Restaurant Review -- NOVE
Ate at NOVE Italiano at the Palms last night. Probably one of the best meals I've ever had. The restaurant is on the 52nd floor of the Fantasy Tower. You give your name to the hostess, get on the elevator, and they maitre d greets you by name when you get off. We went for the Thursday 6-10 Happy Hour, and sat at the bar. The view is amazing for those who sit at a table near the window. Appetizers were $7, and drinks were $6 including a selection of four wines. We ordered from the regular menu as well. The total bill came to $122, and I paid for it with the tons of Palms points I have on my card.
For drinks, we first tried a Sangiovese blend from Italy, which was a nice to start off with and very easy drinking. After finishing, we ordered California Zinfandel, "Old Vines," which was a real beast of a wine. Probably my favorite. My friend got two glasses, and some Tawny Port for dessert.
We ordered five appetizers from the happy hour menu: Nana's meatballs, Rock Shrimp Polpette, Oysters Rockefeller, Fried Calamari and Prosciutto sliders with basil pesto and fontina cheese. They also brought out a comped bruschetta with pate and pesto. The first four were uniformly excellent; just the best expression of those dishes I have every had. The calamari had hot peppers in it, and was lightly fried with a spritz of fresh lemon. Just delicious. The polpette were dough balls with shrimp baked inside. Surprisingly tasty. The meatballs had amazing depth of flavor. The one app I think they were weak on were the sliders. The bread was not toasted, and there was very little prosciutto or pesto on the sandwiches. Good, but didn't measure up to the other stuff. The sliders also came with a side of sort-of-meh shoestring fries.
The bartender gave us two comped cocktails; one a cantaloupe juice and tequila and something else mixture, which was really good. He followed that up with a shot that had chilled fresh-brewed espresso and some other liquor in it. It was even better if that is possible. I really need to drink more fancy cocktails. Just outstanding.
We decided to order grilled baby octopus from the main menu just to try it. It was delicious; very meaty, not fishy tasting at all, and well seasoned. I'd take this over a steak any day. It came on top of some sort of green salad.
For dessert, we got chocolate ganache, and cannoli. The chocolate ganache is not on the menu; you have to special order it . The staff said it is one of their favorite desserts. It is a spread, kind of like nutella, but richer and more chocolately. It is seasoned with sea salt, and comes with a side of raisin bread. It was very good, although the bread was kind of heavy for dessert. I really like the make-you-own cannoli. This is a real highlight: they bring you five small cannoli shells, a pastry tube of mascarpone cheese, and a sectioned dish with nine toppings, like chocolate chips, white chocolate, granola, and raspberry and apricot spread. Fun to experiment with combinations, and scrumptious.
All in all, NOVE did not disappoint, and the staff was great, as well. One of the lesser known restaurants, I recommend venturing off-strip for a trip there, either for happy hour or the regular dinner service. Five stars.
Started eating octopus about 20 yrs ago. Delicious indeed, even the canned varieties from Spain are very good [but getting expensive]
Getting fat in VegasStop the insanity!
I've made my way up the Strip from Harrah's to Circus Circus, but even that movement is not enough to offset the amount of pounds I am putting on. This is the dark side of American eating. Man was not meant to eat so much Spam Musubi.
So, I did the breakfast buffet at Harrah's twice ($10 comp value with a coupon), and the Mirage buffet for dinner (used MLife comps). Surprisingly, I thought the Harrah's buffet was better than the Mirage's. The Mirage's room was weird and I can't say I liked the layout. Something was off about the food, too, although I liked their peeled jumbo shrimp. Afterwards, I took a shot at the double deck blackjack game again and lost about $200. Between that an a horrible video poker loss at the Palms the other day (why do I always lose there?), I am well on my way to giving back the value of that royal.
I dragged my bag up the Strip to Circus Circus and checked into my West Tower room. (Review forthcoming, suffice it to say that it is very nice). I checked out some of the restaurants and gaming options. I fear I will have to eat at the buffet for reviewing purpose. I am not looking forward to that. The Steakhouse looked meh. I will have to ask the Wizard if he wants that reviewed. Surprisingly good gaming options at the Circus, including full pay video poker and good blackjack rules. But good lord, the children. (I blame the adults for having and rearing them. The children themselves are innocent).
This particular evening I had plans to go to Bradley Ogden with (non-Wizard) Mike. This is in return for a meal he treated me to this summer at Nero's at Caesar's Palace. Since I had a $680 comp to any Caesars property, I told him he could pick any restaurant in their hotels. At first, he wanted Spago in the Forum Shops, but they wouldn't accept comp dollars, so the second choice was Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace. I have to say Bradley Ogden definitely impressed, although I had never heard of him before. For appetizers, we got seared foie gras with foie gras poppers, blue cheese souffle, and a kind of duck confit(?) soup. They were uniformly excellent, especially the blue cheese souffle, which was so light and airy. The soup was poured over a smattering of fruits, nuts, and onion custard already in the bowl. The foie gras was, well, having never had foie gras before, pretty f---cking good.
For wine, I selected a bottle of Stratton Lummis 2008 Napa Cabernet. It was very good initially, but it was a little to lightweight to stand up to the later cuisine. It was smooth drinking, with very little acid and tannins. I prefer a more "beastly" wine like Shiraz. Not to say it wasn't good, but for $95 I expect better.
The entree was braised short rib with mashed potato and mascarpone polenta for Mike, and some kind of free-range chicken breast with butternut squash pasta and poached egg on top. I knew I would regret ordering the chicken and I did. Just a big boring breast, although cooked almost perfectly. The pasta was very good. I tasted the braised short rib, and it was excellent, just amazing depth of flavor. I should have gotten that. As it was, I got the chicken to go and it was very good for breakfast the next day. We also got three sides: broccolini, wild mushroom fricasse, and creme fraiche mashed potatoes. The potato was incredibly rich and decadent. Of the three, I thought the broccolini was the best, even though (or perhaps because of) it was drowned in butter. Who said cooked vegetables are bad for you?
After the meal we were planning to go to the Riveria comedy club, but we missed the start time and instead drove out to Sam's Town to do more gambling. They have a $3 minimum craps game with 20x odds, and good dealers. It started off horribly, and the table almost cleared out. Our above flea level buy-ins allowed us to weather the storm. We then made a slight recovery, and finally a profit off of one shooter who I think was practicing dice setting. However, he only bet $3 on the don't pass. The box kept telling him to hit the back wall, and he was hitting box numbers like crazy, especially the four and ten. Then he did something I've never seen before. He said, "give someone else a chance," passed the dice, colored up and left. I finished his roll, hit two more come bets, and sevened out. Nobody could fathom why he left, and some people, including Mike, were understandably angry since he was one such a hot roll. Myself, I didn't care. Anyway, I played my own turn, and a couple more, and colored up with a small profit.
From the title I thought this was going to be about your owning a casino.
You have 15 days to go, you'll have to buy 2 seats on the plane
for the trip home. I've done 14 days in Vegas and I always start
to get tired of it about the 10th day. So I never go for more than
10 days anymore. Hotels and restaurant food wear me out. I'm
interested as to what your mindset will be after 23 days. I would
be emotionally and physically exhausted.
Is it the height of irony to feature fois gras on the same menu as "free range" chicken? Ducks get no respect (but their livers are mighty tasty.)
"Give someone else a chance" and left? Wonder if he was the same mamaluke that had a winner-7 4 times in a row on the come-out then asked for new dice when I was playing up in Canada?
Thanks for the review of Bradley Ogden. Might have to add that to the list for this week. Also, one of the best steak dinners my wife and I have ever had was at the Steakhouse at Circus Circus. I did read a few reviews though that said it has gone a little off the past few years.
Skip the buffet at Circus Circus, or have somebody else dressed in a haz-mat suit go in there for you.
I hear you on the DD tables at Mirage. They have decent rules at a lower table min than most strip properties, but they must have the table rigged, because every time I played there I got my a%$ handed to me.
The one thing that surprised me the most... (I assume by Mike you are referring to the Wizard)... why was he most upset about the dealer leaving the table???? I thought he didn't believe in luck. Mathematically, it doesn't matter who is shooting the dice and he could have 7-d out on the next roll. I think he may have some 'splaining to do ;)
Mike isn't the Wizard, it's another Mike. He understands mathematically it doesn't matter, but he was still pissed.
EB-Not even close to being burnt out yet!
>He said, "give someone else a chance," passed the dice, colored up and left.
Setting the dice can be tiring! My experience with it [doing it for a lark] is that the pressure of having to set the dice quickly gets to you. You are wasting your time if you get sloppy too, so there is no relaxing. I have to say, though, no matter how bad it got I wouldn't give it up till I 7'd out!
Love your blogs. Keep them coming!
> He said, "give someone else a chance," passed the dice, colored up and left.
Keep in mind he was betting the Don't.
I totally agree with your observations pertaining to the Mirageís Cravings Buffet. After I ate there, I couldnít put my finger on what was ďoffĒ or unappetizing about the food. In the days following my experience at Cravings, I was haunted by intrusive memories of the buffet that I could not resolve- so I went back! In part, my motivation to return was to get a decent piece of roast duck from the little gatekeeper of roast duck at the hot Asian food counter (which didnít happen), and to draw a conclusion regarding the haunting and persistent malfunction of the buffet. (Roast Duck is on the menu but it appears to be only reserved as an addition for a soup. I guess Iím still a little miffed.) Referencing ten years of experience and observations from working in Food and Beverage departments in various cities with an international luxury hotel company, I concluded that some or most of the food presented at Cravings is not made on site. Instead, I believe the food is made off site by an industrial caterer or a MGM commissary and trucked to Mirage as needed. The Shrimp was very good. Everything else seemed to be well prepared but lacking love.
Back in the money
I writing this from the McDonald's on the Strip and one of the homeless people just came in with his Starbucks cup full of change, spread out a napkin, and dumped it out to start counting it. Gotta love Vegas.
I've made my way down from Main Street Station to the Strip, with some twists and turns along the way. Since my last post, I played some more craps at Main Street (Pit boss: You're back for more, huh?). Lost both sessions. Played more Double Bonus video poker, and hit aces again for $200. So about even at MSS, and when I left, the host I talked to was more than happy to comp our meal at Triple 7.
(An aside: My host at Main Street was Ipo Boast. Not only is she a great host, she has a very sonorous name. I spent the rest of the day saying "Ipo Boast" every couple minutes or so, like a mental patient. Brain bug!)
I played some more Pick 'Em Poker at Fremont while waiting for the Centennial Express bus back to the Strip, which I stayed on for too long and had to get off at Hughes Center drive, and drag my suitcase through a parking garage and that no-man's land between Koval and the Strip. Finally, I made it to Harrah's and checked into my comped room in the Mardi Gras tower. It is nice with a Strip view, and you can see the Mirage volcano show.
That evening, Mike had acquired tickets for the Adam Carolla comedy show at House of Blues Mandalay Bay. We ate the House of Blues restaurant beforehand. (Great Jambalaya, but loaded with salt). Adam's act was good. He had a Macintosh computer which he used to project slides up onto a screen behind him, and he would comment on them. The theme of the show was "Adam Carolla Hates the Holidays." So he did a lot of stuff with old family photos, which were funny. I thought his strongest bit was where he put his Social Security/Medicare earnings statement on the screen, and scrolled down it slowly showing how much money he made over the years. In the beginning, there were a lot of zeros and a couple thousand dollar years. Then he increased to 300K, 500K, 1m, etc. He also told jokes about how poor he was, how you should follow your dreams, etc. It was actually pretty inspiring.
After the show, Mike and I drove over to Joker's Wild in Henderson to play some craps. Usually, I do pretty well there. Not this time. There were just no good shooters at all. Even at only $1/$10 odds, I went through about $250. I always find the other players there very entertaining, though.
My friend got into town late that evening. They had not been to Vegas in about six years, so the next day we hit up all the Strip casinos south of Harrah's. We started off with the breakfast buffet at Harrah's, on a $5 off coupon using Total Reward credits. I thought it was pretty good. They had two kinds of lox, and some good Chinese buns, noodles, and samosas, plus all the usual American stuff. A well-done buffet, though not overwhelmingly good.
We didn't play at all until we got down to MGM, where we put in about 40 minutes at $25 blackjack, winning. At Tropicana, we took advantage of the $200 rebate for new players (even though we were not new players, they let us use the promotion). This is basically like a freerolll at slots. I played multiline $0.25 bonus poker, and was breaking even or increasing for about 15 minutes. I got bored, and was chatting with my friend while hitting the buttons. Suddenly, I saw "Royal Flush 4000 credits" pop up at the bottom of the screen quickly and then disappear. I had hit a Royal while I wasn't even looking! Cash out $1,300 -- I 'll take that win. I did my friend's rebate and fortunately was able to lose $200, so I got $100 back in free play right away (the other $100 comes in one month). I played it off on $1 Bonus Poker and made $115.
At the MGM properties we played Blackjack, and I played Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em at Mandalay Bay, making $210. We had a meal at the deli at Luxor, using MLife comps, and I played Tiles at Aria, making $23. At Mirage and Bellagio, we both had winning sessions at BJ, although I lost $180 at the WPT 3x All-in Hold 'Em game. Hopefully this winning streak keeps up. For now, I am looking for a dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I haven't seen one in a couple years, and I need to use my winnings to get some cleaning done!
Congratulations on your royal! That's a good way to start vacations haha
>hit a royal while not even looking...
Does this mean you lost it by not doing something such as waiting for a hand pay? Or are all credits automatically put into the credits-total automatically.
I think its a great idea to do the "ultra low budget" but I bet your self-imposed limitations get more and more relaxed until you are taking cabs and paying full price and not dragging your luggage on buses.
It meant he got his credits and went on to the next hand before realizing what happened.Quote: fleastiff
>hit a royal while not even looking...
Does this mean you lost it by not doing something such as waiting for a hand pay? Or are all credits automatically put into the credits-total automatically.
Hand pays will lock-up a machine, requiring a key to unlock it.
I in Las Vegas!No verbs required!
I arrived in Vegas Thursday night. After two days in town, it's become clear that my mission of spending as little as possible has gone out the window. I'm still on course, though, even with a couple outlays.
My Southwest flight was uneventful, except for a chatty neighbor in my row. It was actually a fun chat, and we talked for mostly the whole flight, and watched a movie on her laptop, "Horrible Bosses." It should be titled "Horrible Movie." Do not waste your time watching this garbage. Upon landing at LAS, I found my way down to the Silverton shuttle, where I was the only passenger. (I was also the only passenger on the trip to the Strip the next day. Apparently people do not know of, or do not use the shuttle). I tipped the driver $2.
At Silverton, I called my friend Mike, a Las Vegas local who lives nearby. He swung by after work and we ate at Mi Casa Cantina. It was 8:45. At 9:00 they were doing dollar drinks, and they would pour anything. Unfortunately, Mike couldn't wait until 9 and ordered a pitcher of cadillac margarita for $35. To be fair, it is an excellent margarita. At 9, they started pouring the good stuff. We got two shots of Corzo tequila, which was excellent, Johnnie Walker blue, and for dessert some Godiva chocolate liqueur. I love high-priced booze for cheap. The food was decent, but the drinks and service were awsome...(got to love a waitress who can speak Hebrew).
After dinner we went to play craps. I have written before about how horrible the action has been at Silverton. Well, this time we finally had a good roll. Mike was doing especially well -- he made about $3K. I made a hundred or two betting conservatively. Got to love the slot points you get for playing tables at the Silverton, too. I had $15 in free play afterwards. I played some video poker, did the "Santa Swipe 'n' Win" twice, and earned $30 more in free play.
The next day, I checked out of Silverton and shuttled to the Strip where I check my bag at Mirage. I was drawn in by their $25 blackjack game in the "good rules" pit. Lost $287.50 in one hour. I walked across the street to Palazzo where I played blackjack at 2 hands of $20 for about 50 minutes and made $90. I then played Pai Gow tiles for two hours at $25 and made $150. The Pai Gow dealers at Palazzo are really great, and one dealer was especially enthusiastic, showing off all the special deliveries for dealing tiles. A woman came up playing $25 a hand, and I won both hands I banked against her, which was neat. I love being the house!
I picked up my bag from the Mirage and walked up Las Vegas Boulevard to Spring Mountain, where I caught the Centennial Express bus to downtown. Cost = $2. These are nice buses, with large areas for standing and luggage. I checked in at Main Street, and went down to the casino to play Double Bonus video poker. This is a game that returns 100.17%, but the variance is high. Well, this time I got some variance on the upside, hitting Aces for $200 about 15 minutes into my play. Cash out, thank you. I walked to Fremont Street, and bought a hot dog at Mermaids for $.99. These are really good hot dogs!
I then played Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em on the video machines at Las Vegas Club, and lost a bundle, about $250. Those computers are rigged, I tell ya. At Fremont, I had better luck on the Pick 'Em Poker machines, turning $80 into $320, hitting quad aces.
That evening, Mike had tickets for Playboy Comedy at The Palms, so he came by to Main Street first and we had dinner at 777 brewpub. I had a Belgian Quad ale, which was really, really good. The food, I thought, was just okay, except the sirloin and black bean chili, which was outstanding. The prices are very reasonable for the segment. The service at the bar, however, was slow.
We drove over to Palms for the comedy show. The comic was Erik Griffin, from TV's "Workaholics." He was OUTSTANDING. For some reason, he did a lot of vagina jokes (not sure what to make of that), but overall his material was hilarious, with great sound effects. The warm up comics were good too. If you get the chance, Palms Comedy is worth the while. The venue is very nice, and there is a meet-and-greet with a Playboy Playmate after the show :)~
After the show, Mike and I headed back to Main Street Station, and played craps. They have 20x odds and $5 minimums. The table was red-hot! Betting three points with $10 in odds on each, I was on a steady upslope the whole time, with no real losing streaks. Towards the end, I got on a monster roll, and Mike was betting $15 with $300 on every point, and I think he might have gotten up to $20/$400 on a couple. He was also betting $1/$20 odds for the dealers on the line and come every roll. I do not exaggerate when I say the dealers colored up >$1600 in tokes. Suffice it to say Mike is well-liked at Main Street Station :). He did all right for himself, and I almost doubled my buy in of $640.
So I've spent a bit in the name of entertainment, but the gambling is going well, and saving money on hotel rooms and transport is leaving me more money for video poker! More updates to come...
I'm so jealous. I wish I could come out there!! My cousin, an even hotter blonde, will be out there for New Year's. I am working till the end of the year.
Enjoy your trip!
Wish I had gotten in on that roll. I had two three craps sessions this trip, -100, -400 and +5.
Hey want to meet up with me? Come downtown and visit me at work.
If you are still Downtown try Le Thai accross from Insert Coins. Tiny place just opened a few weeks ago. Good food nothing over $9.
Hey now, I thought "Horrible Bosses" was OK. At least, I thought Charlie from "It's Always a Really Long Title That I Don't Feel Like Typing Even Though This Sentence Is A Whole Lot Longer And Took Up Even More Time" was funny. I really enjoy "Workaholics" as well and am a bit jealous about getting to see one of the stars. Are you planning to see Penn & Teller, by chance? That's a show that seems up your alley as well.
Have fun at Harrah's--let me know what you think of the buffet there, if you try it. I found it rather underwhelming. Good luck!
Monster roll... sounds great. I don't know quite how many times you have to be throwing the dice before a roll becomes a "monster roll" but its nice. I've always felt that is why so many people are on the PassLine... they can "catch a giant wave and ride it all the way in" whereas a Don'tBettor just wants that otherwise dreaded Seven to appear and its all over with.
Well continued good luck to you ... and I hope you continue to do well at 20x.
>Mirage $25 blackjack good rules Lost $287.50 in one hour.
>Palazzo 2 hands of $20 made $90 (I assume Palazzo is good rules also).
You know all the rules and variations, you know perfect strategy, if I recall correctly you also count ... yet at the game with the best expectation for the player ... you are down 200 dollars in two hours.
I played the shufflemaster bj at Vegas Club pretty much all weekend. I flat bet the minimum, played perfect strategy but left on sunday down $250.
Sounds great so far. The wife and I will be there 12/28-1/3 staying six nights at Harrah's(5 comped 1 $30 plus tax). Maybe we will run into you while we are out there!
We'll be Downtown this weekend. Where are these Pick'em poker machines at the Fremont? Are they $0.25 machines?
I then played Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em on the video machines at Las Vegas Club, and lost a bundle, about $250. Those computers are rigged, I tell ya.
I have to say I am suspicious of the UTH game at the Las Vegas Club as well. When I played last summer, it certainly seemed that I got a lot of "drawing" hands that did not pan out, while the dealer would always seem to qualify, and have a slightly better hand than the three of us playing.
Preparations for a 23-day trip to VegasI'm preparing for a 23-day trip to Vegas. This will be an new kind of trip for me. I'm challenging myself to see if I can get everything for free -- hotels, food, flight, transit etc. I booked the flight using a Southwest Airlines reward coupon I got for signing up for their credit card. It cost me $5, but that might as well be free. To that end, I won't be renting a car like I usually do. Instead, I will be relying on free shuttles and public transportation. (I will have to pay for buses but I hope to use them sparingly). All hotel rooms will be comped, except for a few nights when I am reviewing hotels for the Wizard. I have $660 in Caesars comp dollars from the Great Race promo, so I won't have to pay for food, although I do hope to be able to put those aside for another day. A friend will be joining me for at least part of the trip, so we can split some expenses.
Here's the tentative itinerary:
12/15-12/16 Silverton (comped night, free shuttle from the airport)
12/16-12/18 Main Street Station (comped)
12/18-12/21 Harrah's (comped, with a freeroll poker tournament)
12/21-12/23 Circus Circus (not comped; Wizard review)
12/23-12/25 Gold Coast (comped)
12/25-12/27 Bill's Eastside Cannery (not comped; Wizard review)
12/27-12/30 Imperial Palace (comped)
12/30-1/2 Terrible's (comped, New Year's party)
1/2-1/5 Imperial Palace (again; comped)
1/5-1/7 Gold Coast (comped; was going to be Palms but they wanted to charge me a $30 resort fee on two comped nights!)
Long trip. If people are interested, I plan to do at least some blogging regarding how the trip is going. Should be a fun vacation.
Go for it! I know we also will get some good gambling reports!
Sounds like fun.
I hear IP will give plenty of comped rooms but not beyond the usual 3 or 4 day limit, then at least one day must intervene before checking in for additional comped rooms. The best place in town for comped rooms, particularly on a sustained basis, is that great unsung bargain, The Stratosphere which is now rather isolated on what is now referred to as the Truncated Strip.
I note your half-way point will be the Gold Coast which is fairly near a laundromat. Yet some casino-resorts actually offer laundry facilities. Have you made plans a cheap laundry or a free one? Cheap can be easy, but free I'd like to know about.
I also note that your trip embraces "Dead Week" and so rooms are easier to come by as will be comped meals so that may make things easier for you.
Good luck at the Silverton. As I recall, your prior trips there have all been very pleasant but very unprofitable.
Glad to see "Bills is out and Cannery East is in". HIFOB is CET's abbreviation for Harrahs, IP, Flamingo, O'Sheas and Bills and perhaps CET is not the only one who lumps them all together. (Though I always think separately about Bills since its the former Barbary Coast, the only casino wherein security frisked me).
I know that word FREE has magic to it, but you've already allowed a five dollar fee for an airline ticket and intend to allow some modest fares for riding with weirdos, whackos and winos. Its often possible to simply share a cab and while it will be more than bus fare it will be brief. So perhaps you can stretch your spending limit to an occasional ten bucks or something.
You're changing hotels 10 times? Good luck with that, Thats 10
check ins and 10 check outs. My wife and I did it once with 4
changes over 10 days and it was awful. It seemed like all we
did was change hotels. We learned that no matter how long the
stay, don't move. I don't envy you.
Move versus Don't Move:
Well, its being planned as an experiment, not a lifestyle.
I tend to travel light. I don't ever put anything into a hotel drawer so that way I don't leave items behind unintentionally. I don't join a "check in line" if I need a telescope to see the front desk. I'll leave a bag and hit the casino rather than deal with long lines. Now for all these people that are dragging half of Neiman Marcus with them as they check in... why?
I, too, am shocked at all the hotel hops you have planned.
Then again, I'm shocked you got New Year's Eve comped. Good score on that one!
For 23 days, just how light can you travel? Unless you're planning on hitting the laundramat a lot....Quote:
I tend to travel light.
But, bottom line, have fun! It seems like a fun / crazy / cool Vegas thing to do.
Ha! I too will be at Harrah's 12/21-12/23.
Looking forward to your review of Circus Circus. I think it is the only strip property I have never even entered and I have high hopes for a funny review.