Sunday, August 12, 2007

The sixth anniversary is... penguins?

So I'm at a 2/4 limit table at the Luxor, still a little steamed (and sleepy) from an early-morning tournament loss (who plays poker at 9 a.m.? Apparently I'm not the only one - hence the sleepy), when a giant penguin sneaks up behind me and goes "bap bap bap" (here you should imagine the penguin beak pecking at my shoulder). This is not a hallucination - Andrew has gotten me a life-size stuffed toy emperor penguin. Context: "life size" == "larger than the carry-on sizing bin for an airline" or "tall enough to see over a poker table". The penguin brought me good luck, though, and overall the poker play was profitable for both of us this time in Vegas. (We solved the "bigger than a carry-on" problem by sitting it on my lap in the plane, where it made an excellent pillow; it did take some explaining to get it through the security checkpoint.)

So now I have to think of something equally cool to get Andrew as an anniversary present. Suggestions from the peanut gallery are welcome, but it sounds like he wants another camera.

This was a fun trip to Vegas. We played poker in the Luxor, the Excalibur, and the Bellagio. We intended to play at the Rio and Mandalay, but they were only running no-limit at the time, so no go. Context switching from limit to no-limit is something I don't do quickly. All poker rooms we played in were nonsmoking (a welcome change from last time I was in town for gambling purposes) and had several tables running at once. All were near the casinos' sports books, so I watched an unusual amount of ESPN too. The Bellagio's poker room is very nice, but I'm not a big fan of the clientele it attracts - imagine the stereotypical young aggressive hoodie-wearing player who won't shut up about how stupid he thinks you are. Even if you're taking his money. That's just not fun. All the other card rooms seemed to have a nice mix of tourists, locals, and other assorted people who do not Take Seriously a game of low-limit poker.

We ate at Michael Mina's, which was seriously awesome. I didn't know beforehand that he was also the chef at Aqua, but the similarities are apparent. The tasting menu had this lobster pot pie thing, and tuna tartare, and the yummiest cod ever, and kobe-style beef with foie gras and lots of different sauces, and then loads of chocolate-themed desserts.. each dish seemed small, but I didn't need to eat for the whole next day because it was just that filling. I have also been instructed to try to replicate the chocolate chip cookies, which were quite something.

We saw Penn&Teller and the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil, which were both pretty cool. It's sort of hard to describe either one, though.

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