Saturday, April 7, 2012

Follow Me in Las Vegas

YUP, It's me
I visit Las Vegas two to three times a year, mainly because my husband has a friend he enjoys visiting there. I do not gamble - we go there for the great food and variety of shopping. So follow me around town during my typical three day weekend.
San Jose Airport to McCarran takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to fly on Southwest Airlines. Always expect a bit of air turbulence just before landing after passing over the mountain ridge and sometimes there is no in-flight beverage service because of it.
After checking into our hotel room usually at Paris, New York New York or Venetian we put on our comfy shoes and hit the ground running over to Bellagio for a gourmet double gelato downstairs nearest the street front dancing water show (VIDEO). One scoop each of Lemon and Dark Chocolate to get the blood flowing.


Linda McCartney's favorite horse
Bellagio has great shopping: Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Dior, Armani, and Louis Vuitton to name a few. They usually have inventory in their boutiques I cannot find elsewhere. I am a terrific window shopper. Love to look, love to look. Near the strip is the 'Fashion Show' (click), a traditional indoor shopping mall with hundreds of stores from Abercromie & Fitch to Zara. Of course you can also find Dillard's, Macys', Neiman Marcus and on the weekends near Saks Fifth Avenue you can watch a runway fashion show. The shopping inside Crystals at City Center (click) a 500,000 square feet shopping and dining extravaganza also houses many haute couture boutiques such as Brunello Cucinelli, Tom Ford and Stella McCartney. If you are a Beatles fan visit the Stella McCartney boutique to view the hanging glass art display of Linda McCartney's favorite pet horse, it once hung in the family castle.

You must try the Roller Coaster at Hotel New York, New York  It sits on their rooftop and instantly shoots out like a rocket. The ride footprint is so small  its track is concentrated with corkscrews, loop-de-loops and spins to maximize the excitement!


There is amazing food at every turn. Our first dinner is always at 'Mon Ami Gabi' (click), an indoor/outdoor French bistro inside Paris casino. Love to meet our friend Bianca there. 'Serendipity' in the outdoor complex near Caesar's is good if you only order dessert.
Julian Serrano inside Aria (click) specializes in his native Spanish food. He even carries the prized Pata Negra Iberico Jamon de Bellota. In other words top of the line cured ham from the black foot pig fed on a strict diet of acorns.
I cannot leave Las Vegas until I have visited
Spicy Sweet Potato Hash-YUM!
Bobby Flay's 'Mesa Grill'(click) for brunch inside Caesar's for his Spicy Chicken Sweet Potato Hash with Green Chili Hollandaise (click RECIPE) reservation recommended. It is like eggs benedict only add sweet, heat and smokiness; it is wonderfully unctuous! For a steakhouse we choose 'Craft Steak (click)' from Tom Colicchio inside the MGM Grand. For five star dining a mega treat may always be found at Picasso in Bellagio, not only for it's unique and beautiful food creations but you are surrounded by millions of dollars in Picasso paintings. Need to cool your wallet? I pick Rao's Italian Restaurant (click) at Caesar's. Although they are known for baseball-sized meatballs get off the beaten path and find yourself a little something out of the ordinary, this is where their food really shines. I recommend the Beggar's Purse ravioli-like filled pasta with a plate of smoldering grilled vegetables. We always eat at the bar because the staff is so friendly, they remembered me four months later. By the way they are decorated for Christmas all year round, sans tree.
Chandelier Bar-Cosmopolitan
 My favorite bar has to be the Chandelier Bar (click video) upstairs inside the Cosmopolitan. Your are held captive inside a hanging sparkling chandelier. I always order the cocktail with blueberry preserves in it. They serve the definitive 'Girl Scout Cookie' cocktail too.
Me 'n' Sean at Lake Mead


For you outdoor types, take a desert drive to the one time largest man made project Hoover Dam (click). It lies on the California/Nevada border. The size of the structure is breathtaking. You can stroll on it's massive promenade as well as take a tour below ground to see it in action. While you are out make a day of it and see the beautiful blue water of Lake Mead. Boating and water skiing are a must and a family can rent a houseboat for the weekend. I am not a water person and prefer instead long gun shooting. No animals were harmed during the writing of this article, or any time.
This is target shooting of clay pigeons (click), a 4.3 inch (110 mm) bright orange clay disk that is vaulted into the air for you to blast away using a 12 gauge shotgun. Desert Hills (click) is your destination located in nearby Boulder City. If you are a video game enthusiast you might be surprised how good a shot you are the first time out. On the drive home we must stop at A&W for a Papa Burger and a root beer float. This is the desert so remember nights during the winter months are bitterly cold, I am talking down to the low 20-degree freeze.

I hope you bookmark this article and share it with your friends. I included many clickable links for you to plan your next (or first) Las Vegas trip.  Or perhaps as you read through just pretend you have been briefly transported. It's not just for gamblers and peep shows.

Casino Announcement:
San Jose, California is opening a brand new Las Vegas designed casino named 'CASINO M8TRIX (FB click)' later this summer. Follow them on Facebook for updates.

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