a couple of weeks ago, we had the distinct pleasure of attending a wedding at the grand canyon. a little backstory: the bride is one of my very best friends. we met in grad school; we did our MAs together so long ago that i can now say that i’ve known her for very nearly half my life(!), and we’ve kept our friendship going strong even though we’ve been separated by a heck of a lot of physical distance since the summer of 1996. we got our PhDs in separate parts of the country, and our jobs have never been anywhere near one another. still, we’ve seen each other almost every year at conventions and/or during other times when we could make an excuse for a trip. about a year ago, the almost-unthinkable happened, and we were able to advertise for a position here that fit her perfectly. the stars all aligned, she interviewed, we made an offer, and she accepted… and she’s moving here over the summer so we can be in-person besties again. we’ll work together, and live a mile away from each other, and basically probably drive our husbands insane in a matter of a couple of weeks. MOTHER EFFING HOORAY is an understatement, let me put it that way.
buuut fiiirrst, we got to go see her get hitched at the grand canyon. yay! i’d never been to the grand canyon, and erik had only been once before (when he was 8 or 9 years old), so we were pretty excited. we decided to fly into las vegas because we’d heard some good vegan-friendly things, and we stayed one night at the wynn encore as a splurge. here’s the view from our room (they are twin buildings, essentially):
apparently steve wynn is vegan, so all of his restaurants have vegan menus available and the whole deal. we also planned to hit up ronald’s doughnuts, because… well i don’t really need to say more than “doughnuts” do i?
so anyhow, we were in vegas from thursday early evening until friday mid-day, and we made the most of it… or at least the most of it that a non-gambling, total-square couple can make, ha! we wandered up and down the strip a little bit, we went to see the fountains at the bellagio (totally worth it), and we ate and ate. we also ended up with a Special Guest Star in this little adventure, but i’ma save that for another post because it’s totally that special.
for now, allow me to get to the foodz. on thursday evening we decided we wanted to try the famous burger/fries/chocolate shake combo that is offered at the wynn. initially we were super-bummed to learn that the place only serves lunch, and therefore we had missed it… but THEN our Special Guest Star (to be revealed later) pointed out that we could find it at a separate restaurant that was open for dinner, and we pounced. all three of us ordered the same thing, and then like the total vegans we are, we photographed our food before eating it. here ’tis:
it was really good stuff, but i almost burst trying to eat it all, and i had to give up in the end. i NEVER leave food on my plate, you guys, because it makes me feel guilty (especially if i can’t easily take it in a to-go box), but this time i had to do it or risk barfing in front of our Special Guest Star. i think part of the problem is that the burger was technically a double cheeseburger, which, i haven’t eaten a double cheeseburger since high school and i guess i was a little out of practice. i polished off that shake, though! it was made with coconut milk and it was oh-so-yum.
the next day, we decided to try pura vida for brunch. it was really close to the strip, so it was easy to find, and didn’t take us too far off the beaten path before leaving for the grand canyon. it was a little chaotic and quirky, but i had read a lot of online reviews beforehand, so we were prepared for a bit of weirdness. we sampled all of their various juices and teas (and they were all delicious) and decided to order breakfast food. i went full-on five-year-old (as those of you who know me well will have been able to predict) and ordered the marble waffle, which was a chocolate-vanilla swirl waffle stuffed with bananas and strawberries and topped with bananas and strawberries and then doused in chocolate. i mean, just look at this thing:
it is a festival of sugar, and it was AMAZING. i ate half of it. it also came with a “side” of tofu scramble, and i use the term side extremely loosely because it arrived on a dinner plate. it was really big, it was extremely delicious, and it was different from any other scramble i’d had before. there was a yummy garlicky cheesy sauce in it, which was super great.
and erik had something that was simply called “the wow,” which was basically a homemade puff pastry, filled with tofu and vegan sausage and all kinds of other stuff in it. i forget what all, but it also featured the yummy garlicky cheesy sauce. it, also, was amazing.
i made erik eat half of my waffle, some of my tofu scramble, and he also ate all of his wow (minus the bite that i tried). AND he had one of their fancy iced teas. he was a real trooper. we both left there full as can be, but we still had a Very Important Mission: doughnuts for the road!
once again, we didn’t have far to go and we found it easily. i was so excited i instagram’d before i even got out of the car. [/dork] once inside, we saw that the rumors were all true: two long shelves of vegan options, and we were a little overwhelmed with our choices. eventually we just decided to start pointing at things until we filled a box, and got a bit of variety (some filled, some frosted, some glazed, etc.):
we were SO full from pura vida that we never even touched these until sometime friday night. they were super great, you guys. yeasty and fluffy and doughnut-y. i’m sure they were even more delectable eaten immediately, but we’ll have to save that for a return trip. all in all, we were extremely well-fed in vegas! we swung through at the very end of the weekend for a lunch on the way to the airport, but i’ll save that for later.