I admit it, I love Las Vegas. I love to play the slots. I love roulette. I love the great restaurants. I love to people watch. It is a feast for all the senses in a most prurient way. Over the past year or so I have been spoiled by getting to stay at the Mandalay Bay. Yes, I know there are more extravagant hotels in Las Vegas. But there is something about the Mandalay Bay. It smells a bit like heaven and coconuts. Unfortunately, my great offers this time around weren’t for the Mandalay Bay. I knew I would get 2 nights on the strip before we moved down to the South Point for my husband’s conference. I had some GREAT offers for the MGM Properties. So, I had to choose. I was leery of choosing the Luxor even though in the past I have done well gambling there. My birthday there last year was awful. When you have to change rooms three times you just give up. It was crazy since my husband’s birthday celebration there 3 months earlier was amazing. Even the bed we had on his birthday was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept on. It seems that is the only bed of it’s kind in the hotel. With that said, we did opt to stay at the Luxor for the first 2 nights of our stay and while the woman at the desk told me she looked at the print out and we were going to have a pillow top mattress, we did not. She was adamant that we get the room with the jacuzzi jets in the tub. That was sweet but I knew it was highly unlikely we would use it. The mattress was old and quite bouncy. Given that it was bizarrely comfortable.
I gambled, well, a lot. More than I anticipated. I got stuck at a machine. It was crazy. I was like a poster child for why you shouldn’t gamble. You know, I would hit a big jackpot and then give it all back. Then I would put my money in because, of course, I was going to hit another jackpot. Then I would give the money back and put in more of my money. Yes, I know that is how they built Las Vegas. Since I visited, the Luxor can definitely afford to buy it least one more pillow top mattress.
Out of my last six visits to Las Vegas over the past year I have only stayed at one other hotel besides the Luxor and the Mandalay Bay (or THE Hotel at the Mandalay Bay) and that was New York, New York. Every time I have been to Las Vegas over this past year, I have walked by RM Seafood which is at the foot of the Mandalay Place as you walk out of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards the Luxor. If I say I have walked by it 15 times I may be close to accurate. I have read the menu a handful of times. I even brought my husband there last August when we stayed at the Mandalay Bay. He loves seafood. But no, we ended up eating somewhere else. So, this trip we had one free night together. I asked if he wanted to try RM Seafood. I had seen Rick Moonen a while back on Oprah where he made his signature catfish Sloppy Joe. Not my bag of meat (as they say) but I knew my husband would be thrilled to eat seafood. My mother was apoplectic when I told her we were probably going to go there. “OHHH!!! I love him. He should have won Top Chef Masters. If you see him, tell him I said so.” “Okay, Mom. I will…” As if I was going to see him. I called over to the restaurant. Made a reservation which was more like a, “Hey, can you seat two for dinner as soon as we can hoof it through the Luxor casino and through the Mandalay Place?” The answer was yes. We got there around 7:45 on a Wednesday evening. The place was hopping.
As a woman of size, I always scope a place out to make sure I am going to fit where they are taking me to sit and to be sure that I am not going to bump into people along the way. Once seated I always plot my way back out of the restaurant and watch as people are seated so I don’t have to say, “excuse me” as I bump into the back of someone as they are eating. The hostess took us to a perfect table. The table moved so I was able to sit on the very comfortable bench. My husband sat across from me. We read the menu back and forth to each other. You know, “Oh wow, did you see the crab cake?” “They have barbecued macaroni and cheese.” I don’t know who the people were sitting next to us but they were clearly “someone” when they were done their waiter came by and said, “Rick took care of it. Dinner is on him.” Or something like that. How nice of Rick! I didn’t even think that was “Rick” as in the “R” in RM. Our waiter was great. John ordered the crab cake appetizer and the Cioppino for dinner. He barely spoke to me during dinner. I ordered the macaroni and cheese as starter, and the pan roasted chicken with a side order of mashed potatoes for dinner. Just typing it my mouth is watering. Even though we wanted dessert we were full from the outrageous meal and didn’t order it. We ate exactly what we wanted. (Of course a little over a week later, writing it, I would KILL for what I left on that table.) During our meal the GM came over to our table and chatted with us a bit. What a charmer! Then Rick, himself, came over to our table. Yes, Rick Moonen! It was such a wonderful surprise. He was charming and humble. His food is definitely a work of art and it shows. He clearly LOVES what he does. I look forward to going back again not just for the food but for the atmosphere of being around people doing what they love.
Then we moved down to the South Point Hotel. My husband was going to attend TAM8 (The Amazing Meeting). Financially, we figured next year I will attend as well. I was so pleasantly surprised by the room at the South Point. It was big and spacious…not a lot of furniture cluttering up the space. But there was enough furniture to relax in different places in the room. The two chairs at the table did not have arms. The couch was firm and comfortable. The bed was a bit firm but nice. The pillows were great (even though I brought my own.) The bathroom was perfect. One of my pet peeves as a big woman is a toilet that is crammed between two walls. I have hips and those hips don’t need to rest against a wall while I sit on a toilet. Sorry to paint a picture you may not be interested in, but suffice it to say, this bathroom was awesome! Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a 4-star hotel. The toilet seat is plastic and there wasn’t a clock in our room. We did have a flat screen television on the wall so I was able to eat a great deli sandwich from the deli in the hotel and catch a rerun of South Park while John attended a dinner. As someone who, admittedly, can sit at a video poker machine for hours I will say their chairs in the casino weren’t very comfortable. It was as if the chair was pitched forward. Or it could have been the way my large ass fit on the chair. I don’t know. I definitely was aware of the seat and I can say I haven’t noticed that in other casino’s. At least I didn’t notice it at the Luxor.
One night at the South Point we found ourselves sitting in the bar. John had a beer and I was sporting a killer headache. It could have been from staring at a video poker machine all day in an uncomfortable seat with canned air. Regardless, I had a club soda. I noticed that Paul Provenza was sitting with a group of people. I am a HUGE fan. No pun intended. I really am. The Aristocrats is sheer genius!! He had spoken earlier at the conference. I would have LOVED to have been there. So, here he was sitting with some people. I wasn’t sure if he was with those people or if they, like me, just had to meet Paul Provenza. I didn’t want to interrupt. As time went on he got up to leave and I had the amazing opportunity to say hello and tell him how inspiring I thought his new show the Green Room on Showtime is. We had a great conversation about stand up comedy. He introduced me to his friend and producer of the Green Room, Barbara Romen. Both of them were very generous with their time and attention. Those brief conversations spurred me to consider performing stand up again. Maybe…we’ll see.
It was a great time. It definitely had me look a what’s next for me and it had me take a hard look at where I fit, both literally and figuratively.