Mall food courts are typically barren deserts when it comes to vegan or even vegetarian eating. So I was super stoked when I was invited to check out the new Beleaf Cafe. Brand new to the Westfield Century City and Westfield Topanga Malls, this eatery serves up burgers, tacos, burritos, salads, and all kinds of sides and snacks..and it's ALL FRICKIN' VEGAN!!!
I stopped by for lunch and went with the Southwestern Burger. It's an Impossible patty with grilled onion, pickle, bbq sauce, red cabbage, and I added some Follow Your Heart cheese. A major alteration I made was the patty. You can swap any burger patty into any of the burgers. I definitely love the Impossible patty, but Beleaf offers a variety of interesting looking house-made vegetable-based patties, and since it had been a while since I ate any burgers that didn't have Beyond or Impossible meats, I thought I'd kick it a little old-school-vegan style and give their black bean patty a try.
The food came out fast, and it all looked fresh and vibrant. I always like to take a little piece of the burger patty to taste it by itself. Flavor-wise, it was tasty with some mild spices, and the texture was what I expected from a bean patty. It was soft, but not crumbly, as many tend to be. I liked the bun-to- stuff ratio. There was just enough bun to hold all of the toppings and such, but not so much that you feel you're eating a loaf of bread. Overall the burger was delicious, and the whole thing worked together nicely.
I added an order of buffalo cauliflower, which was also quite satisfying. A standard buffalo-style sauce drenched crispy, al dente-cooked cauliflower. Instead of the usual creamy ranch, or bleu cheese type sauce to go with the wings, they serve it with a side of their tahini sauce. I wasn't so sure about it at first, but I ended up liking it quite a bit. The fatty tahini sauce served the same cooling purposes as the regular sauces, so I was good with it.
I'm looking forward to tying more of the menu items, as there are A LOT! It's so excellent and exciting to have this vegan oasis in my local mall's food court. All VEGAN! In a FOOD COURT! In a MALL!!! What a great time to vegan.
Vegan chef, cookbook author, and multi-media personality, Brian L. Patton. Just making good, old-fashioned food. You like food, right?