Ah, culture shock. On my flight out from SFO, I finished Terry Theise's galley. I'll write more about it in another post, but, suffice it to say I was immersed in thoughts of riesling and terroir and the Mosel. Stepping off the plane at the Vegas airport, with its lights and slot machines and smoking was a change.
Our original agenda had included Amy picking me up at the airport and later heading to dinner at Lotus of Siam. Turns out neither of those things happened. Traffic was bad and I ended up beating Amy to town by several hours. I took a cab to the hotel, checked in, and, wisely, napped. After Amy arrived, we headed into the bowels of the Grand Arena to meet with her ACM insider who gave us our tickets to the show Sunday, wristbands for access to shows Friday and Saturday nights and mentioned that we might be able to see some rehearsals that very night.
So rather than heading across town to Lotus we ended up at Craftsteak, essentially across the hall from the arena in the MGM. The food was better than I expected and service was quite good. I started with a Manhattan, which if lacking the flavor of my homemade brandied cherries, was excellent. Amy perhaps wisely went for prosecco. Having not eaten since a pork bun at SFO, I ate a few too many of the warm parkerhouse rolls with butter. To start we shared the fried zucchini blossoms which were served attached to the young squash. We then both went for the surf & turf entree: filet mignon with in my case lobster and in her case scallops. I had a glass of Cep Syrah and she had more prosecco. My filet was perfectly cooked and although the lobster suffered by comparison to the recently discussed Neptune Oyster version, it was still sweet and tender. Like a lot of food in Vegas, it was both enjoyable and over priced.
By the time we finished our entrees it was time to head over for rehearsals. The arena was set up for the swards, with an elaborate stage and multiple cameras. When we arrived Reba McEntire was on stage. Reba is one of my daughters favorites as she is a redhead and sang on one of K's favorite songs: Cowgirls Don't Cry. Reba will host the ceremony. We heard just a little bit of her before she disappeared off behind stage to be replaced by a stand-in. She was followed by Carrie Underwood, who 3 times performed her new song Temporary Home. Finally Rascal Flatts played Unstoppable three times as well. To an outsider, all three performers seemed focused and hardworking, interacting little with the 100 or so of us in the audience.
After rehearsals and a margarita we headed out to walk the strip. I've never been to Vegas before so it was interesting to see that it really is a sort of adult Disneyland or perhaps a larger, gaudier version of the French Quarter. But that may be my response to the open containers. Finally, we headed back to the hotel, too tired to see one last show.
On tap for today, more rehearsals: Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Toby Keith followed by a Miranda Lambert concert. Hoping to fit in dinner at Lotus of Siam as well. More later.