March 24, 2009

What a weekend!

Saturday, I met the Vegas Message Board gang at Binion’s for the annual March Madness Poker Tournament. Believe it or not, I’ve never played in a live game or tournament before. Frank plays often, but I’ve never had much interest. While he plays I see the sights, take photos, play silly penny slots or chase after a royal on video poker. I figured there was no better way to pop my poker cherry than to play with the VMB crew. It was fun, I learned a bit before I busted out. The tournament took a record five hours to complete, I hung around until the end. In the meantime, I visited with everyone who also busted out. It was nice to put faces to familiar names and see others again. It’s been a long time since I made one of the planned events – life always seems to get in the way. I had a good time. Hopefully, I’ll make it to more get togethers in the future.

When I got home, Frank was wiped out from work. The preparation leading up to March Madness and the crowds kept him on his toes. He was ready for a break. He suggested we book Sunday night at the Signature. Earlier in the week, we were sent a promotion for $129/night which included a $50 resort credit. I checked availability for Sunday, it was available; I booked it. Gotta love a last minute staycation!

Frank worked Sunday morning but he was able to cut out at 12:30, he took the monorail and met me in the room after I checked it.

What can I say about the Signature that I haven’t said before? After five stays it’s still my favorite place to getaway. The accommodations feel like home, but more relaxed. Customer service is great. Although, this visit, valet and the bell desk were quite slow. You could tell they were understaffed and those scheduled did the best they could given the circumstances. Aside from that we had another flawless stay.

We ordered room service for lunch. We shared chicken tenders and a roast turkey club. Both were far better than I anticipated. We were told it’d be a 30 minute wait, but it took about half that time for the food to be delivered.

We admired the view, soaked in the tub, relaxed in bed, shared a bottle of wine and just enjoyed being together without distractions.

Frank made dinner reservations for Fiamma. This was our third visit. I inquired about the complimentary wine pairing available to locals. It was still available. Our waiter also informed us that entrees were two for one for locals. I was aware, but it was nice that he pointed that out. We opted to order off the menu this time since we’ve tried all the dishes offered on the tasting menu.

We snacked on Ciabatta bread with oil and vinegar while they prepared our appetizers.

The first course was paired with Prosecco. We shared an order of calamari – succulent, as always, and buffalo mozzarella with pesto and roasted tomatoes – fresh and delicious. A nice light accompaniment to the calamari.

For the second course, I was served a Sauvignon Blanc to go with Scallops served over Swiss chard and cannellini beans topped with speck. The scallops were perfectly seared, meaty, yet tender. It was a delicious dish. Frank chose the lamb shank served with gnocchi and wild mushrooms, his dish was paired with a Valpolicecella. The preparation was even better than Stack’s our previous favorite place for lamb shank. The au jus made the dish. The gnocchi were superb we wouldn’t hesitate ordering a gnocchi dish in the future.

Moscato was served with dessert. Frank had tiramisu – his favorite. It did not disappoint. I chose panna cotta with white balsamic honey,dried mission figs and marcona almonds. Pure bliss. It was light and not too sweet. It was a perfect end to a fabulous meal.

Service was exceptional. It was one of our top three dining experiences. Everything came together beautifully. We walked out for less than $100 – it was an absolute steal.

We hit the casino after dinner, we didn’t have much to spend, but I suggested Frank play his favorite machine. Some sort of dollar slot near Wolf Gang Puck’s restaurant. He can usually hit $100 payout with ease. A few spins in, he hit a hundred dollar jackpot – thank you. We took that money and played a few things with no luck. Then, we sought out dollar jacks or better. We played a bit, no nice hands per usual, but I did manage to hit a flush and a couple three of a kinds which left us with a $40 profit. That covered dinner (combined with the resort credit). We were pleased. We quit while we were ahead and retired to our suite.

We were reluctant to leave and be forced back into the real world, but next weekend we’re booked at the Palazzo. So, another night of relaxation and indulgence is less than a week away. Knowing that seemed to make reality easier to bear.

In case you missed Signature photos before, here are a few of the room and view. This visit we were in tower three on the 32nd floor.

From Signature

From Signature

From Signature

From Signature

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