Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Prime rib and cheap sneakers

As I noted once upon a time, summer is short in Minnesota. It's going to be hot and steamy the next few days, but by Labor Day we might be wearing layers of clothing for the remainder of the year.

I haven't taken a lot of time to write this summer, and I have a new Vegas trip on the horizon, and it's less than a month away. So in celebration I should probably finish chronicling my memories from my trip in May.

My May trip was for the closing of the Riviera. From my arrival on Sunday night through the wee hours of Monday night, I was a busy guy. By Tuesday it was time to relax. I spent that afternoon at the Orleans pool and had dinner that night at The Prime Rib Loft.

 I go out of my way for cheap prime rib when I'm in Vegas, and I decided it was time to try a cut above the cafe specials I typically enjoy.

I'm not a food critic, so I can't tell you how succulent the meat was, or how fluffy and delicious the baked potato was. My girlfriend and I both had simple prime rib dinners. I didn't try to eat my weight in prime rib, but there are some hefty cuts available. Our bill was less than $50 for two plates with sides, whatever that entailed. I don't remember if we had drinks of any kind with our meal, but I tend not to wash down my food with beer, wine or spirits. Or soda for that matter.

We were both satisfied with the quality of the meal and the price. We both noted that the cuts of prime rib we received were finer than what you get for $9.99 at a cafe, as they should be, and that the service was top notch. I suspect we'll be going back for dinner later this month.

When I rent a car and spend several days in Vegas I like to take a road trip. During this trip we didn't want to spend a day on the road, so we opted instead to take an evening trip south to the California border.

I made my first visit to Primm, Nev., on May 6, and it was quite an experience.

Never having driven south, I had no idea what to expect. I knew I'd be out in the middle of nowhere, but I had no idea how surreal the experience would be.

Holy crap, Primm is creepy on a weeknight in May.

The area looks cool when you see pictures of it. And it seems like a fun place to stay if you want a cheap casino getaway without all the hustle and bustle of Vegas.

We made the outlet mall our priority. I can imagine the mall does quite well on weekends as people travel back and forth between Vegas and southern California. On a Wednesday night it's almost depressing.

There are plenty of stores, several kiosks and a food court. I can imagine it being busy during the holiday shopping season. It strikes me as a place that people would happily shop at. But on a Wednesday evening, most store employees looked bored out of their gourd. I felt sorry for them.

The mall is attached to the Primm Valley Resort and Casino. It looked like a nice place, although it was a bit quiet. I was there during dinner time, so I didn't expect it to have the vibrancy of Caesar's on a Saturday night, but it was a little too empty for my liking. Little did I know.

My girlfriend found some deals on clothing she was happy with, so with her retail purchases in hand, we set out to find dinner. We bypassed any dining options at the outlet mall and casino and looked next door, at Buffalo Bill's.

Bill's looks like a lot of fun. They have a roller coaster outside the casino, and a couple of other rides somewhere on their grounds, I believe. It's a colorful, decorative building, and inside they play up the old west theme quite a bit. It's old school Vegas, a casino with a distinct theme, and dedication to it.

And it was as dead as a doornail.

I think there were a handful of people gambling in the casino, and it's not a small casino.

There was a small food court area, and one of the restaurants within it was open. It looked like their buffet was open for dinner, too, although I don't know why.

We opted not to eat at Bill's, and wound up eating at The Mad Greek Cafe, near a fast food option or two outside of Primm Valley Casino. The joint touts how great it is, how beloved it is, and it's fine, but it's not special, it's not a bargain and I wouldn't make a point to eat there again.

We finished our depressing visit to Primm at Whiskey Pete's, across the highway from the rest of the action.

Pete's has a cool Bonnie and Clyde display, including their bullet-riddled car from the 1930s. It's a neat display, and it was my favorite thing about the trip to Primm.

It was after 8 p.m. at this point and the casino had no table games open. There was a sign denoting that fact. If you want to gamble at Pete's, you play a machine. There were a handful or two of players, but again, Wednesday night is not the time to visit Primm.

Since we weren't in a hurry to get back to the Orleans that night, I regret that we didn't stop at the Gold Strike Casino on the way north. I should have stopped there just to see it, although I suspect I'd have been disappointed with the ambiance there, too.

During the drive we also passed the well respected M casino, another place I've never been to. That's much closer to Vegas than the Gold Strike, so perhaps I'll find my way there some day.

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