Archive for the ‘KNPR’

Ask ELV: A Tempest Over Tippling Tipping

September 13, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: KNPR, Letter of the Week 5 Comments →

The two sides of the American tipping coin have made a deal with the Devil that operates to the detriment of the American restaurant customer. – ELV

Dear ELV (aka Dad),

This came up last night and might make for a good “letter of the week”. We figured we weren’t the only ones to have this conundrum.

We ate at a really nice restaurant last night, one we had been to twice before (used to be the best in the area until downtown upped their game). Since it was for our 10th anniversary, we also splurged on a bottle of wine ($150 Chateauneuf du Pape). This might be a normal bottle for most people, but this was definitely a outlier for us.

Bill came: $210 of food, $150 wine plus tax.

Several online forums and columns discussed many different options and the consensus was clear: there is no consensus. Some places also mentioned tipping the sommelier, which never occurred to us.

Tipping options broken down:
20% of everything: $72 tip
15% of everything: $54 tip
20% food, 10% wine: $57
20% of just food: $42

We ended up leaving a $60 tip.

Advice appreciated!


Your Loyal Staff


ELV responds:


Is that what I pay you for???? To go around like some profligate son flaunting your social status and mindlessly filling your piehole with overpriced food and elitist, unpronounceable beverages made by smelly foreigners in some faraway land???

“Really nice restaurant”? What’s wrong with a good old American restaurant with real American food? Made by American corporations right here in America? Not good enough for you?

And what did my grandchildren have to eat — the usual gruel? — whilst you and missus were spending their inheritance on your fancy schmancy poulet a la this and carpaccio de Trevisio that?

Obviously, we’re paying you too much, and we’ll address that issue later.

To answer your question: Tipping is, ipso facto, STUPID. The rest of the word LAUGHS at Americans for continuing this dumb-ass policy that exists only because a) restaurant owners don’t want to pay their employees a living wage, and, b) waitrons love the immediate gratification and tax-dodging opportunities the system provides them.

These two sides of the American tipping coin have made a deal with the Devil that operates to the detriment of the American restaurant customer.

That being said, until common sense prevails (or a consumer revolt happens), we are stuck with this petty, dishonest, uncomfortable, nonsensical system that bestows an expected gratuity on a person (or doesn’t) depending on the whims of individuals , not according to any hard and fast rules…or any sort of actual contract.

(It amuses ELV that the service industry has not-so-subtly convinced the dining-out public that 18-20% is now the “standard” tipping amount, when, for most of the 20th Century, 10-15% was the norm.)

All that being said, we can proudly proclaim that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, and something in the $60-$70 range is exactly what we would have left — although at a high-falutin’ joint like the one you describe, eighty bucks wouldn’t have been out of the question either.

As for tipping the sommelier separately: that custom, along with splitting the tip among the captains and the waiters, has gone the way of the tasseled menu. And since most restaurants in America the Beautiful (and the beautifully stupid), now pool their tips, handing a double sawbuck to the somm doesn’t have the same “merci beaucoup” effect it might have had 20 years ago. That being said, it’s still a nice gesture and we suggest doing it on occasion, especially if you intend on returning and want to be remembered by the staff.

Now, GO FEED MY GRANDCHILDREN….and we’ll discuss your salary and bonus when you deign to leave the snobbish confines of your elitist, parvenu, east coast existence, and venture to the wild west so we can visit with them at the ELV homestead.


Why We Dine by John Mariani

April 22, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, KNPR, Zines 3 Comments →

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ELV note: In the wake of the horrors of last week, our friend John Mariani re-posted an article he wrote after 9/11 about why dining is so important to the human condition. We thought it bore re-visiting, along with a commentary we did on KNPR-Nevada Public Radio at the time, to remind all of the regenerative and soul-enriching effects of a good meal. For, as our other award-winning-restaurant-writing friend Alan Richman is fond of saying: “Food is life itself; the rest is parsley.” L’chaim!

After watching the horrors the people of Boston and the marathoners suffered this week at the hands of terrorists and reading that dozens of Boston restaurants closed up for security reasons, I was reminded of what I wrote (originally in The Financial Times) about the days following the agonies of 911. I thought it appropriate to reiterate my sentiments as applicable to the current tragedy in Boston.


The Cheesiest Thing We’ve Read All Year (that really curdled our hair)

April 23, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, Food, KNPR 3 Comments →

“The cheeses here rival those at Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon.” – Max Jacobson (writing about the good-not-great selection of cheeses at Morels in SEVEN magazine)

In any käse, to make up for taste so bahhhd we Camembert it, we Gjetost thought you’d lait to Explorateur Stiltons of cheesy puns on KNPR-Nevada Public Radio.

So Leyden Caerphilly.

Happy Saturday!

April 14, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Food, KNPR, Las Vegas Weekly, Wake Up With the Wagners 3 Comments →

As ELV ponders getting back to work on this overcast day in Sin City, he also cogitates on what Las Vegas was and has become.


Lawyers Aren’t Supposed to be Rich

March 27, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: KNPR 10 Comments →

Lawyer, n. One skilled in the circumvention of the law. – Ambrose Bierce.

Two recent suicides of fellow members of the bar have gotten ELV to thinking….and no, it didn’t hurt. Those deaths — of attorneys David Amesbury and Nancy Quon — were the fourth such deaths related to, or springing from, an ongoing HOA scandal that involved lawyers (like Quon and Amesbury) soliciting homeowner’s associations as clients,  packing the boards of those association with “owners” whom they controlled, and then funneling construction defect work/repairs (and the attendant kickbacks) to contractors they were cozy with.


Sugar: The Bitter Truth

February 18, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Food, KNPR 8 Comments →

Fat doesn’t make you fat, fructose does. This medical fact is becoming painfully clear to the public, but there has yet to be a full-scale revolution against the corn and sugar lobby (and Big Food) to reject what all this cheap, easy to love, processed sugar has done to our collective health.

Click here to listen to Dr. Robert Lustig on NPR’s Science Friday yesterday, or if you have the time and interest (and you should!), watch and listen carefully to the lecture below. If you do, you’ll never pick up a can of soda the same way again.

Time Worn and Treasured – Toasting on KNPR

December 30, 2011 By: John Curtas Category: KNPR, Liquor/Liqueur/Libations, Wine 1 Comment →

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Bookmark and Share

ELV note: We recorded this at KNPR in December, 2004, and you can listen to us perform the script in the mellifluous, whimsical and melancholy tones for which we were known by clicking on the link below. Happy New Year 2012!

You’re Toast!

Archived audio Real Audio |

Happy New Year, Great Saturnalia, Season’s Greetings or Yumpin’ Yule– however you celebrate the shortest days of the year, I’m sure food (and especially drink), has a lot to do with it. And since all holiday celebrations begin or end with a toast, I thought some information about how all that clinking of glasses came about, might be fun, and provide some good conversation fodder should you find yourself trapped behind a punchbowl with nothing witty to say.


A Very Beanie Thanksgiving to All

November 23, 2011 By: John Curtas Category: Food, KNPR, Thanksgiving 4 Comments →

On our way to Mexico - 1965

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Photo by ELV

As a prelude to this year’s Thanksgiving, ELV’s staff thought a trip down memory lane was in order. More specifically, a return to a few commentaries he did on Nevada Public radio about his favorite holiday….including not one, not two, but THREE recipes for the world’s greatest bean dish — featured for years on News 88.9 FM KNPR-Nevada Public Radio, and now brought to the readers of Eating Las Vegas for your shared enjoyment and delectation. ELV promises you, if you make them once, your Thanksgiving table will never again be without this sweet, savory and sour treatment of these luscious legumes.


SHANGHAI LILLY Closes Tomorrow

November 18, 2011 By: John Curtas Category: Food, KNPR, Wake 4 Comments →

People tend to forget that Mandalay Bay began as a rival to the Bellagio and the Venetian. When it opened in 1999, Circus Entertainment (or whatever the corporation was called then) intended it to be as upscale as anyplace in town.



August 24, 2011 By: John Curtas Category: Food, KNPR, Reviews 2 Comments →

Someone once described Argentinians as: “A bunch of Italians who speak  Spanish, who think like Germans, wish they were British and act like the French.” (or something like that)