on the road: las vegas

30 Jan

First of all, thank you for all the comments and feedback on my last post. I must admit, I was really nervous about putting it out there. Especially since right after I posted, I skipped town!

It’s nice to know I am not alone in my thoughts and I appreciate all of the ideas and suggestions when it comes to finding balance. I’m sure the reader that asked also appreciates it. Speaking of reader questions, please don’t hesitate to email me with questions or topic ideas. I love them!

So, back to skipping town. I was required to go to Las Vegas for a work conference. Because Brette and I are not going on a warm winter vacation this year (because we get to go to an awesome wedding in a far off place later this year), he decided to come with me. Las Vegas is definitely warmer than it is here in Minnesota. 60’s and sunny? I’ll take it.  Brette has been to Vegas a few times and I have been once before, also for work. My impression wasn’t all that great, but then again, I never really left the hotel. I wanted to give it a second shot.

I thought I’d share with you some highlights of the trip.

1. A nice hotel.

We decided to go a day early and stay in a nicer place for one night.

Ever since seeing Ocean’s Eleven (about 20 times), I’ve always wanted to stay at the Bellagio and a definitely wanted to watch the fountains. We stayed in a room with an awesome view.

Even though the Bellagio is beginning to show it’s age, I loved it! From our room, we could watch the fountain show (with piped in music from the TV) and we did about 10 times. There are a number of different shows and I know we saw each one.

Both Brette and I were mesmerized. So much so, that we decided not to leave for dinner and get room service instead. I NEVER order room service so this seemed like such a luxury. I think I could get used to that….

2. Mini Family Reunion.

My cousin, Scott, lives in Vegas. I hadn’t seen him in at least 10 years. So, we made it a point to connect while we were out there. It was so great to see him. We met him for coffee before he started work. He works at a Peter Max Art Gallery. It was pretty amazing to see original work (at a price tag of $25K – yowzers). You can see some of the work in the background below.  It was also great to get caught up on what’s been going on in the past 10 years. Thank heavens for Facebook so that we could reconnect. Yay – social media!

3. A romantic Anniversary Dinner.

This was the final celebration of our 8 year wedding anniversary. I had chosen Bouchon, based on multiple recommendations. Bouchon is a Thomas Keller restaurant and it located in the lovely Venetian.  We had a stellar time. What we swooned over the most was the butter. They have their butter specially made from a local source and it has salt and caramel in it. Amazing! Seriously. The amount of bread and butter we ate was pretty phenomenal. The rest of our meal was great too. Brette had a lamb dish with a cassoulet of beans and pickled lamb’s tongue mixed in. You read that right. It was a bit of mental leap for him, but he manned up and just went for it. I was so proud. I had the pork chop and my eyes about popped out of my head when it arrived. It reminded me of the Flinstones. It was about the size of my head and a good 3 inches thick. I made it through half (Brette ate the other half) along with all the brussels sprouts and sautéed pears that came with it. I may have sopped up the juice with more bread and butter. :) Brette ended his meal with the crème brulee, which was excellent. I opted for the chocolate bouchons; three small chocolate brownies topped with rocky road ice cream, chocolate sauce and homemade marshmallows. Oh yeah. Happy Anniversary to me.

4. Dinner at Mon Ami Gabi

Tuesday evening, we dined with two of my co-workers and one of their sister’s. Mon Ami Gabi is at the Paris hotel. It has an outdoor seating area, an atrium and a main dining room. We ate in the atrium where we could see across the street to the Bellagio fountains. It was beautiful.

The food was also delicious. Brette and I both had the frisee salad with bacon and a poached egg. A yummy salad with a runny egg? Heaven. I opted for the sweet potato soup with vanilla merengue on top. It reminded me of the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. I loved it. Brette had the french onion soup and was extremely happy. The bread was good too….but we were both missing the butter from Bouchon. Our fellow diners were extremely pleased with their food as well. The atmosphere at Mon Ami Gabi was cozy, yet bustling. I imagine it is exactly what a French Bistro is supposed to be like.

5. Walking outside without a coat on.

Unless you are from the frozen tundra, I’m not sure you can comprehend what it is like having winter last 5-6 months. It’s insane. When we left, the temperatures had been consistently in the single digits. Having a break from huge puffy jackets, mittens, hats and scarves is divine. My last hour in Vegas, I spent outside in the sun, sipping a margarita and watching the action go by. It was just what I needed.

Overall, I think Vegas can be fun. The people watching is pretty incredible, there is a lot of shopping available and more entertainment than one can absorb. Sometimes, it’s a little over stimulating for my taste. Walking places became hazardous as every two steps someone was trying to offer Brette a pass to a strip club. It got a bit much at times. I’m not a gambler, so that part of Vegas is not appealing to me. I just cannot get myself to part with money that I won’t likely get back. It’s not fun for me. Brette did some gambling and was very entertained. He came out about even. However, he’ll be ahead if the Packers win the Super Bowl!

2 Responses to “on the road: las vegas”

  1. Amanda January 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    Here’s a question: How/Where do you get your recommendations of where to dine when you are in a new city? You always seem to have such great luck!
    And finally, perhaps it’s time you make your own butter…

    • jen February 1, 2011 at 8:15 am #

      I ask anyone I know who is from there or has been there often. So far, it’s worked out great!

      Hmmm….making my own butter. I like it!

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