Category: Food

Las Vegas Dining | Tacotarian — Delicious Mexican Food that Just Happens to be Vegan

With Regina Simmons, part owner of Tacotarian.

The concha loca.

I’m SO excited to be sharing this post with you all today! Ladies and gentlemen, this is Tacotarian—a Mexican eatery based in Las Vegas that makes mouth-watering Mexican food, that just happens to vegan. That’s right, everything you just saw in the pictures above is vegan, including the people, lol. This spot opened up just a few weeks ago and it’s already becoming a favorite with the locals. I had been stalking their Instagram page before they launched and was finally able to stop by about a week after they opened. My friend Kat and I met for lunch there and we ordered half the menu, you can see that pic here. We were floored by how good everything was. The tacos are packed with flavor, the enchiladas rival the animal-based versions served elsewhere, and the desserts are not to be missed!

If you asked me for a recommendation I wouldn’t know what to suggest first because the menu is killer and the execution is even greater. BUT, if had to really choose, my first recommendation would be the tacos in this order: the baja, chorizo, chicharon verde, the super taco, and the gabacho. Next, you HAVE to get the frito pie and the takis elotes, both are great for sharing! Also you’re going to want a side of guac because it’s the best in town; I’ve tried a lot of them and this is the one, folks. Lastly, you’re probably going to be full but you can not leave without trying the concha loca and the churros with caramel sauce! Again, great for sharing! Honestly, you can’t go wrong with whatever you decide on.

I love the design of this space. Their branding is modern yet traditional, vibrant, and spotless. It flows seamlessly from the bright shade of turquoise on the benches to the fixtures and the serveware.  Even the branding on the paper your food is served on is pretty. Every detail was really well thought out— the Tacotarian team are clearly professionals in their arena. It may have something to do with the fact the Regina Simmons, one of the owners is also part owner of two other popular dining establishments— Firefly, and Tacos & Beer.

Tacotarian also offers aguas frescas, margaritas, beer, and kombucha on tap! I mean do you really need another reason to go? I didn’t think so. Go try it for yourself and be sure to catch my interview with Regina Simmons, on my Instagram soon! And when you stop by Tacotarian, be sure to take a selfie with the sombrero hanging to the right of the bar (you can’t miss it) and tag Tacotarian. You can find Tacotarian in the west side of Las Vegas at the cross streets of Fort Apache and Patrick, which is about 15 min (11 miles) off the Las Vegas strip. I love that it’s off the strip because that means there’s plenty of parking and it’s free! Be sure to follow them on social media below and check out Tacotarian’s Yelp page for more Mexican food goodness!

Tacotarian.com | InstagramFacebook | Yelp

Thank you to Tacotarian for sponsoring this post!

Las Vegas Dining | Violette’s Vegan Organic Cafe & Juice Bar

Did you know November is World Vegan Month? I only learned about this last year and had completely forgotten about it this time around. Luckily, the girls over at Vegas Lifestyle Influencers reminded me by putting together a dinner at Violette’s Vegan. If you’re not familiar with Violette’s Vegan, it’s an all plant-based restaurant located in the corner of Desert Inn and Durango in the northwest part of Las Vegas. I used to live right around the corner when I first moved to Las Vegas but I only discovered this restaurant about 2 years ago.

If you’re looking for a healthy, casual, low-key place for dinner or lunch, Violette’s Vegan is a great spot. The walls are brightly decorated with paintings saturated in all the colors of the rainbow, just like the food. The ambiance is relaxing and the staff is friendly. Our dinner that night was awesome. We started off with nachos, buffalo cauliflower wings and “sassy” wings, breaded cauliflower wings tossed in a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. These two dishes alone were worth the 40 minute drive across town. The breading was crispy and the sauces on both were so flavor packed. They were hands down my favorites of the night. When I got home that evening, I told Marc that we had to go back that same week so he could try them.

Then came the main dishes. There was SO. MUCH. FOOD. We had salads, pad thai, eggplant parmesan, crispy tempeh & tofu cutlets with mashed potatoes and gravy, mac n’ cheese, beef & broccoli, chili cheese fries, and a tofu teriyaki bowl. The eggplant parmesan, the mac n’ cheese, and the pad thai stand out the most to me. I really enjoyed the pad thai because it’s not as sweet as other places make it. The eggplant parmesan was also really good, I ordered this when we went back 2 days later. I also ordered a German chocolate cake smoothie. It didn’t taste like a German chocolate cake smoothie but it was good. My only issue with it was that it got thicker the longer it was in the cup. I think they may put flax seed meal or something similar in it that make it thicker and more gelatinous as time goes on.

The dinner with Vegas Lifestyle Influences was on a Tuesdays, I decided to go back 2 days later on Thursday, with Marc. We were so excited to try out both the buffalo cauliflower and sassy wings. However, when we got there we were told those two items weren’t available yet but would be really soon. I guess they were still testing them out. So we got other food. The quality wasn’t as good as the previous time but the service was. The staff is really friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and plant-based foods so overall I would recommend you give it a try. I can confirm that they have started serving the cauliflower buffalo wings and the cauliflower sassy wings now, so if you go, try both of those. They’re delicious!

Quick and Easy Vegan Pancakes

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If you follow me on Instagram you might remember that I said I’d be sharing some recipes from the cookbook I’m working on. It’s still got a little ways to go before it’s done but I wanted to share a few recipes with you guys before I publish it. I made these pancakes this morning. I topped them with my favorite berries and after seeing the red, white, and blue theme, I thought they’d be perfect for a Fourth of July breakfast! These pancakes are quick and easy to make. There are only 6 ingredients and they’re DELICIOUS!

This is basic vegan pancake recipe that you can use anytime, it’s quick and simple. I topped them with berries and a bit of powdered sugar but you can change up the toppings to whatever you like. They’re equally delicious with just maple syrup on top. I’m thinking next time I’m going to try peanut butter and carob chips on top—yum! If you make these, tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations! You can find me at @jeanettepadillavega. Happy Fourth of July!

Quick and Easy Vegan Pancakes

Makes 6 pancakes | Prep: 5 min | Cook: 10 min

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 

1 cup almond milk 

1/4 tsp vanilla extract 

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder 

1 tablespoon organic cane sugar 

2 tablespoons evoo

Pinch of salt 

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl then add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is incorporated but careful not to overmix. It’s ok if there are some small lumps left. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high. Pour a ladle-full of batter onto the skillet and let it cook for 30 seconds or until the surface of the pancake is covered in small bubbles, then flip and cook an additional 15-20 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter, then top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Christmas Vegan Sugar Cookies + Royal Icing

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Copper Cookie Cutters: William Sonoma | Vegan Sprinkles: Wilton (crystals & pearls) | Star Cookie Cutters: Target (large & small) | Vegan Sugar Cookie & Royal Icing Recipe: Your Daily Vegan

I’m finally over the trauma caused by undergoing this sugary adventure. If you follow me on Instagram you may have read my brief rant regarding these gorgeous albeit difficult-to-work-with copper cookie cutters. Now that the cookies have been cut, frosted, decorated, and eaten, I am finally ready to share all of the recipe details. Let me start by first stating that this is not my recipe. I browsed through maybe 15 vegan sugar cookie recipes before deciding on this particular one. The reasons being a) they looked really pretty, b) I wanted a soft vegan sugar cookie with just a bit of firmness (I’m not a fan of crispy cookies), and c) I was looking for a sugar cookie recipe that would hold its shape. Oh and I also wanted a simple recipe. This vegan sugar cookie recipe found on Your Daily Vegan met all of my criteria.

I recommend reading it a few times before actually getting to the baking part. She has a lot of great tips that will make a big difference in the final outcome of the cookies as well as notes on food coloring and sprinkles. I also used her vegan royal icing recipe, found on the same page.

I learned a few things about cookie cutter sugar cookies with this recipe. Personally, my tips include:

1.Roll the dough out slightly thicker than recommended.

Why?: If you roll out the dough too thin your shapes will break and fall apart when you go to pick them up to transfer them to your cookie sheet.

2. Have your cookie sheet right next to your dough.

Why?: The shorter the distance from where you cut your cookies to the cookie sheet the better. This minimizes the chance of cookie shapes breaking. Trust me, you don’t want to spend 5 minutes cutting out a single snowflake cookie only to have it fall apart while transferring it to the cookie sheet.

3.Use a thin, flat, stainless steel spatula. They’re technically called “slotted turners”.

Why?: This style spatula will make it MUCH easier to transfer the cookies from your cutout surface to your cookie sheet. It will also minimize cookie breakage. The thinner the spatula, the better. I used this one from Cutco, mainly because I’ve had it forever and I use it for everyday cooking. It just turned out to be perfectly suited for this task. The width of the spatula is also important, make sure to use a wide one to support as much of the cookie as possible while transferring it between surfaces.

That’s about it for my notes on the cookies. I only have one note for the vegan royal icing recipe. This icing, dries FAST. The largest cookie pictured above is also the biggest (wider than my palm) and most intricately decorated. If you’ll be decorating cookies of this size make sure to go by sections. I frosted and sprinkled each snowflake arm in sections after realizing how quickly this icing sets.

I was surprised at how well these turned out. They are soooooooooo good, even without the icing. And they’re super pretty. I opted for leaving out food coloring mainly because I wanted elegant looking cookies and also because I’m lazy. These would make a great holiday gift item as well, just throw then in a cellophane bag and wrap some shimmery ribbon around the top for a deliciously chic gift. Hope you guys have as much fun (and less crying) while making them as I did. Send or tag me in your baking pics, I’d love to see how they turn out!

Happy Holidays,

– J