Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Day in Vegas

Thanksgiving is supposed to a family holiday. But it's also supposed to be a celebration of when our nation stole the land we live on from the natives who lived peacefully and in harmony with the place we now call home. Also, it's a day when Al Roker points at floats of outdated cartoon characters (why is Underdog still included in the Macy's Day Parade every year? Do kids even know who Underdog is?).

Anyway, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays for which you might need a holiday. Your family might get mad at you, but why not avoid the usual questions about when you're getting your life together from your parental units and skip the stressful part altogether with a trip to Las Vegas instead of home? While this idea seems irresponsible, you know that it also seems more than a little bit appealing. And while many places across the country are closed up for Turkey-Day, most of Las Vegas is open for business. So what, if you were to take the audacious plunge and forgo family-time for Sin City, are the best things to do in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving?

I'm thankful that you asked, because it gives me the not so rare opportunity to pontificate on my opinions about how to spend a successful Sin City Turkey-Day.

Even if you skip tradition and head to Las Vegas, you'll probably want to enjoy a Turkey dinner somewhere. It just feels downright un-American to not consume the tryptophan-filled bird somewhere, and luckily you'll have many options around town at which to enjoy a good ol' American-style Thanksgiving dinner.

If you want to go all fancy-pants with your dinner, Le Cirque at Bellagio is offering a five course (and very expensive) prix fix meal with stuffed Turkey and the like. The food will most definitely be perfect (and better than your mother makes it... sorry Ma', but it's true) and the service will be impeccable, but if you're looking for a more downscale experience, then New York New York's Irish Pub Nine Fine Irishmen is serving Guinness-Glazed Turkey, which sounds pretty awesome (and much cheaper than a five-course prix fix meal at an internationally acclaimed resto).

You won't miss your mom's Apple Pie when you can visit some of Sin City's decadent sweet-centric businesses. Choose from dessert haven Sugar Factory at The Paris, Planet Hollywood, MGM Grand, or Mirage, as well as Chocolate-centric places like Jean Philippe Patisserie (with locations in The Bellagio and Aria), or Max Brenner at The Forum Shoppes in Caesars Palace. Some of the most sweetly decadent desserts are available at the whimsical Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace, which features mega-sized Chocolate Blackout Cake, Apple Cobbler A La Mode, Deep Fried Orea Sundae, or their world famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. If you're feeling extra fancy and want to show off all of the money you have as a bonafide 1%er, the restaurant also serve a $1,000 "Grand Opulence" Sundae, which is topped by 23 Karat Goldleaf and Gold Flakes and is in the Guinness World Record Books as the most expensive Sundae on the planet.

Yes, Thanksgiving is a great day to check out and watch a bunch of football games. Luckily, this is Las Vegas we're talking about and you can find plenty of spots to post up for hours and watch all of the games at once. Sports bars galore, such as Lagasse's Stadium at The Venetian (I'm no longer boycotting Sheldon Adelson's resort now that his $100 million in donations aimed at defeating the President TANKED BIG TIME) or the Brit-tinged Crown and Anchor will have all the games playing on flatscreen TVs. Or you can get MORE emotionally involved in the outcome of an event you have no control over by putting some money on the games at any of the bazillion sports books located in every single casino... where they'll bring you a free drinks to help deal with the inevitable trauma of all of your bets crumbling to dust.

The only Turkey I need for Thanksgiving is Wild Turkey, amIright? Heavy drinking is generally a necessary part of any holiday, usually because being around family for an extended period of time is essentially impossible without a little help from alcoholic beverages. But just because you've narrowly escaped an awkward familial reunion for Sin City doesn't mean you won't want to indulge... and of course Las Vegas is as good a place as any if you feel like having a drink, or two, or many more than two. It will come as no surprise that I'll recommend some of the more divey corners of Sin City when looking for a place to post up for some serious drinking... my first endorsement from when I started this blog nearly two years ago was The Double Down Saloon, and the punk rock dive remains a favorite. Downtown has a nice collection of interesting watering holes located near one another, including hipster hang The Griffin, the artsy Artifice, or nightlife spot for geeks Insert Coins, amongst other great choices.

Enjoy high end cocktails at The Chandelier in The Cosmopolitan (a bar that is, as the name implies, actually built into the inside of a massive Chandelier, with glowing beaded lights) or the mixology mecca The Downtown Cocktail Room, while Beer lovers can enjoy an excellent selection of Craft Brews at the off the Strip Aces and Ales or Public House in The Venetian, and winos can delude themselves into believing that their alcoholism is a classy habit at The Rio Wine Cellar & Tasting Room, Double Helix Wine & Whiskey in The Shoppes at The Palazzo, or Aureole in Mandalay Bay (a restaurant and bar with a Wine tower so tall that the beautiful ladies who fetch the bottles for you have strap into a pulley system).

While betting money you'll most likely lose pointlessly doesn't seem to fit in the holiday spirit, think about it: Thanksgiving is a holiday about celebrating America, and what is more American than Las Vegas? And how do you celebrate the city more than by indulging in the main reason for its existence? We call this line of logic "justification" or "enabling," but whatever you want to call it, if you're in Las Vegas, you're gonna end up wagering at least some money. Do it right by finding the places that feature low minimum bets so you don't lose your shirt too quickly, such as Bill's Gamblin' Hall on The Strip or basically all of the places in Downtown.

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