After months and months of stalking this burger on Instagram all the way from State College and reading up on everything this little (but growing so fast!) food startup has been accomplishing, I finally had the chance to try the Impossible Burger from Impossible Foods this week. I took my sister with me to help me document the entire experience, and we went to Umami Burger in Palo Alto since they were serving the burger there. I have to admit, I was a little anxious about eating this burger because it’s not made for vegetarians specifically. It’s made for meat eaters, and the way this company is trying to convert meat eaters is by claiming that the impossible burger tastes (and cooks) just like a real beef burger because it “bleeds” BUT it’s all plant based! This doesn’t necessarily sound appetizing to me, but I had to give it a try because I’m so fascinated by this brand’s and company’s provenance. I think they’ve taken food, innovation and imitation meat to a whole new level. This burger apparently (I say apparently because I’ve never had beef) tastes, smells, and cooks like a real beef burger. It’s even PINK in the middle, and this color comes from a protein called heme (which is what makes blood taste like blood) that the company has produced using yeast by first isolating the gene that codes for the protein from the nodules of soybean plants. COOL, RIGHT?! Literally the future of food. Ok, now onto when I tried the burger…
So we walked into Umami Burger in PA (which looks like a library on the inside, SO strange, but really very cool), and on the menu, we see that there is a plate of sliders made with the impossible burger! I thought there could be no better way to try the burger since we would get three different little burgers with a variation in the toppings. The plate of sliders featured an impossible slider (caramelized onions, american cheese, miso-mustard, a house spread, dill pickles, lettuce, and tomato); a korean bbq slider (gochujang glaze, caramelized kimchi, sesame aioli, korean ketchup, scallion-cilantro spread); and a u-bbq slider (american cheese, umami bbq sauce, tempura serranos, and smoked salt onion rings). These three sliders on 1 plate were priced at $15, which seemed a little bit pricy to me, but the creative toppings made it totally worth it. My favorite was the korean bbq slider because the flavors were very vibrant and the whole thing was a little spicy, which I totally dig.
Let’s talk about the taste: the burger was meaty, chewy, juicy, salty, and quite tasty. Before I bit into the burger, I had to convince myself that what I was about to eat was truly NOT meat because while I didn’t see any “blood” or any of the pinkness (thank god, that would have freaked me out I think) it definitely looked like meat. I wonder if beef burger eaters eat burgers for the beef or for the toppings, because for me, it was the creative toppings that made the burger so much more delicious. I want to try this burger again, but this time, I think I want one whole burger 🙂
I’m super excited for what’s ahead for Impossible Foods: they have a huge facility in Oakland that’s up and running to help ramp up production, and they’ve been spreading their burger all over the nation by partnering with larger chain restaurants such as Umami Burger and The Counter (though I really wonder why they haven’t made an appearance in grocery stores yet….maybe it’s supply/price point issues). They’ve also recently partnered with Postmates in LA so that you can order the burger straight to your home! While these are all great short term gains, it’s the company’s mission and purpose that are both truly incredible: they want to revolutionize they way people today consume meat by eliminating animals in meat production by 2035. This would mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions, more water and land saved, and the part that’s really important to me: less animals slaughtered while everyone is satisfied eating foods they love. I think some of the challenges this company faces really have to do with changing eating habits. Why should someone care about eating a plant based burger? Maybe sustainability isn’t important to them, or it is BUT they just can’t fathom a life without beef/animal meat. How Impossible Foods tackles these issues is going to be interesting and an uphill battle!
Have you tried the Impossible Burger yet? Let me know what you thought!