Photograph: Neil Burger

My friends think I’m either affected or not the Feinschmecker I claim to be when I say I prefer Beyond Burgers to beef ones. “They’re so processed!” they say. “Just as high in calories and fat as real beef! Filled with weird-sounding ingredients like pea protein isolate!” I know all this, but I just like them better. Beef patties can have, to my nose, an off-putting smell. The meat sits like a lead weight in my stomach. And any enjoyment disappears the second I hit a piece of bone or an unidentified sproingy thing. Plus, there’s this: I can’t stop thinking about the fact that the meat in one patty could come from hundreds of different cows. It wasn’t until I had my first juicy, fatty Beyond Burger piled high with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and mayonnaise that I realized just how amazing California-style burgers are. My favorites:

Epic Burger’s Beyond Burger

Skip the veggie patty and go for this grill-smashed number with all the fixings.

Plant Based Junkie’s the Junk

A delicious mess of grilled onions, mushrooms, avocado, and vegan cheese heaped onto an Impossible patty. 1639½ E. 87th St., Calumet Heights

Superkhana International’s Burger

Housemade veggie patties are usually a mouthful of mush, but the mushroom, kale, and cracked rice number served each Thursday here is packed with flavor — and only a little mushy. 3059 W. Diversey Ave., Logan Square