Has Steve Wynn fallen off the vegan wagon?
That's the word circulating around his fine dining restaurants.
For more than a year, the billionaire hotel developer was one of the world's highest-profile converts to the vegan lifestyle.
His zeal bordered on evangelism.
He insisted he went cold turkey -- gave up meat -- in June 2010, after watching a documentary on his yacht on the French Riviera.
He returned to Las Vegas and recruited celebrated vegan chef Tal Ronnen to help his lineup of chefs develop menus with vegan offerings. Wynn provided a promotional vegan book and the documentary DVD to his workforce of nearly 10,000 employees.
In May he apologized for "preaching" at a showcase event called Viva Las Vegan, an event he put together in conjunction with Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit.
His Christmas card even urged friends to lower their cholesterol.
"This is a matter of fundamental survival and continued vitality of our society and our population," he told the Viva Las Vegan crowd.
It is not, he said, "some kind of fringe activity of tree huggers.''
In interviews, Wynn, who named one of his Wynn Las Vegas steakhouses SW, after himself, said, "The notion that you need animal food as protein is one of the great conspiracies of (expletive) by the government."
THE SCENE AND HEARD
A week after her divorce plans surfaced, Kobe Bryant's estranged wife, Vanessa, showed up in Las Vegas, apparently on a getaway with galpals over New Year's weekend. She had dinner at STK in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas with five female friends.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, meeting with Celine Dion after the show (Caesars Palace) on Friday. ... Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, helping out in the kitchen at N9NE Steakhouse on Saturday as an expediter for chef Barry Dakake. "He has a huge passion for food," Dakake said. Also in on New Year's Eve: Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih, rapper Wiz Khalifa and former slugger Mo Vaughn and Pete Rose. Adrienne Maloof of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" was in on Friday. ... At UFC 141 at the MGM Grand Garden: Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, actors Josh Duhamel, Eric Stonestreet and Wilmer Valderrama, Mark Ballas of "Dancing With the Stars," hip-hop star Lil Jon, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of "Jersey Shore" and UFC stars Junior Dos Santos, Frank Mir, Urijah Faber, Forrest Griffin, Nick Diaz, Dominick Cruz, Roy Nelson, Jake Shields, Tito Ortiz and Gina Carano. ... At Sugar Factory American Brasserie (Paris) Friday night: Good Charlotte frontmen Joel and Benji Madden, dining before their performance at Chateau (Paris). Joel's wife, Nicole Richie, joined them. Also there: "Jersey Shore" stars Sorrentino and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro in separate parties; singer Brandy and NBA legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving, having dinner with a large group. ... Singer Natasha Bedingfield, dining at Tao (The Venetian). Also spotted: "Pan Am" actress Margot Robbie with girlfriends. ... At the Palms on Friday: U.S. soccer standout Jozy Altidore, at N9NE Steakhouse with friends. They later headed for Rain Nightclub. Also at N9NE: Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, who lives in Las Vegas in the off-season. ... "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe, with friends at the Playboy Club. ... Chef Tyler Florence, dining Friday at Spago (Forum Shops at Caesars). ... "Celebrity Rehab" star Dr. Drew Pinsky, with family at "Criss Angel Believe" on Thursday at Luxor.
THE PUNCH LINE
"New Year's kiss was swiftly followed by a restraining order." -- From David Letterman's Top Ten Signs You're Already Having a Bad Year