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Very long report on 2 1/2 days in Las Vegas--LOS, delis, more

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Very long report on 2 1/2 days in Las Vegas--LOS, delis, more

Fine | Nov 8, 2005 07:49 PM

We were guests at Piero's, where I lucked out with my choices, a "fresh" anchovy-tomato-onion-parmesan salad and a flavorful, fresh lobster fra diavolo (a dish that doesn't seem to exist in California but I have always enjoyed in Manhattan). For an establishment that makes a huge to-do about its wine cellar, Piero's high-priced, ordinary wines by the glass--mostly $15, about double what I'm accustomed to--didn't match the listed vintage; were about 10 degrees too warm; were open and recorked; and the two we tasted were borderline undrinkable, one with the noticeably moldy odor of bad cork, the other malolactic. A bottle of Gavi (I didn't note details) was, as usual with the better versions of this wine, an eminently enjoyable "food wine."

My BH's "kosher" chicken featured one slightly overcooked piece of breast and one off-tasting leg.

Wedding reception at Bellagio: salty, shreddy crabcakes; deep-fried scallops; nice fruit platter (though an odd appetizer); other, untasted items; followed by various "stations," featuring pastas and an eggplant dish; dried-out turkey breast with good,if misdescribed, cranberry sauce; roast beef; two kinds of rich mashed potato concoctions, one with cheese, bacon, sour cream, the other with cubes of fried chicken (and a cream gravy, which I declined), both quite enjoyable; and both Caesar (tasty) and spinach salads. I'm sure I'm omitting some items, but it was a broad--if not healthful--array of foods of varying degrees of skill and care in preparation. Nice wedding cake filled with a variety of fresh berries and whipped cream.

Pleasant, but, alas, unmemorable dinner at LOS: Jackfruit concoction with smoked "sheet fish"; kind of skimpy papaya salad (as hot as requested); pork in red curry (suggested by server when the fresh blood ingredient in original choice turned out to be unavailable); and mushroom dip surrounded by cooked fresh vegetables. Would have tried sausage, but waiter said it was flavored with pak chee, aka cilantro, which one of us cannot digest. Although the menu described our selections as "spicy" or even "very," with the exception of the salad they were all quite mild, even though we emphasized our fondness for highly spicy dishes. Even the condiments we requested were far milder than we're accustomed to. If I'd known it was a nonsmoking restaurant, I'd forgotten, but that made me very happy indeed!

No reservation was necessary. Staff was very kind. Drank an '03 NZ Whitehaven Marlborough SB, which waiter dug up for us since the '03 we'd ordered turned out to be an '04. Enjoyed it a lot.

Looked back through my files before posting this and found notes from San Francisco Thai meals starting in the early '70s. Will try to make it a point to visit/revisit some local places for comparison purposes and report back.

We certainly appreciated the recommendations and didn't by any means dislike our meal, we just didn't think it was as flavorful/exciting as many we've had over the years; since we've never been to Thailand, we have only SFBA spots to compare to LOS.

Our "snacks" were all at LV versions of familiar Jewish delis: Canter's, a poor shadow of the original, which is, among other things, a wonderful bread and sweets bakery, and which didn't even offer herring; Carnegie, which had the right look to it and did offer the latter (and its heart-attack-on-a-plate corned beef/pastrami sandwich, which the person next to us attempted to eat--looked like well over a pound of meat between two skimpy slices of rye, of which he ate and took with him approximately 1/2); and Stage, the most restaurantlike of the three, also no herring. When I ordered the smoked sturgeon appetizer, the server came back and said it was unavailable, so I said I'd have the sable--that was also unavailable. I ordered something else, but then she returned to say the sturgeon had just come in: I don't know if what I got was a regular serving or an apology, but I got three very thick (rather than the more "correct" thin) slices of superb, rich-not-dry fish, served with slices of tomato & sweet and fresh red onion, a toasted bagel, and some superfluous cream cheese. Heavenly! My BH enjoyed the Reuben, though it was just normal-sized, not the monstrous version we'd seen at Carnegie, and both awfully skimpy on the sauerkraut and devoid of the requisite Russian dressing.

I have one large regret: No one warned us how excessively difficult it was to get from place to place (including by monorail, which broke down as we were trying desperately to get to our destination on time) or that one way of avoiding interminable taxi lines and bumper-to-bumper traffic was to wend one's way from hotel to hotel via the even more interminable shopping malls that seemed to connect most.

Nothing could have prepared us for the paean to Thorstein Veblen that is Las Vegas!

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