Thursday, August 20, 2009

Las Vegas: A Food Network Junkie's Paradise...

Technically, today is my Friday since I'm flying to Las Vegas tonight and don't have to work tomorrow. Short work weeks are nice.

I'm excited about Las Vegas; it's a fun city to visit. I'm not a huge gambler, for the most part the most ambitious I get is playing up to nine cents a spin on the penny slots. Rarely, I will play a dollar in the 25 cent slots but usually once I spend a dollar with no profit, I usually slink back to my penny slots.

Ironically, though it's the city's best known pasttime, gambling is not the best thing about Vegas, not in my opinion.

Prior to my becoming a Food Network Obsessed Junkie, I used to enjoy the spectacle of the casinos a lot. As you walk down the strip, each casino is trying harder than the last to get you to come inside. From the fire-lit waters of Treasure Island after their evening spectacles to the traditionally engaging dancing waters of the Bellagio, you could spend an entire evening just going from free show to free show without gambling a penny.

Inside the casinos is another story. I find some of them slighly dizzying- Paris, for example. The inside of the casino has blue skies on the ceiling, as does Venice and though you know it's a casino, there's something bizarrely surreal about trying to pretend you're outside while you're actually inside a room filled with clanging, tinging, ringing, trilling slot machines.

Of course, now I'm a Food Network Junkie, I have a horrible feeling I'm going to feel differently about my priorities in Vegas. Being the new hot spot for celebrity chefs, there are restaurants galore there including efforts by Bobbie Flay, Mario Batali, Todd English and many other Food Network favourites. The last time I went with friends, a couple of them wanted to see the outside of Mesa, Bobbie Flay's restaurant in Caesar's palace. They didn't need to go in. They wanted to see it.

I thought they were a little strange. I couldn't figure out why you'd go look at a restaurant and not eat there.

I owe them an apology. I get it now and I hang my head in sheepish embarrassment. Having learned about the abrasive and arrogant charms of Bobby Flay and his talents with food...I understand.

I'd do the same for Mario Batali's restaurants in the Venice Casino.

Yes, I am aware I sound like a fruitcake.

The thing with Vegas is that there's too much good stuff to eat. Almost every casino offers a buffet ranging from the spectacular to the Sizzler-esqe-sadly-hopeful-but-failing-miserably attempts of the lower budget casinos. Restaurants like Flay's Mesa and Batali's Carnevino Italian Steakhouse and B & B Ristorante are expensive for the frugal traveler like myself. Don't get me wrong, I'd splurge in a heartbeat if I had the time and money. Yet this trip especially is two days long and I'm watching my wallet so if I'm going to spend $30 on a meal, I'm likely to go to a buffet. Now, if I knew Bobbie Flay or Mario Batali were going to personally cook for me, I'd reconsider.

I find it ironic that one of the main reasons that I'm going to Las Vegas is because Green Day are playing tomorrow night and I have tickets. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for the Green Day concert. It'll be fantastic, I'm certain. Yet I do find it rather curious that I'm getting as excited about the Food Network-y ties of the city as I am about the concert.

Still, I'm sure regardless of if I get to peer longingly into the windows of any of the restaurants, I'm going to feel slightly dorky and slightly happy. Rather like when I went to Comic-con. For the longest time, I tried to pretend that I was just a little quirky. Over the years, the fact that I'm just a full on geek/nerd/peculiar person is just getting too hard to hide so... I'm embracing it. The beautiful thing is that the people who love me know I'm a dork and thus, they allow me to go with it. This is why I know that my good friend who I'm excited to meet in Vegas will indulge me should I feel the need to do a 'walk-by' of Mr. Batali's restaurants. Of course, she's very logical and I expect her to suggest that we go inside because that is what normal people do.

Me, I'm just happy to see it. But, then again, we've established....normal doesn't really live here, does it?

Happy Thursday.


Ladyaero said...

Nah, she's been around this geek long enough to leave logic at the door and just let you look :-)

Fe said...

LOL! Yeah, and before you, there was me that she had to deal with. ;-)

Yay! You're officially a Foodie in my book.