Just This Side of Excess

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March 4th 2012
Published: March 4th 2012
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Las Vegas is known for excess, hence the name Sin City as well as the catch phrase "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." I was able to attend a work conference and trade show there this week and let me tell you, it was a challenge to stay on this side of excess. Perhaps since I was there in a work capacity it was a little easier for me, yet I still had a great time.

It's a quick trip to Las Vegas from the Bay Area. There is nothing like starting a trip off with a nice Hefeweizen and pizza before boarding the aircraft. Once off the plane, I was disappointed that no one was playing the slot machines scattered throughout the terminal. The bing bing bing is always a welcome sound of what's to come. This trip was one of the remarkable trips where my bag was circling the baggage carrousel as I approached. Heck, with luck like that I should have played the slots. The taxi queue was ginormous, but that airport is such a well oiled machine that it seldom ever stopped. I played a game with a traveling companion of picking out who was
Bellagio GardensBellagio GardensBellagio Gardens

The theme was still Chinese New Year.
there for our conference and who was not. Yup, Yup, Nope Yup.... Ok, so it may sound silly and not that fun, but it was a hoot because we were spot on in agreement. After a quick taxi ride, we were at the hotel. Rooms were not ready, so we left the luggage and headed off to catch a couple classes.

Dinner was at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Hotel. I have eaten there several times and can honestly say that it was incredible. My chicken liver mousse was so soft and flavorful that I hated to share any of it (but I did, thank you very much.) I had filet au poivre with creme fraiche on top and the most wonderful hand cut french fries. The server had worked there for 11 years and was not only knowledgeable and great as a server, but friendly and fun. From there it was across the street to the Bellagio for cocktails. Sticking with my erring on the side of caution, I was the first to leave and head back to the room.

Weather on this trip was overcast, gray and it even rained some. Obviously this wasn't the

More decoration for Chinese New Year.
best lighting for taking a lot of pictures, so I may augment the photos with a couple from my last trip. Ok, so I struggled with whether this is acceptable or not. Being a blogger purist, I feel that the pictures really should be from the specific trip, but when it comes to travel I am pretty much able to justify anything,so I am going to do it. I hope you won't mind. With the exception of a walk down to check out the City Center, which was under construction my last visit, I spent almost all of my time either Caesars Palace where I stayed and the classes were held or the Bellagio which happens to be my favorite hotel and where I usually stay. These hotels are so big, so full service that they are virtual cities and there is no need to leave. It is hard to really get the scope of how big the hotels are, so I will do what I often do and put it in terms of my life. According to Wikipedia, Caesars Palace has 3960 rooms. The town I came from back in Ohio has a population of around 1000 people, so the entire town could bring along 3 friends, stay there and each have their own room. Yeah, that is a big hotel. And it's only 1 hotel on a 4.2 mile Strip bringing us back to the word of the day - excess.

If you are reading this, you are probably more interested in the great food I had than a lot of chit chat, so I won't bore you with details of the convention or trade show, but I would like to say that it was incredible. Vegas certainly does know how to host a convention and I learned a great deal. But, now back to food (and some really good Negroni cocktails.) I stopped at my favorite little sandwich/gelato place in the Bellagio for a quick lunch of turkey and Gruyere on seeded roll. There are no seats, but there are some tall stand-up tables near windows that overlook the dancing fountains. Dinner that night was at a noodle restaurant in Caesars. I had char siu bao (steamed buns filled with barbeque pork) and a bowl of hand pulled noodles in a broth with duck and vegetables. Each morning I had breakfast at the same restaurant bar just off the registration area. Great food. Dinner the last night was a Sensi, a very elegant restaurant/bar in the Bellagio. The kitchen is enclosed in glass in the center of the restaurant. How nice it was to sit and watch someone else prepare my food. Everything was absolutely beautiful from the infinity fountains to the plates. I had an olive oil poached tuna with a beautiful jumble of vegetables for an appetizer and the most wonderful striped bass for dinner. I will post pictures, but they don't do justice at all. I will have to admit that this restaurant/bar is the one place where I slid to the other side of excess, but boy was it worth it.

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4th March 2012

Foody extraordinaire.
It is always good to hear what a chef is ordering and eating when they are on the road. Hopefully, you learned a few additional cooking skills while you were there. Great shot of Caesar's Palace.
4th March 2012

Thanks D and MJ. I love eating well while traveling. The conference was more about trends and innovations more than cooking technique, but I did come away with a lot. Stay tuned for the South America blogs.
5th March 2012

Great times in Vegas
Hi B, Glad you had a great time at your "conference"! I can picture myself right there with you at the Bellagio. Maybe enjoying one of the worlds best bloody marys. Hope you have a great trip and thanks for taking us along.
5th March 2012

Thanks T. I am always happy to have you along. Just about ready to hit the road now. "See" you on Tuesday in Rio.

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