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A Tale from 2002

Las Vegas, Nevada: As I wrote on Monday, Lisa & Lenny are making our weekend in Las Vegas over-the-top special. Last night they sent us to dinner at Sinatra in the Encore Hotel. Our Girl even made sure Sinatra served Cotolette alla Milanese (my favorite) and a seafood pasta or risotto (her Dad's favorite). She made sure they had our favorite wines as well. That girl surely was raised right!

We had never been to the Encore. It is situated on the Wynn Hotel property and the decor is off the charts. RED. Everything is RED. Gorgeous and unexpected detailing - from little mosaic dragonflies and butterflies set into the marble floors, Chinese lacquered (red of course) cabinets and fabulous RED chandeliers. Marble everywhere. Lush plants everywhere. Staff everywhere. 

We put on our best duds and arrived a bit early so we could scope-out the situation. We had a drink in the lobby cocktail lounge. They served house-made sweet potato chips with our drinks. 

Sinatra was also beautifully decorated, but more subdued than the casino and hotel. (Note: nothing RED.) Photos and paintings of Old Blue Eyes are throughout the restaurant and guess what music was playing? Only Sinatra all night. Dave and I toasted My Mom. She loved Frank Sinatra like I love Jimmy Buffett, and she certainly would have loved this restaurant. We were seated and given a card from Lisa & Lenny welcoming us to Sinatra! Our server was very attentive and Lisa was right - we ordered what she knew we would order. Delicious, perfect meals and no check! Thank you Lisa and Lenny for a great night!

This morning, after DT ran (and I did not), we drove into the Mandalay Bay Hotel. We wanted to find a place to catch a bit of the Stanford v Cal game and get some lunch and settled in at Hussong's Cantina. This place claims to have invented the margarita in Ensenada. I am skeptical, but they made me a very decent margarita and a yummy chicken tostada salad. We didn't stay for the entire game as the Furds were beating up on the Bears.

Our other goal for the day was to get over to the M&M shop near the MGM Grand Casino to purchase green & yellow M&M's for our tailgate party next weekend. We decided to walk. Las Vegas is very deceptive. Sure, the MGM Grand is "just across the street"... but it is really about a mile away... and you can't get there from here. There are no direct routes in Las Vegas. Crowds are herded up and down escalators to pedestrian sky-bridges. Around and around. 

But on our route today - somewhere in a tunnel in the bowels of the earth between the Luxor and the Excalibur Hotels, we came across something that made us both smile: a Krispie Kreme donut shop. No, we did not want a donut, but we remembered a moment from just over ten years ago. We were terrible parents and brought Lisa and two of her girlfriends to Las Vegas to celebrate her 21st birthday. Lisa's college friend, Jaime, flew-in from the east coast and family friend, Lady Katharine, flew-in from London. The girls had a grand time. We had rooms at The Bellagio hotel, and really made the most of the weekend.

Jaime, Lady K and Lisa - August 2002

I made party favor bags for the girls. If I remember they included a tacky Las Vegas photo frame, gambling chips, fuzzy dice and other little Las Vegas souvenirs. I also remember Lady Katharine thinking the three bags were gifts for Lisa and thought Jaime rude to tear into her bag. So funny!

Anyway... back to my Krispie Kreme story... one night, the girls went to a nightclub at the Mandalay Bay Hotel with more college friends. They had a blast, but Lady K lost a bracelet at the club, so the next morning we all walked from the Bellagio to the Mandalay to see if someone had turned it in to lost and found. As we were walking (in the same tunnel as today) we came across the Grand Opening of this very same Krispie Kreme donut shop. The donut shop staff were handing out samples and white paper hats. Crazy DT took a hat, put it on and posed for the girls to take his photo. At the same time, a family came along and, seeing Dave posing for photos, said, "Look kids, it's the Krispie Kreme Man!", and started snapping away with their cameras. I thought our girls were going to die laughing... and some unaware family from Cleveland has a picture of DT in their photo album.

The "Krispie Kreme Man" 2002 and 2012

You know, someone did give the lost bracelet to lost and found - so it was worth the long trek.

Sorry for that little trip down memory lane...

It was another hot and sunny day in Las Vegas - with no wind. I had to remind myself that there is a recession, that people are out of work and not traveling due to high gasoline prices. You would never know it in Las Vegas. The casinos and restaurants are packed and people are walking around with shopping bags.

Our other errand was to stock-up on groceries as we are heading north in the morning and are taking the back route, so I will be preparing all our meals for the next few days. No more fancy restaurants and indulgent treats for us. Vegetarian/vegan meals are on the menu for the next several days. Maybe what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but enough is enough and too much is too much.

After a rest, we will head out to see Mr. Buffett. Until that update, I remain, your nostalgic Parrothead correspondent.

RV PARK: Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort. Located at the south end of the famous Las Vegas strip, the park is just a short drive to the casinos, yet also near shopping, restaurants and grocery stores. Great pool and spa, security, wifi, cable, laundry and bath house. We paid about $50 (with Good Sam discount) per night for a premium pull-through site with 50 amp service and all hook-ups.