The Final Countdown
We’re in the home stretch food fans.
The final innings.
The last quarter.
Time is running out.
Minutes are slipping away.
And the end is almost in sight.
Our loyal readers know what we’re talking about.
Our staff is girding its loins for the final push.
And we at ELV know that the time is nigh.
What we’re talking about is the conclusion. The climax. The finale.
The denouement, if you will, of this web site in its current incarnation.
Come April 1, 2018, on the exact, 10th year anniversary of its birth, EATING LAS VEGAS (www.eatinglv.com) will cease to exist in its present form.
What will succeed it is anyone’s guess.
One thing we do know is that we’re not going away completely.
There will be a re-boot; there will be an outlet for our deathless prose, our incisive wit, our impeccable palate, and our call-it-like-it-is ruminations on Las Vegas: its people, places, and eating parlors.
We have been thinking long and hard about these things over the past few months, and we’ve come to a few conclusions about what we don’t want to do, but the path ahead is still a bit foggy. Therefore, in the spirit of honesty, respect, gratefulness, and camaraderie with you, a follower who has been faithful enough to still be reading our words, it is only right that we share some of these thoughts.
One thing is clear, and has been clear to us for over five years now: the time of the blogs is over. Facebook killed the whole idea of someone blogging some blog that their blog-appreciating fans submitted their own blogviations to about whatever bloggings were being blogged.
Blogs were once a beautiful thing. From around 2002-2012 they were a way for people with common interests to communicate. Whether your passion was petit fours or Parcheesi, you could set up a blog and people who were interested would google and find it and they’d all create a small community of readers who shared knowledge, comments, arguments, witticisms, about whatever obsession was held dear to their hearts. Back in the day, there were blogs about Mullets Galore, Hot Chicks with Douchebags, and, my personal favorite: MenWhoLookLikeKennyRogers.com.
As gone as the hope that the interwebs would spawn a new way, highly informed and dexterous way of communicating with each other.
What began so hopefully morphed into trolls, clickbait and cat videos.
What killed this hope was that great bugaboo: advertising. More specifically, the lust of Facebook to aggregate all of its fans into mind-staggering numbers that it could then sell to its advertisers — companies that have paid it a fortune to access all those eyeballs.
If you’re like me (i.e. most grownups) you started with Facebook around 2008-2009. Back then, it seemed like a groovy way to connect with friends and share pictures. Little did anyone suspect that it would become the primary way people would start interacting with each other on the internet. Little did we know that those advertisers would mine all that Facebook data about us and turn it into a privacy-compromised, marketing juggernaut.
By opting to communicate very loudly and very publicly on Facebook on just about every topic, the public was basically turning its back on those little communities of quilters or sailors or Female Lego Academics and announcing that if it didn’t happen on Facebook, it didn’t really happen.
This phenomenon, along with the improvement of phone cameras and Instagram, effectively killed food blogs.
Of course, the rise of Yelp, TripAdvisor et al had a lot to do with it too. Once you could dial up a crowd-sourced opinion of everything from a hole-in-the-wall taco joint to a haute cuisine palace, there was little reason to endure the bloviations of some gasbag “expert” before deciding where to eat.
In the good old days, those gasbags were the only ones out there telling you where to eat. Today, everyone is telling you.
Back in the day, people had to read to get information. My early restaurant years were soaked with the prose of Seymour Britchky, Craig Claiborne and Jay Jacobs. Decades before everyone was posting pictures of their shrimp salad, you had to wade through hundreds of words describing every dish in detail in order to get a mental picture of a meal. Those words were dense with descriptors and sometimes the sledding was heavy, but it pulled you in, made you commit. And with that commitment came accomplishment — the sense that you actually knew something after you finished reading a food article or a review.
Epicures no longer have to put in the work to call themselves such. All they have to do is look at pictures and pay attention to whatever Thrillist, or 50 Best list, or award list is in the news this week. In 2018, galloping gourmets simply notch their belts, post photos, and call themselves connoisseurs.
But there’s a big difference between helicoptering to the top of Mount Everest and actually climbing there. Unfortunately, in the food world — and especially in the world of social media as it pertains to food — these distinctions have all been wiped out. No one really gives a shit if the editor of Eater or Thrillist or Travel + Leisure actually knows anything about their topic, or has eaten in the restaurants they write about. All that matters is that they’ve distilled a very little amount of information into an easily digestible form, so it can be swallowed whole by the gullible public.
Like I said: marketing eventually ruins everything.
So, with these things in mind, where is this food blog to go? (BTW and FWIW: we’ve always hated calling this a “blog.” Blogs are for weird people who love posting pictures of ugly Renaissance babies and hungover owls. To us, Eating Las Vegas always been our website.)
A few things have become clearer to us in the last year:
Item: We’ve had it with the Strip. The nickel-and-diming of resort fees, paid parking, and such have stuck in our craw, but what has really cinches it for us is the stagnancy of ideas and the milking of old cows going on there. Wynn/Encore spent five years trumpeting its restaurants. Now, with a couple of exceptions, it’s manned by a bunch of itinerant chefs. Perhaps Elaine Wynn can restore its F&B program to some of its former glory. (Hope springs eternal!) As for the rest of the bean-counting casinos: there hasn’t been an original idea in any of them in a decade. I’m not saying I won’t go to the Strip to dine, but I’m through writing about it on this web site. If you want to know what I think about its big hitter eateries, BUY MY BOOK! Given the lack of imagination going on up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, everything I wrote for the 2018 edition should be good for at least the next three years. I’ll still post pictures of my dinners at Guy Savoy, Bazaar Meat or Wing Lei (see above, for example) on social media, but my days of praising them to the heavens on this site are over.
Item: I’ve been traveling a lot in the past two years and intend to keep it up. Expect a lot more stuff about my edible adventures abroad.
Item: I’ve been cooking a lot lately as well. (Little known fact: before I started writing seriously about restaurants in 1995, I had been a serious home cook for twenty years.) Therefore, we may even turn this into a food/cooking/recipe site (occasionally).
Item: Wine is a passion of mine . Wine writing is usually a bore. Expect the occasional post about what I’m drinking and why. I’ll try to make it informative and not boring.
Item: Life in general is a passion of mine. Expect occasional blowhard observations about some obscure thing that interests me.
Item: Cocktails, spirits and whiskeys continue to fascinate me (beer less so), so expect an occasional dissertation about what and where you should be drinking.
Item: I promise you I will never, ever, subject you to my politics. There are more than enough political writers in the world. Not even I am interested in my political views. Politics is a boring little game played by small-minded little people, and the only reason we are inundated with it (in the press) is because it is one of the few human activities that is going on all the time.
Item: The one exception to the above rule will be gun control. I have felt strongly about gun control all of my adult life– because I believe we all have a moral obligation to prevent murder. If you’re one of those psycho-sexual, barrel-stroking gun-loving, 2nd Amendment freaks, don’t read me. For the rest of you, I will try to keep my outrage to a minimum.
Item: We’ve been reading a lot lately…and may even throw in an occasional book review.
Item: Asian food/Chinatown/Spring Mountain Road: I expect to be eating a lot more Asian food in the coming year and reporting on it more frequently on this site.
Item: My days of searching out cheap taco shops, food trucks and burger bars are over. I still enjoy a good sandwich (and great tacos), but it will have to be pretty awesome to get me to write about some bit of meat slapped between some bread.
Item: Downtown Las Vegas is booming and I’ll continue to be its biggest booster.
Item: The name of this site may be changing. It’s going to be more about other things than just “Eating Las Vegas.” More likely the title will be something along the lines of:
JOHN CURTAS is
Eating Las Vegas
Traveling the World
Drinking More Than He Should
Telling It Like It Is
….or something like that.
In the next few weeks (after we return from New Mexico this weekend), we will be highlighting a few of our favorite meals of the this (still young) year, and then shutting things down (on April 1) for a month or so.
When next we re-appear (sometime before Summer), you can expect a stripped down site, composed mainly of our prose, and, as always, a few tasty snaps to accompany the articles.
As always, bon appetit to all.