Viva Las Vegas! Sin City Vegan Challenge: Meatless Meatball Fail

It’s the third day of the Las Vegas Vegan Challenge, and I’m sad to say… I had a bit of a fail.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

If you’re just joining me, catch up with everyone else by going a few entries back to the beginning of my Las Vegas Vegan Challenge: Travel Day and Day One. I’ve traveled from NYC to Las Vegas to visit my best friend who lives here.

I woke up early and had to fend for myself in my friend’s apartment. He had some microwaveable brussel sprouts from Trader Joe’s in the fridge. I popped them out of the bag and sautéed them with a little EVOO, salt, and pepper. Microwavable pouch: you’re stupid and I don’t need you. Be gone!


The breakfast of champions!

Once my friend crawled out of his cave mid-day, we decided to go to The Meatball Spot in town square. Now, I know from eating the vegetarian meatballs from The Meatball Shop in Brooklyn, NY, that there is a bit of parmesan cheese in the vegetarian balls. I knew that even if I didn’t get any extra cheese on them, I’d still fail.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t want to be a vegan jerk. My best friend is showing me around town, letting me stay at his place, and wanted to get some meatballs. So, I got some meatballs. For me, personally, sometimes you gotta fail in order to not be an asshole.

So, on we went to The Meatball Spot. We ordered food. (I did check with the server just to see if they indeed had parmesan in the vege balls. He confirmed. I sighed, then got over it and had a great time eating some tasty stuff.)


They were pretty good! Again, the tough thing about learning to cook is that I knew the meatless meatballs that I make out of nuts, veggies, and mushrooms are so much tastier. AND mine are totally vegan. I’m glad that I had this little failure on the trip; it confirmed that I am learning more about food and that I’m starting to really prefer things that aren’t filled with garbage. MY GRADE FOR THE MEATBALL SPOT: Personal F for failure. B- for vegeball tastiness. 

After lunch, we shopped around a little bit in the town square. I noticed there was a farmers market right outside of the Whole Foods. I suggested we go over there, see what they have, and I’d cook dinner for him. Hey, now I figured out a way to make up for my utter “meatball” failure: I’d cook my meat-loving best friend a vegetarian meal that he would LOVE.


It was so cool to see citrus at a farmers market. I live in NYC, so I’m not getting any local lemons. Out in Las Vegas, these babies come from next door over in California!


Melons at a farmers market? Rock!


Local Las Vegas produce

Now that I’ve gotten interested in what’s in my food and where it comes from, visiting local farmers markets on trips seems like a total necessity. It’s something I can totally geek out about that is good for the environment and good for my body.

Moving on to more awesomeness, my friend then took me to the shark aquarium in Mandalay Bay.

IMG_0468 IMG_0469IMG_0480

How did you spend your Shark Week 2013? On the couch watching Jaws? Dude, I spent it gambling with real sharks in Las Vegas. BOOM!

Later that night, I cooked my ziplock “chicken” and laid it on a bed of fresh salad and quinoa. I topped it with my homemade balsamic vinaigrette. For an appetizer, I made farmers market sweet corn with chili, salt, and pepper. It was awesome! (I put butter on his but only EVOO on mine. This was the first time I had tried corn-on-the-cob without either butter or Earth Balance. I didn’t miss it, at all!) IMG_0481 IMG_0482

Third Day Challenge Conclusions: I feel a little bad about the whole veggie “meatball” incident, but sometimes, you just gotta live your life. Do I feel like today was a failure? Nope! Actually, for the first time ever, I felt confident teaching someone else what to do in the kitchen. Super sweet!

One more day of the Las Vegas Vegan Challenge, then back to NYC for our regular programming on Stay tuned and leave me a comment! 

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