What happens in Vegas definitely does not stay in Vegas. Especially if that event was our first female Veep stepping up to a vegan taco bar and ordering a plant-based taco for the first time. Kamala Harris knows that every move she makes is under watchful eyes, so this particular choice of lunch spots had people talking. It's her first public vegan dining since both Senator Cory Booker 9D, NY and (vegan since 2014) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams have called on the new administration to prioritize plant-based health. Might the Veep be listening? It appears she has started to eat "Vegan Before 6," to borrow the title of the famous book by Mark Bittman, or at least vegan some of the time before six.

The Vice President ordered two mushroom asada tacos, two super tacos, two carne asada tacos, with housemade hot sauces, according to Veg News. Harris, who was in Las Vegas to promote the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, was joined by Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff at Tacotarian for the vegan tacos, in what was one of their first public dining moments since the inauguration.

“We can’t believe it," said Tacotarian Co-Founder Kristen Corral. "We were just here like any day and someone came up and said they were with the White House and that the Vice President was on her way here to pick up some food to go. It all happened so fast,” Corral told VegNews. “But we were just so honored to have the Vice President of the United States standing in our restaurant ordering our food. We’re still in shock.

What presidents eat on the road is more than symbolic for their administrations

For decades, presidential campaigns and administrations have been defined by the foods that they consume and the restaurants they frequent. Whether it is Bill Clinton’s pizza habit (we knew he was a lad),  Barack Obama’s coffee (disciplined, other than the smokes), or Joe Biden's ice cream (taking the grandkids for a treat), the press latches onto the eating rituals of our leaders, sometimes harshly. If the eating goes south, so do the polls.

When then-mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio visited a pizza parlor, as is required of anyone seeking the vote of 8 million New Yorkers, he cut his pizza with a knife and ate it with a fork, and it made front page news on all the tabloids. This deed nearly cost him the needed votes to win election, so seriously do New Yorkers take their pizza-eating ritual of folding the slice down the middle and eating it hot, with both hands. With Vice President Harris diving into more plant-based or vegan fare, it appears as if she is ready to embrace a new generation of millennials, more than 54 percent of whom define themselves as flexitarians, or partly plant-based.

Tacotarian publicly thanked the Vice President and her team for their visit, claiming that long-time vegan Senator Cory Booker directed her to the restaurant. “Thank you so much for stopping in today and for being so kind in talking with us, our staff, and our customers,” Tacotarian posted on its Instagram. “Everyone on your team was so kind. We’re excited to hear you’re dabbling in veganism and we hope you continue on that journey. And thanks to Senator Cory Booker for always supporting us and giving the VP the recommendation. We’ve been so lucky in our journey thus far and we can’t wait to see what our future holds.”

Senator Cory Booker and Eric Adams have now both encouraged the Vice President to not only promote a plant-based diet but also go fully vegan herself. Earlier in the year, the JIVINTI Women’s Foundation challenged the current administration to take a plant-based approach when dealing with COVID-19 in order to also address chronic illness, racial and gender-based inequality, climate change, and food insecurity. The organization’s plea received immediate support from Eric Adams, who believed it to be both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ responsibility to the people.

“I wholeheartedly support the coalition in initiating these vital conversations focused on women of color in the US. And for marginalizing women worldwide,” Adams said. “We must turn food deserts into food oases, particularly in communities of color where nutritional foods are scarce. Switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet taught me about the transformative power of what’s on our dinner plate. With the new Biden-Harris administration in office, it’s time we take this conversation nationally.”

This is not the first time that the Vice President faced a challenge to adopt a plant-based diet. In December, a petition circulated challenging Harris to become the first vegan Vice President. The petition, authored by a coalition of evidence-based nutrition, medical science, public health, social justice, and anti-hunger organizations, hopes to increase awareness of how a plant-based diet can help mitigate the damages of the pandemic and other structural disparities across the world. The Vice President has yet to announce a dietary shift or to accept any challenge, but this recent public appearance at Tacotarian could signal that she’s buckling up for the challenge.


More From The Beet