Two well-financed companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible foods, are transforming Los Angeles's already-prodigious vegetarian food scene. The popular meatless burgers and links are not only prominently placed in local grocery stores, but in restaurants where the creative options go far beyond the expected veggie burger. Both companies tout big backers, including Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio's participation in Beyond Meat's expansion, while Impossible Foods raised over $100 million from investors last month.
But why all the fuss? Both Beyond Meat and Impossible aim to be a bridge for meat-eaters, instead of any old vegetarian non-meat patty. In each, beet root extract gives the appearance of a rare-cooked burger, while other binders and ingredients can help to mimic the texture and even the sear of a beef burger patty when cooked. The result is a meal that is meant for just above everyone.
The Southern California vegan chain solely uses Beyond Meat, and is one of the few to offer the Beyond Meat sausage. The VG Beyond Burger is the traditional bestseller, but the more adventurous can opt for the Lucky Star with smoked gouda cheese, balsamic onions, vegan blue cheese sauce, arugula and sriracha ketchup on a pretzel bun. Veggie Grill added two new items to the menu this year, including the Steakhouse Burger and the Wunderbrat. The latter puts a Beyond Meat bratwurst on a pretzel bun with Sierra Nevada cheese sauce, caramelized onions, mustard, and pickled red cabbage.
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