author: shelbi glover | a&c writer
Fighting against the idea that vegetarian food can’t be creative
I went to Hunter Gatherer a biased woman. Not because of anything I’d heard – in fact, I’ve only ever heard good things about it – but because of my own personal distaste for vegetables. I stuff them into napkins so my girlfriend won’t know I’m not eating them, I avoid them at every twist and turn, and I am the furthest thing from a vegetarian. I’m picky, and frankly, when I walked in the door, I was ready to be disappointed.
Right off the bat, it wasn’t what I expected. The place is decorated with fake animal heads, and the contrast wall is entirely suitcases stacked one on top of the other. Bird cages hang from the ceiling in the center of the room, and a playlist blaring Journey’s Separate Ways made it anything but quiet. The environment is as warm as the staff, who are quick to give a smile to all patrons.
I ordered the burger of the day, which, at that point, was a black bean patty stuffed with cheese. Like I said, I had no idea what to expect; I had never eaten a veggie burger before! At one point, it was probably against my personal code to try such a thing. But I, a humble journalist, went where the story took me…and I could not be more thrilled with the result.
Not to be dramatic, but I’m pretty sure I had never truly tasted anything before the burger of the day at Hunter Gatherer. I’m so serious. The texture didn’t feel like a “real” burger, but I found that I actually liked this one better. The cheese was gooey and melty and perfect, the bun was fresh as can be, and I genuinely could not believe my taste buds. Is this what it’s like to be a vegetarian? Do you guys eat food that good all the time?
After recovering from my burger-induced out-of-body experience, I ate my salad, which wasn’t anything particularly special; the dressing is made in house, but in the end, salad is still salad. The un-uniqueness of the salad is far overpowered by the brilliance that was my burger, and overall, my only regret is that I didn’t order the fries instead.
As far as price goes, it’s actually really affordable, especially if you’re a broke student. Price is something that has always deterred me from eating vegetarian, since it’s often far more expensive, but Hunter Gatherer is crazy affordable. For $5 more than my usual Big Mac meal, I got a burger that was huge (I had to get a take-out box to finish the rest later, for the record), filling, and – again, not to be dramatic – life changing.
If you haven’t been to Hunter Gatherer, I can’t recommend it enough, especially to my friends who are non-vegetarians like myself. Put aside your meat-eating biases, close your eyes, and let your organs remember how it feels to put a vegetable in your body again. It’s almost better than sex…almost.