Urban Backpacker Travels: Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas:  This was my second time going to Vegas.  The first time I tagged along with some co-workers (we were all en route to a training in Pheonix).  I never had any desire to go to Vegas, but I figured this was as good as time as any to see what the hype was all about. I expected to hate it, but I loved it!  I don't gamble, but I do dance, and dancing is something you can always do for hours in Vegas.  The ladies who I went with the first time around decided another trip was in order, and this time I eagerly joined in.

We arrived late Thursday night and immediately got dressed to go out.  The night was full of dancing, followed by late night (early morning?) pizza (everyone else) and a grilled veggie wrap (me).  Friday we all woke up fairly early, despite the late night (funny how you always seem awake in Vegas) and composed ourselves enough for brunch at Bouchon Bistro, Thomas Keller's French restaurant in the Venetian.  I didn't have high expectations for the meal: First, it was brunch which is typically hard to navigate as a vegan.  Second, it's French, again hard to navigate because of the butter and heavy cream that (generally) seem to make their way into all French dishes. So I was pleasantly surprised that there were a number to vegetable side dishes which, on my request, could be made without butter, cream, or any other animal products. I got some delightful potatoes and garlic spinach.  Along with strong coffee with soymilk, this was quite the perfect breakfast.  

Most of Friday was spent by the pool.  We had a late lunch at Riva (Wolfgang Puck's restaurant located next to the Venetian pool).  We ordered "deconstructed" nachos for the table and I got a pretty good kale salad.  I also managed to sneak off for a run.  Yes, I went for a run in Vegas.  Running is my absolute favorite way to see a place and get my bearings, and there was so much to see along the strip, I was entertained and run for quite some time before feeling the lack of sleep and heat and time change.  I nabbed a post-run juice at Walgreens - pretty amazing that some Walgreens now have juice and smoothie bars - and then proceeded to nap until it was time to go out.  While we were getting ready, I shared some of the homemade energy balls that I had brought with me, and they were a huge hit! Recipe to come soon...Friday night was more dancing and some live music by Avicii!  I couldn't make it to the end of the concert (pretty sure it lasted until 5 or 6AM), so a few of us headed back a bit early for another late night snack and then much needed sleep.  

Saturday was another pool day, but this time we had plans to go to the pool party at TAO.  I knew I had some studying to do, so I just went to the party for a little while to see what it was like and to get some food.  The pool party wasn't too crazy when we got there, but by the time I left things were picking up. That night we had even bigger plans - fancy dinner at Jose Andres's Julian Serrano and then the Thunder from Down Under show.  Dinner was great - it was small plates and they had a separate vegetarian and vegan menu with tons of options that everyone could enjoy.  TFDU was an intresting experience. When in Vegas... 

And then it was Sunday and time to leave.  Next stop, Orlando!  We'll save that for another post...

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