December was a busy month for us, with lots of activity and fun. Early in the month we took a trip to Las Vegas to meet two of David’s nephews – Andy and Matt – and go to a show being put on by one of Andy’s Warner Brothers clients – Avenged Sevenfold. While Heavy Metal isn’t really our kind of music, it was a chance to spend time with the nephews and have some fun. At first, it looked like it was going to be a major gathering of cousins, as Anne and Darren were going to fly out, as well as David’s other nephew, Tim, but in the end, only Anne and beau Jay were able to join the group, so it was a mini-cousin reunion.
Matt arranged for us to have comp accommodations at the Palms, where a friend of his is a VIP guest services manager. After mega resorts like Bellagio and MGM Grand, it was a nice change of pace – smaller, less crowded, but still with a lot of action. We arrived on Thursday the 9th, a day before the others. After getting settled, we had dinner the first night at the in-house steak house, which was nice. The next day, Anne & Jay and Andy & Robyn arrived. We all spent some time feeding the slots, then traipsed off to Nove Italiano, the Italian restaurant at the Palms, for dinner. The food, wine, and company were all tops, and we had a great time. Andy & Robyn were introduced to Burrata as an appetizer and thought it was great. They came up with the idea of serving it on the mini pizzas we had ordered, which turned out to be a great taste combination. David found a couple of gems on the wine list, so – after a round of welcome drinks – we enjoyed a hard-to-find Jermann Sauvignon Blanc and a Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot.
The next day we met in the buffet for a traditional Las Vegas-style mega breakfast to plan our day. Anne and Jay had never been to Las Vegas and seen “The Strip,” so wanted to do a bit of exploring. Jay also was interested in seeing the Emeril LaGasse Sports Bar at The Palazzo. Robyn and Andy wanted to hang out at the Palms. So, we headed off to the Venetian with Anne and Jay with plans to meet in the lobby of the Palms around 5 pm to head off to a party that Gavin Maloof – owner of the Palms, the Sacramento Spurs, TV companies, etc. – was throwing for the band.
We headed down to the Venetian and spent time wandering around, past the indoor canals with their gondolas, the squares and replica bridges, and then on to the casino. It’s all pretty immense, and – we decided – a bit too much for a place to stay. We continued on to the adjoining Palazzo, which is also constructed on a grand scale. We found the Emeril Sports Bar and looked around, then decided to go somewhere else to take a break and relax. We settled on the Champagne Bar at the Palazzo and had a glass of wine there before spending some time feeding the slots. Then, it was off to see Bellagio.
For us, it was comfortable being back in Bellagio, where we have stayed several times before. It’s spectacular, but not as large and overdone as the Venetian, so there’s a more relaxing atmosphere. I headed for my favorite penny slot – Deal or no Deal. Because penny machines deal in “points” (which are actually pennies), sometimes you lose track of what you have won or lost, in dollars. This was the case when I won 28,000 “points”,” which Anne and I thought meant $28 when it actually was $280!
We took my winnings to one of the bars for a round of celebration drinks. They Army-Navy football game was on, and the bartender and David soon discovered they were both Navy vets, which meant a round of free drinks to celebrate Navy’s victory. Then it was back to the Palms to get ready for the party.
After hanging around in the lobby for a bit, we discovered that the plans had changed. No party, as the band was nowhere to be found. After a couple of hours of waiting, I was pretty worn out from all the activity, so we decided to skip the concert and turn in early so we could get up early for our flight home. Anne and Jay headed off with Andy et al and had a great time in the VIP Access area at the show, then at the private party that the band had afterwards. Anne & Jay turned in at around 2 am, while Andy and Robyn held on until 4 am!
The next morning, we met everyone in the lobby, said our goodbyes, promised to meet here again in March for the NASCAR race, and placed a final bet, on the Sunday Patriots game. Then it was off to the airport for the lines and hassle that are now part of flying. Adding to the woes this day were weather from coast to coast that was delaying and canceling flights. We were delayed getting out of Las Vegas, and again getting out of Atlanta, and finally got home at 2 am on Monday morning. A hectic day, but still worth it to see the nephews and have some fun in Sin City.