Blossoming Lotus Winter Lunch

 

On a recent wintery day (my birthday, which was actually eons ago, in February), my roommate and I went to Blossoming Lotus for lunch. It’s a short walk from the house, and with raw, vegan and gluten-free options, it’s an easy choice when we’re hungry.

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Note my Our Hen House bag by my side.

 

I started with a cup of coffee and soy milk.

 

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And we shared two entrees. The wraps here are big, and filling, and perfect to split if you’re with a dining companion.

The first is a wrap with lots of veggies and white bean spread. You can put white bean spread in anything and I’ll eat it. (Michele from Vegtastic Voyage recently made her first white bean spread. I’m hoping she’ll share with me next time.) Bo Lo’s white bean spread is reallllly good, too.

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Yurm.

 

The second wrap we shared is always extraordinarily delicious. With bbq soy curls and greens, I easily demolished my half. This is exactly what I crave when I crave Blo Lo.

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I am, in fact, craving it right now just looking at this picture.

 

My other posts featuring Blossoming Lotus:

Blossoming Lotus Lunch with Friends

Blossoming Lotus Brunch

Note: I think I like writing about Blo Lo so much because the natural lighting in there lends itself so easily to photographs.

Vegan Dining at The Wynn, Las Vegas: Snacks, Cocktails and a Failed Brunch

 

 

In addition to eating at fancy-pantsy vegan restaurants all weekend at The Wynn, our wedding party group definitely did some random snacking and drinking throughout the casino.

In no particular order, here we go.

We didn’t spend too much time by the slots, but when we did, I stuck to the nickel slots. One time I was feeling all high roller-y and did the quarter slots. I lost my $5 immediately.

I did win $2 on Friday night, though (before adventures at the Playboy Club and after seeing Jonathan Davis—of Korn fame—spin at a nightclub. Who am I, again?).

Proof: (and proof I rocked some pretty hardcore sparkles)

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When I was at the slots, my go-to drink was a vodka press. For those who have never been to Vegas, cocktail waitresses offer you free drinks while you’re gambling. Just don’t forget to tip!  A vodka press is a shot of vodka, half 7-up and half soda water. With a squeeze of lime, it’s refreshing and easy to drink. 

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Vodka Press. You can see my pretty gold nails and Millie’s pretty pretty wedding dress in the background.

 

On Millie’s wedding night, while everyone played Pai Gow or something at an actual table with an actual dealer, Millie and I took a walk and stopped for a drink at Parasol Up, a beautiful little bar with an intriguing cocktail menu, still in The Wynn.

I really really wanted to to order The Parisian Apricot (Cognac infused with apricots, Tahitian vanilla and star anise) but our server swayed us. She said, “Can I tell you something? Can I be honest with you? That drink is…. TERRIBLE. Do not order it. Order something else. Anything else.”

She was so adamant and we so appreciated her honesty that we both changed our minds. I’m still so intrigued by the description, though….

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Doesn’t that Apricot Sour sound SOOOOO GOOD? Minus the egg whites, of course. Well, we will never know. 

I ended up ordering the Sinatra Smash instead. As a rule, I stay away from whiskey and bourbon (trust me, it’s in the best interest of everyone around me, unless you want me kissing and loving on you all night), but this drink sounded divine. Muddled blackberries?  Crème de Cassis? (Crème de Cassis is a blackcurrant flavored liquor, and I go nuts for blackcurrants.) Yes, please!

 

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Probably the most disappointing experience was had at Brunch on Sunday morning. Hold on, I take it back. DEFINITELY the most disappointing experience was had Brunch on Sunday morning.

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Don’t be fooled by the beautiful displays of fruit, flowers and vegetables.

 

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Brunch at The Buffet is all-you-can-eat, and at about $35 a pop, that’s not too bad, for Vegas standards.

Apparently, though, even though every single other restaurant and café in The Wynn has a separate vegan menu (which I will reiterate: IS AWESOME and was not taken for granted AT ALL all weekend), the brunch buffet does not have a separate vegan menu. And unfortunately, we all had to pay up front to find this out. The offerings were very disappointing (roasted potatoes and cantaloupe for $35? No thanks!) and though the Chef was very nice and very accommodating (thank you, sir!), we just couldn’t stomach paying so much for so little.

We each got refunds and headed out to the pool instead. No big loss, really. Several people ordered the vegan chicken and waffles again from The Terrace Point Café, but I just headed to a little café and ordered a blueberry muffin and an iced coffee. The cost came in at just under $10, which seemed like such a good deal at the time. It’s amazing how quickly I acclimated to shelling out the big bucks all weekend.

 

Before we departed Sunday night, I enjoyed a nice solo cup of coffee at Parasol Down, a café that offers a beautiful view of a waterfall and even includes a periodic light show.

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Ha. Weird. It was a cool light show though. It was a whole bunch of morphing faces set to that song from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (THIS song.)

 

One of my favorite items all weekend—and most affordable—was a little vegan croissant sandwich set at a café (the same one I got my blueberry muffin and iced coffee from). I believe there was a tuna salad and a chicken salad flavor, and you get one of each with your order. At under 10 bucks, it was a good deal and they were actually very very good.

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So cute!

I shared this with a gal in the wedding party. We each had half of one. The tuna was my favorite.

 

Before dinner on Saturday, the bride and groom wanted a little snack, so we stopped at a café (I don’t remember the name). I ordered a drink that was DELCIOUS.

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The Fresca was made with Passion Fruit vodka, muddled mint, passion fruit puree, lime juice, club soda and a splash of Campari.

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YURM. It has my name written all over it.

(My name is Janessa Wynn, didn’t you know?)

 

The peeps I was with HAD TO try the Wynn cheeseburger combo. This was on almost every menu and includes a fast food style burger, fries, and a chocolate shake for $9.

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Cute!!

The Matzo Ball soup was incredibly bland and boring—do not order it if you stumble upon this café and want soup. Seriously. The salad in the background was also fairly bland and not inspiring.

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Oh look, another vodka press!

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Catching up on the other posts?

Part One: Vegan Dining at Switch Steak House

Part Two:Vegan Dining at the Pool and Terrace Point Café

Part Three: Vegan Dining at Sinatra

Part Four: Vegan Dining at Wing Lei

Vegan Dining at The Wynn, Las Vegas: Wing Lei

 

On Saturday Night in Las Vegas after the wedding, the bride treated the whole group to dinner at Wing Lei, a beautiful Chinese food restaurant in the Wynn with a separate vegan menu (like all restaurants in the Wynn).

The restaurant itself is elegant and dramatic, set with pomegranate trees and a beautiful sculpture. The service was phenomenal, and the meal mouthwatering.

 

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Something about ordering wine in a fancy restaurant with fancy glasses really appeals to me.

 

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There were 9 of us, and though not all of us are vegan, most are and we decided to share an assortment of appetizers and entrees.

 

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Each appetizer comes with 5 bite size pieces, so we each tried one item.

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I sampled one of the little morsels on the right, the one with the orange sauce on top. Truthfully, I don’t remember what it tasted like, but I remember liking it. That’s what happens when you wait a month to write a recap, I suppose.

 

We ordered an array of dishes for our entrees. I was in charge of gathering suggestions and ordering. I think there was a total of 6 entrees for 8 of us to share, plus the two appetizers. It was certainly enough for those of us with small-average appetites.

The tofu dish was very popular among those friends of mine who like soft tofu and bok choy. I am not one of those people, but I really enjoyed the flavors and the sauce. I prefer my tofu to be crispy. Fry it if you got it, folks.

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This Gardein dish was simple and lovely and my favorite. Kung Pao sauce, red and green bell peppers, and peanuts— I think this is the one we liked so much that we ordered another plate.

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The fried rice was okay. I like fried rice, but never go nuts for it, and it tasted just like fried rice you’d get at any Chinese food restaurant in the world. I’m not sure how you can make fried rice taste more special than it is, but at a higher price point, maybe some Gardein thrown in or larger chunks of vegetables would have brightened this dish up.

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The chow mein was nice. I love noodles, so enjoyed this dish. It tasted like a traditional Chinese chow mein—oily, salty and satisfying. Again, the dish could have been brightened up by a few more vegetables or Gardein, or even a little extra spice, but noodles > rice, so I enjoyed this dish just fine.

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The little Gardein nuggets were good, though I’d pass on the lemon sauce if I ordered it again.  I don’t know what to compare them to do from a traditional Chinese menu. The breading outside coated a chewy—in a good way—inside. The lemon sauce was unnecessary; I would have preferred perhaps a peanut sauce or spicy chili sauce.

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We finished the meal with a cup of coffee before dashing off to catch the late showing of Zumanity at New York New York. (Which was great and fantastic and funny, by the way. No pictures allowed, unfortunately.)

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Catching up on the other posts?

Part One: Vegan Dining at Switch Steak House

Part Two:Vegan Dining at the Pool and Terrace Point Café

Part Three: Vegan Dining at Sinatra

Vegan Dining at The Wynn, Las Vegas: Sinatra

 

Know who’s classy?

 

This guy.

 

frank

(source)

 

So when faced with dinner options for our last night in Vegas, we knew which restaurant to choose.  (Go classy or go home, you know?)

 

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It didn’t hurt that the menu listed a Gardein Marsala with gnocchi. Didn’t hurt at all. Marsala is traditionally a dish made with mushrooms, chicken and marsala wine.

You had me at wine.

The restaurant (actually located inside the Encore, The Wynn’s sister hotel) was old-fashioned and swanky.

 

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Sinatra’s started us out with a bread basket and Earth Balance. We were all STARVING—a long day at the pool sipping on bloody marys will do that to you—and devoured this bread basket—and a second un-pictured basket after this one.

 

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The menu looked so good. So good. Parmigiana is traditionally a baked dish with layered cheese and tomato sauce, and eggplant or animal pieces (like veal—gag—or chicken). I couldn’t decide between the Marsala and the vegan Parmigiana.

 

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So I started with the Caesar salad.

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Oh my stars, this was so good. So good. I passed it around the table and we all agreed: this Caesar is AMAZING. I loved loved loved it. I loved the presentation, I loved the taste and I most definitely loved the croutons.

 

The marsala gnocchi sounded amazing, and the waiter told us that the couscous was Steve Wynn’s favorite.

So what did I choose? I went for the Parmigiana. Color me spontaneous, but I just couldn’t resist.

 

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Guys, I admit the picture doesn’t do the dish justice.

But—it was very nice. It was basically 2 thick Gardein pieces covered in vegan cheese (though what kind?? It didn’t taste like Daiya) and smothered in red sauce and baked. Simple, basic, expensive, tasty. I liked it. It was a very filling dish, too, so if you’re wicked starving, and not craving any vegetables, definitely order the Parmigiana.

 

I also had a few bites of my friend Betsy’s penne pasta with red sauce and ‘sausage’. It was fantastic, though such an easy dish to recreate at home I don’t think I’d choose to order it again.

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In the picture below you can see the Marsala dish in the foreground. I had a bite, and it was very very tasty, though it didn’t taste quite as good as it sounded and a smaller portion than my friends were expecting. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with creamy mushrooms, wine and gnocchi, though.

 

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gimme.

 

This is the couscous. I didn’t get the chance to try it, but it looked beautiful and my friend Kerri said it was lovely. I think she was craving vegetables (apparently the celery from the poolside Bloody Marys didn’t cut it for her) and this was the most vegetable-laden entrée.

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I wholeheartedly suggest Sinatra’s for fine Italian vegan dining if you’re in Vegas. Especially if someone else is paying or you just won some scratch at Pai Gow. The Caesar Salad is worth the trip alone, and all the entrees we tried were good enough you could drag your grumpy father-in-law or picky little sister and everyone would find something they liked off the vegan menu. Plus, there’s wine. We found an affordable bottle of white that was crisp and clean, and a perfect accompaniment to the meal.

 

Missed the other Wynn Dining posts?

Part One: Vegan Dining at Switch Steak House

Part Two:Vegan Dining at the Pool and Terrace Point Café