Vague In Vegas

It was inevitable really: the jet lag / fact that my body clock is completely screwed from three days in Denmark, half a day in London and then travelling to Las Vegas finally hit. Sadly, it hit during Ka, one of Cirque Du Soleil's resident shows here.

Actually, what am I saying? It's not sad at all. While the acrobatics were impressive, as with all Cirque shows it was "linked" with an indecipherable story and a load of portentous old bollocks and hugely, hugely annoying music. All of that crap is becoming a cliche which undermines the incredible performers and the astonishing staging. They're also a hideous, evil corporation these days that I've had way too many professional hassles with so maybe my verdict was coloured. Never mind, I actually saw a lot of the show but slumped my way through a fair bit and was wide awake for the interminable finale.

But hey, overrated French Canadian circuses are not the reason I'm here. I'm here for pampering - and dear God the spas are amazing - and the eating. Thursday saw us all get a late start so, having woken up at silly o'clock yet again, I went for a good long walk down The Strip, in order to avoid the breakfast temptation - be it hotel or classic diner - and work off some of the previous days' calories. It also meant I had a decent appetite by the time we got to the M Resort out in the desert and the light lunch provided - great grilled chicken and vegetables and some stunning cheeses - was perfect. It also meant that I wasn't stuffed while the next therapist pummelled my lower back, a mistake I'd made with the irresistible offerings at Border Grill. An in-hotel store called Babycakes provided some good sweet things too.

Dinner saw us at LAVO, the Italian restaurant at The Palazzo. One of the joys of this trip is that, because it comes with the city's blessing, the restaurants are laying on fabulous spreads, big sharing meals to showcase their best dishes. In the case of Border Grill, their best is "everything on the menu". LAVO, it must be said, push them a close second.

Italian restuarants, as I've often said to anyone who'll listen (and anyone who won't, I have no shame), instantly turn me into Tony Soprano. Well, in my head, at least. And, possibly, in waistline but I'm working on that. LAVO allowed me to indulge those fantasies fully, thanks to the star treatment - it helps when there's someone important from the hotel dining with you - and the "family style" platters of their best / favourite dishes. Hence, a slice or two of the largest meatball in Christendom, some very good prosciutto and perfect calamari paved the way for delights such as Lobster Pizza - sort of wrong, in theory, but oh so right in practice - a melt-in-the-mouth piece of fillet steak, a textbook Spaghetti Carbonara, the best veal escalope I've had for a very long time, slabs of salmon... Once again, I ate until my armpits expanded. In my defence, I picked at a spoonful of pudding - an Italian bread and butter pudding of great texture and better taste - and avoided the booze to some extent: two glasses of Prosecco is virtually a health drink by my standards.

After that, I rolled to Planet Hollywood which, before you panic, is a resort hotel and casino in Vegas, rather than just a slightly disppointing burger emporium. That was the setting for Peepshow, the striptease show that Mel B appeared in. Mel's buggered off to be replaced by a singer with a tremendous pair of lungs, and Holly Madison, a former Playboy Playmate / "close companion" of Hef, who also has a tremendous pair of enhanced lungs. Sadly, she dances like a pantomime cow - appropriate given the final udder-baring - and is like a cross between Gwen Stefani and Barbie. But the show itself was quite a spectacle and, let's face it, you have to see naked chest puppies in Vegas. It's a bylaw or something. If the show lost my interest at any point, at least I had recent memories of Italian food to keep me entertained.


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