This is pretty much going to be straight photos.

And a really funny story, because that’s what tends to come out of trips to Las Vegas.

I spent 6 days out west to partake in Las Vegas Market at World Market Center, a grouping of three buildings that are used twice a year for a show in which top furniture and home design companies (among a smattering of other things) are highlighted. My job was to help set up our company’s showroom pre-show and then hang out in said showroom for the duration of the show, meeting with main players of accounts I deal with and just learning as much as I could from our salesman Peter.

I learned A LOT from being out there as far as not only our company goes, but my role in it. Up until this point I felt like my role was murky (social media here, dealing with accounts there, order entry over here), but now I see what my job is more clearly: a little bit of everything! Which is great, because that’s just more to make myself a well-rounded person, new skills and more for a resume. I have the power to up our sales numbers for certain accounts, and I am going to run like hell with that.

The days were very long. I was exhausted pretty much every night, thanks as well to the time change. I barely went out and I saw the strip only briefly, BUT it was an awesome experience and I hope to go out again (for work, and also not!).  I probably could have left after the first morning on Sunday and been satisfied with my Vegas experience, solely because of one dude on the elevator.

I convinced Heather- who usually stays at a nice Marriott off the strip – to stay at a casino with me since this would be my first time out in Vegas. We ended up at the Stratosphere, which I chose because a show called “Pin-Up” that stars a Playboy model and is all types of vintage and burlesque goodness is there. I didn’t even get to see it. I didn’t even get to go up to the top of the ‘Sphere, which rises more than 800 feet above the city. Every time I attempted it the line was enormous, and my aforementioned exhaustion would not allow me to even entertain the thought of waiting in it. And still, I had an awesome Vegas experience.

It was 7 a.m. on Sunday and Heather and I just got into the elevator of the hotel to head out to Market. By then we had a routine of when to leave and where to go, but that day it was punctuated by a kid in a gray wife beater, Adidas sandals that were three sizes too small for his feet, and no pants.

Yea. No pants. At 7 a.m.

He was clearly drunk, but not obnoxiously so. He asked if it was our last night in Vegas, and I was game enough to engage and tell him no, we were just getting started. I needed to know the story behind the lack of pants.

“Aw, man, well have fun! Watch your betting, you’ll end up like this!” He laughed as he waved a hand over his lack of clothing, and that was when Heather decided to chime in, and with an observation that had me stifling laughter.

“You don’t look so good,” she said. “I mean, you have the foot sheet from the bed wrapped around your waist.”

AND HE DID. I knew what he was holding was familiar to me, and there it was: this kid was wearing the red and black checkered cloth foot protector that was on the hotel beds around his waist. It barely grazed the knobby knees of his over six foot frame, but it hid all it had to.

“I can’t believe you noticed that!” he said. “I lost my pants on the blackjack table. I didn’t even know you could bet your pants. You can. I lost mine!”

And that was the end of the ride. He said goodbye and wished us luck; we said goodbye and wished him pants.

The other highlights of my week include: eating at Firefly, a tapas bar with amazing mojitos, during which I bonded with my boss and his daughter and between the three of us and Heather we each ordered two plates and shared it all; staying in my room and watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix while scarfing down a carafe of Bloody Mary and an entire pizza; going to an Oxygen Bar, during which I was hooked up to air that was meant to refresh and detox while getting a back and neck massage, then moving to a chair to lay down while still breathing said air and controlling my own massage through two electrodes attached to my back and a handheld machine (I slept the best I had all week that night); In-N-Out Burger;  and drinking free wine while standing in the middle courtyard of World Market Center, surrounded by tall buildings, warm air, a live band and two very cool co-workers, who I got to know a lot about over the course of  the week.

I liked Vegas, though I’m sure I could only handle it in small doses. It amazed me how it was simultaneously so new and old; you have glitzy bright lights and signs flashing, then casinos with signs that still need the letters added to them by hand and whose once pristine white backgrounds are now sullied around the edges with dirt.

I took a lot of pictures. A lot. And a lot of them are of food. Some are saved from Snapchat, some off my shitty camera phone and some off my awesome iPad camera. Like Vegas itself, this is a collection of a bit of everything, from the gorgeous to the run down, the gluttonous to the reserved. You will find it all under the cut.

I am by no means a fan of flying, so when I knew I had a 6 a.m. to Chicago and then an hour layover and another flight to Vegas, I was not a happy camper. I looked forward to touching down in Chicago, though, where I was hoping to score some deep dish pizza (breakfast time be damned!). I didn’t find that, but I did find a red pepper and beef panini that was delicious, though the clumping of the beef in the middle that made it all fall out in one bit made it more of a pepper and cheese panini. I also came across a cookie shaped like the Chicago flag, which more reminded me of WWE Superstar CM Punk. I had to tell Boy as such, hence the reason for the following two Snaps.1421416070622 1421415557386

I got kind of ballsy on our second leg of the trip and decided to sit in a window seat. I’m really glad I did; if not, I wouldn’t have captured this.



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Heather and I were famished by the time we got there. We left home at 6 a.m. and arrived in Vegas at 11, but really had traveled for 8 hours. It was daunting – and it called for my very first In-N-Out burger. It was so simple: lettuce, tomato, patty, cheese, sauce, bun. I think it was the bun that did it for me, this sponge bread bun. Also the fact that it was nestled in a handy bag!1421441323543

During our first ride in to World Market Center I spotted this awesome piece of architecture, which is actually the Luo Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

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World Market Center is building A, B and C. They sit in a cluster with a central courtyard. And they are HUGE.

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The view in the walkway going from A to B.

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The view in the walkway going from B to C.

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Speaking of views, this was mine from the 14th floor of the hotel.

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And here are some more from around the strip! That I took as we were driving through. Excuse the potato quality.0116151851 0116151853b 0122150603 0122150609 0122150613 0122150613a

And my hotel, from afar and then up close.

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Oxygen Bar selfie!

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My favorite slot machine in the casino, of course.

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Are you ready for some food/drink porn? I knew you would be. Let’s start with my first bout of room service: white chocolate raspberry pancakes.

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The famed mojito from Firefly. While there, we ate beet salad (oasted red and gold, membrillo, cider-Dijon vin, candied pecan crusted goat cheese, mixed greens), patatas bravas (my pick, roasted red potatoes, spicy aioli]), manchego mac n cheese (also my pick, baked with baby shells, tomato-pepper relish), chorizo clams (peppers, two kinds of spicy sausage, white wine, parmesan toasts), camarones al ajillo (shrimp in lemon garlic, red pepper and butter sauce), empanadas (pastry stuffed with pork roast, red peper cream cheese with salad and ailoli), steak and mushroom skewers (grilled fillet, roast garlic cream and red wine reduction), and serrano sliders (mini burgers with serrano ham, Cabrales bleu cheese and crispy onions). No, I did not get photos. It was fiendishly dark in there and I wasn’t about to use a flash in front of my somewhat new boss. Everything, however, tasted exquisite.
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From the casino, a Chicago style hot dog laden with tomato, onion, pickle and pepper.

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A mini $2 wine. Just because I could.

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Caprese pizza from room service: buffalo mozz, spinach and tomatoes.

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This pizza actually came in on a TABLE, and they had to ask me how many plates I wanted with it. ONE, FOOL. (Also, peep the huge carafe of Bloody Mary. Mmm).

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When you find a classic Coke bottle, you buy it.

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Pastrami sandwich from a kosher place at the show. Food pickins were slim there, but this was delish.

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On another night when I partook in a Bloody Mary carafe, I also ordered the Grilled Monterey Chicken Melt: roasted red pepper aioli, avocado, vine ripe tomatoes, lettuce, pepper jack cheese and angel hair onions on a ciabatta roll.

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To say I was obsessed with the Bloody Marys at the Stratosphere is an understatement. So when I happened upon not only a large one but a large one in a SOUVENIR GLASS at Roxy’s Diner in the hotel, I couldn’t stop myself.

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And this was the burger from Roxy’s, Clarie Sinclair’s Sin City Burger (Claire was the aforementioned Playboy girl who was headlining the show.): Fried egg, pepper jack cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions and a chipotle

aioli.

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Though I told myself I’d start eating healthy on the return trip home, that was a joke. We had Mexican at the Baltimore airport. My margarita, complete with bad ass cactus glass.

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And then some crab quesadillas. I was in Baltimore. I needed crab!

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In the airport I happened upon this lovely sandwich, the Fresco Jamon Torta: ham, queso fresco cheese, pico de gallo, romaine, chimichurri sauce and a telera roll.

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And to keep myself awake I had a Cubano, which I’d had once before in Ybor City: two shots of espresso and sugar.

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