Champagne Brunch at Bellagio

 We just-in-fun made our first priority the Breakfast at Bellagio.
 We'd heard in a recent Vegas newletter that they had a monster buffet,
 so we mentally prepared ourselves for a bachunalian breakfast feast and headed that way.

 We walked in the lobby of The Bellagio and were slammed by the aroma of fresh-cut flowers.
 You can't fake that.
 The lobby is chock-full of fresh flowers, and it hits you like a wave.

 I don't care.
 But Mrs. BartCop grabbed my arm and made me stop.
 She looked up at the ceiling with it's 5,000 just-cut fresh flowers and took a deep breath.
 "This doesn't smell like Oklahoma," she said.

 Here's where everything started to break down.
 Walking thru The Bellagio (Oceans 11 was filmed here) looking for the breakfast buffet, I spotted an island bar.

 Since my tequila obsession manifested itself in summer 1999, I have developed a sixth sense about tequila bottles.
 I can pretty much look at a bar from 40 feet and read the menu of tequila choices (or lack thereof)
 because fine tequila comes in the most non-traditionally shaped bottles.

 I spotted the extra-long gooseneck bottle of Corazon Tequila.

You can see this bottle from 60 feet.

It's 100% Blue Agave, so it must be considered a contender.
It sprang up during the agave shortage, which seems ...unusual.

So I tell bartender Cubby at the Bellagio to pour me a shot of Corazon.
Then, catching my faux pas, I realized I couldn't rank it without a reference,
so I asked for a shot of Chinaco Anejo ...for comparison purposes only.

Well, Cubby poured super-sized shots of Corazon Anejo and Chinaco Anejo.
Coulda been 1.5 ounces to 2 ounces per shot.

Lorena nor I had ever seen shotglasses of this shape:
Long and flutey with a bulbous ground floor.
It looked penilistic to me, but by Koresh, if it held more tequila, it had to be a good thing.

I took a sip of the Corazon and filed it's good & bad qualities in my head.
I took a sip of the Chinaco and touched the face of God.
Ain't nothing like a shot of Chinaco before 9 in the morning.

Then, Cubby starts asking me which tequilas I've tried.

Tequila bartenders WANT to talk tequila.
When I show up at a tequila bar, they act like they've been waiting for me.
They WANT to talk tequila to a fellow conne, ...connes, ...coniss,...someone who really enjoys fine tequila...

Have you tried this one?
Have you tried that one?

If you agree with the bartender's choices, he'll keep pouring free shots.
When he says "Patron is the greatest," I say "Yes, Patron & Chinaco are the top two."
He will keep pouring.

It became a contest between what he had and what I haven't tried.

Cubby whips out a bottle of Jose Cuervo la Familia Reserva.
He poured me a shot - freebie - and told me to try it. I did, and I'll be damned, it was pretty good.
I hate to say something nice about anything Cuervo, but if it tastes good - it tastes good.

So I'm sipping on my three super-sized shotglasses and the time's ticking away,
and we had a breakfast buffet to get to, so I slammed the shots down and we were off.

We found the magnificent Bellagio Breakfast Buffet, and saw their magnificent price.
It was no ordinary buffet, it was the Champagne Brunch Buffet, and it was $22 each.

$44 for breakfast?
We hadn't planned on this expense, so it called for bank financing (MasterCard)

It was everything you could ask for in a breakfast.
They had your traditional everything, including these cool hockey-puck potatoe* cakes.


And they had some kind of breakfast prime rib that was to die for.
But it was pretty rare, bled all over the rest of the plate.
It looked like a C.S.I. crime scene.

They also had the most aggressive champagne delivery waitresses I'd ever seen.
If you took a gulp out of your flute, they'd run over and place another glass down.
They must get paid by the tray, because they were ferocious with their promptness.

Trouble was, it's still only 10 am and I've got 6 shots of tequila in me and I'm not as young
as I used to be. After 6-8 glasses of Bellagio champagne, I started to feel lightheaded.

We've only been in Vegas for three hours and I already was run down.
We got back to the Rio about noon and took a nap.
We had a tequila tasting to rest up for...

 From the widely unread

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