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The room greeted us as wee entered, pulling back the drapes to reveal our view of the Nevada mountain-scape and the neighboring City Center structures. The architectural design and environmental planning of the City Center is one of the most appealing attractions on the Las Vegas strip. When we were keyed up and our appetites were raging, we set off on our first quest. Tonight was going to be our Gordon Ramsay pub crawl. Start at BurGR in Planet Hollywood for beer, cocktails and Applewood and Alder smoked ground beef heaven, then on to Steak for more drinks and finally the Gordon Ramsay Pub at Caesar’s Palace for dinner and more libations. But trecking through four hotels in a food coma proved a challenge we hadn’t planned on. BurGR indeed had the most amazing, delicious burgers we ever dreamed of. I had a Bleu Burger which consists simply of bleu cheese and arugula on top of the thick juicy patty. No sauce of any kind was necessary and just the lightest application of bleu cheese brilliantly accentuated the virtues of the burger it rested on. I paired it with Innus Gunn, a strong and complex brew. For comparison I’d say it’s reminiscent of Fat Tire, but aged in whiskey barrels. BurGR seems to have a constant line outside the door, yet they manage to seat guests quickly and the wait is negligible. Full and now a little sleepy, we almost declared our mission a failure, but still determined we walked it off on Miracle Mile and made our way to the Paris to visit Steak.
We approached the host with hesitation. We were still very full and it was a bit early for dinner anyway. We intended to have appetizers, so at the risk of losing further momentum, we spent some time in the casino. The games have changed. Our favorite slots are rare. We always liked the penny slots that let you play five lines at a time. It takes twenty spins to burn through a single dollar and a decent winning streak can earn you $5 to $10, pretty easily. We also like the old Goldfish machines. There was one bank of those remaining at the Paris in a shabby, dingy little corner, half of which were inoperable. The new slot machines force you to play anywhere from 35 to 60 credits a spin. So, we’ve had to adapt and get bolder. Sara has taken to the Big Wheel, which we both have a pretty good time at and can sustain you for long periods of time, or win/lose you some real money, depending on how you play and the kindness of lady luck. I always liked Roulette, but have lately been fond of craps. The trouble is, I don’t like going over a five dollar minimum bet and five dollar craps tables are more rare than those penny slots that are nowhere to be found. Luckily, both Craps and Roulette have become prevalent in automated, electronic form, where introverts can comfortably learn a game and play at their own speed with lower stakes. We sat down at the Big Wheel and were quickly carded. Everybody carded us on this trip. I wasn’t carded so much on my 21st birthday. We had some mild success before the changing of the guards. She joked with us about what a hard ass the other guy was and we colored up and graciously bowed out. I don’t know the science behind it, but when your dealer/facilitator (whatever you call the wheel spinner) leaves, your luck always leaves with them.
We knew we would not be eating at Steak. It would be good food, but we would feel terrible about wasting the money on our already satisfied stomaches. But the most important thing about a pub crawl is the drinks, so after the Paris casino took my small winnings and some of my dignity, we decided to go inside for a drink. It’s a very vibrant club like atmosphere with lots of squiggly red streaks imprinting the glassware and décor which is all overseen by a Union Jack in an oval ceiling from which a tangled red neon sculpture looms over the dining room. Our section in the bar was cozy and intimate. We enjoyed our drinks and now 2/3 of the way through our journey, though no hungrier, our resolve to finish our quest was re-awakened and we left the Paris behind us.