Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vegas Vacation

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly; I am absolutely using a cliched title from A Vegas Vacation. In fact, if I may for a second here, digress into a completely useless tangent...

Why is Chevy Chase still making films? I really think his best career move was to pretend to play the trumpet in Paul Simon's video, "You Can Call Me Al" (see the proof here). I have enjoyed very few of his movies, owing mostly to the fact that I can't stand watching an actor (or actress) repeatedly hurt, mutilated, or mortified in the name of "comedy". And also, does anybody know if he named himself after the town or if he really was named Chevy Chase from birth?

Pardon me. That had nothing to do with being green or vegan, but I had to get it off my chest. Now, let me return to the point of this post...

There can be no debate as to the fact that I love to travel. I especially love visiting new places. I have never been to Vegas before, but last fall my good friend asked me to join her for a weekend away and, without a second thought, I said yes. So now here I am, two days away from an EPIC ADVENTURE. An adventure, to be sure, because after doing some major research the last few days, I've discovered that there are very few vegan, let alone vegan and gluten-free, options for me in the Sin City.


I've heard about Steve Wynn becoming a vegan and creating an edict wherein every one of his hotels must have vegan options available. That's great and all, of course, but for one small fact (well, two, really): his price tag is much larger than I'd ever expect or be willing to pay AND I'm pretty sure that, what with my food allergies and intolerances, I would be stuck with eating dry salad [read: lettuce] for every meal.

Including breakfast.

So, that leaves me with going grocery shopping once I arrive and/or bringing my own food with me. I don't have a problem with either option, and it does seem necessary in this case, but it take the wind out of my sails just a bit.

When I visited LA and Seattle last year (here, here, here, and here, respectively) I couldn't help but stumble over a vegan- and gluten-free-friendly restaurant every two feet or so. The words "vegan", "gluten-free", "raw" and "macrobiotic" are so commonplace in both cities that I almost felt, to completely fit in, that I had to classify myself as all four simultaneously. Apparently that will not be the case in Vegas. I might have better luck telling people I'm just "allergic to meat and dairy" or, better yet, I'm simply on a January detox and weight-loss cleanse.

Alas, I am really excited to explore a new city, but obviously, I am a bit concerned about the food aspect.  However, I have been assured by Google that there is at least one Whole Foods (a mere 2.7 miles from our hotel!) and health foods store in the city. So, for this trip, my normally lickerish self will have to set aside my usual standard for high-quality and -tasting food and just take what I can get.

And, if it just so happens to involve winning millions of dollars, well, I'm okay with that being an option as well.


Anonymous said...

For a vegan Las Vegas is like going behind carnivore enemy lines.
Having resided in Occupied Las Vegas for sometime I can confirm your suspicions about the dearth of vegan dining options. The Whole Foods you found on LV Blvd has lots of great vegan prepared foods and in the same shopping center the Yard House restaurant has a Gardein section on their menu. There is also a Yard House in the Red Rock Hotel casino which would make a nice lunch stop if you venture up to Red Rock Canyon.
Other than that the Vegas Vegan burger at the Mandalay Bay Burger Bar is mandatory. And, as you know, all the Wynn Hotel restaurants have vegan option menus available on request in fine print.

State law requires that all hotel casino restaurants be celebrity chef owned steak houses. The best dining experiences at those options is to eat appetizers and side dishes at the bar.

I know what you mean by other cities having lots of vegan options. Last week I was in LA and had great meals at the packed M Café and Real Food Daily restaurants. In Portland last October I had the best BBQ sandwich at Homegrown BBQ (I ordered a case of Soy Curls when we got back) and Greens in SF should get a Nobel prize.

Just my 2 cents, looking forward to your take on what’s left of Fabulous Las Vegas…

Good luck…
PS Chevy is his real name

Jennifer said...

Hi Geanna,

I've never been to Vegas mysefl but I just wanted to make sure you knew about I always use it to find veg-friendly restaurants when I travel. Good luck!


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