Friday, May 20, 2016

Downtown Las Vegas Trip - May 15 - 20, 2016

I told everyone I know that there would be no trips to the U.S.A. this year with our bad Canadian dollar.  I came home from work one day in February and had a large flyer in my mail from the "D" hotel.  My offer was 3 days free with no resort fee in April or May.  That also included a $25 Food & Beverage credit and $25 Free play on Slots and $25 Match Play on tables.  I had some vacation booked off for May with no plans so called the hotel.  The offer was valid for those days and my 2 extra nights were $28 USD (Wed) and $35 USD (Thurs) with a $20 resort fee for each of those two nights for $116 USD total for 5 days.  So, I booked it.  I could cancel up to 48 hours before.

I got airfare from Bellingham, WA on Allegiant for $150 USD or $200 CAD.  I was OK with that since that price included luggage and taxes too.  By the time it was mid-April, our dollar had come back a little so it didn't feel as bad.  I was glad I had booked.

Sunday, May 15th:

This will be the most unexciting trip report I have written, at least to me it is - I bored myself! I had been fighting a nasty cold/cough for the last week and it had finally taken hold of me Friday night.  Saturday, I was really debating just not going, I felt like bloody hell.  Sunday, it hurt to cough and I felt like a big bag of poo...I called my cab at 9:45am to take me to the train station where I was catching a bus to Bellingham airport.  The drive and flight were relatively painless though I coughed the whole way on the bus, thank goodness there was only one other person, the driver and me.  I probably had twenty cough drops today!  I used Showtime shuttle when we arrived and got to my hotel just after 7pm.

There was no line, so I was checked in immediately.  I  felt awful!  I dropped my luggage, then I made my way to the ABC store on Freemont and bought some cold/flu pills and water.  I was starving, so I bought a Coney Island Chili dog at my hotel.  Then I went to the room, ate and took the pills.  I didn't sleep well, coughed all night and woke up every hour.  Also the noise/bands on Freemont traveled right up to the 25th floor I was on and I could hear the ruckus quite well...

Monday, May 16th:

I stayed in bed until 11am and then decided to unpack, shower and try and get out for awhile.  However, when I went to use the shower, it either didn't work or I didn't know how to turn it on!  I had to call guest services to send someone to come look at it.  He came right away and it was indeed broken, but he fixed it in about 10 minutes.  When I was ready, I went downstairs and gambled a little.  Broke even and then used my $25 voucher at the "D Grill" for lunch.  I ordered chicken fried steak.  I pecked and had a couple of bites, but I had lost my appetite and was starting to lose my taste and smell of food as well...

My bill was $15 and she told me they don't give any change.  I told them that was fine and went back to the room.  It still wasn't cleaned but the cart was in the hall now, so I went back down to gamble while I waited.  I sat at a "Buffalo Gold" machine and put in $40 and played $3 a spin.  When I got down to $12.75 left, I hit a bonus and then kept winning spins.  I took the picture below when I started winning...

...and it just kept going, and going and going!  74 free spins in total!  This netted me my first ever hand pay!

Wow, that was exciting, though the US Taxman took 30% so $688 came right off.  I tipped her $60 and collected just over $1500.  I wasn't complaining though.  I took my win and went back to bed.

I woke up at 5pm and felt even worse.  I had antibiotics with me so took them.  I knew if I did that, it would mean I had to quit drinking, but I wasn't drinking anyway at this point.  I went back to sleep, coughing relentlessly.  I awoke and decided I should try and eat, so looked at the room info and saw I could order from "Nacho Daddy".  I ordered a chicken kale salad, cheese quesidilla and two bottle waters for $32 pre-tip ($30 minimum order).

It was here in about 15 minutes.  I had a couple of bites.  I'm sure it was good, but I had no taste now and so I went back to sleep.   I awoke constantly, again, to the noise on Freemont Street and slept lousy.  That being said, the bed was super comfy!  I had no complaints about it at all.

Tuesday, May 17th:

I felt slightly better, still coughing but on the whole, there was a little improvement.  However, I had completely lost all sense of taste AND smell now.  I had pre-booked and pre-paid the Neon Museum for 10am this morning, but I knew I wasn't up for it.  You can't get refunds or re-schedule, so I lost that $18.  I went back to bed and slept restlessly until 11am.  I gambled at the Golden Nugget, got a tea at Starbucks then walked over to the California hotel.

I went to their Market Street Cafe and got some "Oriental Saimin (Ramen)" soup combo ($8).

I couldn't taste anything but salt in the broth which is what I was after anyway - broth.  It is so weird to eat food without taste buds working.  Texture becomes such a huge part, and I admit that most textures are unappealing...soup was the only thing that appealed to me.  I gambled there for a bit, saw this machine which was new to me.  Won $80 at it and then left.

I gambled at a few places, all losses pretty much today, and was starving about 7pm.  I was at the 4 Queens, so decided to try Magnolia's.  I ordered a cup of soup (cream of mushroom) and a French dip or as we call them, a beef dip.  All I know, is that the beef had a rubber texture that I couldn't even eat!  I dipped some of the bread in the au jus.  Between that and the soup, it was enough to fill me up.

Then I went back to the room and back to bed about 8pm.  Wow, how exciting!  I slept to the Freemont Street noise as usual...I think I was starting to find it comforting in a weird way...

Wednesday, May 18th:

I slept restlessly till 11am again.  I was seriously tired of not having any taste/smell now, so I went to Walgreens and bought some nose spray to see if it would fix it.  About a half hour later, it seemed to.  I got whiffs of scents.  I decided to go have lunch at the D Grill.  I ordered eggs benedict.  Unfortunately, I could taste this and it wasn't very good.  The hash browns seemed fine though.  I had a $5 off coupon so the meal only cost me $6 and change.  I've left and wasted a LOT of food so far...on the up side of that, I was sure I wasn't going to gain weight this trip.

I set off to gambling and lost again.  My hotel was really unlucky for me now.  I couldn't even hit bonuses and if I did, they were lame.  I did much better at the other hotels but wanted to spend some money here.  I lost about $400 here today.  The Game of Thrones machines were also new to me.

I got a bonus and cashed out before I lost.  Around dinner time, I wanted to get some "real food" so went to The Smashed Pig Gastropub on Freemont.  It was quiet in here but the decor was really nice.

I hit the last 10 minutes of happy hour so ordered 1 each of the 4 apps that were on HH special.  I also ordered the daily "sashimi/tartare".  It was tuna tonight. I also ordered chicken lettuce wraps.

These were three of the apps.  The slider was pork belly ($2).  The croquette was "shepherd's pie" ($2).  The other two were mac & cheese balls ($1).  The slider was tasty.  The frying was perfect on the others but unfortunately the insides were lacking in flavour.  I was so excited for that croquette too.  Too bad...I picked at everything.

These two dishes were good, but not exciting at all.  The chicken wraps were super salty, and I've had way better seared tuna dishes but this was balanced at least and had hot sauce on it for a nice kick.  Below are shrimp "fries" ($1) with some super sweet dip.  Meh.  I left those.

Service was good.  I was his only customer so we talked and chatted.  Bill was just over $20 so I got what I paid for, for sure.  I'd give them another chance.  And then of course, it was bed time!  This was my first night out after dark!  Even the canopy show was on.  This was the Who.

I stopped at the Freemont Casino for a bit.  This was my fave place this trip.  I enjoyed it here and always seemed to do well.  Then I went to bed to the "now soothing" noise of Freemont street.  I slept well - first time since I've got here...

Thursday, May 10th - a.k.a. last day:

I awoke earlier today and took some nasal spray so I could keep my taste/smell alive.  I went downstairs in the hotel and lost $300 pronto!  That meant I had now spent the $1000 I brought with me and was now spending my winnings.  I decided/realized to not sweat it and just be happy I was ahead still.

Then I decided I must have some GOOD food today.  So, that made my choice easy and I headed for lunch to my favourite place downtown which is Carson Kitchen.

I ordered the Butter Burger with Boursin, cheddar, lettuce & mayo.  It's served with spicy tater tots.  OMG! This was soooo good.  Finally, some great food!  I ate it all except for 3 tater tots.  I was so stuffed, but my taste buds thanked me - seriously, they did.  I was so happy!  I trotted back over to the Freemont Casino.

I even decided to have a couple of drinks today.  It was my last day and I was pretty bored of never taking up those free drinks that kept going by me and always ordering "water".  I got a nice Bailey's coffee with lots of whip cream.  It was really good.  I had a great cocktail server here so I tipped her well.  I sat down playing an older Wizard of Oz machine and just at $1.50 a spin.  Well, that first $20 in and quite awhile later turned into $300!  I had a nice roll on it.  I cashed out and played some old school quarter slots (1 pay line).  I hit one of those for $200 (2 doubles on the pay line) and cashed out.  I was back even with my money now and put back my "win" money to keep it untouched.  I still had a couple of hundred left.  I left the Freemont Casino on a happy note.  :)

Dinner tonight was at Andiamo Steakhouse at my hotel.  My reservation was at 8:30pm.  I was offered water and then my waiter came over and brought me some bread and caponata.

He came back twice to see if I was ready to order but never asked if I needed help or suggestions, so I just quickly decided.  I finally asked him which pastas were good and he was good and told me all but two of them that he didn't recommend.  I ordered 2 starters and a pasta.  I also ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio.  I had a bite of the caponata and it was very good.  Very quickly my first dish came out.  It was only warm, but the tastes were fine.  A nice garlic flavour in the sauce, but I wasn't overly impressed so far.

Escargot Bourguignon
Baked in mushroom caps with garlic butter,
finished with toasted bread crumbs - $16

My waiter came over twice to see if I was finished and while I had a mouth full, asked me if I was still working on my dish?   I was a little surprised by this, so quickly finished and he immediately brought the soup out.  I was starting not to like him...

Italian Wedding Soup
Herbed brodo with root vegetables, meatballs,
spinach, allice pasta - $8

I am a huge fan of this soup and this was very, very delicious.  I was really enjoying it.  When I was just over half done, my waiter was back with the pasta this time.  He just stood there holding it, looking at me.  Finally he said, "Am I too early?".  I looked at him, like DUH but he still stood there, so I told him to just put it down.  I took my time and finished my soup at the pace I wanted to.  I tried one bite of the pasta, but I was turned off now and just asked for it to go.  It was very delicious as well.

Handmade pasta filled with ground veal,
spinach mascarpone crème, black truffle, wild
mushrooms, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano - $26

He packed it up at the table and then asked if I wanted dessert.  I told him no.  I gave him my "Club" card because I had $20 of comps on it and wanted to use it with my bill.  He came back and was sure to show me the REAL total before the comp was applied, like he had to remind me to tip on the full price.  I did 20% because the bill was cheap.  If it was an expensive bill, I might have only gave him 15% because he annoyed me.  I had another bite or two when I got back to the room and then was in bed by 11pm with a wake up call for 6:45am.  I drifted off to the noisy Freemont street usuals and I slept right through until my wake up call.

Friday, May 20th:

Check out, shuttle, flight, shuttle home was all painless.  I won a little bonus at the airport while waiting to board.

My air/hotel/shuttles cost me $400 CAD for 5 days. I brought $1000 USD spending money and spent it all! I came home with $1600 USD though, so I guess you can call this a free trip!  That really made up for being so sick (and I still am) and really brought a bright side to what would have been a real downer of a trip otherwise.  I am really thankful for that.  :)

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