04-05-06 - 3


Just got back from a trip to New York for my sister's wedding. On the way back, our flight from NY to Vegas was delayed, so we missed our connection home to San Luis, and got stuck in Vegas. The airline gave a free hotel room, and we asked to be put on the same flight 24 hours later, so we had a full day to hang in Vegas, which was pretty cool.

The Wynn is really beautiful. It doesn't really have a theme and feels a bit random, but all the elements of decor are really nice and you sort of forget that it has no style just because each bit of what you see is so nice. You must go sit at the little patio bar on the "Lake of Dreams". It's best after sunset when they shine lights on the water-wall which change color slowly over time.

We had dinner at Daniel Bouloud's place in the Wynn. I was a bit disappointed. The food was proficiently executed, but not very imaginative. The service was superb, but there's also something annoying about having hundreds of waiters dashing around all the time; they did their best to be unobtrusive (good waiters are sort of like Ninjas - you set down your wine glass, have a bite of bread, then pick up your wine glass and notice it's been filled without you ever seeing the waiter do it) - but when you have as many waiters as patrons they can't really hide. The decor and ambience were pretty rotten, very hotel-restaurant stuffy, the way the nouveau-riche decorate their dining room - shiny wood and overstuffed chairs - what people with no taste thing is really high class.

It made me realize I'm sort of bored of French food (which is shocking for me to say). French cuisine in the last 20 years has been working on that last 1% of the optimization curve. You know in software optimization, the first 90% is pretty easy, and usually you stop there. The next 5% towards perfect is really tough, and it gets tougher and tougher (it's like some sort of exponential thing, where each 1% is twice as hard as the last). The stuff I make at home is maybe around 90% now, and yeah the stuff I get out is better, but it's really not that much better, and the difference is so small that other non-food factors can make a much bigger effect on the overall experience (like the quality of the wine and the correctness of its pairing, for example). BTW I think I've said this before, but if you do not drink wine, you cannot eat French food. It's like listening to rock & roll but muting the drums, it's a crucial note in the food "chord" and to remove it completely imbalances the meal.

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