Last month we went to Las Vegas… it was the first time for me, the second one for my Mom. Because we’re not that into gambling, we decided to spend our time visiting the fabulous hotels and casinos, lunching at delicious restaurants and at night, enjoy the extraordinary nightlife and shows.
Let’s do this chronologically…
New York New York Hotel – Il Fornaio
We started most of our days with stops at the New York New York hotel – the hotel so nice they had to name it twice :) Our hotel shuttle would leave us to start our daily Vegas adventures. It is also the home for Zumanity, the first of the Cirque du Soleil shows we went to. Nice place to start… it’s a small theater in comparison to the others we saw and the theme is very risqué and very apropos to the image I had in my head of Vegas.
Afterwards we had dinner at Il Fornaio, an Italian restaurant right next to the Zumanity Theater. I’ll be honest – I was for a while confused with this restaurant thinking that it was a Vegas arm of the Rhode Island restaurant Al Forno, famous for developing baked pastas like my favorite Baked Pasta with 4 Cheeses… The names are soooo similar, no? I was disappointed there were no baked pastas suitable for vegetarians, but was glad they had a VEGETARIAN vegetable soup, meaning made with vegetable broth and not chicken broth. It was comforting on a chilly Vegas night.
MGM Grand Resort
The next night we went to see Ka from Cirque du Soleil. SPECTACULAR!!!!! Simply superb… I was so taken by surprise. I did not expect at all the visual overload we experienced. Fully recommend it.
Ka is shown at the MGM Grand Resort. We tried to eat at two places at the MGM Grand – The Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and ‘wichcraft, Tom Colicchio’s sandwich place. We checked out the menu at Wolfgang Puck’s place and it seemed super nice… I loved the ambiance too. It’s an open restaurant that you can see straight from the casino floor, but the day we decided to eat there, CLOSED. Apparently some filming or something… and the sandwich place, we looked for it, but never saw it. Could someone please tell us where it is???
Vegetarian Picnic @ The Grand Canyon
The next day… Grand Canyon Trip. We opted to travel with Grand-Adventures.com because they offered a sunset walking trip. How nice!!! Start with breakfast, followed by a stop at Hoover Dam, another stop somewhere along Route 66, a picnic overlooking the Grand Canyon, some walking thru the Grand Canyon Southern Rim trails and a drive back to Las Vegas.
I was a bit skeptical of the breakfast and lunch options – McDonald’s Breakfast and Arby’s Lunch, WHAT?!?!?! Lucky for us online menus and ingredient lists exist. We could order ANYTHING we wanted at MacDonald’s, but I had not stepped inside a McD in over 10 years. I used to love their fries and chocolate shakes until I learned all their potato products are generously sprinkled with beef broth. Yep!!! But we maneuvered thru the menu and got a Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Apples and Raisins, Apple Pie and Orange Juices. Surprisingly satisfying for a fast-food joint…
And lunch… we could pick among all the Market Fresh sandwich menu at Arby’s, a fast food chain that was very short-lived in Puerto Rico, mostly known for their roast beef sandwiches. Well… because LV is so close to the West Coast, they do not offer them openly in their menu, but you could order a vegetarian sandwich – just imagine any of these sandwiches here, but without the meat filling – 2 kinds of cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions, mustard… you could even order it w/o the mayo. The view was spectacular, so the food, to be honest took second billing.
The next day we went to see O at The Bellagio, the logest-running of the Cirque du Soleil Vegas shows. It’s AMAZING!!! I was afraid people had hyped it so much for me that I would not enjoy it. But it is everything people told me and MORE… I hope I am not overhyping it for you…
But O is not the only spectacular show at The Belaggio… the décor inside the front desk with Chihuly’s glass sculptures on the ceiling, the wonderful interior gardens and the Fountains in front are just sublime. We got to watch a few shows there – some in the afternoons, and a few at night. I got some video, but it does not do them justice. I would definitely stay at this hotel if given the opportunity… lovely, just lovely and elegant.
We went to the later 10PM show for O. We were not hungry before and by the time the show ends at 11:30PM, it was too late to have dinner at Olives by Todd English. I was so much looking forward to eat here because one of the first recipes I did when I discovered online recipes was their marinated olives recipe… We were eating olives for almost a month. I went overboard with the measures, as if I was really doing them for a restaurant crowd. Now Olives is in my TO EAT list on my next Vegas or NYC trip.
Another place we wanted to try was the Mandalay Bay… we visited there one morning and of course all the restaurants were closed still. There we wanted to try several places – Fleur by Hubert Keller, Aureole by Charlie Palmer, with their impressive wine tower where the “Wine Angels” suspend in wires to get your favorite bottle of wine. Amazing, even when they’re just taking inventory in the morning hours…
My mom really was taken by the menu from China Grill, she really wanted some Asian food. Unfortunately, China Grill is only open for dinner and our theater options were not close to Mandalay. I promise her we will eat here on our next trip. And we also wanted to try Border Grill from Top Chef Masters Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. Unfortunately for us, the menu is not very vegetarian-friendly. Although the quinoa fritters Mary Sue made last week on Top Chef Masters seemed interesting enough to consider again.
I hope if you’re vegetarian like us you also get to experience Las Vegas as deliciously was we did… and until the next trip, Ta ta!!!