Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Taste of the High Life

Walking down the hallways of the void after spending 20 hours of a 24 hour day in the mist of carnival lights, exposed flesh, and the money vacuum of the roulette tables it dawns on a person “why did I come again?”.

Vegas separates a person from life for a few minutes, a hour, a day, a week, depending on the degeneracy level of the person buying the rights to a bed for the weekend. Most are better off not over thinking with thoughts of what happened in this room with the Geisha Bar regulars last weekend and just think of it as a temporary domicile to rest their rum-soaked heads.

Why does Vegas entice a suburban father of two to make a trip out west, knowing full well illness, hangover, and a lighter wallet are a near certainty? If you offered someone a baseball bat to the head while injecting their right arm with a nasty flu strain and pocket that money clip found in his right pocket, most people would lean to pass on such things.

Me? I welcome it.

Because for three/four days a year there’s no wake up call, no schedule, no limits. All my vices are allowed to run rampant up and down Las Vegas Boulevard and come back to a loving family refreshed mentally. That’s half of the trip, the half that makes the journey worth it was found at Bouchon’s, the Geisha Bar, the EBay slots, a quick conversation in the MGM Sportsbook bar, hoisting mini-boots of SoCo, and can’t-barely-bet-and-desperately-need-water early morning Pai Gow games.

The WPBT group, or whatever the associated group-think name is currently, they push away Vegas’ curtain of fake DDs and fake sincerity enough to make the trip a sure bet. My weekend was filled once again with laughter, a lighter wallet, and even more memories of the people I’m honored to call friends.

With each trip I take away something new, this time it was fine dining. There were eight seated at the “causal” French bistro of Bouchon’s at the Venetian. To the middle-lower working class guy with the speech problems, I didn’t have to try to “fit-in” thanks to the other seven. There was no stigma of high schoolish cliché where something brilliant and worthy of a successful stand-up comedian needed to exit my Minnesotan accented mouth to feel accepted.

The dinner started with a wonderful Sam Smith Nut Brown which was actually under priced at $8 as our group took up the bar area to check out the menu of wines that included an entire page of fermented grapes that could be purchased at $1,000+ a bottle. The table was then set out for Speaker and his girlfriend Angelique, Bobby Bracelet and Elizabeth, BG, and the G+G Makeout Factory minus Garth’s googles.

Hotties all around, and even the ladies were attractive.

Menus? Wrapped around the napkin. I already knew the Steak Frites were my target for the evening but was secretly hoping to expand a bit on my corn dog/pizza/chicken strips palate and try something new. There were a lot of new. Starting with a leafy salad with vinaigrette and a white crown shaped deal on the side. Goat cheese. Being a solid Midwestern hick, goat cheese isn’t something that I’ve thrown on a triple bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce. That may change: rich, smooth, and made the salad into a meal. Meanwhile Speaker picked the Rillette aux Deux Saumons which is French for Fuckin Good Salmon spread. Hopefully Speaker will have the full description on how it was made but there was butter, and more butter, with a side of butter that knocked it out of the park.

Next was the wine selection by the brothers, and they came through with a flourish. Three bottles were consumed by the table, and despite putting a stop of alcoholic binging several hours earlier, my head was lump of red-tinted bread dough just off a few glasses by the end of the evening.

Frites, lots of frites soon showered the table as the main courses made their way to our table. The steak did not disappoint, carmelized shallots (again first taste for me) braised the top of my meat and made each bite better then the last. The ladies found their way into Mussels which to me were something I’ve only seen on a boat after getting out of the lake while catching a few bottle bass and too much sun. Next time we might have to steam those puppies up, yum. On my right the better half of the G+G Makeout Factory had this dish that looked like a rounded mini-muffin pan while smells that tickled the only one my five senses that actually works to its fullest.

These little escarole were soaked in butter and garlic with a flaky crust on top. Again, a first, again amazed. Dessert was politely refused, but the conversation was not, my only regret was not speaking up for the Nardi brothers to suggest another bottle of vino and continue time with old friends while making some ones.

The rest of the weekend will be touched in tomorrow’s post as this dinner was my new experience to a place I’ve visited many times but never seen this side of it, including the smoking hot women in outfits that six month of mortgage payments would make a down payment on their belts.

Freddy Mercury lives! Jared Allen sack dances! Drizz loses playing those goddamn slots again! Asshole at the IP Mixed Game!

See you tomorrow, right now I’m wagering a gallon of OJ against all the flu/cold crap my family and co-workers are desperate to pass on to me. The pathogens are winning damnit.

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