ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
Joined: Jun 22, 2011
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August 28th, 2015 at 2:22:48 PM permalink
I haven't visited my money (a lot of which is in the machines at Pinball Hall of Fame, mind you) in a year, so I book a flight with Southwest - unlike in past years, I'm not piggybacking it with my other vacation, which ended two weeks earlier, so it's a straight roundtrip from SFO - and a room at Planet Hollywood. For those of you interested in such details, it was the "El Cid" room (2715). The only thing remarkable about the trip was, right after takeoff, an attendant announced that, because one passenger had a peanut allergy, they would not be handing out complimentary bags of peanuts. After arrival, I decide to try out the new pizza place at PH, Pin-Up Pizza. They weren't kidding; the slices probably are the biggest on the Strip, if not in all of Vegas; they appear to come from a 24" diameter pie. However, it was 24" of meh.

While polling the place looking for some decent 25c VP, I notice something strange at the blackjack tables; none of them appear to list what a blackjack pays. They do say whether they are H17 or S17. I thought it was some Caesars thing to hide the fact that it was all 6-5, but it was the same way at Cosmopolitan and Aria. Needless to say, I didn't bother.

On Monday, after getting a pair of Cromwell dice and players cards from MAX (to replace my generic white one) and Palms, I hop a couple of buses to have lunch at Checkers on Jones and Tropicana. Their Chili Cheeseburger, Chili Cheese Dog, Chili Cheese Fries combo does not compare to Wienerschnitzel. After an hour or so at PHOF, I head back to the hotel, change, and have dinner at Burger Bar, since it's near Luxor and I have tickets to Jabbawockeez for that night. The show was underwhelming; it is good in parts, but it seems that they are trying to stretch a 30-minute act into a 90-minute show. The audience participation bit slowed the whole thing down. Face it, guys; there's a reason Terry Fator won America's Got Talent and you didn't.

Tuesday, I actually do some gambling - I think it was at SLS, since I was there to pick up a chip for my collection. I make $6.25 on VP (I think it was 8/5). I had lunch at Fulton Street Marketplace (i.e. the food court) at Harrah's; it's overpriced generic food - $6 for a baked potato is something I expect to see at a steakhouse, not a food court. Dinner was at the Tuesday BBQ Buffet at Main Street Station, and I was underwhelmed by the BBQ selections, although I didn't try the pork ribs. The sliced brisket was incredibly fatty, and the beef ribs were almost all bone.

Wednesday, after breakfast at Hash House a Go Go at the Quad (and they aren't kidding about the sizes) and lunch at Shake Shack, I head downtown again, this time for the Fremont Wednesday Steak Buffet. The steak is, well, "not terrible," but what do you expect for, IIRC, $4 (and you can get more than one piece)? While at the Fremont, I decided to try out my version of Wizard's UTH strategy...only to discover after I buy in that I am playing something called Texas Hold'em Bonus, which is a different game. The short version of the difference; instead of (3 or 4x) or check after the hole cards, 2x or check after the flop, and 1x or fold after the river, it's (2x or fold), (1x or check), (1x or check). I do manage to find a UTH table, where I break even after nearly fold a straight (okay, it was an A2345) and confuse the dealer's cards with the community cards. I make another 6.25 on VP, this time on a 9/6 JoB, before tossing $60 into a $1 Wheel of Fortune slot. There were also $3 and $5 craps tables open, but only for double odds.

My bus pass ran out after Wednesday, and rather than shell out another $8 to go to places I didn't feel like going to, especially as my legs were rather sore by this point, I stayed on the south Strip, with lunch at Secret No Name Mystery Meat Pizza at the Cosmopolitan. I notice that some of the $1 Wheel of Fortune slots at PH said that they needed 5 credits to activate the progressive, but then I realized this is actually a better game than the standard 2-credit ones, as the five credits gave me five lines while the 2-credit one was a 1-credit game with a 1-credit jackpot side bet. Two spins in, and I am up $142. If you would have told me in advance, "Between PH and Fremont, you will make over $100 on a WoF in one of them and get back $5 out of $60 put in on the other," I would not have guessed which was which.

With my newfound fortune, I decided to shell out for dinner, and went to Wicked Spoon (which was not as expensive as I expected - $36 if you don't get wine or beer). Again, reports as to what they serve here probably aren't exaggerated; I had a duck sausage chili dog (about half the size of a regular hot dog), a small container of shepherd's pie, some braised rabbit, "angry" mac & cheese ("angry" meaning the cheese sauce was spicy), and rigatoni with lamb meat. After that, I went to see Zarkana at Aria; there was "sort of" a theme, but it came across to me like the circus had come to town for 90 minutes, and was rather entertaining, although it helps if you're a fan of circus acts.

All told, I ended up about $60 ahead, thanks to the loose WoF machine at PH.

One final note: I thought Nevada gaming regulations said that, on a slot machine, the reels had to be independent. Either that's not quite the case with that 5-line $1 WoF slot at PH, or it was an incredible coincidence that all three reels came up with the Spin symbol.
teddys
teddys
Joined: Nov 14, 2009
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August 28th, 2015 at 4:07:42 PM permalink
I'm disappointed you didn't ride more buses.

Good report,
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
Joined: Jun 22, 2011
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August 28th, 2015 at 5:53:13 PM permalink
What's a trip report without photos?
Here are some daytime photos from my 27th-floor Strip-facing window:





And pretty much the same photos at night - there's a little reflection because there was a lighted table next to the window:



NokTang
NokTang
Joined: Aug 15, 2011
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August 29th, 2015 at 12:05:07 AM permalink
Thanks for the report and sorry to read about the bad to average food experiences..

What are those yellow and white looking buildings(two of them) in the second photo? It looks like government housing in south Chicago? one of which is leaning over about to tumble??
Doc
Doc
Joined: Feb 27, 2010
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August 29th, 2015 at 5:10:39 AM permalink
The Veer towers of the City Center complex.
NokTang
NokTang
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August 29th, 2015 at 7:39:05 AM permalink
Quote: Doc

The Veer towers of the City Center complex.



Thanks Doc. This really dates me. I need to get back to Las Vegas soon.
JohnnyQ
JohnnyQ
Joined: Nov 3, 2009
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August 30th, 2015 at 12:56:32 PM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

I haven't visited my money (a lot of which is in the machines at Pinball Hall of Fame, mind you)

Actually probably donated and used by the Salvation Army, which is one of the reasons (or at least justifications) I like going to the Pinball HoF, it is a fun way to make a donation !

Quote: ThatDonGuy

I have tickets to Jabbawockeez for that night. The show was underwhelming; it is good in parts, but it seems that they are trying to stretch a 30-minute act into a 90-minute show. The audience participation bit slowed the whole thing down.

I disagree somewhat. I think they had about 15 minutes worth of entertainment. Show tix for them were available from myVegas, that's why I went. How did you decide to go ?
All around me are familiar faces / Worn out places, worn out faces / Bright and early for their daily races / Going nowhere, going nowhere - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdCLnwIkkps
Rigondeaux
Rigondeaux
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August 30th, 2015 at 2:52:51 PM permalink
Quote: NokTang

Thanks for the report and sorry to read about the bad to average food experiences..



Well, when you eat at fast food joints and cheap buffets that's bound to happen.

Of course, some are on a tight budget or just don't like to spend big on food. But you can find some pretty good food without going to Nobu. BBQ at Ellis Island for example.

That might be a decent article for someone. I've seen lots of stuff about food in vegas if you don't care about cost, and a lot if you are indifferent or oblivious to quality, but not much about balancing them. I'm sure it's out there, just don't see it much.

Thanks for the report.
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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August 30th, 2015 at 3:27:31 PM permalink
Quote: JohnnyQ

I disagree somewhat. I think they had about 15 minutes worth of entertainment. Show tix for them were available from myVegas, that's why I went. How did you decide to go ?

I got both of my tickets from MyVegas. The only two shows I've been to in Vegas where I didn't get them for free were Terry Fator (and even that was a 30% discount through Las Vegas Advisor) and Spamalot.

Quote: Rigondeaux

Well, when you eat at fast food joints and cheap buffets that's bound to happen.

Of course, some are on a tight budget or just don't like to spend big on food. But you can find some pretty good food without going to Nobu. BBQ at Ellis Island for example.

I didn't think the Fremont buffet was bad, and my only real problem with MSS was, when you advertise a "BBQ Buffet" and charge accordingly there should be more BBQ items on it. Then again, Vegas seems to have a problem with reasonably decent BBQ, except for places like Rolling Smoke; both the Harley-Davidson Cafe and PBR Rock Bar & Grill leave something to be desired in their BBQ menus (it takes more than ribs and chicken, people!). I also wouldn't call Burger Bar or Wicked Spoon either a "fast food joint" or a "cheap buffet."

I am the kind of person that just won't shell out what the premium steakhouses were asking. There are some places where I have had a decent steak at a reasonable price; All-American Bar & Grill at the Rio and Toby Keith's at Harrah's come to mind.

Actually, I wanted to try out Texas de Brazil, but the only night I could do it was one where I had a 7:00 show ticket, and I couldn't figure out how to get there, eat, and catch the bus back to where the show was taking place in time.
Rigondeaux
Rigondeaux
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August 30th, 2015 at 4:59:51 PM permalink
Didn't mean to be critical of you personally. I probably wouldn't eat at the fancy steakhouses and such except on special occasions if I didn't get comped myself.

Never eaten the Freemont or MSS buffets. I'm not a fan of buffets in general, so that may be a difference of opinion. I eat in them from time to time because they are fast and often reasonably cheap. It's just, if I was traveling to another city on vacation I'd want to eat less utilitarian stuff.

Rolling Smoke is probably better, but a hassle if you don't have a car. Ellis Island is four inches off the strip and their BBQ meal is very solid. It comes with a good microbrew, or the best root beer I've ever had. So that's what I'd recommend. It's something like $15 for an enormous meal, including sides and the drink.

Five50 pizza, in Aria of all places, is really good. Slices are like $5-6, which is obv inflated, but not too bad for the strip. The forager mushroom pizza is something special. Don't buy any drinks from them though. I think a can of coke is like $4.

You can also go to what is widely considered one of the best Thai places in the US, Lotus of Siam. Only about 1.5 miles off strip on Sahara, though you'd do well to book reservations before getting to Vegas. It's not very expensive.

So, if you are something of a gourmand, there's no reason to touch ff or mediocre buffets (unless you like them). But, obviously, if you don't already know all these places you are not likely to do some huge research project and will just wind up settling for what's convenient. That's why I thought it would be a good article.

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