I recently went out for drinks the with an old friend of mine who recently started dating a vegetarian. My friend who was up until recently, what many would describe as a gourmand recently became a “pescatarian”. Evidently in “veggie” speak, a pescatarian is someone who omits mammals and birds from their diet but will include seafood and all the rest in their diet.
She went on to elaborate on how her and her vegetarian boyfriend have discovered the joys of veggie burgers and all sorts of tasty non-meat recipes and products that are available in the market.
I nodded politely as I chowed down on one of the best plates of beef carpaccio I have had in a long time. Beef carpaccio for those of you who don’t know is essentially thin slices of raw beef. At Petraca Cucina E Vino on White Street in Tribeca they serve their Beef Carpaccio with a perfectly seasoned salad of arugula and generous slices of fresh parmesan cheese. Salty, savory, low cal and low carb makes this dish an I LOVE FOOD DIET favorite.
A few hours later we ended up at a Ward III, a trendy Tribeca bar that offers a humongous drink menu and a small selection of bar snacks. By this time, my friend’s pescatarian meal had worn off and she was hungry. As neither of us wanted to drink any more, we decided to order a few different dishes from the menu. I could not even tell you what we ordered, as my ravenous friend selected the dishes unilaterally and proceeded to consume all three of the dishes all by herself. This pescatatian was starving!
The dish that she greedily devoured first and with such abandon was the 3 beef sliders. That’s right, the 3 mini-burgers were gone in a nano second. Evidently this pescatarian, temporarily forgot that cow was not a fish. She oohed and ahhed and kept commenting on how delicious and “beefy” the sliders were. Since her conversion to a non-meat eater, her “meat taste buds” have been in a self-induced coma. She had started eating veggie and soy burgers and had convinced herself that they were “even better than the real thing”. While I am quite sure that veggie burgers and the like are very, very, tasty, no one is going to be able to convince me that they are better than the real thing. Sorry, it’s just not going to happen.
Burgers have become so in vogue in the last few years that every top chef is trying to out do one another. It’s not unusual to see the common hamburger topping $40-$50 in some of the top eateries in Manhattan. In fact, some burgers are even breaking the $100 dollar mark with DB Bistro Moderne’s double truffle burger at $12o and the The Wall Street Burger Shoppe raising the price of their Kobe beef and foie gras burger from $150 to now $175! Contrary, could you even imagine a “veggie burger” topping $150??? I don’t think so.
While I have yet to sample these uber-burgers, I am content in knowing that nothing can replace beef. Beef is so…..well “beefy” and no soy or veggie product will be able to duplicate that unique richness…. at least for me.
Chow for now!