Elise: Vegas for Vegans

Today’s guest poster is my very favorite hungry hippie! Elise is getting married soon as well, and she kindly wrote her guest post for me about her crazy fun bachelorette party in Las Vegas (I have never been – and now I want to go!). Enjoy!

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Hello! Elise here from Hungry Hungry Hippie. I don’t always introduce myself with such enthusiasm, but this post is not of the ordinary.

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…ever since I returned from Vegas, I’ve been meaning to post about how to eat, drink, and be merry in the City of Sin. However, if there is one thing that I struggled with throughout my bachelorette weekend, it was capturing sober food pictures on film.

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Thankfully, my friends were kind enough to hook me up with photos from the weekend, and so when Maggie asked me to do a guest post relating to my bridal experience, I figured why not showcase Las Vegas in all its glory. A bachelorette party counts as bridal prep right? Right. Plus, it’s been a great help in filling in the gaps in my memory of the whole affair.

And so, may I present to you, the healthy(ish)-girl-on-a-budget guide to getting through Vegas.

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For the record, Smirnoff Ice is neither vegan nor tasty. That said, getting “iced” before you even leave for the airport certainly gets you in the mood to P-A-R-T-Y!

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The above pic is only one of the reasons you should fly on Virgin.  Another reason?  They have a 70 pound weight limit on luggage…

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Do you know how much 10 bottles of champagne1 handle of Vodka, and a double air mattress weigh?  Only 59 lbs.

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Do you know how much money BYOB saves you?  Mucho.

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And staying in a penthouse suite, with a kitchen bigger than my previous NYC apartment, doesn’t hurt either.

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Let the EtOH flow!

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Now that we’ve covered how to minimize the liquor bill, let’s move onto food.

Allow me to open with a little disclaimer.  My pre-trip research was minimal and my knowledge on the gourmet dining options is far from extensive.  Our goal was to keep things cheap, within walking distance, and vegan-friendly, so, if nothing else, this post will be economical.

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Caesar’s Palace has restaurants up the yin yang.  There’s Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, and Las Vegas’ only James Beard award winner, Bradley Ogden, as well as Michelin two star recipient Restaurant Guy Savoy.  But there’s also a nice little area called the Cypress Street Marketplace, that has several casual cafe-style dining options.  It’s perfect for large groups that want different cuisines.  Mediterranean, Chinese, Mexican, BBQ, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizza…you name it, it’s there…and in the center of it all is a common dining area.

I went with a hummus and veggie wrap (minus the tzatziki and feta cheese)

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…and 4 beers.

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What!?  It was 2-for-the-price-of-1 icon smile Elise: Vegas for Vegans  I’m no econ major, but I know a deal when I see one.

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Who wouldn’t get on board?

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Skipping straight ahead to the next morning…

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Bringing snacks is a cheap way to tide you over between real meals, and it’s a nice way to nurse a hangover. May I suggest:

  • Kirkland trail mix
  • Water bottles (x 50)
  • Clif bars
  • Champagne
  • Dried fruit
  • More water

Classy?  Debatable.

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Other key items in hangover prevention survival: Mrs. May’s Trio bars, water, and Whole Foods’ catering.

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I really wish I had taken more photos of the platters, but I wasn’t in the best shape.  You understand, right?

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Being the crafty planners we are, we arranged for a delivery in advance.  We got the assorted bagel platter and a fruit platter.  Maybe we were a bit bold in having the delivery arrive at 9 am, but at least it got us up!

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We even got our dinner platters then (see below photos), which allowed us flexibility in planning around the rest of the day/night’s activities.

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We stored the platters in the fridge all day and as difficult as it was to not dig in throughout the afternoon, come dinner time, it was SUCH a relief.  Cheap and simple with no thought required (you have to remember, we were operating on very few brain cells at this point, so the more pre-planning, the better).

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Whole wheat/white pitas, sushi, grilled veggies, spinach salad, and the Mediterranean Dipping Platter.

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VN = vegan
VT = vegetarian

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Veggies anyone?

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Oh baby!  Hummus and pitas galore.

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In total, we had a feast big enough for our party…and then some.  Seriously, so much food. Whole Foods’ catering platters are far bigger than they lead on.

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As for lunches, we went to the exact same place both days (creature of habit?).  We were staying at the Vdara in the new CityCenter, which was absolutely amazing (no smoking + no gaming = spa like vacation).  However, they didn’t have the best dining options.  The poolside eats were super pricey and the portions were TINY.  Fortunately, the CityCenter’s sister hotel, the Aria, has several casual restaurants.

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Cafe Vettro is open 24 hours on the Casino level of the Aria – and it serves good food with reasonable prices.  I ordered the Asian Chicken Salad (without the chicken) for lunch BOTH days we were in Vegas.  It was so good!  If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it – right?

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I only wish I had taken pics of my meal [blogger fail].  My plate was piled high with tons and tons of veggies (edamame, bell peppers, celery, the works…).  Plus, the dressing was great and it was a very generous portion (they even gave me extra veggies since I cut the chicken).  I am rarely so pleased with salads that I don’t make myself, and I didn’t have the highest expectations with this one (I mean, it’s Vegas, not New York).  But I’m happy to report that this salad was 100% awesome.  The rest of my girls loved their dishes too, so it’s a crowd pleaser if you are in a big group.

Just remember, Las Vegas is not cheap, but there are tons of good options that don’t feature award-winning chefs.  Finding the middle ground between fine dining and buffets requires minimal work, but I suggest you do it while sober.  Hopefully this post was a tiny bit helpful…and don’t forget to have fun!

Happy wedding and honeymoon Maggie!!

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Thanks, Elise icon smile Elise: Vegas for Vegans I want to visit Las Vegas now! (But Maui has been awesome so far.)

If you’ve been to Las Vegas, what’s your favorite thing to do/eat? If you haven’t, do you want to go?

4 Comments on Elise: Vegas for Vegans

  1. Sagan
    2 August, 2010 at 10:12 am (4 years ago)

    This made me laugh! Ah bachelorette parties. Good times. Love the lunging/drinking shot.. and you can never go wrong with a platter full of bagels. Mmm.

  2. Lara (Thinspired)
    2 August, 2010 at 2:25 pm (4 years ago)

    Elise, I love this post, because I love Vegas, and I love you. I’m totally with ya on the BYOB in Vegas. Your stash is hilarious and makes me smile. Thanks for sharing your ahem, healthy tips ;)

  3. Alisa - Frugal Foodie
    2 August, 2010 at 4:24 pm (4 years ago)

    If you don’t want to carry a heavy bag, there are ABC stores on the strip (planet hollywood, near MGM, and fashion show mall) that sell alcohol and other drinks / snacks for a very good price.

    There are many good vegan restos off strip, and many high-end ones on strip that will cater to vegan requests, but for a cheap afternoon lunch, head to Chipotle near Harrah’s. It has off-strip prices!