The Burger That Could Fix Fast Food

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A LocoL burger. (Tiffany Yam for LocoL)

When I travel, as a vegetarian, I am often in what they call a “food desert”.  Not a whole lot of restaurants that offer choices that are vegetarian or that are appealing to vegetarians.  If I am in a big city, it’s a little easier.  I can usually find a Thai or Indian restaurant with options.  However, what do you do if you are in a smaller town?  Or what do you do if you just want to have a decent veggie burger?  Choices tend to be limited.

Daniel Patterson and his partner, Roy Choi have decided to try and change that.  Their premise is: What if they opened in America’s notorious “food deserts” — the large, mostly urban swaths of the country where it’s hard to find anything to eat or drink besides a Big Mac and a Big Gulp? And what if they went toe-to-toe with McDonald’s and company by pricing everything from $.99 to $6? And the reporter got to taste test their burger:

I behold it before taking a bite. The thing is hefty. Not huge like those behemoths they serve at upscale Manhattan bistros. But much denser and weightier than your typical Whopper. The patty is mostly made of grains — raw, sprouted and cooked. There’s some jack cheese on there, some grilled-scallion-and-lime relish and a spunky concoction that Patterson and Choi have taken to calling Awesome Sauce: tomato, onion, garlic, vinegar, oil and gochujang, or Korean chili paste. Layer all the above onto a long-fermented bun custom-made, partly with rice flour, by renowned San Francisco baker Chad Robertson of Tartine, who also serves on the LocoL board, and press it on the griddle like a panino until the crust gets crispy and the cheese starts to ooze — a recent Choi brainstorm meant to improve the burger’s “mobility” and “make it easier to eat while skateboarding or riding a bike” — and there you have it: LocoL’s mission statement in sandwich form.

“So,” he repeats. “What do you think?”

Sadly, I’m too busy taking another bite to tell him what I think. This isn’t just the best veggie burger I’ve ever tasted. It’s one of the best burgers, period.–fast-food-for-the-day-after-tomorrow-000353697.html I can’t wait to taste test this burger myself! Marcey

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