Saturday, December 16, 2006

Viva Las Vegas! (part 1)

I'm back from our Vegas vacation and I think I'm caught up with most of my email and such. I'm still working on getting housework done and trying to get back in the swing of normal life.

It was definitely a fun trip as always, but we did a few different things this time. We stayed at the Imperial Palace which is mid strip and for a long time was one of the last few independent casinos left. It's since been purchased by Harrah's, but it hasn't changed much. Over the last few years we had accumulated a pretty good amount of points in our players card account so we got a really good deal on the hotel room, the first three nights free, and then ended up using our comp dollars to pay for the final night. The hotel room wasn't bad at all beyond being a bit small. I do have to say that the bed was one of the more comfortable hotel beds I've slept in and the water pressure in the shower was excellent, even with being on the 16th floor. (Keep in mind though that E and I are not too picky about hotel rooms, we just want a clean room with a bed and a shower. I expect that the rooms at the IP wouldn't work for everyone.) Sunday after we got settled in we wandered over to Caesars Palace to wander through the Forum Shops and made our reservations for dinner for Monday night. Then we did our usual first night in Vegas dinner at Hofbrau Haus and then went over to the Hard Rock casino for a bit of gambling. The Pocketbook of Values E gets with his membership to the Las Vegas Advisor has a coupon for $10 in free machine play on certain machines that I like to use. It doesn't work in a lot of the slot machines, but it does work in the video poker machines which is just fine with me because I can get a lot of play out of that $10 at video poker.

Monday morning we got up and hopped on the monorail to go down to Mandalay Bay to eat at House of Blues (excellent food, and a place we discovered due to a coupon) because we had some shopping to do down on that end of the strip. After breakfast we walked back over to Luxor through Mandalay Place and stumbled on a fun little shop, Lush Puppy. It's a hip little store with stuff for dogs and cats and their people which gets big points in my book for having a store dog. We, of course, had to get stuff for the animals and then I found a great little book the cat owner's manual which has turned out to be informative and a very fun read. Unfortunately, the rest of the shopping didn't go quite as well. A had asked us to look for a replacement for one of her Anubis statutes that was damaged and we couldn't find a single one. Then we walked back through Excalibur so I could stop at a little jewelry store there I liked and discovered that it had changed. That was particularly disappointing because I have started getting one piece of really nice jewelry during our Vegas trip and the old store had carried the type of jewelry I like. We headed back to the IP and gambled for a bit before we went over to Caesars Palace for dinner. We got there a bit early, so I talked E into go back to a jewelry shop I had seen in the Forum Shops the night before, Australian Gems. Back in the back they had one case of opal and silver jewelry, all of which was 40% off regular price, and I found the perfect bracelet so I still ended up getting my piece of jewelry. Dinner that night was at Hyakumi which was a new experience for me. E had gone there last month when he was at Caesars for a conference and had talked it up so much I thought it would be fun to try for our really nice meal. We did the Teppan Yaki-style meal and it was amazing. It took around an hour and a half to two hours long and you start with an appetizer of tiger shrimp and vegetables cooked in front of you on the hot plate, followed by soup, then by a cucumber salad and then the main course which was chicken, steak and lobster cooked on the hot plate with vegetables. The steak and lobster were the best I have ever had, perfectly cooked and tender enough that they seemed to melt in your mouth. The meal ended with green tea and strawberry ice cream. It was fantastic, the food was perfect and the pace of the meal was great because we had plenty of time to really enjoy the meal without feeling rushed. It's definitely something I want to do again.

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