Friday, October 25, 2013

Burgerlandia

The cheery sign at VG's front door

Paris is experiencing an interesting culinary trend: Burgers. What's so special about burgers, you ask? Well, I'm talking about veggie burgers. They're EVERYWHERE! First, there was MOB, then East Side Burgers. And next month, HANK opens in the Marais. October 2013, however, belongs to VG.

I met Celine, VG's gorgeous, super-friendly owner, at Paris Vegan Day. She had just opened VG a few days earlier and expressed a bit of worry that no one would show up to eat her delicious food. "I'll come!" I said. I don't think my words offered much comfort, but today, I held true to my promise anyway.

VG's owner, Celine, and her husband Suri

If you arrive by bicycle, you can pedal along the La Fayette velo piste right to VG's front door. (Otherwise, Metro Poissonniere is two minutes away.) Outside, a few bistro tables and a sandwich board let you know you've come to the right place. Inside, it's a family affair: Celine, her husband, and her belle-mere share the culinary stage, slinging burgers, chatting with customers, and otherwise making vegetarianism friendly and accessible.




Vegan carrot cake!

The menu fuses traditional burgers with imaginative items inspired by Celine's Spanish heritage and her husband's Laotian background.

Diners choose from the a la carte menu or one of several daily formules. On this day, the menu options spanned a handful of continents: American burgers with Mexican condiments (guacamole); Southeast Asian Pad Thai; and even Spanish-style potatoes and roasted peppers. I went for the edible equivalent of the missionary position: A burger and fries. Not necessarily the sexiest choice, but then I've never been able to resist the words "frites maison."



The fries are thin and tasty, and served with a biodegradable bamboo fork. The burger was equally delicious, and slathered in a cumin-spiced guacamole. Warning to non-French folk who come expecting burgers of McMansion proportions: That's not what you'll get here. Instead, count on perfect, we're-not-getting-fat, but-we-are-getting-full size. My meal left me sated, so much so that I couldn't squeeze in even one bite of the very tempting vegan carrot cake. ((Vegan Carrot Cake!))

So excited to discover this green Tabasco sauce on a neighboring table. I recommend splashing it over everything you order (except the carrot cake).

Miam! My burger with guacamole and vegan cheese on a sesame-seed bun.

Celine plans to expand the VG menu over time to include more items with Spanish, Asian, and world-cuisine influences, and she'll soon begin offering artisan buns made by a local boulanger. Just yesterday, she launched a fancy new vegan burger, and to kick off the fun-in-a-bun, there'll be a guess-the-name-of-the-burger contest on their Facebook page in a few days.

Also: Hurray! VG is a late-breaking addition to my next book, Vegetarian Paris, published by Vegetarian Guides. (Advance copies for sale soon!)

7 comments:

  1. "edible equivalent of the missionary position"
    Love it!
    I am happy to see smaller portions when I go out to eat - it's harder to make bad food with smaller portions, for one thing, everything is more noticeable.
    Great account of this new establishment, I wish them luck!

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  2. Americans who come to France are probably freaked out by French portion sizes, which are really so much smaller than what you find at typical American restaurants. And you know what? The people here are smaller, too. I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw an obese person in Paris. I think we would all benefit from re-examining portion sizes and rethinking "value for money" when it comes to eating out. I could go on and on, but I shan't bore you with all that!

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  3. I love the sound of this place even though I am not a vegetarian or vega, I will put it on my list Aurelia ,, I like smaller portions too , thanks for sharing . xo

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    1. Anne, think you have many, many more trips to Paris ahead, if you want to do all the wonderful things on your list! And that's a good thing!

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  4. I'd love to try it even though living in Paris has made me take up meat after 3 years abstinance...too many good things to taste here ;(

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    1. I know! Paris is definitely a dieter's nightmare and a gourmet's dream made real. What's your favorite spot for a meat-free meal?

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  5. So exciting! Thx for sharing this, Aurelia. I had to blog about it:-) http://jagandnevie.blogspot.com/2013/11/veggie-burgers-in-france-bon-apetit.html

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