VEGETARIANS LIE. Sure, we might be all like, "Oh, eating nothing but leaves and beans is so delicious and great that we don't even think about eating meat anymore!" Guess what? THAT'S A LIE. Because meat—especially pork—is delicious. And we miss it. So it's a good thing there's fake pork—otherwise, this whole vegetarian thing would last about two minutes.
MORNINGSTAR FARMS: A LOVE/HATE THING
The most ubiquitous of fake meats, the Morningstar Farms brand is available at any supermarket, making its many varieties of soy-laden meat fakery easily accessible. Awesome, right? Well, sort of. Let's start with the good, because I'll probably throw up once I start thinking about the bad. The good: Morningstar Farms Corn Dogs. Perhaps the most perfect creation of mankind, the corn dog was once off limits to vegetarians. But no more, since Morningstar's fake corn dogs are utterly delicious, with crispy cornbread outside and a more-than-convincing soy dog middle. I have been known to eat four of these in as many seconds.
Giving Morningstar more credit, perhaps, than they deserve, I've also tried the Morningstar Farms Bacon—which, no matter how you cook it, looks and tastes like burned cardboard. With dirt on it. The stuff has a grimy texture, a clingy, sour aftertaste, and a flavor like the exact opposite of actual bacon. Plus, it's creepily colored to look like bacon. (If they're just painting it, couldn't they be more creative? I, for one, would welcome a slice bearing the phrase, "Enjoy your morally righteous breakfast!") In other words, stay away, vegetarians: One bite will likely send you straight to the butcher's. ERIK HENRIKSEN
A RACK OF RIBLETS
I know that my unabashed, insatiable love of Gardenburger BBQ Riblets makes me some kind of Jack Vegetarian—but I can't stop licking the delicious BBQ sauce off my fingers long enough to care. Like ribs without the bones-and-blood-spattered guilt, Riblets are a close cousin to the McDonald's McRib sandwich from back in the day, making me nostalgic for something I never realized I liked. I really can't tell you if the taste and texture are anything like real ribs, but I can tell you that Riblets are just about the best thing science has ever come up with. SCOTT MOORE
FAKE SAUSAGE AT BYWAYS CAFÉ: POSSIBLY MAGICAL
I've had a wide array of fake meat in this town, and it's always the same: A mediocre Boca Burger here, a whoever-said-tofu-can-taste-like-meat-is-having-a-good-laugh-at-my-expense there. But behold! The Space Needle Scramble at Byways Café (1212 NW Glisan) includes eggs, tomatoes, spinach, onions, and the most delicious fake sausage in the world. You'll think, at first, that it's real sausage—that there's been, perhaps, some sort of scrumptious but horrible mistake. But it's not, and there hasn't been. Sure, after hours, they're probably working some sort of terrifying dark magic in the Byways kitchen to create this miracle, but that's beside the point. The point, by the way, is that I want more. Now. Thanks. EH
THE HAM TUBE: BRINGING PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST
Pork is the devil's meat, and that isn't just my inner treehugger talking: In fact, hating on the consumption of pork is the only thing that Jews and Muslims can agree on. If you'd take that ham hock out of your mouth for five minutes, tubby, you could watch peace overtake the Middle East!
To keep your mouth free of swine (and your conscience mopped clean of spilled Middle Eastern blood), seek out the LiTa Vegetable Ham, better known as the Ham Tube (available at Food Fight! Vegan Grocery, 4179 SE Division). "The Tube" has a fleshy, thick texture and a delicious salty taste—fry it up with a dash of olive oil and pepper, and it's realistic enough to fool most pork-munchers.
All praise thee, ham tube—a more delicious version of the olive branch. You can bring peace to the Middle East, and halt the war brewing in my stomach. EZRA ACE CARAEFF