This summer I won a $200 gift card from Veggie Grill in their Taste the Sunshine Instagram contest. While my first instinct was to stuff my face with $200 worth of Crispy Cauliflower, I reluctantly let that dream go and instead committed myself to eat everything on the Veggie Grill menu! Two months later, I’ve burned through the gift card and have just a handful of items to go. This week I closed out my first category: Sandwiches.
Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ ($9.75) Fried Chickin’, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, spicy mayo. Blackened (non-fried) upon request
Possibly the most enduring of the Veggie Grill Sandwiches, the Santa Fe Crispy Chicken is often cited as the gateway dish for omnis to ease into vegan fast food. The breaded patty holds a juicy chickn’ slab so convincing I’ve seen people not realize it’s vegan
Grillin’ Chickin’ ($8.95) Grilled Chickin’, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cilantro pesto, chipotle ranch
Part of the beauty of my Eat the Veggie Grill Menu Challenge is dropping my assumptions about dishes I haven’t tried… Like the Grillin’ Chickn’ Sandwich. I always figured it’s the same as the Santa Fe Crispy Chickn’ but without breading… and why would I want it without breading?! But, as it turns out, the “Blackened” Chickn’ is actually *more* flavorful than the crispy. In fact, this maybe a new favorite.
B.T.L.A. ($9.95) Smokey Tempeh bacon, sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro pesto tossed arugula, aioli mayo, grilled sourdough
During the Eat the Veggie Grill Menu Challenge I finally tried the universally loathed B.L.T.A.! Every Instagram post I’ve seen on this sandwich has given it a big fat thumbs down. Having now tried it, I’m unclear on where the yuck-factor comes from. I did order it with the garlic aioli on the side because I’m not a fan of aioli on anything. Otherwise, I’d say this a perfectly good sandwich that I probably would order again… in fact, I did!
Following @lxestrada‘s Pro-Tip, I ordered the B.L.T.A. as a wrap with Crispy Chickn’. OMG SO GOOD! I could eat this allday/everyday–except it cost $14. Le sigh…
Glazed Tofu Banh Mi ($9.95) Glazed 5-spice tofu, chargrilled eggplant, house-pickled carrots, white cabbage. Fresh jalapeños, basil, cilantro, mint leaves
Recently, new fall items arrived at Veggie Grill, like this awful Glazed Tofu Banh Mi! The tofu and herbs are fine, but it tastes like it’s served on a Generic Supermarket Brand hot dog bun… Ugh, maybe it’s better as a wrap. Update: It is not.
VG-Cheeseburger ($9.95) Topped with VG-Cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion, chipotle ranch. El Dorado Style upon request with jalapeños and caramelized onions.
Inside and out of food challenges, my go-to comfort item at Veggie Grill is The VG Cheeseburger Eldorado Style with tempeh bacon. It tastes like a Gardein/ Daiya mashup… completely fake, majorly messy. I’m sure it is terrible for me but I love it.
Buffalo Bomber ($9.65) Crispy Chickin’ tossed with spicy Buffalo sauce, tomato, red onion, lettuce, creamy ranch dressing
I use to LOVE the Buffalo Bomber at Veggie Grill… but then I discovered the B-Wing Salad and have never gone back. After revisiting this sandwich during the Eat the Veggie Grill Menu Challenge I still feel the same. For you see, I adore buffalo sauce and by slicing the fried chickn’ leads to an exponentially higher amount of buffalo soaked surface, hence more buffalo flavor. Plus the bun muddles the buffalo sauce further. So, in conclusion, the B-Wing Salad is better than the Buffalo Bomber because of math.
Bali Bliss™ ($8.45) Organic tempeh, lettuce, tomato, red onion, chipotle ranch. Blackened or Buffalo-style upon request. Add avocado 1.50
Not to be missed is the Bali Bliss BUFFALO STYLE. This sandwich is massive! I wouldn’t recommend getting the additional avocado. It make the sandwich too ‘creamy’ since it already has an ample amount of ranch dressing.
“Crab” Cake ($9.45) Crispy “Crab” cake, spiced tartar sauce, pickles, tomato, lettuce, red onion
On the last day of the Eat the Veggie Grill Menu Challenge: Sandwiches, I tackled the two I dreaded–the most horrifying of which is the “Crab” Cake. The thick breaded patty is loaded with lumpy hunks of fish-like protein that mimics the real thing far too closely for this seafood loathing girl. The sweet relish of tarter sauce helps cut the ocean of flavor bellowing forth with every bite–but not enough, no, not enough for me. The flavors of the sea linger on my tongue, mocking me as my face crumples into a sour cringe and I push this dish into the arms of my gleefully awaiting BF. He devours it with innocent gusto. To those who enjoy the taste of seafood, per haps you will enjoy this dish; but to though whose bodies involuntary retreat at the mention of fish, this dish is far too “real” for us.
Papa’s Portobello ($8.95) Grilled mushroom, chopped tomato, basil and garlic pomodoro, caramelized onions, cilantro pesto, lettuce, red onion, chipotle ranch
There are lot of people–vegan and omni–who rag on Veggie Grill for focusing “too much” on imitating meat. My junk food heart completely disagrees. But for these folks interested in wholer-foods, the disgusting Papa’s Portobello is for them. The supple slab of charred portobello is loaded with chopped tomato, basil, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, cilantro pesto, lettuce, red onion and chipotle ranch. Much like seafood, I cannot even pretend to tolerate slippery mushrooms attempting to pass as burgers and this one packs way too much for me. I *know* I’m in the minority on ‘shrooms, but I also know there are others out there who deliver the long eye roll when a grilled portobello is the only veg option. For those like me, your mind will not be changed by this burger. For the other 70% of you who dig putting fungus in your mouth, enjoy.
BBQ “Steak” ($8.95) Veggie Steak in tangy BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, chipotle ranch, coleslaw
Bonus Sandwich! So, in the middle of this challenge, Veggie Grill transitioned to a new menu and dropped the BBQ Steak sandwich. Can’t say I’m surprised. Stuffed with strips of veggie-steak in tangy barbeque sauce, caramelized onions, chipotle ranch and coleslaw, this heavy, condiment soaked sandwich (I got it as a wrap) is not what appeals to me today. But it was the sort of dish I gravitated towards in the past. The BBQ Steak one of the very first things I tried at Veggie Grill when I moved to LA–and I totally hated it for all the same reasons I hate it today. I think it is way too saucy but I know a lot of people love this crap.