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Where is L.A.’s Best Veggie Burger?

Welcome to the 2011 VegLympics in Los Angeles, Veggie Burger Competition!

There are a lot of entrants in the challenge to find the city’s best veggie (read: vegan) burger. Several contestants have already been disqualified:

Umami Burger, In-N-Out, and Five Guys for not offering a single vegan option

Upper West, for illegal cheese use in patty

Fatburger, for illegal use of non-vegan Boca burger patties

I will be using the ISU Judging System, that’s the International Skating Union scoring system, minus the 8 other judges and a comprehensive understanding of how it works. Apparently, I have to give a score on a scale of .25 to 10 in each of the following categories:

-Skating Skills (SS)
-Transitions/linking footwork and movement (TR)
-Performance/execution (PE)
-Choreography/composition (CH)
-Interpretation (IN)
-Timing (T)

First up is Hole In The Wall Burger Joint, an apropos name, hidden behind a Winchell’s donuts on Bentley Avenue just south of Santa Monica Blvd. in West LA. I was super excited to find out they had a veggie burger and ecstatic that it was vegan. There’s a handy order form you fill out, creating a burger the way you want it, from bun to bun (or bowl). Here’s their score:

SS = 8.0
I got the House Recipe Veggie Burger with red leaf lettuce, sliced red onion, tomato, mustard-pickle relish and ketchup on a old fashioned plain bun with both kinds of fries (regular and sweet potato). The quality of the ingredients is perfect, the thing is a behemoth, but the patty falls apart.

TR = 9.0
The options are standard but plenty, with regular ketchup, “theirs”, or homemade, “ours”, and a mustard-pickle relish that, while I don’t love, I appreciate. I prefer a more half-sour pickled taste to complement my burger, and this relish lands on the sweet side. The fries are great, both kinds.

PE = 8.5
There are two kinds of veggie burgers: those which try to replicate the taste of actual meat (Meatless Technologies) and those that try to blend vegetables into something patty-like (Garden Patch). This is the latter, and the chef has created a mix of fresh veggies (corn, onion, peppers), black beans with a vegan bread base that makes a most delicious burger. No matter how you get it, it’s a beautiful show. Again, my only complaint is that the bread base isn’t a great binder. Though I’d rather have it fall apart and be vegan than have egg and adhere, I shouldn’t have to choose. Actually, once the burger sheds it leaves enough behind to make it regular sized.

CH = 9
I’ve never had a burger quite like this. Conceptually, it is an original take on a veggie patty and it’s got a unique taste. In terms of vision, you need a wide-angle lens in order to see the whole thing at once, it’s so big. It is composed of the best elements: they use artisan rolls made by local bakery, the produce is fresh and locally grown, all the spreads, pickles, ketchup and fries are made in-house. And it only costs $7.95 (cash only).

IN = 8.5
Points taken off here only for one seasoning in there I didnt care for– is it cinnamon? Something that doesn’t say “Burger” to me. If this burger was a figure skating routine, it’d be that Elvis guy skating to some Das Racist.

T = 10
Everything is made to order, but it only takes ten minutes. The food is hot when you get it and there is no soundtrack. This is fast-casual at it’s best.

Total Score = 53 (out of a possible 60).

Now I kinda want to get take-out and watch The Cutting Edge.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    The winner should totally win this:

  2. Comment by


    on #

    Have you ever driven up the coast to Big Sur and had their black bean and quinoa burger? It’s so good that I get it every time… and I am not vegan or vegetarian!

  3. Comment by


    on #

    I went to the Hole in the Wall Burger Joint. They cook the meat on the same grill as the veggie burgers, and they couldn?t tell me what was in the buns. They were actually kind of rude. Not recommended.