Monday, September 10

Gluten-Free Vegas

I'll admit it. I was terrified to travel to Vegas. Terrified that I'd be put into one situation after another where I'd have few choices and wind up eating around wayward crumbs and breadings or stuck drinking promotional vodka drinks (which, even though everyone says regular vodka is fine, it turns my intestines to stone). I was there for work, kind of, which always makes things more high pressure. But, as it turned out, my problem with Vegas had nothing to do with being gluten free.
In terms of food, I think if you avoid buffets you should be fine. The restaurant Stack in the Mirage is supposed to be excellent and very sensitive to gluten-free diners. So is Neros at Caesar's Palace. There's also an Outback Steakhouse and a PF Changs, but, I didn't need them. Every server in my hotel (The Wynn) was incredibly helpful and accomodating. In the 40 hours I was there, I was able to eat quite well on salads and omelettes and delicious grilled fish. It was actually weirdly easy ( DO NOT, however, go to Tao, the last dinner I had in Vegas was there, with a group, and they were not at all accomodating and actually made me feel embarrassed and then I got poisoned by a seeemingly innocuous meat dish).
In general, though, the food was not an issue for me. The problem I had with Vegas was it truly depressed me—I have never been somewhere that felt so inauthentic. Everywhere I looked, I saw forced fun and wild desperation. I don't know what I was expecting (Ocean's 11? The Rat Pack?), but I was truly freaked out by the omnipresent intz-intz-intz house music, the constantly bling-bling-bling-ing slot machines, and, most of all, by the salivating, prowling, d-bag men (someone actually came up to me and asked if I would "f*ck his friend", followed by "ya know, what happens in Vegas..." Seriously? I had no idea this level of cheesiness existed outside of beer commercials).

I'm sure there's a better way to experience this devil city than the one I endured. But things were so bad that I cut bait early, missing the event I'd gone out for in the first place. It didn't matter. Even though I arrived home at a godforsakenly early hour, New York has never looked more lovely to me. Or more real.