After a morning filled with premium cigars and educational seminars, the Big Smoke seminar attendees certainly earned the right to a hearty lunch. But before they could dig into their meals, Janelle Rosenfeld, vice president of marketing for lunch sponsor Altadis USA Inc., took to the podium at the front of the ballroom with a simple request.
"If you all could please put on the Monteristo hats from the tote bags we gave you at the door," Rosenfeld said, "I'd like to take a picture for Facebook. I mean, how often does one get the chance to do something like this?"
The room was a bit lethargic fulfilling Rosenfeld's request, which prompted her to joke, "And if you don't do it, you don't eat." Suddenly, all 500 diners donned their free black ball-caps. Rosenfeld snapped her photo, and the lunch portion of the 18th annual Big Smoke Las Vegas Weekend was under way.
Due to Nevada state law (food and smoking are not allowed in the same room), lunch was held in a different ballroom just down the hallway from the main seminar space. As Big Smoke guests filed into the room that was dotted with round, white-cloth covered dining tables, each one received a Montecristo branded tote bag. Inside was the aforementioned ball-cap, some literature offering tips on enjoying a premium cigar, and the new for 2013 Monte by Montecristo.
The cigar, a bold smoke with a double binder and dark wrapper that debuted in August, was the 6 inch by 60 ring gauge format also called Monte. Like the Romeo by Romeo and Julieta, which was presented earlier by Altadis general manager Javier Estades and vice president of tobacco Larry Palombo the Monte by Montecristo is another example of a classic brand that Altadis has reinvigorated with a new blend and sleek packaging.
Starting the meal was a classic wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with croutons, shaved asiago cheese, and drizzled with chipotle caesar salad dressing. Next came the main course, a grilled steak flanked by seasonal vegetables and a lovely baked potato smothered in cheddar cheese and topped with bacon. Servers poured a pleasant Sledgehammer El Gaucho 2012 malbec that paired well with the beef. For dessert, coffee and tea were served along with a chocolate lava cake.
Many diners hung out in the ballroom talking and laughing before they headed out to get ready for a night out in Las Vegas, or, for some, the Saturday night Big Smoke Evening session.