Yesterday I was sitting at the nail salon and ended up chatting with the woman next to me. She brought up the recent earthquakes in California, how living in Los Angeles has changed compared to 10 years ago, and how people need to connect more and be kinder to each other.
“And stop eating animals,” she said.
Not knowing anything about me, she mentioned that she doesn’t consider herself fully vegan, but she’s almost there.
Here’s another thing that’s changed in the last 10 years: my go-to response in conversations like this always used to be, “have you been to Veggie Grill?” It was the perfect place to send someone who wanted to try more vegan options at a reasonable price, right in the neighborhood.
But lately the menus have been iffy, the quality is unpredictable, and the prices keep going up.
These days, I’m more inclined to ask – have you tried the new Beyond Burger at Carls Jr.?
Veggie Grill’s new summer menu for 2019 was surprising. Some items that I expected to be just okay ended up being my favorites, and a couple that I thought would be the best were actually disappointing. Keep reading for my full review.
Note: All items for this review were purchased at Veggie Grill in Torrance, California.
beyond patty melt
“grilled rye, beyond burger, grilled onions, melted cheese”
I usually like burgers piled high with veggies, so I’m rarely in the mood for a patty melt, but this day I was. The bread was pretty dry, and it wasn’t buttered and grilled like you’d expect. Were they trying to make it seem healthier? Patty melts typically have Swiss cheese, but I believe they used cheddar. It wasn’t a bad sandwich, but a little more attention to greasy-spoon detail could have made it much better.
Would I get it again?: Probably not. I’d go for the Luxe Burger or Steakhouse Burger instead.
carne asada burrito
“carne asada, grilled peppers and onions, mashed avocado, crema, pico de gallo, salsa quemada | optional: tortilla chips | get it on fire: add jalapenos, sriracha”
Flavor-wise, this was delicious. The taste and texture of the carne asada were great. But it reminded me of why I don’t usually order Veggie Grill burritos – they’re watery as heck! Nobody wants a drippy burrito. I think this could be improved by replacing some of the veggies (or even some of the meat) with a layer of rice and beans. The best part was the crema; it reminded me of a veggie burrito I used to get all the time in my pre-vegan days, and without that creaminess all other veggie burritos have paled in comparison.
Also, my burrito had a whole stalk of green onion in it, roots to tip:
Would I get it again?: I wouldn’t not get it, but I still haven’t had many of their tacos, so I’d probably try those first. I also like their taco salad. I have no loyalty to this burrito.
tonkatsu chickin’ ramen
“choice of chickin’ katsu cutlet or fried tofu, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, edamame, ginger, mushroom broth, ramen noodles, furikake”
I’ve made more exciting ramen with a tea kettle in a paper cup. Next.
(Note: I’m not a picky eater at all, and the only other times I’ve been less impressed with a meal than I was with this ramen, I ended up getting a cold the next day and realizing the problem was with my taste buds, not the food. I waited a few days before writing this review just to be sure, and I’m still fit as a fiddle!)
Would I get it again?: No.
summer celebration salad
“bbq grilled chickin’ or tofu, quinoa tabbouleh, avo-kale hummus, fire-roasted corn+tomato salad over arugula + romaine, citrus vinaigrette | optional flatbread”
They had a similar salad last year – it’s so weird, and I love it! It’s like taking all the leftovers from a summer BBQ and dumping them on a bed of greens. This is one of my favorite salads from Veggie Grill.
Would I get it again?: Yes!
chargrilled street corn bowl
“grilled sweet corn, chipotle mayo, parmesan, cilantro, fresh lime | get it spicy: add chile seasoning”
This is probably not something I would have ordered had it not been for this blog post, but it was one of my favorite items on the menu. I thought it was a little too heavy on the mayo, but I won’t hold that against them.
Would I get it again?: Yes.
smoky corn bisque
“smoky corn bisque”
They couldn’t write a better description for the smoky corn bisque than “smoky corn bisque?” Anyway, this was another unexpected favorite that I wouldn’t have ordered on my own. It’s full of roasted corn and veggies!
Would I get it again?: Yes, probably as half of a pick-a-pair.
grilled peaches-n-cream cake
“baked fresh daily”
Those peaches are grey, y’all. #nofilter
The first time I tried this was in a peak adulting moment where I went to Veggie Grill for dinner, remembered I didn’t have any breakfast food at home, so instead of stopping by the store I just got one of these little cakes to-go. For breakfast. You know. The next morning I had it with coffee, and.. it wasn’t good. I thought it might be my fault for refrigerating it overnight, so I got another one to eat fresh and write this review (pictured). And.. it still wasn’t good. It was a little better once I took the peaches off. But still, yikes.
Would I get it again?: No. God no.
“prepared fresh daily”
This is the only item I didn’t sample, as I’m not drinking alcohol at the moment. Have you tried it?
Would I get it again?: n/a
Let me know what you thought of the summer menu! What are your favorite things to order at Veggie Grill? To view the whole menu, click here.