2 Restaurants in La Mesa, CA (San Diego County)

Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill

Banbu Sushi is by Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza

Located in Grossmont Trolley Center where motorists are directed to park in the Pravada garage, which is spacious.

Vegan miso ramen

The good news is that they have a couple vegan entrees on the menu.  I got the vegan miso ramen.  I picked out the mushrooms and saved them for my dog.  The portion was big enough that I saved some for the next day.

The bad news is that the place is smelly when you go in because they’re making stuff out of eels. Ewwww! That’s why you’ll need a strong drink. I got the blue diamond martini.  (The online menu doesn’t list the drinks so now I have no idea if the alcohol was vegan friendly.)  To start I got a house salad with vinegar & oil (because their dressing isn’t vegan.)  The waitress tried to take the vinegar and oil before I was done using them, but luckily I stopped her because I saved the olive oil with the mushrooms for my dog.

House salad

The crazy thing is this place is popular.  I went in for an early lunch and it was already busy.  A pair of innocent sailors sat by me, Clark (chick) and Zhao (dude).  I kept looking at them to see if they had a point of view, but they just didn’t.  After they were done with their non-vegan food, four fat nurses from Kaiser Permanente took their place.



Hooley’s in Grossmont Center

Located in Grossmont Center near Macy’s.  I know I reviewed this one before, but I figured my further research required me to update.  Sadly, they haven’t updated their menu with vegan options. So, again I got the grilled zucchini tacos specially prepared to be vegan.  I got the carrot sticks as a side because none of the other sides were vegan (not even the beans!)  So, last time I got a salad which was purportedly vegan, but now it’s not.  Anyway, the salsa was too hot which caused me to eat the carrots fast like Bugs Bunny.  I also got the whiskey sour with Jameson again. However, my gift certificate had enough for me to order something else so I got a baked potato and a side of avocado.  I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and malt vinegar, which was really good and a better option than the grilled zucchini tacos, in my opinion!  They need to update their menu, however, to reflect a more evolved age.

Now I almost forgot to mention that a Facebook troll purports to reside in La Mesa.  This person is threatened by anti-natalists. I figure I should just copy and paste the definition of antinatalism so that anyone can see it’s nothing to feel insecure about!


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Antinatalism, or anti-natalism, is a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth. Antinatalists argue that people should refrain from procreation because it is immoral. In scholarly and in literary writings, various ethical foundations have been adduced for antinatalism.[1] Some of the earliest surviving formulations of the idea that it would be better not to have been born come from ancient Greece.[2] The term “antinatalism” is in opposition to the term “natalism” or “pro-natalism”, and was used probably for the first time as the name of the position by Théophile de Giraud (born 1968) in his book L’art de guillotiner les procréateurs: Manifeste anti-nataliste.[3]

Which Vegan Wich

Great news. Which Wich takes away the guesswork and just tells you right on its own web page which options are vegan.

Which Wich

Which Wich

I visited five (5) times to get a free 7” Wich each time (radio prize.)  I took one for the team and ate white bread, which is “poison” according to commentator Dave, but my gift certificates didn’t say I could get a Lettucewich or a Bowlwich.  As you probably have noticed, the wheat breads at these types of establishments don’t tend to be vegan because they contain honey, and if that honey contains the herbicide glyphosate, then it could be “poison” as well.

What you do is walk in and grab a paper bag that says “Vegetarian” and a red Sharpee (bring hand sanitizer!)  Then you select the options based on your knowledge of which ones are vegan-friendly.  You also select “Hotwich” or “Coldwich.”

You could eat outside next to idling vehicles. Pollution is so appetizing.

You could eat outside next to idling vehicles. Pollution is so appetizing.

I tried two (2) different basic vegan Wiches: a light and delish Tomato & Avocado style one and a heartier and spicier Black Bean Patty one.  (I eventually figured out that the latter is better as Hotwich.)  Their other vegan Wich is Hummus, but you can add hummus anyway at no extra charge.  However, there is an extra charge for avocado (unless you choose the Tomato & Avocado Wich.)

Wedgie @ Which Wich (I see this fashion faux pas everywhere and I hate it!)

Wedgie @ Which Wich (I see this fashion faux pas everywhere and I hate it!)

Here’s my tip: don’t select too many spicy options because once I got jalapenos even though I didn’t select them.  So, basically assume your Wich will be spicier than you expect it to be.  Also, bring your own plastic fork!

For more sub reviews, see my post on Subway and Jersey Mike’s.

Subway vs. Jersey Mike’s for a Vegan Version Sub

Which sub restaurant has the better vegan-version sub, Subway or Jersey Mike’s?  Since I’ve never been to a Subway that had an actual vegan sub on the menu (and I’ve even been to the Subway in Wailea!), I’m just comparing the Subways that have a Veggie Delite® sub with the Jersey Mike’s that have a “Veggie” sub.

Customers at Subway wearing black & white stripes.

Customers at Subway wearing black & white stripes.


Sometimes you can win Subway gift cards (I won all mine on the radio except one in a sweepstakes.)  The only purportedly vegan bread I knew of to choose was Italian (white), but Subway’s “US Product Ingredients” (April 2016) document suggests that a few others are also free of dairy and/or honey (none have egg, but “Wrap” has glycerides, which may or may not be vegan.) Here are some ingredient listings:

ITALIAN (WHITE) BREAD Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, sugar, contains 2% or less of: soybean oil, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, salt, sunflower lecithin, ascorbic acid, yeast extract, Vitamin D2, enzymes. Contains wheat.

HEARTY ITALIAN BREAD Subway® Italian bread and yellow cornmeal. Contains wheat.

SOURDOUGH Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, wheat gluten, sugar, contains 2% or less of: fermented wheat flour, salt, soybean oil, dextrose, fumaric acid, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, enzymes, ascorbic acid. Contains wheat.

You can order the Veggie Delite®, reject the cheese, and choose what veggies and vegan condiments you want.   Once an air-headed employee presumed that the only reason I would reject cheese was because I thought it cost extra.  (How can someone work in the food business and have no idea why someone would avoid dairy products?) Once I asked for mustard (meaning yellow mustard) and the employee squirted honey mustard on the sub without even asking. So I said start over. (According to Subway’s “U.S. Allergy and Sensitivity Information” (Revised April 2016), the “Honey Mustard Sauce” also has egg in it, which goes to show how really ignorant that employee was.)

But if you want avocado then that will be a major surcharge, unless you have a coupon for a dollar off, then you’ll pay about 50 cents extra (or should I say, get out your next $5 Subway gift card.)  If avocado is “nature’s butter” and cheese is a dairy product that “doesn’t cost extra,” then why should avocado “cost extra”?  Makes me think that the bovine raping industry is subsidized by the government, but avocado farming totally isn’t.  Is that logical?  The government would confer a benefit on a cruel industry over a yummy one?  Makes no sense.  Violates public policy for damn sure.  “Work hard and sweetly pay your taxes never asking ‘what for?’” – Moz.  (Ironically, I recently did some research for a client whose client worked overtime at Subway, but didn’t receive overtime pay.) (And I can’t believe that Subway would hire someone like Jared Fogle!)

Jersey Mike’s

Children in training to be cannibals.

Children in training to be cannibals.

The first time I received a coupon for a free sub from Jersey Mike’s I didn’t even use it because the description for their “Veggie” sub was so bad sounding.  Two kinds of cheese (cheese aint a veggie) and green bell peppers (one of the worst veggies out there.)  But then I won gift certificates, so I went in and checked it out.  I noticed that, oddly enough, the employees at the counter are fit looking.  Like, if they weren’t slicing logs of dead animals, you might think they could be vegan.  Compare to the Subway workers and you’ll realize it can’t be a coincidence and there must be some different hiring standards at Jersey Mike’s.

Jersey Mikes's is next to Veggie Grill in La Jolla. At least I got one vegan freebie from Veggie Grill through their app!

Jersey Mikes’s is next to Veggie Grill in La Jolla. At least I got one vegan freebie from Veggie Grill through their app!

Subs.  The good news is, you can reject everything that goes with their “Veggie” sub and request avocado and they won’t add a surcharge.  (Although, one employee once said that the avocado really “costs extra,” but they were giving it to me as a courtesy since I rejected the cheese and green bell pepper.)  You can also ask them to grill the onions.  Ironically, “Mike’s Way” is actually vegan: onions, lettuce, tomatoes, spices, and “The Juice” (red wine vinegar and olive oil blend.)  But if you already had them grill your onions, they’ll get confused as to whether or not you want more onions if you say to “make it ‘Mike’s Way’.”

"Mike's Way" is vegan?

“Mike’s Way” is vegan?

The Jersey Mike’s web page now has “Ingredients” (Last Updated: 3/26/2016), but originally I had to go by their  “Nutritional Information” pamphlet, which listed all the breads as having 0 mg. of cholesterol, so I hoped that meant they were all vegan.  But actually “Wheat Submarine Roll” (which was referred to as wheat bread, not roll, in the pamphlet) has honey.  Here’s the ingredients for white, make of it what you will:

White Submarine Roll *

enriched flour (wheat flour, unbleached, unbromated, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, Contains 2% or less of: salt, soybean/canola oil, cane sugar, DATEM, calcium sulfate, monoglycerides, ammonium sulfate, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), enzymes, wheat gluten.

*sprinkled with cornmeal prior to baking.

Contains Wheat and Soy

Take a look at the difference between the employees and the customers.

Take a look at the difference between the employees and the customers.

Believe it or not, once a woman in line behind me was so impressed with my sub that she vowed to get the same thing next time.  I encouraged her to really do so and I hope she did!

So, which one wins? On the one hand, Jersey Mike’s lets you get avocado without an extra charge and their workers are a bit better than Subway’s.  But Subway may be adding actual vegan subs to their menus.  They both are in dire need of improvement.  I’ll wait for future developments before declaring a winner.

Cheese sure aint no veggie.

Cheese sure aint no veggie.