As a matter of principle, ELV loathes vegetarian food, vegan food, vegetarians* and vegans.
Loathe is probably too strong a word. Disdainful, pitiful contempt is closer to his true feelings.
He finds it easy to stay true to this philosophy because, invariably, people who espouse these things have what he calls “fear of food.”
Because food frightens them so, they are loathe to do anything to make it taste good — preferring to obsess on the “healthful” benefits of eating buckets of pasty legumes and bushels of raw grass in order to feel morally superior to those who don’t tremble at the sight of animal protein.
It doesn’t have to be that way of course. Eastern cultures are filled with plant food and spices and chefs who glory in the tastiness of vegetables prepared with assertive seasonings and tasty techniques (samosas anyone?). But in America, if you decide to forgo animal products to fuel your body, your commitment necessarily entails 1) a sense of self-righteousness; 2) a need to bore everyone around you to death about what you will and won’t eat; 3) a need to proselytize that would make a Mormon missionary blush; and, 4) a near religious dedication to removing all flavor from food.
With all this in mind, let’s just say we weren’t filled with lip-smacking salivation when über-attorney Terry Leavitt suggested we hit Vida Pura for lunch last week. But over the years, we’ve learned to trust Terry when it comes to off-the-beaten-path eateries, so follow him we did to what has to be the worst location for a restaurant in all of Clark County. Truth be told, several restaurants have opened and closed in this space located on the back street jog that connects Oakey to Charleston, beside the railroad tracks, underneath the freeway, and right down the street from Little Darlin’s House of Under-Aged Girls With Serious Daddy Issues.
But if you find it, you will also find a spicy roasted chile burrito (called My Love on the menu – $10.99), thick and tasty pea soup and salsa that holds its own with any Mexican joint. Of the few dishes tried, only the choco-waffle was a disappointment — it being tougher than shoe leather — but everything else showed an attention to seasoning and flavor that is unheard of (much less tasted) at your average vegan re-fueling station.
Is chef/owner Myra Trabulse a little loco for opening in such a challenging location? We think so…but we also think her cooking might win enough converts (and word of mouth) to make Pura Vida a must stop on Vegas’ healthy eating trail.
PURA VIDA BAKERY & BYSTRO
1236 Western Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89102
* The sole exception being Marcella Ruth Schroader Curtas (d.o.b. 8.10.24 – The Official Mother of ELV).