Beyond Meat Sausage Review

While shopping at the grocery store on the weekend, I passed through the meat alternative section and noticed a new product from Beyond Meat called "Beyond Sausage - Plant Based Sausages".  I have experience with Beyond Meat from trying its hamburger patties, which are delicious, but a tangent that I will not diverge into in this post.  As a former carnivore, I used to consume a significant quantity of sausages, bratwursts, wieners, frankfurters, etc., and after moving to a mostly plant based diet, it's been something I have missed.  There are some enjoyable vegan hot dogs out there, but I haven't had a sausage that I liked previously, so I was excited to give these a shot.  There were three varieties, original brat, sweet italian and my selection, hot italian.  Whole Foods was offering them on sale for a heft $7.99, a $1 discount off the post $8.99 price, which I thought was pretty hefty for four sausages but decided to give it a shot.  My plan was to saute fajitas style with bell peppers and onions, so I picked up a red, yellow and green pepper and a red onion as well.

In the evening I busted out my trusty non-stick frying pan, sharp knife and cutting board and got down to business.  I diced up half of each of the bell peppers, the full red onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and tossed in the skillet on medium heat.  I let this cook for a few minutes until the onions started to get soft and meanwhile cut the "sausages" into small rings.  The consistency was actually not that dissimilar to other sausages and you could definitely small the "sausage" herbs and spices!

After about 12-15 minutes of cooking, the kitchen area definitely smelled like pork sausage fajitas!  The food smelled great and as you can see the sausages look very similar to the original.  I actually cooked even more than in these pictures and it browned/blackened up like one would expect that real meat would.

I had already eaten dinner and was preparing food for the week, but given my curiosity I put a couple chunks and some fajita veggies on a plate with white rice to have a taste.  I found the texture to be similar to meat, but definitely a difference could be noted.  The casing did not have a crisp snap and the inside was definitely a bit softer and perhaps more granular than meat would feel.  The taste was very good, there was a juicy quality to the pieces and sufficient spices to make it taste good.  While it was labeled hot italian, I found the spiciness level to be low.  While it didn't taste just like a pork sausage, it was close, and I really enjoyed the small plate I had.  The next day, I had a small portion as a side dish with my meal and found the leftover experience to be delicious as well.

Overall, I give the product a B+ rating for taste, but an A+ rating for delivering an effective meat alternative.  The health statistics (see below) are very favorable vs. real pork sausages and the ingredients are all relatively healthy and natural sounding.  There does not appear to be any odds chemicals or additives so I feel good about consuming these.  I will not be adding this to my regular shopping list, but I could see myself purchasing these every couple of months. 

Ingredients: Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Refined Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Contains 2% or less of: Rice Protein, Faba Bean Protein, Potato Starch, Salt, Fruit Juice (For Color), Vegetable Juice (For Color), Apple Fiber, Methylcellulose, Citrus Extract (To Protect Quality), Calcium Alginate Casing.

Check out my review of WVRST in Toronto, on a related, but decidedly meat-based note!


Domaine Robert Chevillon Bourgogne Rouge 2013

Hard to argue with red Burgundy, especially something imported by Berkeley's finest, Kermit Lynch.  Kermit owns a wine shop and importing business that focuses on natural wines, wines that come from grapes that are raised in a simple, rustic manner, and minimally processed to become wine.  He works with smaller, family producers and his wines focus on terroir.  I highly recommend his book Adventures on the Wine Route. This contrasts sharply with the vast majority of wines which are produced in industrial facilities, from grapes that are produced in larger factories.  There is plenty of manipulation, largely from chemicals and machinery that really obfuscates the terroir of the wine.  

This wine is a red Burgundy made of 100% Pinot Noir.  It is a "village" level, which is not from a named parcel of land.  The producer is Domaine Robert Chevillon.  The winemakers or vignerons are Denis & Bertrand Chevillon and they are based in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, France.  The wine is not mindblowing in any sense of the word, but it is excellent.  Compared to a generic Pinot Noir from California that you may have tried before, this has an intensity and depth to the flavors and smells that just can't compare.  2013 vintage was nothing spectacular, although arguably better than 2011 and 2012.  The wine is lighter in color, which is typical of red Burgundy and its opacity is low.  About 30 minutes after opening, the aromas have improved substantially.  The smell is dominated by spices and red fruits, more fruit than spice.  The smell is more mercurial and interesting than a run of the mill wine, continued swirling brings out more and more perfume. The taste is more of the same, more spice than fruit to my novice palette.  The finish is medium length and extremely enjoyable.  

This is a great wine, retail price should be $30-$37 depending on which store you go to!


Worcester, MA Street Art - Caleb Neelon

I was in downtown Worcester for brunch at Armsby Abbey, which is the best brunch in New England for my money.  They serve numerous Hill Farmstead drafts alongside world class other beers and interesting food that is focused on local, high quality ingredients.  As usual there was a bit of a wait, so my wife and I took a stroll down Main St and came upon this mural. Turns out it was put up by Caleb Neelon, a known graffiti artist, based in Cambridge, MA.

Learn more here:



WVRST Toronto - Queens West - Visit with Family

As previously chronicled, I had a very tough week of travel a few weeks back.  I was in NYC over the weekend, then went to Minneapolis and Toronto during the week on business.  The flights for each of these trips was delayed, between 5 hours and an hour each.  Talk about bad luck.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law and their young child recently moved to Toronto and we had been up to visit them just 3 weeks before.  Since I knew I would be arriving early enough to catch a meal we decided to check out WVRST in Queens West.  It was featured on Layover by Anthony Bourdain and well reviewed on Yelp.  Since my sister-in-law had to work that evening, it turned out to be just the boys.

My nephew is quite a handful, but he is cute as a button, and generally a good kid.  He was very interested with the food.  My brother-in-law and I can both eat and drink, and we did a good amount of that.  We each had two sausages, I had elk and a traditional bratwurst, he had a rabbit and german sausage as well.  My nephew had himself a chicken sausage, unfortunately there was a bit of spice to it, which he abhored.  We shared an order of fries cooked in duck fat that were divine.  We both washed that down with 2-3 beers each and had a great time.  I had a Dieu du Ciel Peche Mortel and a couple of local IPAs.

The tables are set up communal, beer hall style and the place was packed for a Wednesday night.  We quickly found a table and were fine though.  I highly recommend checking this place out if you are from Toronto or find yourself there with a hankering for sausage and beer.  Americans, take advantage now as the CAD is quite weak versus the USD.  Prost!

Me and him.


Surly Blakkr @ Mill City Tavern, Minneapolis Airport

I was in the midst of flight delay on the way home from Minneapolis and stopped in at the Mill City Tavern in Terminal G.  Really nice restaurant with solid options for food and tons of great local beer.

Blakkr is a Double Black IPA, a style I haven't really seen around.  Black IPAs awfully similar to hoppy porters and generally a style that I quite like.  I wasn't totally sold on a 10% Double Black IPA, but like I said, there was a flight delay, and I wasn't getting home until midnight.  Not to mention that I had been delayed and only arrived in Minneapolis at 2am in advance of an 8am meeting.  And I was staring down the barrel of a board meeting at 8am the next morning, then a flight to Toronto the next evening for another 8am meeting.  A pretty trying week!

I liked the beer quite a bit.