I have to say I find it much easier going vegan now than if I did it, say, 5 years ago. It used to be when you said you were vegetarian, you basically got a plate of steamed or grilled vegetables. Ooooh! What imagination!
But, veganism is becoming much more mainstream that restaurants are starting to accommodate! It’s not uncommon now to have menus with little wheat or corn symbols denoting items that are vegan or gluten-free. And the changes are not just at the fancy places like Steve Wynn’s hotel in Las Vegas, but to retail chains such as The Yardhouse. Here are a few of my favorite finds!
~ Sensi at The Bellagio, Las Vegas ~
I read about this restaurant on “The Vegas Vegan” blog series. In it, she talked about her three (count them, one, two, three) trips to Sensi in as many nights. On her last night, the chef had created a vegan risotto off menu, with chanterelle mushrooms, lemon grass, fava beans, English peas, saffron and morrel mushrooms. As she put it, it was the best risotto she had ever had in her life. Since writing the review, the general manager, Jason Reiplinger, responded and said that they had received many requests for the famed risotto that they officially made it a menu item. Well! I just knew I had to try it!
My friend and great Vegan inspiration, Laura, and I took a road trip one weekend to taste this heavenly wonder and I will say, we were not disappointed. We started off with the Veg-E-Roll and sugar snap peas, which were perfectly sauteed with basil, garlic, and soy. Incidentally, our server was great because he went on his own back to the kitchen to verify that our Veg-E-Roll was vegan (which it wasn’t because they add fish sauce, so he had them make it without.) Then it was time for the piece de resistance! The risotto was slightly different from the original, with carrots now, sweet peas, fava beans and meyer lemon, but it was every bit as savory I’m sure. Last, we finished off with a sorbet trio presented to us in an ice-carved conch shell! Truly amazing!
~ Disneyland ~
My sister and I enjoyed a day at the happiest place on earth. I had done a little bit of research and learned that they serve a vegan dish at the Blue Bayou. We enjoyed rice rolls for lunch (recipe on previous post) and then splurged for dinner. The Portobello Mushroom and Couscous Maque Choux was wonderful! There was a fluffy bed of roasted corn and bell pepper couscous and then three LARGE portobello mushrooms stacked on top. The mushrooms were marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette and then broiled. To finish off the tower was a crown of sauteed spinach. It was a lot of food that we even had to pack up leftovers!
My sister had brought a mini vegan chocolate cake with her to celebrate my birthday. The server came out to offer us dessert at that moment and we told him I was vegan. Instead, I got a “Happy Birthday” pin (which was great because then all the ride operators and shop employees say ‘happy birthday’ to you), but then he said that if we ever go to any of the restaurants in the park, there is always a chef on the premises so they can specially make a vegan dish. Good advice!
~ The Yardhouse ~
I love how The Yardhouse has started to offer Gardein(TM) “chicken and beef”. Some of the dishes are still not vegan (i.e. Gardein(TM) (Mac + Cheese)2), but others can be veganized by leaving out the cheese or getting a different dressing. The boneless wings, chicken rice bowl, beef sliders (minus the bearnaise sauce), just to name a few. Now, I can eat vegan while still going to a chain restaurant (and not get the dreaded vegetable plate)!