as long as that will cost about $13 just like taking Las Vegas Blvd would?"  And he said, "No, it will cost $16 - $20 and there is no way it will cost $13 on any way that I take.  You need to understand traffic".  I said I did and it cost me $13 the other night.  He reiterated that I don't understand traffic but I held my ground.  So he jumped out of the turning lanes and got back onto Las Vegas Blvd.  When we got to the drop off at Wynn, the fare on the meter was $12.  

We were both exhausted.  We picked at some nachos and then went down for the count.

Thursday, November 12th:

We slept in.  My son got up at 11 and went to the pool.  I declined and sat in the room and finished the nachos and had a glass of wine!  I caught up with my trip report and laid back down.  I was really tired this morning.  My son came back, showered and then went down for a pastry and a Mocha Coffee.  I got ready when he got back and we departed for the Mirage.

We had a 2-for-1 Carnegie Deli Sandwich MyVegas deal and two Secret Garden day passes to claim.  We went to the MLife desk and retrieved them.  Then we went for lunch.  The credit is for $21.  We got two Reuben's.  Those were $24 each, I think.  Anyway, they were so huge, almost my whole portion got packed up and I was stuffed.  My son did better and ate half of his.  This "to go" bag also felt like it weighed 5 lbs!

We gambled a bit, then made our way to the Secret Garden only to learn it was closing for the day.  So, we wandered to Walgreens for more room supplies and relaxed in the room until we were ready to head for dinner at the Bellagio for 9pm.  We took a cab ($9).  Went to the MLife desk.  We both had MyVegas rewards for 2 glasses of champagne each at Le Cirque.  I used this same reward last time I dined there and got two glasses of Veuve Cliquot - a splendid deal.

When I handed them to our server, he was very confused and asked me what these were?  Then I was confused.  He said one voucher was for Lily restaurant and that the value was written in on both as $20 for two glasses each.  I didn't know what to say but assured him they both rewards were for Le Cirque.  He said he would sort it out.

He came back with the Veuve Cliquot ($28 each) and told me they don't have any champagne for $20 a glass, let alone two for that price.  Then he said that normally the MLife desk writes on the voucher - 2 glasses of Veuve Cliquot.  He said he could only offer the $20 value as it was written but would waive the $16 extra.  Then he said he could not give us another glass and offered to bring the cocktail menu.  We each ordered a martini ($16 each).  We both got the 3 course prix fixe tasting menu for $105 each.  I paid a $19 supplement to mine so I could have the Dover Sole.

Only a couple of pictures turned out, as I was having problems with my camera (flash).  


I was instructed to dip the herb brush in the butter and then drag it along the fish.  The butter was so good, I ended up pouring it all over the fish.


Complimentary Mignardises

Service was excellent, as expected.  We enjoyed our meal and were actually happy to have some "lighter" food fare, for a change this evening.  My son had Diver Scallops.  Bill after tip was $352.  We walked back to the Wynn.  Stopped and watched the fountains but it was only ONE song.  Do they do that in the winter?  I seem to remember the shows being longer.

We were going to gamble but my son counted his money and realized he only had enough left for our last day tomorrow so we had a drink in the room and then went to sleep.

Friday, November 13th:

I awoke at 8am.  All that 5 lbs of leftover food from Carnegie Deli went in the garbage.  Such a waste.  My son was meeting a friend of his, someone he has gamed online with for the last nine years.  So he was coming from Spring Valley to hang out at the pool/hotel with him at 11am.  They (he brought his fiance) arrived on time.  We went down to meet them and then my son headed off to the pool.  I went to gamble.  I lost $50, then another $50.  Then I was on my last $50, I decided.  I sat at a machine (Quarter Mania) that was 5 lines but max bet was 6 quarters.  I hit bonus spins pretty quickly in, and won!!!  I hit a mini first and this one in the picture below.  This is the biggest win I've got in Vegas to date so I was really, really, happy.  :)

I stopped by the pool to tell my son and bought the 3 of them smoothies.  $10 each pre tip- ouch.  Then I sent them all to Zoozacrackers Deli for lunch and treated.  I came back down and ran to Dollar slots and quickly lost a hundred or maybe two, LOL, in under 5 minutes I think.  So, I calmed myself down and went for a $20 Margarita at the Zoozacrackers bar.  This drink lasted for quite some time and I got to chat with people and enjoy.  I ran over to the Sports Bar and bet Broncos to win the Superbowl for $20.  My ticket says it will pay me $180 if they do.  My son came in after his friends departed and I bought him a couple of drinks too and gave him a hundred for gambling.

I didn't know it came with beer too

We went back to the room for a bit and both were starving.  Son asked if we could go back to Grimaldi's so we did.  Pizza was as good as the first time .  We got a medium though, this time. After dinner we gambled in the Palazzo.  It was so much fun!  Son was on a hot streak and won on just about every machine he played.  We stayed until about 9pm and then said we'd close the night at the Wynn, but we went to the Encore first.  No luck there so made our way back to the Wynn floor.  

Son ended up going home with $300 tonight from his opening $600 budget.  He was very happy with that.  I lost half of my winnings from today, but it was so much fun to play "max" bet and dollar machines all night.  I really enjoyed myself.  We had to get to bed for a 7am flight so we were both good to call it a night just after 10pm though we stayed up till midnight and knew there was a 4am wake up call upon us.

Fun, fantastic trip!  I am blessed to have such a great kid and I loved this vacation, especially the time with him.  In a couple of days, I leave for Palm is good...

Limoncello Martini at Grimaldi's.  It was great!

1 comment: