What can I say that hasn’t already been said? A lot I hope.
We though it was a free ride. Hotel paid for, flights paid for, half of our meals paid for and all of that meant that we could eat and drink like kings and spend the rest of our budget on gambling. We would get wonderful comps and be treated like royalty. They would be throwing free drinks at us and rolling out the red carpet while they escorted us to our upgraded room with a view of the Bellagio Fountain! Now, my husband and I are avid travelers and generally down to earth folks, so we’re normally not this delusional, but hey, it’s Vegas baby! The land of $2.95 buffets and liquor flowing from the water fountains right? I guess it’s like all other "first times". You’ll definitely do it again and it was nice, but definitely not what you had imagined. Here goes.........
We flew Air Tran and upgraded to the oh so affordable first class that Air Tran offers(really, it’s dirt cheap) for the free booze. And I’m happy to say that it was worth it. We landed in Vegas nicely buzzed and ready to lose our inhibitions....and perhaps some money.
1.) Walk tall and carry a big bag:
We tried gambling for our free drinks but goodness gracious do you have to wait a long time for that waitress to bring you a small, watered down vodka and cranberry. Instead carry a big bag. Yes. I bought a 12 pack at the gas station behind the strip, chilled it off in the sink(wash your hands in the tub...the sink is always used as a cooler in our room), lined my big purse with a plastic bag and toted ice cold beers around with us all afternoon. If that sounds silly, and a bit "much" here is option 2...and a great options I must say:
2.) Do the "movie theater" thing:
We all had that mom who would sneak soda and popcorn into the movie theater in her big, mom-sized purse. I use the same idea, minus the big, ugly hag bag. Street vendors are your key to making this happen. The strip is full of sidewalk vendors selling cheap drinks...... dirt cheap drinks to be more precise. It's legal to walk the streets with an open container and it helps make the long, hot walk down the strip more bearable. So take full advantage and grab a fresh drink before you go into a pricey casino. Hell, double fist it if you think you're going to be there for a while. No one frowns upon it and everyone does it, and those who don't are just paying way to much for their buzz. And that is a true buzz kill.
Food: I love to eat. I love to eat new things. I love to eat new things in new places. Vegas is a veritable smörgåsbord at your fingertips. There is food everywhere. Famous chefs have famous restaurants around every corner. And they're f-in expensive. But I refused, downright refused to eat shitty food while I was there(and trust me, there's plenty). So here are my hits and misses:
My food was delicious. I met my husband there for lunch one day as a sort of "splurge". Two entrees and three beers later we had just bought ourselves a $75 lunch. Ridiculous price. Really good food. Best chile rellenos I've ever had. Perfect execution. Amazing flavor. Small portion(really small, with none of the usual “chips and salsa” crap to fill you up). But tasty as can be.
Yes. We went to a buffet. But we did our research first. There are only a handful of what they consider to be "gourmet" buffets on the strip and this was one of them. Once again, it was pricey. Like $55/person pricey and that didn't include adult beverages. But it was worth it if you know what to eat and what not to eat while you're circling the biggest room(beautiful room) full of food you've ever seen. They had a MASSIVE cold seafood bar. Shellfish abound! They had antipasto bars and poultry bars and red meat bars(obviously they called them prettier names, but you get the idea). I had a wonderful piece of prime rib(a Vegas must of course), stuffed grape leaves that were noteworthy, some great braised meats(true to the Parisian theme) some so-so other things(really, you don't want me to mention it all...the wedsite gives you a pretty good description) and enough pick and peel shrimp and crab legs to choke a horse. Now, I don't normally stuff myself to the point of vomiting, but something came over me when I saw all of that food….and the price tag. It's nothing like Paris(my Paris article is coming soon), but it was good.
Triple 7 Restaurant, in the Main Street Station Hotel & Casino
Les Artistes Steakhouse, in Paris
This is what I hate about Vegas. We got a coupon for a discounted dinner at our choice of “high falutin” restaurants with our Zoomanity show tickets. Good show, bad choice of restaurant. I know, I know. We ate at Paris twice! I never do that. I almost think think that's a travel “sin”. But we looked down the list of participating establishments and this one looked wonderful. Classic French dishes draped the menu! Shit I tell you. Pure and utter poopie. Everything was A La Carte. Now I don't mind this normally, but each A La Carte item came out horribly prepared. My husband ordered mashed potatoes with brie(for the cost of an arm and a leg) and he sent it back 3 times because it had blue cheese and a thick layer of grease on top each time. The servers were rude(and we looked damn nice that night I might add), the food was horrible, the atmosphere was stuffy and pretentious and it seemed as though if you wanted lemon in your water you needed to pay $7 for it AND promise your first born to the Maitre D'. Don't go there. Don't go there. Please, go somewhere, anywhere else.