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Friday, May 3, 2013

Gambling, Gawking, and Gluten-Free in Vegas

Las Vegas has never been
at the top of my Bucket List.
Okay, full disclosure -- Las Vegas was not on my Bucket List at all.

The gambling gene is missing from my DNA.
I just don't get it.
Slot machines?  I spent hours at a Poker machine at Bally's,
invested 20 bucks, and walked away with $16.50.
"You did great!" said my family.
"I lost $3.50!" said I.  "Do over!"
 You see my problem.
But Howard can take me back anytime to Las Vegas,
because Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Hotel on the Strip
serves the absolute best French Onion Soup I have ever tasted.

And I will travel - even through the Mojave Desert -
for French Onion Soup this good.

We dined at the sidewalk cafe of Mon Ami Gabi our first night in Vegas; excellent food, reasonable prices,
a friendly and helpful server, and all at the foot of an illuminated make-believe Eiffel Tower.
Across the street is the Bellagio, whose dancing fountains were in full swish and gave us quite a dinnertime show.
We had just come from a another show that had more scantily-clad ladies than you could count --
-- the last of the oldsie-timesie topless showgirl revues:  Jubilee! at Bally's.

This quote is from the Jubilee website:
"And it’s not just the topless show’s Las Vegas revue scenes that make it a classic; 
Jubilee! has intricate acts with story themes such as Sampson and Delilah and The Titanic
as well as scenes set to the music of Cole Porter."

Yes, they really do act out a topless Samson and Delilah tale, Biblically questionable, and
yes, they do their own take on The Titanic story, complete with a sinking ocean liner.
Because nothing says VEGAS like massive loss of life due to drownings and being crushed. In G-strings and feathers.

It doesn't get any better than this is you want a huge dose of spectacle and tongue-in-cheek
humor in your evening entertainment.  We laughed.  A lot. There is a mind-boggling number
of costume changes, and very hardworking dancers and entertainers who look as if they are having a grand time.
Glitter?  This is Mecca.  And it beats sitting at a slot machine losing $3.50.

We had cocktails our second night at the top of the Stratosphere,
which is a space-needle-y casino near the end of the Strip. 
Two-for-one Martinis.  Actually not real Martinis - no gin.  They were fancy fruity drinks in Martini glasses.
From 107 stories up, you get a pretty good 360-degree view.

The view is worth the woozy fast flight up in the elevator.

You can see how quite small a city it is, with an airport
that seems awfully close to the people-packed Strip area.
Yes, I am a worrier.  I'm a Mom.
Our comfy little alcove was opposite this view.  It pays to arrive a bit early.
We ordered a few appetizers to share, as we wanted to stay long enough
to see all the lights come on as the desert got dark.

I can't remember what these were, but they were delicious.

Then the kids took off to meet an old high school friend
of the girls, who is living in Las Vegas now.
Goodbye children!  You're still kids to me.
I thought I could get stunning pictures of Las Vegas after dark.
I could not.  They just didn't come out.
Use your imagination!  Or Google images of "Las Vegas night lights"
because it really looks pretty danged spectacular, all lit up.

 This town doesn't take up much space,
but it must have one doozy of an electric bill. 
So that takes care of the gambling and gawking for me in Las Vegas,
but what about the Gluten-Free part of the post title? 
Belly clams at Lazy Joe's in Las Vegas. I'm guessing they are not local.  :-)
 Last Fall, our daughter Anne discovered she cannot tolerate anything containing gluten.
This posed a few special challenges at Thanksgiving and Christmas,
but we've gotten good at gluten free cooking at home; it's more of a problem when we are out.

   Enter Anne's sister Alida, who is a WIZ at finding
not just amazing travel bargains, but also eateries
that will cater to almost any taste, need, and pocketbook.
Alida did her homework and found some wonderful places to dine.
Our favorites:
   Mon Ami Gabi, with its broad Gluten Free menu.
Including that amazing onion soup.

For lunch, it's Lazy Joe's Fish and Chips on Rainbow Blvd.
Fish platter at Lazy Joe's
The fried food is delicious; freshly prepared to order, and not greasy.
 99% of the menu is Gluten Free.
Laxy Joe's appetizer platter.  Yes, all Gluten Free.
If you have Celiac's, you know how almost impossible
it is to find fried foods you can safely eat. 
Ipswich belly clams, true Cape Cod cuties.
 Even french fries, gluten-free in their natural potato state, are usually fried in oil
that is used for breaded things like onion rings, and are therefore off limits.
 At Lazy Joe's, it's all good -- just stay away from the malt vinegar.

As we headed out of town on Wednesday morning, heading for
Los Angeles, we breakfasted at The Cracked Egg. 

The California Omelette.  They had me at "Avocado."
 It's got a good gluten free menu,
and its GF toast is very tasty. 
Anne's eggs and GF sausage patties.  And Howard's hands in the background.
There are 4 Cracked Egg locations and they give you the choice
of having homemade coffee cake with your breakfast instead of toast.  
I'll bet your mother never let you do that,
but this is Vegas, baby! 


So yes, dear husband, you were right.  It was worth the trip.
As for getting me back there . . . 
remember those three magic little words:
French Onion Soup. 
Speaking of Howard, here he is relaxing on the walled patio outside
of our little hideaway cottage in Los Angeles:

To his left, a heavy wooden gate, covered with Bougainvillea,
leads to the outside world.

But our Hollywood cottage, once owned by a silent film star,
and our Los Angeles adventures by land and by sea,
are for a future post.
Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, it's a glorious spring day.
I think I'll detach myself from the computer, and find my dogs;
it's time we stretched our legs, no matter how many legs we have.

It's easy to find Dylan.
You just follow the trail of formerly stuffed toys.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!  -- Cass


  1. We adore the French onion soup at Mon Ami Gabi-- we try to eat there every time we go. (Which used to be more often -- Jim's liquor dealer's convention was always in Vegas!) I dream of that soup and drooled over your picture!

    Oh, and gambling -- I'm like you -- I think of the $10 that I get changed into nickels as my "fun money" (like you would spend $10 on going to a move -- you spend $10 to entertain yourself at a slot machine -- same principal!) One time, I was putting my one nickel in at a time (it takes longer to lose it one at a time) when the gentlemen next to me said to me "you'd win more if you'd put in five". I looked back at him and told him that if I was going to put in five, I'd be playing the quarter machine!

  2. Looks and sounds like you had a great time with yummy food - Thanks for sharing your fun adventure! Gambling is not in my DNA either - I have always had to worked to hard for my money. Have not been to a casino in years.
    Have a great weekend.

  3. I'm like you. I just can't gamble. It's not in my DNA either. If I'm spending I'm going to 'wear it, eat it, drink it, read it or admire it on a wall'. There's no way I'm putting money into a slot! We've been to Vegas a shameful 12 times and I'd go back in an instant - the food, the shows - it's the best playground for big kids!

  4. What a fabulous found all the great spots! We used to go every fall (sort of a client entertainment sort of thing for hubby). I'm a sucker for slot machines...nuff said. Love Mon Ami Gabi, did you know it's a chain restaurant? We have a few in Chicago. You may want to Google it. Can't wait to hear about that Hollywood bungalow!


  5. Geesh.....if the Boss knew there was someplace on earth that had good French onion soup he would be on a plane to Vegas as we speak....He loves that soup....Vegas...never had the desire to go there...always looked so tacky...But I did love the t.v. show Vegas with Jimmy Caan....much better then the new Dennis Quaid version.....but I am glad to hear that you had such good food...I always think of Vegas as the $2.00 all you can eat buffets.....Can't wait to see what you did in L.A.....we are planning a trip there for next year then on to Hawaii...On my Bucket List is to go see the "Hollywood Chimps" know the ones that dress up in the movies and t.v. commercials....they charge you $600 out at the ranch where they train them to spend the day mingling with them...the Boss just keeps telling me one is going to rip my face off....He's such a buzz kill...Have a great weekend...

  6. OOOooooo I's rather eat my way through Vegas than gamble any day! I love what a good sport Howard always is with you and your camera!

    **happy smiles** Deb

  7. Another entertaining post on your trip.

    Sounds like you hit the jackpot (pardon the pun)
    with finding restaurants that serve Gluten Free

    Enjoy your Sunday.

    M :)

  8. I am glad I checked in today. I had about given up on you and I am sorry I missed your previous posts! Glad your eye is better. What a journey you've been on as well. I enjoyed your East Coast Girl's view of our great wild west! I grew up in Arizona and love my desert and big, big skies. When my husband and I moved to Washington State all of the mossy green-ness was like a foreign world to me! The west is BIG and sandy indeed! So glad you got to see it and visit your daughters. Oceanside is such a lovely place! My daughter lives near there and I cannot wait to get back there and stick my toes in the ocean! I look forward to your sweet wit and "That Old House" photos now that you have chased away the pink eye!


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