Young and Hungry

A PETA-Approved BLT

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has released a list of its top 10 vegan BLT sandwiches in the country, and D.C.'s own Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats makes the cut.

The Columbia Heights vegan spot makes its "TLT" version with tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Vegenaise, instead of mayo. The $7.05 sandwich comes with a choice of multigrain, French, or white bread.

In honor of World Vegan Day today (the beginning of World Vegan Month), I decided to check it out.

I've never really understood why vegan food would want to imitate the very thing it's trying to displace. If I'm going to eat vegan, I'd rather embrace the veggies rather than disguise them. Imitation meat rarely lives up to the real deal.

Sticky Finger's play on the BLT is no exception. The strips of tempeh have the salty smokiness of bacon, but not the most critical element of a BLT: crunchiness. The tempeh is cold, moist, and limp. That said, the tomato and lettuce were fresh, and the faux-mayo is convincing. It's an OK sandwich, but it won't satisfy true BLT fans. Sorry, PETA.

Photo by Jessica Sidman

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  • Jake

    It's the ignorance of comments like "I've never really understood why vegan food would want to imitate the very thing it's trying to displace" that always upset me about non-vegans. Clearly, you do not understand why most people choice to live the vegan lifestyle. We are not becoming vegans because we simply don't like meat (I would assume that's obvious, but clearly not), rather because we understand both the cruelty attached to eating meat and the health concerns such consumption raises.

    Most of us grew up on a meat diet, and a large majority of us actually enjoy the taste of meat (I think I found a way to include bacon in almost every meal as a child). While I agree the faux meats aren't replicas of their cruel counterparts, they are still able to satisfy our taste for something we have chosen to give up. You should never approach a faux meat dish expecting it to be the same as the meat it's replacing, you will almost always be disappointed. Go into eating vegan mock dishes with an open-mind and an expectation of hoping to eat something yummy and delicious.

    As a meat eater Jessica, you know what meat tastes like and that's what you want to eat. As someone who has been vegan for 4 years, my taste palette has evolved, and while I still crave that meat taste, the vegan imitation is all I know anymore and meets my expectations just fine.

    So, before you criticize a faux meat vegan entree, maybe you should reset your expectations and instead of approaching negatively from the get go ("I never really understood"), go into it with an open mind.

  • VeggieTart

    I second what Jake said. I used to love meat, but I can no longer eat it, for a variety of reasons. For meat eaters who enjoy a vegan meal with an analogue don't ask yourself whether or not it mimics meat well but whether it tastes good. Unfortunately, most vegan bacon analogues are not going to have that crunch, but then they won't have the nitrites in bacon either.

  • Rebecca

    third the opinion. I've been vegetarian for 17 years and I wouldn't eat meat no matter how good it tasted - but that's because I think it's unethical, coarsening, and destructive of the planet to raise animals en masse for slaughter. I try not to be a sanctimonious veg but seriously! why does everyone understand faux fur (it's soft and nice without killing bunnies) and not faux bacon (salty and smoky without killing pigs)?

  • Cindi

    I totally agree with Jake. That srsly was a lame question. I've been vegan for over 6 years now. The main reason I don't eat meat is my compassion for animals. There's also a HUGE health benefit as well which is also nice. Having grown up eating meat I have also grown accustom to the taste of it. So that might be one reason we vegans try to imitate it. *shakes head, rolls eyes*

  • Jamie

    I fifth Jakes notion. You do have to approach things with a open mind. For instance I like to flavor my water with a splash of orange juice and when I started doing that for my husband he said that he would rather just have a glass of oj instead of having it all watered down, but I told him the reason I do that was so that we could stretch the oj and then it makes our water intake more exciting. So its just the way you look at it, is the glass half empty or half full, now he loves his flavored water :)