Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Paddler's Inn

Hawaii vacation continued...


For our last day on Molokai, Joe and I finally checked out Paddler’s Inn – which seemed to be a popular social gathering spot on the island, since we’d seen lots of cars parked outside it on Friday and Saturday night, and they advertised live music most nights of the week.


We sat in an open-air patio area with a lot of other tourists who were presumably staying at the nearby resort. There was a live band, but it was pretty low-key, being a Sunday night (Paddler’s was one of the few places still open on Sunday, too!).


Although they had a couple other vegetarian options on the menu, I chose the veggie burger – described as a “garden burger”.


The bun was covered in sesame seeds, pretty standard bread, but soft and tasty. The toppings consisted of lettuce and tomatoes – and a little cup of mayonnaise, which I spread on the bun because it seemed it would be a rather dry burger without some kind of sauce.


The patty was just okay – lukewarm, and pretty much like every other generic veggie patty you’d expect to find at a restaurant that doesn’t make them in-house and probably buys them in bulk from a warehouse. Lots of rice and chopped vegetables inside it (not the faux-meat kind), but little flavor.


The veggie burgers I ate on Molokai were not as exciting as the ones I tried on Oahu, but given the very limited number of restaurants there are to choose from on Molokai, I was honestly just happy to find any vegetarian dishes at all. When you have very few other options, even a bad or mediocre veggie burger can be surprisingly appealing!

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

Paddler’s Inn
10 Mohala Street
Kaunakakai, HI 96748


YumVeggieBurger review #93

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Molokai Burger

Hawaii vacation continued…

Joe and I flew from Oahu to Molokai for a few days to explore an island that was new to both of us. Molokai is very small, and quiet. We found beaches free of crowds, and slept in our tent on the sand underneath the most beautiful night skies, and saw shooting stars every evening.


There are only a handful of restaurants on the whole island, so I was a little nervous about finding vegetarian options. But luckily, even with limited options, I was able to find a couple veggie burgers!


Molokai Burger seemed to be one of the more popular restaurants – and it seemed like the closest thing to a fast-food chain restaurant on an island that has no chain restaurants.


The menu described it as the “Molokai Garden Burger – Boca”, and the patty was indeed some kind of chicken-ish Boca patty. I know not all Boca products are completely vegan, so I’m not sure if this one was vegetarian or vegan. It was cooked well, and nice and moist on the inside, although I am normally not a fan of imitation-chicken burgers because somehow I feel they are not “proper” burgers”. There’s something about them that seems too light, not rich enough to be a “real” burger (although I’m sure that’s what meat-eaters say about ALL veggie burgers!)


The toppings included shredded lettuce, fresh tomato, and some kind of tangy sauce. Not bad, just not particularly exciting either. The bun was the best part – soft and tasty like it was from a bakery rather than a fast-food place. All in all, not the most amazing veggie burger ever, but I was just happy to find something vegetarian for dinner - and it was not a bad meal to end a long day with, before we returned to our campsite on the beach.


Cost: $5.95
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Burger patty: 2       Bun: 3      Toppings: 2

Molokai Burger
20 Kamehamea V Highway
Kaunakakai, HI 96748

YumVeggieBurger review #92

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Downbeat Diner And Lounge

More Hawaii adventures:


Haiku Stairs, a.k.a. Stairway To Heaven - we hiked up in the dark, and then watched the sunrise. Amazing!

And another veggie burger, this time from The Downbeat Diner & Lounge– a place that Joe was very excited to take me to because of the vast range of vegan options they serve.


Those vegan otions include buffalo wings and vegan milkshakes! I was quite impressed. And they are open until 3:00am. This place is like Honolulu’s version of Foodswings!


And in addition to a menu of several different styles of burgers, all available with a vegan patty, they also serve... The Loco Moco: Beef patty or vegan patty, “downbeat gravy”, two eggs over easy, over brown rice.
Wikipedia says that the loco moco is “a traditional meal in Hawaiian cuisine” – although it is normally made with a hamburger patty and white rice. I was excited to try Downbeat’s healthier, vegetarian version of this, since Joe had told me how he had developed a love of the non-vegetarian loco mocos.

Okay, that may be the most unattractive photo ever taken of two eggs – but trust me, they were delicious! The whole thing was, really. While a loco moco might sound like a bizarre combination of foods, the result is tasty, satisfying comfort food.


The patty is vegan, and homemade – the waitress told me it was made from black beans and mushrooms. It was slightly spicy, rich, and hearty. And paired well with the rest of the dish. The waitress told me that the gravy is vegan too, and asked if I wanted “real” eggs or not, so I assume there is a vegan option for those as well – although I opted for the real ones myself.


I’m sure the regular burgers are delicious as well – but I was really happy with my loco moco. I think I might even try recreating it back home in New York – it would be a delicious weekend brunch!

Joe makes a face at my camera, but you can see from his empty glass that he enjoyed his vegan milkshake!

Cost: $8.00 (for the loco moco - wings and milkshakes are extra!)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4       Bun: N/A      Toppings: 4

The Downbeat Diner & Lounge
42 N Hotel Street
Honolulu, HI 96817


YumVeggieBurger review #91

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Greens & Vines

I spent the last two and a half weeks in Hawaii – warm, sunny, wonderful Hawaii (thanks for the cold, snowy, welcome home, New York… haha). It was the first real vacation I had taken in three years, and it was even more amazing than I could have hoped for.


I’d been to Hawaii five years ago, before I started this blog – and I remembered eating a ton of delicious vegetarian food while I was there, so I was looking forward to seeking out some veggie burgers this time. I ended up trying 6 different veggie burgers over the course of my vacation, so for the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing my reviews of them here!

The first Island I visited was Oahu, where my friend Joe lives in Honolulu. We did a lot of amazing day hikes:
hiking the three peaks of Olomana


And one day after an afternoon at the beach, I stopped by Greens & Vines for a raw, vegan burger before going back to the beach to watch the sunset.


The zucchini crisps they served as a starter were so delicious, I could have eaten a huge bowl of them!

It’s been awhile since I last ate a raw veggie burger, so I was looking forward to trying “Syl’s Garden Burger w/ Jicama Fries”


The onion “bread” that this raw burger was served on was probably the best bun I’ve ever seen/tasted on a raw burger (usually they are too similar in consistency/ingredients to the burger patty itself – but this one was notably different in texture and taste). It was thin like a pita or tortilla, and chewy, but sweet and flavorful.


The burger patty itself (which the menu notes is “an all veggie patty (no fillers like bread crumbs)”) had a nice healthy, earthy flavor – but it was a tad dry, and could have benefited from a bit of spice or something to add more flavor. The date mustard and cashew mayo toppings were good (the mustard in particular was deliciously tangy), but there just wasn’t really enough of them to balance out the patty. Although the fresh, crisp lettuce and tomato helped a bit. I should have put some of the sun-dried tomato ketchup on the burger instead of using it all to dip my jicama fries in – because that stuff was delicious!

A lot of people in the restaurant were ordering the raw lasagna, which the waiter said was their signature dish. If/when I go back to Honolulu, I'd love to try that - as well as any of their other dishes. It's nice to vacation in a place where you don't have to worry about finding food that will fit your dietary requirements! Hawaii certainly has vegan/vegetarian food in abundance.


Cost: $11.75
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Burger patty: 3       Bun: 4      Toppings: 3

Greens & Vines
909 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814

YumVeggieBurger review #90