Event - True Food Kitchen's Quinoa Burger Tasting

The first picture I saw of True Food Kitchen's Quinoa Burger made me immediately think of it being a healthy alternative to the ramen burger craze. A bun made from quinoa? What a novel idea. It did not take me much convincing to head over to True Food Kitchen one day to check out this new addition to their menu as well as other moving pieces for the fall. We unfortunately went in during a rainy day though so the lighting situation really did not help the look of any of our food so my apologies in advance for the less-than-best photographs we captured. We know - it's out of our norm in terms of quality. Sorry!

To start, there are always True Food Kitchen's intriguing drinks and we ordered what we believed we hadn't had before. At least, I hope these were new items for us. I opted for the Green Arnie ($5 - matcha green tea and honey lemonade) while Duc went for the hot version of The Natural ($4 - served hot or cold as you like with ginger, agave, and soda) as was perfect for the weather. The Green Arnie was certainly very apparently matcha but still refreshing, and the Natural really deserved a moment to curl up in comfortable clothes on a couch. It was warming and had the slow familiar burn of hot ginger that fit the rainy weather.

Our appetizers included one past (and current) favorite and one new fall menu item. The favorite was our plate of Edamame Dumplings ($10 - daikon radish and white truffle oil) which we've had before and thoroughly enjoyed both then and now. Slightly plump dumplings filled with pureed edamame and swimming in a thin seasoning of hot soy sauce are possibly a step in the direction of Asian fusion comfort food. The new fall menu item of Salmon Dip ($12 - house-smoked salmon, Greek yogurt, and crispy pita) looked, at first, to be just a smidgen of a portion but after realizing the thick smokiness of the salmon mixed with cloying Greek yogurt led to a heftier feeling in our stomachs than previously imagined, we saw that it was just the right amount to be shared. Of course, I cannot keep myself away from smoked salmon and this one was just spot-on without all the oiliness of mayonnaise as a binder; no, a more health-conscious Greek yogurt was used and gave just the right amount of tang to balance the smoke.

Onto the entrees of which one had to be the burger but the other was Red Chili Shrimp ($18 - sesame noodle, gai lan, spinach, Shiitake mushrooms). We unfortunately failed to see much to celebrate from this dish though. Dare I say, it almost seemed comparable to any more fast food version of it. This leg of the dinner, however, was redeemed a bit by the "Inside Out" Quinoa Burger ($12 - hummus, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado, and Feta) itself. Before ordering it, we were warned that it was more of a fork and knife type of sandwich but didn't know just exactly how true that advice was. Though the buns looked like regular burger buns in shape, the quinoa proved its difficulty as I expected in being picked up as such. It really did fall apart in all the wrong (right?) places so that we had to get through this with our utensils. As Duc put it, it seemed more like a stacked salad than a burger. So the execution was a little off in terms of making it a full-fledged burger but the flavors were not. The quinoa had been slightly fried so that it contributed a crunchy pop with the soft creaminess of both hummus and tzatziki; the vegetables added refreshing crisp as well. Overall, it was an enjoyable burger albeit not very burger-like.

The fall menu at True Food Kitchen will be available through mid-January and includes many other items such as their popular Butternut Squash Pizza, Squash Pie, and Autumn Ingredient Salad. Our thanks go out to them for having us in for dinner.

Photography by Duc Duong. More photos available on Facebook here.