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A couple of weeks ago, my oldest daughter texted me to ask if I might be willing to fly to Colorado and help take care of her newborn puppies (and their mama) while she was at her company’s annual sales meeting.
I said yes, of course. I mean … puppies!
As I started to get organized and prepped to go, I remembered that Colorado had something that Northern California didn’t and I texted my daughter.
“The Boulder Whole Foods have a Beyond Meat burger bar!!! You’re going to get me one, right?”
See, my daughter works in Boulder but lives a good distance away, high in the mountains. There’d be no walking to town to indulge, plus I couldn’t leave the puppies.
“Sure, mom. I’ll get it for you during my lunch hour one day and bring it home.”
My daughter is not vegan and I’m sure she was wondering what was so special about yet another vegan burger.
But as someone who has been vegan (and before that vegetarian for 8 years) for only a few years, I can still remember the mouthfeel and taste of meat, especially a burger. Nothing could induce me to eat meat, nothing, but there are certain flavors and experiences that are hard to replace.
I like bean burgers as well as the next vegan, but they are not trying to be meat. That’s ok, a well balanced bean or grain burger is its own dish, and delicious.
But when summer BBQ season rolls around and the smell of grilling meat drifts from yard to yard, I have to admit that I miss the real thing.
When reviews started coming in about the Beyond Meat Burger, my hopes went up that this might be “it.” The holy grail of vegan burgers.
So what is the Beyond Meat Burger? Their website describes it:
The Beyond Burger is our new “raw-beef” style burger that looks, cooks, and tastes so much like beef it’s being shelved in the meat sections at Whole Foods. Our goal in creating The Beyond Burger™ was to provide the full 360° mouth-watering, juicy, and delicious experience of beef but without so many of the health, environmental, and animal welfare downsides of traditional animal-based meat.
That’s a lot of hype to live up to!
Dr. Oz did a blind test and said “I gotta say, it’s good… like really good. It tastes like meat.”
Beyond Meat Burger received Product of the Year in VegNews Magazine’s 16th annual Veggie Awards.
There was a contest, people!!!
CLICK HERE to be in the running to win one Beyond Burger package (comes with two burgers) and Beyond Meat swag. The contest starts on June 17th at noon EST and ends June 24th at 10 pm EST. Ten winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted on or before Monday June 27th, right in time to get some burgers for your 4th of July BBQ!
Located in Southern California, Beyond Meat is a well-established vegan meat analog product company. Their Beast Burger is carried nationally and is one of the best vegan burger patties in stores. In my opinion, anyway.
Over 7 years in the making, the Beyond Meat Burger, however, has had a very limited distribution due to sell-out demand, while they ramp up production. Here’s where Northern and Southern California apparently don’t see eye to eye. There are over 47 Whole Foods locations in Southern California that carry the burger. None in Northern California …
There are, however, 21 in Colorado!!
Thank you, puppies, for giving me a reason!
Fast forward to two weeks later and my daughter walked into the house, handed me a cardboard box and said “Let’s go for a walk so you can see the snow!”
I sent her to check on the puppies, opened the box, and hastily took a few pictures of my glorious prize. Then I reluctantly wrapped it up again and put it in the fridge to eat later. Warmed up. In the microwave.
Gotta admit, it was a beautiful walk. While her husband minded the puppies, my daughter and I, plus mama dog (happy to have a break from the hungry hungry hippos) and her other dogs, explored their property and took in the incredible mountain views.
When I warmed up the burger that night for dinner, I wasn’t terribly hopeful. I’m sure it would have been much better freshly off the grill and piping hot. But I was in, and into the microwave it went.
By the way, not to delay my review, but I thought you might see the Burger Bar menu. Aside from the chicken tenders, the southern chick’n sandwich and the fishless sandwich, there were two variations of the burger available at Whole Foods. The single and the double.
I had the single.
Feast your eyes!
My burger had a definite initial punch of flavor coming from the spicy Chao cheese and the Sriracha ranch sauce. Those alone were outstanding and had a kick without being too much. The burger texture and flavor came through nicely and the fresh tomatoes, lettuce and pickles gave it an authentic feel from the get-go.
But I’m a veggie burger veteran, so I was focused on the “meat” in the bun. Did it taste like meat? Feel like meat?
I was not disappointed. If you are a lifelong vegan, you probably can’t relate to the mouth feel of chewing into ground and cooked beef. I remember that very well, so I can tell you that I had to stop for a second and remind myself that I was not, in fact, eating meat.
It was that real. It felt like a beef burger patty does when you chew it. The texture was dead on. And the taste was amazing! It’s not that a beef burger is the ultimate delicacy of the meat world. But it is a distinct and easily recognizable taste that no veggie burger has replicated till now. It’s a nationally recognized food!
And I want another one.
Not every day, or even regularly. I truly love the various veggie burgers I buy and make myself. They are honest about what they are and I eat them without looking for the meat experience.
But it is nice to know that when I do want a burger that’s like everyone else’s (the Beyond Meat burger supposedly “bleeds” beet juice when grilled!), it’s there. And for people who want to limit their meat intake, or who are slowly transitioning to a vegan diet, products like this make it that much easier.
Postscript: After coming home and researching a little bit more about the Beyond Meat burger, I found out that ALL Veggie Grill restaurants carry it. And there are two Veggie Grills in my area …
So my craving for a great, meat-tasting but wholly vegan, burger will not require a plane ticket anymore! And all you have to do is find a Veggie Grill in California, Oregon or Washington, and you too can go grab one.
I still have my fingers crossed that the packaged patties will make their way to a Whole Foods near me soon, though.
I’m already dreaming of summer barbecues!