What Happens in Vegas...

Monday, February 9, 2009

For us, what happened in Vegas was a big ol' birthday celebration.

The reason we booked the trip in the first place was because one of our friends, Jason, really wanted to go for his 30th birthday. And well, it just so happens that his birthday? It's the same day as Michael's. Today, February 9th.

So today was a day of birthday fun, starting with more sightseeing in the morning, followed by an absolutely amazing dinner and more drinking and gambling to close out our last night in Vegas.

We all slept later this morning, thankfully, since I think we all needed it. It was still not enough sleep, but what can you expect when you're in Las Vegas? After we all showered and got ready, we went downstairs and found a deli in Treasure Island. We ate a fairly quick lunch there, then caught a couple of cabs to visit Old Vegas.

I had never even heard of Old Vegas until Jason mentioned that we should go there, but it was really cool. The cabs dropped us off at Golden Nugget, an old and slightly trashy casino. It was trashtastically awesome, however.

Inside, we wandered around for a little bit while Jason and Dave played a few slots.

I came across this slot machine and nearly died. $500. That's $500 for ONE PLAY, folks. One push of the button = One pull of the lever = $500. As you might expect, there was no one playing it. I mean, damn!

Next, we came across a truly giant slot machine. We thought the one in New York, New York yesterday was big! This was huge. And of course, we had to take a few turns playing it. You know, mostly for photo ops. :) No one won any money, but we had fun pulling the giant lever.

After that, we swung over to a roulette table that had $5 minimums. Jason, Dave, and Michael put a little bit of money down and we had fun with that for about 1/2 hour. Michael actually won a decent chunk of money, which was cool since it's his birthday and all.

After cashing out, we left Golden Nugget to check out the rest of Old Vegas and Fremont Street.

Michael and Dave had to stop and get their picture taken "with" Gordie Brown. (I have no idea who he is, and I'm not sure Michael and Dave did, either. Too funny.)

It was neat to see all of the old casinos and hotels. They had good souvenir shops there, too. Oh, and if you're ever looking for a truly cheap place to eat or shop in Vegas, head on over to Old Vegas. We actually saw NORMAL prices for things there, unlike on the strip, where everything is ridiculously expensive.

Once we had fully explored Old Vegas, we decided to walk to the Stratosphere, which is at the very north end of the strip.

As with all places in Vegas, it looked close, but turned out to be a pretty long walk. Luckily, everybody was up for it and we made it there in about 40 minutes. Jason was determined to ride one of the rides on top of the Stratosphere, and he had spent some of the morning/afternoon trying to convince all of us just ONE of us to go with him.

As we approached the Stratosphere and saw a couple of these rides actually running, everyone quickly proclaimed that we did not think we would be accompanying him. (These thoughts were confirmed when everyone later saw the prices for these rides once inside. Even Jason decided not to ride.)

Once again, inside the Stratosphere, everyone gravitated toward the slots for a bit. After about an hour, most everyone left with some sort of cash, and we decided to cab it back to the hotel to rest for a while and get ready for our fabulous dinner.

We watched a sobering presidential press conference about the economy, drank a few beers, and got dressed up to go out. At about 6:45 p.m., we once again caught a couple of taxis and headed to the Four Seasons.

Let me back up here for a minute. Last week, before we left for Vegas, Michael's boss called him into his office. He told him that he had been doing a great job, and went on to say that he wanted to do something nice for him. He had heard that Michael was taking a trip to Las Vegas, and offered to send us and our friends to a really nice restaurant--the bill taken care of. We obviously jumped at the opportunity, and decided to have his boss make the reservations for us for Michael and Jason's birthday dinner.

And so we ended up at Charlie Palmer Steakhouse in the Four Seasons Hotel in Vegas. Niiiice.

I think it was pretty unanimous across the board that this was the best meal any of us had ever eaten, let alone one that we were treated to. We had a few laughs about how "out of our league" we felt in this restaurant, but we all appreciated and enjoyed it just the same.

The food was absolutely fabulous, starting with the bread, and continuing with the wine, salads, entrees, sides, and dessert. Sooo good.

This is a photo of Michael's surf and turf. I'm not a fan of seafood, so I just had filet mignon (which is actually the "turf" part of Michael's dish anyway).

After dinner was finished, I mentioned to the waiter how it was Michael and Jason's birthday, and asked if they could bring out a dessert for them with a couple of candles in it. A few minutes later, our waiter (who was so awesome), and a bunch of other servers came out with SIX desserts to sample and share, and told us they were all compliments of the chef. Um, hi. These guys were so good to us! And of course, two of them had candles in them for Jason and Michael.

Happy Birthday to my husband! (And that strawberry shortcake that is pictured? So.freaking.amazing.)

And a Happy Birthday to Jason, too! (I can't remember exactly what that dessert was, but I know the ice cream on top was Kahlua flavored. Also very good.)

And this is a photo of what turned out to be my absolute favorite dessert. It was something like a caramel cake with caramel and apple ice creams. To die for.

After many thanks and much praise to the Charlie Palmer chef and waitstaff, we walked through the Four Seasons and into Mandalay Bay for a little while. Before long, we hailed cabs to leave. We stopped halfway up the strip to check out the Bellagio fountains at night.

After watching one of the "fountain shows," we once again got cabs (it was too cold and our feet were too sore to walk) and went back to our hotel to hang out in the Treasure Island casino. We figured that since we had to get up early for the airport the next morning, it'd be easier to already be back "home" so that anytime anyone wanted to go to bed, they could.

Annnnd... You guessed it! Everyone got drinks and spent time playing more slots. :)

After probably a few too many drinks (on my part) and a lot of slots (so addicting), we all went up to the hotel rooms to catch some sleep.


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