We are not gamblers, so Las Vegas is a strange destination for me to go to every year, except for the fact that we have children and grandchildren there. Over the years, of course we have visited all of the casinos and many that are no longer there, and others have been purchased and renamed. We have also gone to plenty of the tourist traps that are located there as well, sometimes with the grandchildren and sometimes just on our own. As the old Frank Sinatra joke goes “we went to the Grand Canyon, but it was closed.” We have seen and toured the Hoover Dam, the Springs Reserve, the Las Vegas History Museum, the Discovery Children’s Museum, Ethel M. Chocolate Factory & Botanical, the Freemont Street Experience and the Mob Museum.
We went on a little excursion to The Neon Museum which is a massive collection of all the gaudy lighted signs that made the early days of Las Vegas so bright. Some have been restored and others are waiting to be restored and others are just curious reminders of days gone by, like signs that announce the Color Televisions are in the rooms. This museum is a guided tour and there was a lot to learn about Vegas and I found it interesting. I guess I have been going there for too many years, because at the end of the tour, they pointed out that the sign identifying the museum was an homage to the casinos and I identified all of the casinos that were on the signpost from the letters and images, including the structure of the post. Afterwards since we were just on the outskirts of the old Downtown, we went to check out the renamed casino The D, as in Detroit, and we went and had a quick bite at American Coney Island, which has an outpost now in the casino. Coneys are a quirky Detroit fast food item that is found all over the metropolitan area, and while it has been a while since I have had a Coney, I still prefer Lafayette Coney Island to American Coney Island. For those of you that are not aware Lafayette and American are located side by side in Downtown Detroit and were originally owned by two brothers and I can remember years ago, the friendly rivalry that existed among the waiters as they each tried to wave the customers into their respective shop.
Since we stay for a week normally in Vegas, to get as much visiting time as possible with the family, my Bride likes to go and get some groceries for our room, to nosh on, as if we don’t eat enough while we are there. While she was getting some fruit, cheese and crackers she also bought a bottle of wine from the market. She bought a bottle of Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay 2013 from the Central Coast of California. The Central Coast is about two hundred and eighty miles long and is probably the third most famous area in the state after Napa and Sonoma, and it contains many great AVA designations within its area. Edna Valley Vineyard has been in production for about thirty years and was once known as Paragon, and for several years that name was still on the Edna Valley label as well. It was just a great wine to relax in the room with, while having cheese and crackers, deciding what to do next. Of course I also went out and got a bottle of wine for the room. Chateau des Hautes Ribes Vacqueyras 2013 looked interesting to me, so I had to get it. Vacqueyras is a newer designation from the Rhone Valley, and was once part of the designation Cotes du Rhone Villages, and just like all of the wines this wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah, the same blend that is also found in Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, though Vacqueyras requires fifty percent of the wine to be Grenache. It was a very smooth wine, much better then a lot of the Cotes du Rhone wines that I enjoy and it made writing some of these articles even easier.