Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Best Thing I Ate This Month That Wasn't A Veggie Burger

Sometimes I eat something that isn't a veggie burger, but it's so good that I want to share it with the world anyway... Don't worry, this blog will always be about veggie burgers first and foremost! That is never going to change (there are still so many out there waiting for me to try them...!) But I've been tempted to start sharing one favorite non-veggie-burger vegetarian or vegan food item each month. How does that sound to you?

So, this month, the best thing I ate that wasn't a veggie burger was Peacefood Cafe's "doughnut-croissant hybrid":

Yes, that's a VEGAN "doughnut-croissant hybrid". And a chocolate-frosted, cream-filled one at that.

And yes, as this helpful little display sign at Peacefood explained... due to the cronut controversy, this is not a cronut, *wink*. It's merely a "croissant-donut hybrid".
Whatever, it tasted AMAZING.
I haven't tried a real cronut, so I can't say how it compares, but this was delicious enough for me! I don't know how often Peacefood has these available, or how quickly they sell out - I picked this one up before noon on a weekday, but I stopped in another day later this month and there were none in the display case. But if you see one, definitely give it a try!

Peacefood Cafe Downtown
41 East 11th Street
between Broadway & University Pl
New York, NY 10003
(they have an uptown location as well, but I do not know if they serve these donuts there too)

New York Burger Co.

The best part about being a vegetarian in NYC is that you can be out running errands pretty much anywhere in the city, and if you are starving and need to grab a bite to eat, you never have to look very far for a vegetarian option. I had walked past New York Burger Co. for years before I finally had the time and appetite to stop for a late lunch here one afternoon.


I ordered the “vegetarian black bean burger” – I asked if it was vegan, and the cashier went and asked the cooks, who apparently said that both the patty and the bun are vegan, although I am not 100% sure that they understood my question or were entirely sure of the answer themselves… I sometimes get the feeling that people are just saying what they think you want to hear, when you ask questions like this. The cashier mentioned that a lot of people ask if it’s vegan (I refrained from asking her why she didn’t already know the answer to the question, if it’s one she gets asked so often!).

Look at that awesome sticker! I saved it and put it on my bulletin board at home. I wish all veggie burgers came with one!


This burger was massive – the wheat bun was like a giant flying saucer! It was a bit too large for the rest of the burger, although it did do a good job of holding everything together as I ate it. And it tasted nice. The patty seemed definitely homemade, which surprised me. I could definitely taste the black beans, but there were other flavors too – grains and carrots, and a little spice. It wasn’t as heavily “bean-y” as most patties that are billed as “black bean burgers”.


The toppings it came with were mango salsa, avocado, plum tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. I thought they skimped a little on the salsa, but what I tasted of it was delicious. A nice unique flavor on a burger – good for summer. I would definitely eat it again (maybe I should try mango salsa on my burgers at home too).


I was more impressed than I had expected to be by this place – I was anticipating a very average burger, probably a pre-made generic patty. There are so many burger joints in NYC, and so many of them DO cop-out and serve something mediocre as the veggie burger option. But once in awhile, you find a gem like this place that pleasantly surprises you. And kudos to any restaurant that comes up with creative toppings for a veggie burger that do not include cheese! My kinda-allergic-to-dairy body salutes you.

And with my stomach now more than full, I was able to walk across the street and buy groceries at Trader Joe’s without being so hungry that I ended up buying every snack in sight…

Cost: $8.50
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4       Bun: 3      Toppings: 4

New York Burger Co.
678 6th Avenue
between 21st & 22nd Street
New York, NY 10010
second location in Chelsea as well, check website for address

YumVeggieBurger review #105

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


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Friday, July 26, 2013

Veggie Burgers in the News

Alright, I'm not a big fan of going to shows at large amphitheater-style venues... but I have to say, it's pretty awesome that vegetarianism and veggie burgers are becoming so mainstream:

Live Nation Amphitheaters to Source Foods Locally [The Daily Meal]

Would you eat a veggie burger while you're at a concert?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


New York has really been in the heat of summer recently – a heat wave, to be exact. So what better time to leave the sweaty streets and hit the beach, right?


I love Rockaway Beach because you can get to it by subway. No expensive Long Island Railroad tickets, no car rental, no fee charged to go on the beach! And I love going to Rockaway Taco for lunch while I’m there, because their tofu tacos are amazing.

But since parts of the beach and the boardwalk are still being repaired after Hurricane Sandy, we ended up walking down to 86th street to get to the beach because you are not allowed to swim at 98th street (the subway stop I usually get off at, the closest one to Rockaway Taco) while construction is still going on. At 86th Street, the boardwalk has been repaired, and Rippers has rebuilt its burger stand. And guess what? They have a veggie burger on the menu!


I was going to order avocado ($1.50 extra) on top of my veggie burger, but then the girl taking our order said that the veggie burger already comes with avocado – now that’s what I like to hear! It also comes with fresh tomato slices, pickles, and some kind of green sauce which I couldn’t identify, that had a mild, sweet flavor.


The patty is made (homemade, I should add) with black beans and quinoa – and fried to a great, crunchy crisp on the outside, It held together incredibly well, was soft on the inside, and had a hearty flavor. I love black beans and quinoa, but this might be the first time I have seen the two of them together as co-stars in a burger patty (it’s a brilliant idea!). The bun was soft, and fresh, but just your standard pre-packaged hamburger bun. It got a bit mushy on the bottom, with the liquid of the sauce and pickles, but the whole thing was still so tasty.


I was really quite surprised by how good it was - I had been expecting the typical “hockey-puck” frozen veggie burger patty that restaurants offer as an afterthought to a menu of meat-burgers. But great care had clearly gone into the creation of this delicious veggie burger, and it made a great day at the beach even better!


Is it vegan? (I always try to find out for my vegan readers!) The girl who took our order said “I think so, it’s just quinoa and black beans”. It’s possible those were the only ingredients (plus some spices maybe?) but I’d definitely recommend asking for more information if you are vegan and want to eat this burger. I’m also not sure if the bun or the sauce would be vegan.


Now Rippers and Rockaway Taco might be tied for my affections… I guess I’ll just have to go to the beach a lot more before the end of the summer, to give each a fair share of my attention and appetite!

Cost: $7.50 (cash only!)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4       Bun: 3      Toppings: 5

Boardwalk & Beach 86th St
Far Rockaway, NY 11693

YumVeggieBurger review #104

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


After an intense hot vinyasa class the other day, my friend Logan and I went for a post-yoga drink at nearby Rèst-âü-Ránt. This wine bar has been on my radar for awhile, but since it’s a little far from my apartment I hadn’t checked it out yet. But the yoga studio with the hot room that I’ve been going to lately is quite close, so I jumped at the chance to finally step inside.

Please forgive the quality of these photos – it was night, and I only had my iPhone.

And, since I was a bit hungry too, I looked over the menu, thinking I might get a snack. And then I saw “VEGGIE SLIDERS” – and of course I knew what I was ordering!


The three sliders were served on cute little brioche buns – the bread fresh, sweet, and lightly toasted. Quite perfect. The menu said the burgers were topped with “fresh tomato salsa” – but it seemed like it wasn’t more elaborate that diced tomatoes and red onions. There was also a nice tangy herbed mayo spread on the bun.


The patty itself tasted so good – beans and some kind of mash of vegetables, with lots of fresh herbs! It was fried to a crisp on top and bottom, but the inside was still so moist that it oozed out the sides as soon as I bit into the burger. I tried to lift up one of the patties to see the mayo on the bun underneath (I’m a bit of a freak when I’m eating a veggie burger for a review – I basically dissect it!), but I couldn’t even lift the patty without it oozing into a big puddle. I asked if the sliders were vegan, and was told that they are not – they have some egg and possibly cheese to help bind them together, although it doesn’t seem like those ingredients are doing that job so well (maybe some ground flaxseed instead?).


I was very impressed by the taste and the quality of the sliders, at such a reasonable price. And they weren’t too small either – three together definitely added up to more than one regular sized burger. Logan ordered some fries, which came with ketchup and a delicious chipotle mayo - I tried a few of them, and they were excellent. So if the sliders alone aren’t enough for you, I’d definitely recommend getting the fries too. And the bottle of red wine that we shared really hit the spot!


Cost: $7 for three sliders
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4       Bun: 5      Toppings: 3

30-01 35th Ave
Astoria, NY 11106

YumVeggieBurger review #103

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Trader Joe's Veggie Burger

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Trader Joe’s – although I live in Astoria, and the nearest Trader Joe’s store is in Manhattan, I make a pilgrimage at least once a month to stock up on my favorite products. I’ve even reviewed two other veggie burgers from Trader Joe’s on my blog: here and here.

But I had not tried these frozen veggie burgers yet:


So I picked up a box the last time I was shopping, and I had them in my freezer on a sunny afternoon when some friends came over for a barbecue (it is barbecue season now in NYC, and I am loving it!).


Grilling veggie burgers can be a tricky feat – some just do better on the grill than others. These ones, unfortunately, did not do so well – they are so soft that they fell apart before they were completely cooked. I’m lucky that I got two of them off the grill without them completely crumbling into the flames! They are not as dense as most veggie burgers I have eaten – although they contain eggs (not vegan! surprising for Trader Joe's, which has so many other good vegan options), which theoretically should hold the patty together, they were still very delicate and crumbly. The first ingredient listed is freekeh wheat, which might explain that.


I served mine on a toasted bun with some grilled habanero peppers – yum! Although it was crumbly and a little challenging to eat, the flavor and texture of the patty were great.

A couple days later, I fried one on the stovetop to see how that cooking method compared to grilling. The result: much better! The patty held together perfectly, although it was still soft and much less dense than the average veggie burger. The lightness of it actually made it seem more like a homemade patty – if I hadn’t known better, if someone had served it to me at a restaurant, I probably never would have guessed it was a store-bought frozen patty.


With lots of shredded carrots inside, it reminded me a bit of coleslaw – only a breaded, and crispy-on-the-outside! The flavor is light as well, not spicy at all. Frying it in just a little bit of olive oil browned the outside nicely. Surprisingly unique for a store-bought burger, I think these patties would make a great change of pace if you are bored of the more densely-packed bean or faux-meat-based patties. It’s not what you normally expect when you think “burger” and “barbecue”, but it would probably be great in a wrap, or on top of a salad!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Trader Joe’s Veggie Burgers
purchased at Trader Joe’s in Chelsea, NYC
price: $3.79 for a box of 4

YumVeggieBurger review #102

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This week's special from The Cinnamon Snail: French Lentil Burger

I love the Cinnamon Snail food truck – their sandwiches are always delicious, and their donuts are simply to die for (vegan bourbon crème brûlée donuts – does it get any better than that???), and their ancho chili seitan burger is one of the select few five-star burgers I have reviewed on this website!

Since I’m not in Manhattan during lunch hours that often, going to the Cinnamon Snail is a special treat for me. So when the short film I was working on wrapped last Friday, and I found myself in midtown around lunch time, I seized the opportunity. Even though the line was long (this truck is always super popular!), and the sun was hot, I just put on some sunscreen and waited patiently. And, as luck would have it, their special of the week was a new veggie burger!

This week's special: French Lentil Burger

The focaccia bun was delicious, although definitely a bit large for the patty – I didn’t mind this as much on the other Cinnamon Snail veggie burger I've tried, but maybe I just wasn’t as hungry today, or I was impatient to get to the “meat” of the burger! And the patty itself was really great – very earthy and just the right amount of spice. Not too mushy, and it held together wonderfully.


The toppings were great too, and nice and moist which balanced the whole burger out and kept the bun and patty from seeming too dry. The sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade was rich and flavorful, the greens were delightfully fresh, and the truffled aioli was scrumptious! The fried artichokes added a nice flavor as well, but unfortunately many of the ones in my burger were just a bit too crispy (I was actually afraid I might break a tooth, and had to pull a few pieces out of the burger instead of eating them).


A very satisfying lunch, although I have to say I still prefer the ancho chili seitan burger (which is on the regular menu every week). It would take a lot for another burger to come close to knocking that one off its throne though!
Read my original review of that burger here.


And of course I had to wash it all down with a donut – perfectly delicious, as always!

Cost: I got distracted by the smell of all the yummy vegan food and forgot to note or photograph the price of this special burger… regular burgers are $9-$10, if anyone remembers what the French Lentil burger cost, let me know!
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Burger patty: 4       Bun: 4      Toppings: 3

The Cinnamon Snail
Parking in various locations around Manhattan, check their Twitter feed for current location
YumVeggieBurger review #101