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Lion’s lunch: A vegetarian’s guide to Valley College

The college has numerous options for those who choose to avoid meat.

By Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor

The Monarch Cafe at Valley College has a nice selection for veggie lovers. To the left is the Monarch Burger with grain buns, lettuce, carrots, pickle, cheese, and a beyond meat substitute. To the right is the Very Veggie Panini with sourdough bread, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, bell peppers, mustard, and mayonnaise. (Nick Orozco | Valley Star)

As carnivorous lions roam Valley College, there are herbivores trying to find sufficient meals to nourish their hunger. Luckily, there are small cornucopias that plant eaters can take advantage of.

Prior to attending Valley, one would assume that the only plant-based options come from highly processed snacks in vending machines.

Luckily, there are alternatives.

The school’s cafeteria, or Monarch Cafe, has a plethora of options — if vegetarians enjoy Beyond Meat. Any burger can have a faux-meat patty subbed in, at an additional cost of $1.50.

The “Monarch Burger” is a classic, with its barebones ingredients of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, mayonnaise and mustard. The simple, yet effective, ingredient list allows the true “beyond” flavor to shine. The original price is listed at $6.29, and with the “beyond” substitute it comes out to $7.79.

Although the texture may take a bit to get used to, beyond patties are made of water, pea protein and other ingredients. The grill level is reminiscent of a meat patty, as there are patterns of charred lines throughout. Adding cheese to the burger is optional, and American cheese is the way to go.

Another option in the Monarch Cafe that does not include fake versions of animal carcass is the “Very Veggie,” a panini with avocado, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, heavy mayonnaise and mustard on sourdough bread. The $7.29 sandwich is worth every penny. The hearty, vegged-out concoction is a filling option that can rival a traditional meat-filled sandwich.

Fries, quesadillas and falafel over rice are a few of the vegetarian items served out of the Chicaterranean food truck at Parking Lot F in front of the Community Services Center. (Jeremy Ruiz | Valley Star)

Earlier in the semester, the LACCD approved a one-year partnership with Chicaterranean, a Mediterranean food truck. The truck, parked in Lot F Monday through Friday, offers four vegetarian options: a cheese quesadilla, falafel sandwich, falafel over rice and french fries.

For being a mediterranean joint, the falafel over rice plate fell below average. The initial flavor of the falafel was strong, but the texture was dense and mealy. There were six, dry pieces of the “chickpea” mixture and the mysterious white sauce of either tzatziki or ranch could not save it. The bed of rice underneath offered no additional flavor.

Despite the miss on the Mediterranean staple, at least the cheese quesadilla and fries were okay. The quesadilla was thin, with a light helping of a tri-blend cheese enveloped in a buttery and flaky flour tortilla.

The fries were tasty too — if eaten within about five minutes. They were underdone, and if not consumed soon enough, would turn into a soggy mess akin to mashed potatoes.

Despite the criticism, vegetarians have a decent amount of options on campus.

If Monarchs need to grab a bite between classes, they should head to the Monarch Cafe. And if they happen to be on the southeast side of campus, they can get a quesadilla or fries from Chicaterranean — just make sure to ask for the fries well done — and steer clear of the falafel.


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