Fall Getaways

 

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Foxwoods Resort Casino

Mashantucket

Sometimes you want to get away from “it all” without having to drive all over the map. Handcuffed to our steering wheels as so many of us are, it’s wonderful in itself to be someplace where you can get where you’re going—restaurants, cool shops, maybe a show—on your own two feet. Someplace like Foxwoods!
This time we stayed at the gorgeous MGM Grand Hotel, and from the moment we stepped into the soaring lobby, we knew we’d come to the right place. We’re not gamblers, but we had few doubts we could keep ourselves otherwise entertained. The plan was simple: Eat, drink and be merry.
Top of my list was to try a couple of the new restaurants MGM Grand has added to the Foxwoods galaxy. We led off with dinner at Shrine since we’d heard so much about it and were duly dazzled—both by the over-the-top decor and chef Kevin Long’s interesting selection of pan-Asian dishes. The menu’s a crowd-pleasing mix of traditional favorites (General Tso’s Chicken) and original creations. Highlights were an ethereal sashimi dish of yellowtail, jalapeño, sriracha and sweet onion ponzu; lobster Rangoons; Mongolian skirt steak and the addictive wok-cooked rice vermicelli noodles with shrimp and char sui pork.
The next day we had a delightful buffet brunch at Michael Schlow’s famed Alta Strada. The spread—scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, applewood-smoked bacon, along with veal meatballs, pasta salad, marinated mushrooms, smoked salmon and assorted salads—was my idea of the perfect mix of breakfast and lunch dishes.
That night nothing would do but Paragon, Foxwoods’ crown jewel. There, in the luxe 24th floor aerie, we feasted on escargots with preserved lemon and roasted garlic, oxtail stew and velvety Wagyu “eye of the rib-eye” steaks with oyster-and-mushroom sauté. High on the list of
         Paragon’s outsized delights are the sublime jazz stylings of cool cat Jack Madry on the baby grand.
When we weren’t reveling in one superb culinary offering or another, we did find time for other things. Shopping, for example: We took an iPad for a test drive at MacAppeal, ogled the sparklers at Chopard and picked up a gift or two at Grand Effects. We also spent a fascinating couple of hours immersed in the RMS Titanic disaster at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, a display of dishes and silver, decorative elements, jewelry and other personal belongings recovered from the ocean floor, along with the haunting stories of the fates of many of the passengers. (If you hurry you can still see it. It runs through Oct. 3.)
I’d have to say that one of the pleasantest aspects of the weekend was our visit to MGM Grand’s truly beautiful G-Spa. We each had a Swedish massage, then prolonged the blissful relaxation for quite a while lounging by turns in the spa’s handsome indoor pool area (no one under 21 allowed) and out in the sunshine on the adjoining outdoor terrace. The view is a multicolored foliage tapestry as far as the eye can see.
Now, I know I said we don’t go in for gambling, but after a couple of whatever those tasty cocktails we had at Shrine were, we opted to make a quick foray into the casino. Why not, right? I planted myself at a slot machine, made a dismal show of it and was weary of the incessant bleeps, buzzes and pulsating lights when I realized I’d completely lost track of John. After walking around and around for probably 10 minutes, I finally found him—at a blackjack table! He was ready to call it a night, too, he said, and made a beeline for the cashier’s window—he’d won $465! (Time spent on the casino floor: 45 minutes.)
Even with that little windfall, our weekend was a bit of a splurge. And we loved every minute of it.
For more information, visit foxwoods.com or mgmgrand.com.

Fall Getaways

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