Vacation Stories-Las Vegas Edition

I know, I know.  I disappeared.  Work started and it was a whirlwind five weeks of camp.  It really was a fantastic experience, working with exceptional kids and many of my good friends.  After that was a quick trip up to Cape Cod to visit family and the beach (on the single morning that it was not pouring raining), back to work for the weekend showcase, then a day of packing before my first visit to–drumroll–Las Vegas.  It was a fantastic trip with my best friends filled with all the “necessary” experiences: touring the casinos and hotels, playing slots and tables (and I can safely say, I actually stayed even on gambling), cheap hotel rooms, fountain (and pirate) shows, and that legendary establishment of the West: In-N-Out.

I’ve heard some people compare In-N-Out to Five Guys, but, in my mind, there was no comparison.  I do love Five Guys, but In-N-Out is, by far, the best fast food burger I have tasted in my twenty-plus years. I’m a sucker for caramelized onions and for mustard, so Animal Style was a must, but I can appreciate that, intentional or not, I can easily order gluten-free with the Protein Style option.  My infatuation might be helped by the fact that I had my first burger in an impromptu, midnight picnic on the front lawn of Excalibur.  Yes, the first delicious bite was in front of a castle.  Beat that, Five Guys.  I will actually admit that later in the week, we took a taxi from our hotel, through the drive-through, and back in order to get these burgers.  And it was absolutely worth it.

Castle? Check.  Picnic? Check. Delicious? Absolutely.  (Please note: the Yard-long Margarita is out of frame…)

In addition to the heavenliest of fast food joints, we encountered other spectacular food at Hash House A-Go-Go, of Man V. Food fame.  And let me tell you, it is deserving of its spectacular list of awards.  I was entirely impressed, not only by the portion sizes, but by the freshness of the ingredients and quick and pleasant service.  We went for breakfast and the hashes and scrambles are all quite unique and delicious.  My friend was daring enough to order chicken and waffles, but had no hope of defeating the (literal) tower of meat and bread.  Another wonderful encounter was during our last day, when we found i ❤ burgers.  This discovery, unfortunately, occurred only a half hour after we had a desperate but disappointing lunch at our hotel’s burger restaurant, one that was barely better than Burger King.  But we did stop to scan the tempting menu and to try their spiked milkshakes.  Its a definite plan for a real meal on our next trip out.

Despite of the gems of such restaurant finds, there was plenty of not good food in Vegas, bookended by two twelve-hour days of travel that necessitated airport meals (is it just me, or have food options in the airport gotten drastically worse?), and threaded through with a lot of alcohol.  I’ll even admit, before my flight home, I walked the entire concourse looking for an option for an actual meal for dinner and the only non-sandwich place had nothing that didn’t at least involve me picking out croutons.  And, to be honest, I couldn’t stomach another salad.   I almost broke down and had a tantrum in the restaurant.  I was tired and hungry, facing a red-eye flight that had already been delayed before I even arrived at the airport.  Instead of crying, I gave up an ordered the ultimate comfort food from my childhood: chicken fingers and fries.  After searching for thirty minutes for a “real meal” I was impulsive, and gave in to ordering a gluten-filled, fried disaster.  Intestines be damned, I wanted crispy, crunchy chicken; golden, beautiful fries; the bright unnatural yellow honey mustard.  And I got soggy, eggy chicken, overcooked fries, and terrible sauce for my trouble.

And it still left me with headaches, digestion issues, and an uneasy stomach for days.  And the usual resurgence of regret and determination and willpower and such.  Doubly so, as I realize how poorly (disregarding the few exceptions) I ate for a whole week.  So a general, gentle detox is on the cards.  I’m cutting back on processed food, upping my fruits and veggies, upping my water, decreasing my dairy and caffeine (this part is pretty much failing, and getting out to exercise and streeeeeetch.  I was not prepared for the amount of walking to be done in Vegas, and my feet, legs, and joints are still complaining.  Loudly.  So its time to buck up and take care of myself, in all aspects of my life.  Here we go…