Sunday, January 13, 2013

I hate you but love you Whole Foods

I do have a love/hate relationship with Whole Foods. I hate that the word "humane" is even remotely associated with all of the dead animals being sold here but for a vegan pilot on the road it is a godsend. As I travel around the country I also find unique vegan product that are only available on a regional basis. You'd think living in NYC I'd get one of everything in our local stores but it doesn't work that way.

Also, just look at this calendar. How many vegan cooking classes do you see?!

There are also a bunch of sampling tables with products such as Tasty Bites Indian food to low fat guacamole.  If I'm really lucky there will be a Vitamix salesman who I can watch for an hour or two.

I hadn't been eating particularly well so a hot salad bar was calling my name. Unfortunately, in Reston, VA, there is only a cold bar and soups. I needed greens and this certainly sufficed. Big bonus; there was a chicken curry dish made with Beyond Meat and I needed to try that product. Actually, you need to try it as well because it's the closest imitation of real chicken I've tasted. (Sorry Gardein, you're still good, just edged out). It comes in strips and sloughs off like real chicken. It has a moist consistency that holds together. I really believe I've tasted the future.

I had hoped to grab a package of the product but it wasn't on the shelves, only available for salad bar items it seems. The chef found a bag of it and loaded up a plastic container. At 12.99 a pound I do wish I was closer to rotating home so I could use it in some dishes.

The top two pics didn't come out very well but you can see the color much better in this picture.
I also found some Herb Crusted Tofu. It wasn't labeled vegan but there didn't seem to be anything in the ingredient list. I nuked it for 90 seconds and it came out steaming. I think this would have been unequivocally better in an oven. The crust should have been crunchy to offset the tofu but was a bit steamed in the microwave. It was also a tad under seasoned so a quick shake of the sea salt bumped up the flavor.

The salad was a compendium of flavors as you'd expect from someone who can't make food choices, to the point where if a menu just had one item on it I'd be a happy camper. Salty, curry, sweet, and a few shakes of balsamic vinegar turned it into the perfect salad.

That's a piece of Beyond Meat on the fork.
A new product I've never seen before is Five Star Foodies Gourmet Meat-less Grillers.

It is a frozen product and I figured I'd have the best shot of reviewing it here at WFM where there was an easily accessible microwave. The instructions called for 45 seconds and it was still cold in the middle so I shot it for another 45 seconds.

Before cooking
It's a seitan burger and I found the consistency was a bit spongy but from the second bite on had a better chewiness to it. The flavor was an attempt at subtle BBQ but there was an undertone of sweetness to it and an overtone of paprika. At 100 calories a pop with only 25% fat it was a decent enough burger and truly holds up my definition of faux. I am not a big fan of vegetable burgers which turn to mush so this is much more to my liking. It's the kind of burger that will stay with a bun and not squirt out as you eat it, (unless you put it between to slick pieces of lettuce and tomato).

There's another product of theirs that you can see in the top picture.  I'll try it tomorrow but it will be defrosted by then. Still, I am looking forward to trying their Vegetarian Harvest Roast.  In addition I saw a packet of Vegetarian Gravy.  The packages are all marked VEGAN which is nice as I didn't have to go through 3 ingredient lists but that's a lot of gravy for me on the road.  There are so many other dried packets of "just add water" good enough gravy for the times I don't feel like whipping up a pan sauce that this seemed something that wasn't going to make it into my cart.

Thanks for being here WFM. Ditch the dead animals and we'll all be better off for it.

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