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Las Vegas Review: Vegas, Baby, YEAH! Pt. 1

Leigh

6 min read

Mar 23

Leigh

67

1

This Las Vegas review is long, as was the trip, so I've split it into two parts. Buckle up, cuz I'm taking you along for an amazing ride that solidified my love for this city of lights...


May 12, 2023


I drove up from Los Angeles, and my trip started out with a Friday stop-over in Highland, CA to see Incubus front row at the Yaamava' Theater on May 12th. They were AMAZING and José gave me his drumstick, so I could not have asked for a better start to my trip!


May 13, 2023


On the 13th I checked into the Mandalay Bay and wow, the smell of smoke was much stronger than I expected. Also, good lord, Las Vegas air is dry as shit! I cannot believe how parched I was very shortly after entering Las Vegas airspace. I downed so much water during this trip, I don’t know how I didn’t drown. This was the first time in a long time I remembered I have asthma. Actual photo of me in Vegas:



I did really like my room and very much appreciated the soaking tub and view of the pool. I am an MGM rewards member, and I used the app to check into my room, so I didn’t even have to stop at the desk which I thought was very cool!


Once I got settled in, I had to hop back in my car and drive over to Harrah’s because I had a reservation at Ramsay‘s Kitchen. Let me tell you, it was a sublime start to my stay in Vegas. The service was top notch, and the food was divine. I have never eaten a meal that delicious in my entire life. Every single part of the five-course tasting menu blew me away! I have loved Gordon since Hell’s Kitchen started, so I was very glad to be patronizing his establishment, and he absolutely did not disappoint. An absolute 5/5 experience.









I followed up dinner with “Menopause: The Musical!” because 1.) it’s located in the same casino mere steps from the restaurant, and 2.) I’d read good reviews, so I figured, why not? I’m not menopausal yet (highly possible I was the youngest person in the audience at 34), but I enjoyed the show, and the ladies were really jammin’! Really great vocalists with good comedic timing. I hope I’m that exciting in my older age ^_^ 4/5 experience.


After the show, I promptly returned to my hotel room and knocked. The fuck. Out.


May 14, 2023


Woke up on the 14th and went to the all-you-can-eat tapas brunch at Border Grill. Again, the food was delicious, and the service was great. My waitress was super warm and friendly. I left there wishing I had two stomachs. I also had my first Michelada and it was... pretty good. I managed to smash 8 plates, notable ones being the chilaquiles, the steak and eggs, and the breakfast taco. I love that they cut the tortilla chips for the chilaquiles into smaller squares. It really softens the mouth feel and makes the chilaquiles easier and more enjoyable to eat. I’ll give this a 4.5/5; I didn’t love the Miche nor the horchata French toast as much as I wanted to, but the meal itself felt like an absolute steal for $45.


Went back to the room and passed out for two hours because that’s what eating 8 plates of food will do to you. Knowing how much food I had consumed in just the last 24 hours I made a point to go to the gym when I woke up and actually had a great workout. Followed that up with a mellow soak in my hotel room tub. I do wish that they had provided some bath salts and/or bubble bath for the experience but I made do with shower gel. After about an hour-long soak I just relaxed until I went down to the casino floor to buy MJ stuff ahead of the show. One of the cornerstones of this trip was seeing MJ: One for the second time. I am a diehard Moonwalker and always cry during the show. This time it was during the Man in the Mirror piece. Last time it was the Human Nature performance (my favorite song of his). 100/5 experience. MJ for life.

I had intended to try out a Wahlburger after the show and had heard about this app called Vegas Near Me that is supposed to be a guide to points of interest in your vicinity. However, this app steered me completely wrong and told me Wahlburgers would be open after my show, but it wasn’t. So I walked all the way there for no reason, which made me hangry. I ended up walking all the way to Luxor since Wahlburgers is about halfway there and grabbing a pizza and a hotdog from their food court, which took an ungodly amount of time. Brought it back to my room. Pizza from Bonnano’s was ok. Hot dog from Nathan’s was ok. Fries were less than ok. Cute souvenir cup though. 3/5, which is barely a pass, but I was between a rock and a hard place at that point. Not worth taking photos of. Fell asleep watching the Food Network.


May 15, 2023


This is the point in the story where I tell you that I have been using the free MGM gaming apps and racking up points so that I could get freebies while I was here. My second night at Mandalay Bay was free minus having to pay the resort fee. I was also able to redeem a free side or a drink at Della’s Kitchen at The Delano. I ended up using that for a tasty peach Bellini and had the chicken and waffles, which were really rich, flavorful and such a huge portion. I don’t think photos do it justice. 5/5 here. No complaints. I only ate half of it and took the other half to go as I was now moving on to a room with a fridge!

This is also the point at which I clarify that I did a split stay while I was in Las Vegas. I checked into the Mandalay Bay on Saturday and now I am checking out Monday to go check into Vdara which I will be staying at until Thursday. I checked out of my room before Della’s and thought I’d just have to figure out something to do between 11am and 4pm check-in at Vdara. Luckily though, my room at the Vdara was ready for me at noon! I promptly headed over. Finding valet was a lil’ confusing because you essentially have to drive past the drop-off/valet zone for Aria to get to the valet zone for Vdara since they’re next to each other. This hotel move was a HUGE upgrade, as I went from the basic King room at the Mandalay to the Panoramic Suite at the Vdara. My new room was gorgeous and at the very end of the hall. I felt total peace and privacy there. It had an awesome expansive view that was beautiful during the day and breathtaking at night.



Aside from a full kitchen, there is a washer/dryer, so I did a load of laundry. Knowing this would be available to me meant I was able to pack a bit lighter and re-wear a couple of things. While the washer ran, I flipped through the free MJ: One program I got and relaxed until the Lip Snacking Foodie Tour I’d booked called “Savors of the Strip.”