November 12-13, 2016
Well I think most people would talk about gambling and clubbing after they visit Vegas. I, on the otherhand, prefer the dining and shows in Vegas, though I think the food may be more expensive in Vegas than New York.
Ann, my tennis partner, and I traveled to Vegas to run the Rock’n Roll 10K. Given neither of us had trained much at all, we were trying our hardest to rest up for the event on Sunday night, but the casinos are so big, we still managed to talk nearly 6 miles a day! And that was with the help of a taxi and the monorail.
Aside from lounging poolside at Bellagio, we ate and went to see Carrot Top. Our first meal of our trip came at lunchtime on Saturday. We stopped at Morels French Steak House and Bistro on our way back from the expo at the convention center where we picked up our race packet.
Morels is located in the Venetian and has a lovely second story patio. We thought it would be a great place for people watching and the menu was appealing. I picked the mussels which came with fantastic fries and Ann opted for a shrimp salad with a side of fries. The portions were enormous and we loaded up since we’d be burning countless calories tomorrow.
After a relaxing, yet somewhat cool afternoon at the Bellagio pool and a stroll through the atrium to admire the Thanksgiving decorations, we dressed up for dinner at Julian Serrano Tapas at the Aria. We were a bit more discerning about dinner, and spent a short time researching restaurants on Yelp. This one got high ratings and Spanish food sounded good to me, so we reserved a table. Little did I know Julian Serrano is an award-winning chef who recently guided a team on the popular Top Chef TV show to victory. Apparently he is going viral…but I wasn’t following the trend.
The restaurants in Vegas are giant! We opted to sit at the bar to enjoy the atmosphere. The service at Julian Serrano was impeccable. The bartender could rattle off every detail of each dish on the extensive menu. Our tapas were served extremely quickly. We were shocked at the speed. The cheese stuff peppers were excellent. Ann loved the tuna cones so much we got a second order, and I loved the shrimp black rice. The tenderloin was extremely tender as well. The paella looked out of this world, but we had plans for Carrot Top later, and paella required planning (60 minute preparation). While we probably had enough time, we chose to eat at a leisurely pace rather than wait and then rush.
Carrot Top plays at the Luxor, so after dinner, we headed south on the strip, but not before we admired the semi-circle of Lamborghini’s parked outside of the Aria. According to the license plates, most of them seemed to be owned by “Gia Lai”. For car enthusiasts, this was so cool!
Carrot Top is a character. He uses props for most of his act, and I have to say he had us in stitches! I wish I could even remember even one of his jokes, but he talks SUPER fast, and many wouldn’t be appropriate for the content on this blog anyway! From the Luxor, we took a taxi back to the Bellagio and called it a night. We didn’t even gamble! I brought $100 to waste on the slots, but I managed to save it.
Our eating continued the next day at Palio for breakfast. The berries were outstanding and the pastries looked divine. I mean the nutella pocket and almond croissant were huge. I really wanted one, but behaved.
We ended up back at the Venetian around lunch time. Ann wanted to do a little shopping at a favorite store. We ended up at Il Fornaio (a chain) for a carbo-load. Our pasta was quite tasty and our server was even more interesting. She used to ride horses with the Canadian Olympic team and her husband was the chef at One-O-One, the best fish restaurant in London. He has also been a chef for President Elect Trump and might have a chance to cook at the White House!
With lunch over, we prepared for our race. We pinned our bib number to our running shirts and attached the tracker to our shoe. We walked over to the monorail at the Flamingo which took us to the SLS, the last stop on the train and the start of the 10K. I learned a lot about the public transportation at this time. There is a tram that goes around the City Center and it is reachable while weaving through the Bellagio. The monorail, however, is different an operates on the opposite side of the street.
The station at the Flamingo was packed. We could hardly squeeze off the escalator. 45,000 runners were going in different directions. Those running the 10K headed north to the start line, while those running the half and full marathon headed south. It was a little confusing!
We reached the start line about 45 minutes before the 4pm start time and milled around the area on the clear sunny afternoon. We began the race with a view of the Stratosphere. I must say the roller coasters on the top of that building are terrifying!
One of the fun parts of this race, was the fact we left the Las Vegas strip and got to see other places. We ran by the famous A Little White Chapel where Michael Jordan and Joan Collins were married. We passed by more chapels as well as the famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop where the TV show Pawn Stars is filmed.
Soon we turned down the old Las Vegas Strip and eventually we ended up on the current Las Vegas Strip. I’ve never run a race in the afternoon/evening. They usually start at the crack of dawn. This was fun to run by all the lights with the street closed to traffic! We celebrated our finish with a beer before we treated ourselves to sushi at Yellowtail in Bellagio.
I ate here two years ago, and generally don’t return to the same places because I like to try different options, but this restaurant was so good, I wanted to return. I hoped that the food was just as good and met my expectations. It didn’t disappoint. While they change the menu regularly, the tuna pizza always stays under the appetizers. Yes, it sounds terrible, but two years ago the waitress recommended it to us when we wanted one last dish and we had wished we’d ordered it first as we might have gotten two! This time we got it first, and I’m happy to say it was decadent. So was my “protein” roll…solid sushi…no rice. Perfect!
Not only is the food great at Yellowtail, so is the view. We got to see the Bellagio fountain show every 15 minutes. It was a perfect way to end a short weekend in Vegas. ETB
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