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October 18, 2001



Dateline: Thursday night. The restaurant: Circo in the Bellagio. My companion: Miss Saigon. The mission: people watching—my third favorite indoor sport. My reason for braving the slack-jawed hordes: a deep desire to return to my food comfort zone after my disastrous date at Tea Planet. This is easily done at our town’s best spot for voyeurism and top flight Tuscan cooking. Miss Saigon’s is the perfect friend for this foray, since she’s more of a regular here than I am. Best of all, this Vietnamese Valley girl knows the menu almost better than Chef James Benson—and all of them conspire to put me in a good mood—dishing up a roasted quail salad with Balsamic, foir gras ravioli, and a wild mushroom risotto to die for.

But what we’ve really come for is the human carnival that traipses through the glass doors here almost every night. Restaurants and people watching truly go hand in hand and for my money there’s no better combo platter of personalities and pasta than at Circo every night. True to form while Miss Saigon is wondering what’s for dessert—in walks a phalanx of fame that has heads turning all over the place. Mine doesn’t of course because I’m trying to concentrate on very fine Cote Rotie—while the rest of the joint beholding Kevin Costner, Steve Wynn, Irwin Molasky, and Dennis Hopper. Rich and famous guys all, with big egos, giant faces and oversized heads—which, I guess, must be a prerequisite to wealth and fame…so I’m in the epicenter of cool…for at least sixty seconds…but also because I realize that I’m drinking better then they are after I spot mediocre wine at their table. Of course I doubt if any of them ever sweat the bill. Ya know—Circo have done their jobs well. She’s gaping at Kevin in between bites of Gregoire Gorreau’s over the top desserts, as I contemplate the woodsy perfume of the syrah grape…Life is good. La Chiam!

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