Herbivorous Chicago diners enjoyed the fruits of scientific labor that gave way to the Impossible Burger in fall 2017. It was, as its namesake suggests, impossible. All senses pointed to a real, juicy burger -- smell, taste, texture. It bleeds like a real burger, too. That's a hard act to follow, but 2018 ushers in the second generation of carefully engineered faux meats for the vegan masses.
Tallboy Taco, Chicago's first vegan-friendly taqueria, serves up Impossible Tacos stacked with the usual fixings -- shredded lettuce, salsa arbol and pico de gallo -- cradled in a housemade corn shell. The Chicago Tribune says the taco is completely vegan, but the taste suggests otherwise.
Vegans have seen wavering evolutions in plant-based meats: Tofurkey that tastes and chews like rubber; the Veggieducken, complicated on every sensory level; and Fakin' Bacon, an ironic, not-quite-bacon alternative. It was about time vegans had a real (close to real) taste of tacos.
But, Tallboy's tacos are a bit of a hard sell at $12 for just two. Any taco lover knows that two is a starter for the main course. The Tribune says the tacos are of the "first non-burger uses of the Impossible Meat product in Chicago," which raises the question of whether this faux meat is simply the Impossible Burger with taco spices added. In any case, Tallboy announced that Impossible Tacos will be available for a limited time only.
Excluding Impossible Burgers and Tacos, the future of vegan food looks bright. The Mercury news reported that Impossible Foods was paving a future of meatless chicken, lamb, pork and even fish.
The founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley startup said in a press briefing that Impossible Foods is working on creating chicken breasts, chicken thighs and drumsticks from the company's secret ingredient called "heme," found abundantly in nitrogen-fixing soy plants. Using genetic modification, the soy's heme can be made by yeast in a flask, then "scaled up" for mass production.
The tech food company patented the process that uses heme with other ingredients to create specific flavors, textures and aromas, which could ostensibly be made into lamb, pork, fish, cold cuts and even whale meat.