Monday, August 12, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

Remember my Carmagettaway posts from July, 2011? I took advantage of the 405 freeway closure to meet up with midwest chums in Vegas, then we headed off to Zion and Bryce National Parks. In the last two years, my Chicago friend got married and moved to Hong Kong. I know!! She was back in the states with her new husband for a tournament has was repping. It was a perfect opportunity for the three amigas to ride again!

After driving across the desert and picking up my Milwaukee friend at the airport, the first stop was the Golden Nugget on Fremont where we were staying. We had several hours to fill before connecting with our other friend, and we were both starving. The Chart House inside the GN served up the first fabulous meal of the adventure, next to its 75,000 gallon tropical fish aquarium. Wow! This is the East Meets West Tuna (zesty tuna tartare drizzled with wasabi cream paired with seared peppered tuna and avocado, with kim chee slaw and plantain chips) and some fishies seemingly joining us. A great base for the decadence on the horizon! (Note that the GN also has a shark tank at the pool if you're needing to see more fishies.) After some Judge Judy slots, strolling Fremont and chilling inside the AC to beat the 100 degrees outside, it was time to hit the Strip and meet our newly international friend.

She did her research and found the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and its decadent buffet. What makes the Wicked Spoon so unique is that lots of their food is served pre-portioned. Here you see some of my selections: figs, watermelon salad, roasted beet salad, caprese salad and gnocchi in little serving dishes, then lamb panini, ribs, udon noodles and bok choy. YUM! I'm not embarrassing myself by showing or detailing my dessert choices, but let me tell you it was all delicious!

Saturday morning, and it's a pancake face! This edition is courtesy of Du-par's at the Golden Gate, and so different from my February, 2010 Du-Par's standard pancake post. Can't forget this is Vegas, baby! My server was especially proud of this amped-up breakfast special with artfully arranged fruit.

After the smiley-face breakfast, it was time to meet the driver to be rock-star transported to our spa treatments. We headed to the Green Valley Ranch outside the city for further decadence. I had the Orange Oasis scrub and massage. Ahhhhh!!

Back at the Golden Nugget, we had to celebrate National S'mores Day, and we certainly enjoyed these torched versions from the Chocolate Box inside the hotel.

After more laughing, remembering the times, and trading stories, it's dinner time. We're off to the Peppermill for some classic Las Vegas chow. There, we got to meet the lucky man who whisked our friend to the other side of the world. The Peppermill has been serving up overflowing platters of food for more than 40 years. The interior is a trip! Mirrored tile ceiling, pink and purple tubed lighting, random silk plants and flowers, flamingo-decorated light covers over the tables. This is the Peppermill Burger, the flagship burger featuring a half-pound all-beef patty broiled to order, served on grilled Parmesan sourdough with diner fries. You know that was a good meal!

For our entertainment that night, we saw the Lost 80's Live show at the Beach at Mandalay Bay. Bow Wow Wow, Animotion, When in Rome, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung and Flock of Seagulls played their one or two hits, and the next band hit the stage. Everybody was Wang Chunging and singing the lyrics and having a great time!

Sunday morning, and Milwaukee friend has already headed to the airport for her return to reality. Hong Kong friend was staying at the Paris Hotel and recommended the Sugar Factory for breakfast. This is a Fat Elvis Waffle - with bacon-infused batter, more bacon, whipped peanut butter and caramelized bananas. YUMMY!! I styled the waffle face myself, as the parts were begging to be connected. We then did some more shopping before she went to the pool and I left to get my mobster on.

The Mob Museum was designed by the same folks who did the Spy Museum (see October, 2011post) that I loved so much! The Mob version's home is a 1933 courthouse and the location of some of the Kefauver hearings investigating organized crime. In 1950, these trials were broadcast live, and America got it's first taste of the mob's operations. The Museum exhibits are situated on three themed floors: Birth of the Mob (including St. Valentine's Day Massacre brick wall as a highlight, plus insights into the Mob's role in prohibition, prostitution, sports and betting, and Hollywood), Las Vegas Mob (connection to casinos and gambling), and Fighting Back (interaction of the FBI, Interpol, and other agencies). I hope I'm not spoiling this for anyone, but it's pretty grisly with lots of photos of dead guys in pools of blood.

Finally, I accept that it's time to head home. I encountered the usual creep-along drive and stopped in Baker for some sustenance. I enjoyed a gyro at The Mad Greek Cafe before downing this delicious fresh strawberry milkshake. Yes, my kind of fruity drink with an umbrella! I understand the tournament my friend's husband is repping is in Italy next year. Sounds like a great opportunity for tre amiche to gather again!

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