First with my weekly gig on Nevada Public Radio, and then with every magazine and weekly published in town, I started amassing a library of meals, reviews, experiences, tastes, and sensations that would one day give me the storehouse of information needed to catalogue all of the noteworthy eateries surrounding us.
For years, I imagined the book would be entitled “The Restaurants of Las Vegas,” and for years I knew I would be the one to write it. (Whether anyone would read it was never in doubt, given the booming popularity of Vegas and its food scene throughout the 90s.)
But the 90s came and went, and then 9/11 hit and put a damper on things, and by the early aughts my dream had receded to but a whisper in the back of my brain — a receding hum of hope that maybe, someday, Las Vegas residents and tourists would have reliable guide to tell them where to find the best food in town. And again, through it all, there was no doubt in my mind who would be the one to write it. (It never occurred to me that I would need help to write it, but as it turned out, I did.)
When Alain Ducasse (2004) and Joël Robuchon (2005) arrived, it signaled the start of a French Revolution of a different sort. Soon thereafter, Guy Savoy and Pierre Gagnaire expanded their brands here, and suddenly the whole world was paying attention to our culinary scene, and taking it much more seriously than it had before, even eclipsing the interest shown after the Bellagio opened in 1998.
Michelin came and went in ‘o8 and ’09, but still no book from yours truly.
I had pretty much given up on my authorship ambitions when Al Mancini approached me in the Spring of 2010 and asked if I was interested in doing a dueling critics thing in a book with him and Max Jacobson. Seeing a chance to finally do what I’d dreamed of doing for fifteen years, I jumped at the chance. From the get-go, I’ve always been more than a little proud that the book takes its name from this web site. (That original title was a bit stuffy, after all.)
Now, after a three year hiatus, we’re back with a bigger, better and more wide-reaching book than ever before. God bless Al Mancini for thinking of it, and Huntington Press for publishing it, and my new co-authors for diving in with me to re-start the franchise.
If you travel to Las Vegas, or live in Las Vegas, or eat out in Las Vegas, or know people who do, or wonder about being in Las Vegas and/or eating in Las Vegas, you need this book.
I guarantee it will make you hungry, and take care of any arguments you ever have about “where should we eat?”
Remember this book?
Remember these guys?
Remember all the fun we had with the first three editions of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants?
Let’s face it, who doesn’t?
Who can ever forget the ego wars? The temper tantrums? The pitched battles between Max Jacobson, Al Mancini and I, in which low-brow insults and high-pitched bon mots were our only weapons? Ah, those were the days:
They come in waves, but it begins as a trickle. First a couple, then another, then a four-top of salesmen in cheap suits slides by. A few curious souls from the bar pop their heads in. “Wow,” you hear them say, “this place is one of those famous French chefs (sic).” Then the elevators expel four, six, eight, a dozen hungry souls in various stages of convention dress: the obligatory Dockers and Rockports — adorned with the customary jewelry of the day: name tags, badges and lavalieres. Before long a group of twenty streams in — dressed for a big night at the Outback — all ready to spend the company’s money at this hi-falutin’ joint 64 floors above the Las Vegas Strip. “Gol-o-ly,” you can practically hear them saying to themselves. “This place ain’t like nuthin’ back home.” Before too much longer they’re presented with a menu of familiar sounding items that appear at their tables as small Trojan Horse plates of food that sounded like one thing, appeared as another, and tasted like something else entirely, and before they know it, the mind-numbing bill is presented to someone who will willingly pay it because it ain’t comin’ out of his pocket and a rape will just have occurred without the victim even knowing they were penetrated.
Welcome to Rivea.