Tuesday, March 19, 2019

making friends in the vegas

once we got back to our room, we had about half an hour to get ourselves cleaned up and ready for our night out.  according to our tickets, showtime was at 7:30 and we'd also bought tickets for access to some VIP lounge that would give us open bar for an hour before the concert.  i couldn't get the hub to stand still long enough to take a selfie with me, so i just settled for taking a picture of my super sparkly shoes.


t-mobile arena is relatively new, and this was the first time there for both of us.


we followed the signage to get to our lounge:


only to find that they'd located it to a different spot within the arena.  when we got there, it was already pretty crowded with most of the seating already occupied and long lines for the two grumpy-looking bartenders.  there was no music playing inside, and the vibe was more like that of a pre-conference mixer.  fun.


the line moved slowly for the drinks, and then we we managed to find a couple of seats on a couch with a few other couples that had also noticed how weird it was in there.  not to mention, for a JT concert, the crowd in there was...old.  heh.  i'm definitely no spring chicken, but the average age in there was seriously like 55-60.  the folks we were sitting with were already a few drinks in and really funny, and we spent some time talking to what was probably the youngest couple in the room.  they were really friendly and we all got along fabulously, so much so that we invited them to join us for our post-show dinner at the cosmopolitan hotel.  after exchanging contact information and giving them the reservation details, we all headed off to find our seats.


i'd already seen this show about a year ago in l.a with my friend dailygluttony, but it was extra fun to see it again with the hub. he's never been a huge concertgoer, and with several vodka tonics in him it was quite the experience.  he had just as much fun as i did...maybe even more.





after the last song, we made our way out of there and headed towards the cosmopolitan for our 11:30 dinner reservation.  that's right...dinner at 11:30.  how very vegas of us.


the entrance to this restaurant is through a pawn shop.  we were invited to browse through the goods before disappearing into a nondescript door behind a counter that led to the main restaurant.  this was my favorite item for sale:


we weren't at all sure that our new friends were going to show up, but we took a table for four anyway and perused the menu as we made bets on whether we'd ever see them again.  surprisingly, they actually did arrive just a few minutes later.  we compared notes on the concert, giggled again over the fact that the average age in the arena was also about the same as in that "VIP lounge," and then got down to the business of ordering some food.  we ordered some fun appetizers - grilled cheese, bacon & tomato soup dumplings, beets & burrata on toast and thai-style shrimp.  all were super delicious.


because of his no-carb deal, the hub had us order the spaghettini he'd heard so much about and settled for living vicariously through us.  it was really good, and a true test of his willpower as he watched us eat it.


he made up for it with slices of the tomahawk steak, cooked perfectly and portioned just right.


these were the blistered shishito peppers, which i passed on but everyone else enjoyed immensely.


and then the dessert platter - butterscotch pot de creme, tiramisu, and fresh doughnuts with three dipping sauces.  all were so good, even though i was already stuffed silly.


we said goodbye to our new friends and then headed back to the hotel to collapse into bed.  it was past 2am, and we'd both gotten up at 5 the previous morning.  this is so unlike me.  talk about living it up vegas style. woohoo!

Friday, March 15, 2019

i want to get away...i wanna fly away

so while we were in vegas for cheer competition in january, the hub and i decided to plan another trip for just the two of us.  i'd spotted a giant picture advertising justin timberlake's "man of the woods" tour at t-mobile arena and jokingly suggested that we come back to see him.  and because the hub loves to keep me on my toes, he shocked the crap out of me when he said "that sounds fun, let's do it!"

you don't have to ask me twice.

well, actually, i guess he technically did because i stalled a little on actually buying the tickets while trying to figure out how to get coverage for the bean over that weekend.  the concert was on a friday night, and the old lady works on fridays and saturdays.  i decided to hit up my mom to see if she might be willing to hang out with the bean for a weekend of "lola camp," and after checking her calendar she happily said yes.  yay!

after a couple of twists and turns that aren't interesting enough to describe in detail, the hub and i found ourselves at LAX at 7:30 on friday morning, waiting to board an 8:30 flight to vegas.  we had enough time to stop here for some coffee and a breakfast sandwich:


and then we were on the plane, seated in the emergency row that gave us a pretty nice amount of leg room for the 45-minute flight.


before we knew it, we'd landed and were walking through mccarran international airport, heading towards the taxi line.


because of the early hour, we didn't have to wait very long and pulled up to the aria somewhere around 10:30.


you know that check-in at hotels doesn't usually happen till about 3:00, but the hub managed to chat up the guy at the front desk and not only got us into a room by 11:00, but scored us an upgraded view from the standard one we'd booked via priceline.




we unpacked and flopped down onto the bed to relax for a bit, and promptly fell asleep.  we'd gotten up around 5 after around five hours of sleep, and the bed was nice and comfy.  when we woke up, we were both hungry and so we got ourselves up and went downstairs in search of some lunch.  with most of the restaurants closed until dinnertime, we ended up at javier's.  my first cocktail of the weekend was a pepino margarita, light and refreshing.


the hub opted for a carne asada plate while i ordered their shrimp & dungeness crab enchiladas.  both were super delicious.


we decided to walk off our lunch and headed back outside.


a quick taxi ride brought us to caesar's for a little shopping, gambling and cigar smoking (for the hub).



while he was at the cigar lounge, i went off in search of a drybar in the hopes of getting a blowout so my hair would look pretty for our evening out.  too bad i couldn't find one, and the salon inside caesars wanted some ungodly amount for a basic blowout.  boo.  i ended up feeding a few slot machines before meeting back up with the hub in the lounge.  he'd befriended a fellow cigar smoker, and we sat there and chatted together for awhile before heading back over to the aria so that we could get ready for our night out.

not a bad start for date weekend in vegas.  and we still had at least another day and a half!  we've really gotta make time to do this more often.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

more food fest fun

i'd seen people posting about smorgasburg la all over social media for awhile - it's one of those food fest type things with lots of vendors offering food, drinks, merchandise...you get it.  and you know how much i love doing stuff like this!




it's located on the site of an old produce market, which is kind of cool.  row DTLA is there too, with restaurants and shops and offices.  total hipster magnet, so we were somewhat out of place but we didn't care.  the bean was excited to turn the corner and see this booth:


she placed an order for some fresh mozzarella sticks served with marinara sauce and washed them down with lemonade.  my kid loves her some fried cheese...then again, ain't nothing wrong with that.


this booth caught the old lady's attention.  yeah, you read that right - fried chicken in a strawberry donut.


she placed an order immediately.


as for me, i was excited to try this:


no, i didn't go for that $75 wagyu sandwich, but two people in front of me did.  i opted for the menchi sandwich instead, and it was super duper tasty.


and filling!  so much so that i had to pass up another booth that had caught my eye.  this vendor was serving up gigantic soup dumplings that looked delicious, but i'll have to wait till we head out there again.


the old lady and her special friend shared a burrito stuffed with mediterranean beef and rice drizzled with a spicy sauce.


the hub, still on his keto kick, hadn't really found anything that he was interested enough to try, but he and the bean disappeared for a few minutes and came back with this:


it always amazes me how much more adventurous the bean is than her sister.  hell, even more than me a lot of times.  this sea urchin was still moving when they brought it to the table.  she seemed to regret it a little as she sat down in front of it, but she gamely picked up a spoon and gave it a shot.


final verdict:  glad she tried it, but never doing it again.  much like the oysters she had at catch a few weeks ago.  heh.

there's a whole row of vendors offering vegan grub, if you're into that sort of thing.


and we picked up some macarons here before we headed back to the car.


we decided to head out to the grove to walk around and browse some shops, and on the way there we stopped for some hipster coffee.



by the time we got to the grove, we were hungry again (and in the hub's case, *still* hungry).  it was pretty crowded, being a sunday that wasn't pouring down rain, and so we ended up splitting up - the bean and the hub off to one end of the farmers market, and the kids and me on the opposite end to pick up a charcuterie board at monsieur marcel's.


the old lady was not a fan of that paté.  actually, none of us were.  it's just gross.  and somehow it managed to spread its scent and flavor to pretty much everything else on the plate.  boo.


still, it was a nice day spent together out on the west side.  it's always a good time when we go exploring out there, and we even managed to leave the grove without buying anything.  win-win all around.
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