I'm absolutely obsessed with seeing what's going on with the future of food. Whether it be new food technologies or products, when something incredibly amazing related to food comes out, I want to experience it firsthand.
For those of you who haven't heard of the Impossible Burger, its been going viral for the past year. The burger patty was developed by Impossible Foods - a food tech, Silicon Valley firm that aimed to create a plant-based patty that replicated meat perfectly.
This included the absolute juiciness, browning when cooked, and the flavor of meat - all of which many other companies failed to do with their own vegan burgers.
After countless hours of research, CEO Dr. Patrick Brown and his team found the ingredients they needed, including heme (a protein responsible for most of the flavor and the juiciness of the patty), potato starch, wheat, and coconut oil.
Impossible Foods wanted to make this patty not as just another vegan burger, but as a real replacement for ground beef. In the near future, the water, greenhouse gas emissions, and land costs of beef and other meats will likely make them unsustainable to produce, and we could potentially not be able to eat them since nobody could raise livestock anymore. This burger is meant to be the alternative we eat in that future.
After revealing their Impossible Burger patty and getting rave reviews (including a massive acquisition offer from Google), they started getting picked up by various high-profile restaurants. David Chang of Momofuku Nishi launched his viral version of the burger over summer. Last month, it was announced that three California restaurants would also sell their own versions of the burger - Cockscomb and Jardiniere in San Francisco, and Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles.
With plant-based aficionado Tal Ronnen at the helm, Crossroads has become one of the most popular plant-based restaurants in Los Angeles. He and executive chef Scot Jones teamed up to create an Impossible Burger that is aimed to be reminiscent of "SoCal fast food" (basically, In N Out).
To do this, they griddle the burger and serve it on a toasted In-N-Out-style bun with a coconut-based version of American cheese (from Follow Your Heart), lettuce, tomato, white onion, and a ketchup-vegenaise-pickle sauce similar to the special sauce from In-N-Out. The whole thing comes with truffle French fries dusted with vegan Parmesan cheese (also from Follow Your Heart).
With the goal of trying this burger in mind, I got Foodbeasts Jazz and Grant to join my trek to Crossroads to check this burger out.
When we tried the burger, we were completely amazed:
Grant: "It's the perfect cheeseburger for a lactose-intolerant Foodbeast."
Jazz: "I'm taking my vegan friends this weekend to show them what they're missing in the burger world."
Me: "Wow. Just wow. That tastes exactly like a burger."
The texture was exactly like that of a fast food burger patty, and the flavor was spot-on to that of In-N-Out, from sauce to bun. Even the cheese was melted just like on a regular fast food burger (although it was admittedly a bit strong in flavor).
While the experience of initially eating the burger was nearly perfect to that of a regular burger, what really had me amazed was the aftertaste. My mouth felt like I had just eaten a burger - and yet I knew I wasn't going to get that greasy feeling that you normally get when you're done eating a burger.
Chef Tal explained that the legume-based heme was responsible for the aftertaste sensation I was getting, and what made the experience so real. From that whole experience, I could definitely see this burger replacing beef in a future where cattle are unsustainable to grow anymore.
Grant, Jazz, and myself were, for lack of a better word, mind-blown as we left Crossroads after tasting their Impossible Burger. On the drive back, we all had the same thought in mind: We gotta go back soon.