What Happens in Vegas, Stays In My Stomach

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas has always been one of my favorite destinations to go to; no other place matches its sinfulness, its exoticness, and its desirability.  My favorite time to arrive to Las Vegas driving from Los Angeles has always been when the sun is just about to set so that the lights from the Strip start to light up… it’s one of the most beautiful and exciting scenes to enter into.

Las Vegas StripLas Vegas strip at night – what a beauty.  This is the view from the Eiffel Tower Experience.

I’ll share with you a couple of restaurants and nightclubs I went to, and also the things to do in Las Vegas.  But first, a couple more photos of the strip…

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas StripAria

New York New York

Las Vegas Strip

Monte CarloMonte Carlo

Las Vegas Strip

One more thing… so apparently there is this new parking policy that these big hotels are implementing that are charging to park at their parking structure.  It’s a big surprise to me because 2-3 years ago, parking was still free that time!  It was honestly the best thing ever, to just drive to one hotel then drive to another hotel.  Now it’s a massive hassle.  You have to remember your parking ticket, you have to pay beforehand, your international credit cards for some reason don’t work, it’s expensive, and it’s a big hold up if you can’t get your parking ticket through the ticket machine and every car is just waiting for you.  I get it, fine, don’t have free parking it is reasonable, but the whole logistics and operations of paying and giving the ticket is so inconvenient, especially for a clueless international tourist!  Nevada residents get free parking for the first 24 hours.

And now for the accommodations.

Accommodations

Caesars Palace (website)

Because it was a friend who invited us to stay at Caesars Palace, we were lucky enough to stay at the Octavius Towers (OK fine my friend paid for my room hahaha).  Octavius Towers is actually quite far away from the entrance, but close to the swimming pool, in fact it’s right next door to the pool and the buffet.

Caesars Palace continues to be a staple on the strip and is well renowned for its massive size.  There are overhead bridges connecting you to Bellagio as well as across to the Linq side.

Caesars PalaceThe check-in counter

Caesars PalaceTowards the casino

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace

Caesars PalaceJacuzzi bathtub

The Linq (website)

Diagonally across from Caesars Palace, this colorful, boutique hotel was established by Caesars Entertainment Corporation and was once called Imperial Palace.  I remembered Imperial Palace being one of the most affordable hotels that was located right on the strip.  From the feel of the atmosphere, Linq seems to be tailored more for young people looking for a convenient and affordable place to stay on the strip.

The hotel is very convenient and well worth the value.  Because of its relationship with Caesars Palace, you also get to access Caesars Palace pool as well.  Right outside is the Linq Promenade, with shops and restaurants such as the In-N-Out, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Harley Davidson.

The really bad thing is that your room might just be situated right next to the pool.  And they have pool parties everyday, so by 10am there will be music blasting right outside your room.  I was unfortunately placed in one of the room, just on the floor of the swimming pool, where if I don’t close the curtains, the people in the pool can peek inside my room.  I was only in Linq for one night, and I was going to be occupied most of the day, so I let it go, otherwise I’m definitely switching rooms.

The Linq

The LINQ Promenade

The LinqLinq High Roller

Restaurants

The Las Vegas strip is famous for hosting celebrity chefs and a delicious amount of restaurants.  Some not so delicious OK… Here are a few I went to:

Sushi Roku (website)

Sushi Roku is a chain restaurant with three locations in Los Angeles / Orange County, one in Arizona, and of course one in the Forum Shops at Caesars.  It’s pretty good, and I love the flavors that they put for their dishes.  I wasn’t very hungry that night so we didn’t order that much to eat.

Sushi Roku Las Vegas

Sushi Roku Las VegasYellowtail Diced Chiles. Yum.

Sushi Roku Las VegasAlbacore Sashimi – ponzu with crispy onion. Yumm.  The sauce is a bit strong, but I generally like strong flavors; personal preference.

Sushi Roku Las Vegas

Di Fara Pizza (website)

Pizza
You want a quick bite?  Go to the Caesars Palace Forum Food Court.  This pizza slice is actually not bad… and it better have been.  Was about USD 8 per slice!

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab (website)

If I had to give the most surprisingly good restaurant, it would have to be Joe’s.  From the reviews and comments, it sounded like a really good restaurant.  But when a restaurant name has all its main food categories listed as their restaurant name, I doubted how good it would really be.

But it actually turned out to be really good.  Actually there is a story behind Joe’s stone crabs too, which is what it’s most famous for.  Also found in Caesars Palace Forum Shops.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone CrabOysters

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone CrabStone Crabs. Very refreshing.  Must order.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone CrabSeafood mixed grill platter.  Some lobsters, some shrimps, some scallops, all amazing.  Must order.  Grilled to perfection.

Picasso (website)

My friend chose this place.  It’s a French and Spanish influenced cuisine with a beautiful view, professional service staff with immense knowledge of their foods and wines, and of course the food was unforgettable.  I didn’t book it, but if I had to assume, better book early.  Also it’s an upscale restaurant, so dress properly.  I really like this place because it offers an intimate atmosphere as well as enough distance from each table so that you can properly carry a good conversation.  Never had the staff been intrusive as well.

Picasso Restaurant

Picasso RestaurantThere are arts and photos of Picasso.

Picasso Restaurant

Picasso RestaurantWe were about to sit in this corner table, but who could ignore the outside fountain view?  That’s why we switched.

Picasso Restaurant

Picasso RestaurantOutside table

Las Vegas StripThe view from sitting outside Picasso.  We were right next to the Bellagio Fountains.

Las Vegas StripBoom!

Las Vegas StripWe ate while the sun set.

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip

Picasso

Picasso RestaurantComplimentary snack

Picasso RestaurantMaine lobster salad – Apple Champagne Vinaigrette

Picasso RestaurantPan seared U-10 Day Boat Scallop – Potato Mousseline and Jus de Vesu

Picasso RestaurantSauteed steak of “A” Foies Gras – Red Wine Slow Poached Secked Pear and Roasted Pistachio Topping

Picasso RestaurantSauteed Filet of Turbot – Green Asparagus and Sauce Hollandaise

Picasso Restaurant

Picasso Restaurant

The Palm Las Vegas (website)

After some hassle with checking out, my friends and I ate at the Palm Restaurant.  Also a chain restaurant, it is a “fine-dining” steakhouse (yes, I purposely put the quotations) that is famous for its steak and seafood, lobster in particular.  We ordered from the lunch menu, and I think I was a bit feeling rusty, like quite lethargic, both body and mind, so my appetite wasn’t very good and I wasn’t in the mood to eat during that time.

Palm Restaurant

Palm RestaurantCaesars salad

Palm RestaurantAtlantic salmon fillet with roasted red pepper sauce

Palm RestaurantI think it’s New York Steak Au Poivre with brandy peppercorn sauce

Palm Restaurant

Palm RestaurantMixed vegetables

In-N-Out Burger (website)

One of the more popular fast food establishments these days, particularly in the west coast, In N Out started as one of my dining stops while driving to Las Vegas to now having a store in the Linq Promenade as well.  They also have another store in Las Vegas but it’s a little out of the way from the strip, this one was way more convenient.  Plus I was living in the Linq for a day, so I had this right before I drove back to LA.

In N Out

In N OutThey even tell you how many calories your food item or meal would be.  Mine was in excess of 800 calories with a medium drink, fries, and cheeseburger.  I changed my medium drink to milkshake,  yeah I know, but I couldn’t finish a third of the milkshake, my straw kept being stuck and I couldn’t gulp the milkshake into my mouth, so I was like, forget it.

In N Out

In N OutI’ll be the first one to state an unpopular opinion about this – In N Out is overrated!  Even for its price.  There are better burgers out there.

Spago Cafe (website)

I take that back about Joe’s… THIS is surprisingly the best restaurant I ate at in Las Vegas.  Wolfgang Puck?  Meh.  And it’s split between the restaurant and lounge/cafe, and I chose the lounge to eat at for a cheaper alternative.  But guess what!  This restaurant was outstanding!  Every single dish was innovative, exciting, and flavorful, and I would dare say this restaurant rivaled some of the really good restaurants I had in Barcelona.

Spago Cafe, Las VegasSpicy Tuna Tartare Cones – Big Eye Tuna, Chili Aioli, Scallions

Spago Cafe, Las VegasHouse made Rigatoni pasta – fennel sausage bolognese sauce, herbed ricotta

Spago Cafe, Las VegasDark chocolate sphere – caramel mousse, chocolate crumb, candied hazelnuts

Things To Do

People would think that Vegas is all about gambling, eating, XXX, and shows.  Although to a certain extent that is what it’s most famous for, there are many other things to do as well.

The Eiffel Tower Experience (website)

Eiffel Tower ExperienceThe lineup.  The elevator takes a really long time to come here.  Even though the line wasn’t long, it takes forever, like 25 mins for the short queue you see above in this picture.  Only go here if it isn’t packed.  Went on a Wednesday night.

The CosmopolitanLooking at the Cosmopolitan.

BellagioThe Bellagio.  Note that this place offers a 360 degrees view of the strip.

Fountains of BellagioFountains of Bellagio

Las Vegas

Walking around on the Strip

Like I mentioned from the very beginning, I’m enchanted by the glitz and glamor and the well designed aesthestic of this ambitious Las Vegas project.  It’s not just the casinos and hotels, but also the people that make the place more lively.  You can feel that everyone’s here to have fun, to enjoy themselves, to indulge themselves, and perhaps to commit a bit of sinful, yet playful acts.

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip

The ChandelierThe Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan.  Very luxurious.

The Cosmopolitan

Las VegasOnly this can happen in Vegas publicly.

Kush Fine ArtWalking around an art store in Las Vegas.  This store was called Kush Fine Art.

Kush Fine Art

Las VegasYou may as well have this Daiquiri while walking along the strip.

See the flamingos at Flamingo Las Vegas

FlamingosBeen to Vegas probably more than 10 times, never noticed that actually in Flamingo Las Vegas, there were ACTUAL FLAMINGOS.  I don’t know how I’ve never noticed this.  Biggest surprise of this trip.

Go to a day club party

Rehab Beach ClubThis is the Rehab Beach Club in Hard Rock Hotel.  Apologies as this doesn’t look enticing at all and it looks very calm and chill… but Rehab is supposed to be one of the better day time pool parties.  Reason for this calmness?  This was on a Monday.

Go to your hotel’s swimming pool and chill out

Caesars PalaceThis one was at Caesars Palace

BellagioBellagio swimming pool

BellagioAlso part of Bellagio, the beautiful gardens.

Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Before arriving to Las Vegas, I had to stop by some outlet stores to buy my mom some t-shirts.  Since I had to fill up my gas tank and happened to see this outlet place coming up, I stopped by real quick.  This isn’t the only place with outlet stores though, check out this link for more information on outlet stores nearby the strip.

Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Nightclubs

Marquee (website)

For some reason, I still haven’t had the chance to go to XS!  After all these times.  But no matter, many of Vegas clubs are amazing and people here are down to party.  I get mixed reviews from my friends on their opinions of Marquee, but I actually like this place.  Good ambience, I like the outdoor pool, cool space.

Marquee

Marquee

MarqueeThat night we went to Marquee, Galantis was playing.

Marquee

Omnia (website)

Last time I went to Vegas, there was no Omnia.  But now, it’s one of the newest clubs and possibly the largest, commanding a 75,000 square feet club.  It consistently has big name DJs come here to play, also has an outdoor terrace, and utilizes state of the art technology to keep control of the temperature in the club.  Click here for ten interesting facts of Omnia.

OmniaJust FYI, of the places I’ve gone out, Vegas is one of the strictest in dress code.  Men have to wear black shoes and collared shirts, even hats or sunglasses are not allowed and you would have to bring them to the cloak room or whatever to store them away.

OmniaLuckily for me, since I was staying at Caesars, it was free entry.  Note that this was a Tuesday, so not sure if they are going to be more lenient Thursday onwards to Sunday.  Also the General Admission line, which you have to pay, is much shorter than the guest list line or the VIP table lines.

OmniaOne of the rooms in Omnia.  Not Cinco de Mayo that day, but they were celebrating as if it was.

OmniaLive acoustic instruments.  Say what you want about its entertainment factor, but it completely did not mesh well with the DJ set that was playing.  Bad, bad, bad.

Omnia

Omnia

OmniaThe outdoor terrace

OmniaDid I mention that drinks in these clubs were $$$?  Jack and Coke is like USD 19, including tips it’s like 21.

OmniaTada!  I had a Steve Aoki kind of night.

Omnia

Omnia

Omnia

Omnia

OmniaLike me, whipping out the phones.

OmniaHe looks like he’s having fun.

1-Oak (website)

What can I say about 1-Oak, except that it’s got a couple of places, one in New York, one in Los Angeles, and of course one in Las Vegas.  Nowhere near as large as Marquee or Omnia, but it’s a decently sized club and has a different vibe, more like a hip hop vibe, with a dance floor in the middle and just tables surrounding it and the bar at the back.  No famous DJs, just a good time.  Pictures below were on a Wednesday.

1 Oak

1 Oak

1 Oak

1-Oak

Peppermill (website)

After doing some research, I realized that Peppermill used to be the place to go in Vegas, it was an iconic place and featured in different movies.  In fact, this place was established in 1972 and has kept its 1970’s decor in place, with young waitresses coming from all over the world.

Peppermill

PeppermillThe fire pit

 I’ve never had a bad time in Vegas.  Every time is a good time.  If you told me to live in Vegas, I am certain I would get bored of that place very easily.  But because every time I come here it’s for fun and for a short trip, I haven’t got tired of this place yet.

In fact, will be coming back in September.  See you again soon Vegas!

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