Going Rogue in Las Vegas


We are interrupting this broadcast to bring you a station KORK exclusive. Acting on an anonymous tip, we have positioned our news helicopter over Villa de Westie in anticipation of the Westies' departure from the compound.

I see some activity on the ground, I believe Al Cowlings (refer to footnote (1), the Westies' sometimes chauffer, has loaded luggage into a white Ford Bronco and is getting in on the driver's side. Wait, it appears Ann, toting both a golf club (2) and Max Schipperke, is exiting the villa and climbing into the van's back seat. It appears our tip was correct because now Westie is running out of the villa and is joining them.

Cowlings has begun the long decent down the gravel driveway where he anticipate him using surface roads to avoid the tunnel. (3)

Oops, we lost them for several minutes due to cloud cover, but relocated them as the Bronco pulled into the VCA Cromwell Vet and Max was dropped off. We now have our KORK mobile unit following them as their vehicle proceeds north on I-91 in the general direction of Bradley International Airport. Wow! That was a close one, they were almost sideswiped by another vehicle and there is Westie extending his arm out the window offering holiday wishes to the other driver. (4).

It is clear the Westies are off on another vacation, but the question is what is their destination? Based on their past history, I would wager 6 to 5 (5) it's Las Vegas. We will provide further updates as information becomes available.

Okay, they have parked at an extended stay parking lot, taken the shuttle to the airport and entered the SWA terminal. Based on an interview with baggage handler J. Fred Muggs (6), the Westies' bags have been checked nonstop to Las Vegas.

Update, our Las Vegas ABC affiliate, WINO, has positioned a person on the ground at McCarran Airport in anticipation of the Westies 6:50PM arrival. I now have local weatherman Al Sleet (7) on the telephone. Al, what's your forecast for tonight? "Dark - continued dark throughout most of the evening with some widely-scattered light towards morning". (

This just in; we have a confirmed report that the Westies' legal representative, Max J. Schipperke, and station WINO have reached a definitive agreement giving WINO the exclusive rights to the Westies' soon to be released TR. As part of the agreement, a photographer will accompany them for the duration of the trip.

And that's the way it is. (9)

Footnotes for the age challenged: (10) (11)

(1) Served as OJ Simpson's driver during infamous chase
(2) Included with the Elin action doll
(3) Cab drivers use the tunnel to rip off Las Vegas tourists
(4) Readers will have to figure this out for themselves
(5) Odds paid by Strip casinos on a blackjack
(6) Chimpanzee who served as the mascot on the original Today Show hosted by Dave Garroway.
(7) George Carlin's hippy dippy weatherman character
(8) Excerpt from a classic Carlin routine
(9) Walter Cronkite's TV sign off
(10) Yes, I really am using footnotes in a TR
(11) Yes, the family will soon be sending me off to Sunny Acres nursing home

12/02 Our flight arrived 20 minutes early, but we ended up sitting on the tarmac for around 15 minutes waiting for a gate to open. After retrieving our luggage, we took the shuttle to the consolidated rental facility and then a second shuttle to the Fox Rent-A-Car lot located near the South Point. I was prepared for a high pressure sales pitch, it went like this:

Agent - 'Would you like blah, blah, blah'
Westie - 'no'
Agent - 'You need blah, blah, blah'
Westie - 'no'
Agent - 'It is a state requirement blah, blah, blah'
Westie - 'no'
Agent - 'We also offer blah, blah, blah'
Westie - 'no'
Agent - 'Well have a nice day'
Westie - 'Blah, blah, blah'

Our cream colored PT Cruiser had 38,000 miles on the odometer and the outside was pretty dirty, but it was otherwise more than satisfactory.

We were staying for 14 nights at the Eastside Cannery and though I requested a king size bed when making the reservation, we found ourselves in a room with 2 doubles. We returned to the front desk and were told our request could not be fulfilled until tomorrow. We hemmed and hawed a little before finally agreeing to keep the room for the duration. Once we were in the room and turned on the lights we realized it would be near impossible to read in bed so I returned to the front desk and requested a change as soon as possible.

It was past 8PM so we dropped our luggage on the bed and headed to Pho Saigon 8 on Eastern Avenue in Henderson. http://www.usmenuguide.com/phosaigon8.html We have dined at this location several times when it was originally occupied by Bon Jour Bistro and most recently by the American Grill. We shared orders of Pho ga tang (chicken noodle soup served with cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, jalapeno and hoisin sauce) and cha gio (crisp spring rolls that you wrap in a piece of lettuce and dip in nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce)). The basil was not fresh so I requested more and got what I asked for, more un-fresh basil. The flavor of the pho was mild and the chicken was limited to a few shreds. ($16.10, 2 Spoons out of a possible 5)

We just began to unpack when a call from the front desk informed us that we were being upgraded to a suite for our entire stay. The Eastside standard rooms are quite spacious and nicely appointed, but the suites are corner rooms with a pair of floor to ceiling windows and a Jacuzzi.

12/03 I woke up at 3:30AM and drove to Terrible's Casino in order to take advantage of the 5 x points being offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but discovered to my dismay that all the 9/6 JOB machines have been downgraded since our last trip. On returning to the Eastside I played FPDW (full pay deuces wild) for almost 3 hours hitting a pair of wild royals, 7 5OAKS (5 of a kind) and my #1 quad deuces of the trip. Way to go Team Westie!

Ann spent a restless night due to a constantly dripping shower head so on my return I found her buried deep under the covers. I quickly retreated, gently closed the door and headed to Chef Fleming's Bake Shop on Water Street in downtown Henderson where I purchased a cheese Danish for our breakfast and a slice of pistachio chocolate covered cheesecake. ($4.59, 2.5 forks for the Danish). http://chefflemmings.com/

After showering, we drove to the library to make computer reservations and to check out a few books for Ann. On returning to the Eastside we called the front desk to have the drip repaired and read the Review Journal (R-J) before departing for lunch at Lilian's on Desert Inn Road. There was a big sign for Lilian's at the entrance to the shopping plaza, but no Lilian.

Westie was not to be denied lunch, so we drove to Los Antojos on Eastern at Sahara. This tiny storefront restaurant has received a measure of notoriety since an article appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly indentifying it as celebrity Chef Alex Stratta's favorite restaurant for authentic Mexico City cuisine. http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/2...s-los-antojos/ Alex was dining elsewhere this day, but the restaurant was fairly busy. Orders are placed at the counter and then while waiting for the food you can munch on not so authentic taco chips served with two homemade salsas, tomatillo and chipotle. We each ordered a bowl of consommé loco, a rich chicken broth with shredded chicken, avocado and fresh cilantro that were accompanied by a pair of fresh corn tortillas - muy bueno! ($8, 4 Spoons)

On exiting, we walked down two doors and ordered a small coconut raspado, shaved ice with coconut syrup that was almost liquefied in an electric mixer - muy, muy bueno! ($2.75, 4 Spoons)

On our return to the Eastside I stopped by the slot booth and picked up a denim shirt for Ann that I earned earlier this morning. Ann played a little VP while I entertained the plumber while he 'fixed' our dripping shower head.

At around 5PM we departed for the South Point where we enjoyed a Blue Moon draft (me) and a merlot (Ann) while watching the 25th Annual National Finals Rodeo (NFR) on TV.

For dinner we chose Memphis Championship BBQ on Warm Springs Road.
http://www.memphis-bbq.com/ This small chain of BBQ restaurants is considered by many to be the best Las Vegas has to offer. Ann received a 2/1 coupon valued up to $20 shortly before we departed from home. This one did not require the purchase of an equal or greater value entree so I chose one of the least expensive meals, pork shoulder, while she ordered a rack of babyback ribs. Mine was bland so I added copious amounts of BBQ sauce. The ribs were very meaty, flavorful and tender. Each entree came with 2 sides, we chose macaroni and cheese (very good), green beans (right out of a can), collared greens (ugly) and red beans and rice (okay). ($14.80 3 Forks)

Our next stop was Boulder Station for the weekly blues session, this evening performed by Kenny Neal. It has been almost 9 years since we last saw Kenny and he looks and sounds the same though I doubt he would say the same of us. http://www.kennyneal.net/familymore.html (4 Claps)

On our returning to the room, Ann played some VP while I listed to the local country group, Marshall Reign. http://www.myspace.com/marshalreign (3 Claps) Ann also picked up $10 in free play in lieu of another denim shirt.

12/04 I got pounded on the VP machines this morning, but as the sun began to rise over the Spring Mountains I hit my #2 quad deuces of the trip though it barely covered my earlier losses.

After both of us showered, we were dismayed to discover the shower head had resumed its dripping. Our first stop this morning was KSHP on Jones Boulevard where we exchanged a gift certificate for Charo for several others. www.kshp.com

We continued to the 50's Diner on South Jones Boulevard for breakfast. Ann ordered the bacon and eggs, spuds (similar to potato chips) and wheat toast special plus coffee while I opted for the country scrambler; eggs scrambled with ham, onions and mushrooms topped with cheddar cheese. ($5.79, 3 Forks)

We also visited UNICA on Russell Road purchasing a pair of Chilewich placemats before returning to our room where we share Chef Fleming's creation. (4.5 Forks)

In mid-afternoon Ann returned to the gaming floor and ended up losing while I, in an abbreviated session, broke even.

We drove to Ellis Island for pre dinner drinks this evening. http://www.ellisislandcasino.com There had been one account of someone being rebuffed when tendering a coupon for an eggnog so it was with a degree of trepidation that I bellied up to the bar this evening, Suzie-the-bartender did not bat an eye as she took out 2 large glasses, added a few ice cubes and poured our eggnogs. For the second round Ann went conservative by ordering a merlot while I followed in the footsteps of Mae West who said 'too much of a good thing is wonderful' though I doubt she was referring to eggnog. (4.5 Sips)

We dined this evening at Cuba Café on Tropicana. http://www.cubacafelv.com/ We began with sweet fried bananas along with garlic bread. It has been several years since we last dined at this restaurant so we each ordered an entrée that we had enjoyed in the past. Ann chose salmon al mango - seared salmon with mango sauce and vegetable rice. I ordered pollo tequila - seared marinated chicken breast in fresh herbs with tequila sauce and chipotle served with vegetable rice. Both dishes were good, but my chicken was slightly dry. Prices are very reasonable and portions are ample so we ordered a flan to go in order to meet the minimum $35 purchase requirement. ($20.05, R.com, 3 Forks) The flan received a 4 Fork rating when consumed later in the evening.

Our plan was to see Paris Red, a jazz singer of some renown, at Sam's Town, but her first set was delayed due to the NFR broadcast so we returned to the Eastside and listened to Steve Sturgis and Roadhouse in Marilyn's Lounge. (2 Claps)

In our absence, another plumber took his turn trying to repair the shower head, but it continued to drip, drip, drip.

12/05 I headed for Sam's Town this morning to take advantage of the 5 x points being offered, but my earned comps paled in comparison to my loss. This was Ann's birthday so I picked up a birthday card along with the R-J on the way back to the room.

I offered Ann the choice of Bouchon or Waffles Café on Fort Apache for her birthday breakfast and she chose Waffles - that's my girl. We each ordered a waffle topped with fresh strawberries, real whipped cream and syrup. When I saw the size of them I thought neither of us would finish, but these turned out to be very light and delicious so no doggy bag was required.

We talked to one of the co-owners and learned a second restaurant in Summerlin would be opening the following. She was very sweet and after I mentioned driving cross town she made us a strawberry and banana smoothie with boba for us to enjoy on our way back. ($11.66, 4 Forks)

In a sugar binge, I pulled into the shopping plaza housing Bon Jour Euro Bakers on Rainbow at Sahara. http://www.bonjoureurobakers.com/ We ordered a chocolate layered mousse type thing to be consumed in the not too distant future.

We also visited the Las Vegas Premium Outlets where I purchased a fleece pullover at Izod. Ann headed directly to Chico's with a fistful of coupons and returned with a pair jeans and a sweater. Our next stop was the Lou Ruvo Brain Clinic on Bonneville Avenue, not treatment, just photos. This complex looks as if it has been a victim of an earthquake.

The early afternoon was spent dozing and reading followed by a VP session with Ann on the winning side and me on the losing side

Though the bars at the South Point were active during the rodeo, business was noticeably down in comparison to prior years so finding prime seating was not a problem. Ann chose merlot while I settled on a Smirnoff Ice.

We chose one of our favorite casino restaurants, Twin Creeks Steakhouse at the Silverton, for Ann's birthday dinner. http://www.silvertoncasino.com/html/...restaurant.asp The restaurant was not as busy as on past visits and I now suspect corners are being cut to bolster the bottom line. We were served a basket of artisan bread and each ordered the prime rib, medium rare, along with asparagus and a baked potato. The prime rib was cooked as ordered, but it was exceptionally fatty. The baked potato was overcooked and even the asparagus spears were not as tasty or crisp as in the past. To put the nail in the coffin, our server was a bit too lackadaisical. As silver card holders our entrees were ½ off. ($6, comps, 2 Forks)

We retreated to Brendan's Pub at the Orleans for a highly entertaining set by jazz saxophonist David van Such and his talented band. http://www.davidvansuch.com/ (4.5 Claps)

12/06 This morning's weather and the VP machines were frigid.

We drove to the Village Pub (Horizon) on Eastern for breakfast this morning.
http://www.villagepubcasino.com/food.html Both of us ordered easy over eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon and wheat toast. This restaurant is a few steps up the food chain from Ellis Island which it shares common ownership. ($9, LVA, 3 Forks)

We returned to the room to read the Sunday paper before departing for the library to check our emails. Ann received an email from Sephora good for $15 off her next purchase.

In the mid-afternoon we shared the chocolate dessert purchased earlier at Bonjour Euro Bakers. ($3.75, 4.5 Forks)

Late in the day we drove to Red Rock Resort where we parlayed a pair of LVA $120/$100 coupons on the craps table for a $40 win.

We then made the short drive to Martini's on Fort Apache where former Top Chef Gene Villiatora serves as executive chef. http://www.mixednutslv.com/ Ann ordered blackened Ahi tuna with a Creole mustard butter. The tuna was visually unappealing, overcooked, tough and flavorless. In contrast, my grilled Pacific salmon glazed with white miso and pineapple was delicious. Our entrees came with bok choy and sticky rice covered with black sesame seeds that were pleasing to the eye, but both were served near room temperature. ($28.48, R.com, 2 Forks)

We then made our way to the Suncoast for the Sonny Turner show. It was 50 years ago that Sonny replaced Tony Williams as the lead singer of the Platters. http://www.sonnyturner.com/ Sonny is into his 70's but you would never know it from either his voice or energy level. He sang a number of the Platter's hits, some Christmas songs and closed out the evening with Sly and the Family Stone's 'I want to take you higher'; Sonny did on this evening. (4.5 Claps)

12/07 Th`is morning's VP session yielded a total of ( 5OAKS, but I could not pull the trigger on the quad deuces. After closing out the session I made the long trek to what turned out to be the former home of the Friendly Donut on the south end of the Boulder Highway.

After a much needed shower and shave, we drove to Ronald's Donuts on Spring Mountain Road where Ann ordered a coffee and we shared the world's best apple fritter. ($2.46, 4.5 Forks)

Ann had some Sephora coupon plus the $15 gift certificate burning a hole in her pocket so we drove to Town Square immediately after breakfast. The only problem was most of the stores do not open until 10AM and we were in front of Sephora's at 9:30AM so Ann became their first customer that day scoring a trio of lip glosses and a bottle of perfume. http://www.sephora.com/

We drove to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets so I could return the fleece pullover purchased earlier in the week and, in lieu of receiving a full credit for my purchase price, Ann graciously agreed to acquire (2) pairs of socks. I subsequently purchased another fleece pullover at Nautica, making sure it fit.
The big hand reached twelve so we drove to Noodle Palace on Spring Mountain Road. http://tinyurl.com/l89f2r We ordered shrimp dumpling soup and requested 2 bowls, but our server did not think it would be enough for us so we cancelled that order and requested the pan fried noodles with chicken. We ended up receiving both. The soup had a curious flavor and the noodle dish was pretty mundane. ($11.73, 1.5 Forks)

Our early afternoon VP sessions ended in a draw, but we earned 2 packages of holiday ornaments that are now dangling from our housekeeper's Christmas tree.

It was raining heavily at 3PM when we departed for the Imperial Palace to see Matsuri, the Japanese, budget equivalent of a Cirque du Soleil show. As we entered the garage there was a torrent of water flowing toward us just as someone yelled 'surfs up'.

The show's troupe of 20 performing acrobats was very good and there was more than enough variety to keep us entertained from start to finish. ($19, KSHP, 3 Claps) http://www.lvrj.com/neon/58935522.html

After the show we took a car ferry to Ellis Island for a pair of eggnogs, but it was Suzie's night off so we received mini sized versions of our favorite holiday grog. After enjoying a pair, we departed for the Firefly at the Plaza. http://www.fireflylv.com/menu.html

On entering the restaurant we noticed several towels scattered on the floor where water had dripped from the dome reminding me to complain once more to the front desk about our continuing shower head problem. The restaurant's booths and décor have been upgraded since its days as Center Stage, but the room itself was uncomfortably cold causing at least two tables of diners to depart before ordering.

We ordered the following: bacon wrapped stuffed dates with blue cheese in a red wine reduction (4.5), Thai beef salad (2), fried calamari served with an interesting gribiche sauce (3), paella (3.5), a trio of Mojitos (4.5) and a complimentary flan (3) in recognition of Ann's birthday. I used a discounted gift certificate purchased from a radio station. ($15.28, 3.5 Forks)

12/08 I caught a quartet of 5OAKS this morning, but not much else during my early morning VP session. As the sun rose, I realized the rain that had fallen mainly on the plain had covered the Spring Mountains with up to 3 feet of snow. The view from our room was beautiful.

Sunset Station provided our morning sustenance with me enjoying OJ, skim milk, melon, huevos rancheros and bacon. My only complaint was the melon was unripe. (LVA, comps, 2.5 Forks)

There was time to kill so we played a little VP at Fiesta-Henderson before continuing on to the South Point for Ann's massage. Ann requested the same masseuse at Costa del Sur as on prior visits and was once again happy with the facilities and overall experience. She used a gift certificate purchased from a radio station. ($68, 4 Hands) http://www.spacostadelsur.com/

Meanwhile I visited the events center and watched a team calf roping competition. Had they permitted wagering, I would have made money betting on the calves. I also walked around the adjoining exhibition hall where several purveyors of western wear and other products had set up camp. The most interesting exhibit was for custom crafted stage coaches.

We both had $10 in free play available so it was played off on the 9/6 JOB machines; I lost, but Ann cashed out at $10. I happened to be carrying a spare drink coupon so we ordered a pair of mudslides before returning to our room. (3.5 Sips)

We napped and read, more of the former than the latter, until my internal alarm went off and we departed for pre dinner merlots at Sam's Town.

Our dining destination tonight was Market Street Café on W. Tropical Parkway. http://marketgrillecafe.com/ This is a relatively new casual Greek restaurant that has prospered during these difficult times by providing very good food at reasonable prices. Ann ordered the spanakopita while I chose the pomegranate chicken. Entrees include pita bread, salad and Greek rice. This version of spankopita was denser than we are accustomed to, but very good nonetheless. I have only had pomegranate chicken once before at Paymon's and this version infinitely superior. I had a coupon printed off the restaurant's website good for 2 free glasses of wine that the manager accepted along with a discounted gift certificate purchased at http://www.thebestrestaurantguide.com/halfoffdinners/. We closed out the meal by sharing a piece of the restaurant's award winning Aphrodite cheesecake with a baklava crust. ($16.04, 3.5 Forks)

Ann was beginning to come down with a cold so on returning to the Eastside she turned left for the room while I headed right for Marilyn's Lounge and listened to the Fab, a Beatle's tribute band. As the set continued, I recognized someone on the dance floor; it was famous Dave, not BBQ Dave, but Dancing Dave, a character who has been dancing up a storm in the lounges along Boulder Highway for many years. I have seen the Fab, but I really enjoyed their performance this evening and look forward to seeing them in the future. (3 Claps) http://www.thefab.com/

12/09 This morning's VP session turned out to be the worst of the trip and there may still be a chalk outline of my body immediately in front of the FPDW machines.

As we prepared to depart we received a call from the front desk explaining the only way to solve our problem involved tearing down the shower wall. We were asked to move to room 702 immediately below the one we are now occupying. I think not, so a room on the 10th floor was offered and accepted.

Our first stop of the day was a wash and fold where we dropped off our clothes before proceeding to Ellis Island for breakfast. We each ordered the vanilla French toast which was especially good.
($7, ACG, 3.5 Forks)

Next stop was CityCenter on Las Vegas Boulevard which had a staggered opening over the past week. We first toured Crystals, the upscale shopping forum to view the public art, and then visited the lobby area of Mandarin Oriental located on the 23rd floor.

We next visited the Orleans so Ann could earn a point during her birthday month and swipe for cash or prizes. After losing her $1 she received a gift of 1,000 points worth roughly $1. We also purchased a bottle of wine at the liquor store for tonight's dinner.

For lunch we again visited Los Antojos for a bowl of the loco consommé. ($8.28, 4 Spoons)

On our return to the Eastside we completed the move to room 1002 and rested for the remainder of the day until it was happy hour. We made the short drive to Sam's Town and shared a pair of merlots before picking up our laundry and continuing on to Todd's Unique on Sunset Road for dinner. http://www.toddsunique.com/

Todd Clure, the owner/chef of this restaurant, continues to accumulate awards for his innovative cuisine. Unlike other celebrity chefs in Las Vegas, you will find Todd in the kitchen every evening. He also modifies the menu in concert with the availability of fresh fish and produce. We like to dine on Wednesday nights when the normal $20 corkage fee is waived. On this evening we enjoyed a bottle of Los Vacos cabernet sauvignon.

Our server, James, recited the evening's specials and answered our questions about the menu. We started off by ordering one of Todd's signature appetizers, Asian dumplings with a soy-garlic dipping sauce. These dumplings were delightfully light and flavorful. He also served us a complimentary appetizer, in appreciation of our continuing patronage, of arancini with tomato sauce that were unlike any we have ever experienced (this is a compliment).

Ann ordered the mahi mahi stuffed with crab served with island rice and an almond sauce. My entrée was South African sea bass with a barley salad and Riesling reduction sauce. Both plates included a roasted tomato, grilled squash, enoki mushrooms, watercress and carrots; a rainbow of textures, colors and flavor.

At the end of this feast, I was kicking myself after realizing that I had forgotten to bring an email Ann received for a complimentary dessert in recognition of her birthday. It did not matter because shortly after our plates were cleared, James brought us a complimentary Toddamisu, Todd's take on a tiramisu. I used a $50 gift certificate I earned by making reservations through the OpenTable system. http://www.opentable.com/ Overall, this evening's service, food and company could not have been any better. ($32.97, 5 Forks)

On our return to the Eastside we once again parted company with Ann headed to the VP machines and me to the bar to listen to a set by the Desert Outlaws. (3 Claps) http://www.myspace.com/thedesertoutlaws I was also able to watch the NFR broadcast as well as the UCONN versus Kentucky basketball game. Meantime, Ann hit her first and only quad deuces of the trip so with the exception of the UCONN loss, the night was near perfect.

12/10 A total disaster was avoided at this morning's VP session when I hit my #3 quad deuces immediately before closing time.

Prior to departing, we played a pair of $10 MPs at the craps table and walked away with a $10 profit. We drove to Einstein Brothers Bagels on Sunset Road where we ordered a toasted cinnamon bagel and coffee to go. ($2.92, 3 Forks)

We both needed grooming so we back tracked to Super Cuts. I got a haircut while Ann had her hair washed and blow dried by Eva. ($47, 3.5 Shears)

On our return to the Eastside I went to the slot booth and received $10 in free play earned early this AM. I also entered the free slot tournament where I registered my usual low score.

Today we decided to try the lunch buffet at Namaste, a new Indian restaurant that opened in September in the Commercial Center adjacent to Lotus of Siam. http://www.namastelasvegas.com/ I sampled the pakora, Indian pickles, raita, tamarind and mint sauces, fresh naan, basmati rice, chicken and lamb curries, saag, sambar and gajar halwa. We have never dined at an Indian buffet in Las Vegas, but it did not compare well to the ones we frequent in Connecticut. ($11, KSHP, 2.5 Forks)

We stopped by the Las Vegas Hilton to pick up tickets for Friday evening's performance of Voices and then played a pair of $10 MPs at the craps table earning another $10 before returning to the Eastside. We put enough points on Ann's card for her to earn a hoodie. I entered the slot tournament again with results similar to this morning's session.

In the late afternoon we again ordered eggnogs at Ellis Island and met a local couple who were considering purchasing some bottles for an upcoming party. I ended up buying them and their friends a round using a second coupon I retrieved from the car. Reading their body language, we had the impression none of them enjoyed the nog, but do I care, not a bit because it leaves more for me, Ann and Tania.

We also visited the Gold Coast in order for Ann to again swipe her card for birthday points or gifts; this time she won a certificate for a bingo pack which she dumped in the trash. We also redeemed a coupon good for 3,000 points earned by updating her online B Connected account.

Before departing we sat in on a set by Wylie and the Wild West in the Gold Coast lounge This band plays old time Western music like you don't hear in Connecticut. http://www.wylieww.com/
(2.5 Claps)

Ann's voice had deteriorated to a mere croak so we headed to Pho Kim Long on Spring Mountain Road for another bowl of pho ga which we shared. It was much tastier and fresher than was served at Pho Saigon 8 though it should have been hotter. http://www.usmenuguide.com/pholongmenu.html ($10.38, 3 Spoons)

12/11 This morning's 3.5 hour VP session was very good with me hitting ( 5OAKS and my #4 quads of the trip. Ann was still sleeping when I returned to our room so I tiptoed through the tulips on my way out to Chef Fleming's where I purchased a pair of Danishes. ($3.53, 3.5 Forks)

Lines for the slot tournament were noticeably shorter so I played all 3 entries one after the other though my scores were surprisingly similar. Ann played some video poker while I checked the Eastside's VP inventory. Team Westie reassembled and tried to play a pair of $10 MPs on the craps table, but one of the dealers recognized us and informed the box man who refused to accept our bets.

Ann's cold has been persistent so we drove to Weiss restaurant on Green Valley Parkway where she ordered a cup of chicken noodle soup and I requested my first ever matzo ball soup. Same soup, but my matzo ball acted like a sponge without any noticeable benefit.
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_ho.../10816191.html ($9.88, 3 Spoons)

We made a long detour on our way back to the room and stopped at Nothing Bundt on Eastern Avenue where I tasted a sample of their pecan praline bundt. Based on the sample I purchased a mini bundt to be consumed at a later time.

Ann spent the afternoon in bed while I alternated between playing VP and napping. Dinner tonight was at China Mama on Jones Boulevard where we shared orders of shrimp with special hot chili sauce and chicken prepared with three special sauce and basil. The shrimp were served with the heads, but the biggest problem was they had been mishandled and were mealy. We fared better with the chicken dish. ($20.24, KSHP, 2 Forks)

We adjourned to the Las Vegas Hilton to see Voices starring Lani Misalucha. This show opened in April with Earl Turner and Lani sharing top billing though Earl was the alpha male. He has since departed in a salary dispute, but Lani has been able to fill the void by showcasing her vocal versatility and her backup singers. ($29, KSHP, 3.5 Claps)

We have long since past the age where were we could burn the candle at both ends and, if the truth be known, are now happy to char one end. So we retired to the room and shared the stale pecan praline mini bundt. ($3.99, 1.5 Forks)

12/12 Sam's was my destination this
morning due to the 5 x points being offered. I recorded (12) 5OAKS, but was losing until I hit my #4 quad deuces of the trip.

Ann is still suffering from laryngitis so there has been about as much conversation taking place between us as at the Woods' household over the past 2 days. Breakfast this morning was at Ellis Island where Ann chose the vanilla French toast while I was more than happy to fill my tummy with very easy over eggs, wheat toast, crisp bacon and potatoes. ($8, LVA, 3 Forks)

We next visited Titanic: The Artifact Exhibiton at the Luxor using a pair of complimentary passes I picked up when I attended the Jack's Big Boy show at the South Point on our September trip.
http://www.luxor.com/attractions/att...s_titanic.aspx The exhibit was very informative, but the actual artifacts on display did not warrant the $27 MSRP. ($0, 2 Claps)

On returning to the room we read the R-J and rested before playing a short session of VP and subsequently departing for the South Point. We enjoyed a pair of merlots while watching the rebroadcast of yesterday's NFR.

Dinner was at Chef's Palate Martini and Wine Bar on Eastern Avenue. http://tinyurl.com/dgnc5c This restaurant has a limited number of tables, but we were immediately seated on this Saturday evening. Ann ordered the Chilean sea bass with sweet pepper coulis, whipped potatoes and grilled romaine lettuce. I countered with pistachio crusted halibut served with tobiko (flying fish) caviar, a beurre blanc sauce, black trumpet mushroom herb couscous and French beans. My fish was overcooked and would have benefited from more sauce while Ann's potatoes were likely from a package mix. ($41.13, KSHP, 2.5 Forks) http://tinyurl.com/dgnc5c

We returned to the Eastside with Ann retiring to the room while I put in an hour on the VP machines followed by another disappointing slot tournament session.

12/13 My VP session yielded 5 5OAKS, 4 Wild Royals, 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves and a Small Loss.

Ann received an offer of 2 free lunches or brunches from Terrible's for her birthday so we decided to try the brunch. Nothing from the very cheap champagne to the stale desserts was worth the calories. Since neither of us died I will award this meal a 0.5 Forks rating subject to the results of my next colonoscopy.

On returning to the Eastside I played another pathetic round in the slot tournament and then postponed my final 2 entries until later this day. After reading the R-J and napping, I was more optimistic so I entered the tournament a second and third time, but again walked away with disappointing scores. On the plus side it was the last day of the tournament so the agony of defeat has ended.

In the late afternoon we departed for the South Point where I enjoyed a lemon drop martin and Ann filled her glass with merlot. There were a few holdovers from the NFR so I began distributing our extra drink coupons to one and all.

Dinner was at the Silverado Steak House. http://www.southpointcasino.com/dini...erado-menu.php Entrees include a house salad tossed tableside with champagne dressing, but it must have just come out of the refrigerator because the dressing was congealed. Ann chose grilled line caught king salmon with julienne vegetables and pressed potato. My entrée was prime rib served with garlic butter sauce and a baker. The prime rib, served with au jus and a fresh horseradish sauce, was better than the one we had last week at Twin Creeks, but it was less tender than I expected. I used a 2/1coupon from a locals mailer that I parlayed with a 50% off when paying with points promotion so our $50 meal ended up costing us only $12.50 in points. ($8, comps, 3 Forks)

We next made the short drive to M Resort to view the tallest and probably skinniest Christmas tree in the USA. Also on display on the ground level were a number of beautiful ginger bread houses. Before departing, I used a $15 free play coupon from the locals mailer walking away with $13.75.

Our next stop was Bill's where we parked and then walked over to Bellagio to visit the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The winter display was beautiful with a polar bear family created out of white carnations, an enormous rocking chair, topiary of a cottage, 8 reindeer in flight, a red lacquered rocking chair, hundreds of rosebuds in the form of an ornament plus so much more. (4 Claps)

Ann was operating at only 65% of her peak performance level due to the lingering cold and laryngitis, so we called it an early evening. After returning to the room I was treated to a fountain show when she turned on the Jacuzzi and the jets began spraying water all over the bathroom and onto the sliding door separating it from our bedroom.

12/14 Another loss was sustained during this morning's VP session. Prior to returning to the room, I enjoyed a short walk around the parking lot under crystal clear skies and moderating temperatures.

We returned to the Sunset Station buffet for breakfast with me choosing huevos rancheros, fresh fruit, OJ, ambrosia and a small dab of bread pudding. ($2, points, LVA, 2.5 Forks)

In the mid-morning we drove to the library to return books as well as to check our emails. The remainder of day was spent reading and napping though we each put in an abbreviated session on the VP machines.

We decided to have one more eggnog at Ellis Island and, though it was Suzie's day off, her replacement poured a long one for us.

Our last dinner was at McCormick & Schmick's on Hughes Center Drive.
http://www.usmenuguide.com/mccormickschmickslv.html As Preferred Guest members we received an amuse bouche of tomato smoked salmon and capers. We also shared a delicious spinach salad with dried cranberries, fennel, carrots and basil dressing. Ann ordered lobster ravioli in a red curry sauce that I am going to have to try to duplicate at home. My entrée was macadamia crusted blue grenadier topped with bay scallops and served with a tropical salsa, green beans and roasted red pepper. We also shared a crème brulee. Both the dessert and first $30 of our bill were complimentary in recognition of Ann's birthday. ($27.56, 3.5 Forks)

12/15 The hole I have been tossing money into for most of this trip got bigger and wider during this morning's VP session. At its conclusion I drove to Einstein Brothers on Sunset Road for a toasted bagel that we enjoyed in the room along with orange juice. ($2.99, 3 Forks)

I checked Ann's operating levels and they were at 75% efficiency and holding steady. We read the R-J in the room followed by an abbreviated, though losing, VP session before we departed for M Resort.

The weekday Studio B lunch buffet ($12.95) was being offered on a 2/1 basis so we decided we could not pass up on this opportunity. The lines, as expected, were long so I sent Ann off to find someplace to sit while I waited and waited. After about an hour we finally entered the buffet and here are the results of our extensive research:

Ann Westie
Mac & cheese #1 3.5 Greek Salad 2.5
Teriyaki salmon 3.0 Potato & bean salad 3.0
Chicken enchilada 1.5 Cucumber salad 3.0
Fried shrimp 3.0 Bread salad 2.5
Singapore noodles 3.0 Paella #1 4.0
Beet & spinach salad 3.0 Cioppino 2.0
Chow mein 2.5 Paella #2 3.0
Sweet potatoes 2.0 Fried shrimp 3.0
Greek salad 3.0 Chocolate souffle 2.0
Paella 3.0 Crème brulee 2.0
Mac & cheese #2 3.5 Chocolate shooter 2.5
Chocolate shooter 3.5 Cappucino w/Baileys 3.5
Bread pudding 4.0 Hazelnut cappuccino 3.0
Chocolate soufflé 2.5 Chocolate/coffee gelato 3.5
Hazelnut cappuccino 4.0 Merlot 3.0
Merlot 2.0

I hibernated for the remainder of the afternoon and then drove to Sam's Town for a farewell drink. We each ordered a merlot and retired to Roxy's Lounge to listen to Marshall Reign again. (2.5 Claps)

Prior to departing I took a second drink coupon to the sports book bar and handed it along with a $1 bill to the bartender while requesting 2 bottles of water. The bartender quickly pocketed the cash and them hemmed and hawed while reading the coupon and then told us the water wasn't covered, but he would comp us anyways. This is the same jerk that last December read the entire coupon plus asked for my ACG card before serving us 2 glasses of $2.25 merlot.

12/16 I hit (13) 5OAKS and my #5 quad deuces of the trip on this our final morning and then drove to Einstein's for one last bagel. We then spent the remainder of the morning packing, reading the R-J and playing VP.

Lunch was at the Palm Restaurant in the Forum Shops at Caesars. http://www.thepalm.com/ We each ordered the 3-course business lunch, selecting Caesar salads and the twin tenderloin filets served with caramelized onions, wild mushrooms and bordelaise sauce. In addition we received a large plate of cottage fries and fried onion rings. Ann chose the key lime pie while I went with the New York cheesecake. A discounted gift certificate purchased from a local radio station was applied to our bill. ($34.51, 4 Forks)

We returned the car to the Fox lot near the South Point, shuttled to the consolidated rental facility, shuttled to the airport and cleared security without a hitch. Our flight arrived at Bradley on time, but it took almost an hour before our luggage finally appeared on the conveyer belt. We finally arrived home at 2AM.

Team Westie sustained a painful, though manageable, loss that dropped our gambling record to 11 winning trips out of the past 14.

This has been an original Westie TR, accept no substitute, and as always, I want to thank everyone who took the time to read it in its entirety. I welcome any questions comments or questions.