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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vegas Baby: Part 3 - What Happens In Vegas Stays in the Colon

Whenever you mention Vegas to someone, the first thought in their head is gambling. Usually, the second or third thought is the food, more specifically, the buffets. As I lead you by the brain and tasted buds through the Vegas experience, remember, I only stayed in the Strip. I did not venture downtown.

I can tell you, right now, the notion that you can gamble big and eat big on little money is long gone. There are plenty of places to dine inside the Mirage and I took advantage of three of them. Of course, there is a Starbucks. I’m sure there is one in most every Casino in Vegas. There is also the standard buffet, called Cravings. There is a frozen yogurt place, which was neat. They have B.B King’s Blues Club for some great pork and music. There is also a Carnegie’s Deli, like the one in New York. And finally, we sampled some of the room service provided by the Mirage.

On our first night, we checked into the hotel and went down to B.B. King’s, We had already missed the buffet which closed. The Blues Club was shrouded in darkness and looked much like a Ruby Tuesday’s or other chain restaurant. The difference is the wall art which is mostly Rhythm and Blues giants like Muddy Waters or Clapton. Looking over the menu, we both got BBQ pulled pork. I went the sandwich route, while my wife went with the full meal. Food was excellent.

After eating we were treated to a live performance by a band called PJ Barth. I was unfamiliar with the band and the lead singer/guitarist was this skinny little white dude who looked like a kid who dressed up as Stevie Ray Vaughn for Halloween. He was accompanied by a bassist and drummer and that was all he needed. Here’s a video of him doing an awesome cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing

The next morning… well around 10 or 11 am, we went to eat lunch at The Carnegie Deli. Now, I’ve never been there but I hear Bowser from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzarelli eat there together.
Looking over the menu I can tell you one thing, they like their tongue. Every other item on the menu had tongue in it. We stayed away from that and went for a club sandwich, which we shared. Why? It was about a foot tall. They must have used a pound of turkey and a pound of bacon. I ended up making three sandwiches out of it. But it was yummy.

That night we went to the buffet, geared up for some great eating. I was thoroughly unimpressed with Cravings. It had a sort of Art Deco cafeteria look to it. The offerings were a bit meager. The crab legs were split down the middle. That must be a Vegas thing because the Bellagio was the same way. I’ve never seen crab legs done like that. You’d think it would be easier to eat them that way but it was not. Whatever those things, that run down the middle of a crab leg, are called they held onto the meat with a deathlike grip.

We should have started with dessert because that was the best part of it. Everything else was a bit off and the choices were a bit weird. For what it cost to eat there, $30 bucks a piece, I tried to make up for it with desserts and crab legs.

The next day, our last full day, we tried room service for breakfast. We both ordered a triple breakfast combo consisting of waffles, pancakes, and French toast. Now before you say, “Ooh, have another, fatty” realize that for the total cost of $22.00 each, we got a single plate with three silver dollar pancakes, an equally sized waffle which looked to be ripped from the other three mini waffles in an Eggo pack, and a block of French toast the size of a pack of cigarettes. All of this was drizzled over by fruit compote. That was room service. While it was pretty good tasting, the idea that, for $40.00, I can take my wife, kid, and father-in-law to Cheddar’s in Wheeling and have a Monte Cristo, a burger, a shrimp platter, a grilled cheese, two sodas, a chocolate milk, and two draft beers makes me a bit queasy.

That afternoon we had the Blizz frozen yogurt snack, which was nice. You grab a cup, fill it with various flavors, add toppings and spend like $0.50 an ounce. It was pretty good for getting frozen yogurt. I think it ended up being like $12 all said and done.

However, that night I was bound and determined to eat a good buffet dinner in Vegas. We walked from the Mirage down to the Bellagio so I could see the fountains. We decided to eat there with a little apprehension at dropping another $60.00 for crap food.

Mission accomplished. The buffet was much, much better, though they do their crab legs the same way. But I found what I really liked which was the four or five different pasta dishes that were just phenomenal. I was ready for a nap after that.

After all of that eating I realized we spent a hell of a lot of money, just on food. In fact, we spent more money on food that we did on gambling. Hey, why not? At least I get something for my money with the food. I can’t enjoy losing $120 on slots and blackjack, but I’ll have this fat forever.

And for all that, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Vegas of old, with the cheap prime rib buffets and free drinks, is either a myth or was ruined by something else. Everything there costs money. Now, had I dropped a grand in the casino, they might have comped me a meal or two but you’re basically spending that money anyways. Hell, a 32 oz. Diet Coke, by the pool was $8.00. WTF!?!?

Although, directly across the street from the Mirage was both a Denny’s and a McDonald’s. But that would have been wrong. That’s like going to China and eating at a Manchu Wok or going to Manhattan and getting pizza at a Sbarro. You just don’t do that shit.

Next up, gambling and the Vegas experience.

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