Christmas Vacation…Vegas Style (Day 1)

We decided to celebrate Christmas in an unorthodox fashion this year…by heading to Vegas, baby, Vegas! Even Clark Griswold’s fantasies can’t live up to the number of sparkly lights in Sin City. Christmas indeed!

We took to the skies after work on Wednesday, getting into the festive spirit by watching an episode of Mad Men on Jeff’s iPad. We shared a set of earbuds…isn’t that sweet?

Once we checked into our hotel (Bally’s…so-so, but nearly free), we were hungry. We attempted to go to a pub in the Monte Carlo that had great steak salads, but they were closed (along with a smattering of other restaurants)! Was Christmas in Vegas going to be a dead zone?

I was craving vegetables, so we decided to take our chances with Monte Carlo’s buffet. No line, and the price was about what we would have paid at a restaurant. I was pleased when I saw that the salad bar was decent, but my eyes really lit up when I saw platters of grilled zucchini, eggplant and carrots. Score!

After a first course of that veggie salad madness, I went back for more grilled veg, with a side of roasted root veggies and some yummy cooked mushrooms. Grabbed some tasty chili verde for my protein. Desserts were completely uninspiring. Good pumpkin pie, good mini cannolis, but the rest was below average.

I have mixed feelings about buffets. On the one hand, you can take the amount you want of the foods that strike your fancy, instead of being served a portion pre-determined by a stranger. On the other hand, you are in a room filled with unlimited food, and you just paid for the privilege of eating as much as you want. Personally, I like to limit my exposure to buffets, but when I do cross the buffet line, I have a standard plan. First, I eat a big green salad, with a minimum of calorie-dense extras. I load up on veggies, add a little dressing and some blue cheese, if they have it, but that’s it. Before I go back to my seat, I peruse the rest of the offerings, so I can think about what else I might want while I eat my salad. By the time I’m done, I’m not starving, so I can usually hone in on small portions of only those foods that really look good.

After dinner, we got our hoof on, walking through the shiny new City Center complex (it’s its own city, complete with a fire department!). It started to look like Christmas, as you can see here:

Next, we made our way to Bellagio, curious about how they decorated the conservatory area for the holidays (the flower-centric decor changes with the seasons). Wow…totally Christmas!

Nutcrackers and penguins and polar bears, oh my! I’ll leave you with some snaps, since a picture is worth a thousand words.