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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 7:36 am 
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Well, I made it.

The trip out was very slightly more scary than usual. When I checked in at Belfast for my Flybe connecting flight to London, they told me that Virgin had not booked the ticket correctly which meant the flights were not connected together. Need to sort that out with Virgin, not least because I paid a hefty charge for my baggage (which is waived when it's checked right through to another airline). I always book them connected as this way if the connection is missed they are liable for fixing the onward journey.

When I arrived it did not seem as hot as last time in the terminal, and the weather is definitely cloudier. Saw a few lightning flashes too, but not much rain. It seems to be quite tolerable to walk around in the early evening, not searing hot as I had expected. Taxi driver gave me $%^&* over the tip, ended up $22 in total to the Monte Carlo which I can't complain about I guess (he happily volunteered not to go down the freeway but warned it could take longer). Checkin at the MC was fine, about a 20 minute wait.The room is fine, facing the strip. A little bit dog-eared, probably not seriously refurbed since the place opened (the bathroom/showever fittings could use some love) but it all works. I have a feeling it was a much better view before CityCentre was built as CC and Cosmo effectively obscure the view down the strip itself, which would have been uninterrupted all the way down to TI or thereabouts. Ah well, I didn't come to stay in the room and look out.

It always takes me ages to sort out the jetlag and this trip is no exception. Tried to beat it by going to sleep at 9PM PST, woke up now (7 hours later) so that plan didn't work. Hopefully I'll get a few more hours then I'll head to Cafe Ile St Louis at Paris for breakfast.

If anyone is around in Vegas drop me a line. Any suggestions for things to do that do not involve gambling or wandering aimlessly around endless shopping malls are also welcome. I must go and see the mob museum, and try to get some standup comedy gigs in. Blue Man at the MC looks good - they're promoting it really heavily (including a blue man-esque carnival line marching through the casino last night)

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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 7:59 am 
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I enjoyed Vinnie Favorito's show at the Flamingo last trip. If you don't mind an updated Don Rickles type comedian who is significantly more brutal on the audience than Don ever dreamt of being, Vinnie is your guy. Discounted at Tix4Tonite nearly every day.

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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 11:27 am 
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I second Vinnie. He's an equal opportunity abuser. No one is safe.

For lunch, try the $20.13 lunch special at Estiatorio Milos in Cosmo or the $19.99 lunch special at Julian Serrano at Aria.

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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 12:48 pm 
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$22 to MC still seems a bit high to me. I think I pay around $25 to Wynn, including tip.

I recommend the Sunday jazz at the Mandarin Oriental bar, it's from about 5-9pm.

I understand that the pub at MC has an outdoor patio that overlooks the pool. Since it's not too hot, you could relax there for a bit and "people watch." :icon_razz:

Kahunaville at TI has a patio over the pool too. I have tried that one myself and I did have a nice relaxing time.

Brand at MC has a happy hour, they have compliant CWs and usually at least one hot bartender too.

MGM is probably worth checking out, now that the construction is done. I haven't been by yet to see how it looks post-Hakkasan.

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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 2:39 pm 
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Good tips guys, thanks. historian (&pebbles), yeah I think I'd seen a few clips of Vinnie and liked the look of his stuff. I'd definitely pay good money to see Don Rickles if he was here. I think he's doing a one-off gig later in the year.

rog, that's a comprehensive list, thanks. I checked out The Pub at the MC as I hoped to eat there after I arrived, but they seemed to be taking a very long time to seat the small number of people waiting in line so I gave up. I might try again. What's Brand like for someone eating by themselves ? I like to be as anonymous as possible. I assume you do your Vegas travelling alone usually too.

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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 3:17 pm 
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I think you mean inconspicuous, right?

Brand is no problem for solos, they have a nice bar area. You can sit in comfy chairs or you can sit at the bar and watch the TVs. I'd guess most solo diners eat at the bar, but I prefer the tables, even when eating alone. They have some tables right up along the edge so I can people watch the casino in one direction, and the CWs in the other.......It has been far too long since I have been there, but I suspect they still have the freshly baked bread, which comes out in some sort of skillet. I also liked their Baked Alaska dessert, it was gone for a while but I think it's back. I have never liked their steaks, though.

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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 7:24 pm 
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We enjoyed Brand when we went with you for happy hour that time. I liked the lava rock meat thing best.

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Post Posted: July 29th, 2013, 10:33 pm 
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Thanks rog. Yes inconspicuous is a much better word for what I meant. I usually bring a newspaper or a book with me and sit at the tables in places where they offer you a choice. I'll have to give Brand a try.

I was passing through Caesars today (no sign that I could see of flood damage, they must have cleaned it up nice and quick - but that's Vegas for you) and passed the Gordon Ramsey pub, and saw quite a few people eating solo in there. It's a bit dark for reading a paper but there's probably a bright corner where a person could sit, so I must note that down for a try later this week.

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Post Posted: July 31st, 2013, 11:10 am 
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Vegas is a solo town. So many people are there, alone, for conventions... Regulars don't even notice a solo flier except for the local girls looking to score a few hundred.

enjoy your time and keep us up to date on all the fun you're having. :thumbup:

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Post Posted: July 31st, 2013, 6:07 pm 
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Thankyou for that Evan, that makes me feel a bit less self-conscious. "Hey Pappagorgio, you need to relax!" etc.

The jetlag has been bothering me but I think I killed it last night, fought the sleepiness by heading to NYNY and won $400 on the craps table in a six hour session. Not bad. Got breakfast in Planet Dailies today, not a place I recommend - quite expensive, food was OK but not as good as the cafe in Aria where I was yesterday.

Made a trip up to McMullans with a friend, which was fine. It was a Tuesday afternoon so the place was dead.

We're certainly doing the full Vegas heat thing. When we were driving back from McMullan's the car showed 106.

I must say, I haven't noticed many hookers about and the porn slappers seem a bit more low key than they were before. Also interesting is that I'm not getting ID'd so much at the tables, could I really have aged that much in the space of one year ? Last year they were IDing me everywhere, without fail. Another really interesting thing, which I guess has always been the case, is how the big resorts barely advertise their casinos. On the in room promotional TV channels, it's all about pestering you to visit the restaurants, spa, shows etc. They prefer to remind you of the casino's existence by making you walk through it to get anywhere.

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Post Posted: July 31st, 2013, 7:59 pm 
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Lately sometimes I don't get ID'd even when everyone else at the table does........!!!!

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Post Posted: July 31st, 2013, 8:28 pm 
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I have to follow up again because just after I wrote the above I headed to Public House at the Venetian. I went in there at around 3:30PM so it was the lunch menu.

The bill was $90 before tip, but I think it was probably the best (NY) steak I've had in my young life. The server recommended a side of chopped crabmeat, asparagus and bernaise sauce, and I added fries along with that. The flavours all set each other off perfectly. The beer list is of course extensive; I had two of the 702 pilsners and topped it off at the end with this magical Jameson cheesecake they had.

Just as I was finishing up, two highly-compliant waitresses began doing table service; dressed in very natty outfits. I assume they were there to serve booze; there were two waiters there most of the time I was there, dressed in this rather odd uniform that I can only describe as a workshirt and jeans.

If you've not done the Public House yet you need to get down there.

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Post Posted: July 31st, 2013, 8:47 pm 
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The table service with those CWs was in the main dining area, or the bar area?

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Post Posted: July 31st, 2013, 9:57 pm 
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They seemed to be hovering around the bar area.

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Post Posted: August 1st, 2013, 8:31 pm 
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I followed the advice of Historian and Pebbles and went to see Vinnie Favorito. It was quite good; my sides weren't splitting but it was just about worth the $40. Some of the humour probably went over my head (Vinnie said himself that you had to be from certain parts of New York to get some of the jokes) but I picked up on most of it. I sat rather too close to the front for comfort and just about missed him pulling me up. The blacks, elderly folks, asians and larger folks in the audience were thoroughly done-over.

Today I got up a bit late (spent last night having fun at the NYNY craps tables - it's rapidly becoming my favourite place to play - great drinks service, and the dealers are more polite than they used to be) and decided to head to the Aria buffet for breakfast. Bad idea. Not the worst buffet I've been in, but certainly not a patch on the buffets at Bellagio or Wynn. In general, I don't bother too much with the buffets as a rule. There are so many cool cafes where you can find similar food (except fresh-cooked) for a similar price, and you'll get service thrown in.

Headed downtown for some fun around Fremont St, and an enjoyable couple of hours playing craps in MSS. I enjoyed it last year and it's still good, the microbrews go down very nicely. It's quite an old crowd playing in there (and I'm not quite sure why they really seem to have a thing for Hawaiians, but hey). And it's a good craps game with 20x odds.

I made a mental note to check out The D next week; I passed through it and it's quite fresh feeling compared to most places downtown. They must be having union trouble, as there were guys outside handing out fliers and informing passers by of alleged health code violations that had been occurring on the property. Not sure what that's all about, I didn't want to engage them and hear them spend five minutes ranting at me. It's not the only union trouble I've seen this trip; in the mornings a big crowd gathers at the Cosmo and they're shouting slogans etc. loudly enough to be heard from the environs of the Bellagio.

"The Linq" seems to be coming along well. I've only been in the IP once but it already seems a lot fresher inside. I think a lot of the casinos are going for a darker, cleaner look now rather than the garish colours and flashing lights everywhere. The building also looks a lot cooler from the outside.

I'm back in the Venetian right now, heading to Grande Luxe for dinner and then back up the strip. I need to check out the MGM Grand and see how it's doing post-makeover.

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Post Posted: August 1st, 2013, 9:22 pm 
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CS the late Sam Boyd who founded Boyd Gaming, lived in Hawaii for many years as a younger man. He knew what the Island folks would want and look for in Las Vegas, from food to gambling (hence the prevalence of a good craps game) to value. He was instrumental in making arrangements with Hawaiian Airlines for junket packages that included flight, room and meal deals. The value and simplicity of the concept caught on and the kama 'aina have been loyal to the Boyd name ever since.

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Post Posted: August 1st, 2013, 10:45 pm 
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historian, interesting backstory, thanks. It all adds up of course; the place has quite a folksy and relaxed feel to it which I quite like. MSS is my favourite of the downtown casinos.

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Post Posted: August 1st, 2013, 11:26 pm 
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Is the California also a Boyd property? I thought they also had some sort of Hawaii connection.

For Vinnie, was $40 the standard price or a discounted price?

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Post Posted: August 2nd, 2013, 1:11 am 
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Yes, the Cali was a Boyd property (along with Sam's Town) for about five years before Bill Boyd purchased MSS in 1993. They subsequently bought the Orleans and the three Coasts from Coast Casinos in 2004. That's when Michael Gaughan, Jackie's son, negotiated to have South Coast break away as a separate sale to him which he then renamed South Point.

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Post Posted: August 4th, 2013, 1:12 pm 
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I love being old & folksy. :icon_lol:

Enjoy your journey.

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