Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Vegas and Lots of Food Pictures

Okay, here's my Vegas post. I'll break it up into sections so you can skip around if it gets a bit long and boring.

Introduction / Lodging

So, six of us met up in Vegas... Rowr, PetDander, Barber, E-Lankan, QB, and me. Since hotel rates were simply outrageous last weekend, we all stayed in different places. Not really much of an issue, but it is what it is. All of us stayed off the strip. Rowr and PetDander end up at the La Quinta, just down the street from where QB and I stayed at the Tuscany Suites. Barber and the E-Lankan stayed over at the newly renovated Hilton.

Lance Burton: Master Magician

QB and I were a bit rushed upon arrival, since we had to tickets to the Lance Burton magic show over at the Monte Carlo. We made it to the show without any problems despite the ridiculously bad traffic. This particular weekend was horrible. Apparently, it was sandwiched by two major conventions, and there was a major boxing match scheduled, along with a professional bull riding rodeo in town. Okay, so we get to the show.

Lance Burton is amazing. He's quite the showman, and he's simply amazing. Like, when you see a magic trick, you usually can take a guess as to how it's done. Whether you're right or not, or even close isn't all that important. The point is that you usually can come up with some crazy scheme as to how a trick was done. Well, I'd say that there were quite a few tricks that he pulled off that I can't even try to make a guess about. It was really an awesome show. If you're ever in Vegas, and you are sick of the Cirque du Soleil shows and don't feel like watching topless showgirls dance, then go and check out Lance. It's a very kid-friendly show also, so it's a great choice for a family.

Pokering at the Monte Carlo

After the show, QB and I met up with PetDander and Rowr over at the Monte Carlo. We were immediately seated in a new low-limit $4/8 game, and we were on our way to do some heavy drinking and late-night pokering. Since QB doesn't really like poker, she sat behind me for a little while, then got bored and took off to play other games and check out the gift shops.

So, it was Rowr on my left and PetDander on my right. I think that was the best seat order for all of us. Rowr is fairly new, and so she gets a nice early warning to get the hell out of the pot if either PD or I raise it up (unless of course she has a big hand). You can read more about the early warning system by following this link. PD probably likes me on his left because he's so much more aggressive and can usually fold me out more easily if he acts before me. And, I much prefer to get out of his way than to get trapped in a hand due to a raise coming in from behind.

I got pretty unlucky in a couple of hands where my opponents caught their two-outers to spike their sets on the turn. But, in a rare act of equalization, I caught a one-outer to win a large pot. I had Q7s in the big blind. There was a limper and PD (in the small blind) raised. We see the flop 3-handed for two bets apiece. The flop comes T 7 7. PD bets out, I raise, and a weak-tight guy 3-bets. I honestly think I'm outkicked here, and I put him on A9s. PD folds, and I call with the intention of just check-calling the guy... maybe I'm the weak-tighty. The turn is a 7, and I go ahead bet out. The bet - raise - 3-bet line seems so much better than the check-raise line. So, things go as planned, I bet, he raises, and I 3-bet. He calls me down and flips over pocket Tens. Whew!

Oh ya, I should mention that Rowr is up against me lifetime at a live poker table. There was a hand where I betting with middle pair, but she had top pair (and rivered a two pair for the overkill). We're all pretty drunk by the time we get the call from Barber that says he and E-Lankan are on the way over to meet us. We had been ordering drinks non-stop, since it's just a lot more fun to get free drinks than having to pay for them. Ha ha.

Drinking and Gambling at the Monte Carlo

So, Barber and E-Lankan get there, and we all do some gambling on our own. I can't even remember exactly who did what. I think PetDander and Barber went to play some poker at some point and I think E-Lankan played some blackjack. QB and Rowr drank some for free at the Video Poker machine also, I believe.

Well, at some point we all end up at the Houdini Lounge in the middle of the hotel and continue to get the drink on. I think we started out with a round of shots followed up with more drinks and more beer. There's a lot of random conversation, and I'm my usual loud and obnoxious self. Eventually, it's time to crash, and we all head back to our respective hotels.

Pokering at the Wynn

The next day, PetDander, Rowr, QB, and I make it over to the Wynn to do some pokering again. We played a pretty short session. Rowr and I sat in the lowly 4/8 game, and PetDander played a little higher at the 8/16. Not sure if he played any 15/30 or not, but anyway, the table Rowr and I were at was not so good. Players were mostly tight and aggressive... definitely not the type of table you want to be at for the purpose of money-making.

PetDander decided his game was a bit too good to leave, so he decided to skip out on dinner and continue to rake in the bucks. So, QB, and I headed out to meet up with Barber and E-Lankan at the Mandalay Bay. Our dinner reservations at Aureole were for 7:45pm, so we had to hurry, especially with the horrendous traffic crippling the city.


QB and I met up with Barber and E-L at the Island Lounge at the Mandalay Bay. After a quick drink, we made our way to the restaurant. We hung out at the restaurant lounge area for a bit as Rowr was having major problems finding a parking spot... after all, it was fight night. She gave us a call and told us to go ahead and get seated. So, we did just that. Not long after, she made it. Yay!

Well, this post is already pretty long, so let me just throw out a few highlights and then put up pictures of the food. Four of us decided to go with the Chef's Tasting Menu. Rowr isn't a big seafood fan, so she went with the foie gras and the roasted pork loin.

The food was absolutely fabulous. Words, especially those coming from me, cannot do it justice. The meal was very well balanced overall, and portions were generous considering we had so many dishes to try.

On top of the great food, the service was really awesome. As each dish came out, there was usually two servers standing by to give us a description of what we were about to eat and also to answer any questions we had. Drinks were always re-filled before glasses were empty, and they even had this metal cover that they put on QB's food to keep it warm when she went to the bathroom. I've never experienced that before... pretty funny.

Oh ya... I should mention that I was completely fooled by a rasberry sauce stained plate. So, we're on our first dish which was served on this fancy glass plate. QB then says to me, "Make sure to try the raspberry sauce, it's incredibly tasty." So, I start jabbing my ahi tuna into the 'sauce' on the plate, only to see that I wasn't getting any sauce. I press the fish harder and harder onto the plate before I realize I've been fooled. Doh!

The meal lasted over three-and-a-half hours. And, there was a ton of food. We were all pretty stuffed afterwards. Okay, no more wasting your time. Here are some pics of the food that was served to each of us during the tasting. Enjoy.

Duo of Ahi Tuna: Tartare and Tataki

Three Cheese Ravioli topped with Dungeness Crab

Grilled Escolar

Sonoma Squab with Foie Gras

Beef Duo: Filet Mignon and Shepard's Pie

Three American Cheeses (Blue, Bucheret, and Cheddar) and Cinnamon Brioche

Pear Tart with Chocolate Fondue and Gelato

Petit Fours and Chocolates

Variety of Fruit Sorbet

Rowr has a lot of pictures of her food too. I'm sure you will be able to see them on her blog at some point.

And, that's all, folks!

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