Fear and Loathing in Vegas Uncork’d

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs… Oh wait, this is something else entirely, although I’m fairly certain I listened to “Sympathy for the Devil” at one point, and I recall there being amyl nitrate somewhere.

Tobey Maguire not included

The build up to this story held a great many undertones of personal danger, but mostly calling in favors, tracking down PR types and weaseling my way into whatever it is I could.  My fervor was motivated less by testing my true grit against a weekend of a gluttonous bacchanalia, although I am always eager to do that, but to test my earlier prediction about the Hubert Keller/Sarah Johnson Beer Garden being the best real event (“real” referring to any that isn’t a Michelin starred chef cooking a dozen-by-a-dozen degustation-athons).  Really, honestly, with the trend of overselling the food booth and TV chef selfie events AND making the grievous omission of any Le Cirque/Circo/Sirio things, I would say my prediction had sadly come to fruition.  Grand Tasting: consider the ball dropped.  It all kind of ran together…

Chicken livers, beef and octopus carpaccio, and crudo by... some guys I guess
This strange old French dude grabbed my rump because there was a tiny bottle of champagne in it. True Story.

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Sarah Johnson: Beermeister Extraordinaire

With the new director of F&B over at the Mandalay Bay getting all sorts of attention for being a Cicerone (the beer version of a sommelier, for those not in the know), the beer-loving eyes of the food community have been waiting for a little insight into what Sarah Johnson has in mind.  Those of you who have been obsessively glazing over this year’s schedule of events for Bon Appetit’s Vegas Uncork’d will have already noticed a new event among the Robuchon Luncheons and conspicuously consumed caviar, a BEER GARDEN!  I’ll give you all a second to fish the monocle out of your champagne.


Yes, Hubert Keller talked himself into another DJ set, but this time his beatboxing ministrations will be to the tune of an Alsatian Brasserie menu by himself and consistent partner-in-crime Chef Laurent Pillard.  PROBABLY going to be the coolest of the events, and no less cool for the help of the main beerographer, Sarah Johnson.  The smart and witty and sexually attractive people who read my stuff may remember a very cool pairings dinner where Sarah and Aureole Sommelier had a fun little competition of the pairings sort.

So I thought, “Hey, let’s talk to Sarah Johnson.  Get inside her dome-piece.  Slowly assimilate her life Write a cool little interview, innocently.”  Here’s the straight dope, people.

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