Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chinese New Year - A Trip Report In Photos

Note:  There's been a lot of stuff going on for me during the past few months.  My daughter is a Senior in high school.  That fact itself has made for lots of busy, busy days.

On the morning of March 21, 2013 at approximately 5:00 a.m., my mother was on her way to work and was hit by a pickup truck as she was leaving town, less than 2 miles from home.  She was hospitalized for 16 days with several broken ribs and a punctured lung.  Thankfully - incredibly, I think - she was spared more serious injuries, and she is recovering fully.  I thank God that she is okay, and I think she will be even better than before, because she has incredible strength.  She will be going back to work on April 29th, and I hope her Guardian Angel is preparing her wings to fly with her and keep her protected once again. She is ready to go back to work, she is strong, and she has her next goal in her sights:  IT'S TIME TO GET BACK TO VEGAS!

February 8-10, 2013

I have looked, and looked, and looked...and I cannot find my trip report notes anywhere.  I have only myself to blame.  I kept my notes on my iPad while I was in Vegas and I *think* I transferred them to my e-mail account.  Either way, they are no longer on my iPad, and they are nowhere in my e-mails.  Poo.  Because of my stupidity, I decided that I would do a mostly photographic trip report and just comment under some of them with little things I remember from the trip.  Hopefully you'll enjoy this version, because there were lots of great photo opportunities to be had.  I was lucky enough to meet up with my friends Mike and Doris, who I've missed on the last couple of Vegas trips, and we had SEVERAL free drinks and lots of laughs in the Caesars Diamond Lounge.

I found a few receipts, so there are a few prices listed, as well.

My first stop: La Creperie at Paris for a 3-cheese crepe.  It was rich and delicious.
Crepe and a coke for $11.88 with your Total Rewards (TR) card.

This has replaced Les Artistes restaurant in Paris.  Not a fan of the look...

Chinese New Year decoration in Paris

I found reminders everywhere.

I took my $13.91 ticket from my October trip back to Monte Carlo and turned it into $108.24 on "Wizard of Oz - Ruby Slippers" (one of my favorites)...

...and then I put $20 of that in a "Gone With the Wind" machine to run that up to $155.22.  Needless to say, I cashed out and left Monte Carlo up over $250.00  Win!

Crystals at City Center had some decorations...

...but the snake was the cutest!

Cosmopolitan had a pretty tree right inside their entrance.

It is still dwarfed by the Chandelier Bar!

China Poblano restaurant on the 2nd floor of the Cosmopolitan has a kitschy combination of Asian and Mexican decor, as the name would suggest.

I don't remember the name of this Dim Sum dish, but it had two pork, two beef, and two  scallop selections.

My scallop Dim Sum had real gold flakes on it.  Yes, I ate them without hesitating.

An unusual dessert at China Poblano with pomegranate seeds, Mexican chocolate, caramel and sea salt.  It was interesting, but I don't think I'd order it again.
It was a bit too different for my limited palate.
The Hermes store at Bellagio even got into the Year of the Snake

Just a photo of the statue in the Bellagio lobby - so I could use my miniature effect again!

 The next photos are from the Bellagio's Year of the Snake display.  I took two sets of photographs; the first at around 3 p.m., and the second around 5:30 p.m., as it was just getting dark.  The difference in the images is striking.

Lucky coin tree

The only real flower photo I have from this trip.

Jean Phillipe Patisserie sugar creation at the Bellagio

Sugar fan


These photos start the 5:30 p.m. Bellagio set.  The light is very different.

I also used the Toy Camera effect on this photo for impact.

Performances on the "junk boat" at the top of the hour, 5-7 p.m. daily.

One of my favorites.

Random Vegas stuff...
A sad, sad sign...

The new entrance to The Quad, formerly known as my original Vegas home,
Imperial Palace.  Spiffy!

Vegas shoes I had to have.
*Click, click, click* There's no place like Vegas! *Click, click, click*

Mongolian Beef at Ming's Table in Harrah's.  
Pretty darn good and a lot of food for $16.  I couldn't finish it.

Photos from Wynn and Encore
Coffee and a blood orange mimosa while I waited for my mini quiches at
Society Cafe' in Encore.
Total for the whole meal was $33.51 plus tip.  Great atmosphere, and I want to go back.

Mini quiches - Spinach and tomato, smoked salmon and chive, and ham and Gruyere.
Ham and Gruyere and Spinach and tomato tied for 1st place with me.
Not crazy about smoked salmon in a quiche.
Served with an apple and walnut salad that had cranberries, pomegranate seeds, water cress and tossed in a vinaigrette - so very delicious!

The most random decor between Wynn and Encore
Orange trees at Wynn
Out with the Year of the Dragon...
...and in with the Year of the Snake.
I love this shot.  If only that random woman had stayed out of the way!

The next photos are from the Palazzo.  They have really come into their own when it comes to decorating for the different "holidays" in Vegas - they know they have some stiff competition in the other hotels!

Palazzo lobby

My first view of the fantastic display.
The cute snake turned its head, opened and closed its eyes, and could even stick out its tongue!  I spent a couple of hours here, watching peoples' reactions.

My favorite photo of the trip.  Peaceful and beautiful.

Back view of the snake in its tree.

A monkey shot for my brother.

Okay, that's enough of this!
A shot of St. Mark's Square at The Venetian, using my favorite Miniature effect.

Shrimp Po'Boy at Emeril's Table 10 restaurant in The Venetian.
With a tea it was $21.08 before tip.  And their rolls are like crack.  Seriously.

Caesars Palace gets snazzy near the High Limit area.

Even the Caesars Palace lobby got dressed up!

My friend, Mike, took my picture with Caesar, Cleopatra and a Centurion guard.
Doris (Mike's lovely wife) thought I was pointing out Mike's real focus: Cleo's "assets".

My last big Chinese New Year meal in Vegas was at FIN at The Mirage.
I started with a Zen Mojito - no pic, but it was fantastic! - and their delicious Won Ton Soup.

FIN's Singapore Noodles were served with my choice of rice (white) and a delicious soy sauce.  I ate about half of this, but it was great, and the service was excellent.  Total for the soup, entree and mojito was $38.92 before tip, so it's definitely affordable.
The door to FIN blocks out all noise from the casino, and the atmosphere was wonderfully relaxing.  I highly recommend this restaurant.  It was my favorite meal of the trip.

One last bonus on Lobstermania 2 before I head to the airport!