LOS ANGELES – For every hamburger in this city, there is an equal but opposite veggie burger.
Shiny, shiny shumai bread with fried onions. Rich pub style burgers with juices. A burger at the diner peeking from its wrapper.
Many of these are now made with industrial pea-based simulacra meat and soy protein, which tends to produce a deep brown patty, visible and palpable parts – possibly even fake bleeding . But their faint thrill was gone.
Burgers made from the same pre-made imitation meat are increasingly dull and featureless, monotonous in texture and taste, practically indistinguishable from each other. Luckily, real veggie burgers still exist in the Los Angeles area. And this is where the creativity and deliciousness of the genre is concentrated.
Yes HiHo Cheeseburger’s Tasty, flavorful fast food veggie burger with a portion of the finest french fries in town – dark rims, crispy and properly salted. And the greasy falafel burger at Nic’s on Beverly, dipped with tahini sauce. Even organize small burgers ‘Women’ Pie burger, with its shiny, completely odor-free, sticky counter in Pasadena, serves old fashioned vegetable patties, made for the off-site restaurant.
The best burgers tend to be idiosyncratic – varying mixes of vegetables, mushrooms, beans and grains, seasoned with the umami of soy sauce, nutritional yeast, miso or kombu. In other words, they are the result of thoughtful cooking.
One of my favorites is on the menu at Say bike cafe, a bar and bike shop located on a slope on the edge of the Los Angeles River in Frogtown. Serious cyclists in padded shorts and cycling shoes waddle across the yard after a long ride, as laptop-based freelancers switch from chagaccinos to draft beers.
The burger is thick, crunchy, mouth-watering with flavors of smoked mushrooms. It has a satisfying texture from beets, brown rice, and beans, and it has a slice of tempeh bacon, marinated and smoked in-house, along with enough pickled onions to keep it crisp.
Great grilled burgers at Seabirds Kitchen in Long Beach also use beetroot in the patty, along with tofu, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Covered with a tangle of diced, battered and deep-fried pickled onions, each bite comes with a variety of crunchy treats.
The veggie burger is not a novelty, but a dish with its own history parallel to the hamburger, constantly evolving.
Ranks high on the list of places I want to visit, if I could time travel, would the highway cafe do Self-Awareness Scholarship in Los Angeles, so I could order a hard-to-make mushroom sandwich with produce grown by the team’s own postmen and eavesdrop on conversations at other tables.
It closed in the 1960s, but my point is that as long as we’ve had burgers in the United States, we’ve had loads of alternative patties made with vegetables, derivatives from soy, glutens, nutmeg and more, stuffed into a sandwich.
A recipe for fake oyster rolls appeared in Almeda Lambert’s 1899 book, “Guide for Nut Cookery. “And nutritionist Ella Eaton Kellogg published an original recipe for gluten patties in her 1904 book, “healthy cooking,“Intended as a substitute for beef patties in burgers and other dishes.
Food companies realized early on that burgers were a smart and safe way to market their products: Madison Foods introduced a canned soybean-wheat flour called Soyburger in 1937, and the Loma Linda Food Company offered the Gluten Burger the following year.
These products probably don’t taste very good compared to the rich, handcrafted veggie patties – I haven’t tasted, I’m using my imagination – but they are a real alternative and they have paving the way for the introduction of vegan products that are industrially marketed as better for your body or better for the planet.
By definition, burgers are made from beef. Vegetarian burgers, if you think about it, there are hardly any restrictions on them – the whole plant kingdom is game – which makes them a creative endeavor for the heads. restaurant kitchen, rather than the opportunity to buy a ready-made product. This has always been the veggie burger’s brilliance when it comes to the right hand (whatever happens!) and its curse on the wrong people (whatever, unfortunately, goes).
I come across big brands on menus here and there – Astroburger’s Gardenburger’s dedication to products is commendable and unmatched – but the emergence of Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger on so many local restaurant menus is astounding. I don’t particularly like these substitutes, but their homogeneity is also objectionable.
Frederick Guerrero, founder of Burgerlords.
The restaurant’s veggie burger doesn’t mimic ground beef, to be exact. Instead, it compliments the textures of a vegetarian dish: chewy barley, soft crunchy cashews, and crispy panko. It holds firm, doesn’t dry out or crumble – the pie is paired with eggplant, among other things – and it’s rich with umami. In short, delicious.
The chefs at Burgerlords browned it and stuffed it into a soft sponge cake from Puritan Bakery, the same company that makes bread for In-N-Out Burger. That California burger chain is kind of a blueprint for Mr. Guerrero, who works with a crisp, vegan Thousand Island sauce that’s made from the base of vegan mayonnaise and has a twist. well-documented favorites about nostalgia for burgers.
He opened his restaurant, which now has two locations in Los Angeles, with his brother in 2015. During the pandemic, it went from being nearly vegan (it has a meat option) to completely vegan.
“We were hesitant at first to open a restaurant just for vegetarians,” said Mr. Guerrero. But after the first wave of restaurant closures in 2020 and the attention of chaos in the beef industry, they decided. “We never served beef again after that first outage,” he said.
Burgerlords added a second home-made patty to the menu last year, using TVP, or textured vegetable protein. Mr. Guerrero said he wanted an option for diners with allergies who couldn’t enjoy the restaurant’s standard vegan bun, which contains gluten and nuts. But he doesn’t want to include Impossible or Beyond because those products are already available in so many places.
This burger is less recognizable as vegetable, with a soft, velvety exterior reminiscent of sautéed meat. It satisfies an entirely different appetite than a barley burger, and it does it well without pretending to bleed.
Babette Davis, 71 years old, is the owner of The things I eat at Inglewood, where she opened her doors in 2008 as a home-vegan vegan chef. When I asked Miss Davis if she’d ever considered working with store-bought meat substitutes in her kitchen, she laughed at me.
“Honey!” she speaks. “The restaurant is named ‘Stuff I Eat’ because if we don’t eat it, we won’t sell it.”
Ms. Davis put a veggie burger on the menu after hearing requests from so many diners, and she created a serious version of the classic, similar to the incarnations from the cookbook published this year. 1960s.
It started with a nut loaf — one of the original American vegan restaurants’ constructions — using seasoned walnuts, portobello mushrooms, and cashews. Ms. Davis then mixes that mix with cooked wild rice in a food processor before forming her patties of the day.
To order, the patties are grilled until golden brown, along with some mushrooms and thick slices of red onion, all pressed together in a sprouted vermicelli. It is not a fast food burger. It’s more delicate and lean, softer and more earthy, filling somewhere between mushroom pâté and pâté.
It’s exactly the kind of charming anomaly that defines the veggie burger’s past, and possibly – hopefully – future.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/dining/veggie-burgers-los-angeles.html A Guide to Eating Vegetarian Burgers in Los Angeles