Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Happens in Vegas...

"...gets posted on Facebook"

At least that's what the flight attendant announced when I landed the weekend before last in Las Vegas.

I survived my first trip to Sin City, and I am slightly surprised to say I totally loved it.

Six girls came from all over a couple weekends ago to celebrate my good friend's Bachelorette weekend and upcoming wedding.  We fit a lot into two days, and I am already excited to go back to Adult Disneyland as soon as possible.

Not only did the airport terminal have some nice hippy San Francisco touches, like a Yoga Room, but I was thoroughly impressed with the flight experience--my first trip on Virgin America.  I had heard good things about the airline, but I was especially pleased with the new planes and personal TV screens with video game controllers.  And I could even order Philz coffee from my seat.  Jackpot.

A welcoming arrival:

I arrived early on Saturday, and we spent the morning enjoying a long brunch at the Paris (read: bottomless mimosas) and walking around the casinos.  I loved the Paris and now want to visit the real city even more. 

Inside the Paris casino.  So charming!

The weather outside was sunny and pretty warm so we opted to walk-off brunch along the strip and take in the sites, music, and people.  People-watching is one of my favorite pastimes, and Vegas did NOT disappoint!
I forced the poor Bachelorette to pose with this nearly nude street performer.
Don't be fooled by her huge grin: she was NOT pleased with me :)  
Canals inside the casino at the Venetian

That evening the six of us girls enjoyed a delicious Thai dinner before making our way to Club Haze at the Aria.  After having a few recruiters from the various clubs add our names to their respective guests lists earlier in the day, we arrived at Haze and were whisked into a VIP line, then escorted to the front of another line, when we finally found ourselves right up in front of the club near the stage.  A bachelor party group of guys invited us into their private party area, where more drinks than words were exchanged between our parties: they were South American and hard to understand.  (And they sure didn't teach that type of conversational vocab in Spanish class!)

We were promised a performance by Cee Lo, which I was beyond excited for.  However, as the hours ticked by that night and the DJs kept fist-pumping stalling, we settled for an impressive opening act of cirque-du-soleil-like acrobatics before calling it a night well after midnight.  (We later learned Cee Lo didn't come on stage until a few more hours later!)  

The MGM Grand, where I was dying to see the lions that are kept in the casino.  
Unfortunately, their exhibit was closed due to some remodeling!
New York, New York

On Sunday afternoon our group of girls went to tea at the Mandarin Oriental.  We had a private room with an incredible view, and we enjoyed the quiet opportunity to celebrate with the bachelorette in this fancy setting.  We each had our pick of tea, accompanied by tea sandwiches, scones, and an entire plate covered in bite-sized desserts.  Everything tasted incredible.  

3 Course Tea
The Venetian
After an outfit change back at the hotel, we enjoyed a bit of gambling (and gambling lessons) before the night's main event: Cirque du Soleil Mystere.  

I don't even have words. 

Except: Ridiculously Amazing.

To top it all off, we had yet to enjoy dinner.  One of the weekend activities I had most anticipated was dinner at Bouchon.  I've been a fan of Chef Thomas Keller after seeing him several times on Top Chef and other programs, and several of his recipes we've tried in our own kitchen have been outstanding.  

After ordering wine at the bar, we shared a few hors d'oeuvres, and my main course was Poulet Roti: roasted chicken with caramelized Savoy cabbage, forest mushrooms, and whole grain mustard jus.   It was incredible: I knew they'd have a well-executed spin on a classic.  
We also shared dessert of "Bouchons," which were soft brownie bites with espresso ice cream and caramel.  I could have eaten 3 of the desserts myself, but the goal was to be polite...

Monday morning, I had just enough time before my flight departed to walk around the Strip a bit more, checking out the casinos and grabbing an edible souvenir from Bouchon Bakery to take back to my Sous Chef.  (Even though it arrived a bit crushed, it was quite a hit.)  It was warm, sunny, and not very crowded.   

This is a Chihuly glass exhibit in the ceiling of the Bellagio.  Much cooler in person than this picture captures.  (Shout out to my brother- and sister-in-law: I know how they appreciate this artist :)

Caesar's Palace: inside the Forum Shops

The last morning, after being disappointed that the MGM's lions were not on display, I was determined to see the dolphins I had heard about at the Mirage.  Sadly, their exhibit were not open yet that morning, and I had to catch my flight before I had the chance to take the tour.  Next time!

For now, the closest I saw to real dolphins:

Again, NEXT TIME!  I can't wait for my next trip, whenever that may be.  

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