Lookee! A report! Kind of.
Insert all other reports here. Arrived, ate, played poker, saw good people, gambled, drank a bit, ate more, left. Good eggs, etc, etc..
I mean, why be repetitive? You know how these things go by now. Okay, fiiiiine, here are the highlights of a busy 5.5 days.
Small group this year. Around 40 in the tournament. The group of veterans of previous gatherings who were in New Orleans certainly cut the numbers down a bit. So be it. People can do what they want.
Brought my friend along so she could experience what I always rave about. This led to a tour of the classics for me.
Robuchon was as incredible as ever. This time the chef came out to talk to another table, and I noticed the tri-coloured collar on his jacket. The sign of a M.O.F. - the highest order of achievement of artistry in France (for many categories, cuisine among them). This should have come as no surprise, yet I was still impressed.
é was it's usual creative best, save for the annoying guest who felt it was his duty to educate his friends (often incorrectly) about what they were eating. The staff was visibly annoyed/amused, and the sous-chef for the evening focused on us as it was clear the other party couldn't hear him over their braying companion.
Craftsteak was delicious, even if we had to cover the cost of flakes who bailed last-minute, despite my rather clear exhortations to let me know ahead of time. Next time I think we aim for multiple small groups.
Raku was solid, but disappointing only because I've been there before and it didn't live up to past visits. A clearly missing broth course (that bowl and spoon wasn't for fried fish, I guarantee you), and the definite impression of at least one or two more courses missing (asparagus? chicken on a bed of spinach? where were you?). What was served was excellent, but if costs have gone up, then I wouldn't mind paying a bit more to get the full experience.
The last night's meal was at FIX, courtesy of Grange, and it was a great way to end the trip. Good company, good drinks, imported brandy (thanks Lori!) all adds up to a fine meal.
Also grabbed some fries and a beer with OhCaptain, Absinthetics, Nickerson, and Atarifan in there too.
Ziplining was freezing, but fun nonetheless. Maybe I'll get some video of my legs flying through the air up here sometime. Or some pictures at least.
The Neon Museum on Sunday was also pretty chilly, but the place looks far more orderly since the visitor's center went in. Pics eventually.
Managed to grab a bottle of can't-find-at-home liquor (Swedish Punsch) at Total Wine. Struck out on high-end whiskeys this time, but what can you do? I got good beer, some of it even free from Nate/Atarifan (yay backpack of alcohol!). Sadly, I didn't catch up with Grange in time again to snag an offered free bottle of Templeton. Them's the breaks... Superman slots were being too kind to me, and night photography outside the Bellagio is hard to pass up.
Even hit the north outlets and bought clothes and sunglasses. Although I think I could have got the shades cheaper back home.
Saw Beatles Love for the second time (first time was... wow, 8 years ago), and actually stayed awake through it (yay caffeine mints!). Great show, great seats.
Saw what's become of the IP. Bones are still there, but it's a scarily sterile place now.
Went out halfway in the tournament, but my last-longer partner Vinnay went out as Gigli on 0 hours of sleep in the previous 30ish hours, so I don't feel too bad. Then made a bit of profit playing cash at Monte Carlo with CK, Grange, Penner, Mondo, Katie, Matt, and some random others, I recall Drizz railing for a bit too. Hope I'm not missing anyone. Oh yah, and Bayne finally joined us too. This is where some Edmontonian convinced Grange and Katie to bet on a terrible hockey game.Suckers.
Railed BrainMC at Pai Gow, but when I finally sat down to a game, only Penner was still around. It's for the best, as the dealers hated me and kept taking my money away, so I may have been dubbed worlds worst Pai Gow player if there were more witnesses.
Some craps was played and some slots. A wee touch of bad video poker too. All told, I ended up a small amount. Enough to cover... well... not much. Gas? Resort fees? But it's better than a loss. And as always, not the point of the trip.
See you all same time next year? Super.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Lookee! A report! Kind of.