The world’s top DJs always tell me how much they love Vegas. But all year, I have prodded them with this question:
Is anything missing in Vegas – something international DJs get in their home countries but not here?
Their answers almost invariably involve chow.
“One thing you don’t really seem to have is good Indian food,” says English superstar Gareth Emery, who performs Sunday at Marquee nightclub in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“We have a massive Indian population in the U.K. We’ve got amazing Indian restaurants. And that’s one cuisine I never get in the U.S.”
On the other hand, Emery says he enjoys more food here than in the U.K. In fact, he wants England to get on the frozen yogurt bandwagon.
“There’s only one or two (good fozen yogurt places) in the country. The whole yogurt thing hasn’t really taken off in the U.K., I guess.”
Coincidentally, English DJ Rusko also talked Indian food with me. But he’s living in Southern California now, and he has found “a couple of decent Indian places” after years of eating crappy curry.
What Rusko misses most in America is something called “squash,” a sort of fruit juice/Kool-Aid thing.
“I miss that a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot!” Rusko says.
Rusko isn’t keen on American bacon, either.
“English bacon has a helluva lot more pork in it. American bacon is kind of like fat, which is very nice, I do like pork fat,” he says.
“But English bacon is thicker and tastes a bit more like ham,” he says. “And we don’t cook it hard, either. Breakfast bacon here is always rock- hard. I don’t get that. I don’t want it to be crunchy. I want it to be hammy!”
But Rusko also misses American things when he returns to England, especially ranch dressing.
“There’s not even kind of like a creamy alternative” in England, Rusko says.
“There’s mayonnaise, and that’s it! There’s not even anything close, like a herb cream dressing.”
What’s so great about ranch?
“It’s lovely. You can take a whole sandwich and just dip it into a pot. You don’t even put it in your sandwich. Just dip the whole sandwich into a big pot of ranch! You’re making me hungry now!
“When I go to England for a three-week tour, by the end of week one, I want a Mountain Dew and ranch dressing. That’s just like crack.”
Not every DJ who comes to Vegas is from overseas, of course. But they may still get their special dietary needs filled here.
American Audrey Napoleon says restaurants at the Wynn Las Vegas-Encore hotels, where she has performed, have suited her dietary restrictions in “incredible” and “fantastic” ways.
“We ate at Botero (in the Wynn). I told the waiter, ‘I’m gluten-free and dairy-free, and I’m allergic to shellfish. I’m allergic to all these weird things!’
“And he brings over a menu that has all the dairy-free choices, all the gluten-free choices. The menu is specifically designed for allergies.”
It comforted her to know she wouldn’t accidentally get sick in a restaurant here and end up in the hospital.
So there you go. Of all the DJs I’ve asked this question (“How can Vegas improve?”), the scant suggestions they give me is for hammier bacon, a fruit juice and more Indian food.
Oh, and Italian DJ-producer Benny Benassi (who plays Dec. 31 at Marquee), needs someone to recommend a good cycling shop.
“I’ve been cycling since I was a kid, so when I’m not touring, a fixed gear would be great for an early morning ride in the city!”
Contact Doug Elfman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.