(MOVIE PLANNING VIEWING: ATLANTIC CITY, SOUR GRAPES)
Chapter 1: Goodbye to the Big Apple and Hello to Vegas of the East!
Chapter 2: Bobby Flay Staked Us at his Steakhouse
Barb had managed to comp a room for us at Harrahs (hurrah!) and another at a mega cheap rate but getting from the carpark to the casino / hotel itself was another adventure – who puts stairs where people have to wheel suitcases???? We checked in and found out that Barb and Kel were in a completely different wing / tower to us which was about a 10 minute walk away (!) so we arranged to meet in the lobby to head across to the Borgata where the restaurant was located after a rest and powernaps for Kelly and something to take the edge off for Justyn &I. We found our hotel had a Ben & Jerry’s ice creamery so we stopped in there for a scoop before getting ready for dinner. Across at the Borgata, we mazed our way through the casino and spied a Jeopardy slot machine that Kelly had been looking for since Las Vegas so we were sure to stop back for a spin before going back to our casino. At Bobby Flay Steak, we were seated and checked out the cocktail menu while our waiter talked through the menu which was essentially steak! For appetisers, Barb had the crispy onion, roasted tomato, blue cheese salad with buttermilk dressing, Kel went for the lobster-crab cake with green onion sauce and red pepper pesto, which she declared was her meal for the whole trip, and I chose the oyster & lobster shooters – Justyn decided for forgo the starter (he may have eaten too much B&J ice cream). All were really delicious, especially Kelly’s. Moving onto dinner, both Barb and I ordered the steak, Barb’s was New York cut with the spice rub and mine was the Philadelphia style strip steak with provolone cheese sauce and caramelised onions, based on the waiters recommendation Justyn had the delectable grilled chicken with a bacon mustard vinaigrette and Kelly on a roll with her choices, continued the seafood focus with filet mignon Louisiana with bearnaise sauce and crawfish. The sides were treats in themselves too - smashed baked potato with crème fraiche, goat cheese & green onions; creamed spinach; and cauliflower-goat cheese gratin. Mmmmmm! The servings were so huge that not one of us was able to finish our meals! But what about dessert I hear you cry! For dessert, we paused for 15 minutes then turned to our backup dessert stomachs, and hit the menu! Kelly selected two of the icecream flavours – peanut butter and caramel, Barb tried the pineapple sorbet (which she was not particularly taken with as it was like a creamy pineapply flavour – yes we all tried it!) and I also decided to try the waiters recommendation which was the baked alaska with caramel ice cream, crystalized pecans & warm dark chocolate sauce. Fantabulous!!!
It was time to leave Bobby Flay, for Kelly to play the Jeopardy slots (she lost her bucks) in the Borgata and then head back to Harrah’s to try our luck in the casino. Barb plays craps and while we attempted to follow that game, we had no idea what was going on so we went to find the penny pokies. After losing a few bucks, we found a row of machines that J and I doubled our money out-layed on the slots in total, K lost more so sat and drank the complimentary margaritas (which were toxic!) until it was time to go to bed!
Chapter 3: Six Flags Great Adventure – More Flags More Fun! (and more coasters!)
Our third major theme park of the Forty Coasters Expedition was in Jackson, New Jersey – about 80 minutes from Atlantic City, so we set out around 9am to get there reasonably close to opening time. Coca Cola had a promotion that with specially marked cans you could get 2 for 1 into the park so we bumped and dodged the many school kids there for their end of year trips and headed into the park. Ride number 23, appropriately, was the Great American Scream Machine which didn't get its name for nothing. With a 15.5 story drop, seven monstrous loops, one corkscrew and two boomerang loops, we gave our giggling vocal chords a workout! Number 24 was The Dark Night, a coaster in the dark (Scooby Doo was more fun!) and then number 25 was one of the major rides of this park – Nitro. Although there are no inversions, the ride features six camelbacks, a hammer head turn and a 540-degree helix – heaps and heaps of fun and should have been ride #1 according to the ride attendant who helped me pose with the coaster numbers! We were encountering crowds and queues throughout the park that were in greater numbers than in the previous parks and so to get to ride #26 we caught the Sky Ride – a ride that Justyn was happy to go on! Bizarro was the next ride and a bit of trivia for you – it was the worlds first floorless coaster. Ride #27 was my favourite of the park – El Toro which was a wooden coaster. Wooden coasters are not generally my favourite type of coaster, however El Toro was worth the long wait to get on (well long was only 30 minutes – the corrals of most of the rides had waiting times signposted of up to 3hours!). It has the second steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster in the world, at 76 degrees, and it is the third tallest (188ft; 57 m) and third fastest (70 mph; 113 km/h) wooden roller coaster in the world. Because of the extreme negative g-forces (airtime) on the ride, the lap-bar restraints are very tight too! Fantastic! The last coaster we counted at Six Flags Great Adventure (even though we did ride more) was the Kingda Ka. Ride #27 is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world, claiming the title from Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point which we rode when there. Launched at 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds, when you hit the of the launch track, you climbs the main top hat tower, reaching a height of 456 feet (139 meters). Heaps of fun and the ride that Barb claimed to be the best of the day!
One sour note of the day was the organisation and queuing at another wooden coaster – Rolling Thunder. Not only did we have to queue for an hour and listen to the song ‘Rawhide’ over and over, they opened a second lane as we reached the front of the queue so people could walk straight on to the other track AND when we finally reached the train, hopped in and strapped ourselves in, the train broke down! Needless to say, we did not ride that coaster and were not happy about the lack of bang for our buck with no apology. Poor form Six Flags.
Chapter 4: Buffet dining Atlantic City style (or not!)
For dinner, we thought we’d sample the traditional buffet that is standard in all casino locations across the US. After arriving back at Harrahs (Hurrah!) around 8pm from Six Flags Great Adventure, and after a much needed and refreshing shower we caught a taxi to the infamous Atlantic City Boardwalk to dine at the Caesars Casino buffet – which closed at 9pm. And so did all the buffets in town. On a Thursday night, the buffets were all closed! To be fair, the average age at AC was in the mid-60’s or older so a 5:30pm dining time at the buffet probably cleaned all the food out by then! So we headed up to Ballys to their 6ix Bistro – another interesting dining experience that really need not be repeated here! So Barb put a few dollars through the craps table, we did the slots and then decided that we were luckier at Harrahs so headed back for a final flutter around the tables and pokies. J and I had a very early flight the next day to Memphis, so it was farewell to both Barb and Kel and a big thank you to both of them – especially Kelly for coming on this wacky adventure! THANK YOU! XOXO