General

Starting Fresh…

There are literally hundreds of revisions on this post, some going back as far as 2013. I’m not entirely sure why I stopped, perhaps it was the change in my routine back when I started college that triggered it. One evening a couple of years back, I accidentally managed to delete the recipe archive, wiping four years worth of work with the click of a mouse. I’m still not sure why I didn’t roll back to the last backup, but it is the main reason this post has taken so long to write. It feels strange to be starting from scratch.

December 2013 was my last post, and looking back at the rubble scattered around the “Wayback Machine” I’m cringing at basic spelling and grammar mistakes that made it into what I wrote. Life has changed quite a bit since then, we ordered a Wheely’s Cafe back in 2016 and got absolutely shafted. But it did point us in a new direction, we got someone to overhaul the bike and launched C+H last year which thankfully continues to grow each month.

We’re now looking to 2019 and hope to move to somewhere more permanent, with a couple of bricks and a roof, maybe even a door if we’re lucky. I can’t say much at the moment, but if I manage to get back into the routine of writing, I’ll keep everyone posted.

On a final note, you may have noticed the name change? Turns out in my absence, despite there still being the rotting corpse of CookItYourself haunting the internet somebody else thought it would be great to take the name. I’m not getting stressed over it. Instead, I’ve decided to use my name going forward, and it also gives me a little more scope to write about non-food topics.

Tropicana Las Vegas - Entrance
Travel, United States

Tropicana Las Vegas

It wasn’t until around two weeks before our trip that it dawned on me, we booked our Vegas trip on a budget. Alarm bells began to sound in my head as I read the reviews on TripAdvisor. How many Avios do we have in our account, how quickly can I book somewhere else, can we just cancel the trip?

Then the day came, cruising at 36,000ft above the North Atlantic in what can only be described as a flying pub we chatted with some fellow passengers while waiting at the pop-up bar that had formed at the back of the aircraft. We got some bizarre looks and awkward silences when we mentioned where we were staying. Panic set in again, we were just hours away from checking in to what was made out to be the hotel from hell.

Location
Located on the south end of the strip, the hotel sits alongside some heavy hitters like the MGM Grand. If you’re driving, valet parking is free. However, we never used this due to the car park being so close to the entrance.

 

Transportation
If you’re not renting a car, there are still plenty of public transport options. The Monorail is only across the road in the MGM Grand, and it’ll take you down as far as the Stratosphere, it runs from 7 am every morning usually until 2 am the next morning. The Deuce operates 24/7 and stops at the Tropicana going Northbound and lets you off at the Excalibur going Southbound. You can view the current Deuce & SDX route maps by clicking here.

Style
Think dried tropical fruit mix. We’re talking white sand with a warm tropical palette, some parts of this hotel do make you question if you’re in Vegas or Miami (albeit having stepped through a time machine). Somewhat recent renovations have given a new lease of life to this once neglected hotel.

Staff & Facilities
Some of the team honestly go out of their way to help. We had an enjoyable experience at check-in, and it suggested that we switch to a room with two doubles to get a view of the strip, and when you’re near the top of the Club Tower, you certainly do get an incredible view over the famous strip. The Tropicana may not have as many pools as the newer resorts, but it’s still got quite a large lagoon style pool with plenty of palm trees and loungers.

Tropicana Las Vegas - Bedroom

Rooms
Our room was larger than most studio apartments, with a bathroom you could easily swing a chain of cats around. All the rooms have beautiful white plantation shutters on the windows and ample storage space for clothes & shopping. For groups and families adjoining rooms are also available.

Dining
The hotel has a selection of dining options, however, during our stay, we only ever dined in the Beach Cafe and grabbed some late night coffees from Starbucks. The Beach Cafe had a lovely, reasonably priced breakfast buffet despite being a hotel restaurant. I’d highly recommend the fruit plate off the regular breakfast menu, just make sure it comes with the elusive carrot cake.

Value for money
We bundled our hotel in with flights so only paid €1200 for the entire trip. At the time of writing, prices for two are averaging €57.50 per night for July 2016. However, this does not include the $25/day resort fee which covers both the WiFi & access to the gym among other things. Regardless it still represents excellent value for a hotel of this standard.

Tropicana Las Vegas - Pool

Our Thoughts
I’ll admit we both had low expectations when we arrived at this hotel, but we were blown away by both the service received and the standard/cleanliness of this hotel.

We stayed at this property in early February and temperatures were averaging 18 – 22 Celsius. Sadly the pool wasn’t open, despite the weather being ideal swimming weather by Irish standards.

Would we stay here again?
Yes, however as we spent most of our time on the north end of the strip, we’ll be opting for a hotel more centrally located next time. I’m thinking the Oriental.

***

Tropicana Las Vegas
3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas 89109

T: +1 888 381 8767
E: guestservice@troplv.com
W: www.troplv.com

lee brothers potato merchants - Borough Market
Travel, United Kingdom

Borough Market, London

Having spent over a year running a stall in a farmers market, we just couldn’t resist a visit to the iconic Borough Market. Located a short walk from London Bridge, it’s easily one of London’s best food markets. There’s a vast variety of fruit, vegetables, cakes, bread, cheeses, meats and everything in-between. Borough itself has long been synonymous with food markets, so the market is steeped in history.

We managed to make our way over just after noon and was shocked at the crowds. The place was packed, which in my opinion ruined the whole experience. I usually take a somewhat relaxed approach when it comes to visiting markets. However, this just wasn’t possible here. Stopping to try something, or take a photo resulted in a herd of people quickly moving us along to the next stall.

We got lucky and discovered The Veggie Table, who were serving two very different burgers. Sweet potato & chickpea or halloumi cheese with carrots. We both opted for the sweet potato, with a slaw-like salad and a mild salsa. It was one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had, and at £5 a pop I did regret not trying to talk them into selling me a few to take back for dinner.

Next, we went looking for Neal’s Yard Dariy. It took several laps around the market to eventually find it. The entrance to the store lacks any appeal, and it doesn’t look like a cheese shop. That is of course until you turn the corner and join the queue to enter the emporium of cheese. Not knowing much about British cheeses, we let the guy behind the counter do most of the work. After several different samples, we eventually decided on five different types along with a wildcard which he recommended to us. In total, the cheese alone came to around £13, which was pretty good value for what we got.

***

Borough Market
8 Southwark Street
London SE1 1TL

T: +44 (0) 20 7407 1002
E: info@boroughmarket.org.uk

Originally posted on GladYouAreNotHere.