Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"Take Two"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
June 17, 1999
Podcasts

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Venice Versus Vegas

Listen

VENICE VERSUS VEGAS

In the spirit of tax write-offs everywhere and a nod to putting my money where my mouth is . . . I recently checked out Venice—as in Italy—to see how it compares with our faux Venetian hotel in size and substance. Yes, I spent 14 hours in the air and 14 days in Italy, just to educate you about the cultural differences between the real thing and our expensive fake on Las Vegas Boulevard. Okay, not really, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it come audit time . . . anyway a few days strolling around the Piazza San Marco—that’s Saint Mark’s Square to all you squares out there—convinced me that our two cities have more in common than either of them would like to admit. Both Sheldon Adeson and the Italian mayor of Venezia should take a moment and do a reality check the next time either of them gets their ego in a bunch over the fabulousness of either enterprise.

What both have in common—and at least here in Vegas we have the guts to admit—is a shameless exploitation of tourism as their sole reason for being. Venice, Italy is an aquatic Euro-Disney so crawling with tourists that whatever real life exists there is obscured by waves of stupefied fanny packers. Sorta sounds like someplace we all know doesn’t it?? No, place on earth tops Venice in over-priced restaurants with menus printed in five languages. This tradition of the tourist gouge was invented by the Romans and Venetians about 500 years ago and we are the cultural heirs of this not-so-proud tradition. The scale of the real Venice is truly awesome and it is prettier—in spite of the Germans—but our Venetian is cleaner—so I doubt Shelly baby will ever let a foul stench rise from the small moat encircling his hotel. Imagine a moonlit night in Northern Italy, surrounded by palaces and medieval streets as you gaze across the Venetian lagoon outward towards the Adriatic Sea. A warm breeze blows as you dine al fresco amidst waves that gently lap and caress your dining veranda—then, just as you’re enjoying a huge bite of the sweetest and freshest shrimp in the world—a blast of raw sewage hits you in the face—metaphorically speaking—and lingers tableside for the rest of the meal, now that’s Italian, but it ain’t Vegas and I’m thankful for it.

This is John Curtas

See discussion rules.

Archives

Nov 24, 2010 | Thanksgiving 2010 - Another Beanie Reveal
John Curtas delves into family history to discover the real story behind Grandma Schroader's Sour Beans.

Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
According to Food Critic John Curtas, no other Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has performed at such a high level for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
In at least one part of town, our dining critic John Curtas says the food used to be a lot better.

Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
For our dining critic, John Curtas, social media has started to intrude on dining out.

Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
Our dining critic John Curtas finds a new affordable favorite.

Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
For John Curtas the recent closing of Wolfgang Puck's first Las Vegas restaurant brings back memories.

Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

© 2014 NEVADA PUBLIC RADIO   
Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.