Las Vegas: On and off the Strip

Filet Mignon
2012/08/02 19:27:34

Here I am in Sin City. I am staying at Planet Hollywood because it is where my workshop is. Each room is themed to a certain actor, and who do I get but Arnold Schwartzenegger! Me! A state employee! Imagine going to sleep under the Terminator every night!

There’s a knife collection to make the room mellower


 I did get a nice tub and a killer view. Look out, Vegas, here I come…

post edited by EliseT - 2012/08/03 00:01:27
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/02 19:49:27

My friend Nick, who I’ve known since I was 14 years old, picked me up at the airport – the test of true friendship. We had lunch at Lotus of Siam, which was recommended to me by Roadfooders. It’s really hard to find. Look for a long beige building and drive around back, it’s in a big minimall, which I know is an oxymoron.

We ordered some usuals — tom kah gai, yellow curry chicken and pad Thai. They were all good, especially the pad Thai, which is made with vermicelli instead of flat rice noodles. But living between Thai Town and North Hollywood, I didn’t see what the fuss was about. Until I tried the catfish. The catfish, which was covered with a chili paste, was light, flaky and meaty. It was delicious! I would absolutely come back for that dish. Now I see what the fuss is about.

Next Nick took me to one of those fantastic places only locals know about – an old-fashioned tiki bar!

I had something with blue curacao, then a coconut drink sort of like a ChiChi. But it was NOT blended. The bartender believes blenders do not belong in bars.

The music makes you want to dance, but the cozy hideaway is hardly a dance club, so you just groove where you stand. There are also cool videos showing on the TVs, a welcome relief from sports.

After I got a little tipsy and warmed up for some serious pinball, we went to The Pinball Hall of Fame, 10,000 square feet of pinball!
The Pinball Hall of Fame is an attempt by the members of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club to house and display the world’s largest pinball collection, open to the public. A not-for-profit corporation was established to further this cause. The games belong to one club member (Tim Arnold), and range from 1950s up to 1990s pinball machines. Since it is a non-profit museum, older games from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are the prevelant, as this was the ‘heyday’ of pinball. There are no ‘ticket spitters’ here (aka kiddie casinos or redemption). It’s all pure pinball (and a few arcade novelty games) from the past. And since it’s a non-profit, excess revenues go to non-denominational charities.


post edited by EliseT - 2012/08/02 23:59:18
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/02 20:00:32

So a group of casinos have this deal called Buffet of Buffets. For $45 you can eat at any of 5 buffets as much as you want during 24 hours. If I timed it to have my first breakfast late and my second one early, I could get 4 meals out of it. It sounded good. Since I was staying at Planet Hollywood, I had my breakfast at Spice Market buffet, which was nice. It had every possible breakfast food you can think of – except bagels.

For lunch I ran over to Paris, next door. I remembered their sausages and pastries were good. I had charcuterie, sausage and prime rib. The shrimp were peel-and-eat to slow you down, so I didn’t bother with them.

For dinner I decided to have crab legs at Spice Market since I was peckish, then wander over to Rio and have their famous seafood buffet later. As I sat in Spice Market picking my dried-out crab legs, I started looking around. What had seemed like an explosion of flavor now seemed like a monument to American gluttony and greed.
The crab didn’t offer much sustenance, so I still made my way over to Rio. To continue my disappointment, the seafood buffet was not included. They had a second buffet, The World Buffet. The line was as long as for Space Mountain at Disneyland. The longer I waited, the more I felt like I was in WalMart. And I didn’t want to eat in WalMart. So I abandoned the line and had an awful plate of fish and chips in the sports bar.
The next morning my buffet breakfast was yogurt and Raisin Bran.

post edited by EliseT - 2012/08/02 20:02:17
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/02 20:07:42
Thursday night I went to Serendipity 3 at Caesar’s Palace with some friends for dinner. The New York location has been around since the 50s. It was Andy Warhol’s favorite place for sweets and he paid in drawings. The Las Vegas location has a seated area, a patio, and a window to sell ice cream treats out of. They also have the famous frozen hot chocolate.

The appetizers are huge, and could make a whole meal. The onion rings are crunchy outside and soft on the inside.

The crab dip was more like crab with a little dip on it. It was almost entirely crab.

The hamburgers are amazing, rich and juicy. One of our party got a triple-decker grilled cheese sandwich. The dip was so filling I had to take my prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella sandwich home.


My fiend ordered the frozen hot chocolate and yes, it tasted like hot chocolate. Frozen.

post edited by EliseT - 2012/08/03 00:04:33
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/02 21:09:42
Love the,ve really captured it!
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/03 03:40:12
Vegas is all about excess in everything!
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/03 09:16:42
What a fun time!
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/03 17:28:59
Thursday I was in workshopes, so I went to the mall and tried Lobster Me. I thought, "When did lobster become a verb?" "Lobster me, Charlie!" Then I realized LOBSTER ME meant Lobster ME as in Maine. Oops! The meat was sweet, and the bread, which is flown in from Maine was amazing, though I confess I have never been to a real Maine lobster shack.

Friday I was in workshops all day, but I had time to run across the street to Caesar’s to Rao’s. Yes, RAO’S! I was so excited! I was a little sad they don’t have the red peppers at lunch.

I’ve been trying to be lo-carb on this trip so I could have a big splurge later, so I ordered the meatballs. They ARE world famous, and as big as softballs. The marinara sauce was so good, next time I will say to hell with it and get pasta.

After my last workshop, I waited at the bar to hear from my friend Eva. I tried the Queso Fundido, which was surprisingly good. Because 2 meatballs is actually not enough to eat all day.

Eva couldn’t make it, so I am unable to title a post “Eva Las Vegas.” I called Nick and went out with him and his girlfriend, Stacy. We went to their local Casino, Cannery Row and ate at Snaps restaurant for dinner. I ordered the safest thing to eat in Vegas – Prime Rib.

For a little excitement I ordered an avocado shake. Yes. Avocado. Shake. It was like a vanilla shake with a light avocado taste, very mild.

Since my last visit was so exciting, we decided to hit Serendipity 3 again. It was a long wait, and when we got our ice cream sundaes they were totally melted. I felt bad sending it back, but it was a goner.

Big difference.


post edited by EliseT - 2012/08/03 17:37:07
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/03 20:17:56
Thank you Elise
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/03 21:58:59
As always, fun to read and well written, Elise/
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/04 03:12:41
Wow, great report and pictures...I will try some of the spots you visited next time I am in Vegas.
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/04 16:05:38
Saturday there were no workshops and my flight wasn’t until the evening, so we decided to go to Red Rock. We stopped for breakfast at the Roadfood-reviewed Mary’s Hash House. It is not to be confused with Hash House-a-Go Go, a chain that serves Claim Jumper-sized portions.

They not only make incredible breakfasts, but they make their own jellies. I tried passion fruit, which was mind-blowingly delicious.

I ordered the mixed hash with corned beef, steak, ham, and whatever other meats they had.

We drove around Red Rock and did a little walking around. The redness is caused by rusted minerals. We lost the trail at one point and ended up surrounded by cacti.

I went to Fremont Street and ate at The Beat Cafe. I tried the “Slap and Tickle” a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bacon and jalapenos. I asked for it grilled. A weird sandwich to close out my weird weekend.


post edited by EliseT - 2012/08/04 16:24:26
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/10 16:03:26
Great report thanks for sharing
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/10 17:15:22
As always,your reports are wonderful. Look forward to catching up to you when i am in Los Angeles again.
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/10 18:23:35
LOVE this report Elise; those onion rings are outrageous.
WIsh I were there! The jellies are so cute!
Are you coming to CT Sept 29? We could go get some real lobster rolls
you rock!
ann peeples
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/10 18:46:38
I always love your reports and experiences!Thanks for being back!
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/13 00:44:51
Thanks, everyone! I wish I could go to Connecticut, but I'm having to take care of things at home. Maybe New Orleans next year!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/13 12:38:32
Thanks so much for the report, Elise! I've been planting the seeds in my other half's brain about a certain thing we might be doing next year, and Vegas just might be the place! Pictures and descriptions help plant the seeds a little more, too, so thanks again!
Filet Mignon
Re:Las Vegas: On and off the Strip 2012/08/13 13:31:35
Elise---u ROCK!!!!