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Skipping the beef: Vegetarian patties, where are you?

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on Sep. 28, 2012 at 12:01 am | No Comments »
September 27, 2012 5:03 pm
The V burger at Social comes with a portabella mushrooms stuffed with black beans, quinoa, peppers and a nice, gooey layer of cheese.

As a paid eater, I do crazy and unhealthy things like chowing through a dozen Philly cheesesteaks in a few weeks.

Because of my day job as a professional eater of burgers, fries and fair food, I’ve been doing something in my personal life a lot of people do: I occasionally go meatless. Meat-centric restaurants are catching on to vegetarians and flexitarians. Peruse just about any restaurant menu and you’ll find something to eat if you’re a meat-free diner. Just don’t get me started on how unattractive restaurant menus can be to vegans. But that’s a different story entirely.

Lately, I’ve been taking note of vegetarian burgers on restaurant menus. My burger lust probably shouldn’t surprise anyone who has caught my in-depth reporting of burgers big and small. Veggie burgers are a much smaller slice of the burger market, but more restaurants are making the effort.

The Mama Africa burger at Quickie Too is a house-made millet and quinoa patty. Where else do you go in town for a veggie burger?

I’m not talking about Boca burgers or Gardenburgers, although those will do in a pinch. What I like are restaurants that make their own vegetarian patties. Unfortunately, not all of them are edible. At The Ram in Lakewood, I recently had a veggie burger that seem to have all the right components – a multigrain roll with a lot of crisp veggies. However, the grain-and-bean patty was so dry, it fell apart into a crumbly, disappointing mess of crud – which was the complete opposite of the veggie burger I had at the Ruston Ram a year ago. I had better luck with the V Burger at Social Bar and Grill in Tacoma on the Foss waterway. That burger was a portobello mushroom stuffed with quinoa, peppers and cheese – it nailed the right balance of textures and flavors. At the Sixth Avenue restaurant Marrow, the vegetarian burger changes frequently but usually contains quinoa or another grain as its base. I’ve had two versions there, both quite appealing.

Now it’s your turn: Have you had a decent vegetarian burger with a housemade patty? Email me at or call me at 253-597-8270. Be sure to tell me what tastes so good about the vegetarian burger.

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