Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vegan Las Vegas!

I spent last weekend in Las Vegas. The Sahara, Mikey's favorite casino, closed Monday and he wanted to see it one last time before it did. I think perhaps one of the reasons it closed was the lack of vegan food. There was a NASCAR cafe, a bar and a steakhouse. Think about it.
Anyway, before we got to Las Vegas, we stopped at the Mad Greek Cafe in Baker, California. I love Greek food and I had always wanted to try this place. Unfortunately, they did not have a huge selection of vegan food. This might be due to the fact the restaurant caters to truckers. They did have hummus and pita, so we got the and hit the road.

This was the saltiest hummus I have ever had in my life. I tried eating it with the chips I had in the car and it was an overload of salt. Even with the pita, it was pretty salty. As hummus goes, it was so-so. There could have been more of a garlicky or lemony flavor to it.
By the time we got to Vegas and got dressed in non-traveling clothes, it was time for dinner, so I immediately headed to the Wynn (after a stop at the Sahara, the first of four). The first restaurant I saw when I walked in was Pizza Place. I wanted to eat there immediately, but Mike insisted we look around. I'm really happy Steve Wynn is vegan and makes a separate vegan menu for everything, but man that place is expensive. Forty bucks for the buffet! And that's on the cheaper end of most restaurants. Steve, buddy, a lot of us vegans are poor, could you please cut us a break?
So we went back to Pizza Place, hoping it would be slightly cheaper. I ordered a vegan cheese pizza with olives, mushrooms, and pepperoncinis on top. We also got a side of vegan bread knots (not garlic knots because that involves butter).

They use Teese on their pizza. I had never had teese before, but I loved it. I like it way better than Daiya. Mikey said he liked Daiya better, however. The olives were sliced Greek olives and the mushrooms had been sauteed and seasoned. I also loved whatever tomato sauce they used on it. It was truly one of the best pizzas I've ever had.

Later, we got off the monorail at Harrah's and walked past a place called Ice Pan that caught my eye because they advertised that any ice cream flavor could be made vegan with soymilk. The deal with Ice Pan is that have mix different flavor bases with your choice of milk and then pour the liquid onto a coldstone and mix it around with metal spatulas until it turns into ice cream right there! Then they add in your choice of topping. I was beyond thrilled this place existed. I got peanut butter flavored ice cream with banana mixed in.

It was so good. Ice Pan advertises that they don't use processed sugar, everything is fruit-sweetened. They also use seaweed inn their bases. Their little brochure warns that some people have stomach discomfort after eating it because it naturally helps your bowels work, but I had no problems afterward and neither did Mike. Mike got banana flavored with Oreo mixed in. It was good, but not as good as mine. They offer twenty flavors, of which peanut butter and mint chocolate chip are the best sellers.
The next morning, I had breakfast at--where else?--Ronald's donuts. This place is awesome. It's ridiculously cheap, which I found out is rare in Vegas, and all the donuts are amazing and delicious. I had the cream filled chocolate donut.

The donut itself is exactly how I remember donuts tasting. Fluffy, bready, sugary and yum. The cream reminded me a little of vanilla yogurt. It was thicker than most cream-filled donuts I remember having all those years ago. I actually preferred this consistency.
Mike had a glazed raspberry jelly donut.

Despite the fact it looks like it's sticking out its tongue at you, it was a good donut. Again, exactly how I remember donuts tasting.
That filled us up for awhile, but not for long. I was in Mandalay Bay when the hunger pains struck. In the Mandalay Bay mall, there is a place called Burger Bar. I had a vague recollection of reading on Quarrygirl that they had vegan burgers and I was right! We decided to try it out.
I got the Vegas Vegan. It's a burger with no bun. In lieu of a bun are two grilled portobello mushrooms. Inside are grilled zucchini, tomato, pepper and eggplant (the eggplant was promptly discarded). It came with a choice of side, so I subbed skinny fries for sweet potato fries.

For some odd reason, it came with a tomato, lettuce, onion and pickle side as though it were an actual burger. I ate them anyway. They burger itself obviously was eaten with a fork. It was pretty decent. The mushroom was grilled perfectly, as were the veggies inside, with the exceptions of the tomato, which was burnt. The sweet potato fries were also good. My biggest complaint is that they mixed up our sides and mine initially came with Mike's onion rings on the side...which are NOT vegan. think, people.
Although Mike's side wasn't vegan, his veggie burger was. It had a patty made of various grains, brown rice and veggies. It was so-so. I'm not big on those kinds of patties. It came with the same standard sides as mine did. He said it was good, but he likes vegan boca patties better.

Like everything else in Vegas, this place is really expensive. Altogether, it costs forty bucks (although Mikey had a Guinness, and yes, I know, they aren't vegan).
By the time dinner rolled around, I had spent the entire day on the strip and I was tired of it, so I looked up nearby Mexican restaurants and found one called Macayo's that was on Sahara, but a few miles from the strip (as was our hotel).
They had a build your own nachos there. As I have mentioned before I love nachos. I asked the waitress nicely if I could get nachos with toppings but no cheese and she said yes. I ordered nachos with refried beans (made with oil), guacamole, olives, tomatoes, onions and green chiles.

Sorry about the picture quality. Mine doesn't have a flash and this is the best Mikey got. I assure you, the nachos were far superior to the quality of this picture. And the price was decent and not thirty bucks for one plate of nachos.
The next morning, we stopped at Ronald's again and got a dozen donuts to take back to my sister and dad (and eat along the way).

The most interesting thing we got was this thing, which we called weird burrito thingy:

It appeared to be a rolled apple fritter. It was really good. Nice and cinnamony.
The glazed donuts kept well so that when I got home from work later on that day at 7, they were still nice and fresh.
That was my vegan Las Vegas trip! i hope to be able to try out more vegan stuff the next time I go, which might be in July.

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