Archive for the ‘Vegas 2013’ Category

Vegas 2013 – Day 13 – Cheesecake Factory

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Woke to a phone call – oh no! What’s up? Oh, just needed instructions on how to use the washing machine! Oh well, there went the lie in and now we’re awake :)

Had a bit of a business meeting whilst still in bed, hehe! Planning our next games and the day ahead. Then off to The Cheesecake Factory for an early lunch :)

We’ve been to The Cheesecake Factory many times. We’ve tried so very hard to fit all the foods into our tummies! We’ve tried ordering lunch portions of salad (still GIANT bowls!) or how about just sharing starters? Nope, there’s never space for all the cheesecake! It always, without fail, has to be boxed up to come home! Today was no exception :)

We shared a small mushroom flatbread (with garlic and cheese), the Buffalo Blasts (pastry triangles filled with spicy chicken and cheese and coated in a buffalo wing style coating) and an appetiser sized vegetable salad. There was still too much food! We barely managed the starters and didn’t even attempt the cheesecake, ordering it to go from the outset! :)

Mine is “Chris’ Outrageous Cheesecake” and full of coconut and pecans and chocolate cake and so yummy! I’ve had two attempts at it so far an there’s still some left! :)

We spent a little time in the Apple store, as we often do. Eyeing up the latest random gadgetry and pondering purchases, before declaring further research required online and leaving.

Then it was back to the room to do some work! Shocking I know, but necessary :) A new game – hooray! :)

Our evening entertainment was courtesy of Elton John at the Colosseum in Caesars. I’m not a huge fan and didn’t know a lot of the songs, but watching Ray Cooper the crazy percussionist waving his tambourine around kept me entertained :)

On the way back we stopped at In’n’Out Burger for a quick dinner of freshly cooked food :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 12 – Geocaching

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Today started with a trip to The Orleans for a free buffet there :)

Yes, that is all a bit pathetic, but my tummy still isn’t right. At least I had some vegetables :) Unfortunately, the bread pudding wasn’t nice there, it was covered in a sugar syrup! So I didn’t really eat much, opted for some sugar free apple pie instead, which I mostly dissected to get the apple out! ;)

Then it was off into the desert for some geocaching :) Alas, I forgot to take any photos of the crazy dirt track we were bumping along! The day involved a lot of photos like this one:

That one nicely shows the car in the middle of nowhere in the background too :) At one point we climbed up a hill and looked down over our car…

Then there was a very long train in our way…

Eventually we headed back into Vegas and went to the Queen Victoria pub for a very British dinner using a Groupon :) Well, I say British… the starter was a quesadilla (very traditional!) but then Chris had fish & chips and I had proper English sausages and mash – yum :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 11 – Penn & Teller

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Today started with a trip over to Sam’s Town to make the most of their 7x points day. We sat and played Video Poker for a couple of hours and between us earnt almost $70 of food comp! Yay! :)

Then we headed over to Rock’n’Ritas to use one of our MyVegas coupons for a free meal. We’d swapped the MyVegas coupon for an actual coupon when we were at Circus Circus yesterday, and unlike most of them, it was only valid for 3 days instead of 30! So we thought we’d best use it quick!

I had BBQ chicken with garlic mash and beans. The chicken was nice and tasty, as was the mash :) The beans were a little sweet for my still sore tummy though. The food was good, but the place lacked atmosphere. Despite the name, there was no music playing, just some basketball on TV screens no one was watching. The entertainment was mostly provided by a guy making a huge balloon sculpture for a kid, which turned out to be the tow truck from Cars and big enough to fit over the small childs head and be worn! It was fab! :)

As we were in Circus Circus and they had an offer on chips, Chris decided to do a little gambling whilst I watched. I appear to be a bit of a bad luck charm though, as I’ve never seen him do very well out of these “Buy $20 get $30 promo chips” offers. He turned $60 into $90 of chips, and then back into $30 via a Blackjack table, not the best demonstration of making free money ;)

Soon it was time for Penn & Teller :) We went up on stage and inspected the box and signed the envelope, like all good audience members should, and then enjoyed the show :)

Mostly it was the same show we’d seen last time. There was a new bit with Teller being a Teapot and Penn singing… which was a touch weird but funny :) Even having seen it before, the show was very good. They’re very enthusiastic and it’s not just about a trick. If you ever get the chance, you should definitely see them :)

Then it was back to the room and a quick game of Food Fight which I lost miserably before bed. The game is good fun mostly, but sometimes the cards are just mean and I just watched all of my troops get beaten, barely making a dent in Chris’ hand. Ho hum!

Vegas 2013 – Day 10 – Diamond

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

After a rather failed nights sleep thanks to still being rather ill, we had a bit of a slow start to the day. Eventually we decided to head down to Circus Circus as I reckoned I could probably manage a slow amble through the Chuck Jones Experience for which we had a Groupon.

Chuck Jones famously made many of those animated characters we grew up with :) Bugs Bunny and Road Runner and the like :) The experience wasn’t really all that exciting. Looking at the original sketches was kind of cool, but the interactive quiz was broken and there was no paper or pens around to play with the Zoetrope. Even the gift shop was lacking in anything to entice a purchase despite having 10% discount! The best part was watching some Road Runner cartoons ;)

Afterwards we headed outside to McDonalds as Chris was hungry. I delicately nibbled a few chicken nuggets, but still didn’t really feel like eating.

Then it was time for more shopping! :) We headed over to the Gamblers General Store and the Spinettis Gambling Supplies and spent a long time browsing :) The first shop has super static carpet, which I remember from the last visit! Even a few steps and the metal shelves caused sparks! There was a lot of browsing and inevitably quite a lot of purchasing too ;) Useful things like a card shuffler (for our deck building games) and card holders and a small roll-up card playing surface :) Along with some transparent cards, some Double 9 Domino cards and Slot dice.

Obviously we couldn’t resist playing some games once we got back with our new things :)

Then it was time for some dinner. We walked over to Palms and had some free Panda Express, which I actually ate! Hooray! :)

On our way back to our room, we stopped by the Total Rewards desk and finally Diamond was showing up on their screen! Woo! :) We collected Chris’ shiny new Diamond card and got our free tickets to Penn & Teller which we rushed over to the box office to redeem! One of the great benefits of the Diamond card is 2 free show tickets every calendar month! This means we’ll get to have another 2 before we go home too! :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 9 – Recovery Take 2

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Today it was my turn to sleep a day away. Chris set me up with Amazon Prime Instant Video on his iPad and left me watching Dr Who and Buffy for the day… except I mostly slept! A whole day of sleeping whilst Chris went out and played Poker. Eventually woke up and unlocked the door so Chris could get back in! Oops! ;)

We had a game of Rivals of Catan in the evening. This feels very similar to the board game Settlers of Catan but using cards and just 2 players. Obviously 2 players suits us and I was impressed by the use of square cards you rotate to indicate the amount of a resource you currently own :) The game is split up into Eras, so you play a more basic game your first few times and then add in different cards once you are familiar with them. This should give us some variety to our play for a while, which is nice, and meant there weren’t too many confusing rules to start with :)

It is a little deceptive on space required – starts small but you can expand quite a way! :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 8 – Cactus Gardens

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

After Chris spent all of yesterday asleep, he woke up at about 2am wide awake! Then I woke up shortly after and couldn’t get back to sleep! Oops!

So there we are at a silly hour of the morning and Chris, after quite some time of not eating, declares he’s hungry! But where will feed us at this hour? At about 4am we wander over to the Gold Coast to TGI Fridays in there and use some comp to get us a free breakfast. A tasty omelette :)

Rather impressively, Chris ate almost the whole thing! :)

We wanted to get on and earn Diamond with Total Rewards, but the day resets at different times, some time early morning, so we had to wait for a while to get started. So we headed over to Walmart to get some more drinks first. Then we spent a couple of hours playing some more video poker and getting us about half way there.

We thought we’d go for a bit of a drive and a shop for a break. We headed out to another of the Maximum Comic stores hunting for more boards games, and found one :) The store was bigger than their other location, but still didn’t haven’t many games. We bought “The Rivals of Catan” – a 2 player casual card game version of Settlers of Catan. Our board game pile is now looking pretty impressive :)

Next up was a trip to Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden. A slightly weird combination ;) I’ve actually been here before, but our last trip was on a Sunday and the factory wasn’t actually doing anything! Today we got to see some chocolate making in progress and wonder why on earth it goes through a metal detector just before packing?!

The cacti were pretty as ever :)

Then it was over to Angelicious Popcorn to spend a half price coupon on some tasty flavoured popcorn :) A helpful guy let us try some of the flavours and then we chose 4 small bags – white cheddar jalepeno, smokin hot, black cherry and white chocolate :)

Over the road was a Quiznos and a chance to use another Groupon we’d bought for half price, and tasty lunchtime sandiwches :)

We returned to the hotel with our purchases and then it was my turn to feel unwell. Oh so unwell :( A whole evening and night of unwell! Thankfully Chris went out and finished our day’s video poker playing to get us enough tier credits to get up to Diamond, otherwise we’d have wasted another day of play!

Vegas 2013 – Day 7 – Recovery

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Chris was not well. Today was spent by Chris mostly asleep and by me mostly reading.
We moved down to the pool area whilst the room was being cleaned and ended up with some random silly sunburn (the back of one of my hands, and one side of Chris’ nose!) but mostly the day was spent in the room.

An unexciting day thanks to illness. Ho hum! :(

Though I did read my way through the second half of Cloud Atlas which was awesome! Looking forward to watching the film soon so that I can discuss all the thoughts in my head with Chris :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 6 – Bellagio Badness

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Today we spent the morning eating Pop Tarts and creating our fabulous Coupons! app :) Chris entered all our vouchers into a database with locations and then I made an app to plot them all on a map. This means when we’re out and about I can just ask my phone which coupons are nearby and we can see what we’ve got without having to try and remember them all, or having to look through them each time! Hooray! :)

Once it was working, we decided it was time for some proper food and headed over to Bellagio to redeem another MyVegas voucher for a free lunch buffet for two. Another queue but thankfully not too long, and then the queue jumping ability which came with the redemption didn’t help all that much either, bah!

There was a reasonable selection of food, some breakfast, salad, sushi, fish, pasta, etc. I had some beef ravioli in a creamy mushroom sauce which was so scrummy I had seconds! :) The other extra tasty part was the bread and butter pudding, which I seem to have regained a love for :) Yummy!

Unfortunately, the service was pretty terrible. Plates weren’t cleared between courses, drinks weren’t refilled. Given this is one of the more expensive buffets it was a little bit disappointing really.

Then it was back to the Rio for some more video poker :) We had a fairly good sitting with my first (and second!) quad aces! :)

We played about half way through the required points and then decided to take a break. We went over to Palms for their gas card swipe and win – earn 100 points and then random freebie. Amusingly, we both got air fresheners! “Random” is always a touch suspicious when we get the same ;) Then we drove over to one of the Maximum Comics stores hoping for more games. Guess we chose the wrong one of their 3 stores as they didn’t have any, but I did get the next True Blood book :)

On the way back Chris started to feel unwell, so we stopped at Walgreens to get him some medicine. We played a little more video poker but not enough as Chris got worse. It would seem something from the Bellagio buffet has given him a very nasty case of food poisoning! :( The rest of the evening was spent in the room and a very restless night :(

Vegas 2013 – Day 5 – Pandas!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

This morning breakfast was easy as we used the Palms buffet coupon we couldn’t use yesterday :) There was plenty of choice at the buffet and after a plate of cooked breakfast (with random mexican bits!) we each had some fruit and yogurt and then some desserts. I kind of wish they didn’t serve dessert with every meal as I can’t resist having at least a little! ;)

After our tummies were full we headed over to the Orleans as they had a promotion to earn points for a panda! :) We played enough to get our points and then headed over to the desk and saw no sign of the pandas! :( Spotted the time and dashed back to Luxor to check out, realising on the way that the promo ran from 11am til 7pm and we were just too early!

We checked out of Luxor and said farewell to our room in a pyramid.

Then it was off to Rio to check in. We stood in the normal line for a bit, but after hearing 2 groups get turned away as there was no early checkin and being told to come back at 4, Chris decided to try being cheeky! We headed into the VIP registration lounge, admitted that our Diamond card was expired but could we maybe check in here please? Once again, awesome service :) We had to pay a $10 early checkin fee, but we were given a room straight away, and way up on the 31st floor with strip & pool views! :D Hooray!

We needed to collect a parcel from Chris’ virtual office, which is conveniently close to the Rio, so we walked over and had a nice chat with the lady there who runs it :) Then we headed over to the Huntington Press building to collect our second coupon book. Another case of things looking closer than they really are and it was an awfully long walk on already sore feet! It was also very windy and our hats kept trying to blow away! Eventually we made it back to the Rio and then headed back over to the Orleans for our pandas! :D

Aren’t they cute? Worth coming back for I reckon :D

Given the awesome service we’ve had from the Total Rewards chain, we’ve decided to get Diamond with them. Chris did the maths and worked out, thanks to daily bonuses, it would only require 2 long sessions to earn. We needed to play through 2,500 points on 2 days and we’d be there. After a bit of a hunt, we found the machines we wanted to play at the Rio and settled down to play :) We had quite a nice upswing to start with :) Then stopped for some dinner from the cafe nearby. I had some buffalo tenders and garlic parmesan fries, and Chris had a Rueben sandwich with onion rings.

Huge amounts of food! All paid for with comps :) Free food always tastes best ;)

Then it was back to the machines to finish the days play. It got a bit boring for a while as the machine just kept eating my money, taking back all the earlier winnings. Apparently we still ended the day ahead of expectation but it’s not much fun when it stops making the happy noise! Finally we’d played enough points and headed back to our room for sleeps :)

Vegas 2013 – Day 4 – Comics & Coupons

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Today’s first hurdle was that we forgot it was Sunday! Our Palms breakfast voucher we earnt yesterday isn’t valid for a Sunday Brunch buffet so we had to do a bit of a rethink!

Since Sam’s Town had a 7x points promo we headed over there instead. Chris paid for our buffet with his comps and we had a very pleasant meal whilst we discussed a new app idea :)

After a leisurely breakfast we sat an played for a while to earn some more comp :)

We started heading back to the strip, but stopped at Cosmic Comics for a bit of shopping along the way ;) A little light reading for my holiday and the start of 2 new collections! I’ll definitely be back for the next True Blood book too now I’ve checked which one I already own ;)

Once we were back at the Luxor we headed off on a coupon gathering adventure! All our MyVegas redemptions needed exchanging at the MLife desk in the relevant casino to be turned into coupons we could actually use. Here came a sad discovery that my shiny Gold MLife card means nothing to the queues at these desks, and we had to wait 45 minutes in Excalibur behind a whole lot of new player signups and had a similar wait in New York New York! Ugh!

One of the many reasons we won’t be playing to renew the gold status with them this year – it hasn’t yet allowed me to jump a single queue or made me feel in any way special. Unlike Chris’ (expired) Diamond card which has been serving us very well! So we’ll be working towards a proper, new Diamond card with Total Rewards instead :)

We then headed down to Aria to collect our Zarkana ticket – my word it’s a long way from the entrance to the box office! At least they had some pretty butterflies! :)

Since we were so far down the strip, we headed over to the mall with the V Theatre to collect some more tickets, and then we were finally done with the coupons :) Time to head back. Everything looks so close in Vegas, but it’s just big, and so very far apart! The walk back took rather longer than the walk down as by now I had sore feet and there were no distractions! :(

Back in our room we had another long hot soak in our bath with a view :) Then it was time to consider dinner. We were both exhausted and didn’t feel like going far, so we found another coupon for Original Chicken Tenders which was just downstairs, and for actual chicken this time :)

For a “fast food” place, we were very impressed! The chicken was big breast pieces, breaded fresh for us, and then cooked, and the chips were fresh cut and cooked too! The chicken was really tender and the coating so very crispy! It was scrummy and great value with our BOGOF voucher (it would have been good value even without!)

Then we did a little work on our coupon map app thingy before collapsing into bed :)