Saturday, December 1, 2012

Vegas Baby! Bargains

Las Vegas has long been known for bargains, particularly food related bargains. Although most buffets are no longer in that class, we did make use of three good food deals and and a nice spa offering this trip.

The myVegas Facebook Game

MGM Resorts has been running a promotion on Facebook called myVegas. It involves simulated slot machines and other games (currently only blackjack). Ordinarily that wouldn't be very interesting but this game offers actual physical prizes. There's even a support group called MyVegas Friends where the more obsessive users post links to free chips and discuss the best ways to take advantage of the opportunity.

I discovered the game rather late, less than a week before our trip, but I managed to scrounge enough "loyalty points" for $20 worth of food at Jean Philippe Patisserie in Aria. (The prize description says "Signature Pastry" but it's really a $10 comp good for anything at Jean Philippe.)

So Thanksgiving morning we wandered down to Aria and cashed in.

Two large coffees, a cherry tart, a chocolate muffin and a cinnamon bun. The total would have been $19.95 without the game.

Estiatorio Milos

One of the great "hidden values" in Las Vegas is the $20.12 prix fixe lunch at Estiatorio Milos. The menu is pretty straight forward with a few items like lobster and octopus carrying supplements. But given the quality of the standard items, there's no reason to pay extra.

Yummy Grilled Bread
It seems that every restaurant on the planet has some sort of bread service these days. Milos keeps it simple but adds a slightly unusual twist by lightly grilling the crusty slices. Olive oil of course accompanies the bread. Go ahead and eat some but be sure to save enough to soak up the juices from your later courses.

First courses: Tomato Salad and Scallop Skewer w/ cous cous.
Tomato Salad
Darn near perfect. If I was a nit-picker I'd suggest the cous cous might possibly had not been made with the steam and fluff method - it was essentially identical with the quick cook technique I use on a weekly basis...

Main courses: Shrimp Saganaki and Lavraki:

Shrimp Saganaki
The mains were just about perfect. The only flaw was in service - the perfectly cooked broccoli was too firm to be cut using the fish knife supplied with the Lavraki. I had to borrow Beth's table knife to divide it into bite sized pieces.

Dessert: Walnut Cake

Very good, if slightly dry. If I had to suggest a change it would be to to warm the Walnut Cake and allow the ice cream to melt a bit.

Walnut Cake
We arrived just before their noon opening time and were seated immediately. However, the dining room filled up very quickly so you probably want to make reservations, particularly if you're dining on a weekend.


Restaurant.Com's M.O. is pretty simple. You pay $10 for a $25 credit at the restaurant of your choice. There are (currently) 104 choices near the Las Vegas "strip". That's not a bad deal, but around the end of the month the powers that be publish (on Twitter and by email) discount codes that reduce that $10 to as little as $2. We're dedicated users of the service and since the certificates never expire and can be easily exchanged, we keep a few in our account for trips.

This time we had lunch at Tacos and Tequila in Luxor. The food is reliably tasty (though of questionable authenticity) and the pricing makes it pretty easy to hit the $35 minimum purchase the $25 Restaurant.Com certificate requires. They also have a particularly delicious margarita made with Los Danzantes Reposado Mezcal. It's the only tequila based drink I indulge in these days.


Spa services in Las Vegas are expensive - often twice what you'd pay at a local spa, so we're always on the lookout for some kind of a deal when we're planning a vacation. This year Groupon came through at the right time with $59 for a 50 minute massage (normally $130) at the Golden Nugget on Fremont. There's not really much to say about this (and you wouldn't want to see pictures - trust me).

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