Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cacik- Turkish Yogurt and Cucumber “Soup”

Cacik (Personal Photo)

I first encountered cacik in the small Turkish restaurants outside the base at Incirlik, Turkey.  It was very popular as a thick, creamy cucumber spread similar to Greek tzatziki.  It was made with thickest yogurt, “without the water”.  We slathered it on fresh, hot pita bread. 

Later I learned that most Turks make cacik more like a cold soup, with regular yogurt.  They dice the cucumbers very small, but I use a box grater. 

Cacik Ingredients

1 large pickling cucumber
3 cups yogurt
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried mint
½ tsp salt

1.  Grate cucumber on box grater.  Place on 6-8 layers of paper towel.  Press with another 4-6 layers of paper towel on top, to absorb most of the water. 

2.  Combine cucumber with yogurt, garlic, mint and salt. 

3.  Refrigerate 1 hour. 

Grated Cucumber draining on paper towel
Personal Photo

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Where Can I Get a Veggie Burger? Red Robin, Burger King, Hard Rock Cafe and More

Many restaurants feature burgers topped with fried egg

If you’re a former meat lover, or just trying to cut back on meat, there are some foods that you may find yourself missing.  What’s not to love about a great classic burger?  Can you really satisfy your craving with a meatless “burger”?  A lot of restaurants claim to have a great veggie burger that even meat eaters love.  Some of these restaurants are local establishments, but I have researched restaurant chains.  I have listed restaurants that offer vegetarian burgers, as well as famous chains that don’t.  Both lists are alphabetical. 

This information is subject to change.  If you have found a great vegetarian burger, please share in the comments below.  If you found a veggie burger at a restaurant that previously didn’t offer them, share that too. 

Burger King Veggie Burger
Personal Photo

Burger King offers a version of their Whopper made with a MorningStar Farms® Garden Veggie patty, with all the usual toppings- lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, mayo and ketchup on a sesame seed bun.  This is actually a pretty good sandwich, tasting very much like a BK classic burger. 

Carl’s Jr pitches Carl’s Jr- Veg It® sandwich, which is their Guacamole Six Dollar Burger®, served without the beef patty.  In addition to the guacamole, this sandwich features Pepper Jack cheese, as well as lettuce, tomatoes, and onion.  I reluctantly list this one.  How hard would it be to offer a vegetarian or vegan patty?! 

Cheesecake Factory boasts a veggie burger with a patty made of brown rice, faro, black beans, beets, and onion.  The patty is topped with Fontina cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo on a toasted bun. 

Dave & Buster’s menu lists a “specially seasoned” char-grilled Gardenburger. 

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers features a vegetarian burger made with a black bean patty, and topped with cheese, Freddy’s sauce, onion, lettuce and tomato.  Other burger toppings and condiments on the menu include grilled onion, sauerkraut, relish, and Jalapenos. 

Fuddrucker’s menu lists a veggie burger.  Sorry, no details. 

Hardee’s pitches a Veg It ® sandwich, which is their Thickburger®, minus the hamburger patty.  I reluctantly list this one also.  They need to feature a veggie patty.  I suppose they’d be glad to serve up any of their toppings without the patty.  In addition to the “usual suspects”, they feature mushrooms, Swiss cheese, Buffalo blue cheese, and guacamole. 

Hard Rock Café boasts a veggie burger with their grilled Veggie Leggie patty, which they top with a grilled Portabello mushroom, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper.  Burger is also topped with lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, and lemon mayo.  This one is definitely on my list to try. 

Houlihan’s offers a veggie mini burger on their appetizer menu.  It is a black bean and chickpea patty, topped with aged cheddar cheese and ranch greens. 

Johnny Rocket veggie burger

Johnny Rocket’s calls their veggie burger the Streamliner.  They use a soy Boca® Burger patty, and top it with grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mustard. 

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon offers no details, but their menu states “vegetarian garden burger available on request”. 

Planet Hollywood features a grilled vegetarian patty Mushroom, Onion, & Swiss burger at some of their locations.  Other locations offer the Veggie Garden burger, which they describe as mushrooms, water chestnuts, peppers, and black olives “rolled into a patty”, with Swiss cheese. 

Rainforest Café  touts their Rainforest Natural Burger.  The patty is made of garbanzo beans, vegetables, sesame seeds and spices.  It is served with lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole.  Who doesn’t like guacamole? 

Red Robin Bruschetta Veggie Burger
Personal Photo

Red Robin is my personal pick.  While many restaurants would probably put any of their available burger toppings on your veggie patty (assuming they have a veggie patty), Red Robin proudly offers to substitute a Gargenburger® vegetarian patty, or Boca® vegan patty on any sandwich on the menu.  Offerings vary by location, but there are about 10 to 12 burger selections that lend well to a vegetarian version.  

Additionally, they offer a build your own burger.  Choose your burger, then choose your bun, cheese, and toppings from a plethora of offerings.  Buns include onion roll, ciabatta, and jalapeño cornmeal Kaiser roll.  Cheeses include Cheddar, American, Swiss, Bleu, Provolone, and Pepper Jack.  Of course they have the usual toppers- mustard, mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, and onion. 

Try one of their specialty sauces like Whiskey River BBQ sauce, A1 peppercorn sauce, Tabasco sauce, country Dijon sauce, pesto aioli, balsamic cream, salsa, and chipotle mayo.  They also have crazy good toppings like crispy fried onion straws, sautéed mushrooms, grilled pineapple, guacamole, fried egg, and fried jalapeno coins. 

Red Robin Bleu Ribbon Veggie Burger with bleu cheese 
and crispy onion straws

Smashburger features a Spicy Veggie Black Bean burger, which is topped with fresh jalapenos, Pepper Jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, and chipotle mayo.  It is served on a spicy chipotle bun.  They did say “spicy”! 

TGI Friday’s advertises a Sedona Black Bean Burger, which is topped with Monterey Jack and cheddar, glazed balsamic onions, sliced avocado, and chipotle mayo.  This one goes on my list too. 

Tilted Kilt offers a black bean patty.  They offer a variety of cheeses:  American, Cheddar, Swiss, Bleu cheese, provolone, and pepper Jack.  Other burger toppings include fried shoestring onions, Guinness BBQ sauce, sautéed mushrooms and onions, jalapeno peppers, guacamole, and fried egg. 

No Vegetarian Burgers Listed at These Restaurants: 

Babe’s Burgers
Big Boy
Bob Evans
Roy Rogers
Ruby Tuesdays
Waffle House