July 16, 2010

Vegas Vacation!

Hello all! If you've noticed the lack of posting, it's because I was on vacation in Las Vegas. My cousin tied the knot, so my family and I headed out to the desert to be a part of her big day. This was a very exciting trip for me, not because of my cousin's wedding, but because it was the first "big" vacation I've be able to take since 2005!! (Which ironically was to visit the very same cousin in Scottsdale, AZ while she was in college.)

I did a lot of research for gluten free restaurants in the area. I know how to order a meal wherever I'm at, but that usually consists of a salad or plain grilled chicken or meat. I love when I come across a place with gluten free hamburger buns or gluten free pizza. During my vacation homework I was able to find a bunch of places that were gluten free friendly, many with the help of Jennifer Sullivan from the Las Vegas Celiac Disease Support Group.

I found three really great places I wanted to check out, first Sammy's Wood Fired Pizza for their much talked about gluten free pizza and other gluten free items. I mean, look at that menu, wood fired pizza with Brie cheese and truffle oil!! (Please open a location in Chicago, Sammy!)

Second, Atomic #7 for their gluten free waffle cones! Not just that, their ice cream is organic and vegan! They even have dairy free ice cream in the likes of soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, and lactose free milk. I could definitely go for one of their Out of This World Ice Cream Flavor Combos!

Lastly, I was looking forward to breakfast at The Cracked Egg for some gluten free pancakes! Yum!

Sadly I did not make it to ANY of these restaurants. All were a cab ride away from the strip where I was staying and with all of the things we had planned (if you are in Vegas, you HAVE to see The Beatles: LOVE Cirque du Soleil show, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!) we just didn't have time to visit venture out to Henderson.

Still, I DID safely enjoy some wonderful food. A huge round of applause to the Hard Rock cafe on the strip. Our server was a total rockstar and was able to answer all of my questions (Do the fries have any sort of flour or batter coating? Are they fried in the same oil as the breaded items?) After we placed the order, my sister and I ran to the ladies room to wash our hands. When we returned a man with a killer mullet was chillin' at our table talking to the rest of the family. When I sat down, I found out he was the manager and came to discuss "who's got the gluten allergy" He wanted to know how sensitive I was and that they are doing everything they can to prevent cross contamination in the kitchen. Wow...that was really nice. I order this piece of deliciousness:

A Grilled Granny Smith Apple with Provolone Burger. No bun, but bursting with lots of flavors, seasoned beef, tart granny smith apples, salty crunchy bacon, caramelized onions, and melted provolone cheese. And of course those yummy just potato fries. It was every bit of amazing as it sounds. After we finished and my brother polished off an Apple Cobbler dessert, the general manager stopped by to make sure everything was to our satisfaction and encouraged us to visit the rest of the cafe/museum. We headed up to the third floor were I came across MC Hammer's legendary hammer pants. They were definitely too legit.

For brunch the next day, some of the family hit the buffet, but my sister and I headed over to Serendipity 3 in Caesars Palace. I'd been the original New York location years ago (and I loooove the movie - John Cusack *swoon*) so I was super excited to see one in Vegas! We decided to split an appetizer and then go all out with the ice cream desserts. We ordered nachos with grilled chicken (they came with beef, black beans, cheese, guacamole, pico di gallo, and sour cream) and then used our coupon for a free frozen hot chocolate. So much food, we couldn't even make it through the nachos. Everything was phenomenal and we so desperately wanted to return for those sundaes we promised ourselves (didn't happen - next time!)

Prior to The Beatles: LOVE show, we dined at The Range in Harrah's. A typical steakhouse, luckily because they were not very knowledgeable on food allergies. I asked my questions and after being reassured that the au gratin potatoes were safe, they arrived topped with bread crumbs (well I thought maybe they'd be ok since they were an upscale restaurant). When asked if they came without breadcrumbs, I was told they were already prepared with them. Um...ok. I had grilled asparagus and garlic potato wedges instead. Tasty! Unfortunately some of the other members of my family didn't have the greatest experience either (under cooked fish that tasted very fishy...not fresh at all. Then again we were in the desert, couldn't exactly catch it that morning.)

The following morning, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville at the Flamingo sounded about right after a long night out. Excellent choice indeed. Perfect hash browns and a SoCal omelet filled with fresh avocado, bacon, and jack cheese. I could have eaten it for every meal.

The wedding dinner followed later that day. No pics, but tons of amazing (and waaay too much) food at NOVE Italiano. My cousin winked at me as the food came around, she already took care of mine and my mom's meals. When I told the server I was gluten free and if anything could be prepared without the glutens, he already had the heads up. I was able to eat a lot of the items served family style, but a special salad came around sans croutons. Three different gelatos finished off the meal. Upstairs in the Palms celebrity suite, cupcakes filled the table. Gluten galore, but after a few cocktails I ate a Hershey kiss off the top of one and licked a tiny bit of frosting off. I bet they were good.

The last day of the trip we ate at Caesars Palace again, this time at Augustus Cafe. I had a wonderful Cobb Salad. Free of gluten, filled with flavor.

So there you have it. A gluten free Vegas success story. If you head out there, I highly recommend all of these places. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to hit up the three restaurants I mentioned at the beginning of the post. If you do, let me know how they were!

Did any of you guys vacation this summer? Where was your favorite gluten free meal?


Grace said...

Great post thank you Betsy! Have a blessed week.

Chandice said...

Looks like a blast!!!

El Cid Vacation said...

Yummy food! Is the apple burger good?

Betsy said...

It's delicious! Highly recommended, Ed!

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

Lord, that all looks DELISH!!!!

Jrow said...

I'm leaving today for Vegas, hope to stay gluten free!

Christy said...

Toooooo funny. I was looking into taking a Vegas trip and searched for gf vegas and low and behold there you were at the top of the search page!! Too neat and your blog answered a lot of my questions. But being vegan, do you think Vegas has a lot to offer too? Plain salads would get old.

Betsy said...

Christy - plain salads definitely get old! I had to jazz it up with the meat and veggies sans bread. I wasn't vegan at the time I went, so I'm not sure how well that would go over. I would have to investigate if there were any raw foods/juice bars in town. Maybe? If I went back today, I'm not sure what I'd eat!!