Tag: Brennan McConnell Griner

Eating Vegan in Vegas

Eating vegan while on vacation can be difficult because of the unfamiliarity with veg-friendly options in the area. Recently, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada, and I thought I’d chronicle everything I ate as a vegan and what I thought.

I ended up eating all my meals on the property of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. But, because of the denseness of the Vegas strip, there are many businesses and hotels within walking distance of the building. Attractions that take five minutes or less to walk to include the Miracle Mile Mall, Bellagio Fountains, Eiffel Tower Experience, and the AXIS at Planet Hollywood. You can also walk a slightly longer distance and get to Caesar’s Palace, the Flamingo, the High Roller, and The Shops at Crystals.

Day 1
Dinner: The Juice Standard – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Berry Antioxidizing Smoothie and Chipotle Avocado Toast
Thoughts:I thought The Juice Standard was quirky, offering 100% organic and healthy food, in addition to a lot of alcoholic beverages. There were lots of vegan options here – I ended up going three times. The first time, I got the Berry Antioxidizing Smoothie and Chipotle Avocado Toast. The food was really tasty; although, the wait was unbelievably long, even with no one ahead of us in line. There isn’t any seating, so it’s best to go when you’re looking for something to eat/drink on the move.
Rating: (4 / 5)

Day 2
Brunch: Holsteins – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Vegan Coconut Raspberry Milkshake (shared), Urth Burger (add wild mushrooms)
Thoughts: The milkshake was extremely delectable and a very generous serving (good for sharing). It was also topped with coconut whipped cream. I thought they did a great job with the milkshake because I sometimes feel that coconut-based dairy alternatives have an overpowering coconut flavor, but this milkshake was very fruity. The burger was good, but the patty was more like a traditional veggie burger (mushy) and less of a meat imitation. This is a fantastic place to eat with non-vegan friends/family, and the service was excellent in our case.
Notes: The onion rings have a buttermilk batter, so stick with fries, sweet potato fries, or salad as your side.
Rating: (4 / 5)

Dinner: Beauty and Essex – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Avocado, Lemon & Espelette Toast
Thoughts: The restaurant is a very pricey, but the atmosphere is super cool. I recommend this place if you’re looking for a fancy dinner. The toast was excellent but a medium/small portion. I recommend the Tandoori Spiced Tofu as a more substantial, filling meal which my dad got, and I was able to try.
Notes: Only open for dinner, get reservations
Rating: (5 / 5)

Late night snack: The Juice Standard – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Acai Crunch
Thoughts: Out of all the menu items I tried at The Juice Standard, the Acai Crunch was my least favorite. The granola was not my favorite, and all the ingredients were stacked vertically in a thin cup which made it hard to reach your spoon in and get multiple flavors at once.
Rating: (2 / 5)

Day 3
Breakfast: The Juice Standard (again) – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Field Greens Salad Wrap with lemon-dill vinaigrette
Thoughts: The Field Greens Wrap is good option for breakfast – it’s filling but very light. It wasn’t my favorite thing I had at The Juice Standard, but I would still recommend it if you’re looking for something leafy.
Rating: (3 / 5)

Lunch: China Poblano – Cosmopolitan Hotel
What I got:
Guacamole, Dong Bei Mushrooms, Happy Buddha Vegetable Spring Rolls and Wok-roasted Chinese Long Beans (shared everything)
Thoughts: China Poblano combines Chinese and Mexican cuisine. Although barely any main menu items are vegan-friendly, you can create a substantial meal of sides. The guacamole is made tableside, which allows you to ask for modifications on spice level or ingredients (make sure to specify no cheese on top). The mushrooms were my favorite, in addition to the guacamole, but everything I had was tasty.
Rating: (4 / 5)

Pink Dal

bowl of spices

Serves 4-6
Approx. Time: 45 mins
Spice Level: Medium

Dal is an Indian stew made with lentils and can be served in a bowl or on top of rice or bread. This specific kind of dal uses red/pink lentils called Masoor lentils. The recipe is completely vegan and is great for anyone who likes or wants to try Indian food.

Part A
2/3 cup pink Masoor lentils
2 2/3 cups water
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
2 teaspoons salt

Cook above items in pressure cooker for two steams (if you have a pressure cooker that steams, rests, and steams again) or for 15 minutes with a consistent steam. Allow to cool. When ready, loosen top.

Meanwhile…

Part B
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 inch ginger (chopped)
1 whole dry chili
1 stem curry leaf (Can find at small Indian grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon grey cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon oil
Cilantro leaves (for garnish)

Place a small “fry” bowl over a low flame.
Place oil and mustard seeds in the bowl. 
When seeds start popping… add chili, garlic, ginger & cumin seeds.
When the garlic begins to brown, add curry leaf, then turmeric.
Remove fry bowl from flame, and immerse bowl and contents into cooked lentil mix. Hold pressure cooker lid over the pot to catch the steam and flavors. You should notice a smoky, rich flavor in the steam that escapes.
Dal is ready to serve and is nice with cilantro as a garnish.

Chickpea Snack

chickpeas

Serves 4-6
Approx. Time: 20-30 mins

My family was given this recipe by a friend, and we have since made some tweaks to the original. It’s a delicious, low calorie Indian snack. Excellent for parties!

1 tbsp. coriander
1 tbsp. cumin
½ tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. red chili
1 can of chickpeas
2 small tomatoes, grated
¼ cup onion, chopped
½’’ ginger, grated
1 green chili, halved
¼ cup oil

Step 1: Fry onions, green chili, ginger, and tomatoes in oil. Stir for 5-6 minutes.

Step 2: Add spices, and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add chickpeas (drained) and steam 15 minutes.

Step 3: Garnish with a few onion slices, lemon wedges, and/or a few stalks of cilantro, and enjoy!