March 27 – April 10 2013
3/27 The morning of our
departure is always stressful, not for us, but for
Max-The-Schipperke. Ann does our packing behind closed doors, but
Max can still sense something is amiss and then goes into meltdown
mode at the first sight of our luggage. He immediately retreats to
one of his favorite hiding places, there are a total of 9, and ultimately has to be carried to the car. As usual, he
is occupying a junior suite on Alligator Alley at the VCA Cromwell
Vet for the duration of the trip.
The cost of parking for 15 days at Laz Valet Parking at Bradley International Airport was only $50 thanks to a coupon I received in a mailer from Valpak. We also took advantage of a $99 special for a complete interior/exterior detail of Max's RAV4.
Our SWA nonstop flight departed on time and in just 6 longish hours we were seated on shuttle #1 headed to the remote parking facility where we picked up shuttle #2 to Fox Rent A Car's remote parking lot. The 2-week rate was exceptionally high, so I booked 3 separate reservations which saved almost $100. Our mid-size Nissan Sentra had a little over 25,000 miles on the odometer and a few minor blemishes, but so do I.
The Fox facility is located just north of the South Point where we are staying. Check-in went quickly and, in response to my request for an upper level room as far away from the elevators as possible, we were assigned room #2496 overlooking the pool. I booked our reservation prior to March 1st so we were not subject to the recently introduced $14 per night resort fee.
We were soon seated at Miguel's Tequila Bar and asked for the happy hour drink menu. Our bartender indicated the $2 for any tequila drink happy hour was history and the new happy hour pricing is $3 for house margaritas, beer or a Cuervo shot. We chose house margaritas.
What he did not tell us until we were set to depart and after I toked him, was that we could have ordered off the old happy hour menu by showing our room key card. Note: the old happy hour pricing was discontinued as of April 1st. ($8, 2.5 Sips)
I should mention my To Do list for this trip included a number of happy hours (HH).
Our next stop was the box office to pick-up complimentary tickets to tomorrow's Dennis Bono show. I noticed the tickets no longer includes stubs good for a free drink. Boo on you Michael Gaughan! We then proceeded to the showroom for the Deja Vu show where we used funbook coupons to gain entry, a free drink (merlot) and a coupon good for $5 in free play. We do not particularly like the band so with wine glass in hand we departed for the Silverado lounge. http://www.dejavudanceband.com/
Dinner was at DonVito's Italian restaurant where we each ordered eggplant (with ricotta) Parmesan. Entrees include a side penne pasta with marinara sauce and a Caesar salad. http://www.southpointcasino.com/dining/don-vitos.php We received a bread basket along with their delicious dipping sauce of roasted red peppers and garlic cloves plus olive oil. Unfortunately, our Caesar salads looked like coleslaw and were devoid of any “Caesar” taste.
Our entrees were bountiful, but it was quite obvious each came from a different batch. Mine was topped with a large amount of melted mozzarella while Ann's was charred on the edges with little in the way of cheese. She ended eating less than half of hers and about a ¼ of mine.
We were both full so we used free dessert coupons from the funbooks received at check-in for takeout orders of tiramisu and cappuccino cheesecake. We also took advantage of the ½ point dining promotion that ran on Tuesday and Wednesdays in March. ($7, points, funbook, 2 Forks)
03/28 I am an early riser, but waking up at 1 AM is a bit much. I headed off to Sam's Town for the 7x points being awarded seniors. Had I checked my notes, rather than relying on my faulty memory, I would have known that senior day is now on Tuesdays. Duh!
It was mostly give and take during my extended video poker session with Sam doing more taking than giving, but as the countdown meter approached 15 minutes to departure I hit the 1st Quad deuces of the trip.
On my way back to the South Point, I made a short detour to an Albertson's for grapefruit, orange juice and bananas which constituted our daily breakfast unless otherwise specified. We tried to use the “free” in room WIFI service, but could not establish a connection so we stopped by the front desk and were told a “tech” would call us to set up an appointment. Note: we are still waiting.
We ended up checking our email at the Paseo Verde Library and picking up a few books for Ann. Being a little hungry, we stopped at a nearby In-N-Out Burger and ordered cheeseburgers and a small fry. After reading so many rave reviews of this franchise, I was totally underwhelmed. The burgers were the smallest and most overcooked I have experienced since my last visit to a Mickey D's and the fries were wimpy. ($7.25, 1.5 Forks)
Note: it is at this point I realized I have lost 100's of photos in the process of uploading them from our camera which is odd since all of them were uploaded at the same time.
We were running late so on our return to the South Point we made a quick dash, actually more like a slow stroll, to the room for our Dennis Bono tickets. His guests today were Clint Holmes, singer and acting co-host Reba Rice, comedian/magician Murray Sawchuck, singers Jennifer Delatorre and Laurie Schaffer. http://www.dennisbono.com/p4lvnow.htm (2.5 Claps)
On exiting, Ann headed off to the video poker machines while I entered the senior slot tournament. I scored just over 2,000 points which is better than usual, but not nearly good enough for me to place in the money.
After an extended nap, we headed to the Tropicana where we parked and made the short walk over to the MGM. We found our way to the MyLife (slot club) booth and redeemed a reward earned by playing the MyVegas slots. https://www.facebook.com/myvegas
These Facebook games will eventually be included in the Time Wasters Hall of Fame because you exchange countless hours of time for comps. In this case we obtained a $30 comp for the The Lounge at Signature which is located roughly one mile from the MyLife desk. http://www.signaturemgmgrand.com/restaurants/thelounge.aspx
By timing our visit to coincide with the $6 Martini Party held Thursdays, we parlayed our comp into 4 martinis and made a sizable deposit on a very ordinary heirloom tomato/buffalo mozzarella/basil oil bruschetta with balsamic reduction. For the first round I chose a blackberry-basil gimlet (Tangueray rangpur gin, mulled basil, lime juice and fresh blackberries (3.5 Sips)) while Ann's was a Winter White martini (absolut vanialla vodka, Godiva white chocolate liqueur, and white Creme de Cacao)(3 Sips)). Ann decided to change sides for round 2 and ordered the blackberry gimlet while I ventured into new territory with a Special Appearance martini (Grey Goose l'poire, apricot brandy, grapefruit juice, simple syrup and fresh lemon juice (3 Sips)). ($8.35, comps) http://www.signaturemgmgrand.com/files/the_lounge_menu.pdf
Neither of us was in the mood for dinner so we returned to the room and polished off our tiramisu (runny, but delicious 3.5 Forks) and cappucino cheesecake (mostly crust, little cheese 2 Forks).
03/29 My 2AM-7AM video poker (VP) session was held at the Fiesta-Henderson where I would have earned the 6 x points (actually 2) had I only remembered to visit the slot booth to register for the bonus before departing. Double Duh!
After our fruit-based breakfast we headed off to the library again to check our emails followed by a visit to the farmers market in the adjoining parking lot. There was only one stall devoted to produce with most of the vendors selling crafts that were likely mass produced in China.
I needed a street taco fix so we drove cross town to Tacos La Mexicana where we shared a 4-taco platter that included beans and Spanish rice. Ann chose 2 al pastors while I settled on a pastor and a chorizo. All were authentic (that's good), but the chorizo made my taste buds do the Shimmy, Shimmy Shake.
Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet began singing as the Westies made their appearance at Ellis Island. We headed directly to the center bar and ordered a pair of merlots from our favorite bartender. I asked Suzie if she minded me taking a photo since she has been serving us for something like 20 years – ha ha. As it turns out, that may have been an understatement because she has been working there for 21.
Dinner was at the
Veggie House, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant we enjoyed for the
first time last October. http://www.veggiehousevegas.com/
We started with an off the menu spinach salad which was very fresh
For entrees we shared spicy crispy beef with oranges and a recommendation by our waitress Mimi of sizzling seafood vegetables.
The spicy beef was again very good, but the Mandarin oranges on the side added nothing to the dish so I would take a pass on them next time. Everything was very good including the service. ($25.24, Groupon, 3.5 Forks)
On our return to the South Point we walked around the casino floor before retiring for the evening.
03/30 Unless otherwise noted, I played at the Fiesta most mornings. I made a small profit after hitting my #3 quad deuces. We had our usual breakfast in the room and read the Review Journal prior to departing for Mandalay Bay. Our first stop was the MyLife desk to redeem a MyVegas reward for the Border Grill brunch. http://www.bordergrill.com/PDF/BGSM_Brunch.pdf
We met fellow foodie
and Vegas Message Board member Warren and his charming wife Louann at
the entrance and were soon seated on the enclosed patio sipping
bottomless mimosas while discussing Las Vegas restaurants and other
matters of great import. Over the ensuing 1.5 hours, or was it 3
(inside joke), we did a lot of gabbing, eating and drinking, but I
neglected to write anything down and someone kept plying me with
mimosas so my powers of recall have been somewhat diminished.
Our waitress and her
trainee brought us plates of fresh fruit with a sweetened citrus
sauce (4 Forks) and guava empanadas. I was saving my appetite for the
“good” stuff so I only took a bite of the empanada (4 Forks)
which turned out to be very good.
Our waitress encouraged each of us to order 2 items on the first round with mine being Peruvian shrimp and grits (3 Forks) and short rib hash topped with an egg (4.5 Forks). In the meantime, we, actually Warren, ordered another round of mimosas (4 Sips).
For the second round I ordered a bacon jalapeno PBJ (2.5 Forks) and shared Warren's eggs Benedict (3 Forks) while sipping yet another mimosa. I closed my meal with a thimble sized portion of rice pudding (2.5 Spoons).
My 3 table mates ordered a variety of other dishes with the huevos rancheros, bread pudding French toast and the breakfast enchilada garnering the most praise. In the meantime I had a 3rd or was possibly a 4th mimosa before it was time to say goodbye to those 2 Hot Tamales from Long Island.
After 3 or possibly 4 mimosas, it is fortunate that the Fox Rent A Car lot is a straight shot up the Las Vegas Blvd because it was time to return our 3-day rental and pick-up our 4-day rental. I requested the same car and went inside to complete the paperwork only to discover a long line of new arrivals.
I spent most of the remainder of the afternoon hibernating before it was time to head off to Club Madrid in Sunset Station to see MOCCA perform. We have enjoyed this R&B and Motown band in the past and this evening's performance did not disappoint. (3 Claps)
At the break we broke and headed to the Cerveza Cantina in the Fiesta-Henderson where we each enjoyed a house margarita (3 Sips) and orders of Southwestern crab cakes with a chipolte sauce (3.5 Forks). ($4, LVA, points)
Ann decided to play a little VP so I retreated to the sports bar and watched the Georgia women upset
#1 seeded Stanford while nursing a hefeweizen draft brewed at Barley's. ($4, 2,5 Sips)
On our return to the South Point we caught the last few numbers by Wes Winters in the Grandview lounge (2 Claps) before calling it a night.
03/31 I managed to catch my #4 quads this morning. After some OJ and fruit, we returned to the Fiesta for breakfast at the newly opened Cafe Fiesta. https://fiestahenderson.sclv.com/en/Dining/Cafe-Fiesta.aspx We each ordered easy over eggs, wheat toast, hash browns and bacon. The eggs were perfect, the bacon crispy, the hash browns tasty, but the bread was barely toasted. ($2, points, 2.5 Forks)
On our return to the South Point we stopped off at the bar for a spicy bloody Mary (me) and a coffee with Bailey's (Ann). ($4, 3.5 Sips)
The room was not made up so Ann played while I read the paper and people watched in the hotel lobby. The beginning of this trip coincided with March Madness, spring break and Easter so thousands of children of varying ages have been milling around the property since our arrival, but they have now begun to depart.
I enjoyed my first and last hot dog of the trip from the cart adjacent to the sports book just before returning to the room. ($1, 2.5 Buns)
I spent the afternoon watching Louisville romp over Duke plus portions of a few other mens games in the confines of our room.
At 5:30PM we met our niece Joy and husband Gino at Miguel's Tequila bar. I flashed my room card at the bartender and ordered a round of drinks (3) tequila mockingbirds for them and Patron margarita for me. This was the last night the old pricing (e.g. $2 for any tequila drink) was in effect, so a second round was mandatory, 3 more mockingbirds and a tequila sunrise for me. ($20, 2.5 Sips)
We, actually I, decided to take them to Fuego at the Fiesta-Henderson for Easter dinner. https://fiestahenderson.sclv.com/en/Dining/Fuego-Steakhouse.aspx I was in the mood for prime rib, but we were told the kitchen had run out. Since there were only 2 other tables occupied this evening, my guess is the chef decided not to bother roasting a prime rib this evening. Ann and I each ordered a 3-course for $24 meal which started with a warm bread basket and house salad.
Ann's was a prime,
filet style, sirloin accompanied by a humongous sweet potato and baby
carrots. I went with the evening's special, a braised lamb shank
with roasted potatoes and baby carrots. Each of our entrees turned
out to be pretty good though I was a bit surprised the lamb shank was
served plain rather than in its braising liquid.
We concluded the
meal with a pair of excellent desserts, crème brulee for the lady
and fresh berries in Grand Marnier sauce for your humble reporter.
($20, points, 2.5 Forks)
After returning to the
South Point, we bid adieu to Joy and Gino and settled in for the
night while I am sure they had bigger plans.