Las Vegas Casino Goes Vegan | 08/24/10

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The staples of Vegas cuisine are so famous they're part of nearly every punchline about the city: 99-cent shrimp cocktails, midnight $2.99 steaks, the gargantuan feeding frenzy known as the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Now we may have to add to that list grilled royal trumpet mushrooms with polenta, tofu napoleons and (doesn't this just sound divine?) fava bean puree.

Those are just three of the dozens of vegan dining options now available at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas, two resorts operated by mogul Steve Wynn, who recently decreed that every restaurant at his Vegas properties would provide several vegan choices. That includes, yes, even the lowly buffet, which now has a vegan dessert section.

In doing so, the 68-year-old Wynn -- strongly rumored to have gone vegan recently himself -- is executing the most significant embrace by the mainstream of the no-meat, no-animal-byproducts eating style. Up to now, veganism in pop culture probably was limited to a handful of celebrities and an occasional challenge (bemoaned mercilessly by contestants) on "Top Chef."

"This would be like having vegan menu options at every food outlet at Disneyland," said Elizabeth Turner, editor-in-chief of Vegetarian Times. "I wonder if Steve Wynn is really vegan, but even if he isn't, he's sort of recognizing that this is a growing need."

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