Monday, November 30, 2009

Anatomy of a Surprise

1) Invent a distraction.
- To keep Thatboy from noticing that the dog was boarded and there was a bag packed in the back seat of the car, I unwittingly enlisted the help of H and her husband. H and Thatboy share a birthday, so I suggested we all go out to dinner on the Friday before their birthday. She readily agreed. AND even suggested carpooling to dinner with Thatboy since they work together. Which means I just had to meet them at the restaurant.

2) Make a dramatic presentation.
- After dinner, (and a few drinks on his part) I led Thatboy to the car where there was an envelope with his name on it taped to the passenger seat. It took him a while to read the destination on our boarding passes, but the look on his face when he finally got it was priceless. We were off to Vegas, baby.

3) Create the right atmosphere.
- Thatboy is a sucker for bright colors and modern design, so he was head over heels upon checking in to our suite at Mandalay Bay.

He loved it so much, he decided we wouldn't leave the room at all our first night. Instead we cuddled on the bed and watched trashy tv.

Until we found the television in the bathroom - which meant we could watch trashy tv from the sunken tub!

4) Keep the food coming!
- Thatboy decided he just wanted to grab a quick bite at the hotel the next morning, and I'm not one to argue. So we headed to Red, White, and Blue for breakfast.

My egg, ham, and cheese croissant. The fresh croissant was the best part of this meal, followed by the strawberries.

Thatboy's french toast with creme anglaise.

5) Indulge in fantasies.

Thatboy drooling over his dream car.

6) Enlist accomplices. One of Thatboy's best friends lives in Vegas. We'll call her...Vegas! Vegas and Thatboy have been friends since high school. Actually, Vegas, her husband, and Thatboy have all been friends since high school. And Thatboy hasn't seen Vegas in....2 years? As soon as I started planning the trip, I contacted Vegas to see if she was free to meet up. She was. We planned a fabulous dinner to celebrate Thatboy's birthday. Reservations were secured at Mesa Grill - since of Bobby Flay is Thatboy's favorite celebrity chef.

We all ordered a round of fancy margaritas. I had the white peach, and Thatboy had their version of the cadillac.

Thatboy's coffee rubbed filet mignon. He love love loved this. He was concerned that the restaurant wouldn't live up to his expectations, but they exceeded his every dream.

My southwestern spiced duck breast with carrot habanero sauce and a delicious chorizo goat cheese tamale. Know why I love Vegas? She KNOWS that goat cheese is a magic word.

Mr. and Mrs. Vegas with us.

The Vegases know everything about Vegas, and they took us to a special balcony at Margaritaville that had been closed for the night, giving us a prime view of the strip. And all the margaritas we could handle. Which was about one each. Mr. Vegas filled us in on all the hotel secrets, including the fact that our hotel was literally sinking since it was built over a river. Mrs. Vegas told us about all the recent shootings done by local police - including the one she eye witnessed. This was brought on by the ridiculous number of bike cops on the strip below us, seemingly running laps.
7) Do things you can't record on film.
- EWWWW. Get your mind out of the gutter! My mom reads this blog! I happened to read that our hotel had something called an "ice lounge" but I wasn't sure what that was. It sounded cool though (har har har). Turns out Minus 5 Ice Lounge is a bar made entirely of ice. And they don't let you bring your cameras inside. Mostly so they can charge you a million dollars for their own photos. Thatboy and I wrapped ourselves up in the jackets and gloves they provided and headed in. We drank vodka from glasses made of ice. We sat on fur blankets atop benches made of ice. We rested our glasses on tables made of ice as we looked out windows made of ice. I stopped Thatboy from licking the ice sculptures, but he couldn't resist smashing our empty glasses.

8) Don't forget you may be surprised yourself.

When we finally made our way back to the room, there was a present waiting for us. Tequila shots and chocolate from Thatmom, Thatbrother, and UDubb.

9) Take in the sights

10) Did I mention to keep the food coming?

On our whirlwind trip to New York last year we didn't have time to get to Serendipity - the famous ice cream shop known for their frozen hot chocolate. I didn't see it as much of a loss since the line there usually wraps around the block and they have a minimum per person order requirement. But since they just opened an outpost in Vegas I thought we should drop in. No insanely long line. No minimum purchase.

Thatboy had the ABC burger with avocado, brie, and chile. And some pretty awesome waffle fries.

I'm not usually a nacho person. Nachoes are UDubbs favorite food. For some reason I really felt like ordering the nachoes, and I remembered why I'm not usually a nacho person. They were generally blah. Thatboy won the ordering game.

And of course, we ended the trip with a frozen hot chocolate. And a couple beers. And some slots........


  1. So awesomely fun!

    But booooo to no pics at Minus 5! Hmph!

  2. What a fabulous Birthday Surprise! I am going to have to see if I can re-create the frozen Hot Chocolate! Yummm


  3. Wow, sounds like a fabulous trip!

  4. I'm so happy to see that you were able to pull off such a fabulous birthday surprise! The only time I've tried to do that, it was ruined by an idiot attendee at the last minute. :/

    We're off to Vegas next weekend for Jim's brother's bday as well as just a tiny getaway. Where is Serendipity? I think I'd like to try it!

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  6. Wow you really did up his birthday nicely! I would have frozen in that ice bar, I like hot places! This was a fun post to read-thanks!

  7. Sounds like a really fun trip! What a really nice surprise for him. His ABC burger looks so GOOD!

  8. Based on the noises my 3 YO made as we looked at your photos, I do believe she would like to go to Vegas! :)