Steak & Lobster

I arrived in Las Vegas yesterday just after 8AM on a 6AM direct flight out of Seattle on Alaska Airlines.  The early flight required TB and I to wake up at 4AM.  She was a trooper and took me to the airport at that ungodly hour.  The flight itself was fine since I caught some Zs and enjoyed flying direct.  We normally fly United which routes us through either San Francisco or Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

It took about an hour for me to get my bags due to a baggage claim carousel malfunction.  Being forced to wait an hour to get my bags after a 2-hour flight sucked and served as another reminder of why I avoid checking bags whenever possible.  For this trip I had to check a couple items since I was transporting the main machine being used for demonstrations during the keynote on the first day of MIX.  Once I got my bags I caught a taxi to the Venetian and was able to check-in without much fanfare.

I got settled in my room, phoned Brian to coordinate schedules for getting the machines setup backstage for the keynote, then took a nap.  At 4PM, Brian and I met up with Jonathan, an architect on the product team, to make our way to the Venetian conference facilities to get the machines connected and tested so when Scott, the General Manager who is doing “our” part of the keynote, arrived for his dry-run we would be ready.  The machine setup went much more smoothly than we anticipated so we spent most of our time helping tweak Scott’s demo.

A couple hours later there was an announcement that food had arrived for the various crew, content owners, event coordinators, etc. who were there.  There were a few dozen of us total and I figured there would be boxed lunches or, at best, the typical chicken breast, rice and mixed-vegetable fare.  Since Brian had made dinner reservations I did not feel obligated to partake in the crew meal but, being nosey, I decided to go see just how bad the selection was.  As I approached the multi-table spread I saw tuxedo-clad waitstaff buzzing around fine china and chafing dishes one might expect at an establishment of the calibre (note the haughty British spelling) of the Venetian.  I neared the food and was sure my nose and eyes were deceiving me when I first smelled then saw mounds upon mounds of jumbo lobster tails and filet mignon being served with some pretty sophisticated side-dishes including broccolini and garlic mashed potatoes containing large chunks of garlic.  I was impressed.

We were joined by additional members of the team and spent more time adjusting the demo than initially planned, so we needed to increase our reservation from 4 to 6 people and shift it a little later in the evening.  The restaurant could not accommodate the last-minute request so we decided to make the crew meal our dinner which wound up being a wise decision.  The beverage selection of pop and lemonade left a lot to be desired but the succulent lobster was great.  I must have eaten at least three.

For dessert there was an assortment of chocolate cake, eclairs and fruit tarts.  Mind you, this entire spread was off to one side of the main room where the 1500+ attendees will be seated Monday morning.  There were no tables so everyone pulled up a chair and did the laptop thing or used a separate chair as a makeshift table.

The setting didn’t quite match the food selection or quality but that made the meal even more enjoyable.  Our dress and atmosphere suggested turkey club on paper plates but our laps held steak and lobster on fine china.