Brave New World
I did a crazy thing this past May.
Unbeknownst to many of our friends and family, my wife I decided to purchase a house in Las Vegas—our home away from home (now literally the case). It didn't take us long to find exactly what we were looking for. We'd been keeping our eye on a few places, pondering endlessly the idea of purchasing real estate elsewhere, before finally pulling the trigger on a vacation home once the market began showing early signs of rebirth. From now on I will rent and work in the Bay Area, but vacation and own in the Nevada desert. We're a short drive from Red Rock Canyon, and I can see the peaks of the mountains from my front window. There's more space in our garage than in our San Mateo living room, dining room, and kitchen put together. Our Vegas mortgage is less than half of our Bay Area rent. But it wasn't the economy that ultimately led us here. It was a necessary lifestyle decision.
I won't get into the boring personal details as to why we chose Vegas. It's not for everyone. However, there's a lot more to do here than gamble and drink yourself silly. Over the past decade and a half, Sin City has quietly become—in our opinion—the food and shopping capital of the United States. As a couple that spends a decent amount of time in New York, we've noticed some of our favorite East Coast establishments opening sister locations on the strip—from Momofuku, to the Milk Bar, to Serendipity. But there's an entire world off the strip as well that remains off the radar of the bachelor party scene, or overnight business traveler. There's still a level of kitsch in Las Vegas. Nothing's too cool for school out here. People aren't afraid to be polite or outgoing and everything just moves at a much easier speed. While most of downtown has been reinvented, there's still room for the past if you move deeper into the outer canyons and crevasses—like talking cowboy automatons from the 1970s and thematic diners that don't know the meaning of gluten free. I love that.
There are many things about Las Vegas that have surprised us over the years, and as we've spent time furnishing our house and learning more about the area off the strip, we've fallen even deeper under its spell. For example: did you know that Vegas is a total pizza town? No joke. There are some seriously great spots just within a mile or two of our new house, one with duel ovens cooking at different temperatures in order to create both a Neopolitan and Roman style of pie. I can even get a Last Word cocktail with my Margarita and it's mixed perfectly with all the ingredients in balance. I think Bay Area residents often expect to find sub-par food and drinks when they leave the area, but to be honest many of the places we eat at in Vegas outshine most of the cuisine we eat back home. Yet, for some reason a beautiful house here costs less than a studio apartment in Livermore. I don't understand it, but I'm not complaining!
Worry not though, K&L spirits fans. I'm not going anywhere. But I do plan on giving you a sneak peak of life outside the bubble in an upcoming series of Vegas diaries as I move back and forth between two worlds.
Now, back to my patio and cold beverage.