Call me crazy, but I have personally never enjoyed hamburgers. I am not a self-proclaimed vegan or vegetarian and I have scarfed down the odd hamburger at a Fourth of July cookout or soccer team party, but I would always choose it’s meat-less counterpart when given the chance. While this preference places me in the minority view of the all-American favourite, it seems the culinary world might be starting to favour the plant-based alternative: veggie burgers.

After six months of my late night eating habits leading to a Beyond Burger from Bay State Underground, I was ready to explore the range of veggie burgers that the Fenway area had to offer. With minimal searching and a short five minute walk later, I arrived at Audubon, a restaurant and bar located at 838 Beacon St. Audubon’s veggie patty was made in-house with a rice and black bean base, corn, red peppers, a variety of seasonings, and the standard lettuce and tomato placed on top of a toasted bun. While the options were limited to one, Audubon had created a thoroughly respectable veggie burger all for the price of $10.

Let’s get one thing straight, Audubon’s patty was not fooling anyone. From the first bite, I could clearly distinguish a rice texture amid the bun, lettuce, and tomato. But, as a self-proclaimed veggie burger aficionado (that’s a mouthful for a resume), I enjoy the unique flavour that comes from a chef’s perspective on what a hamburger entails. As plant-based alternatives arise, a burger has become more synonymous with a hearty sandwich than specifically a beef patty.

According to Stanford Biomedical Researcher Pat Brown, the environmental future depends on meat substitutes. Brown explains that using animals in food production is “The most environmentally destructive technology on earth”, which is why Brown has created the startup Impossible Foods, a company with the sole goal of completely replacing animals as a food production technology by 2035. Brown is tackling this massive feat with Heme- a molecule located in all life forms on Earth, but specifically found in high concentrations in meat. Heme’s tiny size packs the majority of the flavour and texture attributed to meat, and Brown is using high levels of Heme from soy to replicate the burger, in both taste and texture.

For meat lovers who enjoy strictly beef burgers, Brown’s Impossible Burger has the potential to dethrone the United States as the world’s largest meat industry, and more specifically, the largest producer of beef. The Impossible Burger looks and acts like meat throughout the grilling process, and can be cooked at varying levels of ‘rawness’ just like a beef patty. Most importantly, for all of the vegetarians and vegans out there looking for nutritious plant-based alternatives, the Impossible Burger includes 27g of protein and 20% of your daily iron.

If you want to taste the future of food, head on over to The Lower Depths at 476 Commonwealth Ave or Wahlburgers at 132 Brookline Ave. Brown has currently placed his Impossible burger in over 5000 restaurants across the world.  Check out Impossible Food's interactive map to see if there is a restaurant serving the new and improved 'hamburger' near you.