USA Day 21: Las Vegas

Breakfast has beckoned.  Now the funny thing about Vegas, it doesn’t seem to have a café culture.  I guess the city that never sleeps, doesn’t really need a good breakfast place.  So, without having any research to point us anywhere else, we had breakfast at the café in the Bellagio.

Buttermilk pancakes with berries and maple syrup.

Again, those classically fluffy pancakes.  Unfortunately, a little too fluffy and dry.  Not the best pancakes on the day, or should I say holiday.  Andrew had had his fill of breakfasts by this stage, so he just had a $9 glass of OJ!!

Cafè Bellagio on Urbanspoon

First point of call for the day – buy a kettle!!  …and some beer for Andrew.

We all have our vices.

So, in the city that never sleeps – we set out on our quest.  It was probably a good time to check out the Strip anyway – so we headed out.

The amazing thing about Las Vegas is how large everything is.  You think to yourself – “the strip can’t be that long – it’s just a road – and I can see that hotel, so it’s not that far….”

But the blocks are huge – the Bellagio itself is over a kilometre at the front.   So, you walk, and you walk and you walk.

They also don’t let you cross the really busy roads.  Most of the time, you have to use the overpass pedestrian bridge which takes you slightly off the strip and then back onto it again.

So, after we walked up to the Excalibur Casino (which I first thought must be a Disney Resort) we crossed the road to come down the other side.  All up – it was over 3 km as the crow flies – but probably even more with all the diversions.  The Strip from Wynn down to Luxor is just a little over 3 miles ( just shy of 5km) – or to put it another way 5 times the distance from La Trobe Street to Flinders Street in Melbourne.  WOW – I just did the math – that’s amazing!

Las Vegas Boulevard – aka “The Strip”.
Here we go…

The Bellagio – there’s a third wing at the back. That’s where our room was.

Planet Hollywood (looking down the Bellagio driveway)

Aria (another of the MGM stable)

New York, New York – which had its own Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty.

Actually we got closer to this one than the one in New York!

The Monte Carlo

Excalibur (can you see how I thought it was Disney themed???)…


The MGM Grand – which had a very big lion guarding it!

Caesar’s Palace – which was huge!

The Palazzo…

The Mirage…  which had a really cool Volcano show every evening.

Treasure Island… which had a really tacky “Sirens” show every evening!

The Wynn… the classiest of all the hotels on the Strip.
Our destination tonight for us to see Le Rêve.

The Venetian – which even had it’s own Bridge of Sighs.

And I don’t think I’ve covered half of them – we just took pics of the biggest ones.  There’s a whole bunch of others – Flamingo, Casino Royale, Tropicana, Luxor, Bally’s, etc.

Interestingly, many of the casinos are owned by one of two groups – MGM (Bellagio; New York, New York; MGM Grand; Treasure Island; Aria; amongst others) and Caesar’s Entertainment Group (Bally’s; Caesars; Paris; Harrah’s;  Planet Hollywood; etc.).   There’s a smattering of others – but I reckon these two groups account for at least 60% of what’s on the Strip.

Ahh… but here’s the most important thing…


We found a kettle!  For $12.99 at Walgreens!  This little baby had already paid for itself after one cup
of tea!   That’ll teach them….

We ended up having lunch down near the Wynn Hotel – at a place called “Ra” – it was Japanese and the food was pretty good.  Not bad for a random choice.

Ra Sushi Bar

3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas  NV  89109  
(702) 696 0008       
Open: Daily  11am – Midnight

Pork gyoza with dipping sauce

Kaisen ceviche – cooked shrimp, scallops and squid, chilled and served
with avocado, tomato and salsa served in a spring roll shell.

Ever faithful – chicken yakitori

Tuna tataki – served with an onion and soy vinaigrette.

Overall, a really nice lunch – we over-ordered, but everything was beautiful, fresh and tasty.  Our favourites were definitely the pork gyoza, and I loved the tuna tataki!

RA Sushi on Urbanspoon

Another thing I got very excited about was that, when researching dinner options, I found out that Jose Andrés  had an outpost of Jaleo here (you remember that restaurant I got excited about in Washington,… you know the one where I got a little tipsy on cocktails and had a picture with Sandra, the great waitress??).

Ahhh… yes, I see it’s all coming back to you (see Day 9 to refresh your memories).

Jaleo Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas  NV  89109
(702) 698 7950
Open: Sun – Thu  5 – 11pm;  Fri – Sat  5pm – Midnight

So, we made our way to The Cosmopolitan – which was the hotel next to ours (so only a kilometre walk away – good grief!!).   The Cosmopolitan had the largest chandelier I have ever seen – basically, the whole interior of the atrium is one big chandelier.   And they had a very pretty roof!

Step into my chandelier

 The ceiling of The Cosmopolitan

Jaleo… here we come…

The chorizo wrapped in thinly sliced potato and fried.

 Jamon with tomato bread.

Boneless chicken wings with garlic and salsa verde.

Quail – this was very different to the one we really enjoyed in DC.

Wild mushrooms with puréed potato.

Diver scallops with romesco sauce.

Overall, the food was alright – but the experience wasn’t the same.  The restaurant in Vegas just didn’t have the same vibe.  The servers were not as warm, the servings not as generous, and the food just didn’t have the same passionate impact.  Maybe my expectations were a little high, maybe it was Vegas.

Jaleo by José Andres (Cosmopolitan) on Urbanspoon

We managed to get out of the restaurant well ahead of time, so we walked down to the Wynn Hotel to catch our show, Le Rêve.  This show is by Franco Dragone, who is considered to be one of the original people who evolved Cirque du Soleil. He directed O, Mystere, Saltimbanco, Quidam, Alegria, among many others.  He was with them from 1985 to 1999.

Why did he leave?  According to Wikipedia (so, it must be true) – he had worked for so long and so intensely with Cirque – he decided it was time to leave.  He must have needed a break.  After 1999, he is credited with directing a music video, and creating Celine Dion’s new show – but there’s not much else on his CV until the launch of Le Rêve in 2005.   Mind you, I’m sure there was a lot of planning and production that went into it…

Anyway – Le Rêve was amazing.  We indulged in the VIP Indulgence package, which meant that we sat in armchairs around the outside edge, and were served champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate.   I know – you wouldn’t have expected anything less from me, would you…?

The show was amazing, and I can tell you because I’m writing this with the benefit of hindsight. It was the best of all the shows that we saw.  If you’re in Vegas – go to this show!

Naturally we couldn’t take photos while the show was in progress – but at the very end all these amazingly huge flowers opened up – and because the show was over – we were able to take a pic.