Sin City Fly By

I never manage to get a long layover in Las Vegas. The trips I tend to pick up usually have ten hours or less which is enough to have a quick night cap, shower, and sleep. I am not a big gambler, summer flying can be rather unpredictable, and this posed a particular challenge when I swapped onto a trip with a 19-hour layover in the Nevadian City of Lights. There was time to take in a show, but I feared my curse of last summer which was making plans. Long layovers with preset plans have a tendency to go spectacularly in any direction except the ones intended, so my hard and fast rule for a long layover is akin to Fight Club: We don’t talk about the long layover until we get off the plane.

IMG_8234.JPG McCarran International has some fancy floor work!

I tried getting rid of this trip, purely because I had off-duty travel plans in the works and I wanted a couple of days just to sit at home. It wasn’t in the cards for me, but as luck would have it, I was meant to be on this trip. I paired up with Ricky, one of our newest and brightest, who was experiencing Vegas for the first time. I am by no means, an expert on the ins and outs of Sin City, but I know how to have a fun, yet responsible time. After a quick change and refresh break, we met up and headed out.

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Sorry, Father for I have sinned… twice…

I do my best to visit at least one brewery when I have a long layover, and the top batter and winner in LV was Sin City Brewing Company. Though I intended on having only one beer, it turns out I got a free beer with apparel purchase. I didn’t find this out until after I finished my first beer, and went to purchase a pair of cotton shorts before we left. Far be it for me to waste a free beer, so I told them I’d grab something to eat and be right back. SCBC doesn’t have a food menu, so they are perfectly cool with people bringing in food from the surrounding businesses to enjoy with their beer. I popped next door Bonanno’s New York Pizzeria and got a slice of Hawaiian pizza which paired great with my second beer. Watch out for the garlic knots, so easily devoured.

IMG_5569.JPGOur second stop on our expedition was Twin Peaks, the Lumberjane version of Hooters complete with busty girls in flannel, khaki micro shorts, and hiking boots. I rather enjoyed their Dirty Blonde Ale with a Hand-Twisted Soft Pretzel with Knotty Brunette beer cheese sauce. It was quite perfect pairing (or threesome, I suppose. I mean, it IS Las Vegas… ) The beer was quite tasty and balanced. I would pay money for the recipe for both the pretzel and that glorious cheese sauce, as could become the game day tail gate queen with those and a cooler full of brews. I loved that I was served an icy mug because it was hotter than Hades as the afternoon sun keep crawling cruelly across the sky. Next time, I would love to give their rock climbing wall a shot, preferably before I have some cold beers and lots of junk food.

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We jumped at the booming sound of Bellagio Fountains which could have been easily mistaken for cannon fire. I prefer enjoying my water show a la Ocean’s Eleven— leaning over the railing with some friends at night without feeling like I want to pull a Sylvia in La Dolce Vita and going for a swim.

IMG_8244.JPGA mirrored Duckie! Only in Vegas!

Oh, Sugar Factory (Paris Las Vegas Hotel),  you are quite possibly my down fall. We dropped by the candy store and went to the gelato counter for what could only be described as the most decadent ice creams sandwich experience ever. In the land of sin and vices, my new cavities are credited to dulce de leche gelato cradled by a sugar cookie with rainbow sprinkles on top and embraced by a white chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookie on the bottom. I had to work fast as it stared melting the moment we stepped outside. Vegas is in the desert and it does have a dry heat, but it is still hotter than the sun and I felt like a tart sweating in church. SF has an adjoining, fancy brasserie and grill that I would be more than willing to test out on my next visit. They cocktails involving candy. So much candy…

IMG_5601.JPGWe passed a giant advertisement for one of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Vegas establishments, but I was so packed with food by this point, that I simply took a photograph with the sign outside the restaurant. On my next excursion to Sin City, I am making darned sure that BURGR (Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino) is the place I start out my culinary adventure! I do love a great burger, and I do have a soft spot for Chef Ramsay, so it’s only natural I continue my quest for the perfect burger under his guidance. On my first visit to Las Vegas, I did enjoy some fantastically tasty and posh pub food at GR’s Pub & Grill, so I am already dreaming about cozying up with one of Chef Ramsay’s glorious creations. The best hamburger I ever had was in a sports bar in Des Moines, so I am tasking the King of Hell’s Kitchen with dethroning the Best Burger in My Lifetime.

IMG_8240.JPGOur lift home has arrived.

Ricky is a huge parrot head, so we flew by Margaritaville for a couple of margarita and to rest our wings. The drinks were standard with nothing particularly outstanding about them. Ricky enjoyed his “Who’s to Blame” while I threw my “Fins to the Left.” Sadly, the service left quite a bit to be desired. It would appear that our server disliked our occupying a table to order just drinks. We told the host stand that we were most likely having only beverages, but they sat us at a table anyway.  The bar wasn’t packed, but the seating area surrounding it was hopping. The ambiance and steady tune of island jams helped us transition into the evening.

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Looking for that last shaker of salt…

We decided to cut through the fabulously pink Flamingo Casino on our way back to the hotel. I had no idea that so many casino hotels have so much retail. I may or may not have slipped into Go Sexy purely out of curiosity, but walked away empty handed. The items I saw there were comparable to any standard mall’s Spencer Gifts, Hot Topic, or Victoria’s Secret, so I honestly did not feel the need to spend money simply for bragging rights.

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We stopped by our hotel’s happy hour by the pool, and enjoyed our final drinks as the sun finally set behind the dazzling, glittering lights. I think I would rather enjoy a nighttime venture on the ferris wheel at Linq to get the full enjoyment of The Strip lit up. We enjoyed a nice view of it from the pool deck. It was fantastic to explore The Strip with someone not only excited to be there, but to make a new friend who is excited to be flying.

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Next Vegas:

  • Call my friends who live IN Vegas
  • Food: BURGR & Sugar Factory Bar & Grill
  • Beverage: Any Suggestions
  • Fun: Ziplining & Climbing Wall at Twin Peaks
  • At Night: Bellagio Fountains & Linq Ferris Wheel

Layover Date: August 5, 2014

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