Had a spectacular dinner with my wife Robin last night at one of the swankiest (and priciest) restaurants in the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas last night. The food was outstanding (one of the top ten I can remember, and we eat out at a lot of great restaurants on travel and in DC).
The restaurant was Aureole, and one of their unique features was the four story high, four sided tower of wine that dominates the center of the restaurant. In order to get your bottle of wine, the wine steward, wearing caribiners, hooks into cables and gets hoisted up to wherever in the stack the bottle may reside.
That in itself was pretty cool, along with the great food, but what was interesting was how they manage presenting their extensive (and frequently changing) selection of wines to the customer. The wine list was brought to us as a Tablet PC running an internal web app that you could use to browse the hundreds of choices of wine, and even get additional background information on any that you are interested in. It had a bookmarking feature so that you could select any that you might be interested in as you browse the entire collection, then review your short list to make your final selection. You did all this with simple point and click with the pen.
My first thought, being a smart client zealot, was that they should have made it a smart client application. But the fact was that it was truly just a browsing app, and used a lot of graphics and animation to enhance the experience that would have been more difficult to achieve in a WinForms app.
I was just happy to see yet another powerful user experience enhanced by tablets and technology.
And the wine and food rocked.