Being vegan in Las Vegas

Just a few days ago I returned from a whirlwind vacation in the infamous Las Vegas, where my good friends Robin and Amelia got hitched! I was super excited about this trip, as it meant spending some quality time with a big group of amazing people. But let’s face it: Vegas is not cheap. I’m not the type of person to go all out and spend loads of money on fancy food and poolside drinks, but this was a special occasion and I wanted to have a good time. No money worries for this lady—at least for a few days.

Inside Society Cafe at Encore

We spent several days there to enjoy the warmth and shining spectacle that is LV. I was a little nervous about being able to find vegan options in such a meat-centric city—I lost count of how many signs I saw for “Booze, Beef and Boobs”—but I can certainly say that I didn’t go hungry. All the restaurants we visited were very accommodating, and I was particularly excited about the restaurants in the Wynn and Encore. The hotels’ owner, Steve Wynn (who is, quite possibly, the world’s richest vegan) turned to a plant-based diet in 2010 and, with the help of chef Tal Ronnen, created separate vegan menus at each and every restaurant inside his hotels.

I’m going to tell you a little about my restaurant adventures here, but please excuse the poor quality photos! They were taken with my iPhone in low light.

Society Cafe’s dinner menu

On Friday night, while the rest of the group went off to dine on homemade pasta, my hubby and I snuck away for a romantic meal at Society Cafe, located inside the Encore. The menu options, service and atmosphere were splendid. I’d say it was my favourite meal of the whole trip.

Hubby chose the Orecchiette Pasta, which he devoured along with a gluten-free beer. I chose the Society Vegetable Tasting along with a glass of sparkling wine. It was incredible. The red and white quinoa was cooked with a light dose of citrus and herbs and the grilled artichoke was crisp and chewy. I could not place what the cheesy sauce was made of, but it was delicious nonetheless.

The wedding day dinner was spent at Roy’s, which specialized in “Hawaiian fusion cuisine.”  But let’s back track for minute—the wedding a few hours earlier was gorgeous and fun and fit Robin and Amelia’s personalities so perfectly.  The bride wore a true vintage wedding dress, the music was amazing (theme songs from Skyrim, anyone?), and the weather was perfect. After a short outdoor ceremony and photos, we all went back to the hotel to freshen up and hit happy hour at the hotel pub, before the dinner reservation at Roy’s.

The meal was a set menu in a private room, and luckily the amazing Amelia had already pre-arranged a vegan meal for the cool people in the crowd, which included me, my hubby, and friends Jessica and Corey. I was very impressed by the chef’s creativity. Our starters included veggie sushi and a beautifully plated salad with candied pecans. The main entree was a large slice of tofu in a deliciously spiced sauce, homemade salsa, herbed rice and steamed bok choy. While the rest of the group enjoyed slices of the bright blue wedding cake (complete with a My Little Pony cake topper) for dessert, we got our own vegan peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes along with fruit sorbet. The entire experience did not disappoint. (By the end, my dress felt a little tight!)

The following day, hubby and I visited Tableau inside the Wynn for a midday meal. I wasn’t very hungry so I just ordered some steamed veggies, but hubby got the Wynn cheese burger, fries with homemade ketchup, and a chocolate shake (all vegan, and all for only $9!). He said it was one of the best fast food burgers he’s ever had (I believe the patty is Gardein).

The last night’s meal was spent at Lotus of Siam, which I’ve been told is one of the best Thai restaurants in America. Despite its unusual location in a non-descript strip mall, the authentic food at Lotus of Siam has garnered attention from countless national media outlets. The extensive menu includes lots of classic curries and noodle dishes, but unfortunately the majority of them rely heavily on meat and fish. I felt slightly uncomfortable with the amount of fried animals my friends ordered, but thankfully the server was very friendly and offered to recreate a dish for me. I ended up with a Chow Mein of sorts, with stir-fried vegetables and tofu in a soy-based sauce.

Overall, it was an incredible vacation. We traveled home on Monday, the same day as the tragedy in Boston, and my heart ached as I watched the news on the airport TVs. It was particularly hard to hear about such harm and violence after spending my days laughing and having a good time. It’s so hard to make sense of it all, but one thing is for sure: it makes me even more grateful for the healthy, happy life I lead every day.

If you want to read more about vegan options in Vegas, my friend MeShell also recently traveled there and has written a travel series on her blog.



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