The old saying says that what happens in Sin City stays there, but that’s not exactly true. And I’m not talking that hilarious herpes line from the movie The Hangover. I came back with the flu and a cold that I’ve been battling all week, and I can only think it’s because of the poor air circulation in the hotels and casinos in the cooler winter months. Unlike the hot summer when cool air is constantly pumped in to keep the places just above freezing, I found myself sweating while I was sitting at the tables this past weekend because it was so warm inside.
Nonetheless, I haven’t let this cold get my spirits down over what was easily one of my favorite trips to Las Vegas – an annual travel destination for me. The weekend started out with an afternoon at a bar watching a little playoff football. I had occasionally sat in the sports books in the past, but never really hung out in a bar in Vegas to watch the game. I had a blast cheering against my friend, whose birthday we were there to celebrate, and his Green Bay Packers, who sadly won.
As we left the pub in the new City Center, we passed by a store called Assouline. Normally I wouldn’t have been so amused over this, but when you have a group of guys and inject a whole lot of beer, certain things can happen. I’m sure the woman behind the counter didn’t quite understand this as I took a picture of store.
The rest of the night was spent cruising the Strip in a limosine we rented as a surprise for the birthday boy. I, unfortunately, had to pay back my losing bet to him in the Packer victory, but it was worth it. It was a fun night, especially the stop to get our pictures taken in front of the Las Vegas sign, and a great topper to an evening that I certainly felt the next day. I could only muster enough energy the following afternoon to crawl down to the casino and meet my friend, Diana Edelman, for lunch at a fantastic restaurant she does public relations for – D.Vino Italian Food and Wine Bar.
The food was fantastic, but I could only take a few nibbles as I was in the vortex of a hangover that rivaled that of the movie – sans the ruphies. A power nap certainly helped, though, and by dinner time I was back on my feet and ready for another fun night out with the guys.
We had reservations at Joe’s Stone Crabs in Caesar’s Palace. I had heard good things of their Miami location on an episode of Man v. Food on the Travel Channel, so I was pumped to go despite the fact that I don’t eat seafood. Since they’re also known for their steaks, my mouth was watering to tear into a big hunk of filet mignon. Sadly, it wasn’t as good as my hopes had built it up to be, and no where near as good as the handmade pasta I ate at D.Vino with Diana.
Still, it was another fun night out, and a lot more laid back than the previous one, with a nice meal and a few rounds of cards at the tables after a short walk and tram ride back to our hotel, which I’ll review later, on the Strip.
Our final full day in Vegas sent us to downtown Las Vegas. I love playing cards downtown, since the atmosphere is so much more relaxed than the Strip and the table limits a lot lower, too. It’s unfortunate, though, that there was a weight limit on the newly-installed zipline. I was amp’d to take a ride and add a little thrill to my vacation, but only the birthday boy met the weight limit for our group.
Dinner at the Burger Bar back at Mandalay Bay, a must stop for us on any visit to Vegas, certainly didn’t help my future cause for a zipline ride. I love their burgers and fries, and love the location even more since it’s right next door to my namesake’s cantina – and the friendly Hussong’s Cantina had an incredibly affordable margarita party on that night! It was great to stop in and be welcomed like family, no matter how distant of relatives we may be, and share a few margaritas with new friends. We couldn’t linger for long, though, since my brother had business to attend to.
Apparently he took it personally that I didn’t wait for him to get my tattoo in Las Vegas. He had been talking for months about getting one on an upcoming trip and we certainly weren’t going to let him get through this one without it. So, in virtually the last hour on the last night, he sat down in the chair and got inked with a design he had been trying to formulate for years. We were all doubtful that he’d do it, since he’s rather afraid of needles, but when it came down to it he sat in there like a big boy and took a bit of pain for a lot of glory.
As you can see by his design, he loves Las Vegas and he loves poker. I just now hope that one day I’m sitting here writing about how I watched him win it big at the World Series of Poker. I suppose, though, that he’ll first have to beat me at the tables. Oops. I think that little part about how I knocked him out of our own friendly poker game probably should’ve stayed back in Sin City.
Naaaah…bragging rights are just too sweet!