In response to knowing my mom’s favorite excursion, which is to head to Foxwoods for a day of gambling, I decided to take her there for an early Mother’s Day, since I’d be traveling during the actual May 11 holiday. Although I hadn’t been to Foxwoods for at least 8 years, my mother was there only two weeks prior, where she celebrated Easter with her husband and won $700 in the process of pulling the one-armed bandits.
“Bam” I told my sisters of my idea to top all Mother’s Day ideas. They laughed and sent me on my way to enjoy some mommy and me time.
I upped the ante when I heard about the upcoming performance by none other than my mom’s all-time favorite Latin performer, Julio Iglesias. But, first things first. We check into the Fox Tower, headed to the top floor, the side with a phenomenal view of the untouched Indian reservation, and then headed down again to the third floor, to G Spa, for our treatments. Heidi escorted us into the nail salon where my mom welcomed the indulgent Moroccanoil Pedicure ($100) with “Lobster Rolls” as the color on her tootsies, while I relished in a Moroccanoil Manicure ($70) and discovered the CND line of 7-day polishes called Vinylux Weekly Polish. I dared to be different and chose a light lemon color. It works for me.
We left hungry and ready for dinner at Al Dente. Our server, Nancy, has been at Al Dente for well over a decade, possibly two, and she orchestrated a dinner extraordinaire, beginning with a French martini for moi, and a black Russian for mom. A plate of cold antipasto showcases Al Dente’s homemade mozzarella and various hams, including prosciutto, some blue cheese strips and more cheesy extras on a bed of mesclun mix. A small bowl of eggplant tapenade spooned onto rosemary bread dictates indulgence. With my filet mignon and roasted lobster tail presented on top of the open shell as a showpiece, my entrée was accompanied by spinach, pieces of a Portobello, candied garlic sauce and pinot grigio butter ($45). I could not consume the entire dish and ended up leaving almost half behind. But I did not leave behind my $25 glass of Barolo, Castelle, Mauro Velio Barolo 2008 from Piedmonte. It was a stunning specimen of Italy’s finest wines.
For mom, a plate of Zuppe de pesce ($39) was presented in a symphony of well thought out presentation: clams, mussels, lobster tail, shrimp, scallops over linguine. She loved every bite she could eat, and she couldn’t eat it all either. She didn’t even finish her Washington State merlot. Before we left, we took a few bites of an unremarkable dessert paired with a shot of the General Manager’s delicious limoncello, and a look at the Chef’s Table menu David Brai has concocted for end of May. It looked enticing and might just be worth a trip back to enjoy a culinary adventure before a few games of roulette. Next, we dashed to the theater to catch Julio Iglesias perform.
OK, so he’s 70 years old and has forgotten much of the English he once sang so sweetly. The crowd roared, all ages --- many Spanish-speaking, and they were the ones who benefited most. We sat in the middle of the middle section and couldn’t really see Julio to comment, and the Jumbotron was never turned on for a closer look. The spotlight didn’t shine on him for almost the entire performance, except when he sang Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in broken English, but it did shine brightly on three backup singers/dancers who were all we could watch while Julio’s voice drifted in and out of volume (maybe he couldn’t hit all the notes?). The highlight for me was watching the tango dancers perform throughout the show. Julio interacted with the audience a lot, which was well-received. He shared his physical ailment of leg cramps he suffered through during the entire show, and it showed in his limp. He also shared his views on the world at large and the lure of Latin lovers to impregnate. Another English song was sung, but this time it was Wham’s “Never Gonna Dance Again,” which didn’t make sense to me, but I went along with it. And then he sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” and the audience went wild. He said his goodbyes and left the stage to a crowd standing, shouting and clapping insanely for his brief return to finish the same song. He obliged. We took our leave.
Gambling time. Slot machines are a brief distraction from thoughts of the aging Julio. But we lost, and defeated, headed to the 30th floor to slumber. Come 3 a.m., loud knocks on our door were not answered, but a look out the peephole revealed two thugs who may have knocked on the wrong door or not. We’ll never know. It wasn’t comforting. But morning certainly was. A day pass at G Spa sent me into the steam room to extract the toxins of a night at the casino. Now I was ready to face the day. We checked out and then headed to my now favorite breakfast spot: http://www.juniorscheesecake.comJunior’s for a mammoth cup of coffee and breakfast of homemade cheese blintzes for me, an omelet for mom.
More gambling that brought wins and losses – mostly losses. We were done and hit the road to arrive home two hours later, and knowing this Mother’s Day, although celebrated a week early, was better than most.
For more information on G Spa, visit www.foxwoods.com/gspa.aspx
For more information on Al Dente, visit www.foxwoods.com/aldente.aspx
For more information on Foxwoods, visit www.Foxwoods.com
To order a Junior’s cheesecake, known for being the best in Brooklyn, visit www.juniorscheesecake.com