Security Theater

The security measures at American airports are a total joke. A total absolute joke….and everyone knows it.

I’m writing this at McCaren airport in Las Vegas, the only major airport in the US that offers free wireless internet to everyone in the airport. (This sort of shoots all the arguments about how airports have to charge ridiculous prices to cover costs in the ass)

The line at the security check point was the longest security line I’ve ever had to go through. There is no way you can effectively check that many people in that short of a period of time. I had a bag full of electronicns. Laptop, GPS, iPod, DSLR, digital video camera, tons of cables, etc. I took none of them out of my bag while going through security. It would have taken too long and I figured that if they did want to inspect me more, given the odds of it happening with that many people, the expected time spent in line would be less by doing nothing. I was right. They let it zip right through, while they did harass people for small water bottles.

The security system as airports are designed to give the illusion of security and to cover the ass of those in charge in case something happened. Shoes and water were fine until someone tried to use them in a terrorist attack. Making you take off your shoes and banning water after the fact doesn’t help security. Knowing how the system works, all terrorists would have to do are plan attacks involving laptop computers and other things people travel with and leak the plans so everyone is more annoyed.

Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole

Last night, I had the pleasure of having what can only be described as the best meal of my life. Period. Hands down. No debate. No discussion.

It also happened to be the most expensive meal I’ve ever had, so its a damn good thing it was the best.

We had reservations at 6pm for Picasso at the Bellagio. AAA rates restaurants on a five diamond scale and there are only a handful of restaurants in the world which merit a five diamond rating. There are none in Minnesota or Wisconsin. New York City has three. Vegas has four. Picasso has been awarded five diamond for six years running. This is the first and only time I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant of this quality level. It is also ranked as the 10th best hotel restaurant in the US by Zagut’s.

The ‘gimick’ at Picasso is that the walls of the restaurant have actual paintings by Picasso hanging on them. That’s pretty impressive. We didn’t sit near any Picasso’s however. Given our early reservation (6pm) we got a seat out on the patio and were able to get a front and center view of the Bellagio water fountains all evening. (The shows are every half hour).

The first thing that struck me was that they had a sommelier and a 90 page wine list. Picking a wine was like reading the phone book. I’ve never had a master sommelier at a table before and it was a real education. His name was Desi Echavarrie. He had a really in-depth knowledge of everything on the wine list. Who grew it, where it grew, the vine types, the soil, everything. Picking a wine from a list that large is really a crap shoot. On his recommendation, I went with a 50-50 Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Argentina. It was very good and the price was reasonable given where we were dining. (I saw one bottle on the menu for over $8,0000. For that much, a bottle of wine better take me out for breakfast in the morning)

The menu consisted of two tasting menus. That’s it. You could pick the right or left hand side of the menu. There were some options for entrees, but that’s it. One of the courses consisted of foie gras. I had never had foie gras before and had always wanted to try it. It was amazing. I anxiously await the foie gras flavored Doritos.

You can’t eat at a place like Picasso every month or even every year, but it is worth doing at some point in your life, just to say you did it.