Vegas Vegan, Baby!
Irving and I just got back from a wonderful long weekend away in Vegas to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, while David stayed with Grandma and Grandpa (Thank you!!!). I was really excited to go, as it has been 3 years since our last trip there, but wondered a bit about the food situation. Last time we were there I wasn’t vegetarian, much less vegan—Vegas has such a reputation for over the top, gluttonous, rich food, and most often vegan doesn’t fit in that category. However, I did a little bit of homework before hand and discovered that Steve Wynn, owner of the Wynn and Encore resorts in Vegas, is vegan, and he requires all of his restaurants to have vegan menus. I was so excited—a fancy vegan dinner for our anniversary! I also went back to some of my old favorites like the gelato shop at the Bellagio, and Diego’s at the MGM. I had way more to eat than I ever should have—I certainly did not go hungry on our trip! In fact, the scale was not my friend when I returned home so that shows you that it is flat out easy to indulge on delicious vegan food in Vegas!
Here’s a look at what I enjoyed:
Our first stop, literally an hour off the plane, was at Diego’s in the MGM, where we were met by our good friends John and Myra. I think this was probably the best dinner I ate the whole weekend. I had veggie enchiladas smothered in tomatillo salsa with rice and black beans—why is it that the best tasting black beans are always the least attractive? I also enjoyed a prickly pear margarita—yum! I love the extra touch on the radish garnish—if only my knife skills were so good!
I threw a couple Lara bars in my bag before we left for our trip. I hate spending money on breakfast, and realistically, in Vegas, you aren’t heading out super early anyway, so I wanted something to snack on while I was still in my room. These Lara bars are great—I love that they make it so obvious that they are vegan! and that they have such few ingredients. I could definitely make something like this at home, but it is so convenient to have them prepackaged for a trip!
On Saturday we stopped by Holsteins, a burger joint in the new Cosmopolitan Hotel. I did a quick scan of the menu and as soon as I saw the word vegan we asked for a table! While the specialize in burgers and shakes, they had an Urth burger which looked to be based on garbanzos, and was completely vegan. With a side of fries and a cold beer I was a happy girl! And even better, my non-vegan dining companions were all able to get what they wanted too—I love when we can all get what we want! I did find the mural across from me to be funny—at least a good step in awareness!
After spending the rest of the day walking…and walking…and walking we got all decked out for our anniversary dinner at the SW Steakhouse at the Wynn Casino. I was excited to see a whole page dedicated to 5 star vegan options! I started my meal with a quinoa farro salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, sprouts, and a red wine vinaigrette. It was so delicious, and I loved the way it was presented. For my entree, I finally decided on the vegan meatballs on a bed of creamy polenta which tasted so much like their meat counterparts. They were really yummy. (That garnish is a fried basil leaf—it was almost translucent—beautiful!) And for dessert I had a black forrest chocolate cake, with “Happy Anniversary” written in chocolate on the plate! I thought that was fun because at our wedding reception our cake plates had “Congratulations” written in chocolate on them!
On Sunday morning we headed back to the Wynn to check out the buffet. The buffet is a quintessential Vegas experience. I did a quick walk through, hoping to see a vegan section. I didn’t see anything super obvious so I asked one of the servers. She asked me to wait for a minute and came back with a man who gave me a tour of the entire buffet, telling me about different vegan options. Some were labeled vegan, others could be altered just a bit for me to be vegan. I could get a personal pizza, sushi made to order, and many of the other dishes with one topping left off. It was actually pretty overwhelming! I ended up with a ridiculously huge spread—I definitely served myself with my eyes! I had several crostinis with a variety of spreads, spring rolls, sushi, fried rice and tofu made to order, roasted potatoes, and a yummy salad. And for dessert—yes, there’s more—I had the best coconut tapioca pudding with passion fruit jelly on top. I’ll be trying to recreate that one tonight! So good!
We were so stuffed from the buffet so we spent most of Sunday afternoon walking. Towards the end of the afternoon, on our way back to our hotel, we stopped at the Belaggio for some gelato. We have been to Vegas 5 or 6 times together, and every trip has included a stop here. We each had a combo of berry and mango sorbet. So refreshing, and the perfect light snack to hold us over until our late night dinner.
Late that night we decided to do a simpler (and less expensive!) dinner at Maggianos. It was right across the street from the club we were going to later that night so it worked out well. Our server was very understanding when I told him that I was vegan and quickly shared some ideas for what I might like to order. I kept it simple with bruschetta to share, a salad, and angel hair pasta with marinara with olives and capers.
We finished off our trip at my new favorite club spot in Vegas—the XS Nightclub at the Wynn. It was so beautiful inside, and we had a great night with our friends. I loved this trip to Vegas, and it was so nice to step out of my mommy role for a few days, but by the time we were heading back I was really excited to see our little buddy! Irving turned around 7 hours later for another business trip, but David and I are enjoying a slow week of Christmas decorations and home cooked, easy meals.
I hope that this helps you to feel more confident about your next travel experience—I find that restaurants are really happy to help you if they understand what you are asking for. Some restaurants are going to be much more conducive to vegan eating, so do your research ahead of time. Remember to be polite, rather than demanding, and people will be much more receptive. Don’t panic if you discover you had bread with dairy in it, or something like that, just do you best. Remember that you are trying to make the best and kindest choice in your foods!