Showing posts with label vegetarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetarian. Show all posts

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Vegetarian Las Vegas Part 4

Friday morning was a work related lecture at the Rio. Lunch was provided and was excellent; roasted veggies, assorted cheeses, breads, fruit and veggies. Quite surprising for conference food. The wife had a salad and good coffee at the Giorgio cafe at Mandalay Bay. She had a nice pasta salad with bocconcini and fresh basil, and cheap too.
After a nice walk on the strip, we went to the Venetian for an early dinner. We ate at Enoteca San Marco. There was a short wait to get a table, which is always a good sign. The food was quite good for casual dining. We had a fabulous selection of goat and cow cheeses, with antipasto and accompaniments. After that, we had bitter broccoli with spicy lemon oil and grilled eggplant and roasted peppers. Both of these selection were excellent. Even the Margherita pizza was excellent. Follow that up with a Negroni with Tanqueray 10 and a few signature martinis and you have one great meal. Even if the staff were completely unaware of the menu; the bartender sure had his act together. There were even roaming operatic singers than we could hear while sitting on their 'patio'. Highly recommended.

Saturday was the breakfast buffet at Mandalay Bay. Lots of veggie options; much like the Luxor, but much more. At $16, it wasn't cheap but it was very good. There was as much better fruit selection. There was smoked salmon for any fishetarians. Again watch for the wrapped pastries, some container ham. We even were able to make and smuggle out a couple sandwiches we made.

We were stuffed until dinner which was at the Mandalay Bay buffet. I'm not sure of the cost because it was part of our friends wedding package. Gotta love the sponsors. The selection was huge: pasta bar with many sauces, Tex/Mex, very fresh salads with lots of toppings, and lots of Asian foods. Just watch the egg rolls. The breads were like rocks but they had excellent hummus and baba ganoush. If you do seafood they had lots and even sushi. There was large selection of great deserts. Even this meal passed the dummy test.

After a good walking and lots of socializing, it was back to Giorgio cafe for pizza, terramiso and good decaf espresso.

Sadly on Sunday it was time to go. There was just the basic food for vegetarians at the airport. The Asian food place had fresh edamame, but they were always sold out and the veggie sushi looked very sad.

Overall we found that there was lots of vegetarian options in Las Vegas. If you will note we never ate at Subway once. From a previous trip, we learned that the Caesar's food court had lots of options. Perhaps the smartest thing we did was go to Traders Joe's and got food for the room. There was a Whole Foods that was even closer.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Vegetarian Las Vegas Part 3

This was the big meal we had been looking forward to. We have been to higher end restaurants before, but none of them had a dedicated Vegetarian menu. The service and presentation was flawless. So let's begin.
We were started with a sampler of carrot and ginger soup, which was suburb. The sweetness of the carrots was balanced nicely with the spiciness of the ginger. There was not too much ginger. We actually like this better than the soup course.

  1. Market Baby Lettuces. Heirloom tomatoes, avocado, Ellis reserve blue cheese. Wine: 2006 Huia Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough. This is a fancy salad, but the blue cheese was the most amazing thing I have every tasted. I almost licked the plate. The wine was a great pairing, nice and light.
  2. Sweet Onion Veloute. Green Apple, Celery, Pickled red onion. Wine 2005 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 'Vielles Vignes, Burgundy. Essentially this was creamy sweet onion soup with green apple sauce, but it was very, very, very good.
  3. Roquefort Cheese Souffle. Pear Salad with Port reduction. Wine 2003 Chateau Gravas, Sauternes. The highlight of this course was the wine, it had a similar sweetness to a dessert or ice wine.
  4. Roasted Vegetable Pot Pie. Braised Fennel, Baby Carrot, Roasted Mushrooms. Wine 2004 Martinus Pinot Noir, Martinborough, New Zealand. We traveled hundreds of miles, paid $85 per person, and you serve us pot pie! Contents 2 baby carrots, a fennel bit and three mushrooms, real let down. At least it was presented nicely. The mushrooms at least were not buttons. Wine was nice though.
  5. Desert was a Tasting of Michael Mina Signature desserts: Warm Chocolate Cake, Coconut Panna Cotta, Mini Root Beer Float and chocolate chip cookies. Wine 2000 Dow 'Late Bottled Vintage' Port. The chocolate lava cake with the port was heavenly. A very uncomplicated dessert which tasted incredible.
When the cheque arrived they also let us sample some smaller chocolates and pastries. I also ordered an espresso which came with a side of sugar and lemon rind. This was a very nice touch. We were there for over two hours and never felt rushed. The portions were not overly small, but after two hours you felt nicely satisfied. It was truly an unforgettable meal. We only had one complaint; at a restaurant such as this you must have a complaint. It makes you feel like more of a foodie, even if you are not. We noticed a heavy reliance on cheese for flavour in every course. That was the only complaint; except for the pot pie. Again, this meal passed the tummy test.
We will visit this restaurant again, without question.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Vegetarian's Trip to Las Vegas (Part 2)

Now back to the show..
Thursday was filled with good veggie eats and violence.
The buffet at the Luxor was full of great options for vegetarians. For $12 bucks we had omelets, scrambled eggs with great salsa, blackberries and waffles. Just be careful of wrapped pastries; some of them had ham in it. The apple crepes were very good. As always the tummies passed the test.

Then the men caught a cab to The Gun Store. The cab ride cost about $20. We chose this range over the Discount Firearms range; we were not sure why but are sure glad we did. In was a very well run indoor gun range focused on the tourist business. Almost assembly line, yet personalized. You walked up the counter and choose your weapon of choice, then your target, paid your money, grabbed eye and ear protection before someone lead you into the range to set you up. Meterman choose the MP5, a glock and an AK47. Flavius went high end and got a Desert Eagle, P90 and the AK47. A very, very fun time; not cheap though. Most of the free Las Vegas entertainment magazines have a $5 coupon to use at the store; we forgot ours. They even let us bring in our video cameras.

After drinking a few beers in our hotel room (Mandalay Bay), we got a call from our ladies in the Caesars Forum. They felt we should walk to the Cheese Cake Cafe and meet them for lunch. Sure, we were up to a 1/2 hour fast walk. The Cheese Cake Cafe had lots of options for veggies; we shared the edamame and tamale cakes. Both were very good and two people easily shared them. They also had Fat Tire Amber Ale ON TAP! No review on this one; all I will say is that this beer is my favourite. It is a lighter, Belgian inspired ale. I only wish I could find this beer on a regular basis.

In part 3 we will reveal the gastronomic hedonism that was Micheal Mina vegetarian menu.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Vegetarian's Trip to Las Vegas (Part 1)

As we have learned on prior trips, Las Vegas is not the greatest city for vegetarians. The availability of 'creative' vegetarian options is small. Surprisingly, not once did we eat at subway.

We arrived on Wednesday after doing our research. The first smart idea was to hire a limo over the internet. It was well worth the expenditure; our friends had to walk for miles and wait in long lines for a cab. Our driver was by our baggage pickup with a little sign with our name on it. The limo cost about 60 bucks versus a 20 dollar crazy cab ride.

While lounging in our limo, with a complimentary cold Dasani in hand, we drove not to the hotel but to Trader Joe's. We thought about going to Whole Foods, but we liked the unique selection of foods at Joe's better. After picking up supplies: lots of fruit, meal bars, goat brie, crackers, single malt scotch, beer, chocolate covered edamames and lots of water, we headed to the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Looking back I would have bought more water.

Since this is Beer-Strike I feel I should rate this beer. I got a six pack of a microbrew called Kennebunkport Blueberry Wheat ale. Since this was a hotel room beer, it was drank from the bottle and chilled in a bathroom sink full of ice. So details concerning aroma, colour and head are not available for comment. Also in-game enhancement could not be determined; I was not going to pay $14 per day for wireless at our hotel. It tasted like your standard wheat ale with the added flavour of blueberries. I found it to be a very easy drinking and flavourful brew, I wish I could find this one at home. It would be one of my favourites. Meterman said, "In a city where tall can BUD rules, I was proud to drink this on the strip. I especially like the fact that my burps smelled, and tasted, like ripened blueberries."

We had a quick bite at the Burger Bar at Mandalay Place. The was a place when you chose your burger, bun and toppings to create your own burger. I got the vegetarian burger with sweet potato fries and the Mrs got the 'vegan' burger. True to form the burger came plain with a huge load of fries. There was ketchup, mustard and A1 sauce at the table so things ended up fine. The vegan burger was essentially grilled veggies between two portabello mushrooms and a huge mountain of plain fries. We were unable to consume that many carbs, so most of the fries went back. The burgers were excellent. The beer list featured an extensive listing of on tap brews, most of them were Belgians or Chimay. I had the white/triple which is hard to find at home. The Mrs had an English style cider (I forget the name), but it was the best one she has had since Scrumpy. After 20% tip and exchange the bill came to a very reasonable $48 bucks.

There are a few types of vegetarians who review restaurants. The question asking types; "What is in your cooking oil?", "Do you have a separate pan for cooking vegetarian?", etc, etc. We use the 'tummy test' method. Usually if we come into contact with animal products, our stomachs let us know. While this is a little ostrich-like, it is our way. None of the restaurants listed caused any stomach upset at all.

Part two will feature the Vegetarian menu at Michael Mina. One of the top five restaurants in Las Vegas.