From Vegas to Texas to Brazil and Home to Paris


Three men, a Brazilian steakhouse and the Paris Las Vegas.

By: Daniel Horowitz 

Travelling with friends can be tough.

During my recent sojourn to Las Vegas with friends and colleagues Doron and Josh in tow, opinions, desires and proclivities were made clear, often ad nauseum.

In this particular sequel to The Hangover, including yours truly as "Fat Jesus" portrayed in the flick by Zach Galifianakis, Doron's almost obsessive mantra of "We have to eat dinner at Texas de Brazil," which began a month prior to our arrival, was wearing thin on Josh and me.

On our final night in Vegas, after having eaten dinner at the delectable Il Mulino and satisfying our collective yen for Chinese at PF Changs our first two nights, Josh and I had simply nowhere left to hide. Josh's claims that he didn't want to "waste a vacation dinner" on a simple "chain restaurant" like Texas de Brazil no longer held water after sampling the tasty wares of the aforementioned PF Changs.

Out of options, we agreed to Doron's demands and took the 15-minute cab ride to the out-of-the-way, off-the-proverbial-beaten-track, supposed carnivore's delight. Standing out like a mirage (not the kind with the white tigers) juxtaposed to its brown desert blandness, this place was impressive from the get-go. After a couple of drinks at the bar, we were seated. Doron then explained the "rules" of procedure which consisted of patrons leaving a green card face up on the table, inviting waiters carrying spits of every conceivable meat to your table. When (if) you had enough lamb, beef, chicken, steak, ribs and sausage -- all marinated in incredible Brazilian seasonings -- you turn your card from green to red, letting the parade of servers know that you need a break, or perhaps an oxygen tent, while loosening your belt.

After dessert, Doron and I placed Josh in a cab to the airport as he needed to be home a day earlier, and we made our way to the Rio to see Penn and Teller perform what I heard was a "must-see" show.

While Doron and I agreed that the show would have benefited from a stronger start, it was definitely unique and entertaining, filled with Penn's brutal honesty, Libertarian leanings and his no-holds-barred attack on any and all charlatans claiming to be able to read body language or one's mind. My favourite bit was Penn's lambasting of airport metal detractors, illustrated by a volunteer trying to "smuggle" a metallic copy of the Bill of Rights through the contraption. If you're going to be in Vegas any time in the next decade (the duo just signed a ten-year contract with the Rio), and you're sick of the usual comic/ventriloquist/impersonator show synonymous with this town, this show is definitely worth a look-see.

From the Rio it was back "home" to Paris for one final walkthrough. Doron and I made our final way through the casino for a last, futile attempt at attaining great wealth. Still, ending our trip relatively even in terms of our gambling experience was fine. And, thanks to an unforgettable tuna burger and French onion soup at Mon Ami Gabi, a perfect day of sun and swim at the Paris Hotel in the shadow of the "Eiffel Tower" and, yes Doron, an incredible dinner at Texas de Brazil, the three of us won the jackpot!

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