I’m going to take a wild guess and say that I think the universe is still trying to make me eat healthier.
In the most non-subtle of ways I’m catching vegetables popping up everywhere around the food I plan to eat. Beets in my latte from Drink Houz, avocado in my ice cream from Helado’s Pops, and lettuce in my burger; I agree it makes it taste good, but slow down guys! When I look back at it all, I think it’s time that I pick up a hint. No message screamed louder than seeing a bar I enjoy visiting transform their menu to 100% vegan. Not just vegetarian, but vegan. Visiting Beelman’s in Downtown Los Angeles previous times gave me the chance to discover their massive burgers, but everything changed once I saw that they would no longer offer meat.
Well, that’s news to me.
A slow panic set in and I wanted to use my vocal chords to shout to the sky like Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What you Did Last Summer to plead for the universe to stop turning everything I love into vegetables. Instead, I decided to give it an honest try. I grabbed my meat-turned-vegan friend Ajay and we went to the bar to see how the new menu would be.
First to the table were the Tachos ($10). A handful of tater tots were smothered with cashew cheese, salsa, soyrizo, homemade pickled jalapenos, gochujang crema, cilantro and chili beans. It was impressive to finally have a set of tater tots that weren’t bland and boring. Instead, at Beelman’s they were covered through and through with components that were easy to be excited about. Since I’m not the biggest cheerleader for jalapenos, I let Ajay run wild with them, but I did scoop the perfectly fried and hot tots in the cheese and beans. Continuing to add a heaping of it all on top of the tots made me feel like this was one of few times that the once considered cafeteria food was worth ordering.
With the final bites of the tots came the Breakfast Burrito ($14). The flour tortilla burrito carried the same tater tots from before with the addition of fries, smoked tofu, pinto beans, soyrizo, gochujang crema, and served with an avocado lime salsa. Diving into the burrito it both looked and tasted as if it had ground beef in it. It was pure delicious deceit and I wasn’t mad at it whatsoever. The smoked tofu blending with the beans were hearty and spiced perfectly so much so that it could easily confuse anyone who was hoping for a meaty option. Good job, Beelman’s!
One of the best surprises was an accidental order that came to the table. The Buddha Bowl ($14), was someone else’s order but made an appearance at our table. While it was taken to its rightful owner, we definitely ordered one of our own. Simply put, it was beautiful. A giant bowl was sectioned off showcasing crispy marinated tofu, spicy chickpeas, quinoa, mung bean, kale, sesame seeds, miso dressing, a sambal chili paste, and so much more. I thought this was such a pretty dish and seeing that it came out of kitchen in a bar, I was surprised at just how much care they put into it. Taking bites from the sections let me enjoy each part of the bowl individually, however combining it all together made it really delicious. The flavorful chickpeas, with the tofu, and kale all sitting underneath the miso dressing was surprisingly delicious. It was another moment where I couldn’t believe that I was eating a vegan dish. No meat in sight and yet this one was memorable. I enjoyed the way the chef thoughtfully created a bowl that had a variety of options that together became filling and so enjoyable.
The last plate to the table was the one I was the most unsure about. The That’s a Tasty Burger! ($16) was a burger lover’s biggest concern as it (like all the other dishes) was meatless. How they would create a meatless burger that I would like was beyond me, but I was eager to find out. The burger was made with Impossible Foods patty and plantains, a large pineapple slice, gochujang aioli, shredded kale, and slaw on a pretzel bun with fries on the side. Looking at it on the surface, it looked exactly like a burger but I needed to know if it would also taste like one. A first bite and the patty didn’t have the same weight as a regular burger would have. A continued bite and it felt smoother and sweeter thanks to the texture and addition of the plantains and the all plants from the Impossible Foods patty. It was strange initially, but as I continued to go deeper into the soft pretzel bun and the tang of the pineapple kicked in it wasn’t bad at all. It tasted noticeably different from your typical beef burger, but it serves as a welcome substitute.
After enjoying all of the plates at Beelman’s I think I can stop running away from vegetables. I may have received many signs for the universe to simply incorporate more of it into my meals, but after that dinner I’m listening. Trying the tachos, the Impossible burger, and a couple more plates was a great way to get me off the fence. I’m not saying I’m turning into a vegan, but I won’t shy away if my favorite spot changes up their menu.
Address: 600 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Phone: (213) 622-1022
Hours: Monday to Thursday – 4:00pm to 2:00am, Friday to Sunday – 12:00pm to 2:00am
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