When I left you yesterday, I was standing at the hostess station at Andiamo, shell-shocked and dubious.
The hostess led us to our table, a two top in the corner of the room. I requested to be at the four top, just a bit off. There was no place to put my purse and after living in Mexico, I require a purse chair and a visual*. Did you know that Las Vegas ranks #1 in the world for identity theft? Close to the two top was a table of four men, the loudest of whom was short and had a shoe polish black perm. Suddenly, I was transported to an Argentine steak house in Mexico City where a group of four Russian men/gun runners (a toddler in tow) got into a brawl – a story for another day. The leader of the table was from Jersey and probably of Sicilian descent. I have a nephew who is Sicilian so don’t read too much into that. Regardless, I pegged them for …. [fill in the blank].
Turning my attention to the menu, I noted the Andiamo Tomahawk steak, the signature dish, sufficient for two. Our waiter, Hugo, was a Mexican expat and spoke flawless English. He was the consummate waiter. As in Mexico and other countries, waiters in high class restaurants wear white jackets and black bow ties. They are professionals. This is how they make their living and it is a good one. We ordered a Caprese salad, a kale and ferro salad, the Tomahawk, and fries. We barely ate the fries, the rest of the meal was so delicious. A bottle of my favorite pinot noir accompanied the meal. Hallelujiah! For dessert, they brought us a chocolate hazelnut concoction, on the house.
Although the food was stupendous, this is not what made the meal a standout. For starters, I felt like I had been transported back to 1964 . Leather chairs and booths, intimate settings. Don Draper would feel right at home. It reminded me of two restaurants my parents took me to when I was a child: The Dinner Bell and The Big Four.
Behind us, the two couples were seated at smaller tables. At one, a woman with a voice almost as loud as Mr. Perm and Snooki combined, drowned out anything her spouse had to say. She became friendly with the couple the next table over, a couple from Washington state who had driven their RV down and were Vegas afficionados. Eventually, the couple from Washington included us in the now three way conversation. Mr. Washington was a fish counting compliance officer for a Native American tribe.
Eventually, I got up the nerve to swivel my head and speak with Mr. and Mrs. Texas. Mrs. Texas had long straight hair and was wearing crystal earrings down to her shoulders, a bustier top, leather pants, and spike heels. Mr. Texas was wearing a form fitting flowered shirt (Bugatchi?) and dark jeans.
Mr. Washington was wearing shorts and a tired striped polo. Mrs. Washington was also wearing shorts and a tiered orange tank top. I was wearing black pants, a white jacket, silver Jack Rogers sandals and (real) gold jewelry. Mr. Understanding was wearing a long sleeved button down shirt, sports slacks, and Cole Haan loafers. It occurred to me later that all together, in some universe, we were a winning hand. Three perfectly matched pairs!
At the close of the meal, I assured the maitre d’ that we would be back on our next trip to Vegas, slated for later this year. (Next time, however, I am wearing costume jewelry, blue eye shadow, and a tshirt to absorb the inevitable steak sauce stains.) He escorted us to a different, only slightly less traumatic entrance to the hotel and casino. As we were leaving, a 400 pound woman of color, wearing a navy blue tulle skirt, white tank top, and captain’s hat, sailed into the casino. She was strutting her stuff, a smile on her face, fat ringlets swinging down her back. She was my Proud Mary of the day.
“Big wheel keep on turning
Proud Mary keep on burning
And we’re rolling, rolling
Rolling on the river …” **
Can I have a chorus of toot toot toot toots?????!!!! Sing along with Tina here. The accompanying go go dancers here are far more enthusiastic – St. Vitus would be delighted! As an aside, Tina is around age 70 in the video – can you believe?
Herewith concludes Day 29.
*At the restaurant Tableau at the Wynn Resort they have mini purse stools ! Huzzah!!!
**[Written by John Fogarty, sung by Tina Turner]