Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro chef and owner Mayra Trabulse has one goal: to create compassionate cuisine with a level of flavor that reflects her diverse cultural background. As she shared with Katherine Fernelius of Vegas Seven, Mayra is half Lebanese and half Cuban, and was born and raised in Mexico City. After moving to Las Vegas and attending community college, Mayra found herself unfulfilled. She decided to relocate to Florida, where she began to explore the politics of eating and her own relationship with food. She founded a catering business and became a private vegan chef before returning once more to Las Vegas to share her signature Caribbean- and Southwest-inspired dishes with Nevadans.
Mayra incorporated the Spanish phrase "pura vida" into the moniker of her eatery because it's a greeting or a farewell that can signify a sense of community and enjoying life slowly. That's exactly what she wants diners to feel at the restaurant, where she uses local, organic, fair-trade ingredients and incorporates macrobiotic, Ayurvedic, and raw-food principles in her low-temperature cooking. Mayra enhances her creations with unrefined oils and sweeteners and grinds whole spices for maximum flavor. Boasting a designated gluten-free area of her kitchen, she can cater to most any dietary restriction—Vanessa Meier of The Green Girl Next Door blog described how Mayra composed custom, on-the-fly dishes that were "beautiful and clearly prepared with so much love" for her and her husband.
And Meier isn't the only critic to take note of the blossoming restaurant: it earned Las Vegas Weekly’s 2012 Best Vegan Eating award and was named the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Dining Pick of the Week in October 2012. Mayra and her team also cater special events and bake custom vegan wedding cakes for couples being married by an Elvis wearing faux-blue-suede shoes.
Cake artist Sonya Washington has seen a lot in the last 30 years. She left behind a corporate position to pursue her confectionary dream, and even spent nine months homeless while working to save her fledgling sweet shop. But all those trials are behind her, and they’ve paid off.
With educational certificates in cake decoration and pastry design, Sonya and her business have become so successful that she gives away more than 10,000 mini cupcakes annually, either to charity or as samples. She trains new generations of sweets makers with daily classes, which cover topics including baking for couples, advanced cupcake creation, and how to spot counterfeit buttercream frosting that is actually just gold. While waiting to pick up cake pops in gluten-free or sugar-free configurations, patrons press their noses against glass to peer at Sonya’s cakes, which have included some shaped like guitars, cars, and hats.
One of the most popular bakeries in Las Vegas, Nothing Bundt Cakes is widely known for their namesake specialty: original and unique Bundt cakes. This formerly popular cake style is in a bit of a resurgence, and Nothing Bundt’s national chain of location can attest to its popularity. A West Sahara Avenue location offers freshly-baked Bundts in ten different flavors, with more than 40 unique designs to choose from to make each cake a standout. There are even various sizes available inside this diminutive, wood-floored storefront, from the Bundtini and Bundlet to the Bundlet Tower, a tiered cake that’s perfect for large groups. Customers can place orders in advance or drop in for pre-made options that go beyond the Bundt to include white chocolate popcorn and cake platters.
Rolling in Dough Bakery - Leopold’s Cakery is a European-style bakery specializing in fine Italian and French pastries, as well as customized cakes. Don’t be alarmed by the lengthy name; Joe and Pamela Cotrupe bought Leopold’s Cakery and changed the name to Rolling in Dough Bakery, but then wanted to keep the Leopold’s name and cachet. There are alluring cake displays and a bevy of pastries – macarons, eclairs, Napoleons and cupcakes, anyone? – to keep even dessert-weary eaters intrigued. Everything created at the bakery is all-natural, made from scratch and has no use of preservatives. Despite the lengthy moniker, Rolling in Dough Bakery – Leopold’s Cakery is just 12 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, and is perfect for weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs and graduations.
Puppy dogs. Basketball shoes. A bottle of fine liquor. A mother unicorn and her baby. These are just some of the cakes customized for weddings and other events from the inside out by the Pastry Palace's bakers and treat sculptors. While the staff works from a long list of standard flavors for the cake, filling, and icing, they've been known to create custom flavors according to the client's needs, whims, or all-purple food diet. They can even accommodate the culinary criteria of customers who adhere to vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free diets. The bakery also extends its talents to other baked goods, such as cookies, cupcakes, and other pastries.