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Robin Garr

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You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Robin Garr » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:28 pm

You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

LEO's Eats with Robin Garr

The Farby meal at Morels Cafe.
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There’s this funny thing about plant-based meat analogues, a.k.a. fake meat: Hard-core carnivores and hard-core vegans all seem to get downright angry when they catch someone eating fake bacon, veggie burgers, or even amazing meat-free goodies like those on the menu at Morels Cafe.

I really can’t figure this out. The aversion, maybe, but why the hate? The best I can figure it, serious veggievores loathe the idea of dining on tasty animals with such passion that they’re grossed out by the idea of even eating pretend meat. Perhaps they figure that if they could go cold pardon-the-expression turkey, so should everyone else. It’s sort of like reformed-smokers hating on e-cigs.

I have an even harder time with meat eaters who get so angry about faux meats. Why in Buddha’s name should they care? Fine, they'll never give up meat, in spite of all the evidence surrounding its issues with health, humaneness and the environment. But why should they get into a frothing rage about people who abandon cow meat but still harbor a crave for something that looks and tastes like the real thing without any animals being harmed in the process? To them I gently suggest, "Mind your own bidniss, please."

Or better yet, put your prejudices on the shelf just long enough to try the animal-free delights at Morels, Stanley Chase III’s new bricks-and-mortar vegan deli and cafe in the middle of the Baxter Avenue strip, a cheeky meat-free eatery that declares its fare “vegan food that doesn’t suck.”

If your vision of vegan food is something like plain tofu, un-dressed lettuce and a portobello mushroom, prepare for a recalibration. This is vegan as you’ve never seen or tasted vegan.

Consider for example the Egg McBluffin ($4.99), a deli-counter delight that looks a lot like you-know-who’s: A standard English muffin is filled with a sausage patty, an egg, molten yellow cheese and a schmear of mayo. If you think those meat and dairy things don’t sound vegan, you’d be right. But this version uses house-made, soy-based vegan sausage, Follow Your Heart brand vegan egg and cheese, and Hampton Creek’s first-rate egg-free Just Mayo.

Or consider Chase’s trademark Farby -Fake Arby - a fine vegan knockoff of Arby’s roast-beef original. The $9 Farby Meal piles braised Tofurky roast “beef” on an excellent onion bun, house-made yellow “cheese,” and dairy-free ranch dressing. Set it up with a pile of crisp curly fries and a cup of vegan horseradish sauce, and you’d think you were dining at Arby’s, except that this model tastes really good. ...

Read the full review on LouisvilleHotBytes,
http://www.louisvillehotbytes.com/youll ... orels-cafe

Read this review also in LEO Weekly today.
https://www.leoweekly.com/2017/07/youll ... ke-morels/

Morels Cafe
619 Baxter Ave.
409-5916
http://www.morelscafe.com
https://facebook.com/morelscafe
Robin Garr’s rating: 90 points

Pork sliders without pork at Morels Cafe.
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scott.wade

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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by scott.wade » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:32 am

So Morels, who in a large part just buys vegan food products and resells them as opposed to actually cooking, scores higher than many excellent restuarts such as The Exchange.

Sorry Robin, but this is ridiculous.
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Robin Garr

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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Robin Garr » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:03 am

Umm ... they opened as a deli, but at the first of June went over to a full restaurant. They make stuff in a kitchen. More important, though, you go in, you sit down, you get food, you eat it. I'm not sure I take your point, Scott, unless you're one of those fake-meat haters I mentioned?
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Robin Garr

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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Robin Garr » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:25 am

Let me restate this a little more kindly: Our point system is a little different from The CJ's star system, or at least what it appears to be. Every restaurant is rated against its own potential. How well does it do what it set out to do? Is the food creative or boring? Pricing appropriate? Setting and service appropriate to the style? The CJ, I believe, rarely gives a four-star rating to anyplace that isn't upscale, white-tablecloth or the modern hip equivalent. We don't work that way. If a restaurant sets itself to a task and gets there in an excellent way ... if the food tastes very good and makes you happy ... if service and mood and value fit into that pattern, whether it's a taqueria or a five-star dining room, then it will rate well with me.
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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Andrew Mellman » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:37 am

Robin, watch out for seitan! "True" seitan is made strictly from wheat gluten, but every recipe I've ever seen adds soy (sauce, powder, whatever) for added flavor. If Morels is mainly ordering already prepared vegan foods and plating/serving, they may not be sure there is no soy in the seitan even if they get it in.
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Robin Garr

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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Robin Garr » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:27 am

Andrew Mellman wrote:Robin, watch out for seitan! "True" seitan is made strictly from wheat gluten, but every recipe I've ever seen adds soy (sauce, powder, whatever) for added flavor. If Morels is mainly ordering already prepared vegan foods and plating/serving, they may not be sure there is no soy in the seitan even if they get it in.

Worth noting, Andrew. Stanley Chase is knowledgeable about this stuff, not just opening boxes and putting prepared food on the plate. From his response to another hopeful diner on Facebook yesterday, I think he's aware of soy (and corn) issues now. I'm hoping to be able to follow up with his response soon.
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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Carla G » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:44 pm

I'll be happy to try them out. Always looking for a decent meat free meal. I frequently don't like the fake meat (especially fake sausage) because it has, at least to me, a nauseating smell of vinegar that's gone bad. (CAN vinegar go bad? If it could it would smell like fake sausage cooking.) But I've had some veggie burgers that were wonderful.

As far as the star system goes I always assumed it was along the lines of "how well does a restaurant do what it advertises itself as doing?" That way casual eateries can earn their marks on their BBQ or stewed tomatoes or a simple burger that's done properly. If a restaurant touts itself as a white tablecloth venue with impeccable service it better deliver on that. But I'd never ding Corbett's because they don't have horseshoe pits or Mike Linnings for having a crappy wine list. Fair enough?
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food." - Storm Jameson
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Robin Garr

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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Robin Garr » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:05 pm

Carla G wrote:... I'd never ding Corbett's because they don't have horseshoe pits or Mike Linnings for having a crappy wine list. Fair enough?

Ding ding ding! Carla gets it! :mrgreen:
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Stan Chase

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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Stan Chase » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:48 am

Robin - appreciate you so much, you really get it. Since the day I opened my food truck in 2010, there have always been people that not only don't like what we're doing, but it angers them. They reduce what we do and tap us on the head with a vegetarian award when we make a good vegetarian option at food festivals. We try to approach vegan food as it's own genre, rather than focusing on the vegetarian aspect of it. We never sit down and create a menu item thinking, well asparagus is vegan? Yeah, they'll love it. That's kind of the way most vegetarian options are at restaurants. Also, vegan staples have been slowly seeping into restaurants for a while now. Cauliflower wings have been passed around for over a decade in vegan cookbooks. I'm not saying fried cauliflower is a vegan thing, but the "wing" part that everyone is adding to their menu certainly is.

Scott - how presumptuous of you. We not only have Tom Wilburn, who left his 10 year stay at Varanese to work with us, but also Trevor Decuir, owner of McQuixote. Both Sullivan graduates and passionate cooks. Not to mention the other 6 amazing cooks in our kitchen that do more than "heat up vegetarian products". I'm not sure where you read that. Yes our Farby for example features Tofurkys seitan. But what you don't know is I have had a growing relationship with the owner of Tofurky and he has been a business mentor of mine for a while now with my jerky company. They started selling deli logs for us to slice in our kitchen with a meat slicer. The products they make are amazing and we are trying to bring their food into the restaurant world. We braise and season the meat just like any restaurant in town would. We make our cheese everyday from scratch. It's labor intensive and includes fresh carrots and potatoes. We created this recipe ourselves and worked for months to get it right. Our salad features a vegan deviled egg that my guys worked on over and over and over. You won't find anything like it in the country. There are attempts all over instagram, but nothing looks and feels like ours. Our baker Ashley Bender is doing amazing things with vegan baking, omitting dairy or eggs, but using traditional techniques. She gets to work at 6am and makes every single thing from scratch. Her doughs, jams, jellies, cakes, frostings. It's all done in our tiny kitchen with rolling pins, mixers, a small two sheet oven. All of our sauces, broths, sides, cream cheeses, are all made from scratch. We have a team of 8 cooks that work very hard through the week and they're very good at what they do. Everything that's on the menu has been considered and we take a lot of pride in what we do. While many like you have tried to minimize and reduce what we do for years, and will continue to, I hope this sheds some light.
Last edited by Stan Chase on Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: You’ll eat fake meat and like it at Morels Cafe

by Robin Garr » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:09 am


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