We just spent a very classy weekend in Atlantic City. What happened was, we heard Anthony Bourdain was going to be at Caesars on Sunday afternoon, so we thought we’d go out for that, but then GG found out Jackie Martling would be at the Marina on Saturday night, so he wanted to see that, get a hotel room, go to Bourdain the next day, and then come home. It is very expensive to get a hotel room on a Saturday night in AC! The few times we’ve done it before, we usually end up staying at some creepy place on Black Horse Pike. But GG checked Expedia and found this “boutique hotel” for less than $200 for the night, so he booked it.
So Saturday afternoon we showed up at our hotel, The Chelsea. Um, it was amazing. While we were checking in, GG mentioned that rooms at the casinos were going for $500 for the night, and apparently, that was the rate for a room at The Chelsea, too, if you were just coming in off the street that day! Not only that, but we had reserved one of their “lite” rooms, but that section of the hotel was still under construction, so we were upgraded to a “luxe” room. We took the elevator up to our room on the 17th floor, and it was so fancy! When I first walked in the door, I thought, “Hollywood Regency” (hey, that Domino magazine subscription is good for something!). Lots of graphic patterns, clean lined furniture with elegant details, and white animal sculptures (bird lamps, in our case). And the bed! We took a 2-hour nap right away.
Our hotel room
Around 6pm, we went downstairs to check out The Fifth Floor, which is where they have a night club and their restaurant, Chelsea Prime. Silly us, showed up in our jeans and without a reservation. Luckily, they were very nice to us and said because it was so early we didn’t really need a reservation. We still felt bad about being underdressed, but our waiter was so cool! He was like, “Hey, see that table over there? They’re wearing sweatpants.” (Still, 99% of people there were dressed very nicely.) The waiter was awesome about explaining everything to us, and even making suggestions like splitting the side vegetables (which we did – you ordered everything a la carte). We had the most amazing dinner. GG got a steak, which was covered with this charred salty crust – so good! I had roast organic chicken which came in the most delicious sauce. And we shared asparagus with hollandaise sauce and whipped potatoes. GG tried their signature Chelsea cocktail, which I think had vodka, vermouth, prosecco, cucumber, and mint. Then we had to get dessert – he had a bread pudding with brandy-soaked cherries, and I had the best creme brulee I’ve ever eaten, topped with this delicious pile of berries.
I could say so much more about the hotel, but instead why don’t you check out this really nice Chelsea Hotel review on HotelChatter (be sure to check out their related articles, too, they go more in-depth on the restaurants, night club, and other amenities).
After dinner, we went back to our room, got changed, and headed to the Marina to see Jackie. Our seats kind of sucked. I don’t really understand the layout of their comedy venue, The Shell, but half the seats basically are facing away from the stage because of the way their tables are set up. (And of course, we got the backwards seats.) GG’s friend Brian met us there, and it was us three plus these seven really rowdy guys sitting at the table. Basically, the audience was mostly Howard Stern fans, and as soon as Jackie came out they kept shouting “Hey now” and other Howard-related stuff. He just told dirty jokes for an hour straight, then he did “stump the chump,” where people set up a joke to see if he could finish it (he could), and he brought some women on stage to try to stump him, too, but mostly just to make uncomfortable. Even GG was surprised by what he was doing to them, and we were both glad I didn’t go up there.
Coming back to the hotel at night
When we got back to the hotel after the show, we decided to check out the night club, because one of the valet guys told us the party doesn’t get started up there until 1am, and it’s crazy. He must’ve been right, because it was about 11pm when we stopped by, and it was mostly just people hanging around. We walked through the whole area before getting back on the elevator and going up to our room. “Good Night and Good Luck” was on TV, which GG wanted to watch, but I think we both fell asleep immediately.
Sunday morning we ordered breakfast to our room – a beautiful tray of pastries and fruit with coffee and juice. We were taking our time getting ready and checking out, because we figured we’d just go straight to Caesar’s in time to see Bourdain. But then he mentioned that we could kill time at The Pier, this mall connected to Caesar’s. I hadn’t been there for ten years – since the last time I marched in the Miss America parade (which would have been 1998, since we didn’t go due to weather in 1999). It used to be this sad little mall. Now it’s a really classy mall, with pretty much the same stores we have at KoP, and a third floor with some nice restaurants. We walked the entire mall before getting lunch at the AC outpost of The Continental (there are two in Philly). GG saw this Green Submarine sandwich on the menu and knew I had to order it, since it had avocado, sprouts, and other yummy veggies. So good. GG had a burger. Then we went to check out this fountain show. Apparently this is the world’s largest indoor fountain display, and it was really awesome! The fountains, lights, and music were choreographed really well, and it was very modern and unique. I took a few pictures, but they don’t really do it justice. If you search YouTube for the fountain show at The Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City, there’s tons of videos. Probably the neatest part was that in addition to the fountains spraying up from the pool, there’s also something in the ceiling above it that sprays out water and mist.
After stopping in this giant candy store called It’Sugar (seriously, it’s like the FAO Schwartz of candy), we crossed the boardwalk back to Caesars and headed to the Circus Maximus theater. Honestly, I was a little disappointed in this show. The theater was huge, it was just not what I’d been expecting, and also it was packed! I didn’t realize there were that many Bourdain fans! 100 audience members were doing this VIP thing where after the show they would get to meet Tony and he would prepare a dinner. If I’d known how far away we were going to be, I would’ve brought my glasses, because for all I knew it could’ve been any skinny guy in a chef’s jacket up on the stage. Luckily, they had a couple cameras on him, which were being displayed on large screens behind and on either side of the stage. So he cooked a couple things (some sort of scallops with mushroom sauce, and duck a l’orange), and Carlos Llaguna (executive chef at Les Halles, Bourdain’s old restaurant) was there to assist him! That part was kind of boring, even though he did talk a little about some stuff while he cooked. The he took a few questions from the audience, which was much more interesting, even though most of the people asking questions treated it like this really formal thing, like, “Mr. Bourdain, in your book you mentioned bla bla bla, what is your opinion on bla bla bla,” that sort of thing.
As soon as the show was over, we booked it out of there, back to the car, and on the road. I slept part of the way home. We got home a little after 4pm, and the kitties had missed us! Also, they ate almost all the food I’d left out for them, which was more than I’d expected. We were only gone about 26 hours! I spent the rest of the evening doing laundry and making hats! Who would’ve guessed Waldo was such a popular Halloween costume?! Also, there was a No Reservations marathon, so I watched more Bourdain..!