As a Canadian, anytime I find myself in the United States, I make a plan to try as many vegan products and meals as possible that are not yet available up north. So far that list has featured by CHLOE., Yard House's The Vegan Burger, Ben & Jerry's non-dairy ice creams, and the Impossible Burger.
On a recent trip to Fort Lauderdale, I checked to see if any nearby restaurants or supermarkets carried Beyond Meat's Beyond Burger. I assumed not, and was right. However, when I went to a local Whole Foods Market, I still checked to see if it was there (I am an eternal optimist) but there was nothing of the sort in the frozen meat section, and the workers in that area had no idea what I was talking about. That's why I was really pleasantly surprised when I headed over to the Alternative Meats section in defeat and saw this:
I grabbed the $5.99 pack--still in disbelief--and decided to try it that night. Since I had no access to a barbecue, I settled on pan-frying the burgers per the instructions on the package (about 3 minutes on medium-high heat on each side). I almost added oil to the pan but was so happy with my decision not to since the burgers release a lot of their own red-hued oil--essentially bleeding (beet blood)--while cooking.
By this point, it started to smell really similar to what I remember meat smelling like--just slightly milder. After cooking them for about 3.5 minutes on each side, I turned off the heat and let the burgers sit a little longer in the pan to soak up their own juices. I decided to have mine in a pita with pickles, onions and some mustard, but cut off a small piece first to try it on its own. The juiciness of the burger was really apparent when I cut it:
After trying the small piece free of any toppings, I can say that I really enjoyed the taste. While it is milder than what I remember meat burgers tasting like, I think that is a good thing. The moisture-packed patty and overall flavor really made the burger delicious, and I appreciated how thick each individual patty was, making the $5.99 price tag seem more justifiable. My sister, who does eat meat, ate the second patty and right away noted how it "looked, smelled and tasted like meat." We both agreed it would be fantastic barbecued, and when the Beyond Burger makes its way over to Canada, that's exactly what I plan on doing.
The other thing I wanted to note with this burger was that after eating it I didn't feel weighed down or stuffed in the same way I used to feel after eating meat. While it was definitely filling, the pea-based patty was much lighter in terms of its overall effect. All in all, I am happy to agree with the Washington Post's assessment that "the results lived up to the hype." Here's hoping that they make their way to Canada fast!