vegansaurus!

05/24/2012

Vegan Roadtrip: Vegas, take two!  »

In under one year I’ve been to Vegas twice! And I don’t even gamble (unless we’re talking about the guys I date, but we’ll save that for another time). I went with another femme fatale you may have heard of—Sarah M. Smart, anyone? Sarah was in Vegas for work, plus it was her birthday weekend, so this whirlwind vacay was taken with our friends Brent and Britney. Party time! Sarah and I often get asked how we have solidified such a strong, vegan friendship and we’re like, “Trips to Vegas, Katy Perry, and a mutual affection for cake vodka!” That’s how it’s done.

imageUnfortunately, I was a little under the weather for this trip, which meant more poolside lounging and eating, as opposed to a little something I like to call “elegant debauchery.” Poor me, right? Poor, hot-tub soaking me.

I like to stay at the Hooters Hotel and Casino, which boasts three pools and two hot tubs! Don’t forget, they have a sandwich that can be made vegan and eaten poolside, the Sassy San Franciscan!

Now, let’s get to the food! In terms of eating, Vegas has got it going on, if only for a little (entirely vegan) place called Pura Vida. Pura Vida is located in downtown Vegas, which is few miles off the strip. It’s like a part of Vegas only the locals know! And now ME!

imageThe brunch I had at Pura Vida was one of the best vegan meals I have ever had. Chef Mayra is creative, brilliant, and quite the spitfire! It may sound as though I’m exaggerating with my whole “It was the BEST,” but I sent my vegan friend and co-worker, Nate, there a few weeks later when he went to Vegas and guess what: He said the same thing, and also that chef Mayra remembered me! How sweet. Next time you go to Vegas, make Pura Vida your first priority! (Maybe go to Vegas just to eat there?) And make sure you talk to the chef, she will brighten your day!

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Brent ordered the empandas for an appetizers and they were delicious! I especially liked that they were very light and not greasy. I can’t find them on the online menu, and also cannot remember what they were filled with! Oops. However, everyone at the table agreed they were tasty and that the chutney they came with was superb! Look how vibrant the colors are!

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I am going to Vegas again, hopefully in the very near future, to chow down on this baby: the Latin’tude breakfast burrito. It changed my life. Look at all those colors! So fresh! So beautiful! I might go back to Vegas and ask it marry me; I mean, when in Sin City, right? Another note on chef Mayra’s food—it’s organic, and she has many gluten-free options available. Now go!

Sarah, Britney, Brent, and I also hit up the Cheesecake Factory in Caesar’s Palace. (Please don’t tell anyone I made them go to Kardashian Khaos in the Mirage afterward, okay? Like, for an unsatisfying dessert.) I’m okay with eating at the Cheesecake Factory, because they have this cocktail called the Asian Pear Martini that I just adore! Plus, they have this new Skinnylicious menu, with many vegan or easy-to-veganize options.
I like to get the beets with goat cheese salad, minus the goat cheese. It is still very satisfying, with beets, arugula, pecans, apples and a vinaigrette dressing!
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I also like to get the mushroom lettuce wraps! They come with shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, water chestnuts and green onions, all sauteed in a light soy dressing. They are very refreshing, especially wrapped in the crisp, lettuce leaves.

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Lettuce taco, coming atcha!

Another place the four of us went that is worth mentioning is Red 8 in the Wynn hotel. It is an Asian Fusion bistro, with many vegan options, including vegan dim sum! How exciting!

We ordered dim sum, which I sadly do not have a picture of. I also cannot find their dim sum menu online, but I will say that the jade dumplings feature another love of my life, spinach!

Britney and I split the Gardein cashew Chick’n, celery, mushroom, and ginger entree, as well as the tofu and shiitake. So delicious! Now that I’ve broken the bank at both of the vegan restaurants I wanted to at the Wynn, I don’t feel the need to go back in the near future—unless of course my future sugar daddy is paying.
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Chick’n, cashew, celery, mushrooms, and ginger plate!

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Tofu and shiitake plate!

I know there are tons of places I didn’t get to in this last trip, but I will eventually. I can’t wait to get back to Vegas! It is my vegan haven!

10/11/2011

Vegan Roadtrip: Las Vegas!  »


Hey everyone! Two weeks ago I went to Sin City and OMG. Even though the idea of Las Vegas depresses me (casinos in the middle of the desert, half-naked girls dancing, gambling addictions) I always end up having a blast! Probably because I’m like, the most fun person I know.

Everyone keeps asking me what I possibly could have eaten there. I’m like, guys, it’s super easy to be vegan in Vegas when you subsist on margaritas and Bud Light for 2.5 days. In the (paraphrased) words of my idol, Chelsea Handler, “I prefer to be on a liquid diet on my vacations.” Half-kidding! I had at least three meals.

The first night was not about eating: I ate before I left, knowing I would not be up for finding vegan food at 9 p.m. in Vegas. I did buy some vegan Power Bar-type thing and wasabi edamame in the airport, ‘cause I like eating while doing everything, especially waiting to board a plane. The Southwest terminal at SFO is not nearly as exciting or vegan-friendly as the Virgin America terminal.

The next day began with a Bud Light (seriously, I’ve never had so much Bud Light in my life. I can’t bear to look at another bottle right now) and then lunch at Chipotle!


My standard, a veggie burrito bowl: black beans, fajita veggies, NO RICE, both tomato and corn salsa, guacamole, and lettuce.

Dessert came in the form of a margarita at a bar stand outside of Caesar’s Palace. Now, normally I don’t drink margaritas because of the sugar in the mixes, but the people at this little tent-bar made theirs with lime juice, AGAVE NECTAR, tequila and Cointreau. Delicious! So worth the $12.

I know you are all wondering, DID SHE HIT UP LA CAVE? Of course. The second I made my plane reservation I knew I’d be eating there. After many hours and many Bud Lights (did I mention we stayed at Hooters Hotel and Casino? $30 rooms and $1.50 Bud Lights. SCORE.) I put on one of the 30 dresses I brought for my three-night stay and headed to the Wynn with my roommates.


Waterfall at Hooters. The pool and the hot tub are open 24/7! Drinking in them is totally acceptable. Even spilling a shot of tequila in the hot tub is fine!

Walking into La Cave, I felt like a vegan Kardashian. It’s so fancy! Now, one thing I didn’t know about the place is that it’s small plates/tapas-style. I did get a dirty look from one of my roommates (“I’m paying $15 for tapas?!”) but once we got our food, everyone was stoked/the evil stares dissipated.

The most important section of the menu.


Gardien Chick’n, Celery Root Puree, Lemon Caper Sauce
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Mushroom Tortellini, Arugula, Tomato “Cream” Sauce.

You guys, go to Vegas just to eat at La Cave. Though I have to warn you, being fancy does not come cheap.

After some more Vegas shenanigans (Old Vegas is super fun. It’s like being in an episode of Mad Men; the casinos are so retro), we ended up back at Hooters. You know, because it’s where we were staying. The boys wanted wings (so gross boys, SO GROSS) and luckily for me, there was totally a sandwich I could veganize on the Mad Onion menu: the “Sassy San Franciscan.”

Take out the cheese and mayo, sub mustard on this veggie sammie, please and thank you!

On our final day, I simply could not be bothered to leave the pool, so I ordered the sandwich AGAIN! There were plans to go to Ronald’s Donuts, but in the end, pool > donuts. I know, you guys are all “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU,” but the thing is, I didn’t eat donuts before I was vegan and I’m not going out of my way to eat them now. Sorry I’m not sorry!

That’s all the vegan-ing I did in Vegas. I know there’s a lot of places I missed (drinking Bud Light all day really kills motivation) so let me know what to hit up next time! Because even though I don’t think I get Vegas, for some reason I always miss it when I leave. I’m already itching to go back. Sin City, I might love you.

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