New Restaurant and Gift Card Giveaway: Veggie Grill

29 05 2014

Veggie Grill is heating up the West Coast as it expands out of So-Cal and into 24 locations in Cali, Oregon, and Washington. The newest location is right here in Mountain View, and I have to say that I’m looking forward to trying it. If you are too, add a comment below with your email address, or send me an email at brocandchoc@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a gift certificate for one free entree*!

Bombay Bowl $8.45 Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

Bombay Bowl $8.45
Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

The concept is simple: craveable food that’s all plant-based and good for ya to boot. Yep, even though “chickin” is on their menu, there’s not an ounce of meat, dairy, eggs, or cholesterol in the whole lot. And with a pretty big selection of burgers, sandwiches, salads, bowls, and some pretty tempting sides (hello quinoa mac and cheese), it looks like they’re doing a good job of making fast-casual food not totally suck.

Harvest Bowl $8.95 Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

Harvest Bowl $8.95
Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

Santa Fe Crispy Chickin' Sandwich Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ Sandwich
Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

All Hail Kale $8.95 Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

All Hail Kale $8.95
Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

Also, to be perfectly honest, I just love a menu where I can eat every single thing on it. I try very hard never to complain about being a pescatarian (because I do it by choice, obviously), but sometimes it’s so nice to take my guard down and choose my lunch pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey style. Three cheers for healthier, affordable, meat-free, tasty options!

As mentioned, I have not actually been to Veggie Grill yet to try some of these tasty-sounding meals, but was compelled to write about them anyway because I like the concept and the menu. If you’ve been to Veggie Grill, tell me what you think (good or bad)! I’m curious. :)

Veggie Grill: 565 San Antonio Road, Mountain View, CA 90404. 650-559-1535. www.veggiegrill.com

veggie grill

Photo Courtesy of veggie grill

*They only gave me five gift cards, peeps, so contact me quick-like before they’re gone. Update: they are indeed gone. :)





Chicago: The Chicago Diner

8 05 2014

Next up in my series of Chicago eats is the Chicago Diner. Jon found this place for me; it’s a vegetarian restaurant all decked out like a 50’s diner serving all the good old-fashioned favorites, sans the meat. They’ve got it all: burgers, fries, sandwiches, Philly cheese steaks, meatloaf, and milkshakes, all with no meat products (and often completely vegan).

the radical reuben

the radical reuben

In addition to the regular “diner” foods, they do have other vegetarian fare such as salads and stir fries, though most of the expansive menu is comprised of basic foods our parents grew up with, only the meat portions are replaced with creative and flavorful non-meat substitutes such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu.

The place was packed as we arrived before the Cubs game — one of the three locations is just down the street from Wrigley Field. The wait wasn’t too bad, and before long we were jammed into a tiny table not six inches from the table next to us. The place is crowded and a bit chaotic, but the experience was totally fun.

chicago diner

And the food was good! I ordered the famous “Radical Reuben” ($11), which won the Vegetarian Times Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for “Best in the Midwest”, and is made with corned “beef” seitan, grilled onions, peppers, sauerkraut, vegan Thousand Island, and cheese (you can choose vegan cheese or regular) on marbled rye. Whew! It was intense.

sandwich

the radical reuben

reuben sandwich

inside the radical reuben

Jon ordered the Portabello Truffle Melt ($12) and a vegan chocolate peanut butter milkshake, both of which he was very happy with and looked amazing. Even the vegan shake was surprisingly delicious — sometimes that’s a hard thing to translate to a dairy-free option.

sandwich

portabello truffle melt

milkshake

vegan chocolate peanut butter milkshake

 

I loved this restaurant and would recommend it for vegetarians and non-veggies alike. Everything was very well executed and the meat-free menu has definitely been perfected in the 30 years since the restaurant opened. Plus, it’s not like it’s health food… you can get your fix of greasy spoon without soiling your conscience. Gotta love that, right?





Millennium for Thanksgiving

28 11 2012

What do you do if your family doesn’t do a big Thanksgiving anymore, and you don’t even eat turkey? Go to Millennium! Millennium is an upscale vegan restaurant near Union Square in SF, and mom was smart enough to make a reservation for Thanksgiving months ago when no one knew what their plans were going to be. I mean, you can always cancel the reservation, right? Good thinking, mom.

Schmancy salad!

They had a prix fixe menu for Thanksgiving evening, which included an appetizer plate for the table, soup, salad, choice of two mains, and choice of two desserts for $65 per person. An optional wine pairing was offered for an additional $28, in which our party did not partake due to being: a) cheap, and b) already sufficiently pre-partied. Sadly, since I didn’t snag one of their menus (or a picture of it — what was I thinking!), I don’t have the huge list of superfluous descriptions for each dish. In fact, I will probably barely be able to even describe what the damn things were since Millennium has a way of creating highly enigmatic menu summaries*.

Anyway. We started with a weird appetizer plate for the table to share. It included a couple different types of bread (corn bread, sourdough, and walnutty bread), some really really good cauliflower dip, truffle pop corn (I guess the truffle out-chics the low-rent-ness of the pop corn? we were puzzled by this), roasted chestnuts, and something lentil-y. It was kinda odd, but certainly entertained us. Especially since mom ate the chestnuts whole. Are you supposed to do that?

Appetizer plate for the table.

Next came the celery bisque, which we were all skeptical about, to be honest, but was really, really good. It was served hot (thankfully) and had excellent flavor. And it was salty enough, which is often a problem for me with a veggie-based soup.

Pretend like this photo doesn’t suck. It was dark in there and I hate flashes.

The salad was pretty standard, just some greens and a sweet-ish vinaigrette. We got a good shot of Danny showing his true feelings about this particular choice of restaurant that evening…

Danny isn’t super excited about vegan Thanksgiving. But he was a good sport anyway.

Next was one of two mains. A mushroom torte or pumpkin something. They each came with some brussel sprouts and potatoes (or maybe it was daikon? we weren’t sure at the time), something fluffy and starchy that emulated stuffing, home-made cranberry sauce stuff, and syrupy sweet potatoes. I got the mushroom (which, oddly, is a similar consistency to turkey); the other three got the squash. They were both very yummy.

Pumpkin main course.

Mushroom torte main course. The mushrooms are on the right under some kind of puree and gravy. Yum.

For dessert, the choices were pumpkin pie or chocolate pecan pie. I do not like either of these, even at non-vegan restaurants, though I don’t doubt that they were well made. I ordered the chocolate pecan hoping it was more chocolate than pecan, but, alas, it was not. I think mom finished her pumpkin, as she does, but dessert was definitely the weakest course for all of us.

Chocolate pecan pie and ginger ice cream (me no like-y). The pumpkin pie is not pictured; it looked like regular pumpkin pie. Use your imagination.

Overall we had a really good time and a great meal. I would highly recommend this place for Thanksgiving. It was easy, not ridiculously expensive, super filling (we all regretted the appetizers we consumed at my house beforehand), and generally very tasty. And I didn’t have to wash one single dish. Booya. Happy Thanksgiving, peeps.

*A dish description from their standard dinner menu is as follows: “brik pastry dough, Kuri squash, grilled seitan & dried apricot filling, beluga lentil & tomato tagine, sauteed fall greens, Fresno chile harissa, cucumber-mint raita, cinnamon-almond dust”. I could start a long list of questions, or just shrug and order something because pretty much everything is really good despite the ridiculous descriptions.








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