This week, we focus on Short Order, the burger place at the Original Farmers Market that was a collaboration between the late Amy Pressman and restaurateur Bill Chait. Though Pressman passed away, Short Order lives, with some consulting help from Pressman's friend Nancy Silverton.

Burger joints are a double-edged sword for many vegetarians — on the one hand, they are obviously very meat-centric; on the other hand, the pursuit of a glorious veggie burger is often a lifelong undertaking.

Short Order does indeed have a veggie burger, but I didn't love it. As I wrote in the full review, “[The veggie burger is] basically a falafel in a burger bun: two chickpea patties with yogurt sauce, harissa and cucumber. But falafel needs more air around it, more sauce and crunch, and it goes better in a pita. Basically, falafel is better as falafel, and a veggie burger should be something else entirely.”

If I were eating meat-free at Short Order I'd be more likely to make up a meal of sides — the deep-fried spuds and bean salad are especially good — or indulge in the huge grilled cheese sandwich with heirloom tomatoes added. Big entree salads are also a strong point here, although both the Cobb and the wedge salad have bacon on them. But even though the menu declares “additions and substitutions politely declined,” I have an inkling that they'd make an exception to leave the pig off of the salads for a polite vegetarian asking nicely. If that were the case, Short Order could indeed be a fine place for a meat-free meal.

See the dish on meat-free eating at L.A. restaurants in our Undercover Vegetarian archives.

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