Las Vegas | New York Coffee

Las Vegas | New York Coffee

An underground trip, a journey across the desert, the arrival in Las Vegas, a series of competitive events, a night of golf, and a lazy river later, it was time to refuel. Some of us went to the MGM buffet, the rest of the party went to Shake Shack. But more importantly, coffee was overdue.

If you have not been to Las Vegas, you may not know that the MGM hotel (where we stayed during this trip) is next to the New York-New York — a hotel and casino designed after New York City. Incidentally, this was my first time at the New York-New York since living in New York City for a few years. As such, I could not resist visiting for a cup of joe.

Review: The first thing to notice about this cafe, and hotel for that matter, is that it truly resembles New York — but more on that later. However, the coffee itself was not necessarily New York-like. In fact, it had an uncanny Seattle familiarity. That is because it tasted exactly like Starbucks’ Pike roast. So much so that, while I did not see a “we proudly serve Starbucks coffee” sign, a blind test would suggest this to be the case. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just not great.

At $4.75 a large cup, it is evident that you are paying the Las Vegas strip location premium — that, or they modeled their pricing after New York City. Price aside, this cup is acceptable. It is not dreadful, but it most certainly is not memorable. It’s just ok. Like I said, it’s effectively a cup of Starbucks’ Pike. The Ramdolfi Score: 5/10.

Upon acquiring this cup of coffee, I nostalgically gazed at the signature architecture around me before returning to the bachelor party that was still finishing their burgers. I found myself smiling. It was the stage from another life, but that’s a story for another blog.

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Tell me, have you ever been to the New York-New York? Have you ever been to New York, New York? Are you ever transported to times past by the sight of familiar places?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

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Las Vegas | Lazy River

Las Vegas | Lazy River

At last, rest. An underground trip, a journey across the desert, the arrival in Las Vegas, a series of competitive events, and a night of golf later, we got to relax. But how do you relax at a bachelor party in Vegas? With a lazy river, of course!

For those unfamiliar with lazy rivers, imagine a pool shaped as a river that loops around the venue and back to the beginning — all the while water jets gently rock you throughout the course. In other words, lazy rivers are awesome!

We spent hours enjoying the sun, libations, and good company. We also found a waterfall into which we pushed whoever was on the doughnut at the time. Needless to say, laughter ensued.

It was not long before we felt the need for sustenance. That’s when the man of the hour suddenly appeared with chicken tenders, and buffalo sauce — just when we thought this bachelor party could not get any better, we spiced things up.

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Tell me, have you ever been on a lazy river? Doughnut, or no doughnut? Chicken tenders, plain or with buffalo sauce?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Las Vegas | Topgolf

Las Vegas | Topgolf

Still on the same Friday I arrived in Vegas for the Best Man’s Bachelor Party, and after a series of competitive sport events at MGM’s Level Up, we made our way to MGM’s Topgolf for even more athletic fun.

Topgolf is an indoor elevated platform from which players golf into targets below. Imagine a frat guy thinking: “What if we combine golf with a bowling alley and serve beer!?” That’s effectively Topgolf — and it’s awesome!

After ordering an overpriced pitcher and some nachos, we proceeded to spend the next couple of hours swinging clubs with all of our strength and virtually no skill. We may not have a career in professional golf ahead of us, but we sure had fun playing!

We swung and swung until the sun went down, and then we swung some more. In fact, we swung so much that — unbeknownst to me — my shoulder would be sore the following day.

Suddenly, the darkness of night had descended upon us and the bright lights made their debut. But this night we would rest for the following we might not. Exhausted and under the influence of a good time, we headed back to the room.

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Tell me, have you ever been to Topgolf? Have you ever golfed in general? What about mini-golf?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Las Vegas | Level Up

Las Vegas | Level Up

After arriving in Las Vegas for the Best Man’s Bachelor Party, we dropped off our luggage at our room in the MGM hotel. Our first stop of the day was a next-level arcade within the MGM aptly named, Level Up.

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Before I proceed to describe the libation-filled events of the weekend, and for those readers under the age of 21 (in the United States), I would like to state clearly that I do not endorse underage drinking. In fact, I myself did not begin drinking until around 23 — needless to say, in moderation. Frankly, it took me a while to acquire the taste for it. That said, I do not think alcohol is inherently bad. If it was, I don’t think Jesus would have turned water into wine. The abusive consumption of alcohol on the other hand, well that can be problematic. In conclusion, drink responsibly. Now back to our story.

Level Up, a sports-themed arcade, could not have been a more appropriate way of inaugurating the Best Man’s bachelor party. He has always been among the most athletic of us, and to this day, remains the most fit. I like to think it’s genetics, and to an extent I’m sure it is, but credit where credit’s due. The man loves sports! For that reason, Level Up was perfect!

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Appropriately, the first priority was to acquire beverages and ensure that the man of the hour was never empty-handed. Upon securing some Blue Moon tallboys (that would be 24oz cans for those international readers), we began with a classic sport, beer pong.

═════ 1. Beer Pong ═════

Our first competition was all about hand-eye coordination — reminiscent of our high school tennis days. A game designed to intoxicate you, and a classic at just about every fraternity in America, Beer Pong is generally guaranteed to yield a fun competitive time. In this case, there was an emphasis on competitive. Cup after cup, we competed fiercely, and after 2 rounds, we were tied leaving the 3rd game for another time.

═════ 2. Basketball ═════

The second sport of the afternoon was actually the Best Man’s favorite sport, Basketball. This is where we deviate. While he is a talented player, and actually made the team back in the day, I could not play to save my life. I love it, I’m just not that good at it.

═════ 3. Billiards ═════

Moving on to sport No. 3, billiards! Fortunately, I am mildly skilled at billiards (or pool). However, after a few drinks, it is less about skill and more about luck. Either way, a fun time — that is, until your teammate makes the 8 Ball ahead of time. That’s ok though, the night was young and we would have plenty of opportunities to redeem ourselves.

═════ 4. Hockey ═════

Lastly, Level Up has a version of foosball that I had never seen before, a Hockey foosball. This sport had somewhat of a steep learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, it became my personal favorite. At this point, competition had turned into camaraderie, and we now played for the fun of it.

═════ 5. Pizza ═════

Pizza is not a sport — I think. But it is a fantastic way to restore some sobriety after an afternoon of endless libations. As such, we headed to a pizzeria for a slice of ‘za. The soon-to-be groom approved with a 2 Thumbs Up rating.

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MGM’s Level Up was a success! We were able to relive our competitive days without the stress of making it to finals. We competed, we consumed libations, and we had a fun time — and this was just the first stop. The day would resume with, you guessed it, more sports. Coming up next, Topgolf.

Tell me, are you a competitive person? Have you ever played beer pong? What do you think of drinking alcohol and what role does it play in your country’s culture?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Las Vegas | The Best Man’s Bachelor Party

Las Vegas | The Best Man’s Bachelor Party

After waking up at the crack of dawn and navigating the road less traveled for no less than 5 hours, I finally arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada for my best man’s bachelor party — a celebration I would not miss for the world.

This weekend was all about my best man — one of my best and oldest friends. Story time: We met back in high school, freshman year I believe. We were both in Track & Field, Cross Country, and Tennis (we were athletic back then). Throughout the years we stayed in touch, always picking up right where we last left off. As an only child, I imagine this is how having a brother is like.

In the blink of an eye, our youth had vanished, we moved out of our parents’ houses, got jobs, and met the women we would marry. He would go on to be my best man, and now I would find myself in the middle of the desert to bid his bachelor days farewell.

Our headquarters would be based out of the MGM hotel (next to the New York, New York), right on the strip. The gents would then trickle in throughout the rest of Friday. Meanwhile, the Bachelorette and her party gathered just a few hotels down the block for a concurrent (but separate) celebration — we would only meet for Saturday night’s outing.

This would be one for the books and essentially a sequel to the first time we went to Vegas together about 7 years ago, back when we could partake in the excessive intake of libations without suffering from unpleasant symptoms the morning after — but that’s a story for another post. Of course, there is only one way to start any adventure in my book, specially after waking up at 4:00 AM, an ungodly hour of the night.

That would be coffee. Upon finding the man of the hour, his brother, and his best man, we made a stop to get some strong, pour-over, black coffee to fuel the start of the day. He thought it would be funny to photobomb my coffee shot, he missed.

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Tell me, have you ever been to Vegas? If so, have you stayed at the MGM? Do you still keep in touch with your high school friends?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Gjusta Coffee

Gjusta Coffee

A little while ago, I received my first thank you present as a note of gratitude for my work. It was a touching moment. As I mentioned back then, I did not care what was inside that box. It could have been an empty box for all I cared. I was just thankful that someone appreciated my work enough to go out of their way to get me something — even if it was just an empty box. That said, it was not, an empty box.

The box was a Gjusta gift set that, among other things, contained some freshly roasted coffee beans that I was beyond excited to try! The only problem, I did not own a coffee grinder — until now.

Admittedly, for someone who loves coffee, I was surprised to realize that I did not own a coffee grinder. I have always purchased freshly ground coffee or used the grinders at the supermarket to grind my beans upon purchasing them. That said, and regardless of how I acquire my coffee beans, I do have high standards when it comes to how I brew my coffee.

I know that currently there is a fascination with Chemex’s pour-over coffee, but for me there will never be a cup quite as delectable as that which is brewed with a French Press — call me old fashioned, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So I ground my coffee, mixed it with some hot water in my French Press, and waited 4 minutes.

Review: Flavor. If I had to describe this cup with just one word, it would be flavor. Every note of dark chocolate, toasted almonds, and blackberries shines through each and every sip. This coffee is bright, crisp, and unbelievably mouthwatering. Sip after sip, this cup makes a presence, one that beckons your attention and commands authority. Suddenly, I realized something peculiar about this cup. It was effectively a cup of Blue Bottle’s New Orleans coffee — my absolute favorite commercially available coffee in the United States. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Unfortunately, I do not know how much this coffee costs — because, it was a present. However, after tasting this superior cup of what can only be described as the nectar of the gods, I will be sure to visit Gjusta’s store in Venice, CA. Perhaps upon learning it’s price I may reevaluate this coffee, but as of right now, it stands among the highest rated thus far. The Ramdolfi Score: 9/10.

Tell me, have you ever had Gjusta coffee? Do you grind your own coffee, or do you buy it ground? Are you a French Press person, or do you have a different method of choice?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Los Angeles Underground

Los Angeles Underground

One of my best friends, the best man at my wedding in fact, is himself getting married! As such, the same friend who organized my bachelor party (see exhibits A, B, C, D, and E) is about to have his own — in Vegas (insert .gif from The Hangover).

The only setback, it starts on a Friday morning. After making some calls and pulling some strings, I struck a deal to have Friday off and make up the time next week. One of the perks of working at a start up, flexibility.

Escalator descending to Universal City Metro station

While I could drive to Las Vegas, I am not sure I want to drive 4 hours at the crack of dawn, by myself, to catch up with the guys. That’s when it occured to me, I don’t necessarily have to drive. I looked at last minute flights, too expensive. I looked at trains, too long of a journey (twice as long actually). Finally, I looked at buses, bingo!

The coach bus would leave at 7:00 AM from Union Station, which means that I would still have to make my way to Downtown LA before sunrise. Sure, I could take an Uber or Lyft, but today is about public transportation, namely, the LA Metro.

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Friday: Day 1 of the Bachelor Party

My alarm goes off at 4:30 AM for me to get ready and make my way to the underground train station I used to take every day to go to work, and make my way to Union Station — Universal City station.

Universal City Metro station

Entering the station felt like muscle memory, I remember those public transportation days vividly. I still even had my old “tap card” to enter the station. Unfortunately, it had insufficient funds on it, which forced me to take a minute to reload my card, which in turn made me miss my train.

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The next train would not arrive for another 15 minutes. I would be cutting it really close — down to the last minute, if I made my bus at all. Still, I waited patiently for the next train knowing that there was nothing I could do to make the next train arrive faster. Before I knew it, a train full of half-asleep passenger was opening its doors before me.

Los Angeles Metro Red Line Passengers

Every stop along the way felt like a roll of the dice, like a game of craps, where at any given point we could roll a 7, say encounter a train delay, and lose it all — perhaps this could be foreshadowing for what is to come. Fortunately, the train arrived at Union Station with 5 minutes to spare, I hopped onto the bus, and was on my way to Vegas through the road less traveled.

It is always interesting taking the Metro in Los Angeles, mainly because very few people utilize it as their preferred method of transportation, but also because a number of people do not even know it exists. I certainly did not know we had a subway system until I returned from New York — where I would take the subway almost exclusively to go just about anywhere. On a related note, how weird is it to navigate cities several feet below the surface?

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Tell me, have you ever taken the subway? If so, what was your experience like? Do you prefer to drive your own vehicle or take public transportation?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)