A fun week in Las Vegas: Hits and misses

What should one do on a hot summer week’s vacation? Go someplace hotter! From Saturday through Thursday, my wife and I hung out in Las Vegas, while our son attended a music workshop in Los Angeles.

The temperatures in Las Vegas were high, never dipping into double digits. Most days, the temp hovered around 105-107. On Wednesday, it hit 111. That’s toasty by any standard.

Fortunately, we were able to hop from one air-conditioned venue to another, and with rare exceptions we could park under cover.

Las Vegas is one of our favorite places to visit, and we go there often — even when we’re not in a gambling mood (as we weren’t this week). There are shows, there are buffets, there’s the beautiful desert, there are more buffets, there are outlet stores, and of course, there are buffets.

Here are a few of the many highs and few lows of the week.

Best Buffet on the Strip: We’ve always liked the Flavors Buffet at Harrah’s on previous trips, and it continued to impress.

Best Buffet off the Strip: The Feast Buffet at Sunset Station (1301 West Sunset, Henderson). This casino is a delight, with great decor and even a movie theater. The buffet was inexpensive and delicious. If you only visit casinos on the Strip and downtown, you’re not seeing Las Vegas.

Best Discount Outlets: Las Vegas Outlet Center, 7400 Las Vegas Blvd. (south of the Strip). Lots of great stores in an air-conditioned indoor mall.

Best High-End Outlets: Las Vegas Premium Outlets, 875 South Grand Central Pkwy. (north of the Strip). Lots of great stores in an outdoor shopping center.

Best Shopping Mall on the Strip: Tied between the Forum Shops at Caesar’s and the Miracle Mile Shops (part of Planet Hollywood).

Weirdest Food: The Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas (4501 Paradise at Harmon). We sat down, looked over the Bavarian menu and left without ordering.

Best Show to See: Went to the Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. What an incredible performance!!!

Lamest Activity: There’s a $10 admission charge to visit the heavily promoted Ferrari dealership at the Wynn Casino. We decided to skip it.

Biggest Delight: Dunkin’ Donuts has returned to Las Vegas, after an absence of about a decade. Stumbling upon the store at 409 East Silverado Ranch Blvd. was a delight. The city’s first new store, which opened in October 2007, is worth the trip!

Biggest Disappointment: The Stage Deli in the Forum Shops at Caesar’s closed on June 29. Huge bummer — it was on our “must visit” list. (See the news report.)

Best Runner-Up: There’s a branch of Los Angeles’ Cantor’s Deli at Treasure Island. It’s okay, but we’d been looking forward to the Stage.

Viva Las Vegas, baby!

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick