What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Atlantic City gets blabbed about everywhere!
Last weekend, we hit America’s Playground with photojournalist Gerry Visco, Passport magazine’s Joe Pedro and Ryan Zeek and other gay-press hoi polloi to take part in Out in AC, Caesars Entertainment’s third annual LGBT weekend.
A little rain—okay, a biblical deluge—didn’t keep us from hitting the Shore. Fortunately most of AC’s delights are indoors, so we were barely cognizant of the weather once we scurried into Harrah’s Resort. After decamping in our well-pointed room in the Water Tower, we shuffled over to Showboat and the House of Blues’ VIP Foundation Room, which had been commandeered by Food Network’s gay gourmands, The Hearty Boys, Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh.
The event was declared “Restaurant Invasion,” so instead of HoB’s typical menu, we were served comfort faves with a spin from Dan and Steve’s Chicago eatery, Hearty. They’ve been a couple for 15 years, and even brought their 6-year-old son along on the trip. (Though a Harrah’s babysitter was watching him for the evening.)
As we gorged on beef-a-roni (actually braised short ribs with spaetzle, roasted butternut squash, tomato and fried onion), Dan explained their culinary philosophy. “Running a restaurant isn’t just about making a great plate of food, he said. “It’s about starting a conversation. So even if your mom made the worst beef-a-roni, its something that takes you back. ” Working our way through several courses, we barely had room for dessert—apple crumb with a glazed bacon-slice garnish—but we persevered. (It’s a hard life.)
Looking to work off some of the calories we just packed on, our little troupe cabbed it down to Resorts to check out Prohibition, the first full-time gay club in an Atlantic City casino. Though the club was clearly queer—we were greeted at the door by a George Clinton-looking queen in five-foot stilts—Prohibition welcomed a pleasant mix of orientations and ages (and ample balconies for when you needed a breather). We spied more than a few casino workers workin’ it on the dance floor.
After a night of great food, free-flowing hooch and dirty dancing, it was time for some shuteye.