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.

12 comments:

CeliacChick said...

Jen,

Bill Bryson sums of your feelings of Vegas in his book:

http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Continent-Travels-Small-Town-America/dp/0060920084

Wish I could remember exactly how he worded it , but it's exactly how I felt there too. Barf. Why bother? Yet some people can't get enough of it.

I have heard that the classy restaurants there are very accomodating to special diets.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Yes! I had to go there for my sister's wedding. And it was just gross! From my arrival, I wanted to leave. Two nights there was two nights too many. If I ever go back to Vegas, it will only be because it's where I land before I drive somewhere cooler.

April M said...

I am truly sorry you didn't enjoy your trip to Las Vegas. As a lifetime resident, I can offer a few suggestions for any future trips. First, check out the Las Vegas Celiac Support Group for info on where to eat on and off the Strip (http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/lvceliacsupport/)

Second, there is a lot of beauty and great things to see, if you are willing to look beyond the lights and slot machines. Many people come here just to gamble and never look past the noisy machines and blinking lights. There is Red Rock Canyon, an amazing place of beauty and nature. Hoover Dam is a fantastic sight to see. And even near the Strip you can visit the Bellagio Converseratory to see beautiful flowers and plants, the Guggenheim in the Venetian or the Atomic Testing Museum to see some of our country's rich history from the atomic age.

I hope you are able to come back to Vegas and see more of the city instead of just the Strip!

Isabelle @ WEGO Health said...

Dear Jennifer,

My name is Isabelle and I'm a member of the WEGO Health Community [http://www.wegohealth.com]. I’ve been spending some time on your site and I wanted to get in touch with you to let you know a little bit about what we're doing here at WEGO Health.

Our website recently launched and our mission is to identify, rank, and organize the most helpful health and wellness content online and make it easy to access by everyone. We need the help of people like you, with real experience with these topics, to review the material and help us decide what information is most helpful. We can then organize the rated content and provide the public with only the most useful articles to save them time. Pulling together good health information is definitely a team effort.

Our mission is articulated very nicely here:
[http://www.wegohealth.com/our-mission.html]

I'm wondering if you would be interested in reviewing some of the Gluten Free Diet-related materials [http://diet.wegohealth.com/gluten-free-diet.html] on WEGO Health. Please let me know if you think there is a way we may be able to work together.

I look forward to building our relationship and I hope to hear back from you soon. Please feel free to contact me at the email address below.

Best regards,

Isabelle Ouimette
WEGO Health Community
expert-supported health communities

E-mail: isabelleo@wegohealth.com
Website: www.wegohealth.com

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sabbeth said...

I love Vegas, but it's with a tunnel vision approach. I always have a great time, but I am not watching anyone else...

Amelia said...

I've never been to Vegas, but I definitely agree that would want to see the Rat Pack. I find that when I go into restaurants people are less inclined to understand what gluten is and how they can help. So they get a little snooty about it. But like you said, there are also places that have become more accommodating. It's difficult to explain it here at school though. Just last night I was at a frat house (I know, I'm SUCH a party girl) and as soon as I walked into the room I was handed a beer. Imagine trying to explain a gluten intolerance to a bunch of wasted frat boys. Ridiculous. Like Vegas, drinking at school is another one of those "forced fun" activities.

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