John Curtas is …

Vegas Uncork’d 2011 – A Food (and drink) Porn-Fest

Being a restaurant critic/food writer is a lot like being a porn star: It sounds like a great idea until you have to do it on command, all the time. – ELV (and Colman Andrews)

A true gastronome should always be ready to eat, just as a soldier should always be ready to fight. – Charles Pierre Monselet (1825-1888)

Saturday at Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit was positively pornographic…from a pursuer of pulchritudinous plates of palliative and palatable provisions standpoint, that is.

And like a rotund, over-the hill Ron Jeremy, ELV plunged in with all the passion he could muster, and mounted an in-depth thrust with turgid tenacity into the trim, taut, tightly focused frolic of foodie fun.

Or something like that.

The day began with Culinary Conversations – Eating Las Vegas, featuring yours truly, Bon Appetit Editor Andrew Knowlton and a couple of other guys talking about the current state of the Vegas restaurant/dining scene:

…that was surprisingly well attended and most excellently moderated by Mr. Knowlton. Can ELV remember the numerous nuggets of wisdom and bon mots that he (especially he) tossed about in the hour plus event? Of course not…probably because, as he was talking, he was licking his lips at the thought of the looming ¡Que Viva España! lunch that was set to start at Julian Serrano’s Picasso immediately thereafter:

…where calling the food, and the wine, and the sangria, and the wine-lively discussion by Master Sommelier Robert Smith and  Steve Olson “Wine Geek” fabulous would be a serious understatement. Those who have eaten at Julian Serrano’s Julian Serrano in Aria would be familiar with most of the menu, but the staff seemed to kick everything up a notch or three, and the pairings with a bevy of Spanish beverages was beauteous to behold.

From there, it was a quick jaunt over to Food Gal #1’s Kentucky Derby Party:

Jolene, Food Gal #1 and Jackie celebrate Derby Day

Picture 1 of 1

…for some country ham, beaten biscuits, a mint julep (or two), made with expert aplomb by Hugh Alexander Curtas (The Official Number Two Son of ELV), before hightailing it back to the Bellagio for the Great Makers of Pinot Noir wine immersion:

…a sold-out event — featuring the wit and wisdom of M.S. Jason Smith, Littorai Wines’ Ted Lemon, Kosta Browne Wines’ Dan Kosta, and Alex Sokol Blosser (a dude with two last names when we expected only one) from Sokol Blosser Wines, and, who else?, The Wine Geek. It was a spirited discussion (that would’ve benefited from the wine makers giving more tasting notes on their wines), that led ELV straight to Aria for some more spirited discussions with the Albert girls (Wendy and Rachel), over some spiritually good spirits at the bar at Julian Serrano (the restaurant, not the man):

…a drink so good we forgot what it was called. (You try remembering the names of some fancy cocktail, whipped up for you on the spot, after two Bloody Marys, a sangria, a glass of sherry, some rosé, some Rias-Biaxas Albarino, a sip of Alconte Ribera del Duero ‘o7, a glass of champagne and six different pinot noirs, and let us know how you do remembering things.)

By now, driving was impossible, and it was practically time for the Mandalay Beach Bash, or It’s Better At The Beach or whatever they…were…calling…the…darn thing. All ELV knows was…who were the cocktails and he weren’t as thought as he drunk.

So food was needed and some kibitzing with some famous chefs was in order, and Charlie Palmer and Alain Ducasse filled the bill perfectly:

Once we sobered up, we noticed there was probably a little too much pork (if that’s possible) and not enough meeting and greeting of the chefs. (After all, people pay good $$$ for the chance to both see, hear and taste what these superstars have to offer.) That said, it’s hard not t0 have great time at any of these events — as long as your appetite is insatiable and your leg is hollow.

Having attained that rush of intensity, that rigid release of  pleasure and fulfillment (followed by state of exhausted repose) that only great food can give, ELV retired to his boudoir with a cigarette* and a broad smile on his face, in anticipation of the carnally carnivore pleasures that awaited him the next day. As he drifted into his familiar state of prostration, debility and post-food-coital bliss, he recalled the words he has so often repeated to those who would doubt his dedication and professionalism:

Many people (especially guys), think they could be porn stars (or at least be up to the challenge), but like any real male porn actor will tell you: “You think you can do it dude, but you can’t.”

* ELV doesn’t smoke, but you get the idea.


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