It’s burger week here at Uproxx Life, and while we definitely plan on diving into all the glory and flavor beef has to offer, we also want to explore more sustainable burger options. The first name in the environmentally friendly game is the Impossible Burger — the virally famous “burger that bleeds.” When Mark Shrayber first tried the Impossible Burger about a year ago, there were only a few places in the country you could snag the vegetarian patty. Now, for the first time, Impossible Foods has teamed up with a chain, Umami Burger, to bring their burger to the masses.
With all the hype over this development, we got curious. Is this burger as good as everyone says? Mark claimed in his review that the burger was so delicious that it would win over meat eaters. We believe him that it’s delicious, but as far as winning over meat eaters… can we really trust a vegetarian to speculate on beef?
Still skeptical, we sent our Facebook Live dynamic duo, Frankie Greek and Steve Bramucci, to an Umami location in Costa Mesa to see exactly what the fuss is about and to tell us whether or not The Impossible Burger is really the Holy Grail of meat substitutes.
For vegetarians, there are all sorts of attitudes and approaches toward meat substitutes. Some vegetarians search high and low for vegetarian alternatives that taste as much like the real thing as possible. Others, don’t want something pretending to be beef or chicken. They look for a vegetarian patty with unique flavor that doesn’t hide the fact that it’s made of veggies. But the Impossible Burger isn’t really trying to win over either of those demographics. In fact, they aren’t trying to win over vegetarians at all. The burger, founded by former biochemist, Patrick Brown, was made to win over die hard carnivores. He wanted to create a product for people who love the taste of meat and have no intention of giving it up. His goal is to reduce beef consumption. He knew that in order to do so, you have to have a product that meat lovers would be happy to choose as an alternative. So Brown worked for years to design a patty so beef-like that even carnivores would be satisfied.
Was he successful? If Frankie and Steve’s reactions are any indication, he’s gotten pretty darn close. For its part, Umami has put its own spin on the Impossible Burger. They keep the two patties thin, and then add caramelized onions, American cheese, miso-mustard, house spread, dill pickles, lettuce, and tomato. Their preparation isn’t strictly vegetarian (so if you want it to be a true vegetarian dish, make sure to ask them to modify it) but again, the goal of this burger isn’t just to please vegetarians. It’s also to significantly reduce our dependence on cattle.
Frankie and Steve both couldn’t get enough of the environmentally friendlier burger. They felt that maybe it didn’t 100 percent taste like beef, but also, if they hadn’t known ahead of time, they agreed that they’d probably think the slight taste difference was due to extra seasoning rather than the patty not being meat-based.
Other diners are feeling the same. Chef Greg who made the burger for our team said that while he knew the burger was good, its huge popularity has surprised him. “I didn’t think for a second that we’d see the kind of response that we’ve seen,” he said. “Which is that it’s been one of my best selling burgers for 9 weeks in a row. And it’s not showing signs of slowing down.” He points out that not only is it delicious, but it doesn’t give you that uncomfortably full feeling of a regular burger. Most importantly, it’s a product that has the potential to reduce our environmental impact with cattle farming.
Meaning: It’s a burger that could change the world, while still being impossibly delicious.
You can watch Frankie and Steve’s full adventure below!