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The atmosphere in Las Vegas creates a feeling that anything can happen, whether you’re ready or not.
Despite my initial reservations about going to Vegas on a holiday weekend, I still had the time of my life. And if I ate too much, I certainly walked it off during the trip.
Richard and I spent a few days with four out-of-town friends, and we ate food that was out-of-this-world delicious. I’m talkin’ roasted chicken that practically melted off the bone, and raspberry French toast with the most delectable vanilla cream filling you can imagine.
Wherever you go in Vegas, you’re bound to find good food. We splurged on a few fancy meals at places like the Bellagio hotel and Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House in the MGM Grand (go for the gumbo!). We ate cheap but tasty pizza in New York New York. And we were enamored with the reasonably priced Mongolian beef, a signature dish, at P.F. Chang’s in the Paris Las Vegas hotel. Richard claims there were Haagen-Daz shops everywhere, which may be a bit of an exaggeration.
We ended up at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas. If I hadn’t been so exhausted from the 12-hour drive the night before and from walking The Strip all day, I might have had a beer. Instead, I settled on the butternut squash soup and a giant pretzel.
We clapped to the beat of the music while sitting at long wooden tables waiting for our Bavarian-style Thanksgiving dinner. A lively band entertained customers and encouraged people to dance and sing along. A busty blonde waitress dressed in a Bavarian costume served our friends shots of brandy and spanked them hard with a wooden paddle. We’ve got the pictures to prove it! (Now you know the real reason I didn’t order a beer.)
I swear I didn’t go to Vegas just for the food. We went to spend time with friends (who we don’t see often enough) and to see a couple of shows. We saw Penn & Teller, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, and Zumanity, billed as the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil, at New York New York Hotel & Casino.
Richard and I saw Penn & Teller during our first trip to Vegas a few years ago, and it was worth seeing them again. Penn & Teller are eccentric magicians who combine comedy and illusion. They perform tricks that are beautiful, hilarious, horrific and astounding. We all left the show discussing how they could have pulled off some of their illusions. None of us could venture a guess for the bullet trick.
I didn’t know entirely what to expect with Zumanity. The show combined elements of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with Cirque du Soleil’s beautiful acrobatic performances. In between the amazing physical feats, the “Rocky” crew took over and pulled embarrassed audience members on stage to join in their games. This cabaret-style production included a tall transvestite hostess and her pet, “The Beast,” as well as lots of scantily clad male and female acrobats doing amazing things with ropes, hoops and giant metal rings.
If the show had a message, I’d say it’s a reminder that life is short, so have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously, especially in Vegas. It’s a place where anything can happen.
Vegas or bust:
Las Vegas is open 24 hours a day. Admission is free. Gamble at your own risk. (I gambled on food. That’s a safe bet.) For more information, visit vegas.com.
Check out my photos of Las Vegas.
Journalist Lauren Brooks lives in Chico. She is the editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record’s weekly entertainment guide, The Buzz. She is a CSU-Chico alumna who graduated with a B.A. in journalism in spring 2006. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.