I recently traveled back to the United States for work and had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas for the first time in....oh about 20 years. Man, is that place crazy.
I think what made it even crazier for me was that I was coming to Las Vegas with a bunch of people from Scotland, some of whom had never been to the States before. Imagine never going to the USA and then the first place that you set down - literally a non-stop flight from Heathrow to Las Vegas - is the Strip.
Bizarre to say the least, I'd think. Hell, I'm from this country and I thought it was weird as hell.
Had to do a bunch of work related stuff for the first few days I was there, so nothing felt especially Vegas-y. However, the last night I was able to get away and sample some of the local specialties.
First stop? Naturally, NACHOS!!!
Our choice of dining was the Michael Mina Pub 1842 in the MGM Grand Entertainment Complex. The atmosphere was stylish and trendy "old world" pub which suited the nachos. However, what DIDN'T suit the nachos was the price tag.
Do you want to know how much they cost? First take a look at that picture at the top of the article. Then say to yourself, "Hmm, I wonder how much a plate of nachos at the MGM Grand Resort would cost...?"
Done thinking? Because I'll give you the answer...
And now to address the elephant in the room - were these nachos, in fact, worth $18?
However, they were actually pretty damn good.
First off - unlike the UK - notice the strategic placement of the sour cream via a squirty dispenser? This makes sure that there aren't any uncomfortably large pools of sour cream on top of your nachos waiting to congeal. The red bell peppers were a nice touch, as was the corn relish on top. Also, pub 1842 was just stingy enough with the cheese so that it had the opportunity to melt thoroughly and crisp over. And, thankfully, there was only one layer of cheese, unlike the Savannah nachos incident of earlier this year.
But, as with most of my nacho adventures, the nachos weren't the height of the evening.
Based upon the recommendation of a friend, I made my way out, past the neon glow of the strip out to the seedy underbelly of Vegas, located approximately 1 mile to the east. My destination? The Double Down Saloon, home, as the website will inform you of the fabled cocktail, "The Ass Juice."
I'll leave my adventures at the Double Down for another column but I must touch on an entertainment venue that I passed on the way there.
Everyone feels that going to a show is one of the best ways of getting close to your favorite band. But what if there was a way you could get closer? No, I'm not talking about becoming a groupie. I'm talking about MINI GOLF!!
Which is what I passed on my way to the Double Down lounge - KISS MONSTER GOLF.
Yep. A whole mini golf course with a KISS theme.
Whether you like the boys or hate 'em, you gotta give 'em props for their marketing skills. They had all sorts of packages there setup so you could meet the band. If you spent $5,000 on a bass, for example, Gene Simmons would sign it himself!
I didn't tarry long enough to play mini (or - as the KISS people call it "Monster") golf, but I think I came away from my encounter knowing a little more about what made the boys behind the masks tick.
Maybe the lure of $18 nachos was enough for some to lose themselves in the heady world of Las Vegas and KISS Monster Golf but, for me, I craved something more.
I left KISS Monster Golf and made my way to the Double Down Saloon, hoping that a taste of Ass Juice would help wash away the memories of expensive nachos and the sight of The Starchild angling up for a putt.