After actress Tabitha Brown’s December 30 reaction to a vegan Whole Food’s sandwich went viral, the natural food supermarket chain found it hard to keep their TTLA — which stands for “tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce, and avocado” — in stock.
The sandwich inspired a viral “challenge” that prompted people to rush to their local Whole Foods store to try the sandwich for themselves and post their photos and reactions to social media.
The sought-after sandwich, according to the Whole Foods website, was originally titled the “Smoky TTLA.” The tempeh bacon, vegan garlic aïoli, lettuce, and tomato creation was created by Dennis Horton for the Santa Monica location in California as a vegan option.
However, many Whole Foods locations ran out of the ingredients to make the sandwich due to its quick increase in popularity. According to the Charlotte Observer, the Fairview Road location in the North Carolina city was out of the ingredients for a whole week. “People come in all day long,” a clerk told out the outlet. “We ran out of tempeh bacon.”
Luckily, the Tarzana, California, Whole Foods had the majority of ingredients in stock. “It’s always been a popular sandwich, but a lot more people are ordering it now,” the friendly clerk told us, adding that actress Tabitha Brown and five of her friends had recently stopped in to order TTLAs.
There was even a sign declaring the existence of the sandwich, which quoted Brown’s astute review: “Add a pickle and watch your life change.” We wanted to order exactly like Tabitha, but as we attempted to add a pickle, our clerk told us they were out.
No matter! Back in the vicinity of a refrigerator, our West Coast editor Lily Rose was able to locate some Kosher Dill slices, which she put on her sandwich before sampling. The bread was soft, the avocado creamy, the garlic aïoli flavorful, and the vegetables crisp and juicy.
The tempeh bacon, on the other hand, was mildly disappointing. It tasted nothing like bacon, even though it had a similar smoky quality. The consistency of the facon (fake bacon) was nothing like that of actual bacon and severely lacked crunch. Understandably it is a vegan sandwich — but if something is advertised as being like bacon, we expect it to be sort of like bacon.
Also, the sandwich would have been nothing without the pickle. The pickle is the pièce de résistance. It adds a briny flavor and the crunch this sandwich desperately needs.
Didn’t realize Whole Foods had vegan deli options? Since you’ve been living under a rock, here are 11 things you didn’t know about Whole Foods.