Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All Board! -- Orean the Health Express


My latest food meanderings resulted in a stop to Orean the Health Express, a drive-thru (and walk-up, if desired) establishment in Pasadena, CA.

And of course, "drive-thru" = fast food! I have good memories of downing a Big'n Tasty burger from McDonald's once during high school, and less-than-good memories of my parents feeding us 29-cent hamburgers and 39-cent cheeseburgers for breakfast on many mornings.

I'll cut to the chase. I ordered an Orean Cheese Burger and Chili Fries, two things I normally wouldn't have, but you've guessed it right if you thought to yourself, "This place must be vegan."

So look again at my burger and fry gluttony. Yes, I pretty much ate all of that, sans a bun and a heaping of chili that I saved for another day. Sure, I had run 6 miles and did weights in the morning, followed by a decently small breakfast. But look at that -- wow, my stomach was reeling, but my sense of adventure was indeed fueled.


Note: I added more desciptions as I've made subsequent visits to this place. =/ Haven't gained any weight yet, though I think I've already gotten a good sampling of the menu and don't plan on going back anytime soon ("The Ukrainian" made me agree to this for at least a month, because vegan or not, he doesn't think it's good for me).

Note 2: Their soy ice cream and cheese are rumored to contain casein, a milk protein. I'm not sure if I'm allergic to casein, but no mal effects yet. But yeah, if you are a strict vegan, I would be wary.



Cheese Burger: I know the pic doesn't do it justice, but it's actually pretty sloppy on the inside. Top bun was sprouted and then doused in BBQ and some sort of mayo. I didn't want to eat it, but I did due to my weakness to mayo. Some green lettuce and tomato followed, and then the patty. The patty was made out of some sorts of grain... I could not tell, really. It was moist though kind of fell apart after a while. Bottom bun contained relish, a pickle, plenty of mustard, and shredded fake cheddar cheese of some sort.

My overall impression of the burger was: yum! Definitely tasted WAY better than anything I can get at McD's.


Chili Fries: The fries at this place are "air"/oven-baked. That didn't make me feel much better about eating a copious amount of them, but at least the fact is out there. I like air fries more than normal fries, and not just because of health reasons. I think they come out crunchier, which is a big plus. The chili was nothing ununsual... a lot of pinto-type beans and TVP standing in for meat. I've had better veggie chili, but this was still yummy.

Chai Milkshake: Thick, and oh-so-creamy! The right amount of sweetness. If you're lactose intolerant and miss shakes, you gotta have one! I liked this because it did not cause me to have an itchy throat like cold dairy can give me, but then again, I only had the first inch of this big cup.



Chicken-O-Nuggets: Mmm, deep-fried texturized vegetable protein... very meaty, a little greasy, and comes with BBQ sauce and poor-quality coleslaw that tasted limp, not enough mayo or vinegar, and pepper?


Mata Burrito (not pictured -- @#$% camera!): Huge and warm, served in a whole wheat tortilla and is sort of like fajitas -- onions, bell peppers, some sort of crumbly soy meat, cabbage, and fake seitan(?) beef. All in all, good. I had about 1/6 of it. This burrito can probably make lunch for three days. =)

I know that fast food is still fast food, vegan or not. I downed a lot of carbs and unnecessary fats in that meal, but it definitely has put me off to the idea of more fast food for a while. However, I did get inspired to make some version of this for "The Ukrainian" if I don't take him here first. Still, I did spend about $10 on the burger and fry gorge-fest, so maybe it would be good to learn to make this stuff.

Finally, I learned something new about Pasadena while coming here, which is that it is definitely not uniformly glamorous. This place sits in a bit of a shady area of town, about 2.5 miles away from the beauty of Old Town Pasadena. There were several other drive-thrus on the same block, as if knowing that nobody in the right mind would want to really dine there. People walk across the streets with disregard for lights....

4 comments:

  1. Shady area in Pasadena? Let me tell you - when I was in High School, Muir High was in our league. It was always a scary ride on the bus to get there!

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