So lets talk about Vegas! I can finally say I have been to Vegas. Its over-the-top, kitschy and out to steal all your money. As I mentioned in the last post, I arrived in Vegas at 1:15am PDT/ 4:15am EDT, 2 hours later than scheduled. Me still being on Eastern Standard Time and not having eaten since the afternoon prior to flying, I was working with a sluggish brain. Luckily, the airport was small and finding my way to the Taxi stand was easy-peasy. I got a quick ride over to my hotel, The Excalibur. I had intentionally picked what seemed to me the most ridiculous hotel there (within budget). It did not disappoint.
The Excalibur is…well, its a weird mix. My impressions were varying shades of Medieval Times Restaurant, Renaissance Faire, Disney Land, and Stephen King’s The Stand. The lobby was gorgeous and grand. I wandered around for about 15 minutes just trying to figure out how to check in. There was an self-service kiosk to check yourself in, which directed me on how to turn my phone into my room key. Easy! I followed directions obtained from a random casino employee, cutting thru the center of the giant casino, down a carpeted ramp, around the corner and to the elevators. After figuring out which elevators to use, I then spent maybe another 5 minutes figuring out that I needed to swipe my (cell phone) key card in order for the elevator to ascend. After that it was a walk down a long, dimly lit, empty corridor to my room. I tried to open my door. Nothing. Again and again I waved my phone in front of the lock, holding it to the lock, turning the phone around, turning it sideways, exiting out of the app and reloading it, trying again, quadruple checking that I was at the right door. I tried the same things over and over and over again before finally admitting defeat.
I was going to have to go all the way back to the check-in desk. So I did, feeling every one of those steps bruising my tired feet. Key card obtained, I swung by the little food market in the lobby, spent $10 on a Lenny & Larry Cookie and a small bottle of water. I didn’t even care. I just wanted to get to my bed. Once back at my room, I was SO relieved that my key card worked. I put on some pajamas, climbed into bed, stuffed half the cookie and some water down my gullet while laying on my side, then slept.
In the morning, despite not having much sleep, I was excited to go find some real food and go exploring. I’d researched a few vegan places to dine and upon seeing biscuits and gravy on the menu at The Modern Vegan, I knew thats where I wanted to start my day. Vegan biscuits and gravy is my favorite breakfast comfort food when on the road. Its the dish by which I judge all vegan breakfast joints.
The Modern Vegan was a short uber ride away. It wasn’t not much to look at from the outside. That’s actually an understatement. I nearly asked the uber driver to take me elsewhere. I apprehensively approached the restaurant in the strip mall next to ugly rundown commercial buildings, but when I opened the door I was in for a surprise. It was beautiful.
I wish I could say the biscuits and gravy were also beautiful, but as you can see, they were a giant serving of brown and beige. Besides my half a cookie the night before, it had been about 18 hours since I’d eaten, so I dug into my breakfast with gusto. It tasted like salted beige. Wherever the gravy hadn’t soaked into the biscuit, it was like biting into slightly damp hardtack. If my stomach weren’t absolutely rabid for sustenance, I would have sent it back and asked for something else. I ate it. I didn’t get sick from it. My waitress was friendly. The restaurant and its bathrooms were very pretty, and it had this funnyish (?) sign hidden in the hallway outside the bathrooms:
Maybe I hit them on an off day. Maybe biscuits and gravy just aren’t their thing.
After gorging myself on salted mediocrity, paying for my $27 meal, I called for an uber to take me back to my hotel.
Excalibur is right in the midst of everything so it was easy to walk around to check out the sites.
And while I did sightsee quite a bit, waste the time of overly pushy time-share hawkers and gamble away $10 (because Vegas), I spent most of my afternoon sitting on the patio of a nearby bar, drinking ciders, people watching and painting.
I know many people catch a show or do the night life thing in Vegas, but I was fully enjoying NOT doing the regular Vegas things. When evening came I headed back to the hotel and ordered a TWENTY DOLLAR veggie burger from Excalibur’s Johnny Rockets Restaurant and went to my room to paint for a bit before crashing out.
While it wasn’t quite my cup of tea and too pricey by far, I wouldn’t be opposed to making Vegas a quick stop during a future road trip to check out the artsier side of town and the beautiful outdoorsy activities outside the city. I can’t say that I will ever again set it as a destination to fly into if I have other options available.
My next stop: Oklahoma City, Tornadoes and Roaches, Oh My