November 21, 2012 – Wednesday was another driving day, this time from Thousand Oaks to Las Vegas. This meant we got to experience some of the infamous LA traffic, although it still wasn’t too bad (perhaps because it was a holiday week). We did discover that we prefer the area north and west of the city over the more industrialized, slightly more run down and tired feeling area to the east. Once we were outside of LA the scenery became standardized – fairly flat road surrounded on either side by distant mountain ranges.
We stopped for lunch at The Mad Greek, a family run restaurant in Baker, CA. We managed to beat the lunch rush by getting there a little after 11; the food was excellent, we sampled the gyros (I recommend the sandwich over the platter, it comes with onion, lettuce, and tzakiki), which came with a side of lightly seasoned rice. The gyros platter also came with a salad, whose star was the single stuffed grape leaf.
After lunch we took a detour through the Mojave desert. The desert was pretty neat, with metamorphic rocks, cinder cones, and lots of Joshua trees.
We reached Las Vegas by the early afternoon, just after 3pm. This is a great time to get to Las Vegas since the traffic is usually pretty light. Our hotel was Vdara, which we like because it’s a non-smoking, non-gambling hotel. That night we had dinner at the Mirage buffet. The Mirage is within walking distance of Vdara, and has an excellent dinner buffet. Favorites were the wonton soup, shrimp bisque, chilled jumbo shrimp, albodingas (meatball) soup, fried wontons, dim sum, and meat station. The desserts, particularly the chocolate gelato, were also excellent.