We were exhausted from all the traveling and lack o’ sleep Saturday into Sunday, and conked out relatively early on Sunday night. But we were up and swinging for the fences early on Monday. Toney wanted to check out a breakfast restaurant inside The Mirage called Pantry. Not The Pantry, mind you. Just Pantry.
So, we got ready and went downstairs around 8:00 or 8:15. And there was already a big-honkin’ line of people waiting to get into the place. So, funk dat. I’m not waiting in some kind of Space Mountain queue for eggs. “Wanna try the buffet?” she asked. Buffet?? Why wasn’t that our first choice?
It’s called Cravings and it cost us roughly twenty bucks each. It felt wildly expensive to me, but I was still young and inexperienced at this point. Oh… I would learn. I would come to realize that the breakfast buffet was a freaking bargain, compared to some of the outrageously-priced shit we encountered there.
A crazy only-in-Vegas thing happened as we paid our admission fee: the cashier asked if we were interested in adding unlimited beer and wine for $12.99 each. “At breakfast??” I bellowed. She just shrugged and took that as a no. And, as ludicrous as it seems, we actually saw people in there eating pancakes and drinking red wine. Before 9 am. WTF?? Were they hardened alcoholics, still up from the night before, or just on vacation and saying fukkit? It’s hard to know.
Some other buffet questions… In a world where every food in the world is available to you, why would you eat cereal? That almost pissed me off, for some reason. Also, people actually prepare giant stacks of buttered toast? I thought that only happened on Leave It To Beaver? But I saw multiple people with teetering toast stacks on their tables. Weird.
It was great, and we ended up returning every morning, except for the day we went to the Grand Canyon. The omelet station was fantastic and served as a perfect foundation for the gluttony that was to follow. I actually developed a system, whereby I ate the same things every day, in the exact same order. Oh, I had it down to a fatass science. Highly recommended!
Then we ordered a car through Lyft, and the dude never showed up. At least not to our agreed-upon location. My phone told me he was there, but he was not. I called, and he never answered. That was annoying. There’s only one place they’ll let you do ride-sharing at The Mirage, and we were there. He was not. We were charged five bucks because WE didn’t show up. Bastards.
So, I ordered another car from Uber and got some redhaired dude around 30 years old. He seemed OK at the beginning, but as he continued to talk we realized he was a little braggy. Talking about how he and his wife are homeschooling their kids, and giving all manner of opinions about all sorts of things. All designed to make him seem highly accomplished and smart. He also used a lot of profanity, which is not really a problem, of course. But he didn’t know us. Right? By the time he dropped us off at the Neon Museum, I wasn’t a huge fan. Oh, he was fine, I guess. He just liked to pat himself on the back a lot.
I think this might’ve been the hottest day in a long line of hot days. Holy mackerel! While we were at the (outdoor) museum it was 106, according to my awash-in-sweat ass and phone. And it felt like the sun was reflecting off the metal of all those signs, making it even more “challenging.” The place was quirky and cool, and I’m certainly glad we visited it. But the thing I remember most about it: goddamn hot. Just impossibly hot.
Ol’ Red told us that the neighborhood — not far from Fremont Street — is sketchy. In fact, he doesn’t pick up fares there. He’ll drop people off but won’t pick anybody up. And it looked a little scummy, especially compared to The Strip. But not that bad. We wanted to check out Fremont Street but didn’t want to walk the half-mile in the heat to get there. So, we engaged our friends at Uber again.
A black man in his early 30s picked us up, and he had bottles of water and assorted snacks. Hell yeah. I knocked back some much-needed water, and he entertained us with some tall tales. He kept calling his car “a rolling air-conditioned oasis,” which I appreciated. He dropped us at Fremont Street, and I gave him a $5 tip on a $6 fare.
By this point it was about 3:30, so we went into a place called Banger Brewing. They make their beers on the premises, and we partook of several of them. Good stuff. We also had “bacon popcorn,” which was delicious. We were just trying to get our core temperatures down, after that hellish furnace we’d just endured at the Neon Museum.
Then we walked around a bit and wandered into the world-famous dive bar, Atomic Liquors. Toney didn’t like the looks of it, and whispered to me, “We’re only having one… and pay with cash.” Heh. But the bartender was great, and she stood there talking to us for a long time. Very friendly, and the beer was good. I love dive bars. Toney? Not so much.
That neighborhood was very questionable, indeed. The other end of Fremont Street seemed less so, but nothing happened. I mean, seriously. There was a shitty casino nearby, called the Western Hotel that I found fascinating. When we got back to the room I read everything I could find on it. Cool stuff!
Eventually, we were thoroughly sapped of all our energy, ’cause of the sun and beer. So, we had Uber take us back to our less-seedy digs on The Strip. A woman from Trinidad and Tobago (which is it??) picked us up. She was fantastic. Very funny and entertaining. She got the top tip, as well.
We went back to the room and decompressed. We cranked the AC down to about 57 and had another Sierra Nevada. Toney turned on the local news, and there was a story about how to coyote-proof your dog. One of their suggestions was a vest, like this one. I couldn’t stop laughing. We also saw a political commercial featuring one of the Property Brothers. I guess he lives there and is supporting something or other. I don’t like that.
Eventually, we went back downstairs, and that place was rocking. As soon as the elevator doors opened you could hear a roar of drunken humanity. Crazy. We wandered over to the Concierge desk and purchased two tickets to the Beatles Love show for Thursday night. Roughly $100 each. Shit!
Then we went to a “funky” restaurant called The Still. We’d picked this place out via the internet, and it seemed right up our alley. They told us it would be a ten-minute wait, even though I could see many open tables. So, we just wandered off and went through the Beatles shop nearby. When we were finished there, we still had nothing from The Still saying our table was ready. So, Toney put a dollar into a slot machine, did one spin and won $15.75. She cashed out, and our table was ready. That was the full extent of our gambling.
And I would not recommend the restaurant. They have an old Airstream camper in there, where the food is prepared. You have to walk up to it, place your order, and pay there. But if you want drinks, you pay a waitress. So, you’re paying in multiple places. And I mean PAYING. We had two orders of “street tacos,” and it ran us something like sixty bucks. They were fine but should’ve cost thirty, or maybe twenty-five.
Plus… get this! We had one beer each, and it cost us $27.82. That’s with a $4 tip. I took a photo of the receipt, so I’d remember the exact amount. Is that insane, or what?
I was mildly pissed when we left that place, ’cause of the high cost of the mediocre food and drink, and the general unfriendliness of the staff. Like Johnny Rotten once said, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
And I don’t have any more notes about that day, so I guess nothing else happened?
Here are some Monday photos.
I probably won’t be able to update tomorrow, because I need to record a podcast. But I’ll be back on Thursday and Friday.
Have a great one, my friends!