Friday, April 20, 2012

this is your brain on bacon

Bacon.  It's kind of like The New Superfood except that it'll kill you, not make you stronger.  In addition to its high fat and cholesterol content, there is a carcinogen in bacon that is activated through the cooking process.

Nevertheless, Bacon.  People love it.  All kinds of people - big people, little people, fat people, thin people, couch potatoes, athletes....and vegetarians?  Yup, sometimes vegetarians love it, too.  It's been referred to as the "gateway meat," the one temptation that proves too much even for a committed vegetarian to resist.  I've heard stories of friend's friends who are steadfast vegetarians... until they get really drunk and then they want to eat bacon.  I guess it's not made of pig when you're drunk.

But listen, I'm not here to criticize.

If you ask most vegans/vegetarians what one thing they miss, taking animals and the environment and everything else out of the equation, it's normally bacon.

Once upon a time, in a land kind of far away (not really), I had a weekend tradition.  My friends and I would go out to a club/bar on Friday night and drink and dance until it closed, then we would return to the home of the friend who lived almost right behind the bar/club, eat nachos and then either disperse or fall asleep.  The following morning, we would curl up on the couch and drink coffee and watch ridiculous things on the TV until we were hungry enough to send her boyfriend to the nearby Burger King for food (yes, I thought that's what it was way back then).  I always got a #5 value meal with Dr. Pepper.  The #5 was a Double Bacon Cheeseburger with fries and I loooooved it.

Time passed and the "weekend treat" turned into my Go-To "to go" meal.  I would even get the "gourmet" version at a local Philly pub.  I truly don't know how I lived long enough to become a vegetarian, but I'm glad I did (and so are my heart, arteries, and waistline).

Believe it or not, this is all building up to my lunch today.  Please keep breathing - I didn't eat a double bacon cheeseburger...

I had a Ziggy Burger from HipCityVeg!  Please excuse the rotten picture - the place was packed, so I took my biodegradable, recycled-and-recyclable bag of lunch across the street to Rittenhouse Square and I care way too much about whether strangers will think I'm weird for photographing a burger, so I just took a crappy picture with my ancient dumbphone.

Anyway, I actually had planned to get the Philly Steak, but when I asked about getting it without the mushrooms and onions, I was told that they were "cooked into" the seitan, so that ended that little dream.  The bubbly, cute girl behind the iPad "register" suggested the Ziggy Burger.  She had me at "smoked tempeh," so I decided to give it a try.

Once I'd seated myself on a bench in the park, I pulled my burger out and was immediately amused by the wrapping:

It looks even neater up close.

The first bite of my burger was an almost otherworldly experience - I never thought I would taste a bacon cheeseburger again, but that is exactly what the Ziggy Burger tastes like.  It was so good.  I don't even want to describe it, I just want you to go to HipCityVeg and try one yourself.  Or anything else from this amazing menu...

photo credit

I want to try everything that doesn't involve Portobello mushrooms.  This is a goal that will likely be spread out over several paychecks, since the fast food set-up does not over-ride Rittenhouse Square pricing.  What's worse is how I only vaguely cringe at this point when my burger came out to $9.10 (including tax).  Actually, no, what's THE worst is that $9.10 only covered the burger.  If I had gotten fries (or kale!) and a drink, I'd have paid $15-20.  For lunch.

That being said, it was a great burger (though I kind of suspect the patty itself might have been a Boca vegan burger...) and when I entered the joint I was offered a free shot of their "Groothie," a green smoothie made of apples, bananas, kale, and pineapple and it was amazing.  I would totally pay $3.50 for it... on occasion.  I was fortunate to get there at a "lull" in the excitement.  Yeah, every seat was taken and some people were lined up along a wall waiting for their food, but I walked right in and up to the register to order - no waiting.  I must have (for once) had perfect timing, because by the time I moved to the wall to await my white satchel of burger with HipCityVeg stamped oh-so-indie-ly upon it in black ink, there was a queue of people straight out the door!

If you miss bacon, do yourself a favor and go to HipCityVeg.
If you love bacon and still eat it even though it will kill you, do your body a favor and go to HipCityVeg.
If you just love to eat good food (tasty and nutritious!), go to HipCityVeg!

Maybe I'll see you there after I get my next paycheck ;)  I'll be the one with sweet potato fries, sauteed kale, and a groothie begging the lady with the iPad to take my money.

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