The best wine tasting event in Las Vegas for the money is undoubtedly “UNLVino,” held in the springtime. This spectacular wine festival takes place over four days and nights, culminating in an extravagant awards ceremony on Saturday night, held this year at the Paris (Las Vegas).
Marieta and I had the opportunity to attend a special tasting afterward, which was open only to those who work in the wine trade (it’s a long story). Our special tasting took place from 11 pm until 2 am, which gave us three additional full hours to sample many of the best wines from around the world.
Sampling every wine and liquor available would have been next to impossible, and if you did so, that intoxicating experience would undoubtedly have been followed by an epic hangover. But if you’re going to drink more than you ever have before, then this is the place to do it.
The tasting consisted of about 90 to 100 suppliers, each pouring an average of 4 to 6 different wines. So, if you add up the math — that’s like 500 different bottles. Then, there were vodkas, tequilas, bourbons, scotches, and some new aperitifs I was not familiar with (but begged to be sampled — and surely were).
Samples included everything from the elegant Gevrey Chambertain (my favorite wine in the world — see photo above) to special-recipe Patron margaritas spiked with orange juice.
Pretty clear. Simple to understand. Easy to follow.
With apologies to the depraved who misconstrue these words, notably those fixated upon Marlon Brando’s notorious “butter scene” in Last Tango in Paris, my effrontery is aimed at restaurants rather than the bedroom.
Question: Why are people fucking with butter?
Butter is beautiful. It’s comestible gold. Butter is the essence of fabulous cooking and fine taste. Julia Child, the goddess of all goddesses, transformed cooking with butter and made it into an art form. So why would anyone dare mess it up?
Today, I witnessed an affront to Western civilization. Here’s what happened. I ordered a baked potato with my meal. A small metal ramekin came with the main course containing what appeared to be whipped butter. I hastily emptied out the precious contents of that silver chalice, which dissolved instantly into a steaming-hot baked potato. Pure heaven.
One bite, and I nearly lost it. I spewed forth a dollop of indigestible baby mush into a napkin.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the annual “Readers Choice Awards” released yesterday, Olive Garden was voted as the “Best Italian Restaurant” in Las Vegas.” This appeared in the 2013 edition of the “Best of Las Vegas” section.
Among all the outstanding Italian restaurants in Las Vegas and there are many — Rao’s, B&B Ristorante, Barlotta di Mare, Onda Ristorante (Mirage), Valentino, just to name a few — a mediocre family-style chain restaurant best-known for its breadsticks was picked above all the rest. I certainly understand why many LVRJ readers might not be familiar with pricey upscale restaurants. So, instead couldn’t they have chosen something that’s at least decent like Maggiano’s, Cafe Roma, Pasta Mia, Terra Rosa, Brio, or a restaurant in that class? Hell, I could have lived with Bucca di Peppo — which is really testing my tolerance. But fucking Olive Garden?
Go ahead. Like Olive Garden all you want. I like Kentucky Fried Chicken occasionally, too. But KFC is not the best fucking chicken in the city! How in the hell is this spaghetti house picked among at least 100 decent other restaurants? Vai a cagare!
Until this moment, I was vehemently opposed to the practice of waterboarding, which has been classified as a form of cruel and unusual punishment. In fact, it’s torture. I now wish to amend my position. I’m now in favor of waterboarding. In fact, I want to be the one who administers the torture. Any idiot who voted for the Olive Garden as the “Best Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas” should be should have to suffer some kind of pain and humiliation.
These “Readers Poll” choices appeared in yesterday’s newspaper. Marieta read this news to me while I was driving. I spent the next 30 minutes screaming profanities, taking it out in what can only be described as road rage.
Later after I finally calmed down, I asked her how in the fuck could anyone be so stupid to vote for the Olive Garden? That’s like asking people who makes the best hamburger and McDonald’s being chosen as the winner. So, if this is nothing but a popularity contest would these same dolts chose Ford as the best car? Or Budweiser as the best beer? She was as puzzled as I was.
What really alarming about these results is — newspaper readers are likely to be more intelligent than average (non-reading) citizens. After all, they subscribe to a local paper. They keep up with current events. They read daily. Moreover, those who actually take time to respond to a “Readers Poll” are probably even more aware of what’s happening in the community — which means being familiar with more restaurants than the average person. So, what does this damning evidence say about the intelligence of the average Las Vegas citizen?
The question is — are these results typical of what one might expect in other cities? Or, is Las Vegas just full of classless morons?
Perhaps the Olive Garden is the only Italian restaurant many people know. This theory is validated by additional evidence. The “Best Italian Restaurant” selection was but one baffling moment of outrage among many. It’s hardly an isolated incident. Consider the other “winners” in various food and drink categories:
When someone with impeccable taste in food and dining invites me to dinner, I usually accept.
However, after a recent debacle, I’ll have to re-think this policy.
This “friend” invited me to dinner at a restaurant I knew to be fantastic, but which I hadn’t visited in years. He casually mentioned to me that some his other “friends” would also be there. Fine.
I showed up on time. My next vision was right out of a horror movie. I was astounded to walk in and see twenty strangers sitting at the table. Strangers! His friends!
Aside from my host who issued the invite, I didn’t know a single soul. Worse, everyone was already sitting at the table and had jockeyed for ideal seating positions. All that were left were the shitty seats. Sort of like being last one to board the plane and having to sit in the middle seat next to the bathroom.