Take A Taste of the Impossible and Beyond Meat Burgers

Sampling a slider-size of the Impossible Burger at Jardiniere before its public launch.

Sampling a slider-size of the Impossible Burger at Jardiniere before its public launch.


What is a burger without meat?

Diehard carnivores might answer, “A travesty.”

But even they might change their minds after a bite of the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger. Both are entirely plant-based patties that closely mimic beef burgers. And both are now available in the Bay Area for vegetarians and the curious to enjoy.

Impossible Burger is the creation of Redwood City’s Impossible Foods. It is fashioned from wheat, coconut oil, potatoes, and heme, a compound in plants and meat, which gives meat its characteristic aroma and taste.

Compared to raising cows for burgers, the Impossible Burger uses 95 percent less land, 74 percent less water, and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also free of hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. And you don’t have to worry about slaughterhouse cross-contamination.

El Segundo’s Beyond Meat Burger is similarly environmentally-friendly, and is fashioned from pea protein, yeast extract, coconut oil, beet extract and annatto extract.

Last fall, Jardiniere and Cockscomb, both in San Francisco, started serving the Impossible Burger. Jardiniere serves the $16 burger at night in the bar on a first come, first serve basis, while Cockscomb sells it for $19 for lunch on weekdays.

This week, three more Bay Area restaurants joined that select group in serving the Impossible Burger: Vina Enoteca in Redwood City, Public House in San Francisco, and Kronnerburger in Oakland.

The Beyond Meat Burger at Veggie Grill.

The Beyond Meat Burger at Veggie Grill.

And in December, the Beyond Meat Burger debuted for $12.95 at all Veggie Grill locations, the first fast-casual restaurant to feature it.

I’ve had a chance to try both, though, not side by side. The verdict? They both have the juiciness and texture of a good ground meat burger. I wouldn’t say either of them had the really robust irony taste of beef. They’re more mild tasting like a turkey or chicken patty. I found the Beyond Meat Burger more highly seasoned and flavorful, with the Impossible Burger more delicate tasting.

Both are big steps up from those precooked veggie hockey pucks of yesteryear we all know only too well.

Garnished with all the regular burger accoutrements, both have the satisfying mouthfeel you want in a burger. I am neither vegetarian or vegan, but I would happily eat either of these plant-based burgers again.

To learn more about the Impossible Burger, see my story in Silicon Valley magazine, “Rebooting the Food Industry.” And to read more about the Beyond Meat Burger at Veggie Grill, see my story in that same magazine’s March/April issue.

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  • Really interesting! A new kind of “slow food.” 🙂 Good post — thanks.

  • If only they can make one wheat-free for those who are celiacs.

  • Wow, amazing what is in the market now days…they are sure a good substitute for meat…I need to try. Thanks for the post Carolyn! I hope you are having a nice week 🙂

  • My sister works at Beyond Meat! She gave me a few coupons to check out their stuff. I’ve tried the beefy crumbles. They were pretty delicious and I couldn’t taste the difference in pasta sauce.

  • Thanks for the honest write up. I’ve been really curious about these burgers. Glad it’s available in more places. But it sounds like if one had to choose, they’d go for the beef burger, a $16 beef burger.

  • I tried a Beyond Burger at Epic Burger in Chicago. The taste was pretty good but later in day I had the worst case of gas that smelled like rotten eggs. Never get that with beef. I’ll stick to salads.

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