IMG_3871Yes, you read that right! I had lunch at Johnny Rockets in the Commons at Calabassas yesterday and really really enjoyed myself.

Yesterday our flute section enjoyed an unexpected extra long lunch break between dress rehearsal and concert. So what’s a bunch of hungry musicians to do when presented with so much time? EAT!

We originally headed to the Commons with the intention of eating at Marmelade Cafe. But with a 30-45 minute wait, we didn’t have that much time to spare. So one of our group suggested we walk over to Johnny Rockets. I wasn’t hesitant at all! In fact, I embrace the challenge of finding vegan food at places that are dedicated to meat based fare such as hamburgers. Diner food presents such a challenge, and I was happy to accept.

[It’s important to note that after looking at the online menu for Marmelade Cafe, there was very little if anything I would have been able to eat. It appears I narrowly escaped a 2 sprout experience in the form of a grilled vegetable plate]

With two non-vegan friends by my side, I reassured them that not only would I definitely find something to eat, but that it would be a great opportunity for them to see just how easy it is to eat out as a vegan. Not that they were worried, they were more curious than anything, and I think they came away learning a lot more about vegans than they bargained for!

The online menu is actually quite helpful, and without the opportunity to research Johnny Rockets, the way I normally do before eating anywhere new, I missed out on some really important information! Take a look at their allergen page, and of course the menu.

A quick look at the menu, though, and my heart sank. This may be more difficult than I anticipated. My over confidence may bite me in the butt and I could be returning to the concert as hungry as when I left. There are, of course, a couple of salads, but I did not want my friends to think that all vegans can eat at fun places are salads. That’s the opposite of fun.

IMG_3872My friend Susan mentioned that she thought she saw veggie burgers on the menu last time she was there, but we were both having a hard time finding them at that moment. It took a little digging, but there they were in the toppings and options section. 100% Soy Boca Burgers. I’m always a little suspicious of veggie burgers. Are they really vegan? But listing the brand name of a burger means I can actually quickly look it up while at the table. A quick double check of Boca online and decided to give it a go.

I was looking over all the burger options, figuring I’d substitute a Boca Burger, until I came to the Streamliner:

100% Soy Boca® Burger. Our award winning meat-free hamburger features grilled onions, shredded lettuce, fresh tomato, pickles & mustard.

Let’s do it! With a side of fries, it looks like TVV is going to be partaking in some nice trashy diner food after all.

While we waited for our food, we talked about why I write this blog. Sure, this blog is here to help vegans navigate the non-vegan restaurant scene, but I find that more non-vegans read this blog than I was aware. In essence, this blog has become a resource for the families and friends of vegans to understand not only the ease at which we can dine, but that we’re fully expecting to not be “that vegan” who can’t enjoy “regular” food. I don’t want anyone to ever say to their vegan “sorry you can’t eat here” when they don’t have any idea whether or not that’s even true. I want our people to choose restaurants based on where they would want to go, rather than feel confined by their misconceptions of veganism. After they see us eating something that looks amazing (and usually better than what they got stuck ordering) they often ask us where we want to go the next time we dine out together.

IMG_3873My burger arrived and both my friends eyes nearly popped out of their heads. That thing looked fabulous! It was all I could do to not dig in immediately and snap a photo. Honestly, it felt really good to take part in the same dining experience as those around me. My burger looked none healthier, and I liked that. For once, I was eating the trashiest thing at the table, and I was loving every minute of it! Did I mention that this thing was DELICIOUS?!

The burger may have been cooked on the same surface as other burgers, I don’t know, but I did not have any sort of reaction after the meal. For the same reason, I don’t believe the onions were cooked in butter. It was definitely the right move not to tear apart the burger to add ketchup; the mustard and pickles were a perfect combination! The only thing that would have made this burger even better, would have been to use sauerkraut instead of lettuce!

It’s safe to say that I give Johnny Rockets 4 sprouts! Being vegetarian would be incredibly easy with all the cheeseburger options, and creamy dressings. Surprisingly, there is this one vegan item on the menu, but it was a doozy! Good job, Johnny Rockets!


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4 thoughts on “Johnny Rockets

  1. Vegan bloggers should eventually collaborate to compile a list of restaurant’s veggie burgers categorized by whether they are a) totally vegan, b) can be modified to be made vegan, or c) not vegan at all. I never understood a restaurant’s logic in making a veggie burger that’s not vegan. For example, the veggie burger at Islands would fall into category C (not vegan.) Funny thing, a web site called ChaCha used to incorrectly purport that it was vegan, but they’ve since updated their information.

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