We all say it. Around this time of year, nearly everyone makes some kind of New Year’s resolutions about “eating better.” Whether that means eating leaner, avoiding meat, trying a new ‘fad’ diet (no fat…no carbs…no sugar), or just cutting down on chowing down, many of us react to holiday indulgences with some promise to improve.
Problem is, the rest of the world isn’t always there to help you.
Between the stresses of work, family and other obligations, and the incredible array of decadent options, most of us have forgotten that resolution by Jan. 31.
These days, however, there are more places than ever where you can make the right decisions, and enjoy doing it. No, they are not all “rabbit food,” nor do you have to worry about getting a side order of politics with your meal. These are a just a handful of favorite places where they take the trouble to use quality ingredients to make good food that’s good for you (generally speaking…I’m not a doctor or nothin’). May we suggest the following:
One of the biggest under-the-radar successes in Vegas, Rachel’s now has six locations from Centennial Hills to Green Valley, with one downtown (The Ogden), two in Summerlin and one at McCarran Airport.
Fresh juice blends and smoothies are a focus here, along with acai granola bowls ($6.95), egg white breakfast sandwiches ($7.95) and wraps, veggie burgers and salads. Quinoa pasta ($9.95-11.50), whole wheat wraps and gluten free bread are available too, if you just want to go half-healthy with one of their more conventional menu items.
See rachelskitchen.com for addresses and phone numbers.
Craving Chinese, but afraid of all the hidden fat, salt and sugar? While many of Las Vegas’ Asian places have strong vegetarian selections (Komol Thai comes to mind), Veggie House offers as extensive a menu as any Chinese restaurant on Spring Mountain, though nary a real animal or fish enters the door. While their veggie “fish,” “meat” and “shrimp” may not be exactly like the real thing, you won’t suffer for flavor, and won’t mind walking out without guilt. Feel free to ask questions, too. Service here is about as friendly as it gets.
VEGGIE HOUSE, 5115 Spring Mountain Road, 702-431-5802, www.veggiehousevegas.com.
Simply Pure by Chef Stacey Dougan
As I previously mentioned in our Container Park roundup a few weeks ago, this tiny counter by a former Wynn resort chef offers a small but creative menu of raw/vegan dishes and salads using textured vegetable protein substitutes that are just as tasty as the “real thing,” and at reasonable prices (salad bar $7.99/pound). Might be out of the way for some but downtowners should make it a must.
SIMPLY PURE, 707 Fremont St., www.chefstacydougan.com.
Greens & Proteins
First of all, kudos to G&P - with branches near Summerlin and Henderson - for listing calorie counts on at least some of their menu items (a requirement in California, but not yet for Nevada). Breakfast, lunch, dinner, raw, vegan, meaty, HCG-friendly, Greens & Proteins offers allows you to go in almost any direction, from tofu fries to a bison cheese steak (one of the most expensive items here, at $10.99. Add some spirulina and wakame salad on top if you’re feeling indulgent). Open from 8 a.m to 10 p.m.
GREENS & PROTEINS, 9809 W. Flamingo Road, 702-541-6400; and 8975 S. Eastern Ave., 702-541-7800, greensandproteins.com.
Bronze Cafe at the Center
What I said above about no politics? OK, you might have to accept just a bit of that at Bronze, seeing as it’s located in Downtown’s Gay and Lesbian Community Center. But any place that boasts full vegan and vegetarian menus and cantaloupe turmeric water alongside “The best bacon sandwich in downtown Las Vegas” (just in case your resolution happens to be “Eat More Bacon”) is clearly accepting of all perspectives. One of the better salad selections anywhere in town. Sandwich prices tap out under $13.
BRONZE CAFE, 401 S Maryland Pkwy, 702-202-3100, www.facebook.com/bronzecafelv
Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse
Eating better doesn’t necessarily have to mean eliminating all meat, just avoiding bad meat. Antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef is not just better for the world, it’s better for you, and tastier too. Echo & Rig is comparable to some of the best steakhouses on the Strip but, despite its fancy Tivoli Village location, a little bit easier on the wallet. Their $25 Spencer (grass fed, humanely handled beef from Oregon’s Bartels Farms) is so well charred outside, rich and flavorful inside, it ruins you for all other steaks.
Fantastic healthy sides here include tender grilled octopus with gigante beans, portobello “fries” and black Tuscan kale. They even serve fresh juices, and yes, cut beef and pork for you to cook at home.
ECHO & RIG BUTCHER AND STEAKHOUSE, 440 S. Rampart Blvd. 702-489-3525, www.echoandrig.com.
Just opened in the Palazzo resort in a space formerly occupied by a cupcake store (how perfect is that?) JuiceFarm offers organic, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices - and a few healthy snacks - to order, and in bottles for quick pick up. No, it’s not as cheap as Trader Joe’s (it’s fresh and it’s in a casino), but what a Godsend if you’re on the Strip and trying to stay healthy.
JUICEFARM, 3325 S. Las Vegas Blvd., facebook.com/juicefarm. CL