Monday, November 28, 2011

Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Post-Thanksgiving!

My family did several different Thanksgiving dinners this year, due to work/travel schedules and locations. One of these was an entirely vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner (!!!) because my cousin, whose family hosted the dinner, is a newly-converted vegetarian.

I made the amazing eggplant cashew nut roast that I make every year, and it was very well-received yet again:

and because my father's weakness is pecan pie, I made my first ever pecan pie as well:
As I expected, the ingredients are pretty much sugar, sugar, and more sugar. With a few pecans on top. Definitely the least healthy thing I ate all weekend.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011



Although BRGR serves a veggie burger, their restaurant is full of pamphlets and propaganda about the merits of grass-fed beef, which made me feel kind of uncomfortable as a vegetarian. This is definitely one of those burger joints where the veggie burger is the ugly stepchild on the menu.


And it is another place with that “build your own” option as well as menu suggestions. I went with the “cultivated garden burger” – their suggested veggie burger combination, because I assume that this is the way a restaurant believes their burger is best showcased, and I like to give them a chance to show me their veggie burger at its best!

The friendly cashier told me they had just switched over to using a new kind of veggie patty – she knew for sure that it was vegan, but couldn’t tell me whether the bun it is served on contained dairy or not. I feel like, even though I’m not even vegan myself, I am constantly educating people on the difference between vegan and vegetarian because I sincerely want to make this blog a useful resource for veggie burger lovers of all kinds.

And inevitably I encounter a lot of restaurant employees who have never even considered the fact that bread often contains dairy. To be fair, I didn’t think about that myself until I lived with some vegans in college. A lot of restaurants seem proud to announce that their burger is vegan, because the patty is free of animal products. But then they hesitate and admit that they aren’t sure about the ingredients in the bread. Vegans aside, with the number of lactose-intolerant people in the world, I find this pretty shocking! And at BRGR in particular, because their whole shtick is “grass-fed beef”, this lack of knowledge about ingredients seems hypocritical (or I guess it only applies to meat?).

Anyway, my burger…


The patty was very hearty, chock full of seeds and grains, along with peppers, peas, and that familiar soy-based texture. There was a tanginess to it that I couldn’t quite place. I wish it had been a bit firmer or crispier, overall it was just too mushy to impress me.


The default toppings from the menu included gruyere cheese, avocado, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. The cheese was more rubbery than melty and gooey, and I felt cheated by the couple of sad-looking small pieces of avocado. The herbed mayo was quite good, but its taste competed with that of the pickles, and I think I would have preferred just the pickles.

The bun said wheat, but it was too light-colored to be whole wheat. Very soft, and fresh (points for that!), sprinkled with seeds. It would have actually been more delicious on its own with just a bit of butter, rather than a burger. The sweetness of it was nice, but not a good match for the tangier, more savory flavors of the burger.

I think this is my new favorite veggie burger photo, what a wonder colored backgrounds can do!

Cost: $9.95
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Burger patty: 3       Bun: 2       Toppings: 3

1026 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10065
second location in Chelsea – check website for address

YumVeggieBurger review #75

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Strange Matter

I went down to Richmond again last week to visit my good friend Christine – and because there are still a number of veggie burgers I did not try on my last visit, I took the opportunity to scratch one more off the list. Not to mention that being away for a three-day weekend provided the luxury of time to do such veggie-burger eating. I’ll be honest, my tv job is keeping me so busy that I don’t find myself with as much time for veggie burgers or blogging as I had in the past when I was more sporadically-employed. No regrets, since I love my job – but, just not enough hours in the day sometimes.

So I borrowed Christine’s bicycle and peddled over to Strange Matter – which is a cute alternative restaurant in the daytime and seems like it turns into a great live music venue at night. Definitely the kind of place I could see myself spending a lot of time in if I lived here. Richmond has quite a vibrant alternative and vegan side to it, which impressed me – and if I’m saying that after living in NYC for years, you know it must be true!


There are a ton of vegan options on Strange Matter’s menu – I wished I could try more of them. Vegan buffalo wings and vegan white Russians, among other things, caught my eye.

I ordered a drink called a Laura Palmer (how could I resist?) and then got into a conversation with the bartender and her friend about Twin Peaks, and showed them photos of my Halloween costume. Because I'm a dork like that.


The vegan lentil burger came with 1 side dish, and while there were a lot to choose from, I settled on the vegan macaroni. It was amazing, possibly the best vegan macaroni I’ve had at a restaurant (I make my own, which I think is pretty killer, so I’m often disappointed by restaurant versions). Thick and creamy, perfect comfort food. I would probably eat this at least once a week if I lived in Richmond.

Luckily the portions weren’t insane, so I still had room for the main attraction – the veggie burger!


It was just as delicious, a spicy patty of lentils and carrots – rather mushy, but it still stayed on the bun surprisingly well. I splurged and added vegan cheese (50 cents extra) to my burger, which was the perfect combination with the fresh spinach and tomato that it came with. The orange cilantro veganaise sauce was lighter than I was expecting, but still added a nice hint of flavor to the burger.


The bun was the only part that hit the “just average” mark – I’m biased towards more hearty, granier buns.

I saw a notice on the menu that all the burgers are half price on Tuesday evenings, too. So if you are in Richmond, I’d recommend checking this place out!

Cost: $7.25 (+ $0.50 for vegan cheese)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4      Bun: 3      Toppings: 5

Strange Matter
929 West Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23220


YumVeggieBurger review #74