It’s hard to argue that we’re not spoiled foodies here in Los Angeles. What, with all the fresh local produce and overabundance of exceptional vegan & vegetarian restaurants, we’ve really got nothing to complain about. Still, sometimes you just want to be able to walk into to any ol’ place and order something off the menu without having to worry about what secret ingredients are lurking within. It’s getting easier to do just that these days as more “regular” restaurants are expanding their menus to include not only vegetarian but also entirely vegan options. Johnny Rockets, the 50′s style burger joint is one such place. Known for their jukeboxes, milkshakes and all-beef grilled patties, Johnny Rockets has taken a step in the right direction and added an all vegan burger option to their menu.
Here we have what Johnny Rockets has dubbed “The Streamliner”: the original meatless Boca® burger with grilled onions, fresh lettuce, ripe tomato, pickle & mustard. I ordered mine without the onions, natch. I inquired as to if they also offered soy-cheese, which they do not, but which they really should. I mean if you’re gonna come this far, why only come part of the way?
This burger was darn good! As mentioned, they use the Boca burger which is made from soy and is entirely vegan. I don’t recall ever trying a Boca burger before and I really liked it. It had a smokey, charbroiled flavor to it which I don’t think came from the grill itself but was actually part of the burger seasonings. The buns are also vegan. I did not order fries but you’ll be happy to know that their fries are also totally vegan, cooked entirely in vegetable oil, not beef tallow. Sadly, they do not have any vegan shakes. Yet.
My verdict: very tasty. Certainly not the greatest burger I’ve ever had in my life, but definitely enjoyable… and added with the fact that I was able to eat it while at a place as ridiculously normal, corporate and contrived as Johnny Rockets while listening to Leslie Gore cry about her party on the jukebox, well, it was pretty special. My only complaint is the color of the pattie… kind of beige and homely looking. A darker color would make it look more appetizing. I’m not big on additives and unnecessary ingredients being put into my food, but on the other hand, this is already a processed, pre-packaged, frozen convenience food, not an organic, locally grown, pristine salad… so I don’t think that adding a bit of “caramel coloring” to make it look a little bit more appealing would hurt. Are you listening Boca people? Your burger is mighty tasty, but it’s also butt ugly.
Giving credit where credit is due, I learned about the Streamliner burger at Johnny Rockets via Lane at the excellent VeganBits blog when he wrote about it back in May, though I only now got around to trying it. I was so hungry when I sat down at the Johnny Rockets counter to try this burger that I forgot to pay attention to whether they used a separate grill or not to keep my innocent soy burger away from the bloody meat juice on the main grill. Thankfully Lane was paying close attention on his visit and confirms in his post that indeed, his eagle eye noticed that the burgers truly were cooked on separate grills from their meat & cheese counterparts.
The Johnny Rockets website also assures us that:
“Please be aware that we designate a special area of the grill on which to cook only the Boca Burger and we do everything in our power to keep the area free from other materials. We also have special color-coded turners and tongs which help to keep cross-contamination to a minimum.”
It seems like they’re making a real effort to be vegetarian-friendly, well… as vegetarian-friendly as you can get while still being a meat peddler that proudly boasts of serving 13 million beef hamburgers to your guest each year. Oh the irony.
Johnny Rockets has locations just about everywhere in the USA other than the
Midwest Western Middle of the country (and Portland for some reason), so if you’re anywhere other than those areas, you’ll probably be able to find a location just by throwing a rock in any heavily foot-trafficked direction. I ate at the Encino spot on Ventura Blvd., though for the full experience you might want to visit their original Melrose location, that is if you can find yourself a seat between the hoards of Japanese tourists and hairy bikers.
P.S. You might also want to know that Boca burgers are owned by Kraft Foods.
Which of the following statements are true?
1.) Kraft is EVIL
2.) Kraft is owned by Philip Morris tobacco
3.) Kraft uses Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) in most of their products.
If you picked “All of the Above” you would be correct.
Some of the Boca burgers are made with organic (and therefore non-GMO ingredients), though I cannot confirm which exact Boca product Johnny Rockets is using. The menu says it’s the “100% Soy Boca Burger”, but that’s not an actual name of any Boca product. Boca lists two vegan burgers on their website, the “Original Vegan” which is not organic, and the “Vegan made with Organic Soy”, which is. Beats me which one J.R’s is feeding us. So, if after eating this burger you turn into a mutant and/or start to sprout purple soybean monsters with teeth from out yer ears, don’t come cryin’ to me.Related Posts:
- Real Food Daily Veggie Burger FAIL
- Let’s keep things simple.
- Veggie Grill brings vegan fast food to L.A!
- Four by Flore
- Cafe Muse in Hollywood’s theater district.