So yes, I'm in Vegas. I forget if I got out a quick goodbye post, but yes, I did leave, and yes, I'm here. The drive was uneventful; getting past Barstow was a bit hairy, and while it didn't seem like I was stopped that long, the total drive took about 5 hours and 40 minutes, which is pretty slow for me, espeically since I didn't stop much. I checked in to my room at Green Valley Ranch around 3:30. Nice room, but not particularly thrilling, just what I expect from them, which is pretty high quality. I have a view of the parking garage, unfortunately, but nothing else to complain about. After checking in, I immediately headed down to gamble, and immediately got slaughtered. Some splits and double downs really turned ugly. I took a breather up in my room, then gave it another try, and did even worse (though it took me longer to lose this time). So it was on a sour note that I went to dinner.
I had an early lunch, and was hungry, so I decided to have the all-you-can-eat sushi the first night, rather than Il Fornaio. I was on the fence about the sushi place, so this would be a good chance to make up my mind. I must say, the all-you-can-eat deal is a solid value. The sushi didn't really blow me away, but it was quite reasonable for the price. Except for some market price items, the menu was pretty inclusive, including expensive rolls and non-sushi appetizers, as well as soup and noodle bowls. But I stuck to sushi. They post slightly intimidating rules, which were fairly reasonable, mainly that you have to eat the rice, too, you can only order one roll at a time, and you will be charged for uneaten portions. This being my first time there, I think I felt too much pressure to get top value for the cost, and ordered too many rolls, which aren't my favorite, necessarily. The Alaskan roll was pretty good, but the Godzilla roll (eel and fried shrimp, and I think some other form of seafood as well as avocado) was just too much. But if you enjoy this kind of thing, this buffet is a great value, since those rolls can be close to $15 there. My first order of Unagi was fantastic, but a follow-up order was some of the grittiest eel I've had. I understand this happens with Unagi, but it was still disappointing. The Mackeral was pretty good, too. I got there just after opening, and they weren't busy at all, so I was impressed by how fast I got my made-to-order sushi. Again, on straight quality, while it's not bad, I'm still not real impressed. But for the value, the all-you-can-eat weekday special is something I will return for.
I really need to go get dinner, so I'll keep this short. Gambling was uneventful, pretty much; I won most of my money back. Will take one more stab at break-even after dinner; it would be nice to be even or ahead before I begin my strip vacation, but in any event, I've done well enough that my bankroll will still be respectable when I get over to Las Vegas Blvd. and check out the Wynn. I had breakfast at The Original Pancake House. It was okay; I ordered french toast, and wasn't as impressed as I had been by their pancakes, so I guess I'll stick to their specialty in the future. The coffee was good; don't know how good it was, but I'm not one to rave about coffee, so if I noticed it, it must be pretty good. I had lunch at the buffet. I wasn't very hungry, but felt like I got a decent value. I wasn't impressed in the past, and was even less impressed this time; I mostly just ate some decent chinese food. But the desserts are impressive. Most notable is the real hot fudge (not hershey's syrup, or even real chocolate sauce), something I don't think I've seen in a buffet before. Since I often move on to dessert quite early in my buffet dining experience, this alone moves the Green Valley Ranch buffet way up on my list.
And now I will be getting dressed and heading down for a late dinner at Il Fornaio. This is the only restaurant at Green Valley Ranch that really impresses me, so I'm sure it will be a fine meal. All in all, I'm having a good time. I like the hotel here, and I enjoy the colorful characters you meet in the laid-back casino. I just wish I hadn't paid for this crappy internet (especially since I didn't have any good e-mail)--though with my hotel credit from the marketing department, I shouldn't have to pay my own cash. I should even have enough after dinner to order room service for breakfast (though the 20% gratuity on the inflated prices cuts down on the value, although I usually tip high as a percentage for breakfast, especially when dining alone). But I'll wrap this up now, and post any stories that occur to me when I get home. I realize it's a boring post, but I just wanted to let you know Las Vegas has not yet devoured me and spit me out.