Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Voracious Meal At Veg-It-Up

A few months ago, I discovered a Vegetarian fast food joint through a Groupon deal. They have an exciting concept of serving comfort food that closely mimics dishes offered at traditional American restaurants. At first glance, their menu seemed all too familiar and representative of Vegan cafes, such as Native Foods and Veggie Grill. Nevertheless, I bought the Groupon for $10 for $20 worth of food and drink and headed down to Inglewood to give them a chance. Unfortunately, their hours were slim and they seemed to mostly be a lunch destination. The trek to Inglewood was not an enjoyable one, but was definitely worth it, as the food was fantastic.

The restaurant was nestled in a mostly industrial area and tucked into a tiny strip mall. There was not much seating in the restaurant, but this did not matter much, as they were not very busy. The few patrons that came, browsed the small grocery store and ordered a few items to go. I browsed the menu, which was mostly Vegan, with the exception of a few items containing cheese. These dishes, however, could easily be made Vegan with a substitution of Vegan cheese.

I started my meal with the Mango Strawberry Peachy Blend Smoothie ($4).

This smoothie was way bigger than I expected. It was so creamy and slightly frothy. There was a great combination of fruity flavors, with the peach being the most overpowering. It was very sweet, but also made a refreshing complement to the meal.

Next, I dug into my appetizer, Breaded Chik'n Tenders ($6).

These were so similar to the chicken nuggets I used to eat at McDonald's as a kid, only way less greasier. The breading was very well-seasoned, with a slight spice to it. The interior was so remniscent of a Chicken tendon, it was a little frightening. It was very soft and slightly chewy. There were some carrots and celery accompanying the Chik'n that were very crunchy to contrast the delectable softness of the Chik'n tenders.

Next, I had the Multi Bean Beef Chili ($4.50).

This is quite possibly the best Chili I have ever had. It was so hearty and dense with ingredients. The beans were very well-cooked and softened and mixed well with the savory chunks of soy beef. The tomatoes added a subtle sweetness to contrast the rich bean and beef flavorings. The Chili was also served with some buttery crackers, which added an extra crunch.

Lastly, I had the Tacos Al Carbon ($6).

The soft taco shell was lightly seasoned and filled with juicy soy steak pieces. There was a mildly spicy sauce coating the slightly chewy steak, along with slices of onion and basil to add to an extra kick. The dish was so delicious and very flavorful. Normally, I prefer a hard taco shell, but the soft tortillas really complemented the thick pieces of steak. The chips accompanying the tacos were a little stale, but the tomato salsa softened them up a bit.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal and am so happy I found this place. The dishes are so reasonably priced and affordable and quite tasty. Veg-It-Up could easily compete with its fellow Chain counterparts, Veggie Grill and Native Foods, as their food is just as delicious, yet not as greasy. I surprisingly did not feel disgusting after eating all this food, but instead found myself dreaming about my next visit. I only spent $12 with the deal, which included a massive amount of food and drink. I cannot wait to go back and will probably take advantage of their combination meal deal, which includes an entree, fries and drink for just $9.

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