My St Pat’s Adventure in Vegas 
   by Tally Briggs

My best friend’s birthday is St Patrick’s Day. This year it was a BIG birthday (really BIG), so she wanted 
to do something REALLY SPECIAL for her BIG DAY. The first idea was a cruise, a GalzCruz™ to the 
Mexican Riviera, but one of TheGalz™ could not make it that week, so she decided on Vegas instead. 
At first I was opposed to this, not because I don’t LOVE VEGAS (because as most of you know, I do…), 
but because we always go to Vegas. And for a BIG BIRTHDAY such as this, I didn’t feel Vegas was 
big ENOUGH. I go to Vegas every year for my birthday (this year will be no different), and when my 
BIG BIRTHDAY rolls around in a few years, I want to be somewhere spectacular, like cruising from 
LA to Sydney on some fabulous cruise ship in a suite or on a wine tour with my friends in Adelaide Australia…. 

In other words, something BIG that I’ve never done before. Well, this wasn’t my day, so it wasn’t my decision. 
The group going consisted of myself, BirthdayGal, her Hubby, and an old GalPal from Houston. BirthdayGal 
& Hubby flew in from Denver, I jumped a Southwest flight from Burbank and we all met at McCarran at 
4pm Wednesday March 15th. 

The day does not start off well for the BG.   She and Hubby had made reservations on United several 
weeks earlier, yet they were told that seat assignments were not available and would be given to them at 
the airport. BG asked if the flight was overbooked, and was told, “no, not at all, and don’t worry, there will
be no problem getting seats.” Well, BG has flown enough she knows this was a blatant lie, so they arrive 
extra earlier to get the “no problem” seat assignments only to be told they could pay more to bump up to 
Business class where the only open seats are. This does not fly well with BG, and after much discussion 
with an uber-rude gate agent she and Hubby are given seats in Coach but at opposite ends of the cabin. 

Thankfully, I have no such problems at Burbank with Southwest. I have been smart enough to print my 
boarding pass the day before, and when I arrive at the gate I sit my ass down on the floor next to the door 
as the first person under A and opened my Vanity Fair. When it comes time to board I notice I am virtually
the only female on the aircraft. At this point I make no connection as to why. Even having a nice conversation 
with the guy next to me with his NCAA bracket sheet, it STILL does not dawn on me what we are going 
to be up against this trip.

After landing, the universe still thwarts the BG. We all meet at the MGM ticket office in Baggage Claim. 
BG is set to pick up tickets for tonight for Tom Jones. [Yes, THE Tom Jones - excuse me, SIR Tom Jones
- who she had seen three-times before, and I turned out to be the only one who said, “Sure, I’ll go with you!”]
Unfortunately, since she had gone thru her slot-host at The Paris for the seats she is informed she must 
pick them up at the actual venue box office.  To add insult to injury, since Caesars etc. has been recently 
acquired by Harrah’s, we can’t check in at the airport check-in desk either because they are uploading 
new Harrah’s software….

I normally fly in to town earlier in the morning, or late at night, and getting a cab is not that big of a deal. 
However, 4pm on a Wednesday in the middle of March the wait for a taxi is FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. 
(I’m still not cluing in.) Instead we opt to go find a towncar and for $40 including tip we are at The Paris 
and checked in by 4:30pm.

We change clothes and head downstairs to get a cocktail and play a little video poker at Gustav’s bar 
where we meet sweet bartender Tony who is from Houston. He comps our drinks and since it’s the end 
of his shift tells us to come over to the Sports Bar the next few days where he will be working and he’ll 
hook BG up with a B-day martini.

7:15 we head outside to grab a cab to MGM. 
We get to the cabstand and there is an ENDLESS LINE – all men. (Still not getting it.) Hubby goes to 
call MGM to tell them we’re on our way to pick up the tickets that must be picked up by 7:30 (because 
he’s amazing) and begs them to not give them away. We finally make it into a cab, get to MGM’s Showroom 
and pick up our tickets at the last possible minute. We head to the Rainforest CafÈ, where there is a 40min 
wait for a table. We grab two open seats at the bar since there was no wait, and order what were perhaps 
the two worst appetizers in culinary history. The Rainforest Pita Quesadilla, which was all pita and very 
little queso, and the Chimi-Cha-Cha, which was dry and tasteless – a nice salsa instead of pico might 
have saved these dishes, but that will remain a mystery since I never intend on eating at one of these 
establishments ever again. If I do, at least I’ll know what not to order.

We head into the Showroom at 8:15, and sit next to Kevin, a guy who is in Vegas with a bunch 
of his college friends for March Madness™ but left them to come see Tom by himself. 

It finally hits me.

I thought our biggest problem would be St Patty’s day, being that it was VEGAS and a FRIDAY… 
Let me explain why this was important: BG could not decide on where she wanted to have her 
BIG BIRTHDAY DINNER, so we had reservations all over town. There was Michael’s at 
Barbary Coast (which along with Dre’s are the only reasons that hotel is still standing.) 
Charlie Palmer’s at Four Seasons, Delmonico’s at Venetian, and The Eiffel Tower restaurant 
at The Paris. There was also a plan to do a “Pub-Crawl” style grazing dining experience, in that 
we’d start at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesars for appetizers, then move to The Palm at the 
Forum Shops for Lobster Bisque, then either to Olives at Bellagio or down the strip to Smith & 
Wollensky’s for the main entrÈe, followed by dessert at The Eiffel Tower.  We had cancelled 
Michael’s about three days before we came to town when I found out they charged $149 for 
“steak of two” al a carte. I figured if that price did not include oral sex with your steak then 
no one needed to pay that kind of money even for a top restaurant in Vegas.  We also had 
breakfast reservations for Friday at Tableau at The Wynn. (Yes, Vegas is about eating!!!)

BG and Kevin have a great time as they are HUGE Tom Fans, while I wanted to kill the 
lighting designer. Almost every single moment of the show they had bright Vari-Lites sweeping 
the audience. Within five minutes I had donned my sunglasses, and was holding the beverage 
menu in front of my face to save my retinas from being scorched. I’m not sure what the point 
of this was. Everyone knows Tom Jones is 65. He looks fabulous. If they were doing it to blind 
the audience and hide his age, then he should be playing a bigger venue and be father away from 
the crowd. He’s adorable, and everyone loves him because he’s TOM FREAKING JONES, 
I mean Sir Tom Freakin Jones. He puts on a great show. What’s New Pussycat and Kiss made 
the entire evening, and I would not have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes, 
PANTIES WERE THROWN ON STAGE! But I still want to string up the lighting designer
and make him stare at the sun. 

Afterwards we headed back to the Paris, Kevin in tow, and played until the wee hours. 
I guess we turned out more fun than his Basketball Buddies.

Late Thursday morning Hubby brings Houston & I coffee (did I mention he’s amazing?) and then 
we head down to the casino. We try to find a bar to sit at, play video poker so we can have some 
free cocktails and not wait for the odd cocktail server to wander by, but every single bar/lounge is 
packed with guys in packs, smoking cigars and staring at basketball on every available monitor. 
We finally find two empty spots at Le Cabaret bar. There is another empty seat by two guys watching 
basketball. The plan is to get this extra seat and wait for one of the other dudes at the bar to move, 
then the Galz can be together as Hubby is happily playing slots off by himself. I lean over and ask
Dude #1 if I can steal the empty chair. He smiles and responds, “You baby, can steal anything!” 

I smile, tell him he made my day, give him a hug, and start to move the chair. Cranky bartender 
tells me I can’t move the chair because it will block an aisle. At first I think he’s joking. Then I blink 
at him in disbelief and try to imagine where this aisle he has alluded to might possibly be or if it does 
indeed exist since this lounge is wall-to-wall ManPacks™ watching March Madness. Houston goes 
to the other side of the bar where there is one available seat and BG and I sit in the two open seats. 
Dude #1 asks where I’m from, and he offers to buy us both drinks (that we’re getting for free since 
we’re playing.) Dude #2, who turns out to be his brother, tells BG he can “make her birthday a 
very memorable one” as Dude #1 is giving me his phone number. “I’d really like to buy the 
Birthday Girl a drink and hang with you all tonight! I have my Blackberry with me so please call.” 
We smile politely then finish our drinks and decide to move away from the Testosterone Pool. 
BG remarks that she hasn’t had a “drive-by” proposition in a while. We howl.

12:30pm we all meet and have lunch at Mon Ami Gabi, one of our favorite restaurants in town. 
My dear friend Mark, who moved a year ago to Vegas to star in Forever Plaid at The Gold Coast
joins us, and has gotten us free tickets to his show that night. We start with a bottle of Letour Chardonnay 
and the amazing Baked Cheese & Tomato with Garlic Toast appetizer. Mmmmm! I try to keep it 
light and order the Endive & Pear Salad, BG has the French Macaroni & Cheese, while Mark 
orders the Onion Soup Burger. Hubby & Houston each have the Chicken & Brie Sandwich. 
Of course I have a taste of everything on the table. The Mac & Cheese is amazing since it has 
French ham chunks in it, and the Onion Soup Burger is astounding. We finish with Flourless 
Chocolate Cake. So much for keeping it light. We then all proceed to fall into afternoon food-comas.

We dress and head to the I-can’t-believe-this-hotel-is-still-standing Gold Coast around 7pm for 
Forever Plaid.  We all pile in a van-cab and were magically transported across the strip, up some 
back street by The Palms construction, down Flamingo, and onto the Gold Coast property in less 
than two minutes, apparently running three red lights and going in the out driveway all without 
experiencing any bodily injury.

Forever Plaid is a great show! We all laugh our assess off. Afterwards Mark is starving so I go 
with him to get food while BG & Co head back to Paris/Bally’s to play so BG can keep her 
casino rating up since she is getting her room comped and working on comping ours. Mark and I 
end up also going back to Paris since he has some friends who work at a lovely restaurant there 
that I never knew existed (since I always seem to gravitate to Mon Ami) called La ProvenÁal. 
Great menu! A little pricey but not terribly, and the servers sing. Kick-ASS sing. 
Floor traffic out in the casino/shopping area comes to a standstill when these people sing. 
Mark has a small salad, I have some lobster bisque and we split some four-cheese gnocchi.

I head to bed about 1am. Houston, my roommate comes in from the Black Jack tables at 2:30am. 
She, BG, and Hubby grabbed a late supper at CafÈ Ille St Louis at 1am. Needless to say we bail on 
breakfast at Wynn which is a shame since BG has yet to see it. (Maybe we’ll all make it there for my b-day.)

At last it’s THE BIG BIRTHDAY. Hubby again delivers java, and BG has decided that if we do the 
Restaurant Crawl for dinner we’ll be stuffed after soup, so she decides on just Olives at Bellagio for 
dinner to avoid getting in a cab. I call this a smart move. I spend 30 minutes calling and canceling reservations.

We hit the casino by 11am and head to the Sports Book to find bartender Tony to make BG her martini.
However, we find it packed wall to wall with the Man Packs in a sea of smoke. We wave at Tony and 
run away to find some oxygen. 

[Observation: The last several years the smoke in Vegas has not bothered me very much. 
The newer casinos all have very high ceilings with great circulation, and fewer and fewer people 
are smoking these days…. This time it was HORRID. I finally got sick of drowning my eyes in 
Opcon-A every 20 minutes and kept my sunglasses on 24/7.]

2pm we head back to Mon Ami since our dinner reservations are not until 8:15pm. Again we begin 
with the Cheese & Tomato thing and a bottle of Chardonnay. Dinner is 6 hours away so I proceed to 
have brain damage and ask if they can make me a roast beef & brie sandwich (a little treat TheGalz™ 
indulged in almost on a daily basis on our last GlazCruz™ to Mexico. Mooooooooooo! 
Way too much food. Another great lunch, another food-coma. 

We meet and play some more around 6pm. I have to run back to the room for a sweater and I run 
into Dude #1. “Baby! When are you going to call me?! I really want to party with you tonight!” 
I smile and make the excuse it’s up to the BG. He tells me it will be worth my while as I walk away. 
I should have just asked if he was into soccer, that would have been the end of it.

7:45pm we pry ourselves from the casino take a walk to Bellagio for the BIG BIRTHDAY DINNER. 
As we cross the street we notice that The Strip is traffic-free. 
Whaaaaaaaa? It’s Friday night. 
St. Patrick’s Day. No traffic. Why? 

We arrive at Olives and are seated immediately. Our waiter Chris is great. Everyone is still rather full 
from lunch that seems like only an hour earlier because of the nap. BG orders a Caesar Salad and 
Carpaccio trying to keep it light. Houston orders an amazing but rich Goat Cheese Ravioli, and 
Hubby & I order a Braised Short Rib Pappardelle with sweet & sour turnips that is Heavenly! 
All with a nice bottle of Pinot.

BG doesn’t finish her Caesar so I help (of course.) Then her Carpaccio arrives and suddenly she 
looks as though she might cry. The plate is covered edge-to-edge with beef and looks as though it 
could feed the cast of MystËre. We all help her.

After dinner we waddle back across to The Paris and head up to The Eiffel Tower restaurant to 
have a drink and some dessert in the lounge. Let me just say what a breathtakingly beautiful place! 
The lighting is low and sexy. It seems every table in the place has an amazing view of The Strip. 
They’re playing Frank, thus I’m in Heaven. 

There are a group of people at the main bar singing in some beautiful foreign language, so I get up 
and ask them to sing to the BG, they do and adopt us as family. They’re from Detroit and we never 
figure out what language they were singing in. My guess is Greek or Armenian. What a great group 
of people! The Raspberry Napoleon arrives and BG has her name and Birthday wishes spelled out 
in chocolate around the plate – gorgeous presentation! I decide I’ll attempt to talk Tommy into 
bringing me here for a romantic dinner next trip.

We finally stop eating and hit the casino. I reach my limit for supporting the fine community of 
Clark County Nevada and decide to head upstairs around 1am. I stop at Gustav’s bar to get a 
mug of hot water to make a cup of tea before bed. On my way with my mug-o-agua I hear, 
“Hey cutie, want a ride?” 

I turn and see a sweet looking cute man with his entire right leg in a cast heading towards me 
on an electric scooter/wheelchair thingie. I think what the hell, and say, “Sure! Take me to the
elevators please!” After surviving a sharp turn where we both almost ended up on the floor, 
he obliges and off we jet towards the elevators with me on this guys lap who is shouting, 
“make way! Hot water!” I disembark at the elevators as he begs me to keep him company.
I tell him my man is waiting upstairs and beg off.  I am in my room no more than three minutes 
when the phone rings. Hubby is on the phone asking me how I liked my ride thru the casino, 
what was I doing torturing that poor handicapped man, and would I like to come have 
birthday cake and cookies in their awesome corner view room. I howl and head over. 
BG’s casino host had sent up a lovely tiramisu birthday cake and a signature Paris ceramic 
balloon cookie jar filled with fancy cookies for BG’s birthday. I snacked and Hubby & I 
told BG all about the insane man on the scooter. I head back to my room around 2am.

Houston makes it up finally around 5am after a lucrative night at the black jack tables.

The next morning I am a bit katznjammer. We pack, since our check out is 1pm when we are 
all heading en masse back to McCarran. I head down to the business centre and print my 
boarding pass miraculously getting group A. We all end up again at, surprise, Mon Ami for lunch.
Mark and a friend of his meet us there. We have a great conversation since all of us worked 
at Disneyland. Mark’s friend still does so she updates us on all the latest horrors.

Lunch gives me some life, but by the time I get to the airport I am ready for a nap. 
We all say our good-byes as we’re dropped off at our various airlines. I get to my gate, 
and plant myself again somehow as the first person in A for my flight (most likely because 
I’m there two hours early.)

The flight is packed so I head back to the last row since they exit from both the forward and aft 
doors in Burbank. There is a storm front heading in over the Pacific so the captain warns us of some chop. 
There is in fact, so much chop they order everyone to remain in their seats the entire 50min flight and 
forgo any beverage service. Funny, I’ve had worse turbulence with beverage service.

Normally I end up arriving at every airport on my BUR/LAS trips so early that my bag usually 
ends up on the flight before mine and is waiting in baggage claim for me. This trip when I arrive 
at both airports even earlier than normal, my bag goes on both of my flights so I must wait. Wacky.

Tommy picks me up in the rain, get me home, plants me in front of our fireplace wrapped in a 
warm blanket cuddled by two kittens and feeds me yummy Thai food. I am beat. I need a vacation.

Great times with old friends. It’s great to be home, 
and I’m already planning my Vegas birthday trip!


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