I survived the latest run of my semiannual trips to Sin City. This was the first time that I saw rain fall on the desert metropolis.
There's no denying that the number of tourists, retail sales, gambling receipts and any other type of commercial activity that has fueled the city's boom through the last few years are significantly down. Still, Las Vegas was far from a ghost town. A steady flow of tourists moved through the halls of the Palazzo. I laughed at one Asian tourist who snapped a shot of one of the Palazzo's restrooms. Then I remembered that I took a photo of Morels' cheese display. The joke's on me!
Las Vegas is often the first -- or second -- choice for famed restaurateurs to launch new ventures on the West Coast. Wolfgang Puck went East to this city after opening Cut in Beverly Hills. After a long, harried day of reporting on the sprawling trade show floor, I nourished myself with lots of protein and crisp greens at Cut. There were bone marrow flan served with Italian parsley salad, capers and shallots, steak tartare accessorized with a raw quail egg and a butter leaf lettuce salad. I very much prefer this way of serving bone marrow. Usually, when the bones are simply roasted, the marrow can seem a bit insubstantial despite its fluffy fatness. By scooping out the marrow and baking it as a creamy flan inside the bone, the chef elevated the barbaric act of feeding on blood.
Miguelito tagged along with me again to Las Vegas. This is his third trip. As a belated Valentine's Day present, he bought a pair of what I'd describe as colorful corsages for shoes. Made by our friend, Alejandra, and her BFF, Rana, the soft puffs of silk fabric are attached to a trio of elastic bands that slip over the shoe. In honor of their Argentine-Peruvian-Persian roots, Alejandra and Rana named their company Boos & Besito, meaning kiss in Farsi and Spanish, respectively.
The shoe corsages make my $16.99 patent leather flats from Payless ShoeSource
look far more expensive and spectacular.
I wore my dancing shoes to the Pool Trade Show party at the Beauty Bar. This is the photo shoot that Jiro
staged for the hip guests.
On the following night, Miguelito and I decided at the last minute to go to True Religion's party at LAX in the Luxor, where Ludacris was slated to perform. We didn't have the patience to wait with the bridge-and-tunnel-like mob assembled in front of the club. So a bouncer told us that we could sneak through the back entrance with the wristbands that True Religion gave me. Walking around the circumference of the pyramid-shaped hotel, I felt like one of Richard Nixon's burgling henchmen. We had to walk through the men's restroom before we arrived in the lounge that offered free Ketel One. Too tired to stick around for Ludacris, Miguelito and I staged some stupid photo shoots of our own. Here's Miguelito in his sphinx pose.
Here he is impersonating the enigmatic Criss Angel in front of the illusionist's slick SUV.
After Miguelito bailed for L.A., I had dinner at B&B Ristorante with some friends. This is the display at the hostess's stand. It's just a friendly reminder that Mario Batali co-owns the restaurant. Though consistent with Batali's color of choice, the Crocs appeared to be three sizes too small to be actually worn by the jolly chef. Plus, they were clean. The hostess confirmed that the shoes weren't Batali's. I don't know why they didn't hang a fleece vest next to the shoes. Last year, when I met Batali at a party for some fancy watches that he made with Switzerland's Ernst Benz, he paired the orange Crocs with an olive-colored fleece vest and khaki cargo shorts; his cheeks were red.
Back in L.A. on Friday, I had to detox with some Vietnamese food. At Viet Noodle Bar, I tried the noodles with chicken, eggs and pork sausage.
The fried shrimp rolls were an excuse for eating lettuce.
Not done with being social, I dragged Miguelito to the party feting the launch of perfumes created by Alexandre Herchcovitch, Bernhard Willhelm, Cosmic Wonder Light Source, Gareth Pugh, Jeremy Scott and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi at Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood. The cool kids wore feather headpieces, preppy shorts, shredded tights and a sweater knitted with tantalizing images of super-size French fries.
We skipped the macaroons and Sofia sparkling wine served in miniature pink cans. We saved our appetites for the Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck, which parked itself in front of the Japanese-American National Museum. This was my second Kogi meal in three weeks
. Since I had my boy with me, we were able to order twice as much. We ate kimchee quesadillas and tacos topped with spicy tofu, Korean short ribs and spicy pork. The little chunks of oranges cleansed our palettes for frozen yogurt from CeFiore. There's no place like home!