It was my first event of Vegas Uncork’d, at a Daniel Boulud restaurant, so it was safe to say that I was excited. I grabbed my camera and my mic, armed and ready to capture some great soundbites in between undoubtedly better bites from an all-vegetarian lunch at db Brasserie in the Venetian.
I immediately saddled up to the bar to grab a mimosa (#vacationmode) and found myself next to none other than the host himself, Adam Rapoport, Editor in Chief of Bon Appetit magazine and Editorial Director of Epicurious. He’s been at the pub for the last six years, evolving the brand into a food-dominated editorial powerhouse. Prior to joining the Bon Appetit team, he served as GQ‘s Style Editor, so you can trust he knows where to eat and what to wear while doing so.
I complimented his graphic tee under a sharp blazer, which was a drawing of a ramen egg yolk as an anniversary commemoration of David Chang’s Momofuku empire. This was the perfect segway to talking brunch; I got the skinny from Adam on our favorite meal of the day from dogging on room service eggs to the perfect Amtrak morning cocktails.
So Vegas Uncorked is in its 10th year — can you tell us a little about the journey of the event, how it’s changed over the years?
I got involved during my first year as editor of Bon Appetit back in 2011, and what’s been fun about it is every year we’ve sort of tried to stick with what works, but also reinvent it a little bit each year and come up with events that challenge the chefs and get them excited. Like today, with Daniel Boulud, we’re doing this all-vegetable menu. It’s something that’s so timely right now.
What would you say makes the Las Vegas dining scene different from anywhere else in the world?
Well the Vegas dining scene is kind of like NBA All-Star Weekend. All the big names are here. You kind of have to be here. Whether that means David Chang over at Metropolitan or Momofuku or Daniel Boulud. There’s this whole constellation of big-name chefs, and they’re constantly bringing in new chefs. What I think is great about Vegas, unlike New York perhaps, is you can actually get a reservation. You can walk into a restaurant or just call a few days ahead and get a table. You don’t have to call a month ahead like in New York or San Francisco and settle for a 5:30 p.m. table. There are so many great restaurants here, and there are enough tables and enough space. You can really eat your way around the world.
So my next question was going to be are you team Bloody Mary or mimosa, but it looks like you’re enjoying a Bloody Mary, so is that a correct assumption?
Well that’s a good question. Normally I’m actually a mimosa guy. Actually, I don’t know. It depends. If I’m on the Amtrak going back to D.C. to visit friends, you always get the Mr. and Mrs. T Bloody Mary situation or on a plane, although I do like a mimosa on a bright, sunny day [when] you want something not too stiff, but a little something to get you going, but it’s got to be good orange juice. That’s imperative.
Nothing’s worse than a mimosa with bad orange juice.
No. You can’t do that. You need good orange juice, but you don’t need fancy champagne. Like prosecco is fine. It’s got to be really cold.
What’s your favorite brunch dish?
My favorite brunch dish? Well I’ve got a few. I’m really particular about my eggs. That’s the thing. I don’t normally trust other people to make my eggs. When it comes to scrambled eggs, I like them really soft and custardy and well seasoned. A lot of times when you go to brunch places, by the time the eggs hit the table, they’re kind of rubbery or like they’ve been under the heat lamp too long. Then I want to send them back, but it’s like why would I send them back because they’re just going to come back the same. I can keep going on about scrambled eggs if you want.
Don’t get me started on room service scrambled eggs. They will never season your eggs. They’ll season everything else they send you, but they’ll never put salt in the eggs, and that drives me bonkers. So I like scrambled eggs, and I also like when you go to places like your Frenchy Balthazar places where you have the two little soft-boiled eggs in a cup with the soldiers. I dig that.
One of the first dishes that I learned to make at home was the big sort of Swedish pancake, German pancake, that gets all puffed up on the sides with powered sugar and lemon juice and stuff. I love that. Bacon, obviously. I can keep going for a while now. Poached eggs, ehh. Eggs can be the best things or they can be the worst depending on who makes them. Pancakes I don’t really need. You have two bites, and it’s like, OK I get it, unless they’re really crispy and fried in butter and crispy on the edges. I like that. French toast, yeah, I dig French toast. I make a really good omelet. I could keep going. I have opinions.
I love your passion for brunch. It’s reciprocated on our end.
But I’m not done yet. Going out to brunch I have issues. I’m at that age where I’m not going to wait in line for brunch. If I’m tired and hungover, I need to go to a place where I can actually make a reservation. I’m fine with that, but I can’t wait in line and be apologizing to the waitress for [asking] for hot sauce, like, “Excuse me, can I get that hot sauce that I asked for 10 minutes ago?” Or like, “I wanted whole milk with my coffee, can you get that?” And then 20 minutes later they don’t bring it. I either like to make brunch at home or reserve tables.
I was just going to say, you seem like a brunch-at-home type guy. I know you obviously have some history in D.C. and New York, which are two of our Bitches Who Brunch cities, so do you have a favorite brunch spot if you’re going to go out in each of those cities?
Well in New York, speaking of booking a table, I took my mom and my wife last Mother’s Day, which is always a questionable move, to Reynard at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. That’s nice because the food’s always on point. There’s big windows that let in a ton of light, which is really important at brunch I think. And they take reservations, so we were able to secure a table.
D.C., I don’t know if I can speak to D.C. because I’m typically [brunching] at home in D.C. either at a friend’s or when my parents still used to live there. It was always sort of like brunching at home. I feel like I would not be able to give a highly informed take on D.C. brunch. I’m going to plead the fifth on that one.