On Friday, we told Tampa no. It wasn’t working for us, although we were a bit disappointed we’d let the bird in hand go free. At least, we were relieved of some stress.
Saturday morning, I was just joining Rich for coffee downstairs when he told me he’d had another bite in his email but this time in SoCal. We were deliriously happy, as we always are before we take a close look at what it all entails. We’ll see what happens next.
So energized by the possibilities, we decided to head over to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s. It’s our California connection, maybe because we’d discovered it, including lunch at Spago, on our first trip to Las Vegas together when we were living in the San Francisco Bay Area – a very memorable occasion. Besides, Rich had just gotten a raise and a nice bonus, and we needed to celebrate.
We took the back way down Dean Martin Drive to Frank Sinatra Drive – lol! It had been several years since we’d been there so we had to get our bearings. We were happy to see that Caesar’s isn’t charging for parking yet or at least not in that lot or who knows what the story is about parking. It’s a crazy new trend here the locals are not happy about, and we’ve been avoiding Strip hotels for that reason. It’s the principle of the thing or maybe we’ve had our fill of Strip hotel properties.
We stepped into Caesar’s and were tempted to nose around a bit, but then we found the Forum Shops entrance, and took a nice long stroll down memory lane, and even stopped to watch the Atlantis Show (so Disney) we were surprised to see was still there. When we started to get hungry, we thought about Border Grill, although we prefer the one at Mandalay Bay overlooking the pools – it reminds us of Disney World.
We thought about Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill that we’d spied just inside Caesar’s but we were drawn to Spago in the Forum Shops, reminding us of that special time over 20 years ago. We were seated “outside,” the service was just as spectacular as we’d remembered it, and while the menu had changed during that time, the food was just as James Beard worthy.
Moonstone Oysters on the Half Shell*
Cocktail Sauce, Red Wine Mignonette
House-Made Rigatoni Pasta
Fennel Sausage Bolognese Sauce, Herbed Ricotta
Grilled Prime Beef Burger*
Red Onion Marmalade, Aged White Cheddar, Bacon Aioli
Sangiovese Rodano, Chianti Classico, Italy ’11
The oysters were the very best ever – amazing – it was a whole experience. The bread service was awesome – what can I say? Those breadsticks were mouth watering with out of this world seasoning.
With Lent approaching, I was craving beef. I thought about the Flat Iron Steak, but I’ve always wondered about those $18 burgers I’d heard about. It turned out to be a good choice. At $19, each bite was so tantalizing, that it was no longer a burger. Maybe it was the extra dollar. I could only eat half, but Rich did justice to the other half so nothing was wasted. His pasta was just as enjoyable as the burger.
We were too full for dessert, so we sat a bit and sipped on our wine. Then we took an after lunch stroll in Caesar’s and stopped in at the Payard Patisserie & Bistro and picked up a small box of chocolates for dessert at home. Scrumptious! Francois Payard was our chef at one of the “Sweet Sundays” at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival several years ago.
What we loved about Caesar’s is that as so many Strip hotels have gone young and contemporary, Caesar’s has some of that but it’s retained that classic Vegas feel and attracts people of all ages. We didn’t feel too old at all. We’re talking about staying over some weekend to explore further.
Speaking of a classic, I was happy to see that Cleopatra’s Barge was still there – I remember drinks and dancing there when I was still in my 20s.
In front of Cleopatra’s Barge so many years later: