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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Homeward Bound….and a look through happy traveler’s eyes

Posted: February 27, 2012
by: Mark Stine

Heading home to Las Vegas after a long work week in the NYC area generally means a five hour flight...and my preference is to try and rest. For me, Las Vegas is home…Red Rocks Park…desert vistas, skiing on Mt Charleston and a laid back life in the Summerlin community. But to most passengers on a Friday night flight… out of the Big Apple…well Vegas means party time!

A recent flight of mine got out of the gate on time…started down the runway at JFK and just before lift off speed the front of the aircraft shook violently…we slowed then sped up again…followed by another shuddering jolt. Dismayed looks among the passengers conveyed our understanding that maybe…just maybe we weren’t supposed to take off. Our pilots wisely took us to a side runway and back to the gate. An hour and a half delayed ensued with the announcement that no ascertainable problem could be found and we would try it again. Confidence…not so much!

While we waited, I did not suffer. I was in an exit row...not exactly first class…but with plenty of leg room and a sleepy couple from India zoned out next to me I made the most of it. In the delay at the gate, a new passenger boarded…a somewhat animated individual who was seated across the aisle in the opposite exit row and I think she had already started “Vegas festivities.” The couple sitting in the two furthest seats opposite had been quiet…but once “Laura”, as I later learned her name; entered…well the party seemed to get off the ground even though the airplane hadn’t initially!

Once airborne and the beverages started flowing…many of the passengers started their Vegas experience in mid-flight. As the energy of Laura and her seatmates Katie and Chet ramped up they kept the flight attendant busy with drink orders and I couldn’t resist their enthusiasm. So much for resting! I learned Laura was a teacher of 9th grade algebra and 11th grade calculus and Katie and Chet were young Manhattan attorneys…who as the night progressed offered up all kind of amusing legal musings! Let’s just say they became the “trusted exit row passengers!”


Laura, Katie and Chet enjoying the trip to Vegas!

Their questions about Las Vegas put me in the position of talking up the latest Vegas hot spots. Being a local , I don’t usually hang out on the strip, since I am more into the desert lifestyle… but I thought…Advice…hmmm...well the recently opened Cosmopolitan is an action spot…great restaurants and the only strip front elevated pool. See and be seen!


The newest hotel on the strip – The Cosmopolitan

As to restaurants, The Cosmopolitan features an eclectic blend and my favorite is Jaleo, where I have dined with my friend Isabelle from France, who attends conferences in Vegas each year. .


The website detail provides this background, “Culinary mastermind José Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup brings the authentic flavor of a Spanish tapas restaurant to Las Vegas with the award-winning Jaleo restaurant re-imagined to include the excitement and spectacle of Las Vegas. A perennial favorite in Washington DC, Jaleo restaurant was one of the country's first successful tapas restaurants, setting the standard for Spanish cuisine in the U.S. for almost two decades.”

Check out this link for a full listing of the Cosmopolitan restaurants.

Another suggestion I had for the trio was the Aria Hotel based in the City Center complex. Connected to the Cosmopolitan by elevated walkways, City Center is the anchor for the “Internationale moderne style” that blends the two complexes.


City Center…the future today

So…hotels and gaming…check…dance clubs. ..check…great places to eat ..check… About this time the young couple from India woke up from their 26 hours of flying and started to join in the conversation. They were flying half way round the world for a wedding and were arriving just in time for a reception. As a tired business traveler, it was actually fun on this trip to pick up the excitement and energy of this weekend party crew… At one point I though the flight attendant had become a cocktail waitress…one whole tray was for my three compadres… mixers and min bottles for all! Bottles and mixers made for an interesting flight Strangers when they met on the plane...Laura infused enthusiasm and energy…Katie and Chet bonded with everyone and as I walked up the ramp when we landed, I had a good feeling they would be up all night and contributing to the Las Vegas economy. You can too…give it a try!


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Your Comments

What a refreshing way to spend the long flight home on a Friday night. Glad you were so fortunate in your seating and amenable to sharing your time and knowledge with your seat mates. Thanks for sharing with us.

Posted by: Bart Boydston at Feb 27, 2012 8:19:45 PM


It has been a long time since my wife and I were in Las Vegas. But we've got wonderful memories of our visits there. Thanks for the blog and for sharing your travel adventure.


Posted by: Dave Galusha at Mar 5, 2012 1:08:27 PM