morning glory hole

you know what? i'll never learn. i'll never learn that restaurants in philadelphia (and other places, too, for sure) don't offer tofu scrambles on their menus because they want to make tofu scrambles. they don't offer it because anyone in their kitchen is particularly excited about making a kick ass vegan breakfast dish. they do it because there are enough vegans and non-egg-eating folks now that they simply have to.

and while this should feel like some sort of cultural victory, it's actually a backwards defeat. since becoming obligitory, most ominvorous restaurant kitchens crank out tastless piles of limp tofu with bacon-fueled scorn. DOES ANYONE EVEN TASTE IT FOR SEASONING? at least once every few weeks, i forget past lessons learned, and find myself cursing the $9 i just spent on brunch/lunch instead of $2.50 for a bagel with hummus and tomato from the green line (coffee included if steve is working!). of course, there are exceptions to this rule (here's looking at you, royal tavern), but morning glory diner, located on the corner of 10th and fitzwater, ain't one of them.

the story: early friday afternoon, ryan texted me to come into town and meet him for lunch, because he'd been cut from his day time shift. we almost never get to see one another on fridays, and it was exciting to have a little mid-afternoon date. we decided on morning glory, because ryan had never been there and it was equidistant from both of our places of work. we got a cozy table in the back of the dining room, but then waited for what felt like forever for our server to come over. when he finally did, without hardly saying hello, he took our orders and spilled coffee all over my place setting. it's hard to put these esoteric things into words but just trust me - he was kind of a dick. he just seemed annoyed that we were dining at his establishment and offered nothing in the way of good cheer. i ordered the tofu scramble because, besides oatmeal which i cannot justify paying $7 for, it was the only vegan thing on the breakfast menu. well, the coffee was good and all, but when the food did arrive, my heart sank. if the best thing on your plate is the toast, you know you're in trouble:

maybe it looks okay, but the potatoes were lukewarm, the ketchup tasted like marinara sauce, and the tofu was barely cooked through and totally bland. surely by now people know that curry powder alone does not a seasoning make. i could make a better tofu scramble than this with one hand tied behind my back (even if the other hand was fighting off a rabid raccoon or something). there is a word for food like this and it is "meh." one bit of good news is that ryan said his seitan cheesesteak was fantastic, and i'm glad for that. and we still had a nice time together; i don't want to give the impression that the crap food or rushed, weird service ruined our special, spontaneous date.

but to (most of the) kitchens of philadelphia - i challenge you! send out a tofu scramble that knocks my socks off, one with flavor and guts and crispy, hearty tofu and vegetables! one with some zazz, some personality, one with an intention! don't let my bitter tears be the only flavor on the damn plate.

love (to all VR readers but not to morning glory),


Vegan said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I find myself doing this sometimes too when I'm dragged to a place I don't really want to go to. Sometimes they don't even salt or pepper the tofu scramble.

My favorite breakfast right now is at Dos Segundos Cantina. They are doing a vegan french toast that is wonderful. If you haven't yet, you should totally check it out.

- VR

Emily said...

funny you should mention that Vegan, cuz i just heard last night about the veegs options on the cantina II menu. next sunday i am so there...

Thomas said...

I"m gonna go on record and say that the line "don't let my bitter tears be the only flavor on the damn plate" is the best line I've ever read in a food review!!

hampants said...

This is a bummer because the last time I went to the Morning Glory (which was over a year ago and incidentally was with you, dear emily) the scram was good! The ketchup was good too! Alls I can say is WHA HAPPEN?

Also at the Cantina, our waitress was vegan so I have to trust her when she said that brunch was good. She said the french toast is battered in plantains and soy milk! Also I should specify that this was the nolibs Cantina and I cannot speak for brunch at o.g. South Philly one.

kdubz said...

I used to live up the block from Morning Glory and couldn't get over the injustice of the tofu scramble...so alas I never went back. Just as bland - the tofu scramble at Sabrina's.

Black N Brew in South Philly has the only decent scramble I've found so far.