One can also time travel to medieval days (Excalibur), go all pirate-ey (Treasure Island) or David Lynch-ey (Cosmopolitan, which is also a little like Amsterdam). All of these hotels have some form of flashy lights/lobby, piped in air freshener to mask the smoke, and myriad of restaurants.
And of course, a casino. Or two. Or three hundred. Every direction (right down to the elevator lobby button, which is noted as a "C" for casino) starts off with "Walk through the casino..." I ventured into this amazing city of excess for a week in January. Here is what I learned.
Las Vegas Strip is a really great walking town. It's pretty safe at night. People who not-very-enthusiastically try to hand out the stripper flyers are really the only annoyance. The monorail also works well.
"Regular" food is expensive. Expect to pay airport-level prices for Starbuck's or similar. A venti iced tea lemonade and a pastry was close to $10. I also had to eat at LVCC because of work and this was also quite expensive for C+ food. Even when I tried to be healthy, oatmeal was $9 in a hotel restaurant.
Walgreen's is a great place to stock up on liquid. Indoors or out, Las Vegas is very, very dry. I bought all forms of water, and lots of it to stay hydrated.
Cow is really delicious in Las Vegas. It was great at the time, but I won't be staring down a burger any time soon. That said, most of it was fab. Here's are the highlights.
BurGR by Gordon Ramsay at Planet Hollywood--Love
They had me at parmesan truffle fries with homemade catsup.
I ate every last bit of the Farm Burger. $15 for a burger is kinda pricey, but it is Las Vegas and it was fabulous. Duck bacon, a perfectly warm-but-still-gooey sunnyside up egg with extra sharp cheddar.
The portion was not ginormous, but it was incredibly satisfying. One of the 'fancy' best burgers I've eaten. My compatriots had the Blue Burger and the Hell's Kitchen Burger--all in the $14-$15 range and we were all very happy and full, to the point that we did not get dessert.
I'm not a Gordon Ramsay fan, but this place did it right. The only downside is that it is crowded and noisy. But again, this is Las Vegas.
Burger Bar by Hubert Keller at Mandalay Bay
I had the Buffalo Burger ($24), which was good, but the portion was such that I ate only a part of it (and the hungrier diners in my party were happy to gobble up the rest).
We sampled a lot of the appetizers and I do like a deep fried pickle. This is also where we had the beer float sampler. While I wouldn't have this again, it was definitely something to try once.
DOCG at the Cosmopolitan--Love
An up-market pasta bar/grill (ala carte ordering and entrees in the $25-ish range). It markets itself as a wine bar, but we went for the food and the dessert.
My team split a roasted heirloom beet salad, which was absolutely ONO and an arugula salad. I had the pappardelle with short rib meat and chestnuts, which was also very much ONO.
We finished up with by splitting the salted caramel budino. Pretzel toffee, fresh whipped cream and a smooth caramel pudding
ONO all the way around.
Once I got home, it was chazuke.