Monday, August 27, 2012

Hotel review: Biff's

We were excited to check out Biff's this year after a complete overhaul using all of the interior furnishings from the stalled Fountainbleau project on the Strip.

Let me say this first: we stayed at the Plaza before and it was pretty bad. Stained carpets, mildewed bathroom, but the rooms are very spacious. We asked for South Tower rooms since all reviews online said that is the newer tower. The bellman told Jose that both towers got the same upgrades, so basically there would be no difference. Also: outside, the marquee read "Voted Downtown's best hotel in 2011!" We all know the best Downtown hotel is the Nugget, so we laughed and said we couldn't wait for them to prove it. At the front desk, we were given a sizable coupon book, most of which we didn't use. We also found that internet access was "free." It totally wasn't. As we learned, most of their website is a lie. First, the website implies that there are two rooftop pools: the South Tower has a pool on the 5th floor, while the North Tower has a pool on the 7th floor. Nope, just the same pool with different entrances. The website also makes mention of a miniature golf course inside a bar featuring dollar domestic beers (that bar doesn't exist anymore). Finally, the website boasts "no resort fees." Upon check-in, everyone was charged $10 a day, which included internet access and two bottles of water. Oh la la!!! I believe Ryan and Stephen planned on sending a strongly-worded letter complaining since their receipt even read, "no resort fee."

Anyhoo, when we checked into our room, aesthetically, it looked a lot better. New carpet, new wallpaper, new bedspreads, flat screen TVs, new lamps, and a desk, presumably for the high-powered businesspeople that Biff's will surely be attracting.

One of the first things I noticed was how flimsy the TV was. And it was pretty small for a TV purporting to be from a five-star Strip hotel (that stands 3/4 built toward the end of the Strip). Next, there was a gaudy lamp on the nightstand, so large that only one of us would be able to see the alarm clock (I forgot to mention that as a plus, since the last time we stayed there, none of our rooms featured such a luxury item). It was also plastic and cheap; again, I call bullshit on it being from the Fountainbleau.

The TV stand was to double as a dresser, but there were only two small drawers in it. It really wasn't of any use. Usually, we unpack and put our clothes in the dresser to conserve floor space from when we end up throwing costume parts all over the place, but it wasn't really worth it since we'd only be able to put a couple of things in it anyway. The desk was also unimpressive, and for a room featuring two queen beds, we wondered why there was only one chair. The bathroom had been re-tiled and in the sink area, there was some trendy rectangle-shaped sink placed on top of the counter (making it awkwardly high when I was washing my face). The shower/tub/toilet area was as tightly-packed as I remembered and still smelled like mildew (which tells me that they just covered the problem instead of fixing it). Why, with all the floorspace, would they not try to increase the bathroom space? There was plenty of room to spare in the living space without sacrificing too much to expand the bathroom/closet area.

It wasn't all bad, I mean, it was a vast improvement of what it was, and we only paid like $50 a night for an August weekend. If Biff's gets a big head, though, and tries to charge as much as the Nugget does (still not bad at about $90 a night), they won't have many customers coming back. For the price we paid, it was about right. The lobby looks like it benefited the most from the Fountainbleau's furnishings, as Jose and I noticed that the furniture there was much nicer than what we saw in our rooms. Kim and Stephen and Ryan each had king rooms, which featured a love seat, which may have legitimately come from the Fountainbleau, but the lamps and other accents could not have been (unless that's why it went belly-up). We did like the view of the Strip we had from our room and more than one of us commented that we wanted to steal the old-school over-sized print of the Plaza from the old days when Downtown was the Strip.

At the end of the day, it's still Biff's. I forget who said this in the last election, but you can put lipstick on a pig, and it's still a pig. I'm also not sure what they're really going for because they claim it's the best Downtown hotel, but they're hell-bent on being trashy, too. Their steakhouse features the headline "Beef, Booze, Broads," and it promises that said "broads" will stroll around the restaurant pretending to be interested in the things you have to say. The new club/bar that the website advertises as having a 9-hole miniature golf course has already been (half-way) re-branded as "The Drink," featuring $.25 shots every hour on the hour. We don't know what was in the shots we had on Saturday night, but we're pretty sure Four Loko was involved, given the random burst of energy we all experienced after drinking them. Hash House A-Go-Go describes its food as being "twisted farm food," and the hotel still features a food court (McDonalds, Subway, and an over-priced but decent taqueria). A pleasant surprise for us was "Pop-Up Pizza," which, despite its name, is a permanent structure in the hotel. The pizza was good and affordable, they had awesome garlic knots, and the lady who ran the place was very nice. It was also right next to the elevator bank, so they really did well with the location, haha. The hotel also features a hair salon where the stylists wear bikinis. Kat got her hair cut in there, and I'm not sure what she thought about it.

It's trying to separate itself from its sister property, the Vegas Club by pricing its drinks differently (usually, all hotels in the same group feature the same drink specials; this is the first time I've noticed a difference in pricing). The Vegas Club called us in with its $.50 Hamm's drafts. A pint of Hamm's set us back $2 at Biff's. The beer special was a tiny cup (same size as the $.50 Hamm's) of Coors Banquet for $1 (the bartender referred to it as "Colorado Kool-Aid"). The Vegas Club is still as trashy as ever with the same "construction" going on as has been going on for the last couple of years. So basically, nothing's going to get done there. I also don't think there is anyplace to eat at the Vegas Club, which is odd.

STBE 2012 - Friday

OK, it's been over a week now, so I'm sure I'll forget some things. I humbly request that Mike, Kat, Gabe, Jessie, or anyone else with blogging privileges chime in with your own point of view or missed details.

I'll start early - I mentioned before that we had breakfast before anyone started showing up. Jose, Mike, and I went to Hash House A-Go-Go downstairs at the Plaza and used a $10 off coupon. That made the prices reasonable, but the service left a lot to be desired. I hope I didn't already mention this because I'm too lazy to go back and check. I ordered some sort of "tractor" breakfast, which included a ginormous pancake, bacon, eggs, and potatoes. Ten minutes after I got my food, Jose got his breakfast of scrambled egg whites, potatoes, and toast. Ten minutes after that, Mike got his food, a ginormous skillet of corned beef hash. He was the only one to finish his meal.

After the way-too-long breakfast, we went upstairs and got into our swimsuits, drank a few presidentials (Bud Light Premium), and hit the pool, where we threw around a football and drank a few more beers. When we were done, we showered and walked across the street to the Plaza's neglected property, The Vegas Club (they have no plans of fixing it ever, from the looks of it) to enjoy $.50 Hamm's on tap.We ordered two each since they were pretty small. We settled into some slots and Kim and Jessie had both texted me to let me know that they were close, so I headed back to the Plaza to greet them. Mike and Jose wanted to keep gambling, so I left them and also took the opportunity to get some pizza from the place by the elevator since I'd been drinking since fairly early on (before 11am).

I can't remember the order in which people started showing up, but at some point, Ryan and Stephen joined us and Kat and Jess (nongiant) were also there. I remember we were over at the Vegas Club again with the giant fist beer koozies and posed for some pictures with them before heading back over to the Plaza (again for me) to get dressed up. After we all got dressed in our white trash finest, Gabe showed up just as we were about to leave, so Mike took him upstairs to outfit him in a spare wifebeater that Gabe paired nicely with some hideous red jeans. By the end of the night, he had rolled them up into capris.

I don't want to forget to mention that Kat and Jess (nongiant) took forever to get ready, as they were a couple of pregnant hookers. Jessie was also a hooker (not pregnant) and used a pair of Bubba teeth with braces as the best accessory of the night. At the end of the night, a guy on a streetcorner said, "Girl, let me see them teeth! Ooooooh, they're gonna look BEAUTIFUL when you get them braces off!" As we walked back down Fremont Street, she slowly smiled at passersby who all made horrified faces upon seeing her teeth (rude!).

Anyhoo, at some point during the night, Mike got super deucefaced. I finally thought to ask him when he last ate, and he told me, "well, I had breakfast!" It was also apparent only to me that Jose was also totally deucefaced. He's just slicker about it and only a few people can tell (me being one of them). He at least stopped at McDonald's and had a chicken sandwich.

We spent most of the night at El _ortez because they had karaoke (with the worst sound mixing ever), cheap black jack (with a dealer who loved us - we were there a few hours earlier), and a delightful baby powder and cigarette smell (pointed out by Ryan).

Sorry this is jumping back and forth, but there was a lot going on. I was wearing a beer holster full of Bud Lights that we were all drinking, and we had all stopped to get tallboys before we made the trek down Fremont Street to the shady neighborhood that houses El _ortez. We had all become separated at one point, with a decent amount of us finding each other at the Fitz (sorry, The D) McDonalds to get a little snack before we continued drinking.

Upon our arrival at El _ortez, it was apparent that all of the alcohol in Mike's system had suddenly hit him, so I pretty much just sat there and stared in amazement because he is hilarious to look at whilst drunk (he looks Don Knotts-esque). Also, here is Mike's lesser-known celebrity look-alike (followed by his two better-known celebrity look-alikes):
Brian McCann is the head writer for Conan. He plays lots of characters who look like drunk Mike.

Seth Meyers, worst SNL head writer ever.
BJ Novak, start of TV's The Office (producer, too)


Mike was super deucefaced out of nowhere, and this bald security guard didn't want any of us in the "classy" bar (nothing is classy at El _ortez) least not until we got rid of the tallboys. I finished mine, but Stephen and Ryan used that as an excuse to lose millions (and millions) of dollars at the black jack table.

Kim sang Copacabana to start us off song-wise, then we did a fabulous duet of Ride Like the Wind (Christopher Cross featuring Michael McDonald). Jose (this is how I could tell he was drunk), sang Drive, by Incubus (eyes closed and totally into it). Mind you, this was shortly after Jose heckled some guy who was ruining Sweet Caroline. Right when it got quiet, Jose yelled out, "You're TERRIBLE!" and the whole bar turned around. He then blamed all of us, saying, "you all were saying it!" "Yes, but to each other, not to the entire bar!"

Anyhoo, Gabe sang Friends in Low Places and no one could hear him (or any of us when we sang, really) because the sound mix was so bad. Kat finished the WT show by singing Break on Through while a clearly (to me) drunk Jose screamed along, "BREAK ON THROUGH! BREAK ON THROUGH! BREAK ON THROUGH!" complete with intense stare (he later explained to me that he was focusing on the screen with the lyrics).

This whole time, Mike was super drunk and kept saying he wanted to go home, but we weren't going to let him walk by himself since he was so deucefaced. He kept saying he didn't want to ruin our night while I kept explaining that drunk Mike is hilarious, so he wasn't ruining anything. I suggested a taxi since he was insisting he was leaving alone, but then he got up to leave and fell into Kim's lap, hahaha. Jose was like, "I'm putting you in a cab." Mike's response was, "that is RIDICULOUS!!!" We made him wait until Kat finished her song, then we all made our way back to the Plaza.

When Mike woke up the next day, he was trying to have a conversation with me, but I couldn't look at him with a straight face because his teeth were still blacked out from the night before.

I'm sure I missed a lot, so I will wait for Kat, Mike, Jessie, Gabe, and/or someone else to fill in the blanks. For the record, because I ate, I was not so deucefaced that I don't remember stuff! There was a lot going on, and I spent a lot of time greeting revelers at the hotel while there was other drinking and gambling going on.

Friday, August 17, 2012

STBE Update #1

So yesterday, I flew into Ontario and drove into Vegas with Jose (which sounds dumb, but direct flights to Vegas were expensive - the cheapest flights were at 6am and still about $50 more than flights into Ontario).

Upon our arrival, we picked up a few essentials for the room (beer, water, gatorade), and then we picked up Mike from the airport. We didn't do much other than lose money on slots and have a few beers (well, that's a lie - Jose won and bought us dessert from McDonalds with his winnings).

This morning, we woke up and tried out Hash House A Go-Go downstairs and liked the food, but we were not impressed with the service. It's great if you want a lot of food, but they brought out our orders individually and about 10 minutes apart from each other, which was very weird. We had a $10 off coupon and were in no hurry, but we won't be going back with the big group.

We also learned last night that Coors Banquet is known as "Colorado Kool-Aid." Heh. At least Kool-Aid tastes good.

Anyhoo, back to where we were - we hit the pool after breakfast and threw the football around and are anxiously awaiting the rest of the arrivals today.

RIP, Tony Danza.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Off we go!!!

I'm at the airport ready to board! I'll be in Ontario in about an hour and a half, then Jose and I are picking up some drinkies and hitting the road!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ST (clap clap) BE (clap clap) ST (clap clap) BE (clap mother fucking clap)

So, Ginger keeps asking me to blog for STBE12. I've kind of dropped the ball on the blogging part, but that in no way means I haven't been thinking of, preparing for and nearly peeing my pants with excitement over this year's upcoming EVENT OF THE YEAR!!! Finishing touches were made to my white trash outfit last night and the red hats nongiant and I bought are simply FABULOUS! I'm hoping my Books of Mormons get to the hotel on time (I ordered through Amazon and it said they would be arriving on Friday so I called the Plaza and they were more than willing to accomodate my religious needs!). I have to work right now and can't really focus because of all the excitement brewing in the air (and my stupid idea to get an add shot to my coffee this morning is making this GIANT waaay too hyper). So, if anyone reads this, enjoy the little link I leave below because it's gonna be a DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SKY kinda weekend!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I can't believe it's STBE week already!!!

Shoutout to Mike, who is officially the only person other than me who reads this blog!

I don't really have anything to add here; I just wanted to point out that at the end of the week, STBE 2012 will be upon us!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Crisis averted!!!

My red hat lady stuff has been found and it was exactly where I thought it was (at my sister's house - she moved and took her stuff out of storage and I told her I thought she might have taken it by mistake. She insisted she didn't, but I got a text today saying she found it). Of course in the meantime I went and replaced just about everything, so now I have a ton of extra stuff.

Everything was replaceable, but I was really upset when I realized that my red hat lady mardi gras beads that Kim bought me for my birthday were missing with the rest of the stuff. So glad it's been found (even though it was where I said it was like a month ago!).

In other news: I am so excited for this trip! I have a job interview on Wednesday, then on Thursday morning I take off for the big trip!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The shirts are here!!!

Our Sunday champagne brunch attire arrived at my house today. Hopefully, the committee won't mind carrying some of the shirts with them, as the last time we got shirts I had to bring an extra suitcase to transport them.

I'm so excited for the Washington Family Reunion!!! If you want one of the shirts and didn't RSVP in time for the group order, you can pick one up here - fair warning, zazzle products can get pricy, but I'm pretty good about posting discount codes on twitter (@nutcrutches). Actually, I have a 20% off code: DEAL4SHARING