Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Connolly's Pub And Restaurant

My friends’ band, Vonesper played a show here last weekend – along with another awesome band, Erosian Exile. They played a kick-ass show, and it was a great night. I had just come from a long day of working on a video shoot, so I had to grab a bite to eat from the pub’s food menu before the music began….

Photo by Dwayne Burgess

So I ordered the “Big Apple Vegetable Burger”. Connolly's is a crowded pub right next to Times Square, so I didn’t have high expectations. I just wanted something that would fill my stomach, and couldn’t pass up the chance to review a new burger for the blog anyway.


It arrived loaded with melted swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms (which I, mushroom hater, promptly removed). In addition to lettuce, onion, and tomato, it was also topped with a basil mayo – a new variety of mayo in my book, but one that tasted surprisingly delicious, and added a really unique note to the otherwise standard burger. The swiss cheese was also a really dominant flavor – so I’m not sure that the burger would have tasted as good without it, but with that topping, it was quite flavorful. Although I don’t eat a lot of dairy, once in awhile I make an exception, and this was one that I enjoyed.


In case you couldn’t tell from my description of the toppings (swiss cheese, mayo…) this is not a vegan burger. The patty itself, beneath all that melted cheese, although an obviously pre-made one, was pretty decent. Cooked to a crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside – the usual mix of carrots, soy beans, and other indistinguishable chopped vegetables and binding ingredients. The bun was weighed down beneath all the toppings and patty; the bottom half was squished nearly flat, and a bit soggy, but the top was light and sweet, toasted just a little bit, crusted with sesame seeds.


Overall, I have to hand it to Connolly’s – this was not bad for a veggie burger at a pub in midtown. I was definitely bracing myself for something closer to inedible, but instead I found myself actually enjoying it. Having a pint of Magner’s to wash it down with helped too.

And the show was awesome. You should check out the bands’ websites and give their music a listen:
Erosian Exile

I mean to take photos of the show, in addition to the photos I took of my veggie burger… but I got distracted by watching and dancing, and forgot to. Haha.

Cost: $12
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Burger patty: 2      Bun: 3      Toppings: 4

Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant
121 West 45th Street
between 6th and 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10036

YumVeggieBurger review #52

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Veggie Burgers in the news

A blog-reader emailed me a link to yesterday's New York Times article on veggie burgers:
Veggie Burgers So Good, The Only Thing Missing Is Meat
(thanks, Janak!)

I'm glad to see veggie burgers getting some good press! This article highlights my favorite veggie burger, the one from Hillstone's, as well as a couple other NYC burgers such as Five Napkin and Westville. That covers two of my top three favorite veggie burgers, but don't forget the hidden gem (a.k.a. not in Manhattan) that doesn't get as much press... the amazing black bean burger at Astor Bake Shop!

Two other related New York Times articles:
Come Back Veggie Burger, All Is Forgiven
Veggie Burgers Of Note Around Manhattan
(this list contains some I have been waiting to try, gotta get on that!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Lovin' Cup


I came here for a dinner date last Friday when New York had that one gorgeous day of 70-degree weather. The front windows of the restaurant were open, and people were sitting on the chairs outside. It felt like summer.

We started off our evening with drinks - and I tried the ginger-infused bourbon off of The Lovin' Cup's list of house infused spirits. Delicious! When the time came for food, I ordered the house-made veggie patty - which comes with sharp New York Cheddar by default, but I asked for mine without, and opted for hummus (an extra $1.50) instead. Given the choice of fries or tater tots as my side, I chose the fries... tater tots give me bad flashbacks to elementary school. And I still don't find them particularly tasty, so I don't understand why they are recently a popular trend outside of school cafeterias.


The burger came with hummus, as requested, and fresh leafy greens. The waitress told me the patty was not vegan (it contains eggs), and the bun tasted so buttery that I'm pretty sure there was some dairy in that as well. But it was a really delicious bun - light and soft and sweet. The perfect size to fit with the patty, too.


And the patty itself was spectacular. I tried to figure out what its ingredients were, as I always do... Definitely a lot of spinach. Also corn, peppers, broccoli, and most likely a few other things I couldn't see by candle-light. Fried to a crisp on the outside, but so soft on the inside that it did ooze out and fall apart a bit... much more vegetable-based than protein-based. It tasted amazing, so rich and savory!


I debated for awhile whether it was a 4-star or 5-star burger. It came really close to 5-star level, because it was really just perfectly done. But it wasn't quite orgasmic-mind-blowing level, so I'm going to say it ranks in the top of the 4-star category, but 5 stars are still reserved for burgers that really shock me with how good they are. If I had half-star ratings on this blog, this would be a 4-and-a-half.

The Lovin' Cup's menu says the veggie burgers are also available as sliders, which I would love to come back and try sometime.

Cost: $11 + $1.50 for hummus topping
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4      Bun: 5      Toppings: 4

The Lovin' Cup
93 North 6th Street
between Wythe Ave & Berry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

YumVeggieBurger review #51

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This is my 50th review posted! 50 veggie burgers reviewed so far, wow! I’m really happy with how far my little blog has come. Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading and commenting

I’d been wanting to check out Boneshakers for awhile, and read many other great vegan and vegetarian bloggers talking about it (including blogger-friend Marty, who reviewed Boneshaker’s burger here). So when my friend Monica and I decided to go there for dinner one evening, I was very excited – and glad I had remembered to bring my camera!


I ordered “The Hillbomber” – homemade (vegan) veggie patty, tomato, lettuce, and vegan chipotle mayo on a Kaiser roll, served with a small side salad.

It was delicious! The patty was slightly spicy, thin and crispy –definitely homemade, always a plus! A little dry, but the toppings made up for that - I’m a huge chipotle fan, so the vegan chipotle mayo really completed the whole burger for me. The lettuce and tomatoes were nice and fresh… and I splurged and spent an extra $2 for tempeh bacon as well. It’s hard to resist that tasty stuff (don’t even mention Brooklyn Mac…)


My only (minor) complaint was that the bun was just a little too big for the whole burger. Gotta have that perfect bun-to-patty ratio! Nonetheless, this is still one of the better vegan burgers in NYC, and I’m very glad I finally tried it. And a good price, too! Although all the possible add-on toppings (vegan bacon, cheese, avocado) will likely tempt you to spend more, as they did to me.

Monica, who also ordered the burger, licked her plate clean!

I can’t wait to go back to sample some of the other (non-burger) sandwiches on the menu as well. I did treat myself to a vegan cookie before we left, too. Delicious, again!


Cost: $6.00 +$2 for vegan bacon
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4      Bun: 3      Toppings: 4

134 Kingsland Ave
between Lombardy St and Beadel St.
Brooklyn, NY 11222

YumVeggieBurger review #50

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Update - Fiesta Tempeh-Bean Burger RECIPE!

I'm sick with a sinus infection, so I've been eating more soup than burgers this week... but I have a great update to share: Lindsay, from Cook.Vegan.Lover., has posted her Fiesta Tempeh-Bean Burger recipe which I blogged about last month when her ebook was released.


You can now find the recipe here. If you try it out, please leave Lindsay a comment thanking her for creating it and posting the recipe!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



My friend Adam introduced me to Zaitzeff way back before I started this blog. I had eaten their veggie burger, and remembered it as being pretty good, so I finally returned to do a proper review.


It’s a really elegant but cozy restaurant – very nicely laid out, with good lighting. I arrived rather late in the evening on a Monday night so there were only a few other people eating there, although the kitchen was busy filling lots of orders for delivery.
So I sat at the bar and talked to the bartender a bit. He told me that his family owned the restaurant, and when I expressed interest in the veggie burger he said that it was indeed a very good one. Pre-made, but that was because they had tried doing them from scratch but they weren't quite good enough, he said.


The burger in question arrived topped with avocado, lettuce, and tomato (the menu says it comes with cheddar cheese too, but I asked for mine without). I had ordered a side of sweet potato fries (an extra $5) because I also remembered Zaitzeff having really delicious sweet potato fries (and tasting them again confirmed the accuracy of my memory!)


The burger patty (organic, according to the menu) was very flavorful, with a rather mock-meat texture to it. Perfectly crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside, with bits of peppers and mushrooms visible within. The bun was sweet and light, toasted perfectly and just the right size for the patty and toppings.

Overall, a very satisfying meal, and it lived up to my memory of the first time I ate at Zaitzeff awhile back. I have a lot of meat-eating friends who adore this place too, so I certainly won’t mind returning with them since I know I can get a good veggie burger here.

Cost: $8.50 (+ $5 for fries)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 3      Bun: 4      Toppings: 4

18 Avenue B
between 2nd and 3rd Street
New York, NY 10009

YumVeggieBurger review #49