Thursday, June 30, 2016


Avenida opened early this spring along 394 and I wondered if it was any good, but I had not seen or heard a single thing about it. We visited with John's sister recently. We stopped in on a Friday night around dinnertime and ended up being seated right away.

I had a margarita sol, it was decent.
Kelly had the panchito margarita
John had the Churrassco a g.rilled hanger steak, fried yucca, and chimichurri.
Kelly had beef chaufa a Peruvian fried rice, bean sprouts, broccoli, red pepper, scrambled egg.
I had pollo a la diabla boneless chicken breast strips, garlic marinated, spicy chili de arbol sauce, served with rice, black beans. It was not very spicy and I would not order again.

The service was acceptable, but not impressive, and a bit slow at the end of our visit. Overall, the food was average and overpriced for the quality and portion sizes. I don't think any of us were very impressed and I doubt we will be rushing to return.

Deals & Discounts: Happy hour is offered daily from 3-6pm. Current offerings include drink specials starting at $4.

11390 Wayzata Blvd
Minnetonka, MN 55305
Phone:(952) 977-9888

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Las Vegas 5.25-30.2016 - The One Where I Did All the Winning!

Off to Vegas for another trip. This time our partners in crime were our friends Megan and Jason from Wisconsin. Our flight out of MSP was fine and we arrived a few hours after Megan and Jason. John and I took Lyft from the airport, and it went great. We did notice there were a lot more people in the pickup area this time.

We checked into Elara, unpacked a bit and took Lyft over to Hooters to meet Megan and Jason. They were already playing blackjack, after walking over via MGM. We took a Lyft over and played blackjack with them for the rest of the night.

nice to have a fridge at Elara

We headed back to Elara/Planet Hollywood and John and I wanted the casino a bit and decided we were hungry. It was sort of late, so we ate at Planet Dailies.

nice view from our room 

Megan and I had found Groupons for Bacchanal Buffet, so we headed over to Caesars Thursday morning.
The buffet was very extensive and everything I tried was very good. My shots are just the tip of the food station iceberg.
I'm not usually crazy about buffets, but this was excellent and I think we would all return. After breakfast we wandered Caesars a little bit and played a few slots there.

We had booked a room at the Downtown Grand for the day because we wanted to spend one full day downtown and it was cheap and came with a $50 pool credit.
We spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon at the pool. The pool was not very crowded, even for a holiday weekend coming and there were plenty of pool chairs available.

We all used the room to get ready and Megan and I played a few slots and video poker while we waited for the guys who stopped off at Hogs & Heifers for happy hour. We all played blackjack for a little while there as well, with no great results to report, though the dealers were OK.

We headed to Pizza Rock for dinner and it was excellent as always. We started with meatballs and garlic bread and had the New Yorker pizza.

We went to The D and Megan and I played a few slots while the guys played some blackjack. No one's money lasted very long so we headed to the Golden Gate for more blackjack. I think Megan did well, I broke even and I'm not sure about John and Jason. We headed back to Downtown Grand to grab our bags and took Lyft to Elara. I have a note that we had a funny driver, but I do not recall any details about that really. I think we were cracking him up.

We started our Friday at Mon Ami Gabi as it was close and delicious.
quiche lorraine
three egg breakfast
bacon & egg crepe
And another three egg breakfast. The food and service were very good as always. We did not wait for an outside table and decided to take an inside table for immediate seating. 

After breakfast Megan and I played a few slots at Paris while John and Jason played some blackjack. We had to stop at CVS to pickup something and then we walked over to Bellagio to check out the gardens. 

Again the boys played blackjack while Megan and I played some slots. I was by myself when I got this awesome hit on a Double Top Dollar machine for a $720 win. I can honestly say this was my biggest win ever on any gambling anywhere, so I was pretty excited. I called Megan to come over right away and I cashed out and went to show the guys my ticket. They were pretty well setup at their blackjack table, so Megan and I decided to grab some lunch and head back to Elara.

We ended up at PF Chang's and while it was not exciting, it did hit the spot. After that Megan and I spent the afternoon at the Elara pool.
After the pool, Megan and I got ready and went over to Cosmo. (They guys were STILL at Bellagio!) We played a bunch of slots and sat at Bond Bar played video poker for some time. The guys eventually showed up and we all went downtown to Oscar's at the Plaza for dinner.
still pretty good view at Oscars actually
I should add, we had the most fantastic waiter and the service and food were all excellent. I would recommend Oscar's very, very highly as we all enjoyed it a lot.
Prime time! Prime Rib
some sort of cheesy corn dish that was way better than it sounded
another ribeye
New York strip and mashed potatoes
brussels sprouts

We played a few slots at the Plaza after dinner and then went to the Golden Gate to play blackjack for the rest of the night. I don't think I had a great night at the table if I recall correctly.

Saturday morning Megan, John and I went down to DuPar's for breakfast while Jason slept in.

After breakfast we all went to the pool for the day. Jason headed out around 2pm as he had planned on doing the Richard Petty driving experience out at the race track.

Once the rest of us were sufficiently crisp from the pool, we decided to go to the Stratosphere to Level 107 for happy hour.
2 for 1 cocktails
ahi tuna poke
meatball sliders
We lifted back to Planet Hollywood and met Jason at PBR Rock Bar. Got these snazzy beer ponchos and a bottle opener sombrero from some beer reps. I found these exceedingly adorable and hilarious at the time. The guys were watching Golden State/Oklahoma City. Once that was over, we all went over to Hooters and played blackjack for the rest of the night. We headed back to Elara and John, Jason and I thought we wanted to play something over there. I decided I was hungry so we went to Cosmo to Blue Ribbon sushi. Good decision.

John and I shared a deluxe sashimi plate
Jason went with some assorted rolls
wings. amazing!

Megan and Jason had a fairly early flight home Sunday, so we did not see them again. John and I decided to go to Bouchon at Venetian for breakfast. we got a nice table outside on the patio with a nice view of the pool. 

my breakfast came with a couple beignets
hanger steak and eggs for John

I had the breakfast Americaine

We walked back to Elara via the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard via Harrah's, Linq, Flamingo and Cromwell. We played slots briefly at Cromwell and then went downtown to El Cortez for some free play from one of the coupon books. We played slots around downtown at Binions, Four Queens, Golden Nugget and The D. 

Had a quick lunch at American Coney at the D.
We went through Mermaids and played a bit there. We at least got a free drink. I guess I won't miss it much as we did not stop in regularly.
We went to Main Street for an extended video poker session. No great wins to report, though John had a couple 4 of a kinds, he only got $2 on the stretch off bonus cards.
I had gotten an email from the Cosmo saying thanks for playing there from our previous visit with some free slot play, so we went to use that. I somehow got lucky and won $110 on that! Top Dollar is officially my favorite slot machine! Even the new ones are good!

We walked down to MGM and had dinner at Pub 1842. We saw a bunch of Miss USA contestants having dinner there as well. The pageant was being held on the upcoming weekend.

beef brisket for me
fish and chips for John
We had gotten free tickets to KA from MyVegas at the 9:30p show. Here's a shot of the interior of the theater.
We were in the front row, though I swear we were supposed to be seated further back. The show was very good. Much better than Zumanity and Zarkana we saw on previous trips.

Sunday we accidentally overslept a little bit as we did not hear the alarm go off, but we woke up to a delayed flight as well, so we had plenty of time for breakfast at Planet Dailies after all.

chicken and waffles for me

For some reason we decided to take a taxi to the airport, which was a mistake. The driver was super grouchy and complained about something or other. We should have waited for Lyft. We enjoyed all of our Lyft rides, the only odd thing was Elara was not in their system, so every time we had to call the driver to tell them where we were.

Anyway, our flight home was uneventful and we landed just a smidge later than our original landing time.

We had a lot of fun with great friends and the winning sure helped keep me above water this time. I just think it is crazy that I did better at Bellagio and Cosmo than places downtown.