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Our beautiful birthday girl (she looks like she has the glow of an angel in this lighting)

It was Kandace’s (#2) birthday in Vegas, so basically whatever she wanted, we made it happen. She wanted a drink…done. She wanted to walk the strip and check out the sights…done. She didn’t want to eat at a burger place…fine, we saved that one for the next day. We saw the shops, casinos, various hotels, took pictures, and we walked, and we walked, and we walked. I wasn’t the only one to get worn out, we were all pretty beat by the end of the day…and even if Kandace doesn’t admit it, the blood on her poor feet after a day in her new boots tells a different story.

Kandace on the Strip

Kandace is definitely hard to keep up with. She can go for 24 hours or more and sleep for only a few. I can’t remember the last time I had been up for so long before this trip. We walked the strip at a pretty brisk pace most of the day and climbed a ton of stairs. By about 3:00pm, I was confident that I had walked enough that day (we were up at 2:45 am to catch our flight) to burn off whatever amount of whopping calories were in the giant strawberry cheesecake sundae I had at Serendipity at about 10:00am that morning. Seriously, there was nothing left in my stomach, I used every calorie. I barely had the strength to get out of my scarf/purse/jacket choking predicament. I don’t know how it happened, I just know I couldn’t undo it without assistance.

My poor husband. Always standing by to come to my rescue. I bet he doesn't know how I get through the day without him! Kristin (#3) was able to catch our candid moment.

Just when I didn’t think I could walk anymore, it was time for dinner. We ended up at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Kandace mentioned that she was in the mood for a reuben sandwich. We decided to give the Ri Ra Irish Pub a try and I’m sure the guys were happy that we stopped at a restaurant that was guranteed to have a nice selection of beer. Although the lighting was poor and my pictures don’t do the entrees justice, the meal was quite fantastic. I think the worst thing we chose was the reuben, and that was still pretty decent.

Goat cheese salad, mixed leaves, lightly fried goat cheese, sun dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, mandarin oranges, hazelnut dressing

What an amazing salad! The crunch from the hazelnut and the sweetness of fruit and strong savory flavor of goat cheese went so well together.

Publican's Reuben

Kristin (#3) and I shared the goat cheese salad and a reuben sandwich and this salad was truly the star of the meal….oh, and of course the Emigrant’s Corned Beef and Cabbage that Danny ordered. Take a look at those nice slices of corned beef. The mashed potatoes were so good that they could have been an entree in and of themselves. I had been suggesting the Shepherd’s Pie and Beef and Guinness Stew, but there was just only so much we could order. Apparently, my suggestions had lasting effects because Danny made Beef and Guinness Stew about a week after we got home from Vegas. Yum.

Emigrant's Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ri Ra had live Irish music and a fun atmosphere that seemed to attract the professional rugby players that were in town. I noticed a lot of Dell computer employees there as well, enjoying some time off from the convention they were attending at Mandalay Bay. There seemed to be a high male population here at Ri Ra, so girls take note.

After dinner, we went to the Cathouse bar/lounge/club where we spent the remaining few hours in our 26 hour day. I could barely hang on into the wee hours and Danny swears I fell asleep while we were there (but I could have sworn I was just really focused on the music video that was playing). I can’t bear the thought that I’ve become that boring. Kandace was still all smiles when we called it a night and I think it would be safe to say that she had a very good 20-something birthday in Vegas. (No, I didn’t mention her age….you’re welcome, sis 🙂 )

Where to Go: Ri Ra Irish Pub, Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas

What to Order:

Goat Cheese Salad

Emigrant’s Corned Beef and Cabbage – and I would be willing to bet you can’t go wrong with any of their hot Irish dishes


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