* * * * *St. Patrick's Day Miracle: My crew liked to party, so when I met them for late dinner on St. Paddy's Day, they were well-lubricated. One member of our group tried to flirt with the busboy at Yolo's in Planet Hollywood, but apparently her words were a bit slurred:
Gal: "You're gorgeous!"
Busboy: "Did you say 'rigor mortis' ?"
Later, as I escorted the crew back across the overpass to Aria, they proceeded to pinch everyone who wasn't wearing green, and also shouted "Trolls!" and "Hey girl!" at random passersby. The routine may have gotten a bit out of hand at Aria, as the security guards in their orange sportcoats became pinching targets (and were also labeled "trolls"). Thankfully, I got them all back to the room before bail money became necessary. Like I said, it was a miracle.
* * * * *
Todd English's P.U.B. at City Center: I am a big fan of mega-chef Todd English's Mediterranean-influenced Olives restaurant in Bellagio. So I was excited to try out his P.U.B. ("Public Urban Bar"—how precious), located at the end of the corridor connecting Aria's lobby to the Crystals shopping center. We ate lunch early one afternoon, the day after the "official" grand opening and a few days after the dwarf and celebrity laden "VIP opening". I went into the P.U.B. with the excitement of flopping an open-ended straight flush draw, and left with the disappointment of losing to Yak-high after whiffing all my outs.
The ambience is the high point of the P.U.B. experience. It is a "classy" sports bar setting, with beautiful marble bar and lots of hard wood decor. There are plenty of TVs for watching sports events, and dartboards for those who want a little friendly competition. The bar offers a wide range of British and Irish beers on tap and by bottle/can, with pints on tap going for a fairly reasonable price (by Vegas standards). As part of the opening week event, special pint glasses could be purchased for $20, with a discount on refills, and a portion of the proceeds going to a worthy medical charity.
Unfortunately, our group wanted more than a bar. After an inexplicable 10 minute wait for a table to "open up" (despite there being at least ten tables open), we were finally seated. Our server turned out to be a snotty, overbearing yahoo who quite literally talked down his nose at us the entire time. Apparently, we looked like folks who had never had a fine dining experience better than a Happy Meal.
In any event, the P.U.B. offers a raw seafood bar built into the bar, but if I want good seafood in Vegas, I have plenty of places to go where I know I'll enjoy the food. The main menu is primarily burgers and sandwiches, with an assortment of salads and traditional British pub food (with a twist, of course). The twist on the sandwiches is that they are "deconstructed", meaning the chef can't be bothered to put meat onto bread for you. There are probably ten different roasted meats available, including sirloin, lamb, turkey, chicken, pulled pork, and brisket. You can order a half pound of any meat for $12-$20 (depending on meat), and then choose two homemade sauces and bread to go with the meat. I went with lamb, black truffle mayo, bleu cheese sauce, and rye bread. The meat and bread were dry and chewy, though both sauces were exquisite, so I at least had some good flavor to savor while gnawing my un-sandwich.
My compatriots were also disappointed. The turkey was as dry as my lamb. The chicken was not only deconstructed, it was debutchered, coming to the table in two family picnic-style pieces. Let's just say that it's a bit tough to turn chicken on the bone into a sandwich on a pub table. All of the sandwiches were sided with a mini-bucket of pickled veggies (cauliflower, carrots, and some mini-cukes) that even my puppy would find inedible. Our server raved about the sweet potato fries, which were decent, but not nearly as good as those offered by the Burger Bar or BLT Burger. The sole bright spot in the meal were the chicken sliders ordered by one of our group; they were juicy and a little spicy, and came with some kind of slaw that really worked with the sandwiches.
When it was time to leave, it took us over ten minutes to get our server's attention so we could get the bill. I would go back to the P.U.B. to watch sports, but when I do, I'm sitting at the bar and sticking to beer and sliders.
* * * * *
Dancing with the Tourists: One afternoon, I was heading to Planet Hollywood from Bellagio. I was on the elevated moving walkways heading toward the Strip when the music being played overhead turned to the 'N Sync classic, "Bye Bye Bye". Now, let's face it, this is one of those songs that, try as you might to pretend to hate it, you start humming and tapping your toes when it comes on. Well, on the opposite walkway riding toward me were five 30-something guys who were doing more than that—they were doing a semi-synchronized dance routine with all the moves from 'N Sync's original video!
You know you are going to watch it ... go ahead ... we'll wait ...
(Here's a link to the video, just in case there was an embedding fail.)
Out of all the crazy stuff I've seen in Vegas over a couple dozen trips, this was likely the most absurd. I hope for these guys' sake they were being inducted into a cool Ironman of Poker type of club. Unfortunately, they were probably reliving their old fraternity days when performing that routine in college bars was the ultimate pickup line.
What happens in Vegas ...