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Beet That!

I’ll admit, even though last year’s Meatless March challenge proved that there’s a definitely great veggie burgers to be had, I’ve been setting my expectations pretty low. Even more so if I’m going to a place whose beef burgers weren’t that great. I’d been to the City Tap House in University City before, but they just opened a new location in Logan Square close to my job so I figured I’d check it out. Their veggie burger is a wild rice, oats, black beans and beet patty topped with aged cheddar, dijonnaisse, roasted tomato, and alfalfa sprouts on a multi-grain bun.

Honestly, a bar or a pub is the last place that I would expect myself to order a veggie burger at and I definitely was not expecting it to taste good. But this one tasted AMAZING! (Yes, I actually used those exact words when the bartender asked how everything was). All the different components – the oats, the beets, the beans – just worked together so beautifully and gave everything a great flavor. The cheese was probably what did it for me the most (I thought it was a pretty bold move to put cheese on a veggie burger since you might normally associate the typical veggie burger eater with being a Vegan). I could barely tell that I was eating a veggie burger at that point, and that’s what had been lacking in a lot of other veggie burgers I had. Also: the dijonnaisse – that gave the burger a little kick, clearing my sinuses right up! The multi-grain roll was a nice, healthy touch; soft but lightly toasted, adding some crunch (which, if you’ll remember from last week, was one of my issues with the super soft bun used at Taproom on 19th).

As my burger arrived, some guy was passing by my table and said, “Well at least the burgers look great!” Well sir, they taste pretty great, too!

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Feel the Beet

So here it is: my final veggie burger post to wrap up Meatless March. It’s been a long, strange 31 days and appropriately enough, today’s veggie burger comes from Strangelove’s. I’ve already had one of their regular burgers before and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was really interested in trying their veggie burger, which is made with beets & lentils. I understand that beets are not for everyone (they’re gross, they taste like dirt, etc), but beets are another one of those foods I’ve eaten in the past year that I never liked before (oysters being the other) & have learned to love; it’s all about preparation (like the AMAZING beet tartare I had at Zahav)!

The veggie burger comes topped with a cucumber slaw & harissa mayo. It’s also super reddish-pink (because of the beets, duh)! Since I was eating brunch with a group, I was worried I was going to wind up with “toddler syndrome” (where whatever your eating winds up all over your face beyond your control) and just have a mouth covered in pinkish-reddish blotches (Thankfully, that’s what napkins are for!). The cucumber slaw added a great crispy texture to balance with the softness of the veggie patty, as well as a little bit of sweetness. The patty was moist and perfectly proportional to the bun, and the mayo gave it just enough of a spicy kick to dull down the “dirt” flavor, but not overpower it. Just a great overall array of flavors; I enjoyed it tremendously.

So which of the four veggie burgers I ate this month was my favorite? Honestly, I loved all of them! From the quick, no frills patty at HipCityVeg to the farm to table creation at Kennett, I sampled a pretty wide spectrum of veggie burgers, each with their own unique qualities. And just like snowflakes, no two veggie burgers were alike; each one was a perfect representation of the establishment that created it. I’m glad that I was able to show that you don’t have to just eat at some boring, organic, Portlandia-esque hipster vegan place to get a meal that tastes great (and also that veggie options can still fill you up the same as meat based ones) Hopefully my little meatless experiment inspired some of you to go on your own veggie burger expeditions. We’ll be back to eating meat again next week – and I’m drooling already just thinking about my first bite of a juicy, medium cheeseburger in over a month!

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