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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Veggie Grill

720 Allied Way
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 535-0025

With all these cheap eats, it’s easy to pack on the pounds during this gluttonous journey. Thankfully, there are a few healthy options to practice some temperance. Veggie Grill, a recently opened vegetarian chain with locations in Irvine, El Segundo, and West Hollywood, is billed as a health-conscious, organic casual eatery.

$9 Grillin’ Chickin’ Sandwich (6)
'Chickin', avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cilantro pesto, chipotle ranch on a wheat roll.
The chicken is actually a pressed combination of soy, water, and wheat gluten. Its flavor can generously be described as light with the texture of a Boca burger. If anything most of the flavor came from the guacamole and ranch dressing. I did like that the bun was soft.

$2.25 Side of Sweatheart Fries (8)
Very comparable to the the sweet potato fries at Father's Office. They were fried enough to give it a good crunch and served with a side of the same 'chain' quality chipotle ranch that was on the sandwich.

$9 Carne Asada Sandwich (7)
Grilled veggie-steak, marinated in spices, with southwestern spiced vegan mayo, red onion, on a wheat bun. They may have something in this veggie-steak, a very convincing substitute for beef. Their website list the ingredients to the proteins. Oddly enough, of the 10 ingredients in the steak, all 10 are in the 'chicken'. The better of the two sandwiches mainly do to the additional seasonings in the protein.

$1.50 Side of Steamin’ Kale (6) (1.50)
Dressed with sesame dressing and a blend of black and white sesame seeds, it tasted pretty good for a simple side. They use the same strategy as M Chaya of serving greens with a heaving dressing.

Initially walking out of the restaurant, I had it pegged high in the Cheap Eats list. If I was having an engaging conversation while eating the Carne Asada sandwich, I probably would not have even questioned whether it contained beef. But, the more I read about the nutrition and lack of a comprehensive nutritional guide at a place self labeled as healthy, the more I found their concept pathetic. How can you pawn yourself as healthly and not provide a nutritional guide to customers. I wrote to the company and have yet to hear back. When and if I do, I’m sure it will be in line with Cheesecake Factory’s Corporate line of, “Committed to serving fresh food, blah, blah, blah…”

So, I'll do the math since they won’t. On the calories and the fat since I suspect that is what they are hiding:
Grillin’ Chickin’ Sandwich

Ingredient Calories? Fat?
grilled chillin’ chickin’ 120 2g
avocado 40 3g
lettuce 5 0g
tomato 5 0g
red onion 5 0g
cilantro pesto 110 11g
chipotle ranch 120 12g
wheat roll 240 2g
sweetheart fries 330 15g
Total 975 45g

That's about the same as a McDouble and large fries. For that, I'll wait until more transparency before I return. I will give them the fact I didn't feel sleepy or excessively full after eating there.

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