I woke up way too early on Monday morning because Wiz Khalifa was soundchecking by the MTV Spring Break Pool. You know when one of those pimped-out bass-blasting cars drives by and makes everything rattle? Multiple that by 10. There was no further sleeping to be done. Also, someone near us in the hotel was smoking weed in their room, accompanied by massive quantities of incense. I don’t care about the smell of weed, but the other stuff was seriously gross.
We got up and headed to Paris for our usual brunch, stopping first to put a couple bucks in our favorite giant slot machine. I won at first, then lost again.
After some delicious baked goods, fruit, and cheese at JJ’s Boulangerie, we went to go wander around and see some of the new sights in Vegas. All of City Center and the Cosmopolitan had opened since we were last there, so there was an entire block of newness to explore.
We hit up the Cosmopolitan first, and it kind of ruined us for the rest of it. It’s swank, and over the top in a mostly nontacky way, if that’s even possible there. The bars all catered to the Mad Man theme, with classic cocktails and comfy armchairs. In the center of the casino was a three-story bar within a gigantic chandelier, appropriately named the Chandelier Bar.
We walked around the second floor, checking out the restaurants. Jose Andres’ spots were there, and we had reservations at one of them later that night. After looking at the menu, though, we were considering the other one instead. We stopped into a store selling kitchen and barware, and ended up having a long conversation with an employee there who was originally from Wisconsin. She said I had an accent, but I refuse to believe it. She told us more about the Cosmopolitan, including the fact that the chandelier was made of Swarovski crystals valued at $34,000,000, and that there was a secret pizza place in the building. That made us love it even more. (Also, they had one of those cigarette machines converted to an art-book dispenser, and a giant vending machine where you could buy makeup, trinkets, electronics, and other high-end fanciness. Swank.
We decided to go have a drink in the chandelier. It was amazing.
From the Cosmopolitan, we crossed the street into the City Center complex. The mall was full of really high-end stores that weren’t that amazing (mostly because they already exist in places like Caesar’s), but some of the restaurants looked interesting. The Vdara casino was really pretty, but after having just been in the Cosmopolitan, we were pretty unimpressed. Nothing else is quite that nice.
We got trapped in the mall on the way back out of the complex. That place is confusing! We finally made it across the Strip to Planet Hollywood, where we wandered around the shops (it’s a tradition). After a stop at ABC Stores to remind us of Hawaii, we needed to sit down. (I realized while typing this that didn’t seem like much walking, but it was close to 2 hours!) We headed to Cabo Wabo Cantina, where we got a table on the patio.
It was raining a tiny bit on and off, but it was still pretty nice outside for people who had come from winter. We got some food and margaritas, and I used our Groupon. WIN.
After lunch, we headed back up to the Palazzo to get the car and drive over to the Orleans. The game wasn’t until 6pm, but we figured we could kill some time gambling.
We found a blackjack table that was just opening, and sat down to play. The place was full of basketball fans, at least 90% of them for Gonzaga. People asked us who we were supporting, and were impressed to hear that we didn’t really care, we’d just come for the tournament.
I ended up winning a bit of money at blackjack, and the game was a good excuse to quit while I was ahead. We went to the bar to grab a quick drink (since they weren’t serving inside the arena), and headed into the game.
We spend the first half of the championship in our seats, then moved closer to the St Mary’s student section to be prepared for court-storming. The game was close enough that picking a side was really difficult, but we preferred St Mary’s. (My favorite part of the game was toward the end when St Mary’s was down quite a bit, and their band launched into Cee-Lo Green’s ‘Fuck You’. The booing was spectacular.)
During the last 30 seconds or so of the game, we watched the security guards dragging out ropes and lining them up along the sidelines. Other guards stood blocking the corners of the arena where the students were sitting. It suddenly became evident what they were up to: BLOCKING THE COURT-STORM. Lame.
We stopped at the Palms to change to warmer clothes, and were surprised that there were no MTV spring breakers around. I decided they had probably all frozen to death in the pool. From there, we headed over to see the world-famous Double Down Saloon, which Matt had been determined to visit since the first moment he learned about it.
It had been described as a very late-night place, but we figured it’d be a lot easier to go early and be able to get in. Late night turned out to not be a joke: it was 9pm, and there was only one other person sitting at the bar. (I think he worked there.) By the time we left there were probably 10 people total in there.
I got a beer and Matt got a shot of Ass Juice. The bartender was hilarious. He explained that ass juice was basically just an attempt to get girls to drink grain alcohol; we were pretty sure it was just juice and Everclear. I had to try one after I finished my beer, and it was surprisingly good.
I put $20 in the blackjack machine in front of me, and quickly learned that gambling at the bar was enough to get you a free drink, which is awesome. (That’s true even at the Cosmopolitan, apparently.) After losing on a hand, I tried to lower my bet to the minimum and couldn’t figure out how, so I started clicking the ‘bet’ button, figuring it would go to the top and then start over. That was not the case, however, and I ended up with an $18 bet sitting on my machine. We called the bartender over and asked if he could fix it; he said, “well, we’d have to call the gaming commission, and you might be sitting here for a while.” Holy crap! So I bet my $18 as everyone there watched, and ended up with a push. WHEW.
A couple came in and we moved over a seat to make room for them, so they bought us shots of ass juice to thank us. We got to talking, and learned that the guy was a local rapper, and the lady was his girlfriend from California. They were disappointed we wouldn’t be in town long enough to get to his CD release show. So were we, just because the situation was so amusing.
We said goodbye to everyone and left the Double Down while we were still capable, though it was very tempting to stay there all night. (We’ll be stopping in on every trip to Vegas, I believe.) We went down the street to the Cosmopolitan, because we were in need of dinner.
The ramp at the Cosmopolitan is the most advanced parking ramp I’ve ever seen. There was a digital display telling us how many spots were available on each floor, and rows of overhead lights in red and green showing which spots were open. Once we parked, we of course had to get out and make sure our light had turned to red. It was that exciting.
We got seats at the prep bar at China Poblano, one of Jose Andres’ restaurants there. The menu was a mix of chinese and mexican street foods, and everything was amazing. Here are Matt’s tacos:
I had a margarita with a mezcal float. Hello, happy time. We sat there watching the second floor fill up with club-goers; Monday is industry night, and apparently gets pretty crazy. We had to fight our way out of there after dinner, pushing through people wearing clothes about 100 times fancier than ours. We tried to get into the Chandelier but it was packed, so we went downstairs to Bond for a drink instead.
We had to reenter the gigantic club crowd to get to the parking elevators, but we survived. While waiting there, we witnessed two security guards helping a girl who was in a panic about not being able to find her car in the ramp. She couldn’t even remember what floor it was on, and that’s because she was so drunk she was about to fall off her heels. The guards were trying to be helpful by helping her find it. What the hell, dudes? I pulled one of them aside and asked, “you’re not really going to let her drive that drunk, are you?” He kind of waved it off like they couldn’t possibly do that, but I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happened.
We headed back to our presidential suite, which was by then so full of the smell of incense it was horrifying. It seemed to be mostly isolated to the living room, though, so we could cut it off by closing the door. But, really, dudes, if you’re going to smoke weed in a hotel, just smoke week. Nobody cares.