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Las Vegas

A chill evening at Banger Brewing on Fremont Street in Las Vegas

A chill evening at Banger Brewing on Fremont Street in Las Vegas

— Most of our weekend road trips to Las Vegas end with us heading back to Phoenix after lunch on Sunday. On our last trip, however, we had some business we needed to attend to Monday morning. After our huge lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen early Sunday afternoon, we weren’t in any mood for a big dinner. We decided instead to take a Lyft from our hotel to Fremont Street and try Banger Brewing, a brewpub that had gotten some decent reviews online.
A beer keg urinal in the men’s room of Virgil’s Real BBQ, Las Vegas

A beer keg urinal in the men’s room of Virgil’s Real BBQ, Las Vegas

— It doesn’t happen often, but on rare occasions beer can open up opportunities that may have otherwise passed us by. For example, if I hadn’t had a second pint of beer at Virgil’s Real BBQ on the Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, I wouldn’t have had to make a visit to the men’s room, and I would’ve missed one of the most interesting urinals I’ve seen anywhere. Kudos to whoever thought up a urinal designed to resemble a beer keg!
Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

— Our Monday morning bureaucratic adventure in Las Vegas is complete. It took just over an hour, which wasn’t too bad. We’re mostly packed and ready to check out of the hotel and begin the drive back to Phoenix. If we’re lucky, we’ll get home before rush hour starts. In an earlier post, I mentioned having been on the new I-11 on the way to Vegas Friday afternoon. After scanning some local news this weekend, I discovered the stretch of freeway had just opened Thursday.
Lazy afternoon by the pool at The Orleans in Las Vegas

Lazy afternoon by the pool at The Orleans in Las Vegas

— One of the reasons we chose The Orleans over Gold Coast last weekend was for a somewhat nicer pool area. In spite of cooler-than-expected temperatures, we spent a lazy Saturday afternoon relaxing in the shade by the pool, sipping cocktails that received quite generous pours from the bartender. We didn’t actually go in the pool, as neither of us was dressed for swimming. However, with some careful rearrangement of deck furniture, we did manage to find a decent spot for people-watching and drink-sipping.

Sunday morning in sunny Las Vegas

— It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Las Vegas, and we’re showered, dressed, and ready to begin the drive back to Phoenix. First, though, we’re heading to Sunday Mass at St. Bridget, about a fifteen-minute drive from The Orleans and about a mile from Downtown. Last time we were there, the priest overslept and was about a half-hour late. To make up some of the time, he shortened the sermon to, “Don’t take Benadryl before bed if you have somewhere to be in the morning.

Yet another weekend road trip to Las Vegas

— We’re about to set out on yet another weekend road trip to Las Vegas. This time we’ve booked The Orleans, a sister property of Gold Coast, which is where we stayed last time. The rates for this weekend were about the same at each place. However, The Orleans has a nicer pool area, which starts to matter as the temperatures climb this time of year. Also, it’s been quite some time since we last stayed at The Orleans, and they’ve reportedly updated their dining options since our last visit.
Eye in the sky on the street

Eye in the sky on the street

— Between the overhead cameras and the ever-present security personnel, you expect to be under constant surveillance when you’re in a Las Vegas casino. Recently I’ve noticed the surveillance extending to the street as well. This mobile surveillance station, courtesy of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, was seen on the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo, in front of The Cromwell, which used to be Bill’s Gambling Hall, which used to be Barbary Coast, which probably used to be something else prior to that.

Weekend before Christmas tradition

— After changing our minds twice in the last ten weeks, Kathryn and I made a last-minute decision to resume our traditional weekend-before-Christmas getaway to Las Vegas. We expect to leave in a few hours. I’ll post updates from the road as usual. We’re booked at Gold Coast, one of our long-time haunts. If you’re familiar with Las Vegas, it’s about a mile west of the Strip on Flamingo Road, across the street from Palms and next door to Rio.

Enjoying sushi in Las Vegas, at Takashi in Chinatown

— Here in Las Vegas, Kathryn and I are staying with a grad-school buddy of mine who’s in town for an academic conference. The three of us went out for sushi last night at a Japanese restaurant called Sushi Takashi, located in Chinatown. Some people are surprised to learn Las Vegas has a Chinatown. It does, and it’s not insignificant. I’m not a big fan of raw fish, but my wife is, and you can only say no to your spouse so many times before, in the interest of marital harmony, you relent and say yes.
Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

— On our last trip to Las Vegas, we decided to stay on Fremont Street for the first time. After exploring our options, we chose Golden Nugget, which is sometimes described as the most Strip-like hotel in the Downtown area. Whether you’d agree depends, I suppose, on what you like or don’t like about the Strip. The good My first impression of Golden Nugget was positive when we set our bags down in what was certainly the nicest room I’ve had in all my trips to Vegas, including rooms that cost twice as much.

Interrupting over four months of blog silence

— I’m interrupting over four months of blog silence to announce two things: First, I had to transition to a backup phone this morning, meaning my Signal database has a new set of keys. I posted a page with an image of my Signal public key if you’d like to use it for verification. Second, Kathryn and I are heading out on a road trip this afternoon. I’ll post status updates for those among you who want to know we survived the long drive through the desert.
Weird dinner experience at Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas

Weird dinner experience at Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas

— Our beef Wellington, now completely cooked but neither carved nor garnished, was brought out to us in a frying pan lined with what appeared to be coarse salt and a handful of peppercorns. Basically we were teased with our dinner, only to have it taken away again. I’ve decided to call this the proof-of-life phase of our meal. They showed us our dinner just long enough to let us know it existed, and then quickly returned it to hiding for another eight to ten minutes.
Dazzo’s in Wikieup, Chicago hot dogs halfway from Phoenix to Las Vegas

Dazzo’s in Wikieup, Chicago hot dogs halfway from Phoenix to Las Vegas

— Roughly halfway between Phoenix and Las Vegas is a place — I hesitate to call it a town — called Wikieup. It’s a perfect spot to stop for a bathroom break and a bite to eat. On previous trips, we’ve often stopped at the Wikieup Trading Post. They make a pretty mean patty melt. The problem is that it became played out for us, stopping the same place every time. That, and the fact their bathrooms are beyond disgusting.

Las Vegas road trip status update

— The status of this weekend’s road trip to Las Vegas is now unambiguous. Kathryn’s doctor this morning ordered her to spend the weekend in Las Vegas. Sweet! I’ll submit a health insurance claim when we get home. In the meantime, a rumor has begun swirling that Britney Spears is celebrating her recent engagement with a party tonight at Chateau, a nightclub in the Paris Las Vegas resort. You may not know this, but Kathryn is a huge Britney Spears fan.

Long overdue post

— There’s a certain irony to writing a blog. During those times when you have the most to write about, you have the least time to write it. The year 2007 has been, and continues to be, almost unbelievably good to me, and for several months I’ve been maintaining a hand-written list of all the things I want to write about. However, the blog format lends itself to telling stories in a chronological fashion, so as my list grows longer, I feel a certain pressure to write everything or nothing.
Vegas revue: Bally’s, Fremont Street, and Les Folies Bergeres

Vegas revue: Bally’s, Fremont Street, and Les Folies Bergeres

— My trip to Vegas was short, but sweet. Upon arriving, eating lunch, and drinking a couple beers, I started to give some thought to what I was going to do that evening. I decided that since I was there by myself, I would see Celine Dion, since I can’t imagine anyone I know would ever come with me. I was staying at Bally’s, so I walked across the street to the Caesar’s Palace box office to see if they had any single tickets left.