Match #4 of the V.V. Burger Showdown Semi-Finals: Brooklyn Born.
Toad Style vs. Cafe Ghia
We are nearing the end. With a new summer brings another new burger battle. There is no rest for the vegan eats these days. But before a new beginning, an end. Each burger in this battle has made its own statement. These statements range from statements like, “I am the culmination of thought, real ingredients, and good taste.” To “I have a bunch of processed crap all over me. Oh wait, I am processed crap.” From the best to the not-sa-great and the many in-betweens, the endeavor of vegan burger making is certainly an art form. All battle contenders have their place in someone’s heart, whether it be a new vegan who doesn’t know any better or a picky food snob with a sky-high standards. There is a vegan burger for all. But this showdown, reader, is all mine. So my favorite burger wins. And I don’t care about much more than that.
So who will be in the finals? Finally, this last battle will decide. Early favorites have gone away, through financial woes and too much-too soon expansion. Today, hipster brunch spot Café Ghia and Toad Style, Bed-Sty’s kung fu all-vegan eatery, fight the good bite. And the winner enters the finals, facing Chickpea & Olive for the championship showdown. Without further ado, semi-final 4’s statements.
Toad Style’s Cheeseburger:
Most times, small portioned bites of vegan food arrive at your mouth by way of a fork. Chew, swallow, repeat. But eating a vegan burger is a, er, more sensuous experience. Your face’s nose and teeth arrive at a burger like a utensil; you dig them in–oozy vegan cheese in your nostrils; panicked, searching tongue; jaw widening; teeth close with determination, pinching the bun, detaching. Success–a bite! If you done well, you have a small piece of it all in your mouth, a mini burger, moving about your tongue. Then you do it again, letting your tongue regulate the next unique bite. As I ate Toad Style’s first semi-final level cheeseburger, I paid close attention to this process–knowing that far more than any other detail, this process is the most important. Where does my mind go inside of this burger? It is that entry way that will create the first Vegan Victuals champion. But much like it is futile to deconstruct sunshine (and though this blog is mostly based on this endeavor), it is near impossible to accurately capture what can only be transmitted as, simply, “Mmmmm.” Mmmmm is everything you want from a burger. It trumps presentation, cleanliness, the service experience. If it’s all you can say while you eat, you know you found something special. It’s all I said eating Toad’s cheeseburger.
Bless this Mess.
Cafe Ghia’s Vegan Burger:
I really like Cafe Ghia’s vegan burger. It is fresh and clean and neat. It has all the right burger moves–a housemade patty, supporting fixings that diversify texture and flavor, a pillowy bun. I have no complaints about the burger at all. Which is an amazing feat in and of itself. But. It’s missing a certain Mmmmm. It’s like a date with a pretty thing that, despite good conversation and a few shared laughs, ends with an awkward hug. No vegan cheese in your nostril, no reckless abandon, no inability to construct a statement. It’s missing something. Something. Like the “something” they sing about in songs. The thing that delivers you to Mmmmm.
Cafe Ghia is not a vegan eatery. This Vegan Burger, only available on weekdays for some reason, is a considerate addition to their menu. However, you can tell Cafe Ghia’s creativity and food passion lies elsewhere. I am thankful many eateries are offering vegan staple dishes to ensure both veg and non-veg can eat in harmony. But I am more thankful for vegan options that embody the same attention to detail and dedication to deliciousness as the non-veg menu items. Often, I find that many omni eateries offer better vegan options than all-vegan eateries for that very reason: their knowledge and love of food (all food: vegan and otherwise) and flavor extends to their vegan dishes. That’s what makes Mmmmm.
The winner of the 4th Semi-Final battle: Toad Style!
And it is two all-vegan Brooklyn eateries that will face off head-to-head in the Championship round! Let’s get ready to RUUUUUUMMMBLE!!!
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