Grills & Guitars 2015

The kickoff event to Life is Beautiful was held at the SLS Foxtail Pool and the food was fantastic! Many of my faves were on hand to serve up some great food, but a few were noticeably absent . The cocktails by the liquor sponsors were varied and delish (I did not drink the tequila). And a good time was aimed for by all, but it wasn’t all good. Having chaired and worked several of these types of events, I know there is a lot that goes into them and a LOT that can go wrong. When it is an annual event in the same location like DISH or Taste of the Nation, there is always the opportunity to learn from mistakes and make it better the following year. While this event is annual, it is NOT in the same place every year, so new challenges arise with different staffing, planning teams and regulations based on the venue.┬áThe first time we attended G & G it was outdoors downtown, adjacent to the LIB grounds and it was phenomenal. Last year I missed out because I was out of town. This year John and I were both thinking it should return to downtown next year.

According to one of the staff members, the fire dept made them reconfigure the layout of the booths at the last minute and ALL of the grills, hot boxes, ovens, steamers and fryers were ALL in the same place, away from the stage for Spoon.┬áThe new layout caused huge bottle neck problems in traffic flow and while the event wasn’t oversold, it sure seemed like it trying to get through the throng of people. Incidentally the new layout also made it as hot as the gates of hell.

The Good

Echo & Rig's oyster display. The grilled Oysters were one of the best bites of the night!
Echo & Rig’s oyster display. The grilled Oysters were one of the best bites of the night!
  • Wide variety of food – not the “slider fest” of recent events – Best bites? Shawarma from Cleo and Grilled Oysters from Echo & Rig
  • Excellent cocktail selections
  • Great photo opps for attendees with some of their fave celeb chefs
  • Beautiful venue
    Chef Kim Canteenwalla in the back ground while one of the grillmasters shows off a Tomahawk Ribeye.
    Chef Kim Canteenwalla in the background while one of the grillmasters shows off a Tomahawk Ribeye.
    Ketel One had my fave drinks of the night, but there was a great Jack Daniels Peach offering as well
    Ketel One had my fave drinks of the night, but there was a great Jack Daniels Peach offering as well
    Chefs Hubert Keller and Laurent Pillard
    Chefs Hubert Keller and Laurent Pillard

     

The Bad

  • Ineffective door procedures. There was no Media Check-in set up when we arrived and once set up, I never saw anyone man that station. People were jumping into whichever line was moving faster (they had separate lines for GA tix holders and invited VIPs) and security wasn’t honoring the signage so people from the back of the line were getting in ahead of people who had patiently waited their turn. No clearly marked reentry area.
  • No smoking lounge – At every poolside event I have been to in this town there is a designated smoking area – even Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting. In order to vape or smoke you had to exit to the casino and wait in line all over again to get back in…because there was no clearly marked reentry
  • Hot as the gates of hell because all heating elements were in the same area and there was NO breeze at all. NO air circulation, nothing. Thank goodness I had my personal fan.
  • Only corporate beer was represented, no local or craft beer available. Dos Equis and Heineken were our only choices.

The Ugly

Poor customer service from the security and valet at the SLS.

The very first G & G we attended was a great value for the dollar. This one was a disappointment. Still I’d go back again next year, and every year after that.

And BTW – all these photos were taken with my Samsung Galaxy s6 – yes, really! To see all of the pics, go check out my FB page Good for Spooning.

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