The Right Coast

March 28, 2004
Las Vegas
By Mike Rappaport

I just came back from a long weekend vacation with my wife in Las Vegas. We both had a great time, and we don't even gamble. For those who are not familiar with the place, Vegas has much to recommend it besides gambling. For one, it probably has more great restaurants in a small area than any other place, largely because great restaurants throughout the US have also opened there. For example, we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Commanders Palace, which is as good in Vegas as it is in New Orleans. We also ate at Olives, originally a Boston restaurant. Las Vegas also has culture, both high and low. We saw two museum exhibits, one of Monet's works and the other from the Guggenheim in New York, entitled From Renoir to Rothko. (Sadly, though, I don't really like Impressionism.) There was also a great deal of low culture to pick from (and I don't mean strip clubs). There was Elton John, Penn and Teller, and our choice -- the lowest of the low, Don Rickles. As politically incorrect as they come, Rickles did not tell a single new joke -- yet, he was quite funny.

One of the really nice things about Vegas is that you can enjoy these treats at what appear to be a subsidized prices. I would guess that the money the hotels make from gambling lowers the prices a bit. And, happily, I don't have to give the casinos a cent. Of course, many of Justice Scalia's airplane ticket critics might regard my behavior as improper. Presumably, I should gamble a bit just because the hotels expect it, or at least announce to them, that I have no intention of gambling. Yeah, right.