Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kicking It Vegan Style In Vegas!

When you're a vegan vacationing in Vegas, there's only one place to go - the Wynn.

That's right, Steven Wynn, casino developer of the glorious Wynn and Encore resorts went vegan in June 2010.  In doing so, he mandated that every restaurant on both properties offer a vegan menu.  He also educated every employee on the vegan diet.  What this created was a vegan's paradise!

I relied heavily on fellow vegan blogger, Paul Graham of Eating Vegan in Vegas to guide my Vegas vegan vacation.  As he is a Vegas native and a plant-strong eater, I found his accounts of various vegan meals invaluable.  So, in an effort to pay it forward for the next wandering vegan, here's how I kept it vegan in Vegas...

Day 1

Slice of Vegas Pizza

Mandalay Place
Ironically, my first day in Vegas, I hit the strip for two places not connected to the Wynn.  Lunch was at Slice of Vegas Pizza, where I wholeheartedly expected one vegan suitable pizza on the menu.  To my utter shock, they had a whole vegan menu!  There were so many delicious options, that I had a hard time deciding on their BBQ Chick'n (savory sweet BBQ sauce with Daiya mozzarella shreds, Gardein chick'n strips and red onions finished with chopped cilantro).  With that, a side of Meatless Chick'n Wings (meatless chick'n wings covered with choice of medium, hot, atomic, jerk or curry sauce; served with celery sticks and vegan ranch sauce).  It was awesome and I can't wait to go back and try their Portobello Philly or Meatless Meatball Sandwich

Border Grill
Mandalay Bay

I was a little disappointed with this one.  Graham did say to go there for their lunch vegan Tacos, but still being on Cleveland time and all discombobulated, we just missed the tacos and had to create a meal from a variety of side dishes instead (red green white rice, black beans, quinoa salad & chips).  Tasty, but not a stellar meal.

Day 2

Terrace Pointe Cafe

After reading Graham's account of the infamous "Chicken" and Waffles (vegan butter and maple syrup on the side), I had to get my hands on that dish for breakfast immediately.  A little too anxious, I had to wait until 7am when the Cafe opened (still on Cleveland time).  This dish was good, unique, but my boyfriend's French Toast was out of this world.  As he put it, "the best of his life."

Terrace Pointe Cafe

After spying a vegan Burger, Fries and Chocolate Shake combo on the menu from breakfast, we were right back at the Cafe for lunch.  This combination is a vegan lover's fantasy!  Sadly to say, it was less than impressive.  Our puny burgers came wrapped in heating foil like they were sitting on a warming rack at an amusement park.  And well, they looked and tasted the same way.  My boyfriend claimed it was just for affect, I think not.

Come on Wynn, all those gourmet chefs and you're relying on a processed food product (Gardein) for your guests?!?!  I expected a Wynn exclusive recipe and a little better presentation for a AAA five diamond, Mobil five-star, Forbes five-star, and Michelin five star resort.

Nonetheless, the meal was saved by the Fries, Chocolate Shake and an awesome Chopped Salad (on vacation and still trying to get my Greens on).


For dinner, we dined at Botero on their patio overlooking one of the many pools at the resort.  I was delighted when we were offered a variety basket of vegan Bread & Butter, something typically not available at regular restaurants.  We shared a Shaved Salad of Mixed Greens before diving into Gardein Chicken Cutlets on a bed of Fava Bean Hummus, served with Steamed Asparagus and Rice Penne Pasta served with a Water Reduction Tomato Sauce and various Greens.  For dessert, a most decadent Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Cake with Cherries.

Day 3


Breakfast at this fine dining Americana restaurant was over the top!  They provided a mini-replica of the dining chairs for my purse - my purse, people!  Again, we ate on the patio overlooking yet another pool.  I had "Eggs" Benedict (Gardein Sausage, scrambled tofu, yellow tomato "hollandaise") for the first time since going vegan (oh how I missed thee).  My boyfriend opted for the fresh Blueberry Pancakes, which tasted oddly similar to the Blueberry Muffin offered in the Drugstore Cafe (look for their vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie!) at the Wynn.  We split the Marble Potato Hash.  Excellent!


After some lounging time at the pool, we were hungry for sushi!  Wazuzu was just the ticket!  I really loved the Asian inspired ambiance overlooking the Encore casino.  We opened with a Cucumber Salad (English cucumbers, wakame seaweed, lightly sweetened with vinegar dressing). Next, a Vegan California Roll (avocado, cucumber, asparagus, brown rice, wrapped in seaweed).  For the main course, we split a Vegan Chow Fun (rice noodles, bok choy, bean sprouts & onion).  Still hungry, I ordered another appetizer of Choy Sum (dumplings steamed & tossed with garlic sauce).


For my boyfriend's big birthday dinner, he selected Sinatra, an Italian tribute to ole' blue eyes himself.  As a special added touch, a birthday card from Mr. Sinatra was waiting for us as we arrived. After filling up on more vegan Bread & Butter, we both went straight for the main course: Gardein Parmigiana (Gardein Chick'n cutlet, vegan mozzarella, pomodoro sauce) and Agnolotti (small pockets filled with cashew nut ricotta, artichoke, spinach & asparagus sauce.  For an after dinner surprise, we were  treated to rich dark chocolate discs adorned with dried fruit and pistachios.

Day 4

Terrace Pointe Cafe

Sadly, this was our last day and last meal in Vegas.  We decided to return to the Terrace for one last round of French Toast, accompanied by a Seasonal Fruit Plate, Gardein Sausage, Hash Brown Medley and fresh Watermelon Juice.  What a sendoff!

I'm won't sugar coat it - dining almost exclusively at the Wynn was pricey.  Breakfast and lunch each averaged $60 for two and dinner around $100 and we don't drink.  But, my health and my vegan ways are very important to me, so I will say that this experience was priceless and worth it.

While I was like a little kid in a candy store, the vast variety of vegan dining options and the grand scale of these two resorts made figuring out where to eat a challenge.  Wynn doesn't publish their menus online and that's exactly what I wanted to study.  So eventually, I did what any self-respecting vegan would do, I asked the concierge to print every single vegan menu for every restaurant at Wynn and Encore, at his leisure of course, and deliver it to my room.  Damn if he didn't do it with pleasure and special messenger it to my room within the hour!  Then I realized why no published menus exist, they change every day - the vegan options are endless!!!  Nevertheless, the menus did provide a good guide of narrowing options down and will be the first thing I request on my next stay at the Wynn.  Because frankly once you've been treated this well, how do you stay anywhere else?

Thank you Mr. Wynn for making all my vegan dreams come true!
The Hoff


I told you - a chair for my purse!

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