Our first day in Las Vegas was a rather quiet day, much different from what most people envision a trip to Vegas to be, and much different, even from my early days. We were still maintaining Detroit time as a matter of convenience for when we return, it is just easier. We also maintained our morning walk, though we upped the walk from three to six kilometers, as we walked all around a shopping center and then over to a wonderful complex called Tivoli Village. The casino/hotel complex that we have been staying at for the last fifteen years or so, is jokingly referred to by our kids as a Senior’s Casino. Instead of Smoking/No Smoking they offer Oxygen/No Oxygen areas. It was quite a sight to see how the gaming tables had been repartitioned with plexiglass to create “social distancing” and I am sure that it has caused additional losses, because it has diminished the excitement of the games.
After our walk, we went back to the room and cleaned up. I have many friends through Social Media that call Vegas home, so I am always interested when they write about venues that are not on The Strip or Downtown, as even the hacks in the Detroit papers can do that. One place that was mentioned was the El Dorado Cantina in Tivoli Village and we had seen it, on past trips, but never had ventured there. We booked a lunch there, as our grandchildren had school during the day and walked over. The restaurant was founded in 2014 with a location in Summerlin, one on The Strip, one in San Diego and one in Lake Tahoe. They pride themselves on using no canned products and not having a single microwave oven. We were going to have a quiet lunch, as we were going to our son’s house for dinner later that night. We started off with a couple of house Margaritas. My philosophy is if the house Margarita is great, so will the food and we were not disappointed; we definitely did not need anything more potent. We started off with house made chips and two distinct salsas that were both delightful. My Bride got excited when she saw Mexican Seared Tuna, a Chili-rubbed tuna seared to medium rare, topped with avocados and fried tortillas with a spiced cocktail sauce. I had the Mole Enchiladas with slow-cooked pulled chicken marinated in chiles, wrapped in fresh corn tortillas topped with queso fresco and served with sauteed garlic spinach, along with rice and beans. The service was wonderful and the manager was very attentive, and towards the end of our meal, he came over to compliment me, as he said that I reminded him of the old Vegas, as I was a man in a tailored sport coat and a trimmed mustache. He said that I was evoking Barrymore and that era, as opposed to the current era, and I took that as a sincere compliment as I lament for those days as well.
Later we went to our son’s house for dinner, though I tried to get him to let us take the family out for dinner, as I didn’t want his wife to have to work overtime for us. He assured me, that she would not as he was going to get pizza. Little did I know that he ordered enough pizzas to cater a party at Fort Nellis Air Force Base. I thought maybe his two children had voracious appetites for pizza, but he had enough left over, that they would be eating pizza for a week, though it was excellent pies. We offered to bring some wine to go with the pizza. We started off with Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige 2019 which I knew would please my Bride. The estate was founded in 1935 by Gaetano Marzotto, and today is widely renowned for its popular Pinot Grigio wines, though they also have vineyards and wineries all around Italy. They are rather famed and even credited with creating the Pinot Grigio of today, by not allowing the juice to be with the must, so that the tell-tale rust or pink that is prevalent from the grape is not seen. After the pressing and fermentation, the wine is aged in Stainless Steel until the bottling for a nice crisp wine that is very easy drinking. The Alto Adige or the Sud-Tirol is the farthest northern wine making region in Italy and it is quite Germanic and Pinot Grigio is the single largest producing grape for the area. Valdadige is from Trentino-Alto Adige and the Adige Valley. The other wine was also going to be Italian, in keeping with the pizzas, until I saw CVNE “CUNE” Gran Reserva Rioja 2014 and while we encounter plenty of Rioja wines and even quite a few Rioja Reserva wines, the Gran Reserva designation is not that often seen. “CUNE” actually represents Companie Vinicola del Norte de Espana, a winery that was founded in 1879 in the Rioja Alta district which is considered the best of the Rioja area. The wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo which is the classic trio for Rioja, but to carry the Gran Reserva status it has to be aged for a minimum of two years in the barrel and then then aged three years in the bottle prior to being released for sale. I may be biased from my youth, but an excellent bottle of Rioja almost goes with everything in my book. It was excellent and even got kudos from the non-wine drinking members of my family and of course garnered extra brownie points with my Bride.