a week ago, i began my fourth journey to the great city of las vegas. before my first visit, i was fully prepared to hate all of the glitz and glam and excess and craziness. but as soon as i laid eyes on the ridiculous castle that is the excalibur hotel, lost a few $20s in "deal or no deal"-themed slot machines, and wandered the strip to the sweet sounds of sketchy folks slapping escort business cards against their palms, i fell in love. vegas is truly magical; a "disneyworld for adults," as they say. my travel partner-in-crime gleni accompanied me on this particular visit, and as always, we had a blast.
rose. rabbit. lie.
we allow ourselves one "fancy dinner" per trip, and this self-proclaimed supper club in the new-ish cosmopolitan hotel appealed to us with its small plates menu, mysterious vibe, and live entertainment. it was the perfect start to the vacation!
we split two burgers here: the "nom nom"with kobe beef, thousand island dressing, and potato chips (!) and the steakhouse burger, which was encrusted with black pepper and topped with tomato confit, steak sauce, marmalade onions, and mushrooms, and swiss. I KNOW.
we made friends with a cocktail waitress at the cosmo while playing the slots, and she raved about this place off the strip that was extremely popular with the locals. on a monday night, it was positively PACKED, but the tuna tartare (above), stuffed mushrooms with chicken and chorizo, spicy beef salad, and chicken empanadas were totally worth the wait.
we were drawn in by the sparkly exterior, and stopped for a pre- fancy dinner cocktail. mine tasted like apple pie. mmm.
a surprisingly hip and funky coffee shop in the sorta old-and-stuffy monte carlo. the perfect spot for a caffeine boost after a day of eating and sunning.
hershey's chocolate bar
shoutout to fermin the bartender, who made us delicious chocolate martinis that knocked us on our asses two nights in a row. here, we also witnessed a young couple doing shots of jager while their small child peered at them bashfully from the neighboring candy store. oh, vegas. :(
lady gaga & tony bennett
it might not have been the best idea to see a show sans-nap on the first night, because when they turned off the lights, we were struggling to keep our eyes open. but the show was great! ok, tony bennett forgot one of his lines, but he's like 90. and gaga kept talking in this weird baby voice in between songs and acting like she legitimately spends time with TB outside of their shows. mmmk, gaga. she does have a phenomenal voice, though. that's a fact.
raiding the rock vault
hahahaha. this was great. basically, the show takes you through the history of music from the '60s to the '90s with classic rock covers, and all of the musicians are from legit bands (whitesnake, bad company, heart, dokken). since we went on a sunday night, the crowd was small, so we got upgraded to VIP seats that were literally right at the edge of the stage:
anywho, i was singing along to one of my favorite tunes, free's "all right now," when the vocalist made eye contact with me during the third verse and moved in. he put his hand out to me, i put mine out as well, and he started pulling me towards him. i was thinking, "oh lawd, i am NOT going up on stage right now," but i stood up as he proceeded to put my hand on his thigh and touch my face, all while continuing to sing. the audience, which included a platinum blonde woman in a full-body black jumpsuit, was snickering. it all happened so fast that there's no photo evidence, but i reenacted the moment after the show with the cardboard cutout. my vegas moment!
nine fine irishmen
this irish bar was surprisingly filled with actual irishmen, and an irish cover band. we got pissed at them after gleni requested anything tom petty, and the singer CRUMPLED UP THE REQUEST and threw it on the floor. we still had fun singing along to oasis and rod stewart, though.
i won money at a cheeseburger machine (obviously) and a wizard of oz machine, and lost money at willy wonka and ellen. meh.
we went to the flamingo habitat at, um, the flamingo hotel, where we saw some 'mingoes chillin'. then some dude asked us if we wanted to hold birds for free, so obviously we did. my bird, named iago, lost its grip on my head and almost killed me, then we paid too much money for the above print. good times though.
this place was cool. for 50 cents each, you could make polaroid-style prints of any photos on your phone. and they had these big fake frames where you could pose like an idiot. whee!
stopped here before dinner for happy hour, since it was right in our hotel. within 10 minutes, we were forced by the aggressive hostess/bartender/dancer/whoever to join this group of middle-aged conference attendees in a drinking game that involved taking a shot with no hands, spinning around three times, "popping" our booties, and flipping our cup. i knew that my ability to twerk would come in handy someday! then the hostess harassed us for not being crunk at like, 6pm, and asked us if we were from idaho. back off, bitch!
the bar at times square
the best! there were dueling pianos and this old man that was grilling gleni about her tattoos and kept coming over and asking me who sang every song. and another guy that told me to ask a scottish man who was wearing a kilt to show me his "dirk." "NO!" i replied. "what if it's not good?" "it has to be good!" he replied. "no, it most definitely does not have to be good!" ... and back and forth we went. however, we spent most of the evening hanging out and dancing with a non-threatening 40 year-old man that was there on business by himself (whom we later referred to as "dad"). "i love you girls! you girls are great!" he shouted over and over again. he even offered to come to my rescue when some sketchy creeper kept trying to dance with me and make small talk about the bruins. dad was totally one of the highlights of vegas, and a fantastic end to the trip. never even got his name.
...also, i was unexpectedly able to check off one of my 2015 to-do list items: see the grand canyon! we flew right over it on my flight, which i'd never experienced on my past trips. still counts, right?!
'til next time, vegas!