a surprise in Las Vegas

cocktails in the poolside cabana

This post was created in partnership with Lucky Dragon. All opinions are our own.

What happens in Vegas… stays on our blog. Last weekend, we took an impromptu road trip from Los Angeles to the Silver State to surprise Adam’s grandparents, Dan and Lee, who are 95 and 93 years old respectively. Dan was one of the original producers of the musical Man of La Mancha back in the 1960’s, but hasn’t seen the play in over fifty years. Two weeks ago, when he mentioned to us over the phone that they were going to see a production in a park near their house, we could tell how much this performance meant to him, and we knew we had to be there. To make it even more special, we decided to keep our trip a secret, and make this a surprise that he would always remember.

a golden dragon is the glittering centerpiece of the casino
one of several fully-stocked bars at the Lucky Dragon
beating the Las Vegas heat by the pool

As it turned out, there were some surprises in store for us too. We were expecting a small stage in a typical urban park, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. The “park” where the show was held was the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park: 539 acres of open pastures, surrounded by magnificent red-rock canyons and winding hiking trails. We didn’t do any research about the location before arriving, so to be greeted by this intense desert beauty was absolutely breathtaking. Just thirty minutes from downtown Las Vegas is where the Super Summer Theatre makes its home, far enough from the lights of the city to allow a backdrop of stars to fill the sky.

dim sum lunch at pearl ocean
the walls of Pearl Ocean are covered in handpainted watercolor murals
crispy fried rice rolls

There were a few thousand people in attendance: half the crowd were spread out on picnic blankets enjoying wine and refreshments, while the other half settled in lawn chairs which you could rent for just one dollar. Adam’s grandparents arrived early, and were sitting with two of their sons and daughter-in-law—Adam’s dad, aunt, and uncle—whom we had been texting earlier to help coordinate the surprise. “Down the center about fifty feet” was the message we received, and as we anxiously made our way through the crowd, we spotted them sitting right next to the aisle. We tapped Grandpa Dan on the shoulder, shouted “surprise!” and captured the entire moment on camera which you can see in our video below. Their reaction was priceless—there may even have been a few tears of joy—and it was a magical evening in a gorgeous setting that we will never forget.

golden crispy tofu
each room is accented with red decor and cherry blossoms
getting clean and comfy

Our hotel for the weekend was the Lucky Dragon, a brand-new boutique resort located at the north end of the Las Vegas strip. With just 200 suites and modern Chinese decor, these intimate accommodations were perfect for our short weekend stay. We relaxed in their poolside cabanas, sipping Bloody Marys while escaping the dry desert heat. We sampled four different craft cocktails made by the talented Teresa at the Pagoda Bar beneath the golden glass dragon in the center of the casino (be sure to ask for the secret off-menu creation, The Black Pearl). We dined at the Pearl Ocean, where the walls are covered in hand-painted watercolors, and the chef prepared a special vegetarian tasting menu just for us. But the highlight of the meal was a blooming tea called the Secret Garden, a warm after-dinner drink made with gin, lemon juice, honey, and a blossoming passion-strawberry tea. If you’re planning a trip to Vegas anytime soon, and looking for something chic without the crowds, the Lucky Dragon is the perfect solution. It is easily accessible from the lively Strip, and a quick ten minute walk to the up-and-coming arts district. Our stay was a pleasure from start to finish, and definitely had us feeling lucky all weekend long.

the Colorwolf (with tequila, watermelon, and kaffir lime) and the Dragon's Breath (with rum, mint and spicy lemongrass)
be sure to ask for The Black Pearl, which is a secret cocktail that's not on the menu...
the Pagoda Bar has the best view of the dragon shining overhead

Where to Eat:
For breakfast on Saturday, we stopped into Vegenation, an adorable vegan restaurant filled with plants and colorful artwork on the walls. The special chicken & waffles were crispy and delicious, and the breakfast potatoes were spicy, tangy, and addictive. We would definitely go back the next time we’re in Vegas, and we liked it so much we went there two days in a row! Located downtown, a block from Fremont Street.

What to Do:
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park has trails for hiking and is the home of Super Summer Theatre from March through November. Located 30 minutes west from the Strip.

The Antique Mall of America has an overwhelming collection of vintage items for sale, and there are definitely treasures to be found. Located south of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard.

We have heard great things about the Neon Museum, but didn’t realize you need to buy tickets ahead of time, so we didn’t get to take a tour. Next time we’ll make sure to plan ahead!

in Vegas, everything lights up, even shoes
downtown Vegas on a saturday night
vegenation is lush with plants, serving delicious vegan fare in the heart of downtown






4 Comments on a surprise in Las Vegas

    • husbandsthatcook
      August 25, 2017 at 8:47 am

      We had such a fun time, but wished that you were there with us! We gotta do a road trip sometime soon!

  1. Matt
    August 24, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    The robe picture is the best!!

    • husbandsthatcook
      August 25, 2017 at 8:48 am

      haha thank you! We’re definitely planning to post that one as a #tbt sometime soon! ????

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