I survived Vegas, again. One week in Vegas is 10 years on the body. Between the dry air and hard water, my skin is pleather, hair is hay, and my liver is shot. I’m pretty sure I’m 10 lbs heavier, and I’ve managed to break out like an angst ridden teen. And to top it off, I got incredibly sick the day after I got home. I think my body went into shock and rebelled against the week of abuse.
I was in Vegas with pal Blake Brody who was exhibiting her fall 2011 collection of in-studio footwear at the World Shoe and Accessories Show. She has the most amazing footwear designed specifically to be worn during any in-studio workout like yoga, Pilates, barre class, etc. I wear them religiously during The Bar Method and Power Pilates. Some of the collection have bows, and even Swarovski crystals, but these girls aren’t just a pretty face, they’re smart too! They are cleverly designed to maintain key functionalities like being able to point and flex, provide arch support, and have grip pads on the bottom to prevent slippage. And, being the germaphobe that I am, wearing them means I don’t have to walk barefoot in the studio [gross]. But the kicker is… they’re completely vegan!!! YAY! Check out her site.
How cute is her booth? That’s not Blake though, that’s her cute sis. 🙂
Blake Brody in-studio footwear exhibitor booth
We worked hard by day, and played hard by night. I’m pleased to report there’s no shortage of vegan eats in Vegas. Well, there might be after the damage I did. Take it from this Las Vegan, anyone who says you can’t be vegan in Vegas isn’t really trying. Here are a few highlights from our eating extravaganza.
The Sands Expo Convention Center where the WSA show was held, had limited eats unless you wanted a donut, ham, egg salad or turkey sandwich so I trekked to The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian every day to get a decent vegan friendly lunch and snack. It literally takes about 20-30 minutes to walk there, order, and walk back, but it’s worth it.
Our daily lunch was the Grilled Vegetable Wrap at Bella Panini in The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. I requested it without pesto, without cheese, and added avocado and it was delish! And I snagged packets of hot sauce from the Mexican restaurant across the way.
Grilled vegetable wrap with no cheese or pesto, added avocado
Daily snack was hummus and pita from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian
Hummus from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
This place exceeded all my expectations. IMO, it’s the most beautiful property there. I didn’t see the rooms, but I expect they’re just as fabulous as the rest of the hotel. The lobby is incredibly dramatic with impressive digital art on all the walls and columns of the entryway.
Cosmopolitan lobby area
When we were there, the digital artwork featured a rabbit in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
Can you see the bunny?
And the bars are so chic!
Fresh herbs for cocktails at Vesper bar. Love that!
Drinks at Vesper bar
We fell in love with the Rose Gimlet at The Chandelier lounge at the Cosmo. Here’s the one we ordered on our first day. Nice pour, right?
1st Rose Gimlet
We went back a couple days later. And here’s the 2nd Rose Gimlet. Uh…. Excuse me? What’s wrong with this picture? Where’s the rest of it? It’s like a 1/4 pour. Boooo. And yes, I’m the loser who showed the bartender the picture of the first drink and how robust it was in comparison to the second. He poured us a new drink. 🙂
2nd Rose Gimlet
China Poblano, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Nice, but Naughty - sautéed lotus root/ fresh pea shoots/sesame
Palmitos - hearts of palm/ citrus/tamarind dressing
The Unruly Monk - hand-cut noodles/ bok choy/wild wood ear mushrooms/ (no poached egg)/spicy sauce
Spicy sauce accompaniment to The Unruly Monk
Open kitchen making fresh tortillas
Jaleo, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
I’ll preface by saying I forgot one major picture (shocker) of the Pan con Tomate (toasted slices of rustic bread brushed with fresh tomato). This was a huge oversight because it’s so amazing we literally ate three orders of it. Here are the other goodies I managed to capture. The Papas Arrugas were my favorite. Beware, it’s salty.
Papas Arrugas - Canary Island-style wrinkled baby potatoes served with mojo verde and mojo rojo
Ensalada de Coles de Bruselas con Albaricoques, Manzanas y Jamón - Warm brussels sprouts salad with apricots, apple (without Serrano ham)
Espinacas a la catalana Sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins and apples
Espárragos Blancos con Limón y Tomillo - White asparagus with lemon, thyme (no cheese)
Setas al Ajillo con La Serena- Sautéed wild mushrooms with La Serena potato purée
The Sangria was WAY too sweet. Of course, that didn’t prevent us from finishing it, but not a repeat order.
Sangría de Vino Tinto
Lotus of Siam, off the Strip
Lotus of Siam entrance. Looks shady, but don't judge. The food and service was fantastic.
Spring Rolls (in rice paper)
Kana Moo Krob - Stir-fried Chinese broccoli (no crispy side pork slice) substituted with garlic sauce instead of oyster.
Green Curry- with coconut cream, bamboo shoot, Thai basil, fresh chili and tofu
The server asked us how hot we wanted the Green Curry on a scale from 1-10. We both like spicy food so we agreed to “6”. It came out closer to 25.
Baby Corn- sautéed with straw mushrooms, carrot, onion, broccoli
Sage, Aria Resort & Casino
The chef at Sage offered to create a special two-course vegan menu for me. Both courses were delicious and I was so excited to have such a warm reception for once. The Desert Shrub cocktail with Seite Leguas Tequila Reposado, prosecco, pink grapefruit and purple sage is TO DIE FOR.
Roasted Vegetables - cauliflower, artichokes, salsify and much more
Brunch at Society Cafe, Encore
Shout out to Steve Wynn for going vegan last year and adding alternative vegan menus at his Wynn and Encore restaurants. Wish more places would do that!
Society Cafe vegan menu
Grilled Vegetable Flatbread with Vegan Cheese
Overall, we had a blast! I love Vegas but it’s good to be back home where I can eat well and workout regularly. Got any favorite Vegas hotspots? Any great vegan-friendly places or not-to-miss dishes? Let’s hear ’em!
Oh, and you’re probably wondering if I left up or down. I think I broke even at craps. I won $200, but I’m pretty sure I lost about the same. I found these little reminders in my purse when I got home. Viva Las Vegan!!
chips from the Cosmopolitan