The Veggie Grill, El Segundo - A Quick Hit
- Mattapoisett in LA Jul 8, 2008 11:17 PM
Dommy had a 9 pm softball game tonight near LAX and me being a good Fiance, I wanted to pick up a glove to help her practice. So we went to the new Shopping Center in El Segundo the one with the Whole Foods and a Chick's to pick up a glove. Well since I'm a lefty it was harder than we thought and gave that up to look for dinner.
Whole Foods was out since there is no ambience there. The Counter was out since it had not opened yet. Dommy wanted to try Wrapsody, but it turned out to be a gift shop. Which left the Veggie grill. We had never heard of it before but was started in Irvine and this is its first northern expansion.
The second we we stepped in we were greeted and offered "Helpful" suggestions as we perused the oversized menu in the entranceway. The food seems to be Vegan. There is no sign of any animal product there. They used Soy Cream in the Chili.
We ordered the red and white bean chili, though it was not spicy it was flavorful and they did have Chalula on the tables. Next was Kale with a Ginger Miso Dressing which was almost the most perfectly cooked Kale I've ever had and the Dressing was a nice complement. Next was the Santa Fe Chikin' Sandwich with fried chickin’ [TVP], lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, southwestern spiced vegan mayo. This is the first time we have ever seen a Plump Textured Vegetable Protein Breast. Dommy thought it was too much TVP but I thought it was just right especially if you are going to expand the audience to folks who might get chicken Sandwiches from Carl's Jr. and lastly we had A Portobello Sandwich which came with 2 shrooms chopped tomato, basil & garlic pomodoro, caramelized onion, pesto, chipotle ranch. this was goooood. One word about their buns thou they were whole grain, they were very soft ad did not crumble at all and in a sense helped you forget you were eating whole wheat.
This place is not cheap, the sandwiches hover around $9. Our total bill with a lemonade and a Calistoga was $32 Plus tip. But it is a place we'll go again. Dommy! says she'll end up there soon for lunch for more kale and an order of Sweet potato fries topped with chili, red onion, soy cream. More on that later....
720 S Allied Way, El Segundo, CA 90245
This place IS vegan. For everything that looks like chicken, they use tempeh.
I've been to the Irvine one on campus. I really like the sweetheart fries, but that's also the only thing I like. They overdress everything with that mayo!
Maybe I'll try the El Segundo one since it sounds better.
Yes, I now know this place is vegan from the OC weekly article. but unlike other vegan restaurants they don't tout it. Nowhere on their literature website or in the restaurant does it say that this place is vegan. That is they way they want it though. it makes the place more approachable for people who would normally not go to a vegan place. and this may by why they over dress things for you. I thought the sandwiches were perfectly dressed. I am trying to get my neighbor to go. His Wife is Vegetarian and he turns his nose up at most vegetables. I hope this becomes an option for them.
The Chikin they make is TVP not Tempeh and yes there is a difference. TVP made from soy flour has no discernible flavor which is why they can add a more realistic chicken flavor. and TVP made from Soy Flour can be molded much more easily into shapes, like the Big Chikin breast we had on the sandwich
Basically the way the soy is processed
TEMPEH - a fermented soy product made from cracked soybeans inoculated with a beneficial bacteria (Rhizopus oligosporus), and formed into flat blocks. This process makes it meaty/mushroom tasting and chewy. Sometimes one or more grains like millet, brown rice, barley or quinoa are added with the soybeans.
TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN (also known as Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP) - defatted and dehydrated soy flour that has been compressed into granular or chunk style shapes. Textured soy protein is high in protein, isoflavones and soluble fiber. When hydrated, it has a chewy meat-like texture.
I LOVE THIS PLACE!! They 1st started out in UCI. They are suppose to be opening more Veggie Grill in the LA area.
Thanks for the recommendations. I've only tried the Sante Fe Chikn sandwich, but eat it about once a week. I've heard mixed reviews on the rest of the menu, but if anyone has other recommendations I'll def. give them a try.
Thanks Mattapoisett for the review! :) I always stop by the original Veggie Grill when I visit my friends near UCI.
I'm not vegetarian, but Veggie Grill is one of the tastiest Vegan informal eateries I've been to. It's nice to eat something healthier once in a while as a break from everything else. (^_~)
Totally agree that their "Chickin'" is pretty good and juicy for being a Vegan product. :) Love their Steamed Kale and Sweetheart Fries (Sweet Potato Fries) as well.
I have really enjoyed Veggie Grill. The chili is really good and filling. The salads are great. I'm a big fan of the Baja Fiesta salad. I haven't ventured into their version of "meat" yet. I took a friend who is a devout vegetarian there recently and she didn't love the chikin'. My only complaint about it is that the service is very spotty at the El Segundo location. I was there yesterday; it was virtually empty, yet I had to wait in line for a cashier because they were not dedicated cashiers and would be pulled off to do other things. Other than that, I really like it!
Thanks for the review. Normally any mention of 'vegan' will probably send me running in another direction, but the kale and sweet potato fries does sounds good.
I went last week and had the Santa Fe Chickin sandwich & a side of sweet potato fries. The fries were excellent, no added sugar, and served with some kind of a ranch dressing on the side. The sandwich was decent. I've been to a couple Chinese vegetarian-meat places(Veggie Wokkery in Cerritos...HIGHLY recommended & House of Vege in Lomita, which I thought was pretty good as well). I found that while the vegetarian chicken in the Chinese places was a rough, yet pleasing approximation of chicken, the one at the Veggie Grill felt more rubbery in it's texture.
That being said, I'd go back....unless the Counter is open next time! :)
I checked out the kale, sweet potato fries and the carrot cake today. Loved the fries. It's tender, but slightly crispy at the same time. Combine that with the slightly spicy dipping sauce it's a party in a mouthful. I can't figure out, but the fries seems to have some sort of seasoning, and it's not just salt. Felt kind of like buttermilk powder.
Kale was OK. I like kale, and theirs is steamed quite perfectly - soft but not mushy. It's a bit water logged though. I could only finish the fries for lunch so bought the kale home as a side to go with BBQ chicken we grilled. But the time it sat in the take out brown box for an afternoon it completely soaked the box. The sauce was a bit gingery and I wish it has a little more oomph - a bit of garlic, perhaps?
Carrot cake was fabulous. Moist, and not too sweet. Usually I found serving size for desserts to be too big, but in this instance I wish the cake was a bit bigger as I didn't really want to share it with hubbie.
Thanks for the rec!
Glad you liked the Sweet Potato Fries, too! :) They're so good here.
For the Kale, I agree it could use a little more "oomph," but there are so few places around L.A. during Lunch that actually makes a decent / good Steamed Kale quickly (and it's healthy for ya' (^_~)), so I'm happy to see this option (as opposed to generic Steamed Carrots / Squash / etc.).
I never have enough room for dessert: Thanks for the review of the Carrot Cake. I'll have to try that next time w/ my friends. :)