The Impossible Burger made its debut in San Francisco this past weekend, and the crowd went wild, with the menu item selling out just a few hours after it hit the market. Naturally, the proposition has intrigued the heck out of meat eaters and vegetarians alike—a plant-based patty that’s engineered to look, feel, and taste like real meat, all the way down to the bleeding effect. In theory, the burger should be so good at imitating the real thing that even the most die-hard carnivores would be willing to order it to satisfy their cravings.

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It might just be the closest substitution yet, as food scientists took a look at the molecules in meat and tracked down those same ones in plants, extracting them from sources like wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes. The most compelling part was their ability to replicate the molecule that gives a burger its bleeding quality, heme, which creates that meaty taste you’re after when you bite into a patty. Here’s a video narrated by the founder of Impossible Foods, explaining just how they put together their burger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjW2vNVZIhE

For now, the burger is only sold at four locations worldwide, and two of them are in San Francisco—Corkscomb in SoMa, and Jardinière in Hayes Valley. At Corkscomb, the burger is only available Monday through Friday for lunch, from 11:30 AM to 2 PM. At Jardinière, it’s available daily in the bar and lounge after 7:30 PM. But be prepared to wait, as people have been lining up hours early just to order it.

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Should the burger go over well with curious tasters, the impact on the environment—and the negative effects of raising livestock—could be game-changing.

Holy cow. Or should we say, plants.

[Featured Image: impossible_foods via Instagram]


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