May 30, 2011
Before I get to the highlights of the MCC (which I'll be summarizing here and elsewhere), I wanted to give a little rundown of my time in Vegas. I was there for the Equal Justice Conference, which brings together pro bono and public interest law types from across the country. Included in that group are Vivian and Carolyn, who both used to live in NYC and now live elsewhere, and given that the three of us were all going to be in Vegas, friends Emilia and Betsy (who are public interest lawyers as well but weren't attending the conference) timed their trips to coincide with the conference.
Per my usual travel mode, I spent a great deal of time researching food and drink options. Arriving on Wednesday night, we started off with a drink at Vesper, and then had a tasty Chino-Latino dinner at China Poblano. We wandered around the strip a bit afterwards, mostly Caesar's Palace, but we had trouble finding the exit and ended up in a random back alley/parking lot, still searching for the street and a cab to take us home.
Thursday after a full day of conference sessions, I had put together a large group dinner (for 28) at Firefly -- tapas and paella -- and then we were off to the Bellagio for some gambling. I'm not much of a gambler. Over the course of the weekend I played the slots a bit as well as some roulette, but once I lost my $50 I was pretty much done. That left me to one of my favorite pastimes in Vegas: people watching. One of the things I was constantly wondering is how the women managed to walk around in their crazy killer heels. I have very low tolerance for uncomfortable shoes, and they seemed to be everywhere in Vegas (along with lots of sequins and some of the trashiest looking micro-mini dresses I've seen). I kept surpressing the urge to stop one of the women and ask them how they did it and if they had any practical tips for me.
Friday was more conference sessions, and then a workout and a quick nap to gear up for the big event -- dinner at E by Jose Andres. E is an 8 seat restaurant inside Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan that offers two "shows" per night, with the courses plated in front of us. Viv and I went to the early seating for a 15+ course meal with beverage pairings (don't worry -- the courses were small). I'm not even going to begin to describe the meal except by saying that it was incredible, and I'll definitely be going back. Pictures from dinner, with descriptions of the courses are here. After a digestif at Vesper, we spent the evening at the Hard Rock, Em's favorite, and ended up spending quite a bit of time at the dueling piano bar there (and yes, they let me sing backup a bit).
We got off to a slow start Saturday morning, and had brunch at the Peppermill, an institution known more for the decor than the food, but definitely worth a visit. We then wandered through Encore and the Wynn, and relaxed for the afternoon. Dinner was at Raku, a small Japanese robata grill off the strip. I had heard about Raku from my friend Zach, a chef who now lives out there, and it was great -- housemade tofu and soy sauce, and probably the best Agedashi tofu I've ever had. After dinner, we headed to B&B at the Venitian to say hi to him and have a drink and dessert.
Sunday we had to head out, but not without one more stop: my first visit to In-n-Out Burger, where we got drive-thru on the way to the airport (as a NYer, I tend to forget about the drive-thru option. Props to Viv for that one!). We had a mini picnic at the airport -- a double double animal style and extra crispy fries for each of us.
Finally getting back into the swing of things; more writing to come!!