Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vegan-Friendly Las Vegas, Who Knew?
VegeNation And More

I never would have thought my new favorite
vegan restaurant would be in sin city!

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Las Vegas Has Certainly Changed
Years ago, when I worked for IBM, I attended a Head-Disk Media show in Las Vegas every year. And later, as a CEO, I held sales events there. It's a great place for that sort of thing. But I really hated the place. The smoke, the rich food, and the constant "ding ding ding" of the casinos drove me nuts. But after taking a 10 year break, Doug and I decided to go there for a 4-night, 5 day mini vacation. Boy were we surprised!

First of all, we managed to find a lovely hotel called The Mandarin Oriental that does not allow smoking and does not have a casino. How great is that! The wonderful food options in Las Vegas were even more surprising.

Vegan Las Vegas
When you go to a place like Las Vegas, you surely don't expect to find healthy, plant-based meals. But to my surprise, there were lots of options available. So many, that I spent 5 days singing "Vegan Las Vegas" to the tune of Elvis's "Viva Las Vegas." In fact, I still have that ear worm going on!

Vegan Las Vegas
Vegan Las Vegas
Vegan, Vegan, Las Vegas!

We were only in Las Vegas for 5 days but we ate at VegeNation twice and still didn't get to try all the wonderful and tempting items on the menu. Doug, his brother Don, sister-in-law Patti and myself tried to order as many different things on the menu as we could possibly eat. Here are the ones we tried and our ratings (1 to 5 stars, 5 stars being the best):

Green machine - 5 Stars
A fresh blend of parsley, cucumber, avocado, and grapes. 
Lasagna - 4 Stars
This was a nightly special and not usually on the menu.
Black Bean Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato - 5 Stars
I could have eaten this every day - so yummy.
Wok Sauteed Vegetables - 3 Stars
The veggies were good but the selection could have been more interesting - mostly peppers and cherry tomatoes.
Muchas Gracias - 5 Stars
Organic sweet potato quesadilla, black beans,
chipotle crema. Patti's favorite dish!
Hot Tamale - 5 Star
Non GMO masa, pumpkin, green chili and lentils.
This was one of my favorites.
Daniel Negreanu - 3 Stars
A meatball grinder. A bit too much bread.
Bao Wow - 5 Stars
Asian BBQ! Tofu, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, bao bun.
Flavorful sauces. Don loved this one.
Curried Red Beans and Quinoa - 4 1/2 Stars
Very flavorful.
East West Tacos - 4 1/2 Stars
Wonderful but Doug thought the
shell could have been a bit crispier.
Out of Africa - 5 Stars
Africa yam stew, okra, collard
greens, spicy peanut broth.
My Little Dumpling - 3 Stars
Steamed shiitake and spinach dumplings.
Dumplings a bit doughy but very tasty.
Chocolate Tacos - 5 Stars!!!!
These were amazing. Dessert taco shells filled with
chocolate pudding and topped with goodies.

Besides the food being wonderful, the wait staff couldn't have been friendlier!

Super friendly staff!
Visit VegeNation at 616 Carson Ave #120, Las Vegas.

There's More!
I would have to spend a month or more in Las Vegas to test out all of the vegan options. Although I didn't get there, Wynn and Encore feature plant-based high-end dining. According to their website, "Every restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore offers a vegan and vegetarian menu that is designed and prepared at the same caliber as any of the signature items served...Our chefs partnered with collaborating vegan chef Tal Ronnen to craft unique and healthy fare to be enjoyed at any time of the day."

Upscale vegan dining at the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas.
Also from the Wynn and Encore.

China Town
Although this area is called China Town, it's not like the areas you will find in New York City or San Francisco. It's just a nondescript area but you will find some very good vegan restaurants there. We visited the Veggie House on 5115 Spring Mountain Road one day for lunch. This restaurant specialized more in fake meat dishes although there were certainly a lot other types of vegan food besides that. Here were some of the dishes we tried. 

Yee Shang Eggplant 
Soft, not deep-fried, sautéed eggplant.
Spicy Veggie Cajun Fish
Chow Fun
With bits of vegan "meat".

Even Burger Joints had Vegan Options!
I was really surprised to find vegan options at Holsteins burger joint. This is definitely not a vegetarian restaurant but they did offer a great salad and an "Urth" Burger with a house made vegan patty with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts and avocado.
They also offered a delicious alcoholic milkshake called the Vegan Coconut Raspberry Shake made with coconut sorbet, raspberries, Skyy raspberry vodka, 3 Olives coconut vodka, toasted coconut marshmallow, and soy whipped topping. Not exactly a health shake but oh so delicious!

Enjoying a vegan coconut raspberry shake at Holsteins.

So if you haven't been to Las Vegas in a while, you may be surprised to find out there are some wonderful things to do and plenty of great places to eat. We will definitely be back!

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