If you know me or read this blog at all, you know that I am most happily a carnivore. I was a vegetarian for three months in high school, when my BFF bacon made me come begging back. So when I was invited with some of my fave local bloggers to check out Veggie Grill, I was intrigued. I like a challenge, especially when it comes to food.
Veggie Grill boasts a colorful menu full of naturally wholesome, 100% plant-based vegan fare. We feasted on an amazing sampling of what seemed like the majority of their lengthy menu.
Their food goes above and beyond the average person's idea of "meat substitute." They use specially seasoned and marinated veggie proteins to create surprisingly delicious and nicely textured sandwiches, burgers, side dishes, and their desserts are made without dairy, trans fats, refined sugars, or cholesterol.For the high quality of ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised by their prices: salads were between $8-9, sandwiches and burgers $7.95- $9.95, and side dishes (their sweet potato fries are delicious!) are just $2.25 - $6.95.
While I was not too keen on the texture nor taste of the veggie-steak dishes, I was wholeheartedly (and whole-stomachly) impressed by the Sante Fe Crispy Chikin' ($8.95). This was far more delicious than any other "fake chicken" meal I have ever eaten; the texture of their "chikin'" dishes was just right: not the doughy, stringy, tough texture I was used to in other chicken substitute dishes I've tried over the years.
In fact, I was impressed with all of the chicken dishes we tried, including the Bayou Chickin' sandwich and Grillin' Chickin' sandwich. My friend Becca tried the Buffalo Wings, and gave them two thumbs up.
The salads at The Veggie Grill are, in my mind, the true stars. These are not like salads at most restaurants. There are no non-nutrient packed fillers, no iceberg lettuce. These salads are overflowing with amazing combinations of fresh premium quality fruits, veggies, grains. The portions are large. Unlike most restaurant salads where dressings seem to be meant to disguise the fact that you are eating something nutritious, here the dressings are light and add amazing flavor, letting the veggies shine like superstars. If you are not a salad lover, I dare you to try these salads and I am willing to bet you will be a salad-loving convert.
I'm not kidding: I could eat these salads every day. My favorite was the Baja Fiesta salad ($8.95):
The All Hail Kale salad ($8.45) was a crowd favorite...
...as was the Thai Chikin' salad ($9.95):
The Veggie Grill has three main entree options for kiddos: Chickin' Nuggets, Kids' Burger, and Mac -n-Cheese. For $5.95, kids can choose one entree, one side (sweet potato fries, mandarin oranges, or carrot sticks), and one dessert. Unfortunately, one of my kiddos was home sick so I couldn't have my fave little taste testers give their input on the kids' menu.
I can, however, attest that their dessert is pretty good. I'm not a big carrot cake fan, but I enjoyed the Carrot Cake ($3.50) at Veggie Grill, made with dairy-free cream cheese frosting:
Chocolate lovers will enjoy the Chocolate Pudding Parfait ($3.50)
Overall, I was highly impressed. I didn't love every item on the menu but I did really enjoy the majority of items, and think that no matter what type of food you like to eat, almost everybody will find something they can truly enjoy at The Veggie Grill.
With eight locations in southern California, The Veggie Grill now has two locations in the Portland, Oregon area (downtown and Cedar Hills Crossing) with plans for at least one more location in the near future.
Disclosure: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post, but did receive complimentary tastings.