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Vegas for the non-gambler

post #1 of 5
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My DH and I spent a few days in Las Vegas. We're not gamblers, so aside from going through about $10 in pennies, that was the extent of our gaming. We did a lot of walking: we saw the new Aria hotel (part of the City Centre complex), and walked a couple of malls. The main purpose of our trip was to escape the cold and snow of Wisconsin for a more mild climate.

Hah! The temperatures were in the '40s and '50s. When the wind kicked up, it felt even colder. The hotel didn't have an indoor pool (I don't think any of them have an indoor pool), so there wasn't anyplace to just relax. The hotels are designed to keep your brain focused on gambling and shows.

We did attend a couple of shows: Zumanity, which is a pretty racy Cirque du Soleil show at New York New York; and three comedians at the Improv at Harrah's. We enjoyed both shows but still shake our heads at the expense. The $5 per car fee for driving into Red Rock Canyon was the best bargain of all. The scenery was amazing, and we Midwesterners felt as if we were exploring on Mars. Don't miss this! Whether you want to hike (from easy to challenging terrain), bike or just drive through, you'll be glad you came.

Food.... not so good. We didn't go to any of the more high-end places. Frankly, we can get wonderful steaks here in the Midwest, and the prices were higher than we wanted to pay. We had a moderatly-priced dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, a perfect copy of a Paris bistro at Paris hotel, where we were staying. We ordered a baked brie appetizer, which came with a sweet, light sauce. My husband doesn't go for this type of app, but he enjoyed it as I did. They had hanger steak on the menu, so I tried that. Apparently, it wasn't cooked properly, as it was very, very tough (and too fatty, I thought). It went back to the kitchen, and I ordered a filet mignon to replace it. I have a hunch it wasn't a filet that came back: it seemed to have too tight a grain and I came upon a vein or something so tough that my steak knife couldn't go through it. Both steaks were marinated, I'm quite sure, and sauced with a sweet jus that didn't allow a full, beefy flavor to come thorugh. Both steaks were taken off the bill. The "frites" which came with the steaks were cut as widely as a french fry, but quite flat. They were delicious.

Casino hotels are famous for their buffets; we had enjoyed them when we visited in the mid-90s. They had been affordable and generally edible to pretty good food. (A few of you know my husband: if it's edible (and not fish), he'll eat it without complaint. This time, the first thing we noticed was the leap in prices. Breakfast was $15.95 and dinner was $24.95. Except for the lunch buffet at Aria, we didn't eat at buffets for lunch. Since it was in our hotel, the "Le Village" buffet was the most-visited for us. I found baked oatmeal, fresh fruit and the occasional bacon strip to enjoy. Pancakes and waffles were pre-made and sat, steaming, on the steam tables. DH had yogurt, fruit and a roll most days. One of my guilty pleasures in the world is pain au chocolat, the croissant dough pastry with dark chocolate inside. I took one bite and skipped it, which saved me quite a few calories during this trip.

Skipping the mediocre, I'll say a bit about the Aria buffet. I found huge crab legs and shrimp, both delicous. The most unusual thing I found was a tandoor oven, from which naan was just emerging as I passed by. It was delicious! They had also made beef and chicken in it, although I didn't taste either. The desserts were quite good, and the line was adorned by several beautiful sugar sculptures. The $25 for lunch was well worth it.

I'm sure we would have had some superb meals, had we been willing to spend a lot more money. If we do go back, we'll go a bit later for warmer weather and perhaps wait until our wallets are a bit heftier.
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post #2 of 5
I'm not a gambler either and the whole Vegas experience is kind of lost on me. I hear people say that it's Disneyland for adults but I don't see it.

For the last 20 years or so it's become just a place to buy gas on the way through.
post #3 of 5
With u there Phatch. The most i need to see of Las Vegas, is the intro to CSI. But pals have sung the praises...Maybe i'm missing something...From what u say Mezz, maybe im not.
We tend to spend on high end food  only once  in a fortnight on holiday.Often never,as we enjoy eating at places the locals use.They're usually very good and well priced.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #4 of 5

In 1992 my friend Eileen invited me to share an excursion with her to Vegas.  One of those 3 days at a hotel and round trip air fare for $79 each.  The deal was, if we were asked, we had to show $350 in cash to get on the plane.  I could do that.  Hey...they couldn't force me to gamble.  Eileen had set up the trip, so I paid her my half out of the cash I had with me.  The trip included a daytrip to Laughlin, with a stop at the marshmallow factory on the way.  I bought HubbyDearest a T-shirt with a puff-up of a marshmallow on the front,  and it even smelled like marshmallow.  I'm not a gambler,  but in Laughlin I made friends with a machine that kept giving me back just a little more than I put in until I had filled up 2 of those quart-sized containers and it was time to catch the bus back.  When I cashed in,  I had over $200.  The next day we flew home.  After paying for meals and incidentals, I had exactly the same amount of money when we landed as when we took off.   I call it my free vacation. 

 

"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #5 of 5
I have only been to Vegas for trade shows- so a good portion of my food has been covered by the samples at the shows. Two weeks ago, at the Pizza Expo, I stayed at Stratosphere- off their website, we got rooms for $26 a nite or $32 including the breakfast buffet- the buffet was nice- all the usual breakfast fare + a carving station, mexican bar, soup & salad, and even crawdads one day. We also got discount tickets (20% off- which brought them down to $52) for Terry Fator - which was an excellant show & then hang out afterwards and get to chat with the man- very nice guy!. Walk the strip, see the free performances at Treasure Island and the other hotels. One nite we hit IHop for some midnite blueberry pancakes....LOL  Had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's place at MGM- but that was our "big splurge".  I have been to Vegas 3 times in the past 2 years, and each time I say I'm going to at least stick $1 in a machine- but then I find something else to do and forget to.....  oh well, next trip...  LOL
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Bon Vive' !
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