Saturday, October 16th, 2010 — A memorable day in Sin City

Another beautiful day in Vegas reaching to the high 80s and very little humidity.

We decided to stroll around today and check out sites on the Strip and elsewhere. We began by walking down to Las Vegas Boulevard and wandering through New York, New York. It captures the flavor of the city pretty well, with little “streets” lined with bars, restaurants, and shops similar to what you find in the Big Apple. After checking out the restaurants for a lunch spot, we decided to look further, so headed down the Strip.

We were intrigued by the new city center. It is a gorgeous assortment of buildings, with the large Aria Resort complex dominating part of it. We went into Aria and looked for a spot for a light lunch. Unfortunately, all the restaurants we saw were only open for dinner, and the only one open had a long line. So, we headed down to the Casino in hopes that there would be some informal choices there. We settled at a small bar with multiple TVs showing the major college games. The helpful bartender told us that if we played the in-counter machines, he would comp us on drinks. David headed over to the small take-out spot next to the bar where you can order lunch and have it delivered to the bar. A rib-eye burger sounded good to me, and David had a turkey club. When he came back, I proudly showed him the straight flush on my poker machine, which paid of $75. Encouraged by my luck, David quickly lost $10 in his machine before our sandwiches came. Both were excellent, although a bit too large.

After lunch, I strolled into the casino and sat down at one of the machines. Although I had no idea how to play it (one of the new breed of complex machines) I quickly won $90. I wisely quit while ahead, and we walked out well to the good for the day, and a bit ahead for the trip.

We went back to the MGM Grand, stopping at my favorite SLINGO slot, which is fun to play. I guess it was my day, as I soon was up another $70. We cashed out, went to the bar for a celebratory drink, then headed back to the room for some Z’s before dinner.

Dinner was something we had been looking forward to, as we had reservations at Twist, Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental. He is my favorite chef anywhere, with dishes that are spectacular. The MO is awesome – high ceilings, calm but impressive decor, and friendly staff. A definite ‘must’ for another stay in Las Vegas. On reaching the 23rd floor, we had a warm greeting at Twist and were seated at a window table with a spectacular view of the Strip. We were not disappointed in the experience. The staff was wonderful, the food incredible, and the atmosphere perfect. Another place we must return to.

After dinner, we returned to the MGM GRand, ignored all of the machines beckoning, did a bit of packing, and turned in. Tomorrow is our return home after wonderful stays everywhere.

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