Road Eats 3 :: Las Vegas

(It’s about time I got around to continuing my Spring Training recollections.)

Glad to be here.

Not exactly Las Vegas, but very close. When trip planning, we decided that since we were driving all the way from Phoenix, it would be safe to spend the first night in Boulder City and avoid checking into a huge Vegas hotel possibly late in the evening. Even though we got to Boulder City before 4pm, it was a wise choice. The Boulder Dam Hotel was quite nice. Historic. Very comfortable. The Lobby/Parlor had a fireplace going and people were actually sitting around there. In addition to the front desk, there’s a dining room on the first floor. Rooms are on the second floor.

Boulder Dam Hotel

We took a walk around town to get the lay of the land and check out places we might eat. The hotel clerk (probably the owner) was quick to recommend Evans Grille. We walked there and the place was bustling at quarter-to-seven.

The menu was down home and interesting, with a Greek bent. I ordered a cup of Barley Soup and Tilapia with a side of angel hair pasta. Carol, the Special Greek Salad with Lamb and Chicken (she LOVED it). There seems to have been a pink light in the place, but it wasn’t noticeable to the naked eye.


Greek Salad

Of course the servings were large enough for two meals — the families around us were all taking home boxes. We’ll be in Las Vegas tomorrow, hardly a spot for leftovers.

We were furnished a complementary breakfast with our room: Any Entree, coffee and juice from the menu. From looking around, it seemed that many town residents come to the hotel for breakfast. Can’t say that I blame them; it’s very good and reasonably priced.

When I spotted sausage gravy on the menu, I just had to quasi-recreate my favorite Bob Evans breakfast (learned from Eric); fried mush with sausage gravy. Well, sausage gravy always comes with biscuits, but biscuits are too heavy for my liking.

In this case, I ordered the French Toast with fresh fruit — lovely specimens those — and a side of Sausage Gravy. Yum. Switch the sweet to savory. Carol had something ordinary.

my fabulous breakfast… the picture of the plates combined is not pretty, but tasty.


The drive to Las Vegas was quick and easy. Follow the signs to the Strip. Follow the signs to Flamingo self parking. Park on 5th floor across from Hertz space #20. Leave non-essentials in the car, cover and lock.

Trouble is, its only 11:15am and check-in isn’t until 3pm. Of course there’s an EZ way to check in early: just pay $60 for two nights upgrade. Swell hotel in the center of the Strip is still only $213 for two nights. Not bad. Soon enough we were looking out the window of our 20th floor room. Nice.

Our view.

And look what our upgrade got us besides a huge room with king bed and couch:

A bathroom with pink light option, walk-in shower and TV in the mirror.

That’s our 24 story Flamingo on the left… Paris Las Vegas in center.

The scale of buildings on the Las Vegas strip is huge — that’s our 24 story Flamingo on the left — and somewhat deceiving. Carol borrowed a AAA magazine from Brian with an article telling tales of how to eat cheaply in Vegas.

  1. Go to the good spots for lunch or brunch.
  2. Eat early, hitting the happy hours.
  3. Go to places with super deals: Two were in the Stratosphere which is way the hell and gone at the north end of the strip. Two more were in the Cosmopolitan — on our map, just the other side of the Bellagio.

Well, the Bellagio is set way back from the street to make way for its fountains, so it doesn’t look too huge… the walk past that to the Cosmo — doesn’t look too far.

We’re on the pedestrian bridge ready to cross Las Vegas Boulevard. Bellagio to the right, Cosmo to the left.

So we’re off to lunch at the Cosmopolitan. Take an escalator up to the bridge over Las Vegas Boulevard, walk by the Bellagio along its lake to the Cosmo. And walk. And walk. And walk. Geez. Didn’t look that far.

When we got to the Cosmopolitan, the restaurant listed in the magazine deals was closed for lunch (hey, the magazine was over a year old). We opted for Estiatorio Milos, which looked great.


They have a deal of sorts: The 2013 Lunch Menu; prix fixe — 3 courses for $20.13 (get it?). Here are our choices:

Carol Appetizer: Greek Meze Plate
Tarama, Tsatziki, Htipiti, manouri cheese, olives and cherry tomatoes

Marcus Appetizer: Canadian Classic
Willy Krauch Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon, cream cheese, red onion and the World Famous St. Tiateur Bagel from Montreal

Main Course (we each chose)
grilled Mediterranean bass

Dessert: (we each chose)
Yogurt Martini

For wine, we had the sommelier selection; a 3oz pour with each course.Everything tasted better than it looks. I’m sorry I couldn’t picture the feeling of the room: elegant with a busy hum.

That’s what I call lunch. You don’t get that in Reno.


After such a lunch, we wandered over to Aria at City Center. Aria is Larger than life… designed to make the individual feel insignificant… and in awe of the jumbo priced baubles offered… all names you’ve seen in Vogue.

endless fountain from the valet/taxi at Aria, City Center

Satiated by lunch, we could walk around Aria and safely check out some of the restaurant collection —  Jean-Georges Steakhouse by Jean-Georges Vongerichten of New York, barMASA by Chef Masa Takayama also of NYC and Spago by Wolfgang Puck of LA and everywhere… Sat in the Todd English Pub… Nice, with an interesting menu, but we’re too close to lunch to enjoy his happy hour specials. We remember Todd English as the chef at Olives in Boston. He’s come a long way since then.

Tod English Pub, atrium entrance

Sitting in the Pub, nursing a beer, I’m reminded of a curt definition of a policeman: A policeman experiences long periods of boredom interrupted by periods of intense activity. I find that akin to The Vegas Thing: periods of intense gratification followed by long periods of boredom — getting from one place to another or waiting for the next big thing. Probably because we’re not in Vegas to gamble. We took a taxi back to the Flamingo.

Since we had a rather late and satisfying lunch, we took a Martini + fried calamari at CUT, the Flamingo Steakhouse and bar as our evening repast. We’ll give it one star.

Martini etc.

Oh… and a couple snacks from the gift shop.



flamingos in the park behind the Flamingo

We had coffee in the hotel and messed around in the Flamingo park until lunch opened at Mon Ami Gabi, the cafe at Paris Las Vegas. Walking by yesterday it looked very like the Cafes that line Boulevard St Germain in Paris. Oh yes.

walking on by to the entrance

We learned in the Flamingo park that it was a bit cooler than we expected, overcast and maybe sprinkley so we went back to our room for warmer clothes.

we are ready for the day

Gabitini – Gray Goose Vodka with blue cheese olives

Even though it was not yet noon, how could I not start off with a Gabitini? No worries, there was plenty of food to come.

my Swordfish over creamed spinach with watercress and potato straws

Once again… good as it looks, good as it sounds.

Carol’s lunch came with some assembly required:

serving the soup at table

Salade Lyon with baby kale
Cream of Fennel Soup with onions, mussel stock

Pineapple Pain Perdu

Oh my goodness…

We walked over the pedestrian bridge to the Bellagio. Walked thru the casino and $$$$$ shops until we came upon the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Current show is Warhol Out West in partnership with the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. We visited there a few years ago. A woman just out of college was leading a docent tour… her very first one. She did well. We had seen most of the works, but I never tire of Warhol.

Bellagio Garden Court in the “Change of Season” mode

We walked past the Garden Court being changed for the new season and then outside where moving sidewalks took us most of the way to Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s hard to comprehend just how far the Bellagio is from the street, but when you walk it, you know.

Aria sensitively meets the street.

Even with moving sidewalks, that’s still a lottalotta walking and we were glad to flop in the Aria View Bar for a treat.

Ah yes, Wasabi peas, salted nuts, bourbon on ice and an unseen glass of sherry. Just the thing for tired feet.

Walk some more and more to an early dinner in the Todd English Pub at Happy Hour… 6 oysters Yum, 6 wings, 4 sliders, and bread pudding. Yum. No pictures — sorry — we were busy eating. Taxi home.


Friday morning rain, a good time for leaving Las Vegas.


The weather dude on the TV showed a stationary band of showers on the east side of the Sierras. Guess where US-95 is.

A change of pace breakfast.

About 50 miles north of Las Vegas, we stopped for breakfast at the Indian Springs Casino / Truck Stop. That’s a Breakfast Burrito and the kind of “home fries” that I love — shredded potatoes frozen in a bag that the grill guy gets real crispy on the grill. This grill guy was a pro, he grilled them thick so the outside was crispy and the inside was soft and hot. Yum.

Back out in the truckin’ rain, Carol driving.

This Ford seems to have automatic variable speed windshield wipers. That’s a real treat in rain like this with accompanying road spray.

We’re almost to Fallon and the sky wants to clear, but carries a funky skirt of rain that we will experience soon enough.

Back home.

Great trip.

5 thoughts on “Road Eats 3 :: Las Vegas

  1. I’m loving the travelog. I haven’t been to LV for more than five years. Jerry even longer. That city has changed so much from my first trip there in 1978. The glitz & glamor of the major casinos is worth the trip, along with a show or two. Gambling is not my thing, therefore, I don’t do much.

    I’ll await the next installment.


  2. Fantastic PHotos–never seen food look so good-felt like I was looking at best of the best in NYC or Paris! Didn’t know it could get that good in old LV.


  3. I appreciate your persistence. You get an A+ for finishing what you start. The photo of you and Carol at the Parisian cafe is really good. Your descriptions and photos are always mouth watering even if it is just a 1* review.


  4. What kind of mileage do you get from the C-Max?


  5. Bill,
    I didn’t check exactly but it goes really far on a tank of regular gas. I guess mid-40s.

    It’s not the same as NYC or Paris, the settings and food were great… and a lot closer, less than a day’s drive.


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