The Champion's Table
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Friday, May 29, 2015

Las Vegas, NV: Timeshare living, outlet shopping, high roller, white castle, numbing effect – Day 1


Holiday weekends can equal a long commute to your final destination, especially if leaving from Southern California. On Fridays, travelling east can be long. Your travel time can vary between 4 to 7 hours when heading out to Las Vegas, NV on a Friday night.

  • Travel Tip: If you have a lot of data to spare, use the Waze app. It can save you time and gas money. My friend who left for Las Vegas one hour after us, arrived in Las Vegas two hours before we did. Her drive time was 4 hours, our drive time was 7 hours.

A great place to stop for gas and a meal is Lenwood Road in Barstow. They have all of the major gas stations like Chevron, Shell, etc. They also have a huge selection of restaurants to choose from. We normally stop at Del Taco so I can get my Bun Taco and Combo Cup, but we decided to eat at Original Tommy’s Hamburgers for a change of pace. All of the entrees are served with Tommy’s famous chili unless otherwise requested. Their chili is very thick and sticks to everything – burgers, hot dogs, fries, you name it.

Triple Cheeseburger (upgraded to ¼ lb. patties), topped with cheese, chopped onions, tomato, pickles, mustard, and of course, chili. The burger was served on the tray and looked like a volcanic lava flow. The thick and viscous chili slowly oozed from the burger along with the melted cheese. The hubby used his fries to scoop up the saucy deliciousness of chili before he went in to devour this marvel of food porn. The patties were juicy. The chili and cheese just made this scrumptious burger along with acidic elements from the pickles, onions, and mustard. Rating: 4/5

Chili Cheese Fries was calling my name. After 5 hours behind the wheel, I was hungry but had a comfort food craving. Just like the Triple Cheeseburger, the chili overflowed the fry basket and melted the cheese. The gooey chili cheese wrapped perfectly on each fry with no drips on the table, my shirt, or my face. I knew I could eat something else but since it was almost midnight, I saved my hunger for the morning. Rating: 4.5/5
As we pulled up to the Elara, trying to find where to park can be a challenge. It is a shared parking garage between Elara, Planet Hollywood, and the Miracle Mile Shops. This was the only timeshare in the Hilton Grand Vacations Club family that we had not stayed at and wanted to give it a try. The hotel/timeshare has 1201 rooms and soars 52 floors above the Strip.

  • Parking Tip: Park on any level near the center elevators. Take the elevators or escalators (if you don’t have too much luggage) to Level 3. There is a walkway directly into the Elara. Otherwise, you will have to walk through the mall with your luggage in tow.

The One Bedroom Suite has a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances, light cookware, and self-brew coffeemaker; Living area with 42” flat-screen TV, sleeper sofa, club chairs, coffee table and 8-foot HD Home Theatre Projector; High-speed wireless internet access; Bathroom has a 15” TV, washer/dryer combo, enclosed shower and toilet, and oversized jet stream tub. The windows are floor to ceiling with automatic shade retraction during the day and closure when it’s time to sleep. The décor is very boutiquey with red painted walls in the kitchen/living room, red L-shaped sofa bed, and zebra-print lounge in the bedroom. We had a southern vantage with views of MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, and City Center. The pool looked beautiful from the room, but was too busy to try when the sun was out. The clouds starting moving in and closed our chance for sunbathing.

Las Vegas South Premium Outlets is a huge outlet mall where you can find exactly what you’re looking for and save some money too. We have been shopping here for years and have saved a sizable chunk of change on clothing, kitchenware, linens, handbags, and more. Here’s a sample of what you might save:

  • Vanity Fair Outlet: 3 pairs of short for $39.98 each. On sale for $15.99 each. Savings of $71.97!
  • The Jockey Store: Multi-pack of underwear for $22.50 each and Silver Line Night Shirt for $30. On sale for $19.98. If you are a Jockey Rewards member, you receive store certificates in the mail for your purchases. With $20 in rewards, these were for FREE – savings of $52.50!
  • Quiksilver: Shorts for $34.99 each. On sale for $25 each. Savings of $20!
  • Van Heusen: Double pleated twill pants for $56 each. On sale for $16.80 each. Savings of $78.40!
  • Total savings of $222.87!

Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino (formerly Terrible’s Hotel & Casino) has a lot of slot and video poker specials. On Saturdays, you get 10x points on reels and video reels, and 4x points on video poker. A-Play Club is my favorite club. As long as you use your card once a year, your points do not expire. They also have great food specials in the Sterling Spoon Café. Just check the billboard out front for the latest special.

Having a full kitchen in your room has its advantages. We have a standard box that we bring that contains a non-stick frying pan, Brita water pitcher, and other kitchen necessities that the timeshares don’t usually have. Plus, we bring a food staple of powdered drinks like iced tea and lemonade; refrigerated items that wouldn’t last in our home refrigerator while we were gone, and select frozen items like salmon fillets, pizza, etc. to make during the trip. For lunch, I made a sesame chili marinated salmon fillet atop salad and inside whole wheat naan as a sandwich with some lettuce and cucumber.

An hour before sunset, we starting walking to The Linq to ride The High Roller. It was a 15-20 minute relaxed walk from Elara to The Linq. A promenade of outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment leads you to the focal point, The High Roller. There is a bar in the queue where you can order up your favorite drink to take with you on the ride. It is 550 feet tall and each cabin can hold up to 40 people. The 30-minute ride will show you views of the Las Vegas Strip and vicinity – Red Rock to the west and Henderson to the east. Due to the heavy cloud coverage, sunset was not seen, but it could be great on a nice clear day. The colors on The High Roller were red, white, and blue for Memorial Day Weekend.

A short walk north of The Linq is the brand new White Castle location. It opened on January 27, 2015 next to Casino Royale has been busy ever since. The only time I could get a White Castle was when I was in Chicago for a tradeshow. I simply had to hit the Vegas location up for these tasty little sliders.

Loaded Fries are topped with cheese sauce, ranch, and bacon. I love the crinkle cut fries which holds the sauce and toppings really well. Nothing better than cheesy fries, unless they are topped with chili too. Rating: 5/5

Double Original Slider is two beef patties with an extra piece of bread in the middle and topped with onions and pickle. Patties are steam grilled with the onions which adds more flavor to the patty. The buns are put on top to steam as well. The whole slider is just juicy and soft. There are imitators but this is the original! Rating: 3/5

Double Cheese Slider is two beef patties with an extra piece of bread in the middle and topped with cheese, onions, and pickle. When I bit into the first one, I was in foodie heaven. There is nothing like the juicy beef flavor with the grilled onions and gooey cheese. I was being good, but I could have easily eaten a couple more of these. Rating: 5/5
White Castle on Urbanspoon
On the way back to the Elara, we stopped by NUMB at Harrah’s Casino for a Mango Kush made with mango, Cruzan rum, Skyy passion fruit floater. It was a frozen drink with the perfect balance of sweet fruit flavor and rum. Not overly alcoholic with a smooth flavor.

  • Savings Tip: If you keep your cup, you receive $2 off your future refills. We keep this cup in our timeshare box so we always have it when we go to Vegas.

As we took in the sights of The Strip, the neon a glow lead us back to the Elara. A restful night’s sleep was anxiously awaited to build up stamina for Day 2. Good night, Las Vegas!

To view more photos, please visit OC Food Diva's Facebook page.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
2610 Fisher Blvd
Barstow, CA 92311-9446
+1.760.253.5500
Hours: Monday through Wednesday from 8am to 11pm, Thursday through Sunday from 8am to 12am

80 E Harmon Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89109
+1.702.669.6700

7400 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89123
+1.702.896.5599
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 9am to 9pm, Sunday from 9am to 8pm

4100 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89169
+1.702.733.7000

The High Roller at The Linq
3535 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
+1.800.634.6414

3411 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
+1.702.227.8531
Hours: 24 hours

NUMB at Harrah’s Casino
3475 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

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