Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Blog!


My little veggie burger blog is officially one year old now!

Yup, it's been a year since I posted my first review [of Sparrow Tavern's veggie burger].
64 veggie burgers later... I'm still blogging (and, apparently, tweeting as well). And I haven't even tried half of the veggie burgers on my to-try list (and that's in NYC alone!).

I owe a huge thanks to everyone who reads my posts (and especially those of you who leave comments - I love you dearly for it)

Here's to the next year of veggie burgers, may it be even more delicious than the last!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red Bamboo

I love Red Bamboo – but it didn’t even occur to me to review their veggie burger (honestly, they have so much stuff on their menu I didn’t even realize they had one) until I was nearby one afternoon and wanted to grab a bite to eat before seeing Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams at the IFC Center.


I’ve eaten quite a few of the numerous vegan and vegetarian dishes from Red Bamboo’s menu over the years – my favorite is the almond coconut chicken appetizer. In fact, this may have been my first trip to the restaurant where I did not order that delicious dish (if I had been hungrier, I would have!) They also have vegetarian versions of things like steak and shrimp that I didn’t even eat before I became a vegetarian, and I will admit I am still scared to try even the faux-meat versions of these things.

Their veggie burger is called the “Bamburger” – the menu notes that the soy protein in the patty contains whey, although the mayo the burger is served with is vegan… are there some vegans who don’t mind eating whey? I was a bit confused by this. Adding vegan cheese is an option as well, so it sounds like the burger could be ordered completely vegan, except for that little note about the whey... Strange.


The patty consisted of very dark-colored faux meat. It was thin and rather tough, I had to really tear into it with my teeth to take a bite, it was so dense and chewy. Not what I normally expect from a burger, but it was much tastier than most faux meat products – something I’ve noticed about nearly all of the dishes I've tried at Red Bamboo, which is why I keep going back to the restaurant even though normally I am not a huge fan of faux meat. The whole burger was very drippy, perhaps because of the sauce/marinade on the patty? It was quite flavorful, kind of sweet and sour – I liked it, but it made eating very messy.


Eating was further complicated by the bun, which was pretty average, studded with sesame seeds – but far too squishy and crumbley, and it fell apart in my hands. It wasn’t nearly strong enough to support its contents. The toppings themselves were pretty good – vegan mayo, pickles, carmelized onions, tomato, lettuce, and a serving of ketchup on the side which I didn’t touch because I personally feel that ketchup overwhelms the other flavors of a good burger, most of the time.

A tasty burger, overall – although I have to say it didn’t blow my mind the way some of the other dishes at Red Bamboo have. I will definitely stick to my favorite almond coconut chicken next time I come back!

And a side note – has anyone else noticed a surprising number of rather attractive men eating lunch or dinner by themselves, often reading a book, at Red Bamboo? Or is it just me?
I would blame its proximity to NYU, except the one time I actually got up the courage to speak to one of these attractive men, he was not a student, but was visiting from out of town.

Cost: $4.95
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Burger patty: 4      Bun: 2      Toppings: 3

Red Bamboo
140 West 4th Street
between 6th Ave and MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012

Oh, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams was outstanding. You should really go see it in the theater in all it’s 3D glory, if you can!


YumVeggieBurger review #64

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Energy Kitchen

I’ve had Energy Kitchen on my list of veggie-burgers-to-try for awhile, so when I heard that they were doing a special promotion where all their burgers are only $5 for the month of June, I decided to move it up to the top of the list.


When I arrived at the 23rd Street location, I placed my order and was given this buzzer that would let me know when my burger was ready – I’ve seen these before at big sit-down franchise restaurants, but never at fast food places until now. There was a line of people all holding buzzers waiting for their food to be ready. I was here on a weekday at lunchtime, so this “line” was actually more like a crowded cluster of very hungry people!

This was how my burger was served – all wrapped up (doesn’t it look so round, kind of like an apple?)


The patty is a Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger – the girl who took my order said she did not know if it was vegan or not (I know some Dr. Praeger’s burgers are, but I’m not 100% sure which one this was). It was a mix of peppers, carrots, soy beans, and other vegetables. Crispy on the outside, and soft and mushy on the inside. It tasted seasoned, but nothing terribly special. Sort of like a vegetable soup. Half of it fell out of the bun as I was eating it, too.


The bun was a soft, flakey wheat roll. Pretty tasty, but once again, the girl at the counter couldn’t verify if it was vegan or not (she said she couldn’t even check… which sounded rather odd). Seems strange that such a health-conscious restaurant (Energy Kitchen boasts “nothing over 500 calories” and “everything grilled, steamed, or baked”) can’t even tell its customers what ingredients (hello, allergies???) its food contains.

The tomatoes were green in the center, but the lettuce and the avocado were good. Honestly, what saved this burger was the hot sauce packets that came with it. They gave the otherwise kind of boring flavors a much-needed kick.


Worth checking out during the $5 burger promotion this month, but I doubt I would go back and pay full price. I can buy a box of Dr. Praeger’s burgers at the grocery store and make my own, better burger at home. They had a vegetarian chili on the menu, which could be promising, and a full smoothie bar – so maybe if I came back I’d just try out a smoothie instead of a burger.

Cost: $5.00 + 99 cents for avocado (month of June only – regularly $6.99 + 99 cents)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Burger patty: 3      Bun: 3      Toppings: 3

Energy Kitchen
18 West 23rd Street
between 5th and 6th Ave
New York, NY 10010
Various locations in Manhattan- check website for addresses

YumVeggieBurger review #63

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wall Street Burgers food truck

I must be a magnet for veggie burgers, I swear… or maybe my decision to join twitter has bought about some good luck… Because I was just walking home from the library (because I'm a book nerd) last night when I saw a new bright reddish-orange food truck parked on the side of the street.

“A new food truck?” I thought, “In Astoria? How cool! Hmm, burgers… I bet they don’t have a veggie burger though…”
But, they did!


Frankie, the guy working in the truck, was very friendly and told me that Wall Street Burgers had just started serving food, and that they are normally in Manhattan during the day, but come back to Astoria in the evenings – and have plans to be here by the Ditmars train station quite often.

It started raining after I placed my order, so once the burger was ready I tucked it safely into my bag and hurried home – so the subsequent photos were all taken at my dining table, but the burger was still warm and fresh, I promise!

It came in a little paper tray – they covered it with foil [not pictured] so I could safely transport it home in the rain though!

On a plate now, because I like to pretend I am civilized sometimes.

Wall Street Burgers does not make their own veggie patties (I asked), but Frankie told me they are definitely vegan – although he said he would have to check on whether the bun was vegan or not. The patty was soft and juicy – packed full of veggies like peas, carrots, peppers, potatoes, and soy beans. It had a slightly spicy flavor to it, and I think it was a type of pre-made patty I have had before (it had that familiar taste to it). Not so bad, as far as pre-made patties go. Nothing beats homemade, but the excitement of getting a veggie burger from a food truck definitely enhanced the flavor for me...


The toppings you can get for free are lettuce, tomato, onion, and this tangy mayo-ketchup (definitely not vegan) dressing that Wall Street Burgers mixes themselves. Cheese is optional, for an additional dollar (right now they only have American, but Frankie said they are hoping to include more types of cheese soon). The potato roll that it was served on was soft and fresh. It’s been awhile since I had a burger on a potato roll, but they never disappoint. I’ve had potato rolls before which were vegan, so hopefully the food truck will check on the status of these and inform their customers appropriately.


It’s quite exciting to see a new food truck already including a vegetarian option. There are a lot of food trucks in this city that serve burgers, but few of them include veggie burgers. And this is the first one that I’ve spotted in Astoria.

Cost: $6
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 2      Bun: 3      Toppings: 3

Wall Street Burgers
spotted on the corner of Ditmars Blvd and 31st Street in Astoria, Queens
Parking in Manhattan and Astoria so far, check their twitter feed for current location

Note: the menu on their website does not list the veggie burger – but Frankie said that for now at least they are trying to offer it every day, hopefully making it part of the permanent menu!

YumVeggieBurger review #62

Do you know of any other food trucks in NYC that serve veggie burgers?
I reviewed GO Burger last summer, as well as Green Truck (but the later was only here from LA temporarily).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So, I joined Twitter...

This blog's one-year-birthday is coming up (end of the month!), so blog... consider this your early birthday present. haha.
I think the real motivation is that I finally got an iPhone and I just want an excuse to download another app for it, but either way...

I have a YumVeggieBurger twitter account now!

So follow me if you feel so inclined!
and/or post a comment with a link to your twitter so I can follow you - I'm really still figuring this whole "tweeting" thing out (and I'm still uncomfortable using that verb, but we'll see how that goes) so please give me any tips or hints you think a twitter newbie could use!


Friday, June 10, 2011

To tweet or not to tweet?

Question for other bloggers:
Do you have a twitter feed or a facebook fan page for your blog?

Are they actually fun/useful?
I've had a few people ask if I have these things, but I've never quite seen the point of them...

I've resisted twitter for so long, but I'll be honest, now that I have an iPhone (which I am in total LOVE with!) I can start to imagine myself using twitter... but would anyone other than me actually be amused by my "omg, I'm in Canada and I'm about to eat this veggie burger I've been lusting after for a year now!" tweets? haha


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Frite Alors!

The final chapter of our NY/Canada roadtrip... Montreal!

I kind of fell in love with Toronto, even though we only had one day to spend in that city. But after a night of sleeping in our car (long story...) we headed north to Montreal, checked into a hostel, rented some bicycles, and biked over to the Latin Quarter for dinner and drinks. We had arrived a bit late in the evening on a weekday night, so a lot of places were closing or not serving food anymore. Then we stumbled upon Frite Alors! They were still open for another half hour, and frites sounded pretty good to us all. Then I noticed that they also served...

Les végé-burgers!

So I ordered a veggie burger with a side of frites (included). I didn't trust my half-forgotten high French enough to attempt asking whether the burger was vegan or not - sorry, vegan friends! It comes with mayo, but I don't know the status of the patty itself or the bun it's served on. If any Canadian vegans are reading this, maybe you can enlighten us?


I chose the "limette" dipping sauce for my frites - mayo with lemon and black pepper. Wow, was that delicious! I've never had that flavor in the states, but I definitely need to attempt to replicate it now because my mouth is watering just thinking about it.


The burger came topped with mayo, a generous portion of savory carmelized onions, and lettuce. Maybe I was just really hungry (we all were, by that time) since those toppings sound simplistic writing them out now, but the onions really made the whole burger wonderful.


The patty was rather "earthy" again, like the amazing one I'd had at Lick's (is that just a Canadian thing? Must return to gather more evidence...) This one was closer too the pre-made patties I am more familiar with, although it was still pretty darn good. A hearty texture, with grains and probably soy too. The bun was very tasty, but a little oversized for the patty and toppings - it made the whole thing a little too dry. Still, I was famished, and it was a tasty burger. So overall I was quite happy with my second Canadian veggie burger.

yes, the restaurant is above/next to a massage parlor... this may have even been the same massage parlor on which we noticed the sign saying "backdoor entrance available"...

Cost: $10.25 [Canadian]
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4      Bun: 3      Toppings: 4

Frite Alors!
1710 Rue Saint-Denis
Montreal, QC, Canada
several other locations in Canada – check website for addresses

Fueled by food and frites, we headed out to walk around some more and check out Montreal's bar scene. Lots of fun. The next morning we explored more of the city on the awesome public rental bikes again (I think those things are the most brilliant idea EVER!), and ate more delicious food (I think I filled my quota of pastries for the rest of 2011), but no more veggie burgers, haha. Three in three days is a bit much even for me!


YumVeggieBurger review #61

Monday, June 6, 2011


First Canadian burger review!

I first heard about Lick’s supposedly-amazing veggie burger over a year ago – so I was really excited to finally have a chance to taste it when we arrived in Toronoto on the second day of our roadtrip.


It looks like just your average fast food burger place, but I had heard from several sources that their vegan nature burger was surprisingly one of the best veggie burgers in the world. I placed my order and paid at the cash register, and then waiting in line to receive my food.


The array of burger toppings was my first clue that Lick’s is not just any old fast food place – after you order your patty, you get to choose whatever toppings you want from a selection that included mango chutney and zucchini relish (wow!).

That’s my burger – all wrapped up and ready to go!

Once I opened up the foil wrapper, my first impression of the burger was that it smelled absolutely delicious! I snapped some photos while I waited for my friends to receive their orders, not wanting to start eating without them, and the smell was just taunting me the whole time as I waited impatiently to taste it!


The toppings I had picked were lettuce, tomato, zucchini relish (how could I resist?), and hot peppers (which turned out to be VERY spicy!).


posing for a photo with my burger before the first bite…

The verdict? Awesome!

It’s hard for a veggie burger to live up to my very high expectations, especially one I have been waiting months (let alone a year) to try – but Lick’s managed to fully impress me! This burger was absolutely scrumptious. Definitely worthy of 5 stars.


The patty is very dark, even more meatier-looking than most imitation-meat patties I have had before. But it doesn’t taste like it’s trying to be meaty – it has a much “earthier” flavor (I’ve thought about how to describe it, and that’s really the only word that fits). It’s soy-based, but much more flavorful than most soy-based patties, and the whole flavor is much more complex. "Nature burger" really is the right name for it.

The toppings were delicious, as I had predicted they would be when I chose them (especially the zucchini relish, yum!), and the toasted whole wheat bun was great. The whole thing held together very well, the patty did not fall apart at all. It was a very satisfying and filling meal – I wished I could have eaten a second one, just because I have no idea when I will have a chance to return to Toronto to eat another burger at Lick’s… but without a doubt, if/when I do make it back to this city, another stop at Lick’s will be mandatory (and it's the most inexpensive 5-star burger I have reviewed at a restaurant so far!).

Even meat-eating Felipe was blown away by how good this veggie burger tasted!

Cost: $5.49 [Canadian]
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Burger patty: 5      Bun: 4      Toppings: 5

Lick’s Homeburgers
720 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON, Canada
several other locations in and around Toronto – check website for addresses

YumVeggieBurger review #60

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wildflower Pop-Up

THIS sounds awesome (look at those burgers!), albeit entirely out of my budget.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jim's Steakout

I know I promised you some Canadian veggie burger reviews… but I’m doing this in chronological order, and the first stop on our roadtrip was in Buffalo, NY. We went out for drinks (and wow, I always forget how expensive drinks in NYC are until I go out of town and realize I am only spending half of what I normally would!) and then ended up at Jim’s Steakout for late-night munchies as the bars started closing.


I’ll be honest, I really just wanted to order some veggie tacos. But apparently the veggie tacos only come with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. No beans? Really? I wanted something more substantial, so I turned to the veggie burger as my second choice.


It was your typical frozen burger patty, with a very familiar taste. Carrots, mushrooms, peppers, beans, and a faux-meaty texture. Decidedly average, as far as veggie burgers go. I asked the staff if it was vegan, and the answer I got was “I don’t know, the box doesn’t even say”. Very helpful.


The bun was toasted, but otherwise unmemorable. The toppings served on the burger were mayo, mustard (which I’m not a big fan of, but I didn’t realize it would be included until after the burger was served to me), lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and pickles. It satisfied the craving for hot food at 3am after a night of drinking, but I doubt I would return to eat the burger again while sober.

Cost: $3.99
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Burger patty: 3      Bun: 2      Toppings: 2

Jim’s Steakout
194 Allen Street
Buffalo, NY 14201
several other locations in and around Buffalo – check website for addresses

YumVeggieBurger review #59

The next day we crossed the border into Canada, stopping at Niagra Falls to be tourists for a couple hours, before continuing on to Toronto…