Nine Subway restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area have recently added one of two vegan patties to their menus, which is good news for herbivores looking for something quick to eat. But before we throw Subway a parade honoring the menu additions, there's one question: Are the sandwiches edible?
While not exactly worthy of a Michelin star, the answer is yes. That sound you hear is happy vegans.
In El Segundo, a sign sits atop the counter advertising the Malibu Garden and — get this — it has the word “vegan” for all to see. The patty is made with rolled oats, brown rice, corn, carrots, green peppers and onions and topped with a fire-roasted tomato sauce. Unfortunately, if you ask for too many vegetables, the Malibu Garden sort of gets lost in the mix, so perhaps you want to go easy on the accoutrements.
Or maybe not, because when you peel away the tomatoes and olives and wipe off the mustard, you realize the ingredients comprising the Malibu Garden sound better on the ad than they are in real life. They're far from disgusting — just kind of bland. In fact, maybe ordering an array of vegetables is the way to take the Malibu Garden, because without, there's plenty to be desired.
The same visibility can be found in Marina del Rey, where a sign for the Black Bean patty (which also displays the word “vegan”) is the first thing customers see when they get in line. Made with brown rice, corn, bell peppers, garlic and cilantro, the Black Bean has that certain kick we've all come to expect from anything with the words “black bean” in them. Or maybe that's the vegan sweet potato curry sauce.
Whatever the reason, this patty is tastier and more distinctive than its Malibu Garden counterpart. And if you ask for jalapeños, as we did, you'll feel the combined heat of the peppers, curry sauce and the patty for a few minutes after you're done eating. Perhaps this is blasphemous, but the Black Bean patty is actually pretty good.
So maybe neither the Malibu Garden nor the Black Bean is the best vegan sandwich in the world (or the city, or even the city block), but they're edible and a six-incher costs only five bucks. In order to make the sandwiches vegan, you have to order the Italian bread. You might also have to wear a disguise before entering and check your foodie pride at the door.