I remember looking for vegan food in Las Vegas 20 years ago and being reduced to eating a Subway salad. Things have come a long way since then. Vegas vegan Diana Edelman can take some of the credit for recent improvements in the flashy city’s plant-based cuisine. The founder of Vegans, Baby is dedicated to improving life for vegans, and making the lifestyle more approachable for the vegan-curious. In addition to creating online dining guides and leading local, national and international vegan luxury tours, she’s the heart and soul behind Vegan Dining Month. And this January, if you’re in New York, Las Vegas or Portland, you just might be sending Edelman love notes when you sample the delicious creations of chefs at participating restaurants.
Portland Vegan Dining Month 2023
We’ll start with Portland, because that’s where I live. This will be the third time that Portland takes part in Vegan Dining Month. And this event isn’t only good for humans, who will decrease their risk of colon cancer by not eating meat, or farm animals, who increase their odds of not being eaten. No, in the Portland event, dogs will also benefit. Life of Riley Dog Rescue will reap a portion of the proceeds. This dog rescue brings dogs at high risk of being killed in shelters to the Pacific Northwest. If these dogs are anything like my dog, they like to eat. So they for sure need the largesse of Portland Vegan Dining Month.
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While Vegans, Baby came up with the idea of Vegan Dining Month, Portland Vegans, an Instagram account sharing vegan food around the city, is organizing the event locally. We can also thank Veganuary, a non-profit campaign which encourages people to try going vegan in January and beyond, and sponsor ACE Natural, a green and socially responsible NY-based food distributor.
So, which restaurants are participating, and what can hungry vegans expect to find? Almost a dozen food carts and restaurants around the city are coming up with special dishes to celebrate Vegan Dining Month. Most of the restaurants are vegan, some vegan-friendly.
Pizza Thief in Northwest Portland is offering a vegan chile verde pie topped with green chile sauce, curly green kale, shaved brussel sprouts, roasted cauliflower and cilantro. And if you’re double trouble, you can order a nine inch individual gluten-free pan pizza. If you loved ribs back in a former life as a carnivore, hurry to Homegrown Smoker and order the smoked BBQ rib sandwich with tempeh, coleslaw, pickles, peppers, onions and chipotle aioli. My favorite participating restaurant is Kati Thai, the best Thai restaurant ever. And I’m also excited about Top Burmese.
“I am so excited to enter into the third year in Portland in partnership with Portland Vegans,” said Edelman. “The city has such a dynamic vegan dining scene and I am thrilled to have an event here that encourages people to dine out during the month and give restaurants – both vegan and vegan-friendly – a try for a good cause. Hundreds of thousands of people take the Veganuary challenge every year and this event helps them see they can dine out around the city and find amazing vegan food and hopefully encourage them to stick with being vegan after the month. It also introduces new spots to vegans who dine out and showcases the diversity around the city.”
Las Vegas Vegan Dining Month
Vegan Dining Month started in Las Vegas, and 2023 will mark its sixth year with about 30 veg or veg-friendly restaurants supporting it. Even some big places on the Strip are participating! The Vegas good cause is called Animal Help Alliance, which helps hard-to-adopt pets find homes. Think pit bulls and pets with tricky medical conditions.
Here’s just a couple of the places you can find interesting vegan food in Vegas this January. Down 2 Earth is offering a $35 prix fixe menu with arugula salad, mini beef wellington and a raw chocolate tart. At Queen of Hearts, $45 gets you a deluxe vegan tea party with tea, scones, jam, herbed spread, sweet treats (okay, can’t help but list them all, because this is an impressive vegan spread: fresh berry fruit tart, white rabbit cream puff, cacao panna square, raspberry spritz, playing card shortbread, checkerboard slice) and savory bites. Reservations required and you must mention Vegans, Baby. Check out the Vegas Vegan Dining Month Guide for more places to eat.
New York Vegan Dining Month
This year New York is getting in on the Vegan Dining Month action for the first time. And you know they’ll do it up big, considering how many superb veg and veg-friendly restaurants are in NYC. Plant-based nonprofit Support + Feed will receive a share of the proceeds.
A couple of highlights from New York City Vegan Dining Month: Okay, I know New York isn’t in the South, but the smoked grits at Cadence sound delicious, with tomatoes, rosemary butter, garnished with fried oyster mushrooms and crispy garlic. Those are some elevated grits. For the even more highbrow vegan, try the 12-course raw vegan tasting menu at Rabbit, the brainchild of Chef Xila Caudillo and Ravi Derossi. Derossi is the James Beard-nominated founder of Overthrow Hospitality, a plant-based restaurant group.
If you’re in Portland, New York or Las Vegas this month, you’re very lucky. But you can still celebrate Vegan Dining Month wherever you are. Patronize your local veg or veg-friendly restaurant. And if you really live in the sticks, stay home, make order some delicious vegan charcuterie online and drink a toast to vegans everywhere.
Images via Vegans, Baby