Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Vegan in Vegas, Day 1

Ahhh, Vegas. The second City that Never Sleeps, completely man-made and full of debaucherous activity.

Sounds just like my home in Portland!

Just kidding, housemates.

But really, my Vegas adventure turned out to be just that. Nothing like traveling with a hoard of 22-year-old girls to lead you into finding trouble faster than you can say "I fold". I will now regale you with the tales of my three-night trip to Sin City, broken down by day...

A Vegan in Vegas, Day 1

First of all, because I didn't think I would be able to find much to eat, I brought a good amount of food with me. I thought, erroneously, that I would have a microwave available to me in the hotel, so I included items that needed heating, like oatmeal and Tasty Bite Indian dishes. Disappointingly, hotels in Vegas don't offer such creature comforts as microwaves and/or fridges (at least not without a high cost), so I had to stick with my fruit and granola bars.

I absolutely fell in love with those Enjoy Life! chewy bars (top left); I ate most of them in the first twenty-four hours!

The five of us (me, my good friend M, her cousin C, and C's two friends L and E) all arrived at the Las Vegas airport separately. As M and I were the first to get there, we immediately and quite literally ran outside to enjoy the sunshine (for those of you living in the cold and rainy NW, you'll appreciate the 65+ degrees and sunny weather we enjoyed during the entire trip).

yes! Vegas likes books, too! (this sign was in the airport)

Right off the bat, I knew Vegas was different. Slot machines greeted us as we de-planed, and, as we sat outside, smokers only barely hid the vans advertising "Hot Women to You". Inside the airport, I felt like I was walking through a commercial, with humongous talking ads blaring down at me about such-and-such Cirque show, Cher's final concerts (seriously? isn't this her fifth time performing her "final shows"?), or Seinfeld's one night in Vegas (not until May, we checked).

Once we joined forces with the other girls, we taxied to our hotel, quickly unpacked and walked onto the Strip.

our hotel, the Monte Carlo (sorry about the unflattering picture, C and E!)

The first two nights we stayed at the Monte Carlo, located on the south end, between New York New York and the brand-new City Center complex. On our first night, the bars were packed due to some sports game, so we traipsed down to the Nine Fine Irishmen inside New York New York, where I got my first taste (haha) of Vegas food.

To say there was nothing on the menu for me is a bit of an overstatement as, with any shred of imagination, I could make things work. Prices in Vegas are high and, like most anywhere else, restaurants there don't discount your meal when you omit items. I ordered a $5 side of sauteed peas, requesting they be prepared in oil instead of butter. That wasn't received particularly well by the waitress, but I was hungry enough that I didn't really care.

a large portion of peas, sauteed in oil, not butter!

We walked a bit more on the Strip, but we were tired from a day of traveling, so we went back to the hotel to watch (fittingly) The Hangover.

I left at this point to meet up with a former college roommate who now lives in Vegas. She picked me up, and after grabbing her husband, we drove through the actual city of Las Vegas before stopping to dine at a lovely Mediterranean restaurant called Khoury's. Located in a strip mall, the outside didn't look like much, but after ordering and taking our first bites, I was relieved to find the dishes flavorful and delicious.

We ordered the Mini-House Mezza to share, then each of us ordered a separate dish for ourselves. The mezza plate came with many items I could enjoy (among them were hummus, baba ganoush, loubieh, and vegetarian grape leaves), and the waitress even brought out a plate of tomatoes and cucumbers for me to use as scooping utensils. I selected the garbanzo bean salad, which was really light and fresh, and the perfect accompaniment to the rest of my meal.

what I could eat from the mini-house mezza plate

my delicious garbanzo bean salad

Satiated and caught up on the last four years of our lives, my friends and I drove back to the Strip, where I met up with the girls.

the view from our room; we were on the 10th floor and faced south

That night was fun, but I was reminded that 1) I am NOT a 22-year-old anymore and 2) I am so used to traveling alone that it's difficult to get excited about the rest of a group's activities. Sometime around 1:30 a.m., I extricated myself from the group and returned to the room, where I fell fast asleep.

Stay tuned for Day 2...


Menoichius said...

Nice! Hope you enjoy the rest of the trip... if you see M&L again, tell them hi for me.

Chelsea said...

I'm actually headed to Vegas for a 2nd time in a couple weeks. I know Steve Wynn is now a vegan so the restaurants at both the Wynn & Encore offer vegan menus (for the most part I think). Looking forward to hearing more.


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