Monday, September 11, 2017

Las Vegas Trip Report - September 4 - 11, 2017

I've missed Sin City so much and I'm always happy when I get a chance to vacation with my son.  He's 27 and I'm 52.  I did try to get him to go to San Francisco this time, but he wanted Vegas instead.  So, we chose the Bellagio.  Luxury when I go with him, and downtown when I go by myself.  That's the great thing about Vegas - each trip is a new/different experience.  We chose between Bellagio, Aria, Wynn or Cosmopolitan and I got the best rates for Bellagio.  It was $1600 USD all in, after taxes and inclusive of the $39 per day resort fee for 7 days.  That was for two beds in a "Resort Queen Room".  Staying here also let us use some "MyVegas" rewards too, so we each got $50 & $25 free plays at the Bellagio, and a dinner buffet.  Any little bit helps.  My favorite part of Vegas is always planning where to dine.  This was no exception and I thought I could do it all with 7 days this time, but alas, there were many restaurants on my list that didn't get any love - always a reason to come back.  There are also many I would have liked to repeat from past trips but didn't do because there's too much new to seek out...

Monday, September 4th:

This travel day was very easy. Flight left just after 11am and we were at LAS 1:40pm.  Luggage came quickly and we used Lyft to pick us up.  We chose a shared ride (4 of us) and were gone in 5 minutes.  I chose $5 off for 2 rides as my sign up bonus, so it only cost me $5.43 for the fare.  I tipped him $5.  We did mobile check in at the Bellagio the day before so had just a short line and our room was ready.  Lovely room and the view was okay, at least not of a parking structure or something.  We were on the 27th floor in a non-smoking room (West Wing). I had a "Crown Royal" I had bought from duty free, but it wasn't going down very well, so I left it.

We unpacked.  When you check in, they tell you if you move anything in the mini bar, you will be charged and they leave this reminder too.

We walked to the Vdara hotel entrance and then over to Aria.  We gambled a little.  We played some Buffalo Grand machines and son was up $70 and I $100... and that took us to 5:30 Happy Hour at Bardot Brasserie.

calvados | gin | cognac $7

I started with some salmon tartare.

fresh & smoked salmon, chive mascarpone, everything brioche

My son had the burger and said it was the best one he's had in a long, long time.

prime rib patty, comté cheese, garlic aïoli, watercress,
bordelaise onions & hand-cut fries

cheese fondue, mushroom bread pudding, haricots verts,
vin jaune au jus, petite salade verte

The chicken dip was splendid!  Loved everything about it. This meal really hit the spot. The breads were all fantastic which you would expect.  After tip, it was about $80.  We walked over to the strip and did some shopping.  I wanted to buy some work clothes at "Ross" and "Marshalls".  I was successful though it took some time to root through the racks.  My son was very patient with me.  We walked back and dropped it of at the hotel.  

We went to the Mlife desk to get our "MyVegas" rewards.  When I booked the buffet, the only black out day was Sept. 4th but she told me Sept. 1 - 10 was now blacked out.  So, we didn't get it but got the $75 ($50 & $25) in freeplay each.  I cancelled the buffets later.  We were now getting hungry again and decided to end the night with Giordano's pizza.  I have never been to Chicago and never experienced "authentic" deep dish so was really excited to go.  It was over at Ballys and the whole area was new since our last visit.  Below is a picture of it when it was daytime.

We went to CVS and picked up some water and wine for the room.  That was new too and convenient, if not expensive though...

It takes 45 minutes for it to be done, but it was a sight to see when it came out!

CHICAGO CLASSIC $23.95 (small)
Pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions

Our server showing us his best cheese pull (their slogan, not mine)

This was good stuff.  We both enjoyed it.  Dinner was $45 after tip.  We took our leftovers with us.  We walked back to our hotel and were soon in bed, just before 1am.  The beds are sooo comfy at Bellagio.  I even bought what was supposed to be "their bed" at Sleep Country after my last visit, but as it turns out, it wasn't the same.  My "step app" on my phone said I had walked 7.2 miles today or 11.5 km.  It was all I could use as I had roaming off on my phone and couldn't use GPS.

Tuesday, Sept. 5th:

We awoke about 9am and had pizza for breakfast poolside.  It was cloudy and comfortable to start but by noon had become raging hot.  I had a couple of glasses of champagne and a few dips in the cool water.  It was so relaxing and felt like vacation.  

We returned to the room to get ready for the day.  This was our one and only "no plans" day with nothing booked, so we were looking forward to it.  We had originally planned to go to do the Bellagio buffet for dinner but since it was cancelled, it opened up whatever and that was kind of nice.  After we got ready, we decided to go gamble our $75 freeplay away.  And we did.  We decided to walk over to Caesar's Palace and try our luck there, and found we didn't have any.  We walked back to the Bellagio and went through the Conservatory.  Always beautiful and smelled wonderful as usual.

Above was my favorite to see - float like a butterfly, sting like a bee...

It was after 3 now and we were starving.  We decided to go to Bobby's Burger Palace.  We took the tram to Crystals Mall and walked down.  

This place has also always been on my "to do" list.  I have been to a couple of his restaurants (Mesa Grill & Bar Americain) and have always been pleased.  Unfortunately, this place was just average.  I was disappointed.  Everything we had came to $50.  As it is walk up and order, I left $5 for the servers as they were nice.  We "crunchified" our burgers for free.  Below is a picture of him doing that - adding potato chips to it.

Above - unfortunately that statement was not true at all...

Fried egg, bacon, American cheese

Queso sauce, roasted green chiles, pickled red onions

Combination of any two sides (onion rings & fries)

So, above, my son got the "shake of the month - $7" which was chocolate coconut and he raved about it!  He said it was the best part of his meal.  He said he'd go back to have just that, it was so good.  We both liked the fries too.  The burgers were ordered medium but were well done and DRY!  No flavor, and honestly hard to finish (I didn't).  At least my son had a runny egg on his to get it down.  I had a frozen margarita ($7) and it was pretty good - frozen was good on this scorcher day.  

We walked back to the Aria for a bit, tried our luck and were soon on our way back to the Bellagio.  We played back at "home" for a while until about 7pm.  We decided to go back to the room.  I wrote the trip report and had Crown Royal (better today).  We decided to go to late Happy Hour for 9pm at Harvest.  

So, we got seated and they had 3 cocktails for HH all for $7.  We selected and when the drinks were brought over, I asked about the HH food which was supposed to be a "snack cart" with $7 items.  Below is a cucumber concoction.

She said the cart would come around shortly.  HH is only from 9 - 10pm.  She brought regular menus and dropped those.  Twenty minutes later I asked again, and she said the cart would be by "soon" and that all it had was chips and breads and maybe we wanted to order from the menu?  I said I'd wait.  By 9:35 I just got the bill and left wondering if the "snack cart" exists.  We decided to go try Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips at the Linq.  

On our way, in the hotel, I walked the wrong way on auto-pilot and went to our elevators.  I saw the "elevator guard" who checks keys was preoccupied.  So I looked to see why and it was Tommy Lee of Motley Crue.  I told my son, who didn't know who he was and we kept walking.  But then I wanted to make sure, so I went back to the guard and asked him.  He said yes, and then I decided I needed a picture to show my friend.  I had so many opportunities, but I kind of lost my mind (half-cut at this point) and then Tommy Lee and the 2 girls he was with noticed me following them.  My son got embarrassed and told me I was stalking him.  So, I like ran ahead and hid behind a plant!  😃  All I got was this blurry picture below, but my son was relieved I gave up trying to get a better one!  My son kept calling me "fan girl".  I told him I thought Tommy Lee looked terrible and he remarked that he certainly couldn't tell by the women he was with.  Then he reminded me that I chased after him so how terrible looking was he?!  LOL.

We crossed the bridge to Ballys and walked down to the Linq.  

Our orders coming up

The fish was really good, as were the fries.  Cooked perfectly, lots of fish and not too much batter.  That with 2 drinks was $50.  We gambled our way back to the Bellagio with no luck.  Once back we stopped at a pair of "Rolling Stones" machines.  

I won nothing but listened to the song, "Shattered", which is still in my head.  My son got a bonus and won his daily budget back ($120) and another $40 on top of it.  We quit there and went to bed.  I was feeling no pain... My son said I was out cold as soon as my head hit the pillow.  My step app told me I walked 6.4 miles today or 10.2 km.

Wednesday, September 6th:

I felt a little pain today.  I think it was all the drink mixing I did yesterday, so I declined the pool and decided to sleep in.  Still felt shitty when I woke up at 9am.  Today was going to be busy and no rest for the wicked.  The first item on the agenda, was to eat so we headed off walking to the Wynn. 

My reason for booking lunch at the Country Club was for: THE IMPOSSIBLE BURGER - The sensational Impossible Burger, found only at a handful of restaurants in America, recently made its debut in Las Vegas, available exclusively at Wynn. The Impossible Burger is 100% plant based and looks, cooks, smells and tastes like ground beef, but is better for the planet and completely cholesterol free.  That's directly from their website.  I've never heard of it anywhere at home either.  And then we get there to find its no longer on the menu!  😞  I wanted to leave, but stayed because I was starving now.  My mind was fixed on that one item only.  The restaurant setting is really serene, classy and quiet.  A lot of business suits were dining around us.  It overlooks the golf course. 

Our server said that after winter, the golf course will close permanently and a lagoon is going to be built with a beach, jet ski rentals, etc.  She said a Boardwalk would join it with new restaurants and shops. She said they hadn't been told whether the lagoon would be for hotel guests only or not yet.

Blueberry infused Gin & Tonic ($16).  In the background was a drink called "Old Blue Eyes ($16)  Cocktails were delicious!

Complimentary warm bread basket

Open-Faced French Dip $22
Shaved Prime Rib Au Jus, Gruyère Cheese, Mustard, Caramelized and Crispy Onions

Son upgraded to fries with his beef dip $5 (too salty!)

Below was a lunch special of the day which was a crab cake sandwich with candied bourbon bacon.  I chose Parmesan Truffle potato chips.  The ingredients were all quality but lunch was just okay.  Good but not exciting.  Visually pleasing but nothing knock out in taste.  I liked the pickled veg the best that came with mine.  Bill came to $113 after tip.

Looking at a Waterfall from inside the hotel

We put $20 in some slots and I cashed out $60.  We walked to Caesar's Palace.  The sun had come out and it was really hot again.  It was much better walking when it was clouded over this morning.  We got to Caesars and found the Colosseum box office.  We picked up our tickets for the Jeff Dunham show this evening.  We gambled a little and then walked back to the Bellagio and went back to the room for a rest and glass of wine for mom.  I also had another bottle of water (3 down so far).  Hangovers are not easy when you get older!  I was beat now and from the walking too.  Already my "Steps app" said we walked 4.4 miles or 7 km, though I think it's generous.  I guess it was possible with all the walking inside the casinos though.  

At 4:30 we walked back to Caesars for Happy Hour at Rao's for 5pm. This has also been on my "to do" list.  I wanted a meatball!
We chose seats at the bar and had great bartender/servers. They treated us fantastic and brought us bread right away.

Fig, Procuitto, & Buratta Salad $10
Young Arugula, Balsamic Vinaigrette and Balsamic Reduction

The salad was terrific.  Buratta was delicious!  The whole combo was a perfect sweet, salty, tangy and crisp.  Yum.  The HH meatballs was a sandwich, which didn't seem necessary as we had all the bread we needed in front of us, so we chose them off the regular menu, below.

Ground Veal, Pork and Beef,
Italian Breadcrumbs & Seasoning,
Marinara Sauce

These were about the size of baseballs and were exactly what I hoped for, tender and flavorful.  We loved them!  We enjoyed one more HH dish.

Fried Ravioli $9
Fried Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli over Bolognese Sauce Topped with Ricotta Cheese

My son saw this dessert going to another customer and then decided he needed to have it too.  As good as you would expect at an old school Italian place.

Layers of Espresso Soaked Lady Fingers,
Mascarpone Mousse& Cocoa Powder

With 2 drinks each and after tip, bill was $127.  We left very happy and really enjoyed ourselves here.  Highly recommended.  We walked over towards the Colosseum for the show.  We sat down to gamble before we entered and I got lucky on a bonus and cashed out $210 richer on my first $20 in.

We entered and got to our seats. I bypassed the bar area inside as drinks were $20 each and a soda was $8.  We had bottled water with us so were fine with that.

The show was really good.  At times I laughed so hard, I was crying.  We enjoyed it a lot.  Afterwords we made our way over to Bally's.  I stopped at CVS for some more wine for the room and then we went to gamble.  I got lucky again and cashed out another $170 so it was a good night.  It was almost midnight and we thought we'd end with a trip to Wahlburgers.

O.F.D. Originally from “Dorchestah” 1/2 lb. burger, Swiss cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms & HOUSEMADE tomato jam  $12.95

I had one bite and that was enough.  It was disgusting.  The bun was so soggy, it ate like pasty mush.  The mushrooms were grey and had grey oil running everywhere.  The burger had zero taste.  They did take it off the bill and even offered to give me anything else on the menu on them, but I declined.  My son's burger was good.  He liked it but did say that the burger at Bardot Brasserie had all others beat so far...

BBQ BACON 1/3 lb. burger, white cheddar, bacon, fresh jalapeños, HOUSEMADE BBQ sauce & avocado spread $12.95

Our server was really nice though and provided great service to us.  I walked over Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken and got myself a couple of pieces to take back to the room.  

It was very good, though salty but my snack craving was solved.  It was 1:30am and we went to sleep.  My "Step app" said we walked 7.4 miles or 11.9 km today.

Thursday, September 7th:

I awoke at 8am and wrote the trip report.  I felt great today!  So much better than yesterday morning.  I let my son sleep and I showered and got ready before I woke him.  First business of the day was lunch at Momofuku.   We walked over to Vdara and then down to the Cosmo from there.  We slotted around for a bit and lost quickly and then went to lunch.

The "Milk Bar" is right beside it and has sweet offerings.  I haven't been to a David Chang restaurant yet and had high expectations.  I was hoping they would be met.  I have really admired him since I saw him on Mind of a Chef.  We have some excellent "ramen" in Vancouver, so I have high standards.  I started with the cocktail below for $18.  It was very good, and very smokey tasting which was quite interesting.

Mezcal Mule – mezcal, passion fruit, ginger, cucumber, chili

Pork Belly Bun (Bao)– hoisin, scallion, cucumber  $7

Shrimp – spicy mayo, pickled red onion, iceberg  $8

The buns were very tasty.  We enjoyed them, especially with the Ssam sauce.  That was so good I bought a bottle to take home for $7.50.

We both ordered the pork ramen.  I got mine with shiitake mushrooms for an extra $2 so it cost $20.

Pork Ramen – pork belly & shoulder, slow poached egg

I asked if the noodles were made in house but our server said they are not.  The broth was extremely flavorful.  I liked it a lot and it was not too salty.  This dish did not disappoint.  It still didn't beat my favorite ramen spot at home, but it was very impressive.  We couldn't finish the noodles, there were a ton of them in the bowl!  Bill was $112 after tip.  Son bought a cookie from the milk bar for later.  We walked over to the Miracle Mile shops and made some purchases with my winnings from last night.  We headed to the Planet Hollywood casino and found the Mandera Spa.

I dropped my son off as he was getting a massage.  I went down to the casino to wait for him.

I sat at a quarter machine and put in $20.  I thought it was $.75 for max bet but it turns out it was 9 lines and I cringed after I hit max bet.  But then, on that first spin I hit something and credits were rolling in.  I couldn't see what I won in cash, only credits so I cashed the ticket out to see.  I was shocked...and happy!  My luck continues.

I played a bunch of machines for the hour - ended up about $60 down.  I then went up to meet him.  He said his massage was great and I was glad for that.  We decided to go back to the hotel and swim but a wind was swirling and it was looking ominous and dark outside.  Drops were spitting on us as we made our way back to the Bellagio.  We went to the room.  I gave him a $150.  He said, "when I win, he wins".  I had a glass of wine and wrote the report up while he showered again.  We went down to the casino to gamble again.  And my luck continued.

Thanks to Uber, we went off strip to dine.  A tip to know is that the Bellagio WiFi does not work where Uber picks up, so if you're using that, order the Uber in the lobby before you go down to wait.  It cost me $9 to go to Hobak on Spring Mountain Rd.  They do Korean BBQ and cook it for you at your table.  They also use Black Angus beef & Premium Heritage Pork.  My son and I are not exposed to Korean dining often and are kind of novices at the food, but I've been learning more as I go along.  Like that Jap Chae (glass noodles) is my favorite dish!  I ordered it tonight as below and we both thought it was fantastic.

We ordered a family combo for 2 and that gave us 4 cuts of beef and pork for $59.  Numerous bowls arrived and they kindly explained what everything was and how to eat it.

From the top down, radishes, bok choy and kimchi

Left to right, Cheese which was melted to be a dip, Green salad and a Shredded Green Onion salad

Green Onion pancake and Pickled Daikon (I think)

Steamed Egg

Soybean paste soup

And then they brought the meat over.  It was kind of overwhelming.  😋 Below was the marinated skirt steak they started with.

The other meats left are below.  Clockwise from the bottom left was spicy Angus boneless short rib (our favorite of the evening), aged pork ribs and aged short ribs.

It was a lot of meat.  I bailed at the end, but my son was a trooper and finished most of it.  He even managed to eat the free dessert he chose which was chocolate ice cream sandwiches.

Bill after 20% tip was $102 and that included 2 drinks.  When we left, there was a long line up of people waiting to get in.  It was smart going earlier in the evening. It was 8pm when we departed.  Well worth it and we enjoyed the experience immensely!  Uber was the same fare back.  We gambled for a while.  I lost the $190 from earlier and about another $60.  We called it a night.  I felt like I barely walked today.  My "step app" said I walked 4.9 miles or 7.8 km.

Friday, September 8th:

We set a wake up call for 7:45am so we could go to the pool.  We were there shortly after opening (it opens at 8am).  We stopped to get two coffees and croissants at Palio, the place beside the pool.  I was shocked when she told me it was $28!  The ham and cheese croissants ($8.50 each) were yummy though.  I guess I should be used to the prices by now.  I paid $18 at the pool for a Bloody Mary too and didn't flinch at that...

It was a pleasant morning, cloudy but warm when the sun came out.

I had lunch reservations for Chica at the Venetian, but we decided to cancel and just stay poolside.  I noticed that these two guys on loungers beside us had their T-shirts wrapped around their feet. below...

I told my son I wondered why and he remarked, "Maybe they want something nice to smell, for later".  EWW, lol.  I think he was getting me back because I told him that I always tip the maid so she doesn't use our toothbrushes to clean the toilet.  😀  We stayed till noon, when thunder and lightning started.  They announced the pool deck would temporarily close.  We made it in just before the sky opened up and POURED.  It didn't last long and was over in a half hour.  We went back to the room though and got ready for the day.

We made our way over to Bally's as we had tickets for Paranormal this afternoon.  We picked them up at the box office there.  I cashed out $90 on my first $20 that went into a slot, so we went and got a snack before the show at Burger Brasserie.  I used my winnings to pay for it.

We liked the Garlic Parmesan wings.  After we finished, it was time to get to the show.  I guess I had bought "premium" seating though I didn't remember that I did or why.

When we got seated, he moved us inside by 2 seats and told us the better two seats were "reserved".  I said to my son that they were reserved for the "plants" and to watch if they made it into the show.  The people arrived just as the show started.  The front row, also had the same thing and they arrived a couple of minutes after the show started.  Sure enough, one person from both of those sets of people made it on stage.  Makes you go hmmm.  Nevertheless, the show was entertaining and we enjoyed it.  We made our way to Paris and gambled and lost, then back to Bellagio to get ready for dinner.  It was raining pretty hard.

Always on my "To Do" list, but not yet done was Lotus of Siam Thai restaurant.  This time it would be a reality.  I have read so many reviews, food boards, articles, etc. and I was excited to finally make the dream come true.  Uber/Lyft made this easy for us.  When I stay downtown I am close but always by myself so never can go as I want to sample more than one dish.  Fare was $12.  I used Lyft tonight as the app told me it was only a 1 minute wait, whereas Uber said 20 minutes and that would make us late.  So, I got $5 off again.  I tipped each driver $5 no matter what the fare.

We arrived in the pouring rain and found a huge line up to get inside.  We made our way to the hostess and checked in with our reservation.  We were asked to sit at the bar while we waited for our table.  They have a huge wine cellar and feature German wines.  The bartender told me I should get a split of Sparkling wine rather than the glass as it was better value.  My son got a Thai iced coffee.  That was $27 before tip and we paid when were served.

We got a text that our table was ready so made our way back to the hostess.  We were seated in front of the wine cellar.  I had spent some time looking at the menu before we came as it is huge and would take a very long time to sort through it!  I knew what I wanted to order.  My son added a dish that he liked with some peanut sauce.  Below are the two appetizers we ordered.  We ordered our food at "5"on the scale of 1 - 10. They said Tabasco sauce would be a 3.

Chicken wings stuffed with ground pork, deep fried, served with homemade sweet and sour sauce.

Crispy rice mixed with sour cubed pork sausages, cilantro, green onions, grounded dry chilis, ginger, peanuts and lime juice.

I used the washroom and noticed that the ceiling was leaking...  As we were finishing up our appetizers, one of the servers came to our table and told us the restaurant was closing due to the rain and leaking.  He advised that their roof was in the middle of being repaired and that the silicone had been done today, but now the rain was ruining it and the kitchen had to close.  He told us our bill was comped and set it down at the table with $0 owing.  Our two apps were $20.  

Our other server came by and brought our next two dishes.  I was confused but we were happy.  The restaurant was clearing out fast and steady now.

A completely different dish from the Issan larb, this northern style larb (ground pork) is cooked with northern Thai spices without the lime juice; garnished with fresh herbs and vegetables.

Stir-fried with eggs, onion, tomato and chicken

Homemade Peanut Sauce

They informed us that our last dish of KHAO SOI w/shortrib would not make it to the table.  Of course, that's what I was looking forward to most, but I understood.  They were so apologetic and kind.  They brought us over some complimentary coconut ice cream and got my son another iced coffee.

I offered to pay the bill again but they wouldn't let me, so I tipped $40.  I had to turn on my data roaming to order the Lyft back as they don't have WiFi and we stepped back outside into the rain.  The food tasted amazing at what we had, and we both said we will have to return next trip.  Fare was $12 going back and we gambled (no wins, just losses) in the Bellagio for an hour or two before falling to bed about 1 am.  We didn't make 10,000 steps today.  "Step App" said I walked 4.1 miles or 6.5 km.  That was hard to believe.  Felt like I only took a few steps today at most!

Saturday, September 9th:

Today was going to be another busy day.  The roads still looked wet but the sun was out.  We got ready and walked to the Venetian for lunch at Sugarcane.  It was cloudy and pleasant to walk so we put on a good gait and got there pretty quickly.  This establishment was at "Restaurant Row" and we found it okay after asking security to point us in the right direction.

We were seated near the kitchen where all the orders came out.  I enjoyed watching that.

goat cheese croquettes membrillo marmalade / $12

One of the croquettes cut in half - these were heavenly!

smoked bacon $6

buttermilk waffle berries, vanilla crème / $13

I tried to order the Oxtail Benedict but she told me they were fresh out of oxtail...I ordered sausages but they were raw inside.  My server had disappeared so I had to flag down the food expediter and he told the manager.  The manager came by and told me he would get proper cooked sausages done immediately, but they never arrived at all.

housemade sausage $6

I guess I got distracted and forgot to take a picture of my dish, but I ordered truffled toad in the hole brioche, sunny side up egg, melted robiola, truffle oil, honey, black truffle (2 teeny flecks) / $14.  It was pretty good though the egg was slightly under cooked and slimy.  I just scooped the raw parts out. I never saw another person to ask about the sausages so I just asked my server to take it off the bill as we had finished eating and had been sitting and waiting for attention.

Eventually the manager came over and apologized again.  Said he took another 20% off as well and said if I came back tomorrow he'd give me something else for free.  Lol.  He dropped the bill.  It was $50 with deductions.  I waited forever for our server to make change and finally just scraped $60 up and put it in the bill holder.  She arrived just when I did that.  Service could use a little improving, but the food was tasty.  We gambled at Venetian & the Palazzo and I lost quickly.  I lost my daily budget.  Son was up about $80.  We walked over to the Mirage.  We played a Zorro machine for two people and had a lot of fun on it.  We enjoyed great coffee drinks (Baileys and Irish) as well.  We cashed out with $50 each so I made back almost half my money.  We walked back to Bellagio and I lost more as did my son.

We got back to the room, freshened up - I wrote the trip report and had a drink.  We took the tram to Crystals.  I saw this on the Trip Advisor Las Vegas forum and had to do it.  I phoned a month and a half ahead and was able to get a reservation for the day I wanted.  It was for Akhob, by James Turrell (please click the link to see what it's about).    This is in the Louis Vuitton store at Crystals Mall.

I'll be honest, I've never stepped foot in a Vuitton store before as it is far out of my price range for shopping, so why bother torturing myself with what I can't have?  The art intrigued me, and best of all, it was free!  How could I not go?  I have been through Crystals Mall many times but always felt way out of my element there.  I felt that way once we checked in still.  Our hostess asked how much I knew about Louis or the artist and I was honest and told her "nothing".  No pictures are allowed at all.  She showed us different art throughout the store and told a little about Louis.  We finished with the Turrell display.   You sit and sign a couple of pages of waivers before you enter.  That made me nervous.  The link above describes it best.  It was very interesting and I enjoyed the colors and feelings of "infinity".  A unique experience for sure!

We walked to the Tropicana next.  We had reservations for dinner at Robert Irvine's Public House.

We also had to go pick up our tickets (Groupon) for the Laugh Factory.  We always do this when we come to Vegas together. We love the stand-up comedians.

This place was huge (like Irvine's biceps) and the setting was comfortable.

bbq spice rubbed, Robert Irvine’s Signature Blue Flame Buffalo Sauce, celery, ranch dressing $14

fig jam, goat cheese, arugula, lemon, parmesan  $18

maple & sherry vinegar, braised kale & chard, buttery sriracha sauce  $26

banana, toffee, espresso ice cream  $8 

I had the duck.  The duck itself was delicious (high five on that)!  I did have a problem with the sauce as the vinegar was so overpowering it made the veggies inedible. I noticed broccolini in mine more than chard or kale.  The sauce did cut the richness of the duck but destroyed the rest of the plate.  After 3 drinks and coffee, the bill was $136 after tip.  It was all good, but nothing outstanding...well, maybe that duck qualifies...

We went to the comedy show and had a fun time, as always.  We walked over to the Excalibur and then NYNY.  I couldn't find how to get back on Las Vegas Blvd, so we just called a Lyft.  I always started with Uber first, but the wait times were much longer.  Lyft was always immediate, so we used them most this trip.  It was there within a minute and was $7 back to Bellagio.  We played some quarter slots and both stopped when up about $150 each and decided to leave the TITO for tomorrow.  "Step App" says we walked 8.3 miles today or 13.3 km.  It actually felt like this was true for a change!  We crashed about 1:30am.

Sunday, September 10th (a.k.a. Last Day):

Today was designated "lazy day". We slept in.  Had bubble bath to start the day.  Wish I had a nice tub like this at home...

I caught up on the trip report and we got ready for brunch at Lago inside the hotel.  Seemed interesting - Julian Serrano doing Italian... We went and gambled a bit before.  We played the Sharknado machine yesterday but only saw it at the Bellagio (not that we were looking hard for it anywhere else).  It was always busy, though we had more fun on Zorro.

This restaurant is gorgeous with a capital G! 

Looking left from our table

Looking right from our table with fountain view

It was a "Hotter than Hades" type of day so I was not interested to sit on the patio in the slightest but they have one overlooking the fountains.  I chose to do unlimited drinks which was between Mimosas, Bloody Marys (or Caesars) or Bellinis for $28.  I started with a Caesar.  Below, the squirty things are Horseradish, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.

Complimentary pastries

The brunch menu was two courses and then a dessert bar for $38 each.  They did offer a couple of other selections for $18 each like lobster benedict which you would swap out for one of your courses (not dessert).  Those that like sweets would enjoy this a lot.  They had a combination of fresh juices, like smoothies, but were not doing them on this day.  My son drank coffee instead.

pancetta | egg yolks | pecorino | black pepper 

raw ahi tuna | citrus colatura di alici

house made Italian sausage | fried egg

 meat sauce | poached eggs (perfectly poached, I might add)

I tried it all and everything was on point and what you would expect at a fine dining place.  The only service flaw I saw was that the food was dropped with dirty dishes from the previous course not being picked up first. No problem, just an observation.  Other than that, all was spot on.  I had 2 mimosas more (one peach, one orange).  We went to the dessert bar.

Bill was $140 after tip.  We were going to go to the pool, but I derailed that plan when I had an hour nap instead (Carb overload?)!  I awoke and then we went to the pool for a couple of hours.  It was packed, as you can imagine when so hot outside.  

We did get an umbrella around our favorite spot though, so felt lucky.  We got back to our room and got ready for the evening.  We walked over to Bally's again.  Tonight we had the Travelzoo voucher for BLT Steak.  I paid $115 and then received a $210 credit.  I liked the idea a lot and hoped the food would be what you expect at a good steakhouse.  Service was nice and everything started well.  The popovers and complimentary duck pate with port were very tasty.

For appies I chose a special of the night which was Kale, Sausage soup $15.  Son had the bacon, below.

So, the soup had zero kale in it, not a speck.  It was like a potato soup with sausage.  I told my server and got it removed from the bill and he gave me a free glass of wine.  The kale was why I ordered it.  We decided to order the Wagyu steaks.  I got the filet mignon and my son got the ribeye.  

AMERICAN WAGYU FILET MIGNON 6 oz / $65 (med rare)

AMERICAN WAGYU RIBEYE 12 oz / $92 (med rare)

The filet was tender but a little more rare than medium rare. My son loved it, so I gave it to him.  I usually order ribeye but knew I wouldn't eat much steak.  Unfortunately, it was grisly and rather chewy.  For almost $100 you would expect a melt in your mouth tender steak, not what we got.  The taste was good but it was really hard to slice.  It was cooked properly though so I don't know why it was so tough to chew?  We left about half the steak.

Mac N Cheese / $12 

Stuffed Mushroom Caps / $12

Warm Chocolate Tart
Pistachio Ice Cream  $11

The sides were good, I didn't care for the mushrooms that much, probably because they were so visually unappealing.  I was disappointed overall, mostly because I wanted the final dinner in Vegas to be a great one.  Can't win 'em all, can you?  Bill would have been $275.  It was $65 after the deduction and I tipped $55.  

We made our way back to the casino for a bit and then back to Bellagio to end the night.  We went up and down but ended up down a couple of hundred each.  I saw I had $9 in comps so we went to the snack bar and I got a hot dog!  It was good too.  Son had a shake and we called it a night.  "Step App" said we walked 3.3 miles or 5.3 km which didn't seem possible again and very, very generous.

Monday, September 11th:

Our flight goes back at 1pm today so I am just finishing the trip report before we check out.  We're puttering and packing up.  It always is great time in Vegas and we both enjoyed ourselves, as usual. However, I am done with all the "Excessive" carrying on of eating and drinking and look forward to getting back on track with diet, etc...need a vacation from the vacation now.  Gotta love it though!  Until next time Vegas...💖


  1. I really enjoyed this detailed trip report and all the terrific photos of your dining experiences. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Michael! I'm glad you enjoyed my love of good food. Cheers!