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Vegas Baby! (2011)

Sam and Kyra at the Las Vegas strip.

 Long weekend in Vegas? Heck YES. The Captain and I are there. This trip, we took our friends Sean and Kristin long for the ride a had a blast. Up on the docket, in addition to shopping, pool lounging, and gambling, is the dining! Of course we stopped at Margartiaville to pay homage to the margarita man, and then, there is CarneVino.

New favorite Las Vegas dining spot.

Where we pay omage to the man in orange Crocs -- Mario Batali. Talk about an amazing dining experience. The service, food, dessert, even the rendered pork fat served with the freshly-baked bread, were heavenly. I had been ogling the menu for weeks. The plan was set. Spago with Lamb Ragu. I never even thought twice about my decision, focused on the tasty morsel mound of goodness I had seen Batali feature on his cooking show. Of course, my husband would select a steak -- nothing new or wrong with that. But I need to know that my plate wasn't just perfectly aged beef chop, but homemade pasta, 10-hour slow-roasted lamb ragu, and a perfect marriage of flavors and textures. I've never eaten so slow in my entire life, hoping to prolong the deliciousness for as long as possible.

Spage with Lamb Ragu at CarneVino.

Our server was impecable. Friendly, warm, and incredibly well-trained. Even when I ordered a less than $200 a bottle wine selection, he complimented my selected, knew impressive-sounding detials about the wine (and our meals, for that matter), and reassured my taste in wine.

The lighting and ambiance were perfect -- you could read the menus, but still have an upscale and romantic feel to the restaurant. I can't say enough about the entire experience at CarneVino. We will definitely be back on our next swing through Sin City.
Outside CarneVino -- yum!

Hold yourself together. I actually pulled myself out of the shiny and delicious-smelling retail stores to gamble $20 at a video poker machine. And I actually made it last for about 45 minutes before cashing out at $200 and buying a purse. What can you do?

Yes, I actually gambled just a little bit, video poker!

Out galavanting....

With Sean and Kristin on the MGM walkover

.... and at New York New York

You guys want some Ribs? (only Sam's buddies will get that)

Hotel Notes -- because I have it. It's my job.

We stayed at the Venetian for this trip -- mainly because they are now part of the InterContinental Hotels Alliance and I have to stay comapny-loyal! Overall, VERY impressive. I loved the suite set up and larger room size. You walked into the King bedroom, then stepped down into a large living room area with an awesome sectional sofa that I want at home.

The bed was incredibly comfortable, as were all the pillows. Loved the head board, colors, bedside lights, and footbench. Decor was awesome and very well-thought out.

The living room had a great table and chairs, plenty of space for our ironing board, flat screen TV, and of course, the mini bar.

And let's not forget our annual pilgrimage to Margaritaville...

And the tourist piece de resistance of our 2011 Las Vegas trip ...


I couldn't leave without getting something, but I also couldn't bring myself to purchase the "Chumlee for President" t-shirt. So I settled on a gold lobster charm for my bracelet, even though Sam maintains I bought a scorpion charm, Mexican style.

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