Friday, January 20, 2012

Holiday trip 2011: Christmas in Las Vegas

Sunday, December 25, 2011

On the van ride from Kingman to Vegas we had enough passengers to require two vehicles. I thought I lucked out when I called shotgun in the van not full to bursting with Amish (going to Vegas?!?!), but my fortunes quickly sank when a family settled in behind me with a coughing four-year-old and parents who talked a mile a minute about the most insignificant minutiae. I should have put in with the Amish.

At McCarran Airport I met up with my bestest pal, Barb, for a ride back to the house for much-needed sleep.

Later after a jump start with coffee and Irish creme I was put to work chopping red and green bells, canned chiles for chile relleno casserole, and hoping that almond milk passes as a substitute for cow fluid in said casserole [see blog post]. Yesterday, Barb’s mate Al found out the hard way that almond milk doesn't thicken when making a white sauce for béchamel.

At last the highlight of my trip, a New Mexican Christmas dinner with Barb, Al, and la familia. With green chicken and red cheese tamales from Doña Maria’s [see blog post], the comforting chile relleno casserole, salad, chicken and sour cream/cheese enchiladas, Spanish rice, beans, pinto and black bean dips, guacamole, salsa, and freshly made sopapillas [see blog post]. What a bounty!

Afterward the holiday tradition of the house: gift-laden personalized Christmas stockings for all in attendance, followed by slices of Al’s much-desired carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. A memorable experience that I hope to repeat.

Monday, December 26

Morning finds us about enjoying breakfast with Barb and Al at Tony's Mexican Food [see blog post]. Afterward I go shopping with Barb for after-Chistmas stocking stuffers for next year before catching the Sherlock Holmes sequel at a local googleplex.

Later we catch up with Barb’s brother and family atop the Stratosphere to catch the night view of Las Vegas and The Strip. The evening finishes at Northside Nathan's, a local pizzeria specializing in thick, crunchy, Detroit-style pizza [see blog post].

Tuesday, December 27

First morning on my own in Las Vegas. I started it off proper with a big-ass breakfast at Hash House A Go Go in the newly-remodeled Plaza Hotel & Casino [see blog post].

After an overpriced city bus ride up Rancho without the option for a transfer, followed by a two-mile walk, Barb and I meet up once more with her family from out-of-town for a scenic drive up to Kyle Canyon Road and Mount Charleston. Las Vegans by the droves had flocked up into the mountains to enjoy the snow and sled down any conceivable slope they could find within walking distance of the road.

We retired to the Mount Charleston Lodge for lunch where I feigned a queasy stomach 'cos I didn't feel like eating mediocre, overpriced food. The salads were enormous but uninspiring, the cup of chili with a melted slice of cheese affixed atop was difficult to pierce without slopping beans about, but the fries were halfway decent.

With darkness ascending, Barb and I continued shopping for after-Christmas deals followed by a tasty meal of Christmas dinner leftovers to finish the evening.

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