Eric, bartender extraordinaire, at B&B

Those of us who are long-term residents of Vegas often take it for granted.  We grumble about the tourists, complain about the traffic, gripe about the parking, sneer at the shows, and just lose our fascination as we become more inured to the sights here.  With that being said, when we travel outside of the state and say that we actually *live* in Vegas – and not in a casino – we revel in the questions and worship we receive.  Almost like being a movie star!  Kinda.

Another evening with Zach made me realize how much I really like living here.  In spite of the 100°+F in the summer, you do get used to it and learn to dash from air-conditioned doorway to air-conditioned doorway.  Okay, when you get to be a certain age, “dashing” may be inconvenient, but you learn not to linger around in Surface of the Sun temperatures.

The other evening, I stopped by to grab a meal at Maggiano’s on the Strip and hoped that Zach was working.  As it turns out, he was on the job, so I had a glass of Estancia Pinot Noir and an heirloom tomato flatbread while I waited for him to end his shift. And, just as we did the last time, we visited B&B over at the Venetian.  We had a great time sitting at the bar.  Let me explain.

First of all, B&B (shorthand for Batali & Bastianich) Ristorante is a high-dollar restaurant with extraordinary food.  That’s my way of saying that it’s worth it.  Let’s face it, any restaurant that has a dish like Beef Cheek Ravioli with Black Truffles and Crushed Duck Liver is as far away from McDonald’s as 2005 Bordeaux is from White Zinfandel. We visited the bar and hooked up with Eric, who’s an extraordinary bartender.  He is very creative, and what’s really terrific is that he’s allowed to be creative.  I expect that one day he’ll be on Iron Chef America as a bartender backup.  I think he can beat Tony Abou-Ganim!

But I digress.

He made a couple of drinks for us. Don’t ask me how much they cost – it was Zach’s treat. It’s good being the Mom! He made them with his usual fresh herbs and infused simple syrups. He has, for instance, basil and rosemary infused simple syrups.  He also has a Pancetta infused vodka.  Can you imagine?!? On one of the drinks, he used a spirit that was new to me – but not to Italy – Amaro.

For those of you who may not know it, I was a bartender for about seven years, and can easily say that bartending was the most fun I’ve ever had at a job in my life.  I was never a “flair” bartender, but was still pretty creative.  I’m so envious.

After visiting Eric at B&B, we stopped at Taqueria Cañonita, which, despite its wonderful menu and excellent food, is considered to be “casual” dining.  I enjoyed a sparkling water while Zach and I talked Tequila with the bartenders. And we loved the Kah skull bottles!

Wandering around the Venetian/Palazzo complex wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Carenvino. Carnevino is another Batali/Bastianich restaurant. The prices are good for those on a budget, although it’s very easy to go overboard with their delicious offerings!  I haven’t had dinner there yet, so I can’t speak on that, but the happy hour and appetizers offerings are quite yummy.

Enjoy the pics (click on Eric’s photo to bring up the whole gallery)!  And remember, if you’re a local, don’t diss the town.  We are fortunate in that people always want to come here, and we often lose sight of that fact.

Viva Las Vegas!!

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