I first visited Las Vegas in my twenties. As a budding criminal defence lawyer, I had the utmost respect for a city so committed to the principle of solicitor-client confidentiality.
Now, fifteen years later, I decided to embark on a weekend guys’ trip to Sin City with one goal: to return home with my legal reputation intact.
I arrive at the MGM Grand just before midnight local time — a perfect time to enjoy a few spirits at a relaxed, woody bar like Whiskey Down. Come morning, I find myself sipping from the hangover cocktail menu at Mandalay Bay’s Fleur. Fortunately, my cocktail is accompanied by a soup bowl of steaming coffee and red velvet pancakes.
Suitably caffeinated, I take a short trip off the Strip to the asphalt home of Exotics Racing. I relish the rare chance to test-drive a 550HP Lamborghini Gallardo. The professional driver seated beside me hails from Australia — and he nonchalantly goes over a few of the Lambo’s quirks: “The paddle shifters are tiny pieces of crap jammed too close to your wiper stalk, and the brakes bite like a dingo. Now let’s get this car moving fast!” OK then. Within 30 seconds, I’m streaking around a tight corner at 186 kph. After the drive, I take a passenger ride-along with a professional drift driver, whose nauseating turns reduce our Corvette’s tires to wet, pasty tar.
After a morning of Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, I settle into my booth at the MGM’s Shibuya for a feast of Japanese culinary creations. I start with plates of jalapeño hamachi and kanpachi sashimi coated in yuzu and black lava salt. Then, the main attraction: a broiled black cod with thinly sliced wagyu skirt steak in a black pepper teriyaki sauce. The pleasant warmth of Shibuya’s in-house sake accompanies me as I turn in for the night.
I wake the next morning and opt for pure relaxation. I settle into a barber’s chair at the Aria Spa and Salon. After an expert shave with a straight-edged razor, I am pampered with a tightening skin mask. Rubbing my palm against my baby-faced cheek, I make a mental note to shave again in a month.
Feeling rejuvenated, I travel to the Desert Pine Golf Club. The landscape alternates between the dusky red mountains and the multi-coloured glass of the Strip. The solid undergrowth and arid conditions (even in February) make for concrete-hard fairways and unforgivingly fast greens.
For dinner, I head to Portofino, a Tuscan-style restaurant tucked at the back of the Mirage hotel. It’s a pleasant respite from the dazzling lights and clanging bells of Las Vegas. Local herbs and vegetables are fused with Italian mainstays, like bufala mozzarella, to create rich broths for made-to-order pastas. Don’t be afraid to request modifications to the menu. Chef Michael LaPlaca appears to relish the challenge of perfecting each diner’s customized order.
So there you have it. Three jam-packed days in Las Vegas. No censorship required.
Some travel support and assistance provided by MGM Resorts.
Edward Prutschi is a Toronto-based criminal defence lawyer. Follow Ed’s criminal law commentary (@prutschi) and The Crime Traveller’s adventures (@crimetraveller) on Twitter, read his Crime Traveller blog, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.