Give me props.
This year, I made it all the way to page 16. That’s when I finally blew up and burned the newspaper.
By then, I’d had enough.
Of course, I’m talking about the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s annual “Readers’ Poll.” Every year the readers of the city’s biggest newpaper send in their picks for their favorite this and that, which are tallied up and later released as the winners of the “Best of Las Vegas” awards.
Categories include everything from the best dry cleaners to the best Thai food. The guide runs about 50 pages long and covers just about everything you can possibly think of — and then some. And I made it all the way to page 16.
This latest edition of “Talking Points” features my immediate response upon seeing this year’s results for the first time. As you might expect, there’s excessive profanity.
You’re all a bunch of bastards.
That’s what you are.
Clueless ignorant bastards!
You obviously don’t have a freaking clue what kind of fish to order at a restaurant. And because of your blatant ignorance, I am the one who has to suffer from your lack of knowledge about seafood.
On Saturday night, we dined out at Buzio’s. That’s the seafood restaurant at the Rio. Buzio’s is consistently both good and affordable. I’ve dined at Buzio’s perhaps 200 times within the past ten years. Yes, that’s — two-hundred.
The primary reason why I eat at Buzio’s so much is — it’s the closest good restaurant to where the World Series of Poker takes place. It’s within walking distance of the tournament area. So, when I’m working on property nearly 50 days each summer, many of those dinner breaks are spent at Buzio’s, often with close friends and people I haven’t seen in a long while. Moreover, the dinner break is the highlight of my day.
This article is about tipping. When to tip. When not to tip. And how much.
It’s also about tipping protocol in what one might call “extenuating circumstances.”
The last few times I dined out at fancy restaurants, this very subject came up.
There’s actually some debate as to how much of a tip to leave when wine is served, particularly when the bottle ordered is very expensive.
Before going into considerable detail, let’s agree on a few facts. The customary tip for service in any restaurant is somewhere between 15 to 20 percent. Perhaps a little higher, if you’re dining alone and/or received exceptional service.
But what about when you order a $50 bottle of wine? Or, a $100 bottle? Or, a $500 bottle? How much should you tip on a $1,000 bottle? And finally, what about those elite wine drinkers who order $10,000 bottles of wine? Don’t tell me the expected tip is always 20 percent across-the-board. It can’t be. Can it?
One of our favorite restaurants has opened its second Las Vegas location. Tonight was the grand opening.
Fleming’s Steakhouse, of Summerlin fame, opened up location number two on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, in Town Square.
We were among the first diners to arrive this evening and were the first to pay, which I suppose officially makes us Customer Number 1.
Part 1 — A Visit to Pittsburgh’s Famous Penn Brewery
Part 2 — Dining With the Weinstocks (Grand Concourse Restaurant)
This week, I’m visiting Pittsburgh.
This city was pretty much a hellhole a century ago. Once cloistered with gritty steel mills and coal depots, giant smokestacks barreled out a toxic blanket of blackness, gradually turning day into night, transforming any human lung within breathing distance into something that resembled a charred Brillo pad.
Today, Pittsburgh is a very different city. A much cleaner city. A city completely transformed. Virtually unrecognizable in many ways from its early heyday as a buckle on the rust belt, what once was an industrial junction of steel, coal, and railroads is now a major center for banking, medicine, and higher education.
Yet even now Pittsburgh retains a core toughness about it, rooted in the rocky cliffs towering over the city’s three rivers and picturesque downtown, capped with fresh snow in early December. It’s a city of contrasts — of tradition and innovation, of rivers and bridges, of long drives and short walks.
Pittsburgh’s also home to countless local breweries. One of the oldest is the famous Penn Brewery, perched atop a hill in the historic working-class district of Deutschtown, once the home to thousands of struggling steel mill workers which ultimately helped spark the formation and eventual power of trade unions in America.