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Archive for the ‘Dining’ Category

As one of our Sales Managers said, “Monday is Funday!”

To celebrate, I thought I’d do another Did You Know post:

  1. T&T has the largest piece of artwork in Vegas at 64 feet long
  2. TENDER steak & seafood has 340 selections of wine and 1,200 bottles
  3. Every month over 150 pounds of sugar is used at TENDER steak & seafood
  4. The pastry department at TENDER steak & seafood  uses over 160 eggs per day
  5. In one year, over 30 film crews shot footage for movies or television shows at Luxor
  6. Because of its shape, there are no support beams within the pyramid
  7. You would need 8,848,000 eight ounce glasses of water to fill Luxor’s 5 pools
  8. It would take 9.8 football fields of glass to make up the sides of the pyramid
  9. It takes one week to clean each side of the pyramid
  10. 1,750 apartments (at 1,400 square feet each) would fit on Luxor’s Casino Floor
  11. At BODIES… The Exhibition, you can learn that 60,000 miles of blood vessels are found in the human body.
  12. At Titanic: The Artifact Exhibitionyou can see an actual piece of the Titanic ship. The piece weighs 15 tons and its installation at Luxor took over 24 hours.
  13. The portholes of the Titanic piece on display look into first class cabins
  14. At Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition you can learn that a first-class ticket for a parlor suite started at Titanic cost $4,350, which would be approximately $50,000 today.  The most expensive rooms were more than $80,000 in today’s currency.
  15. At Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition you can learn that tennis player R. Norris Williams and his father, Charles D., felt it was too cold to remain out on deck as the ship went down, so they went into the gym to ride the exercise bikes.

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This is the final installment of David Raatz’s (@raatz) Vegan Dinig Guide. You can read Part One of the Gluttonous Vegan Dining Guide here, Part Two here and Part Three here.

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Off-Strip

Whole Foods Market

When I venture off the strip in search of good vegan food in the Valley, I often find myself at a Whole Foods Market. There’s just no place else that has a better variety of vegan food – whether you’re planning to eat on site (healthy fast food! what a concept!) or to pick up some groceries to take back to your hotel room. I’m partial to the Asian section of the deli. You simply can’t go wrong.

My favorite Vegas-area Whole Foods has been the Summerlin/Tenaya location. The outdoor patio seating (with free wi-fi) provides a great opportunity to relax. But I’m also excited about the new store south of the Strip (the fourth Whole Foods in the Las Vegas area).

Trader Joe’s

I visit one or more Trader Joe’s (Summerlin, Henderson, Decatur Blvd.) during every Vegas trip. There’s no better market for affordable, healthy, high-quality specialty foods.

Sushi Zen (North Las Vegas) and Go Raw Café (two Clark County locations) also receive high marks.

Thanks for reading! Putting this little guide together has been a useful exercise for me – and I hope it’s of use to you too. Vegas already features a lot of terrific choices for vegetarians and vegans. And I think the future will only bring phenomenal improvement. I’m hoping that Chrissie Hynde meets her goal of bringing The Vegiterranean restaurant to Las Vegas. A star-powered vegan-friendly eatery would jumpstart the veggie-oriented marketplace.

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Yesterday, the Orbitz Travel Blog posted about their Top 10 Casino Lounges. I was excited to see that Liquidity, the Center Bar at Luxor had made the list! The post got me thinking about what my top five favorite and maybe unknown places at Luxor were. Without further adieu:

  1. Noir Bar inside LAX. Noir Bar has the most extraordinary bartenders you will ever meet. While I often get a PB&J martini there, if you name two of your favorite foods, the bartenders will whip up a drink with those ingredients. They are always spot on.
  2. T&T (Tacos & Tequila). By far my favorite spot for lunch. I know it sounds like marketing talk, but there really is a fun, high energy vibe there. The shrimp quesadilla and ceviche are my favorites. Plus, you can’t beat the free chips and dip they serve.
  3. Aurora Bar. Located off the main lobby, it’s great for people watching. You can always judge the quality of a place by their mojitos. And well, Aurora has the best  mojitos I’ve ever had.
  4. Carrot Top. I know, the curly orange hair is wild. But, the show is great! Especially for locals. Carrot Top always mixes up his act and adds new, relevant skits. Plus, the laugh factor is high. It’s one show I really don’t mind watching again and again.
  5. Nurture, the Spa at Luxor. I’m a girl. The idea of a massage, pedicure and steam room all in one place is heavenly. While this spa has your typical offerings, they also have unique ones like a Coconut Scrub and a seasonal offer (i.e. Margarita scrub during summer). Plus, you can’t beat their prices or that the spa always offers 20% off to locals!

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Part Two of both this Guest Post series and David Raatz’s (@raatz) Vegan Dining Guide. You can read the Part One of the Gluttonous Vegan Dining Guide here.

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Center Strip

Starbucks:

This might sound a little silly, but I have to suggest a Starbucks – specifically the Starbucks in the West Wing at MGM Grand. This isn’t your hometown’s generic-looking Starbucks. With a quasi-art deco theme, this place embodies style and grace. It doesn’t feel like any other location in Vegas. Though it’s just steps away from the casino floor, it exudes peace and tranquility. A decaf venti soy latte also helps.

P.F. Chang’s at Planet Hollywood:

This is one chain restaurant that goes out of its way to be vegan-friendly, providing several entrees that are either always meat and diary-free or can be easily prepared that way upon request. P.F. Chang’s also has brown rice – a vegan’s delight – unlike many Chinese restaurants. (By the way, P.F. Chang’s is open until at least midnight every day of the week. Don’t mind its website, which says that the restaurant closes at 12 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.)

The Buffet at Bellagio:

Eating at The Buffet at Bellagio ten years ago helped me learn the intense and varied pleasures of vegetarianism. The strength and diversity of tastes in the vegetables, fruits, noodles, grains, pastas, herbs and spices was mind boggling. And if anything, the food at The Buffet has only improved – for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and the assortment of food has certainly multiplied. I think it’s appropriate that the featured photo at The Buffet website features fresh fruit.

Palio:

There’s another coffee place I must praise: Palio at Bellagio. This classy little room offers another casino respite (so important) and beautiful views of the Bellagio pool. For just a few bucks, you can refill your coffee all day long (or at least 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.) while relaxing, enjoying the scenery, reading the newspaper and strategizing for your next triumph at the tables. Vegan-friendly soups and sandwiches are sometimes available too.

Cheesecake Factory:

The Cheesecake Factory at The Forum Shops is one restaurant that shows salads can be (and should be!) about pleasure, not sacrifice. Cheesecake Factory salads are huge, with a plentiful variety of items. There’s also a large assortment of vegan salad dressings (I almost feel like I need advice from a vinaigrette steward before making a choice!). I also recommend the angel hair pasta entrée. Several hearty veggie side orders add a nice touch. One word of warning about the Cheesecake Factory though: some dishes sound like they’re vegetarian or vegan, but are actually not because they use fish sauce or include eggs. Asking your server is important until you get to know what’s right for you (which of course applies at a lot of places).

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Thanks to a suggestion by Jeremiah Owyang, I asked our Twitter followers if anyone would be interested in writing a guest post for this blog.  A few fabulous twitterers responded. This one, by David Raatz (@raatz) is the first in the series.

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Yes, Vegas-style hedonism is even available for Vegans! Las Vegas offers an amazing array of decadent pleasures for everyone – including vegetarians (people who don’t eat meat) and vegans (people who don’t eat any animal products, including dairy).

I’ve been a vegetarian for ten years and a vegan for five years, and I always look forward to my culinary adventures in Las Vegas. The below, brief manual is a tool for my fellow vegetarians or vegans and for others who are interested in enhancing their Vegas food experiences.

The rundown isn’t intended to be comprehensive. I freely admit that it reflects my biases and favors casual, inexpensive dining. But I hope you find it helpful and interesting.

I’ll start with the South Strip because that’s where I always spend a large percentage of my time. Video poker and blackjack are my favorite activities, and Luxor and its next-door neighbor, Mandalay Bay are my favorite casinos for those always entertaining games.

South Strip

Border Grill:

Mexican restaurants often provide excellent vegan meals, and Border Grill at Mandalay Bay is a perfect example. Border Grill ranks among my favorite restaurants in the world. I love the shaded, patio-style seating near the Lazy River. The fresh air is always refreshing. The patio is an especially fun location in the summer. It seems to be one of the coolest places in town – both in temperature and in hipness. As a bonus, from May through September, you can listen to the Mandalay Bay Beach Concerts!

The Portabello Mushroom Mulitas is one of the most consistently satisfying vegan entrees I’ve had anywhere. The Mexican chopped salad (without chicken) is nearly as good, featuring grilled corn, roasted peppers, avocado, tomato, apple, pinto beans, red onion, tortilla chips and romaine lettuce tossed in coriander vinaigrette. Border Grill’s chips, salsa (red and green) and guacamole are also marvelous.

The only negative is that it’s a long walk from the main casino area. But, you’ll have a guaranteed payoff for your investment of time and energy.

Raffles Cafe:

A 24/7 source for comfort food in a beautiful setting right off the Mandalay Bay casino floor is Raffles Café. It sounds a bit silly, but enjoying the simple goodness of oatmeal at Raffles is an outstanding way to start or end a day, especially with fresh fruit on the side. I’ve partaken many times. The bottomless strong coffee can help you regain some clear thinking if it was lost in the casino madness.

T&T (Tacos & Tequila):

Luxor has a new Mexican-themed place with a lot of appeal (although I haven’t been able to try it yet) – T&T. Chef Richard Sandoval has created several interesting options. The creative-sounding Mediterraneo burrito includes falafel, tahini, tomato, green bell pepper, mint and tamarind pico de gallo. Mouth watering!

See you soon at one of my old favorites like Border Grill –  or perhaps a new hangout like T&T!

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Check back later for the Vegan’s Dining Guide to the Center Strip!

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