January 28, 2009

Staycation - MGM Grand Tower

Sunday afternoon I drove over to MGM Grand, pulled up to valet and headed to the lobby to check-in. Two days of rest and relaxation with my husband were ahead. Perfection. The first night I booked in my name with our MGM/Mirage Visa. I tried for a complimentary suite upgrade, but had no luck. I did, however, get late check-out, we could stay put until 2 o’clock. The $49 promotion I booked included 2 drinks at the West Wing Bar and $25 dining credit. I was instructed to charge purchases to my room and the credits would be automatically deducted. Easy enough, I was handed my keys and I was off to our Grand Tower Room on the 10th floor. Just as I approached the elevators Frank came up behind me, he had just gotten off work and took the monorail over.

The room was fairly large, the bed is comfortable, the décor is outdated, but linens were updated semi-recently. The armoire held an old tv with a fuzzy picture and it hummed on half the channels. I was a bit surprised they haven’t upgraded to flat-panel tv’s. Doubtful they be doing it anytime soon, either. How many people watch tv anyway?

Well, besides us. We stripped and relaxed all afternoon. We each dozed off and woke up shortly before our 6pm reservation at Shibuya. We dressed and headed down for dinner. We were seated in the main restaurant; there is also counter seating and Teppanyaki dining. We each ordered the winter tasting menu, selecting different dishes but sharing everything. Edamame got us started, this was our first encounter with the delicious soybean. Not familiar with the proper way to eat it, we likely made fools of ourselves by launching them across the table in Frank’s case and eating them with chopsticks in mine. We had fun, Frank apologized to the poor guy who had to come and sweep his mess. Our foolishness didn’t end there, next up was soup, Udon for me and Kyoto Miso for Frank. I could not catch the thick noodles, I tried the spoon and chopsticks, but there was no chance of me catching the slippery suckers. Our waitress noticed I was having trouble, she asked, if I’d like emergency tools? Yes! Please. It smelled so delicious I wanted to fully enjoy it, instead of just sipping the broth. She brought over a fork and knife and I was able to manage the noodles with far greater ease. My soup was very good, Frank only saved me broth of his; it was too salty for my liking.

Next course included Rock Shrimp Tempura with a spicy aioli and Yellowtail Jalapeño Roll. Both were good, but we preferred the roll. Once we added wasabi to increase the heat it was superb. We could’ve eaten two or three more – they were that tasty. Entrees followed, Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Japanese Mushrooms and Black Truffle Ponzu, and Duo of Miso Pineapple Miso Salmon and Shiro Miso Black Cod. I liked the cod better than the salmon, Frank thought the flavor of the Salmon was a bit better. Frank doesn’t care for mushrooms so I had those to myself, they were very good. The tenderloin was cooked to perfection. It was flavorful, juicy and exceptionally tender. Overall, we felt it was a great sampling. We finished up with dessert, a strawberry parfait, a chocolate lychee cake, and mango & crème marshmallow. I’ve had lychee before so I knew what to expect, I enjoyed the cake, Frank liked it, too. Our favorite was the marshmallow bite. It was vanilla ice cream wrapped in a mango flavored marshmallow type coating, when bitten into, it tasted like a Dreamsicle – but with mango instead of orange. Yum! Service was great throughout. Our bill was $118 after the dining credit. We enjoyed the meal, but we’d only return for sushi.

We left the restaurant and headed to the West Wing Bar. Our plans for the night were to get wasted and see the Comedy Show at the Tropicana. Classy, huh? Frank ordered a long island iced tea and I opted for a beer. They were 2-for-1 happy hour is until 8pm so I had another beer coming. We watched the Winter X-Games and enjoyed our drinks. We took the other beer for the road, we walked over to Tropicana.

We bought tickets for the 10:30 show. I had a 2-for-1 coupon from the Entertainment Book, so the total cost was $20 and a few cents. You can’t beat that. We bellied up to a bar near the lounge. We played video poker and told the bartender to keep the beers coming, which he did but he also took this as an opportunity to talk our ears off. He made himself out be Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. He told us how he’s quitting and moving back to his hometown to scare off the gangs that have moved in. Would’ve been fine if he left it at that, but no he went on… and on… Two beers later we couldn’t take it anymore. We left. We walked around looking for another bar, it was getting later and crowds were slim we weren’t ready to return to the same bar. Frank tried his luck at blackjack, unfortunately there was no good luck to be had. His buy in lasted only minutes.

We ended up sitting in the deli near the high limit slots, trying to waste time. We got bored, I was spinning in the chairs. It didn’t work all that well on the carpet, so I rolled over to the tile outside the high limit slots. Still didn’t work well, the casters got stuck on the grout. By that time, we said screw it, let’s go back to the bar. We sat on the opposite side out of sight from Gran Torino’s area. We opened a tab and ordered a couple draft tall boys. We amused ourselves and we were entertained by a cute couple that could swing dance really well. There was a live band in the lounge, they were more noise than anything, but the dancing couple livened up the place. Bar snacks caught my attention, I asked Frank about the Kibble looking stuff. The bartender noticed, and poured us a little bowl. It’s dispensed so no one is digging their grubby hands in there but you. The snack mix had peanuts and spicy sticks, those were our favorite! We each sucked down another tall boy and then it was time for the show. We closed out our tab and walked over to the showroom.

We were surprised to see we practically had front row seats despite walking in minutes before the show started. The audience was pretty small, maybe 20, tops! Laughlin’s River Palm’s drew a bigger crowd. Kinda of sad, but I suppose it gave the comics some material. Tickets include one drink, but it was bud-light in a can – blech. But classy was the theme, afterall. Luckily I drank quite a bit already, so I managed to suck it down alright. Frank said it sobered him up, I was anything but sober. The show got started; three comics, all funny! The audience although small was hyped up and ready to participate. We had a good time. We had our fill of the Trop, so we headed back to MGM. We were broke so we retired to the room.

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