For weeks now, we've been seeing gorgeous pics and rave reviews from LA bloggers of the new VG Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat from Veggie Grill. Okay, okay, Los Angeles...we concede that you were the first to get it. But finally, the VG Beyond Burger is now available at ALL Veggie Grill locations! We were fortunate to be invited to a special tasting of this new creation in the heart of Orange County at the Marketplace in Irvine, CA, USA just off the 5 Freeway at Jamboree. And yes, we concur that the hype is justified.
One thing that really stands out about this burger is that it is unapologetic in its attempt to mimic a beef burger. And it has certainly succeeded. In fact, for some vegans, it's almost a little too real. If we were served this veggie burger at a non-vegan restaurant, we would politely double-check with the server to make sure that they didn't give us one made out of cow flesh by mistake. Luckily, we were at Veggie Grill, so we knew we were good...!
Another facet of this burger that deserves special mention is the vegan American Cheese by Follow Your Heart. As many vegans are already aware, there has been quite a massive expansion of high-quality, melt-able, delicious vegan cheeses over just the past few years. Follow Your Heart is a leader in this vegan cheese revolution, and an excellent choice for this burger.
For many who are vegan for animal compassion (like us), it can be quite unnerving to eat a burger that is so close to beef. This Beyond Burger in particular, is also known in some circles as "the burger that bleeds" because one of the ingredients is beet juice. It can therefore be served with a pink-ish tinge in the center, reminiscent of a beef burger cooked to medium or even medium-rare. But we also understand that animal compassion is only one of many reasons why people seek out vegan food. Those who are looking for a healthier alternative to red meat, or who simply want to lessen their impact on the environment may not be bothered at all by a burger that "bleeds". Bottom line is, this burger is juicy, flavorful, and delicious. For new and transitioning vegans, it's easy to make better food choices when the food looks familiar and tastes this good. And a burger like this can help properly introduce vegan food to vegan-curious folks who have never stepped into a vegan restaurant before. We would not hesitate to recommend this burger to even our most vegan-skeptical family and friends (actually, we already have!).