South Bay Rants n Raves A Lunch Community <![CDATA[Veggie Grill Quick Tip by jrjohnson]]> Thu, 15 Apr 2010 06:41:12 +0000 <![CDATA[ Best Vegan Americanized food!]]>
So I fell in love with this place.

My favorites are the Bali Bliss (burger), sweetheart fries, soups and salads, and the really good homemade strawberry lemonade - so real that there are strawberry seeds all over.

We brought our carnivore Mc Donald's loving friend here and he loves it to (and later around 5 other meat eaters who couldn't taste the difference). So it's a safe place for all diets.

The negatives for this place are: a little pricey..and if you don't want a burger or salad - you don't have much else. But if you don't care to pay a little more for REAL ingredients, then you have to go.]]> Thu, 1 Apr 2010 04:11:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Great for a fast meal, but not my first choice veggie spot.]]> website says- Our purpose at The Veggie Grill is to serve you delicious and wholesome food. By wholesome, we mean good calories and good fats that are 100% plant-based.

I love this statement. Also, Veggie Grill is the brainchild of the co-founder of another of my favorite restaurants - Native Foods. So in theory I should love the chain...but there is just something that is keeping me from a "5" rating. Since I'm feeling so conflicted, I'm going to break this down by category:

The Decor
Ok, I get it. Veggie Grill wants to be modern and hip (which they are) but they decor is just so much. It reminds me of the inside of a Pinkberry - same 5 bright colors used everywhere, super clean and sterile. It does feel unfair to rate them poorly on such an insignifcant thing that I'm surely biased on, but for the love of god at least turn the lights down a little! I felt like I was under a heat lamp of intense brightness!
Also, the el Segundo location is REALLY poorly planned out. If you order to-go, after you get your food the only option (if you don't want to walk through people eating at tables) to leave is squeeze past customers ordering their food. It feels like you're in their way.

(via jeckman)

The food is delicious (I've had several of the sandwiches but never anything else). The ingredients are pretty standard and you will find many repeats on the menu. I expect this because they ARE a fast food place and need to be able to whip up meals quickly (and that they do - I've never waited more than 10 minutes for a burger/sandwich). I like that they still have a variety in protein though - tempeh, fake chicken, and fake beef (I'm hoping the beef is seitan not soy but I actually have no idea). I like the "healthy" fast-food vibe but I'm surprised at the lack of soy/veggie/rice cheese! I feel like it would definitely spice up a few of the options - the standard dressing for all the sandwiches is lettuce/tomato/other veggies plus vegan mayo, some chipotle sauce variation, or pesto. A cheese add-on option could be good. Who doesn't love cheese.


Not bad but not great. My main issue with the menu is that each meal lists other toppings for a fee. So everytime I look at the menu I'm like, "hmmm this sandwich looks great..'add avocado'...'add portobello'..that sounds DELICIOUS on that - oh wait it's an extra $2-3." On top of the standard $8.50-ish for the original option? Noooo. It's rare that I'm inclined to spend upwards of $11 for one sandwich.
Each burger comes with an option of sides: red cabbage slaw (slightly too sweet for my tastes but still acceptable), chili (sort of a weird side because it comes in a small condiment cup [same as the slaw] so it's not enough chili to be soup-like..I wonder if people put it on their burgers?? Weird), or Kale, spring salad, or sweet potato frieds. Those three cost $1.50-$2.25 extra. I've only had the fries..they were more like sweet potato chunks than fries - very thin coating but I kinda dug it.

Despite the unfavorable lighting/decor, I like their logo. I also like their brand engagement - they have a promotion where they send you something for your Birthday if you sign up! :D Also, I ate there last night because they had a promo called "Veggie Grill Virgin Night" wherein you bring someone to the restaurant who has never been. If you tell the cashier you have a "Veggie Grill Virgin" in your company, his/her meal is on the house! I thought this was a remarkable way to get some attention and business, and I CERTAINLY loved getting a free meal! I think the cashier messed up and took off the more expensive meal. But I am certainly not complaining!

Overall, I like Veggie Grill. There is location near my work and it's a good break from the gross fast food/corporate places in the area. I'd recommend it for people who are "new" to eating healthy or "new" to eating vegetarian/vegan. If you're a seasoned vegan, you know way more innovative places to go and I'd leave this one for a fast lunch when you want something that feels like junk (but isn't! Yay!)]]> Wed, 13 Jan 2010 20:58:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ Paciugo Gelato is just awesome!]]>
Now you know what they're selling, how about who's doing the scooping? The mother/daughter proprietors Monien and Brittny have done an excellent job of hiring. The staff is always friendly, and quick to offer you countless samples which enable you to properly whittle down the broad selection. When my girlfriend and I became addicted about 10 months ago it was just as much due to the friendly staff as it was the friendly flavors. 
]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2009 07:24:27 +0000
<![CDATA[ If you're looking for a fun, local place to enjoy authentic Cajun food- you've found it.]]> As we walked in, we were greeted by an adorable little boy who tugged at my pants and said, "Wubba, Wubba, Wubbzy" over and over. His mother, who I can only assume is either the manager or the owner, explained that they just rented "Wubbzy" which is his favorite movie and he's really excited, then told the little boy, "Leave her alone. She doesn't have a DVD player. Sit wherever you guys want."  This may turn off some of you but, I LOVE down-home places where everyone feels like family and this is just the place. It's one of those places without formal dinnerware and if you went there a million times, you'd still see something new on the wall.

We saddled up to the bar, unsure if we were going to "splurge" or to just have a drink. Looking at the menu, which is handprinted on a brown paper shopping bag, there was such a combination of things I'd never think to cook! For example, fried EVERYTHING from hush puppies (which I seriously thought were some type of shoes, until I found it on Wikipedia and found out that in fact, basically, it's a type of fried cornmeal) to alligator and frog legs.

We ordered the shrimp etouffee combination that came with rice, beans, Jumbalaya and French bread to share. The plate was huge and I was so happy that we decided to share it.  Now, to be fair to all you Cajun fans, I have never had this dish before, so my review is simply based on someone who was hungry and wanted something good. That being said, this was DELICIOUS! It had seasoned sausages everywhere, the etoufee was perfectly spicy (not too crazy but, enough to clear my sinuses a little), there were plenty shrimp cooked to perfection and mixing it all together was heavenly. We loved the sauce so much that we dipped our bread in it.

The bill's total was $38 (the shrimp etoufee, 2 bottles of Corona and 2 glasses of house merlot- which was 14 hands, a brand I'd never heard of before but, it was so good!).  The only reason I didn't give it a perfect 5 is because they don't have a Happy Hour menu, which might be a good thing because if they did, I'd probably live there!
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