91. Vegan Las Vegas – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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So, the end of August was my birthday. But not just any birthday, it was the big 3-oh! Can’t believe that I’ve been on this planet for 3 decades!!!
(And what’s even more unbelievable is that I ate animals for 2.5 of those decades 🙁 Still, shows it’s never too late to change for the better!)

Anyway, in order to celebrate, my lovely husband had planned a semi-surprise trip to Las Vegas. I ate sooo much amazing food whilst I was there, most of my clothes are too tight now!
#noregrets.

A lot of people had “warned” me that I’d really struggle out there… but they were so wrong, just check out Happy Cow and the PETA “Eating Vegan at Fast Food Chain Restaurants” guidance.

Not all the food was great though, so I have split my review into the Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

The Good

Nacho Daddy
I’ll start with the best, Nacho Daddy was SO good that we went twice!
Although this Mexican restaurant is a bit of a carnist’s dream, it has an entirely separate vegan menu and it is aaaaamazzzing! They even do vegan queso and sour cream <3
On the first visit I went for the quesadillas and a side of chips. And on the second visit I went for the loaded nachos. Holy guacamole, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
They also do tacos, burritos and fajitas. In fact I think the only thing that was missing was a chimichanga (my absolute favourite).
They were open until 1am as well – making it a perfect stop after a few drinks on Fremont Street or after seeing a show.

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Loaded vegan nachos

Quesadila

Quesadila

Ronald’s Donuts
Ronald’s Donuts is a little place that not-surprisingly serves donuts as well as coffees.
What was surprising was that over a third of the donuts were vegan! And it was here that I lost my bear-claw virginity. I also had a gorgeous raspberry and a custard donut. They were REALLY good. But it was a REALLY bad idea to go on the rides at Circus Circus afterwards, eeeeeurgh!
I thought the donuts were very reasonably priced as well – cheaper than a Krispy Crème with the added bonus of being cruelty free.

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Bear Claw!

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Custard donut

Pop Up Pizza
Pop Up Pizza is a little pizza bar located in the Plaza hotel. The plastic furniture and casino surroundings don’t make for a romantic meal setting, but its well worth a visit. Or, they deliver if you’d rather eat in the comfort of your hotel room.
They have various vegan toppings – including Daiya cheese- that you can use to create your own (massive) pizza, or if you are passing by, you can pick up just a slice or two of their “Soho” which is vegan mozzarella, spinach, roasted mushrooms, artichokes, and roasted bell peppers. Bellissimo!

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The Soho

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Komol Restaurant
Another place which is good for pleasing carnists and vegans alike is the Komol Thai restaurant.
They have a really extensive selection of tofu and mock meats – including vegan shrimp which I added to my veggie chow mein (made with rice noodles). It was sooooo tasty and I really like the fact that you are asked how spicy you would like your order. The portions were mega generous too – I had my leftovers doggy bagged up so I could give them to a homeless person (there are a lot of people sleeping rough in LV).

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Chow Mein with rice noodles and faux shrimp

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Red 8 (located in the Wynn Hotel)
The Wynn and Encore hotels are awesome for vegans. Every restaurant has a separate vegan menu!
Red 8 is located in the Wynn and offers an Asian style menu. It is a little pricey but the food is very good and the restaurant makes a great location for a special date night.
I had the Gardein Cashew Chick’n with Celery, Mushrooms and Ginger. The Chick’n was so realistic I had to get the hubby to try it and convince me that they hadn’t messed up my order!

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Gardein Cashew Chick’n with Celery, Mushrooms and Ginger

Rainbows End
Rainbows End is a fantastic vegan and veggie store with a café attached. I spent most of my spending money in here! Unfortunately the café was closed when I visited but luckily they have a chiller full of burritos, hummus pots, potato salad and other yummy treats to take away. I went for the burrito and also bought a ton of treats to bring home, including jerky, blue tortilla chips, Dandies marshmallows, Chao cheese and some Tofurkey sausages (luckily the aircon in the room was so cold that everything kept!)

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Shop front

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Burrito

Einstein Bros Bagels
So no, the vegan friendly bagels here weren’t the most interesting food I ate during my visit, but what vegan doesn’t love PB&J?! (Except maybe one with a peanut allergy…)
I used this site to check out what was safe, there are quite a few options, including hummus 🙂
Don’t be afraid to order what you want if that particular combination isn’t given as an option on the menu.

PB&J

PB&J

Chipotle
I never thought for a second that a fast food joint like Chipotle would have a vegan option! But they do and it was yummy! I had a tofu sofritas taco with guac and I loved every second of it.20160830_135017 20160830_135025

Amorino Gelato
These gelato bars are actually all over the place (including Europe) and there is more than one in Vegas itself. But the first time that I ever saw one and realised that they did vegan sorbet was at the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets. They offer various different vegan flavours, including pistachio and blood orange and ginger (the two that I picked) as well as mango, chocolate and banana.
Pricey but definitely made trainer shopping with the Hubby more worthwhile!

Blood orange & ginger and pistachio

Blood orange & ginger and pistachio

American Airlines
So, American Airlines didn’t provide me with the best meals of my life, but the food I received was at least vegan and was neither bad nor ugly. In fact it tasted pretty good!
For dinner I receive a yummy veggie tagine as the main, with a fresh salad on the side, a bread roll, a nice vegan marg (wish I could remember the name – I also had it on my trip to Kos), a jam, some crackers and a reasonable sized bottle of water. Unfortunately the pudding was the dreaded fruit salad (I HATE melon, good people of the world – please use your imagination and stop offering me this as a dessert!!! I want cake dammit!), but otherwise I was very impressed.

Breakfast was some mini hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach. Again, not gourmet but I did enjoy it.
Such a shame that we only flew with this company in one direction!

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American Airlines vegan meal

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American Airlines vegan breakfast

Starbucks
Starbucks is Starbucks….. but as far as I am aware, we can’t get the infamous “pink drink” in the UK! Order a Strawberry and Acai Refresher – but ask for it to be made with coconut milk instead of water. This was such a delicious treat 🙂 probably for the best that I can’t get one over here. All that sugar, I’d have no teeth left!

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The Pink Drink!

The Bad

Wendys
Hahah, oh Wendy’s!
I followed PETA’s advice and asked for a “veggie sandwich” – which I thought was going to be a bread bun filled with a bit of salad and pickles. I had planned to fill it with French fries to make a chip butty…
The lady who worked here was so super lovely, she said she would make the sandwich herself to make sure that the new person “didn’t mess it up”. She did mention that the tomato and pickles would be wrapped up in lettuce… but I hadn’t twigged that the lettuce was substituting the bread!
Most.tasteless.lunch.ever! To be fair, I could also have had a plain jacket potato or a salad… but maybe I’ll just not bother with Wendy’s again unless it’s an emergency!

Wendy's

Wendy’s

Ihop
I saw that Ihop did grits and so I told the hubby that we could go there for breakfast. But I couldn’t find them anywhere on the menu!!! So I made do with hash brown, an un-buttered English muffin and some avocado. The avocado was beautiful, but I was paranoid that I could taste burnt meat juice on the hash brown. It didn’t look like it had been cooked on a dirty meaty grill but I just couldn’t enjoy it.

Hash brown, avocado and English muffin

Hash brown, avocado and English muffin

107 Sky Lounge
I got a little bit tipsy when we went to the 107 Sky Lounge in the Stratosphere hotel (where we were saying). I was getting a little peckish whilst looking at the stunning views when I saw that they had hummus and lavosh on the menu…. (Let’s forget that I’m pretty certain that I have a chickpea intolerance!) I ordered and was well excited to see that it came served in a Martini glass! Classy as f*ck!!!! But my excitement was short-lived when I saw that the lavosh bread came with cheese on it 🙁 So I sat there, in a swanky bar eating a Martini glass full of hummus with a teaspoon – not my finest moment!

Hummus cocktail :')

Hummus cocktail :’)

The Ugly

British Airways
We flew with British Airways for the journey home. This airline claims that “your sense of taste changes when you are flying at 30,000 feet” and that “After conducting extensive research we have improved the food and wine we offer, so it tastes even better in the air than it does on the ground.”

Well I don’t think for a second that anyone tested the vegan option before selling it – either in the air or on the ground!!! Bleurgh.
I was given a tray that was marked as vegan, but the main hot dish was labelled as being lacto-ovo vegetarian… also there was a carton of milk for my tea and a salad dressing that contained milk as an ingredient. Good job I am suspicious of everything and checked! So I called the air steward over and asked her if I had received the correct meal. She said “yes, it’s marked as vegan”. To which I replied “no – it’s labelled as vegetarian”. So it got taken away and brought back to me and I was told “It was just the main meal and the milk that wasn’t vegan so we swapped the meal and removed the milk”.
Err no, the salad dressing?!
Seriously, I could have eaten that – what if I was allergic?!

So, alongside my dry salad and cup of black tea, I got some veggies, some rice and some brown stuff. Controversially, I usually quite enjoy airplane food… but this had a really weird aftertaste to it. Not nice at all. And the dessert didn’t make up for the disappointment of the main – whilst everyone else chomped down on a piece of cheesecake, I got the usual crappy token fruit salad. Booooo.
I got excited when I saw breakfast consisted of a huge slab of tofu, spinach and potatoes. But again, there was a weird aftertaste and everything was coated in oil. Seriously, spinach is the wettest vegetable ever, why the heck did it need so much oil?!

Must do better, BA! If you need someone to give you some ideas and taste-test your offerings, drop me a line! :’)

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BA vegan meal

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BA Vegan breakfast

 

 

Whilst I’m still typing, I HAVE to give a mention to the following establishments:

Others:

Veggies House
I’m sooooo sad that we didn’t find the time to visit this place. The menu looks amazing and the reviews I read were really good. If we are lucky enough to visit Vegas again, we are 100% giving this eatery a try! If you’re into your mock meat, I definitely think Veggies House will be a winner!

Vegan Bites Bakery
Another place I’d really wanted to go to. I’d planned to make a stop for some cookies, or maybe a brownie. But after that bear claw I just didn’t fancy it 🙁 I regret it now!

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Ok, so 6 Flags Magic Mountain is most definitely not in Las Vegas. In fact, it is in Los Angeles. It’s a four hour drive away – 7 hours if you get stuck in a horrific traffic jam coming back like we did. BUT I think they deserve a mention for having a clearly labelled vegan option at the “Go Fresh Café” stand – AND ITS NOT SALAD!
I had some Gardein crispy tenders and fries (although I could have had fruit or baby carrots if I’d have preferred). I was well impressed! External food and drink isn’t allowed so I’d honestly thought I was going to starve to death 🙂 Good job Six Flags! I hope you continue to impress us by extending your menu!

 

So here we are at the end of my Las Vegas adventure! Still alive, not protein deficient and once again proving that it really isn’t that hard to remove cruelty from your plate 🙂

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Giant Harley

View from the hotel

View from the hotel

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Along the Strip

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

 

Flash-Gordonette…X

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