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Decadent Yet Healthful Burger Alternatives

August 31, 2016

There’s still no question in my mind. If you told me I would die tomorrow, the first thing I’d do is go to Swifty’s for one of the deep fried Buffalo burgers. I haven’t had one in a long long time.

Soon, I’ll be making an appointment to see whether or not my modified diet of the past few months has improved my blood cholesterol numbers. I hope it has. I have dropped a few pounds, and made some significant changes to what I eat. I’ve also slipped a bit and perhaps allowed myself a few too many treats. Plus the exercise plan never really got off the ground.

So it’s anyone’s guess. My hunch is that I’ll have moved the needle, but will still have to do more if I want to stay off meds. We’ll see.

Regardless, during that sweet spot of having my blood drawn and visiting the doctor, I’m eating one of those battered beef patties, cooked rare, and slathered with butter, hot sauce, and blue cheese dressing.

That said, traditional beef burgers have been off the menu for the past few months. Fortunately, I’ve found some delicious alternatives.

After months of its being on my radar, I finally made it down to Berben & Wolff’s. Since I wrote about the shop’s fake Cuban sandwich back in June, I felt I had to give it a try. Back then I wrote:

Is this sandwich fake? You bet.
Is this sandwich pricey? Totally.
Is it delicious and worth it? Probably.

“Probably” doesn’t sit well with me. I really wanted to know. And I’m glad to report back that the fake vegan Cuban sandwich, which costs over $10, is indeed delicious and worth the price of admission.

I heard it described after the fact that this deli makes junk food for vegans. That’s both a funny and very accurate description of the place.

Although I like that I can pretend my meal of processed faux meats slathered in a fatty cheese-like sauce and served on a grilled roll is good for me. Hey, there’s no cholesterol in this thing at all. No meat. No cheese. It may as well be all made out of vegetables.

Except it’s not.

Man, that was good though. And while it bore almost no resemblance to an actual Cuban sandwich, it also bore no resemblance to any vegan food I’ve had in the past. That sandwich was a sloppy and gooey treat of meaty, cheesy goodness. Just without the actual meat and cheese.

I don’t even want to know how they do that.

The housemade vegetarian burgers at Crave on the other hand make a bit more sense. They are clearly made out of black beans and corn. They are cut square, and while the patties might be a little soft, this meat-free option makes a mighty fine canvas to try out the restaurant’s different menu of burgers.

Remember, my big concern isn’t meat in general. I’m proudly omnivorous. So I had no problem ordering the Upstater from Crave. Usually it comes with a sausage patty, topped with Utica greens and some crisped prosciutto. So I just subbed out the sausage patty for the veggie one.

Man, that was good. Messy, but good.

Although next time I might see if I can get a heaping pile of Utica greens on a bun. I do really have a thing for dark leafy greens. Even if they have been boiled first and then cooked with breadcrumbs and cheese.

Much like the vegan junk food, I can convince myself that I’m eating a lot of vegetables, and that vegetables are good for me. Sometimes life’s all about plausible deniability.

Yeah, this is why my blood work may not come back as squeaky clean as I’d like. That and tonight I’m having a seven course tasting menu of housemade pastas. But more on that soon.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. EPT permalink
    September 1, 2016 8:26 am

    If your numbers aren’t that great, talk to your Dr. about a Statin medication. They’re quite effective and it gives you a little more wiggle room in what you eat.

  2. -R. permalink
    September 1, 2016 10:51 am

    Forget it EBT, we’ve had this discussion before. Daniel is stubborn about having to take meds. Personally, I love my statin, because as you say it gives you a lot more flexibility in what you can eat.

  3. Sue permalink
    September 8, 2016 1:15 pm

    If he doesn’t have to take them, the better. Meds do worst harm then good. Great job Dan!

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