Las Vegas Trip Report, Part 2

(If you missed Part 1, read it here).

So, to catch you up: last weekend I went to Las Vegas for a racecation with two of my fabulous girlfriends.

After our mild debauchery on Friday night (Sub-G Rated by Vegas standards), we were moving somewhat ssslllooooowwwly on Saturday morning.

We ended up heading for brunch at Mon Ami Gabi – a popular faux-French bistro in the Paris hotel – at 11 AM.

We were seated at a well-positioned terrace table and let the caffeine kick in. 

And in. And in.

We waited a long time, maybe 40 minutes, for our order to arrive. The server apologized for the kitchen being slow.

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Frankly, I didn’t mind. It was a beautiful day. I was laughing with my friends. The people watching was excellent.

When the meal arrived, it was mediocre. I was really hungry by then, so I ate anyway.

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We all agreed that the overall experience was disappointing. On a scale of 1-10, we gave it a two.

But then something unexpected happened that totally turned it around. The manager came over to our table and said this:

Ladies, I need this table for a large party. If you would be willing to leave now, I’ll pick up your check.

Who says nothing is free in Vegas?

We were out of there so fast that there were smoke streams.

Brunch experience now elevated to at least an 8.

We decided to do some shopping and walk off the calories. What really caught my eye were the Alexander McQueen “Obsession” print pieces that I saw in several stores.

Wow. These were stunning.

This collection was new to me and I was honestly a bit dizzy thinking about how much I wanted this bag:

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I resisted, but barely.

Here are some of the other McQueen styles that I was longing for:

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The above dress was long-sleeved, sleek and absolutely gorgeous. The charms were all individually sewn onto it. I think the retail was about $6000. This was at Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall.

This blouse ($1200) was also exquisite:

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I tried to buy a scarf with the print, but it was sold out in the Alexander McQueen boutique. Fortunately (Unfortunately?), I discovered it is available online.

Our final stop was Carlo’s Bakery, which is operated by “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro. 

We briefly contemplated bailing since there was a 20+ person queue, but in the end we decided to stay.

And we were so glad we did.

I bought a brownie, a cookie, a cupcake and a cannoli. They were all gone by the time I boarded the flight home.

We headed back to get ready for the 5k race and took the monorail to the SLS Hotel, which is at the far end of the Strip near the Stratosphere. It was slow going to the race. I glanced at my watch and noted that it was almost exactly an hour to get from Point A to Point B.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5k started at 6 PM on Saturday night. There were 8200+ runners.

The course was dark, narrow and crowded. It was a boring out-and-back loop. Part of it was on a track. I felt like I was running in a high school track meet, albeit a really crowded one.

The first half mile was so crowded that I was boxed in, an experience I do not enjoy.

I started bobbing and weaving and was able to occasionally make some space to stretch out.

I wish I would have kept my mile splits but I didn’t. I would estimate that the first mile was around 10 minutes with the crowding.

Once I found some space, a competitive drive kicked in and I put the pedal down. My pre-race cupcake and cannoli fuel seemed to be working for me, so I went with it.

As I neared the finish line, I saw Meb Keflezighi for a second time that weekend. He was giving out high fives at the finish line and I was lucky enough to get one! I was so happy.

My finish time was 27:56, which placed me at 923/8249 overall and 307/5297 for women.

I was ok with that. I immediately forgot that I didn’t like the course and mentally registered for next year’s race.

The finish area was crowded, but I eventually met up with J. and B. We reversed our monorail trip back to the hotel, showered and headed to a sushi dinner at Yellowtail.

I wish I would have taken photos of the meal, but I was too busy eating. Everything.

It’s a bit fuzzy (we were also drinking wine), but we ordered:

  • Shishito peppers (a standing favorite among the three of us; these were excellent)
  • Edamame
  • Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño (Unanimously voted best dish)
  • Popping spicy crab roll (This was nuts. I could have eaten two more on my own).
  • Mile High Roll
  • Uni Truffle pasta

And guess who we saw eating there? Yep, Meb Keflezighi.

Next up: Half-marathon and VIP post-race party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas Trip Report, Part 1

I returned late Monday night from a long weekend in Las Vegas with my friends J. and B. 

You can read about my trip prep and packing here.

Officially, we were there to run two races that are part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon series. We chose to do the 5k on Saturday night and the half marathon on Sunday.

Unofficially, we were there to have fun.

J. and B. are Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas vets; this was a first time experience for me and a third for them. They also convinced me to spring for the VIP package, which gave us some nice perks throughout the weekend that I will detail in the trip report posts.

We had an early flight into Las Vegas, and one of the things I love about going there is how quick it is to get from the airport to the hotels on the Strip. With a 10 minute taxi ride, we were at our hotel before 11 AM.

The room wasn’t ready yet, which we expected, so we had lunch on the terrace of Olives, which overlooks the Bellagio fountains. The weather was perfect and we were able to see several fountain displays during the course of a leisurely lunch that included day drinking.

This was a perfect moment.

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The seasonal floral display at the Bellagio was stunning. It was still autumnal and I think they piped in a spicy fragrance to enhance the experience. Throughout the weekend – even in the wee hours of the morning – it was crowded with people taking photos.

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Our room was now ready. I included a few photos in case you are curious about the rooms at the Bellagio. They are nice but the decor is not exactly my style. Everything was well-maintained but it seemed a bit formal and dated.

Two queens in the sleeping area:

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Sitting room (with J. checking her email):

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Two of the bathrooms (the bottom one was a powder room. I am also not showing a third bathroom with a walk-in shower):

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This was a good room for a group of friends to share. We had them bring a roll-away single bed, but we could have easily doubled up in the queens and with the roll-away and sofa in the sitting area (which I discovered was quite comfortable during an extended nap on Sunday), you could probably squeeze in six people. B. is a member of a Bellagio perks program and we got a terrific deal on this room, so it was a no-brainer to pick it.

Next we were off to the Race Expo, which involved taking the monorail to the Las Vegas Convention Center. This process was seamless and we picked up our VIP packets within a few minutes. As far as race expos go, this was pretty standard. I was happy to score two free lip balms and a 70s-style terry cloth headband, so that was cool.

Our entertainment for Friday night was a VIP reception at Hyde, one of the signature clubs at the Bellagio. This was one of the perks of the VIP package. As we were walking in we saw running legend Meb Keflezighi. That was awesome. I subsequently saw him again on Saturday  (twice) and Sunday. I wish some of his running skill would have magically wafted on to me. 

The party had some reasonable food (sliders, cheese display, shrimp cocktail, small salads in mason jars, chocolate fountain) and an open bar.

The crowd seemed to be a mix of people who worked for the Rock ‘n’ Roll organization (all of whom were dressed infinitely better than I was in jeans and a black shirt) and regular runners like us with the VIP package. I thought the best part was the venue; Hyde is an open-air space with a direct view over the fountains. They are eye level and it was an incredible background to see throughout the night.

Oh, and there was entertainment: Ozomatli played. Full disclosure: I had no idea who they were. We stayed a bit after the party ended and Hyde transitioned into full club mode.

Another full disclosure: we had taken liberal advantage of the open bar during the party and decided that we should get a snack at that point, which was quite unnecessary. 

We stopped at a 24 hour restaurant in the hotel and placed an order that was something like this:

  • Spinach and artichoke dip
  • Chips and salsa
  • Mushroom tacos
  • Thai salad (My choice, and in retrospect, a very weird food to eat while drunk)
  • A banana split

On the way back to the room, one of my friends decided that she needed to buy this three foot bear in the gift shop:

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He became a fun presence throughout the rest of the weekend.

P.S. I will get to the running, I promise! Saturday’s events will be up next.