Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dinner at Mix and in Venice

I said a while back that I wanted to do more around town, rather than just hit the Strip when giving out of town guests the tour. Last week we went to see the Blue Man Group over at the Venetian. December is a good time to hit the shows – most of the offer half price deals for locals during the last month of the year. I’ve been wanting to see the blue men since their TV commercials a few years back, but never made it over to the Venetian when they were there.

We started with dinner at the Mexican restaurant upstairs, even got a seat along the railing on the canal.

I don’t know how many Mexican restaurants there are in Venice, but this one was pretty nice. The food was reasonable and pretty good, and the atmosphere was not southwest. You can't see it in the picture, but the sky is blue and full of puffy white clouds.

Across the canal we saw some evidence that the National Finals Rodeo was still in town.

And when walking over to the show I was surprised to see somebody from Texas that I read all the time, but I always pictured her as a much prettier blond.

No shots of the show – they don’t permit cameras, and it was too dark anyway. But I would recommend it for anyone coming out – it was a fun show that involved the audience, rather than one you could just sit back and watch. However, the cheap seats are around $125 each, so it’s not for the budget minded, but then neither is the rest of Vegas.

This past Friday we went for dinner at the Mandalay Bay. Last year we hit Fleur de Lys, and I was very pleased. I made advanced reservations (recommended at most of the good restaurants on weekend nights) and we got one of the side tables, surrounded by cloth walls and very nice and intimate. The food was great and service tremendous.

Well, a few months ago we were walking around with friends and went up to the top of THE hotel at Mandalay to the Mix bar. We had some drinks and looked out over the city during daylight hours, nice Mix view. The bar side is red and black, (fire) the restaurant side is white and glass (ice). The restaurant used to be one of the best in the city, then it changed hands and went downhill. The reputation is getting a little better, and a recent visitor to town recommended it, so I thought we’d try it out.

Different view of the strip at night – there are heaters out on the balcony so you can sit out there, but we were early and cold and just sat inside. After ten it becomes an ‘ultra’ lounge, whatever that is, and is harder to get into. But earlier you just take the glass elevator up the 64 floors and come on in. Still a nice place to sit and look, day or night.

There is the same view from the restaurant around the corner, but it’s not quite the same. There is a long bench seat backed up on the glass, so even if you are sitting on the other side of the tables your view is blocked. You can sit sideways at some of the end tables and get a view, but if you are in the room itself you really can’t see out.

The restaurant side is two stories high, with no soft surfaces. This means it gets really noisy when full. All the conversations echo around. The waiters were friendly, and there were enough of them, but I still sat several times for quite a while trying to wave one down. The food was OK, but not really worth the price. The meal for the two of us, with a glass of wine each, was right at $200, plus tip.

I would recommend Mix for a drink in the bar side, night or day, but would not recommend the restaurant side. Not intimate, not really a view, too noisy, not a very attentive wait staff, and the food wasn’t really worth the price. Go downstairs to Fleur de Lys. Time for us to hit the fancy ones at Bellagio and see what those are like. As locals, I’d much rather hit Rosemary’s and have a lot better meal at half the price.

At home we’re decorating for Christmas. E doesn’t really remember last year, (at least she doesn’t talk about it, but then she can’t talk yet anyway). She does like the ornaments on our tree now.

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