We got up with plenty of time to make it to our pre-noon plans, which is always surprising in Vegas. We headed up the strip toward Caesar’s, figuring we’d have plenty of time to get there by 11:30, but we barely made it!
It’s possible I stopped to take a lot of pictures. At Caesar’s, we headed toward Mesa Grill to meet April and Kara for brunch! They’d driven up from San Diego the day before.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Bobby Flay just because of his personality on his Food Network shows, but I’m very glad we chose his restaurant for brunch. Everything was fantastic; I even looked up the recipe for the chilaquiles I’d had, and made them again at home with food from our garden.
After brunch, Matt and I headed off for another favorite Vegas tradition: hitting up the bar in the Forum Shops for a long island (it’s something like 47 shots, I think), and shopping. Though we went into my favorite store, Shanghai Tang, I managed to not need anything there. To make up for it, Matt got a really awesome shirt.
Post-shopping, it was time for more cheap gambling. We were in search of a blackjack table, but they were full across the street at O’Shea’s. We played video poker and blackjack instead, and enjoyed the amazing ambiance of the place. Classic rock and a beer pong arena? You can’t possibly go wrong.
There was a leprechaun outside yelling, too, but he disappeared before I could take his photo. Of course.
We set off in search of tables elsewhere, and eventually managed to find Pai Gow at the Flamingo. It was a $10 minimum, but it’s the kind of game where your hundred bucks can last a really long time. And if you get lucky, you’ll even end up winning:
After a couple hours of gambling, we decided we needed to find beverages. We tried to get to the bar at Margaritaville (for old times’ sake), but it was packed. Instead, we headed down to Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall to get us some dollar margaritas.
As I learned last time we were in Vegas, there’s a trick to the dollar margaritas: they fill the cup most of the way with overly sweet nonalcoholic mix, then pour a shot of Sauza on top. Drink the tequila off the top and throw out the rest of the drink. Who wouldn’t pay a buck for a big shot of tequila, anyway?
We decided it was probably time for some sports-betting, as it was something we were both very interested in, and had never done before. We walked over to Bally’s to get on the monorail, stopping to put a dollar in the giant slot machine. We won $10, cashed it out, and got our tickets.
We rode up to Harrah’s, and walked from there to the Venetian. It was hot… almost 100 degrees.
We had less luck playing $5 on Wheel of Fortune at the Venetian, but that was fine. We finally made our way into the Palazzo, and from there found the entrance to the sports book on a weird basement level. However, the sports book (called Legasse’s Stadium, after Emeril), was packed full. Something to do with a million college football games, of course. The girls at the counter said there would be a very long wait for a table, but we were welcome to pay a ridiculous cover charge for a VIP table. It amounted to having to spend about $100 total, which seemed unlikely for just the two of us.
We managed to find a table out on the patio and began perusing parlay cards. After 20 minutes or so, there was still no sign of a server. As we were starving by that point, we decided to get the hell out of there and find some food before we passed out. Sports could wait.
We crossed over to TI to check out a couple places that were on my potentially-awesome list. After walking around for way too long and considering just laying on the floor, we decided on Isla Mexican Kitchen. It was an excellent choice, and they had great vegetarian food. Also, who could go wrong with mas tequila*?
*Yes, that was a Sammy Hagar shoutout.
Revived, we started making our way back down the strip. We had plans to meet Dan and Kate later in the evening to celebrate Kate’s birthday, so we figured we’d head back to the hotel, change, and work our way towards Mandalay.
We rode the monorail with a bunch of people who were going to the fight at MGM. We had to wade through throngs of people near the MGM event center, but it was kind of fascinating to see. After changing, we made the somewhat unwise decision to walk to Hooters. It seemed really close (like everything in Vegas), but we soon discovered there was no direct route there. We had to circle the block our hotel was on, go down the back road behind MGM, and then got stuck trying to make our way past limos, buses, and security guards, all while sweating our asses off in the 90-degree (at night!) weather. We finally traversed a parking garage and found our way to Hooters. It took forever.
It took a long time to find a place to drink, get drinks, and decide what to do. However, the drinks cheered us up, as did the fact that the bartender comped them even though we went to the bar, because we were gambling (I think I put $5 in a video poker machine). We liked Hooters a lot better after that.
Dan texted to say they were done with dinner, so we headed towards Mandalay via the tram from Excalibur. Strangely, my limp was improving. I was on anti-inflammatories, but I’d expected Vegas to make my foot injury a lot worse. Obviously, it’s magical.
We met up with Dan, Kate, and a couple friends at Rumjungle. The $10 cover was surprisingly low for a really awesome club at 1:30am. I was really sad to not be able to dance, but it was great watching the dance floor. After their friends headed out (they had an early flight the next morning), I told Dan I didn’t think I’d be able to make it much longer. He did a small amount of arm-twisting, though, and we caved: to the strip club! We went out front, grabbed a cab, and headed downtown.
I should mention that we didn’t have a plan for the strip club at all; Dan just looked one up on his phone, checked reviews, and we were off. We chose well, too: the Girls of Glitter Gulch is legendary. Everyone knows the sign, at least.
There was a $20 cover, which included the first drink free. Our server, a stiff-but-friendly Russian lady named Dacha, led us to a round booth along the wall and took our orders. We watched the ladies dancing and occasionally had to say no to lap dance offers, but there was nothing pushy about it. Eventually, we all ended up spending time on sniffer’s row. I may be a little scarred from having cougar boobs in my face, though. I guess it was our fault for going up there just because the girl she was onstage with was really hot.
Somewhere between 4 and 5am, it was time to call it a night, so we shared a cab back to our hotels. The best part was when the driver just pulled over in front of the Monte Carlo, stopping traffic, and Matt and I had to jump out and run across the strip. Man, I love Vegas.