Food is the ultimate memory inducer
If there's anything that I loved, it was the little places we'd find off the strip to sit down, eat, and enjoy the company of friends. And I wanted to make sure I got to all those places today.
The first thing I had to do was go shopping. I stopped at the Fashion Show Mall, one of the two places on the strip I would actually go. I headed into a store to buy some new running shoes since I wouldn't really have time to do it when I got back home to the wife and kids. I walked down the mall and enjoyed the memories that came back. It's really cool how you recognize things in the past and can almost immediately begin to remember the events which happened here.
Next stop, my favorite place in Vegas. Togoshi's. A little hole in the wall that most people coming to Vegas will never see. It's a great Ramen house and I've been coming here for years. They recognize me immediately since I'm always a regular. Ben and I sit down at a table and I don't even have to order. Here comes a big bowl of Mabo Ramen and a large Sapporo. It's delicious and I can't believe I haven't been able to find a taste similar to this in San Francisco. Ben I talk for awhile about his upcoming wedding. I start making calls to other friends I've lost touch with in the last couple years. When I was to the point of giving up, the last call I made hit paydirt. Apparently the rest of my friends were hanging out and they were heading to another favorite spot of mine, Buffalo Wild Wings. So off we went to reconnect.
I love chicken wings. I love them really spicy. The wings you order from a pizza joint just aren't the same. You want a place DEDICATED to the art. Buffalo Wild Wings is a chain restuarant that deals only with the art of the wing. There is no location in Northern California where I live so coming here is a treat. I sit down at a large table where almost twenty of my old friends are sitting. We laugh and talk about some of the things I've missed and it's all pretty awesome. I miss hanging out with these people and it's tough to realize that these are probably going to be some of the last moments I share with them. We eat lots of wings, and drink lots of beer. We promise to keep in touch and Ben and I head out.
Another couple of friends were in contact with Ben. They wanted to know if we wanted to head to Ichiza. Another staple in my life in Vegas. We head over there and begin the sake drinking. Ichiza is a great place. It's dangerous because you can wind up with a really big bill after a long night of drinking and not even know it. We sit down and drink a couple bottles of sake and dab at their wide assortment of food.
After Ichiza, it's time to do what Vegas people do. Ben and I headed to the Excalibur Hotel on the strip and walked to their poker room. This poker room holds a special place in my heart because it was here when my wife went into labor with our 2nd son Gabriel. We got a standing ovation then and I see some familiar faces now. We sit down at a table and play our hands. I wasn't there to actually win anything and came our a few dollars ahead. Ben totally lost his cash but we had a great time.
The day was at and end and we headed back to Ben's to crash. Going to sleep, I acknowledged that I'd have to go home tomorrow, calling this trip to an end.