In case anyone gets nervous and thinks they are a long-lost relative I did not win at the casinos. Actually, this was the first time that I had ever been to Las Vegas where I did not go to The Strip or even Downtown. I don’t gamble, I tried years ago, and decided that they can build those wonderful palaces of greed on the wallets of other gamblers, though my Bride will try her luck at the one-armed bandits and now most of them have a button to press instead of a lever to pull down on. Yes, I am showing my age and now we really go there now for the children and grandchildren.
I lament for the days when Las Vegas was glamorous, when it was a “family” run operation and all the emphasis was on the casino. Some of the famous places are now history like the Desert Inn, the Barbary Coast, the Sands and the Stardust. During those days, the casino and the gambling actually underwrote the drinks, the food and the shows and the hotel; nowadays each unit within the casino must be a profit center. I was never a fan of the smorgasbord restaurants, but I have to admit that all of the big named celebrity chefs have carved out greater reputations with their names on several eateries at different price points. The food is far superior, but it is not as much fun dining on prix-fixe dinners when the people at the next table are dressed in unkempt clothes, sneakers and baseball caps. I will take the era when the Rat Pack would all of a sudden surprise the gamblers and the guest dealers might be Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin and regardless of the outcome of the dice or the cards, the patrons won. This occurred at the Sands while they were filming the original Ocean’s Eleven.
As for the gift that I received, it was from my Son-in-Law who is a bartender at one of the celebrity eateries on The Strip. I will not mention the name of the restaurant or the hotel, because I have not had a chance to dine there. During one of the education classes that they held at the restaurant to help the staff understand wine better, one of the vendors brought in bottles of wine and they were blending the different varietals together on the spot, so as to let them understand how certain blends sometimes are better than just one grape. He found the lessons fascinating and afterwards they were given the small bottles of wine that were left over from the lesson and he put the bottle away, until our next trip. All the information on the label was Australian Shiraz NV, Red Wine and “limited production.” I don’t even know if the wine was made by a winery or a secondary resource using concentrated juice, when I open it, I may have a better opinion. I am so easy to give a gift to, I guess, and it will be a fun way to remember this last trip when the bottle is opened.