the Impossible Whopper

Impossible WhopperIt has been an interesting journey in that the rise of plant-based meat substitutes corresponded with the time after my surgery in which I was not allowed red meat. I am coming up on the six month mark and so should be able to return to red meat. I’ll check with my surgeon at the beginning of next week. (I really want a Double Double from In-n-Out!)

In the interim, however, I have tried a number of plant-based products: the Beyond Meat burger, two varieties of Beyond Meat sausage, the LightLife ground, the LightLife burger, and, of course, the Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star. I have been pleased with the taste and texture of all of those.

Impossible WhopperThen there’s the one I’ve been waiting for: the Impossible Whopper. It rolled out nationwide on Thursday and I tried one yesterday. Now I have long been a Whopper fan. It’s not In-n-Out, not by a long shot, but one cannot live by In-n-Out alone, and the Whopper is a pretty darn good burger as fast food burgers go. The only problem is that it doesn’t come with cheese. You have to specifically request it, which I think is silly.

So the Impossible Whopper? Marvelous. I could not tell the difference from the beef Whopper. I just need to remember to ask for cheese.

Beyond Meat. LightLife. Impossible. It’s a whole new world and I love it.


the LightLife Burger

I had planned veggie burgers for dinner a week ago. On Tuesday I went shopping at our nearby Stater Bros. supermarket and discovered they were out of the Beyond Meat burger in the fresh meat department. I had noticed that they had been missing at WinCo recently as well. The sausages were there, but not the burger. It seems that Beyond Meat has a supply problem, which, I suppose, is a Good Thing because it means that there is demand for their product. But that didn’t help me with Wednesday dinner.

LightLife BurgerI went up the street to Sprouts, which had both the Beyond Meat burger and the LightLife burger in the meat department’s freezer case. I had recently made chili with the LightLife Ground, and it was quite good so I decided to try the burger as well. It was fine that the burgers were frozen since they would have more than twenty-four hours to thaw out in the fridge.

On Wednesday I cooked the burgers using the grill pan on our stovetop and served them with my homemade sourdough bread for the buns, which I also lightly grilled. Excellent! Both Terry and I agreed that the LightLife was really indistinguishable from they Beyond Burger. Trying the two in a blindfolded taste test would be strictly a coin flip.

That was a great discovery. And I understand that the Impossible Whopper is rolling out nationwide tomorrow, August 8. I’ll be trying it soon.


we lost our Indian restaurant

My brother Brian is really good at updating me on things he knows I’m interested in. Like when he told me that there was an Indian restaurant going in on the east side of town. Terry and I live on the far west side of Hemet and my brother lives near the extreme eastern border of the city limits. So I appreciate it when he tells me about what’s happening out that way.

Taste of India exteriorThe restaurant was “It’s Taste of India,” which is rather odd grammatically. Either there is an “a” missing or the restaurant was owned by someone named It. In either case, Terry and I were delighted that the restaurant opened, because previously the closest Indian restaurant was thirty minutes south of us in the congested, high-traffic realm of Temecula.

We were pleased with the food at Taste of India and valued the hospitality of the owner. We had lupper (late lunch/early supper) there a number of times and always loved it.

I was unhappy, then, when Brian told me that a Mexican restaurant had moved into that space. When I had a chance to head out that way myself I saw that beneath the restaurant name the sign said, “Authentic Mexican Food.” Say what? There must be two dozen Mexican restaurants here in the San Jacinto Valley. So all of those are fake?

No matter. What is important is that we’ve lost our local Indian restaurant, and for that Terry and I are very sad,


more on the Beyond grocery store products

I continue to be impressed by the work that the good folks at Beyond Meat are doing.

Beyond Meat Taco CrumblesI have written about their grocery store Beyond Meat patty, the Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star, and the Del Taco Beyond Taco, good stuff all of it.

I have now tried two more of their grocery store products.

The Beyond Beef Crumbles, feisty flavor, is a frozen product. I used it to make tacos. It’s very tasty. From my perspective it requires no additional seasoning. It’s perhaps just a tad rubbery, but it’s really not bad at all.

Beyond Meat SausageI had been wanting to try the fresh Beyond Sausage for some time. I finally had the occassion to do so recently. There are two flavors; I bought the Brat Original. I used it on spaghetti and it was quite tasty. Terry really liked it as well. We both agreed that it was a hell of a lot more flavorful than the turkey sausage we’ve purchased.

The other sausage flavor is Italian. I’m looking forward to trying that one. These people are doing a marvelous job.


the Beyond brand fast food products

I wrote a while back about trying the Beyond veggie burger from the grocery store. I was really impressed with the texture and taste and was anxious to try the Beyond Famous Star burger from the Carl’s Jr. fast food chain.

I finally got the chance to give it a try, and I was very impressed. Quite tasty, just like the beef Famous Star, hardly indistinguishable. A second try confirmed my feelings.

Beyond TacoMore recently Del Taco came out with their Beyond Taco. Now I am not a big Del Taco fan. (What’s a Mexican fast food chain doing selling french fries, and who wants french fries with a taco?) Nonetheless, in my quest to learn about the new generation of plant-based meat substitutes, I felt that I owed the product a try.

My perception: not bad. The consistency was the consistency of taco meat and the taste matched that of a Del Taco taco. I won’t go back, but I’m glad I tried it.

I also have to give Del Taco credit for being fully committed to the Beyond Taco. They have dedicated printed Beyond Taco wrappers complete with logo. Carl’s identifies their Beyond Famous Star by wrapping the burger a certain way or affixing a sticker that says “Promo.”

Now I’m waiting for the Burger King Impossible Whopper to arrive in Southern California. I’m looking forward to that.


supper or dinner?

dinner platesWhat’s that meal we eat on weeknight evenings? I say “dinner.” It’s what I said when I was growing up. “Mom, what’s for dinner?” But somewhere in the back of my mind I think I knew it was really supper. Maybe my dad used the term; I’m not sure. On Sunday in the mid-afternoon we had dinner. My mother made a roast, we had sides, and my Grandma Christie often joined us.

The folks at Wide Open Eats published an interesting essay on the subject. They point out that from an etymological standpoint dinner is the main meal of the day, whatever time it is served, while supper is by definition the evening meal.

No doubt you have your own perspective on this critical issue.


Coming to My Senses

Coming to My SensesComing to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook
Alice Waters
Clarkson Potter (September 5, 2017), 310 pages
Kindle edition $12.99, Amazon paperback $11.59

I was intrigued when I first saw the review of this book and I added it to my stack of Kindle samples. I finally got around to reading it.

Waters spends a lot of time talking about her childhood and elementary and high school years, but the book starts to get interesting when she arrives at college. She and her best friend started out at UC Santa Barbara, but they found that school boring and transferred to Berkeley. She fit right in to the counterculture and was there as the free speech movement began.

She took an unauthorized, self-directed junior year abroad in France which had a profound influence on her thinking about food. Back in Berkley she slowly evolved the idea of opening a restaurant, even though she had no training in the culinary profession or in business. She recruited friends who shared her vision and who were skilled in their own fields, though not in the restaurant world. Somehow the passion and drive made it all work and Chez Panisse has been a renowned restaurant since 1971.

The writing is not always engaging, but if you enjoy things culinary you might appreciate this book.