When we were discussing plans for tonight's veggie burger with our friends Rick and Kelly, a very important question came up. Kelly thought that perhaps I might not want to go to Nick & Jake's since their veggie burger was a portobello mushroom and not a veggie patty. My immediate response was that it was listed under the burgers section of the menu, and it was called "Vegetarian Portobello Burger." That seemed to be enough for me at the time.
However, as we talked about it again tonight, I realized I had never actually thought about what constitutes a veggie burger. What are the parameters, per se? Well, it's a valid question because last week at Barley's Brewhaus I was very strict about a veggie sandwich not being the same as a veggie burger. So, obviously there are some criteria in my mind.
What is a veggie burger? Well, one might say it is simply a meatless burger. So, if I go to McDonald's and order a Big Mac, "hold the meat, please," is that a veggie burger? That brings me to a recurring qualm of mine, which is defining things by what they're not instead of by what they are. I don't think a veggie burger is a meatless burger, it is simple a burger with a veggie patty. To use an Orwellian reference, I don't believe the opposite of good is ungood, it is bad.
With that, it seems to me that a burger necessitates a patty of some sort. For veggie burgers, black bean patties seem to be the most common option. But, does one solid piece of vegetable count as a patty? Or, does it need to be a blend of vegetables and ingredients shaped into a patty? As far as I am concerned, a burger is the sum of its parts. If it looks and feels like a burger, if you eat it like a burger, and if you call it a burger, then I say it is a burger. And if what is inside it is a solid piece of vegetable or a blend of vegetables, then it is a veggie burger.
So yes, tonight's burger was a veggie burger. And it was very tasty. The portobello mushroom was marinated in balsamic vinegar and garnished with roasted peppers, caramelized onions, sprouts and smoked gouda. I'm happy to recommend it and I would gladly eat it again.
Happy birthday to Rick and a special thanks to Carrie for suggesting this great veggie burger at Nick & Jake's.