Evolution Fast Food
Earlier this year, Dennis invited me to join him for lunch at a vegan restaurant called Evolution Fast Food. It's not in the heart of Hillcrest, but rather a little farther south, located next door to the original Extraordinary Desserts. And if you happen to end up there for desserts, we'd totally understand! ;)
The parking lot is tiny but there's always street parking. You also have the option of going through the drive thru, which fits with the "fast food" name and theme. Dennis mentioned it's a bit awkward due to the sharp turn to the first window (hug that curve when you drive in)! After ordering, you wait a few minutes at the second window for your food and then continue on your merry way.
For dining inside, you place your order at the counter and wait for your name to be called. They have a few housemade lemonades and teas to choose from, showcased in clear plastic beverage dispensers. We upgraded one of our entrees into a meal deal for $2.75 extra, which adds fries and a drink.
I decided on a Mushroom Swiss Burger ($6.95). Evolution gives you three patty options: tempah, 1/4 lb beef, and black bean. Don't forget that the second option is "beef"-like. I decided to go for tempah that day, which I found to have a mild flavor, stayed together and wasn't too dry. Overall not bad for non-meat. There were also a few small mushroom pieces that could have been carmelized more. Silly me didn't realize that the cheese would be vegan so that was definitely my least favorite part of the burger. It was almost like a thick mayo in texture and was just... off. I'd recommend that you stay from items that have "cheese" if you're a cheese lover like me.
The side of fries were nice and crispy with a decent portion size. The restaurant also has homemade ketchup which went well with my burger. I noticed the receipt included a line item for ketchup costing $0, but it turns out you just grab it yourself from the fridge anyway!
Dennis ordered one of his usuals: the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich ($7.50). For newbies to vegetarian/vegan food, we think this is the item to try. It has the texture of protein but I think you can still tell that it's not meat. Luckily this is disguised pretty well beneath the more familiar buffalo sauce. Their version isn't too bold or spicy so I enjoyed this one more than my burger. The wrappers also give this a "fast food" feel but they are really thin, and begin breaking away when liquidy materials hit it! Better eat your burger fast!
We didn't order it this time but Dennis also recommends the South of the Border Burger which packs a little kick through jalapenos and chipotle sauce.
We sat out in the back patio that day. The back patio feels somewhat secluded, almost mysterious-like because there's this lush tree canopy you pass under to get to the seating. It's great for dining outdoors.
I would have never though "vegan" and "fast food" would go together but here it is! It's more expensive than fast food and I've already seen a price increase online verses when we visited. This place is a quick alternative for meatless though but I don't think I'd go out of my way, especially with my #1 Loving Hut so close to home.
Evolution Fast Food
2965 5th Ave
San Diego CA 92103