The Rompel Report: Las Vegas

Last month, Uncorkamorimcork The Rompel Report: Las Vegas
by Amorim Cork
ed’s intrepid correspondent Andy Rompel visited Nevada and as they say, what happens in Vegas…stays in Vegas. But what stays in Vegas is usually not much more than the truth about the amount of money you have gambled away, as most gamblers happily tell you about their earnings and conveniently forget the sum that they have invested in the first place.

Take Sun City, the Palace of the Lost City and Monte Casino, multiply it by ten, no, better by one hundred, and you can roughly imagine what is expecting you in Vegas. Of course the ideas for our South African Las Vegas came from the US, not vice versa, needless to say. And unlike our “getting-a-bit-long-in-the-teeth” Sun City, Las Vegas has always managed to reinvent itself.

hang 205x300 The Rompel Report: Las Vegas

Lately the two movies What happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, and The Hangover brought Las Vegas back into the limelight. And just to show you how quick America does react and adapt, a whole row of slot machines are already labeled Hangover, and apart from Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley lookalikes you can now spot the bearded guy from the Hangover movie (Zach Galifianakis aka Alan) and have your picture taken with him (against a small donation, goes without saying).

Some advice on the side, if you visit Las Vegas, don’t go for the weekend. It is filled to capacity and rooms are up to three times more expensive compared to under the week. Also, you have all the bachelor farewell parties coming in for the weekend, going ballistic…

On the culinary side, the Americans claim to be number one when it comes to steaks. The pure mentioning of other big names in the meat business like Argentina or perhaps South Africa is brashly overruled by a quick wobble of the head. But is it true? We were trying to find out within the short time we had at hand. Going out in Vegas can be a complicated matter. There must be more than a thousand restaurants to choose from, none of them cheap, but none of them a rip-off either. We chose the Delmonico steak restaurant in our hotel, the Venetian. There is no need to go far, as there will be something you like nearby. I chose a rib-eye whereas my colleagues decided on different choices. My companions were rightfully raving about their steak, which would prove the theory about the best steak, however mine was very fatty, with close to 50% cut-away – not my idea of a good steak.

jordan 216x300 The Rompel Report: Las Vegas

Californian wines are an enigma to me as it is one of the wine areas of the world I have not yet visited. Hence I have to live with advice, gut feel and a couple of more or less famous names. During the very short time in Vegas I got to try a few Pinot Noirs and a few Cabernet Sauvignons. Recommendable are the Hitching Post Pinot Noir 2009 from the Santa Maria Valley in California, a lighter style, and the Mac Murray Pinot Noir 2009 from Sonoma on the more serious side. One Cabernet stuck out with depth and layers of different flavours, dark fruit, elegance and intensity, the Jordan 2008 from the Alexander Valley in the Sonoma County. Last not least, when flying with LAN (the Chilean and Peruvian carrier), please enjoy the Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne they serve on board. Surely it will be a pleasant flight.