Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Weekend in Las Vegas, Part III - Sat., cont'd

I dressed in white denim capris that I just bought and which, to be honest, were a smidgeon too big for me. Eek! But they looked good, as long as I kept them pulled up. I accomplished this -- without a belt -- by putting my hands in my pockets. Well, it worked! I also wore a really nice pale pink t-shirt with beads and mother-of-pearl buttons around the neckline. Cute tee! Amy looked like a million bucks in black slacks and a light blue short-sleeved sweater.

We headed off to the theatre in Amy's car, the yellow Solstice. I know that Amy probably doesn't realize it because she gets in and out of the car two or three times a day, but a seat that low is quite a workout for a lazy chubby chick like me. ROFL!!!! It's like sitting on the ground! Only cushier, with air conditioning, and more stylish than the ground. But, oh, I would have to hold onto the side of the car and *slide* down to the seat. Getting out, I think I just rolled out on my side and hoped one of my feet would catch me. Tee hee!

I had grabbed some of my handmade cards before I left home, and for Brad Oscar, I chose one and wrote a note to him while standing in the gorgeous lobby of the Paris hotel. I think I said something like, "I first saw you on October 10, 2001, and I knew you were a star right then. I have been waiting so long to see you as Bialystock! And I can't wait to see whatever your *next* show is!" Something like that, gush, gush, love bomb, gush. We asked the box office to to give it to him, and we asked where the stage door was, but they wouldn't tell us. Dang it!

The theatre was nice, and we had *great* seats halfway up the center front section. There was a couple already seated when we got there, and that guy wouldn't give up the armrest to save his life. On the other side of them, though, our whole row was empty. I kind of wish they had moved down a couple of chairs so I could have that armrest. Snort! I am greedy people.

On the other side of Amy, some rowdy drunk boys sat down. They spent most of the play getting up and going to the bar to get more drinks, and at one point they became so noisy that the usher tried to find them and shush them. She failed. She was in the row in front of us, fussing at the innocent people who sat up there instead of the rowdy boys on our row.

Well... the play... Was fabulous. The cuts that they made for time were very, very good, although I missed the song "Betrayed" a lot. Brad Oscar was geeeeeeeeeenius, just as I knew he would be. The guy playing Leo Bloom was terrible. He pandered to the audience and totally phoned in the performance, *and* he couldn't dance at all. The guy playing Franz Liebkind was very good, but he couldn't dance, either. (Brad Oscar can sing, act, *and* dance, so he was a much better Franz Liebkind as well as a fabulous Bialystock.) I was interested in the guy who played Roger DeBris, because he replaced that Hasselhoff guy. He wasn't anywhere near as good as Gary Beach (the original B'way actor), but he was adequate. He pandered to the audience and hammed it up a bit, and when I commented on that later, Amy and Paul assured me that the Hasselhoff guy was *much* more offensive in that regard.

A note for those of you who've seen the movie: You know how the choreographer's pants are stuffed in "Keep It Gay"? I swear, the stuffing gets bigger with every show I see. It wasn't really noticeable in the Broadway production. It was big in the movie. And in the Las Vegas production, the crotch is practically a whole 'nother actor. It was HUGE.

The audience was quite iffy to begin with, but they really got into it by the time "Keep It Gay" was performed. I think they figured out that "The Producers" is dirty enough to work in Las Vegas.

In general, though, I loved it, and I cried off most of my makeup just from the overwhelming sense of nostalgia and happiness. It is *such* a good show. I'm so glad I saw it -- especially with Brad Oscar in the lead!

When it was over, Amy and I went to the ladies' room (which is gorgeous) and then we went outside to find Paul. We didn't find him, though. Emily called me and I chatted a bit with her -- my family had gone to see the Spider-man movie and it was dark and drizzly back at home. That's so hard to comprehend when you're standing in the evening desert sun in LV. I took a picture of the Eiffel tower, and then we went back inside where Paul was waiting at Mon Ami Gabi's front door. We were whisked to a table and seated for the best, most magical meal of the whole trip.

Amy and I ordered mojitos because we've heard so much about them, and I don't know what Paul ordered. We also ordered *one* crabcake to share between the three of us, a very wise decision because by the end of the night, we were all overstuffed.

The waitress chatted with us while pouring water for us -- I drank more water in Las Vegas than I ever, ever drink at home, and most of it was at the beginning of meals. She and Amy briefly discussed the way Las Vegas locals hardly ever go to The Strip unless they have comp'ny. But she was *really* nice, our waitress was, and I in general I just loved the waitstaff at Mon Ami Gabi.

The crusty French bread came first, in a long paper bag. That was a tidy way to serve the bread, I thought -- you break the bread inside the bag and then just pull out your piece, so your hands aren't all over the entire loaf of bread, and the crumbs fall mostly inside the bag. Tidy! They had real butter and some kind of spread (which may have been couscous, but I'm not sure). OMG -- the bread was tasty and crusty. I could've eaten the whole loaf, it tasted so good. But I restrained myself and just ate a little chunk of it.

Then the mojitos and the crabcake arrived.

The mojitos had pomegranate juice in it, and OMG, it was delicious. I kept getting bits of mint stuck in my straw, but I didn't let that stop me.

The crabcake.... Well, words escape me. It was a delicious crabcake, very close to Maryland-style, and you know how picky I am about my crabcakes. I love Maryland, I hate low country style. The crabcake was wonderful. There was an orange-colored sauce with the crabcake, and it was very good, too. But the really divine part of the dish was the slaw. I have no idea what they put in that slaw dressing, but it was so yummy I wanted to lick the plate. I couldn't lick it, though -- even if I hadn't been in a fancy restaurant, I was sharing with Amy and Paul. They were really nice and let me get four or five forkfuls of that delicious slaw to go with my bites of crabcake. Even now, I want more of that appetizer!

With our palates thusly set for culinary delights, our main entrees arrived, along with the glass of ordinary iced tea that I had ordered when I finished my yummy mojito.

Paul got the herb-crusted ribeye roast with cheddar potatoes and green beans. Amy got the sea scallops and a spinach side dish. I got the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with scalloped potatoes and the same spinach dish that Amy had.

And OMG, y'all, every single dish was absolute heaven.

Amy's eyes rolled up in her head at the first taste of her scallops, which she declared simply perfectly cooked. Paul dug into his hearty portion of beef -- which was medium, and looked wonderful -- and wouldn't let us steal it from him.

I had my pork, and it came with a citrus and berry sauce that was to die for. I finally had to ask what those sweet soft lumps were, and it turns out they were plumped golden raisins. I have had plumped golden raisins before. I want to know what they plumped 'em in, because these were the sweetest, softest plumped raisins I've ever tasted. And they were *sublime* in that golden sauce that smothered my pork tenderloins. And the scalloped potatoes were divine. And the spinach -- hey, I haven't eaten cooked spinach (outside spinach cheese dip) in 30-some-odd years. That spinach thing was *wonderful*!!!! I do not know what the pale straws of crunchiness were -- they might have been apples or ... I don't know what they were -- but they added a flavor and crunch that made the whole spinach experience worth trying!

When I just could not possibly eat another bite, and I was full beyond fullness, I pushed back my plate and tried not to groan. Fortunately, I was wearing those loose white capris, so I didn't have to unbutton the top button. But oh, I was full, and every flavor had been *so* fabulous. I actually understood the appeal of bulimia for the first time. It wasn't as if I *wanted* to stop eating -- oh, no! I wanted to eat more. I just *couldn't*!!!

Then the waitress did the *meanest* thing. She brought the dessert menu. That WITCH! I thought she was *nice*!!!! I was *wrong*!!!!!!

Amy started reading the menu, and I think the first item was Crepes Bananas Foster. That was it, we were all goners. It didn't matter that I was already in pain from having eaten crusty French bread, yummy crabcake and slaw, and pork, spinach, and potatoes. I wanted that Crepes Bananas Foster! And I'm usually a chocolate or citrus kind of gal!

The waitress reverted to her kind ways and assured us that one dessert could easily fill three people. And so Amy ordered the Crepes Bananas Foster. I was so giddy with rapture that I forgot to take a picture, so you'll just have to believe me when I tell you it's absolutely huge and completely fabulous. I guess the traditional Foster chocolate in our dish was combined into the caramel, because it was not overt enough to differentiate chocolate on its own. It was a crepe wrapped around vanilla ice cream, smothered in sauteed banana slices and what looked like caramel sauce and whipped cream.



After I exploded, died, and went to heaven, we gathered ourselves up and waddled out of that glorious restaurant. I really cannot recommend Mon Ami Gabi highly enough. It is not as noisy or as crowded as a Las Vegas buffet. It's not the most expensive place in the world. (For instance, my wonderful pork dish and the side veggies cost less than $20.) The service is warm and friendly, and the food cannot possibly be surpassed by a fancier place. It just cannot be. I don't want to eat octopus or truffles, so I do not miss them from my fabulous meal. (Actually there are truffles on the Mon Ami Gabi menu; I just didn't order anything with 'em.) I have to give Mon Ami Gabi 10 stars on a scale of 1 to 10.

For comparison's sake, I would have to give the Concourse Steakhouse Disney's Contemporary Resort *8* stars out of 10. Eight stars is still enough to make me sad that it'll close before I get back to WDW, but... Mon Ami Gabi is a better experience overall, and that's saying... a *lot*. Because y'all know I love the Concourse.

We went back to Amy's house, and I think... yes, that was the night we stopped at a drug store and a security guard gave me a hard time. I was soooooooo tired and so full that I didn't understand him. Remember, I was wearing the too-big capris, and I had my hands in my pockets to keep them from falling down to my hips. This security guard or cop said to me, "I see you have your work gloves on."

I kept having to ask him, "What?" It took three tries before I understood that he was implying that one puts one's hands in one pockets when one is a lazy good-for-nothing. I was actually kind of insulted. I got over it. I don't even remember what I bought at the drug store that night.

Then we went to Amy's house, and I ... don't remember if I did anything before I crashed. It had been a full day, and I was a full girl. I washed my face and collapsed, with a snoring bull dog next to the bed and a lovely fan blowing a breeze for me all night long.

This whole Las Vegas trip was shaping up to be quite a wonderful memory! And it was only one-third through!


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