First off, I really want to apologize for Wednesday’s post. It was a grammatical nightmare and didn’t do a great job of articulating how I felt about the shit I was talking about. Second off… nah, that’s it. Well, I guess I could mention this – the real thing is always better. If you haven’t already, you may want to go check out that little post about fake meats from this last Wednesday. Or not. You don’t need me to tell you what to do, right? Right.
To bring you up to speed in case you didn’t read that post (jerk), I’ve been eating mostly notmeat. Notmeat isn’t as much fun as ismeat, but some of it is alright. Among those notmeats that are fun are veggie dogs. When my diet was completely fruit and vegetable based, I found that I needed something that wasn’t meat while still being fun and reminding me of the awesome foods that I would eat when I didn’t give two shits about my health. To fit the bill, I started checking out “vegetarian” foods. I put that in quotes because those foods didn’t include any meat or meat byproduct, but they weren’t at all healthy, which flys in the face the Western concept of vegetarianism. Nacho cheese dip, cake, ice cream, Doritos – all that shit is “vegetarian”, and it will still make you as fat as a fuck. In my case, I had chosen to indulge my need for junkfood while staying relatively veggie by getting some veggie dogs. Fake-assed hot dogs. The “vegetarian” item that I choose does have less calories than its ismeat counterpart, which I liked, and they actually tasted decent. After that, I tried a few more meat replacements, thinking that the market had finally cracked the code of faking meat. They had not. In fact, I will go so far as to say that other than this very specific brand of hotdogs, I have yet to be impressed by a single fake meat product.
Earlier this week, I decided to try out another brand of fake hotdog. Always looking for one, I saw a blogging opportunity, so I also picked up a package of the dogs that had so impressed me before. For full disclosure, both of these veggie dog brands are made by the same company, Litelife. I really don’t much care for the brand name, but I know the people that they’re marketing to, so I get it. I feel like if they actually want to get people on board with them, they should try to market the shit to real people. But whatever. The truth is that I had no idea that they were the same company when I picked them up. I am currently planning on picking up some more brands of this fake meat and maybe a few real-assed-dogs for a more comprehensive comparison. Actually, that’s probably a really good idea, because frankly (not a pun), I feel like some of the most exulted brands need to get knocked down a peg. That being said, the last times I consumed either Hebrew National or Johnsonville were next to spiritual experiences.
Anywho… um… what was I? Oh, right. I got these two brands of veggie dogs and please pay no attention to the fact that they are under the same corporate umbrella. Actually, you know what? Do. Pay attention to the fact the one company ultimately owns the both of them. It’s kind of a big deal. The company is Litelife (hate the name), the brand names are “Tofu Pups” and “Smart Dogs”. Frankly (pun), I hate both of those names. I hate them with a vigor that I cannot describe. If I had to choose, I’d choose “Tofu Pups”, because tofu is old news and anything with “Pups” is stupid and cute. Anything with “Smart” is pretentious and I fuckoff hate it.
The packages for both products indicated that boiling the dogs was the preferred method of cooking, so I decided to follow suit. Each had very similar ingredients, nutritional value, and cooking instructions. So I went ahead and boiled them. I laid each dog out on a nice, tasty, cheap-assed bun (as most delicious hotdogs are enjoyed), and cut each in half. I do understand that this is not the typical way of enjoying them, but I never really eat my dogs “dry”, so I decided to test them out with my current wet loadout as well.
Here’s the picture of the dogs, right up against each other. Notice how one actually kind of looks like a hot dog and the other looks like a yellow Simpsons character? That one is a Tofu Pup.
I’m actually not sure if it comes through – my photography skills are rather lacking, and I was shooting on the so-so camera of my phone, so… anyway, take a close look. The left one is kind of brown. You know, like hotdog brownish. That one is a the Life Dog. But the yellow one. Yellow doesn’t seem like a hot dog to me. Maybe currydog or currywurst, but… this calles itself a hotdog, so yellow is so the wrong color. Hmm… Anyway, both said to boil them, so I boiled them.
To test them, I plopped them down on some buns got ready to chow down. As a last minute idea, I decided that I’d cut them in half so I could try them with and without condiments. I probably should have tried them with ketchup, but lately I’ve been doing mustard and hot sauce. I don’t know why. That’s just my digs. I don’t want to drag this out any longer, so I want to give my overall right now and then delve into the factors. I am doing you a service. Don’t fuck around on this.
Tofu Pups = Don’t eat these, they suck ass. 1.5 out of 5.
Smart Dogs = Actually… pretty damned good, but with two caveats. 1) They don’t actually taste like hotdogs. They get extremely close. Close enough for when it counts. 2) They aren’t as good as they used to be. Maybe the next recipe will be better. 2.5 out of 5.
I might be over blowing it, but I feel like 2.5 out of 5 is a good score for an average dog. A good dog, like a Hebrew National or Ballpark, would be a 3 or 3.5. Every now and then, some vendor hands you a dog that hits a 4 or better – something good enough to make you forget about lobster, prosciutto, and sushi.
I want to reiterate a point, the very first time that I tried them, they were so close to the real thing that I was fucking fooled. I actually had to recheck the package to be sure that I had bought what I thought I had. Now listen – it wasn’t a Hebrew National. Let’s not be crazy. But you know those hotdogs that pop up for a little under a dollar around the 4th of July? You know, the ones that are still hotdoggie but… a little lacking. The ones that you could eat a dozen of, not because they’re delicious but because you need about a dozen to get satisfied. The Smart Dogs could have passed as those. I should add that I was out of my mind for a hotdog at that point, which I’m sure colored my view. Unfortunately, I’ll never know. They have been tweaking the recipe ever since. The next package that I had tasted a bit grassy and had a sort of grainy texture. It was all wrong. Now on my third package, it’s closer to what it was, but still not there. I can definitely tell that these are not hotdogs. But I can’t exactly put my finger on what the problem is. For now, I’ll assume it’s the flavor, because the texture near perfect. Anyway, the new recipe is apparently “grillable”. I don’t have a grill. I live in second floor condo and a grill is frowned upon. I have pan fried, toaster-ovened, and even microwaved the originals. I basically cooked every other one in a different way, and they were all pretty good. Never until now did I cook them in the “preferred method”. Let me tell you something about that method, unless I’m in a ballpark or on a street corner where the hotdogs are coming out of a sweaty metal box where they have been soaking up the juices of the scores of dogs that have come before them, I never want my hotdog prepared by being in hot water. It’s gross. Knock that shit off. I my opinion, the best way to cook these is in the toaster oven, on a little sheet of foil. still the best in class and they (thankfully) don’t taste like grass, but they have some extra flavor that brings me right out of the meat-assed-meat fantasy. That being said, they’re still great and the other bullshit still isn’t.
What about that other bullshit? Those “Soy Pups”? Fuck them. They taste wrong. They feel wrong. They smell wrong. They even LOOK wrong. Fuck them. Really. I want to write as much about them as I did the Smart Dogs, but I can’t. All I can say is that if you’re eyeballing them in the grocery store, pick something else. If someone offers them to you for free, it’s your call. I’d recommend a pass on that, but hell, maybe you should take a bite and find out what so many vegetarians and vegans are lying about.
tl;dr – The Life Dogs would pass well enough if you want a hotdog but can’t or don’t eat meat. As for the Soy Pups, you should just pass on them. And stop boiling meats, you weird fucks!
No, really, those Soy Pups are not good. Here are a few more pictures from the taste test.
My Extended Bootcall Forecast: