Sunday, June 19, 2011

Deconstructing Calafia's Veggie Burger

This is the California-esque, rainbow-colored Vegetable Soy Lentil Quinoa Burger from Calafia in Palo Alto. If it reads like a mouthful, that's because it is. In fact, it is laboriously more than a mouthful.
Stacked between the halved and dense multigrain bun (speckled with pumpkin seeds and other bird seeds) were:  a thick layer of guacamole, the veggie burger (the yellow slab in the center made from soy, green lentils, quinoa, and brown rice) and beet relish.  

The burger came with pickles, mayo, house ketchup and Dijon mustard.

I must say, this was a weird combination. I usually slather ketchup on my veggie burgers (assuming they are mimicking meat) but ketchup didn't work on this one.  Because the burger was so big, I ended up eating it the way I eat Oreos, which is by taking it apart and eating the layers separately.  However,  I did try to get the flavor of the burger as a whole by stuffing my mouth a few times.   

Each component of the burger was quite tasty on its own.  But together they seemed random, as if someone had come up with a list of stereotypically "Californian" ingredients (eg healthy/nutty/macrobiotic) and attempted to make a dish out of them. Unfortunately here, that person didn't think enough about how those ingredients would go together.   

The ketchup was fresh (making my bottled ketchup seem dull a flavorless) and would be delightful with scrambled eggs or meatloaf. The beet relish would be great on a hotdog with mustard. The guacamole delicious with chips. The burger would go well, I think with a more conventional, softer--even commercial--burger bun. 

Bottom line: for the Vegetable Soy Lentil Quinoa Burger to be memorable, its components need to split up and get together with other ingredients. 

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