Tag Archives: Caesars Palace

Did you win in Las Vegas …?

Did you win? That’s always the question people ask when I mention having gone to Las Vegas. Please consider this a companion piece to what I posted May 12 –The agony and ecstasy of video poker.

Back 20 years ago when I was married, my wife and I had a subscription to Chicago’s famed Lyric Opera. A night at the opera would easily run in the neighborhood of $500, considering the ticket prices, well north of $100 each, cabs to and from, dinner out and a baby sitter. No one ever asked – Did you win? upon hearing that we went to the opera. How was the performance? What did you see? How was the production? Those were the kind of questions asked.

The fact is that my girlfriend and I played a lot of video poker on the trip. BUT, that wasn’t all we did.

Here is a shot of the beautiful fountain at Bellagio out the window of our room.

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You can see the dancing waters of the fountains. At night the view was more spectacular.

Like any trip there were lovely meals out. Here are pics from a few of ours.

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These were delicious baked clams at Rao’s on our first night there. New York readers are familiar with Rao’s.

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Off to Las Vegas … the agony and ecstasy of video poker

I am off to Las Vegas this weekend for four nights and five days at Caesars Palace. Regular readers know that I play there regularly and have written a number of posts on my trips – primarily on the health aspects of dining out for several days and nights. This time I am writing about playing there. You won’t find much in this post about healthy eating, just what I do that passes for fun in my life.

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The upper left hand in this pic qualifies as the ecstasy of VP. For anyone interested, the chances of holding an ace and drawing a Royal Flush are one in 178,365.

At 78 years old, I have been playing gambling games for most of my life. I grew up on the west side of Chicago. My father owned a pool room with a poker game in back. So my earliest recollections were playing cards. To this day the only thing I do left handed is deal cards because I was so little when I started that I couldn’t hold the cards in my left hand. I had to hold them in my right and peel them off with my left. My family always played games together, including Monopoly and all the card games. So, I grew up experiencing the vicissitudes of probabilities in cards and dice.

Growing up in the ’40’s my friends all gambled. I remember pitching pennies in grade school. We would stand behind a line on the sidewalk and try to pitch our pennies closest to the line two sidewalk squares (about 10 feet) away. Although we were pretty much uniformly poor we always ‘played for keeps.’ Continue reading

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What About Maintaining My Weight While Traveling?

I think it takes a special focus to be successful eating while traveling and not pack on any pounds.

I am currently in Las Vegas. I would be on vacation if I were stlll working, but I am retired, so I guess this qualifies as just traveling. My girlfriend still works, however, so it is a vacation for her.

In any event, I had to write this having just experienced an amazing breakfast. We are staying at Caesars Palace. Serendipity 3 is one of the hotel restaurants. The food is good, but the servings are brobdingnagian. I love that word. If you aren’t familiar with it, it comes from Gulliver’s Travels and refers to anything colossal in size. That’s what our breakfasts today were.

The cup dwarfed the spoon

The cup dwarfed the spoon

I hope the photos I shot with my iPhone get the point across. The coffee cup held at least 12 ounces, maybe 16. You can see how it dwarfs the spoon. But the main culprit was the main course. I ordered two eggs over easy with pork sausages and dry rye toast. I consider this a nice healthy meal. The plate was a good 13 inches in diameter. So, it held a LOT of food. The sausages were probably an inch in diameter. Even the toast was about 1-1/2 times normal size and thickness.

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I mention this because while traveling, sitting down to eat meals is kind of a celebration and I think you need to defend yourself against getting carried away in the moment.

I managed to finish the eggs, but left one whole sausage. I had some strawberry jam on a half slice of toast, but ended up leaving one entire slice, also. Nonetheless, I really felt full to bursting when we finished. I think even though I didn’t finish I had managed an assault on my digestive system.

The point of all this is that I felt I had to discipline myself not to ‘clean my plate.’ I always hate to waste food, especially in a restaurant where I am paying premium prices, but I concluded it would have been more damaging to me to finish that huge serving. I really didn’t want to waist the food either.

Tomorrow, we will be eating a more modest breakfast.

Tony

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Good Eating Habits Die Hard in Las Vegas

I have said elsewhere and written here time and again that I feel I have total confidence in my ability to maintain my current weight of 155 pounds, having done that for the last five years.

HOWEVER, that statement is based on the assumption that I am home and in total control of what I eat, preparing most of my own meals. Also, it assumes that I am able to ride my bike an average of about 20 miles a day. Clearly, that much exercise covers a multitude of sins.

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At the end of February I went with my girlfriend to Las Vegas to celebrate our second anniversary together. In this case, what happened in Las Vegas isn’t going to stay there.

First of all, I realized that I was going to be eating a lot of wonderfully prepared foods. That fact could be a big potential stumbling block for my weight control program. Secondly, no way was I going to be pedaling 20 miles a day on a bike. There are health clubs in the big hotels, HOWEVER, again, I am leery about exercising in Las Vegas. The altitude is 2500 feet above sea level and my body reacts poorly to that. I almost fell off an exercise bike a few years back after just 20 minutes of riding as a result of this altitude. The bottom line is that I limit my exercise to walking around casinos and sight seeing. Not a lot of calories burned that way.

So, I made a policy decision about eating. I was definitely going to enjoy indulging in the culinary fare available. After all, we were there to celebrate. I didn’t want to spoil it being a calorie cop. If I gained a pound or two in the five days we were there, so be it. I felt sure that I could burn them off once I got back home.

I am not going to bore you with pictures from the dozen or so meals
that we ate there. But, I have selected some dishes that I think represented our dining experiences over the period.

This was a pasta dinner at Rao's in Caesars Palace. Delicious meal on our first night.

This was a pasta dinner at Rao’s in Caesars Palace. Delicious meal.

The next day we ate at a little French cafe in Paris, our hotel. This sandwich is bacon and cheddar cheese melted on a croissant.

This was mouth watering and I have to believe it ran close to 1000 calories.

This was mouth wateringly delicious and I have to believe it ran close to 1000 calories.

We would have desserts at dinners, but split them rather than each go crazy with one.

I think this chocolate and whipped cream covered crepe came from another of the French restaurants in Paris.

I think this chocolate and whipped cream covered crepe came from another of the French restaurants in Paris.

Although we don’t usually do the buffets in Las Vegas because there is so much food on them, we did one on this trip. One of the entrees was crab legs.

Bucket of crab legs from the buffet.

Bucket of crab legs from the buffet.

Our anniversary was February 28 and we celebrated at Nobu in Caesars Palace. I have been eating sushi since I was first introduced to it in the mid-1970’s at a press party. I love it and eat it often. I can honestly say that in close to 40 years of eating sushi I have never experienced anything like the dishes at Nobu. I believe there are 35 of them in a number of cities all over the country. If you have a chance and a few extra dollars, I recommend a celebration dinner at one.

Beside being gorgeously laid out, this was literally melt in your mouth delicious.

Besides being gorgeously presented, this black cod was literally melt in your mouth delicious.

The final dish was our dessert at Nobu. I was so impressed with the way they decorated the plate.

This was some kind of melted chocolate pastry that simply exceeded my descriptive powers.

This was some kind of melted chocolate pastry that simply exceeded my descriptive powers.

Again, we split the dessert.

Just to fill in some details, we did go back to the little diner at Paris and I had their ham and gruyere croissant sandwich which was equally delicious and caloric.

This was another food court meal, a strawberry crepe with whipped cream. Again, we split it.

This was another food court meal, a strawberry crepe with whipped cream. Again, we split it.

 

The final night we went downtown to the Chicago Brewery and Pizza parlor in the Four Queens Hotel and Casino. We split a couple of pizzas and wrapped up the remainder to eat on the plane going home.

Okay, that should give you a pretty good idea of the kind of eating we did in four nights over five days in Las Vegas. Put your hand over the next paragraphs and guess – How much weight do you think I gained?

Full disclosure, I figured I had added about two pounds on the trip and I was committed to some serious biking and exercise upon return.

I hope you did as I did and made some kind of a guess about my weight. The following morning, I tipped the scale at … 155 pounds. Incredibly, I didn’t add a pound.

I can’t explain that. My girlfriend said it was because we walked so much, but at my weight walking a mile only burns around 90 calories. I don’t think we walked that many miles. But, the scale doesn’t lie.

The only thing I can think of is that I didn’t snack much between meals and we stuck to a regular schedule of meals. As I said at the top, “Good eating habits die hard.” I think I have become hard-wired to balance my intake and output. I didn’t get silly at a bunch of buffets and I didn’t fret at any point in the trip about what I was eating.

If you have any observations, I would be pleased to hear them.

Tony

I have written about trips to Las Vegas previously: Is it Possible to Enjoy Las Vegas and Control Your Weight? Thoughts on Aging in Las Vegas, What Happens in Las Vegas …”

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Thoughts on Aging in Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas  ….

This time it isn’t staying in Vegas. I just returned home to icy (9F) Chicago from Las Vegas where temps ranged as high as 70F on the three days I was there.

My girlfriend and I decided to celebrate our one year anniversary (Feb 28) with the trip.

Nice place to stay.

Nice place to stay.

We indulged ourselves at Caesars Palace.

Sumptuous seafood salad at Rao's Restaurant

Sumptuous seafood salad at Rao’s Restaurant

I took my first trip to Las Vegas back in the 60’s when there was still desert between strip casinos so I have seen some amazing changes in the past 50 years. I used to go on junkets where junketeers would round up players and fly them out free. The stipulation was that the player had to gamble a certain amount of money. If you could play, you didn’t need to pay … except at the tables. Those stopped when the city went corporate, but there are still lots of comps to be had.

This seemed an appropriate sign at the Starbuck's shop in Caesar's.

This seemed an appropriate sign at the Starbucks shop in Caesars.

If you haven’t experienced one, casino buffets are really a special experience. I was reminded of the sumptuous feasts at Hogwarts dining room in the Harry Potter movies. You can be sorely tempted by the offerings. We watched people carrying plates with mounds of food on them. I know that when I came here in my youth I was one of them. It is no surprise that 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent outright obese. My girlfriend and I were able to enjoy our meals without having to push ourselves away from the table, or loosen our belts afterwards.

We saw Lainie Kazan in her Cabaret Show on the night of the 28th. Kazan is 74 years old, the same age I am. It was sad to see her have to be helped up on the stage. She is very overweight. Her voice isn’t what it used to be, but she still has plenty left. She can certainly deliver a song. The audience totally loved her. One thing she did that I never saw a singer do before was use a music stand with pages of lyrics on it. She turned each page as she finished the song. At one point she said she is getting old and has ‘trouble remembering’ these days. I hope it is just a matter of aging and not anything more ominous. As a person with Alzheimer’s and dementia in the family, this resonated powerfully with me. Check out Exercise, Aging and the Brain for some positive info on aging and memory.

It was a great trip for the two of us, a different setting from what I experienced going there as a youth in my 20’s. The town has matured since then and so have I, … somewhat. I am now a lot older and a little bit smarter.

When I weighed myself this morning, I had not gained any pounds. Back in my 20’s I had always packed on a few.

For important info on exercising in Las Vegas check out my What Happens in Las Vegas post from last September.

Tony

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