July 29, 2011

Boca Original Vegan Burger

Time to finish up burger month. Last up: Boca Original Vegan Burger.

First, let's talk marketing. The description on the website says this burger, "cooks up juicy and satisfies big appetites." I kind of like it when companies don't shoot too high. It gives a good starting point. Usually it's only uphill from here. Also, the photo on the box shows this awesome, dark brown burger with fancy grill marks and everything. Unfortunately, the actual burger is more… beige. Not off to a great start here.

I go ahead and cook it up anyway, because, well, I'm committed by this point. Sadly, the fancy grill marks are only painted on one side. I don't know why this disappointed me, but it did. And then, to my astonishment, the grill marks disappeared when I cooked the burger! Gone!  Where the heck did they go? How does this happen?!?

Alright… disappearing grill marks aside, I gave this a taste. It actually was pretty tasty. I wouldn't say it tasted like a beef burger, but hey - it doesn't look like one, either. It does have a sort of generic meaty flavor, which is pretty pleasing. Maybe one could trick oneself into believing it was some sort of poultry burger?

All in all, it was a disappointing start with a surprisingly satisfying finish. Oh, and it definitely did cook up juicy. High fives for low expectations!

The experience:
Texture - nicely chewy in the way a burger should be
Flavor - vaguely meaty, but not beefy - possibly poultry-ish? Definitely pretty good.

Final grade for this attempt: B+

July 22, 2011

Moophrey Vegan Burger

Next up in veggie burger month: Moophrey Vegan Burgers.

I gotta say it again, these and the Cluckphrey fake chicken products have the BEST names for fake meat. But there's more to fake meat than a catchy brand name, so let's dive in here.

Standard veggie burger routine here - little veggie oil in the skillet, few minutes on each side until hot. I toasted up the bun, just to be fancy, and slathered this thing with ketchup. It looked pretty burger-y, but it had kind of a funky smell. I carried on anyway.

Took a big bite of the burger and almost immediately wished I hadn't. It just tasted…bad. So bad that I really wasn't able to spend a lot of time figuring out what flavor of bad was in play here. I did force myself to take a second bite with just the patty to try to narrow down the problem, but all that got me was a confirmation of my strong suspicion that the patty was the problem. I had so little interest in continuing sampling of this burger that I actually just tossed it out. I kept the bun and cooked up another Amy's Quarter Pound Veggie Burger from last week. So no worries, the bun did not go to waste!

The experience:
Texture - nothing particular stood out over the flavor
Flavor - just…bad

Final grade for this attempt: D-

July 15, 2011

Amy's Quarter Pound Veggie Burger

Continuing burger month, this week I'm checking out Amy's Quarter Pound Veggie Burger.

This is a seriously substantial burger, people. When you hear about a quarter pound real-meat burger, they're talking pre-cooked weight - it loses some of that by the time it hits the bun. This veggie burger, however, is actually four ounces.

To prepare this massive burger, I heated up some vegetable oil in a skillet, as usual. Few minutes on each side, and I was ready to go. I also toasted up a bun and dug some caramelized onions out of my refrigerator. Couldn't remember exactly how long those had been in there, but they looked fine. I also decided to throw some cheese on there, thus canceling out the vegan element, but I'm not vegan, so that felt okay to me. Plus, I did snag a bite with no cheese, just for testing purposes, so the science is still good, such as it is.

In any case, completely naked, the burger was pretty tasty. Had a decent consistency to it and a nice ambiguously savory flavor. With all the fixings it was very satisfying. I probably wouldn't have missed the cheese, to be perfectly honest. This is a good burger. It doesn't taste much like meat, but it's definitely hearty. This is a serious veggie burger. This burger doesn't mess around.

The experience:
Texture - not mushy, not weird - just a nice burger texture
Flavor - ambiguously savory, but in a good way

Final grade for this attempt: A-

July 8, 2011

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burger

Summer is all about burgers, so starting this week, July is going to be all about fake meat burgers! First up, Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burgers!

I was pretty skeptical that these would be any good. I went ahead and cooked one up anyway, because, well, that's what I do. Little oil in a skillet, few minutes on each side, and away we go! First of all, these are not intended to replicate a real-meat burger. I knew this going in, so I was prepared. Looking at it, I could tell that it was basically a bunch of vegetables mushed together with spices. I was not wrong.

The basic binder of this burger is potatoes, which made the whole thing sort of taste just like a fried potato pancake. Nothing wrong with that - fried potatoes rule! I could occasionally taste other veggies - there was corn, there were peas, there were peppers. Most surprisingly, there were Indian spices! Pretty strong flavors, which I was not expecting. And delicious ones, no less! After a couple bites, I started to notice some heat as well. Not temperature-heat, spiciness-heat. It was right at my upper limit - most people would have no problem, and people like my wife probably wouldn't even notice.

I'll bet this would be crazy-tasty with some chutney. When I eat the rest of these burgers, I'll be sure to try that out.

The experience:
Texture - crispy exterior, soft-potato interior - like a fried potato pancake.
Flavor - nicely spiced, very vegetable-y

Final grade for this attempt: A