Las Vegas just got a whole lot more exciting with the opening of Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro. Pura Vida is not only 100% vegan, they are organic and they even manage to work in local (not easy to do in Las Vegas) by purchasing produce from Cowboy Trail Farm. I’ve found myself in Vegas a few times this summer because of work and let’s just say that I was THRILLED when I heard about Pura Vida opening this month. Las Vegas was definitely in need of a vegan café! I arrived at Pura Vida last week straight from a 4 hour car ride out from L.A. in 100 plus degree heat. My fiancé, Todd, and I were hot, tired and hungry.
Pura Vida is a little burst of color just north of the strip in an unassuming neighborhood. The café inside is very casual and does not begin to hint at the exceptional quality and care you are about to get served on a platter.
The people eating in there range from tatted out day workers to the vegan locals. I LOVE that Pura Vida is being appreciated by more than just vegans! Pura Vida is best described as Latin inspired but really has a bit of everything including soy free and gluten free options.
Upon our arrival we were told that their refrigerators went out. They had one working so they had to reduce the menu to just 3 items until it was fixed. The specials that day were not gluten free but Chef Mayra came out and said she would make me something. She asked me what I liked and off she went. Lovely! Todd ordered the chicken fettucini. When our lunches arrived, I felt unworthy. Both of our dishes were beautiful and clearly prepared with so much love. Honestly, this food could be served in a fancy schmancy restaurant! To my fellow Americans who expect big portions (it’s not our fault, we were brought up that way!), you will not be disappointed. This was a lot of food! Todd took one bite of his chicken fettucini and just stopped and said, “Oh my God!” (Todd does not usually swoon over food like I do!) His dish also came with 3 small biscuits that he devoured. All during the meal he said things like, “this is the best food I’ve ever had”, “this place would put (name withheld) out of business!”, and “I feel amazing, this food is making me feel energized!”
My dish was a beautiful concoction of veggies in a tomato base with bursts of sage, brown jasmine rice and lovely raw zucchini curls. It wasn’t from the menu, just something she threw together for me and it was delicious! It was also enough to feed me for two meals!
Both specials came with chocolate cake (a total deal since the specials were 10.99 and 11.99). We told our server, Janee, to hold the cake since we are both sugar free. To our complete surprise, Chef Mayra came up with sugar free dessert options for us! We certainly did not expect to get something in place of the chocolate cake but Chef Mayra seemed excited to make something. For me she made a parfait with fresh fruit and almond yogurt that was fruit juice sweetened. Todd got an amazing date sweetened chocolate shake/mousse that bordered on a heavenly experience.
By the end of our meal, Todd and I were happier than ever and in love with Pura Vida. Chef Mayra is full of energy and you can tell that she truly loves what she does. Janee, the server, is an instant friend to anyone that walks in and she is someone who really cares about food and eating healthy. The positive energy from this café was felt!
Todd and I found ourselves back at Pura Vida the following morning! Todd ordered the “The Latin’tude” breakfast burrito, and I, having brain melt from the Vegas heat, already ate cereal so I ordered an iced coffee and lunch to go (seriously regretted the cereal since there was a gluten free waffle). The Latin’tude was true love for Todd. This burrito could fill anyone with its black beans, refried beans, soyriso, tofu scramble, Daiya cheese, avocado, veggies, & roasted potatoes. Seriously, this burrito had it all and I was feeling a bit jealous. In addition to this giant burrito you get a bowl of the Bean Salsa and chips. The Bean salsa is more like a chili and just might be the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten. It has pinto beans, black beans, tomatoes, Daiya cheese, refried beans, lime, cilantro, & avocado. I know, I know, how special can a chili/salsa be? Trust me, order it!
I loved the Bean Salsa so much I ordered it to-go for lunch. Chef Mayra, being the most adorable woman ever, packed up my lunch with a side of fruit: sliced cantaloupe, a few strawberries and an apple. It really felt like it was the lunch I wished my mother had packed me as a kid.
Again, throughout the meal Todd chanted, “Oh my god” and talked about how it really was the best vegan cafe he has ever been to. I feel I have to stress the weight of his words. We live in LA with amazing vegan choices and he recently spent a month in New York dining at the best vegan places. We know really good vegan food. We cannot wait to go back when the full menu is available.
Next time you are in Las Vegas, make sure you get yourself to Pura Vida. They are open everyday except Thursday. Weekday hours are 7-4 and weekends are 9-2. (Chef Mayra runs a successful catering business, hence the limited hours) The menu is evolving and there are always specials.