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November 17, 2009

The best faux meatballs in the country

OneWorldWins.jpgI've done a lot of exciting Top 10 lists on this blog, but none quite as exciting as PETA's Top 10 Vegan Meatballs.

Normally I would continue to make fun of them (and me) except, hey, one of Baltimore's restaurants is on the list, the One World Cafe near Hopkins University. Its vegan meatball sub sandwich is a winner.

Suddenly I feel pretty good about the list, considering it's a national one. ...

It's never bad to be among the 10 best of anything in the country.

The press release announcing the list praises One World's sandwich by saying, "Bursting with flavor, the restaurant's faux meatballs have a truly 'meaty' texture, or 'mouth feel.'"

The No. 1 faux meatball can be found at Ike's Place, San Francisco, Ca. Actually, there are two vegan meatball choices there: the Vegan Meatless Mike and the Not So Sloppy Ike. 

The only thing that I don't understand is why One World's Web site is the only one the PETA list doesn't link to.

(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:31 PM | | Comments (26)


I have never understood fake meat. Even when I was vegetarian, I avoided fake meat like the plague.

There is too much great vegetarian food out there to waste time with pale and tasteless imitations.

Lissa - Like immitation crab meat. yuck

You got it, NotableM. Evil stuff, krab.

I hate captchas. They've been hacked, and they are difficult for me to decipher, as someone who is dyslexic and has vision issues.

If they don't stop our early morning spam, I'll see if I can get them removed, because automatic spam isn't much of a problem here. EL

I agree that soy "fake meat" can be gross. And I definitely don't think it's good for you.

But i was impressed by this list. One was in a raw food cafe! Zucchini "noodles" with veggie-walnut meatballs. One kind made from almonds and Brazil nuts.

One was made from mushrooms! I've been experimenting with mushrooms as a meat substitute lately, and they are great (see my blog for more info and recipes).

There is a place for "fake meat". It's hard for many people to kick the meat habit. And if you're trying to feed yourself and omnivores when you're vegan or vegetarian, it's difficult. I don't believe in putting tofu and Boca burgers in everything, but there are lots of substitutes that can allow you to eat your favorite meals without compromising your health or feeling guilty. Again, check my blog under "what to eat when you miss meat" for lots of ways to eat real, natural foods that help with that.

Ack!!! I hate "capthas" as well. Yuck!

I thought capthas was some kind of vegan dish...Ohhh, I did not scroll down far enough. I can be such an idiot!

Probably because One World isn't vegan, but has selections thereof. PETA makes me a little irritated sometimes. (However some things are gluten free.. nice getting a meal that i don't have to worry about or pick through)

I support PETA -- People Eating Tasty Animals.

You may now throw your fauxmeat balls my way.

Meek, is it not vegan just because you want some meat from there?

Content notice:
My captcha is "skinny bacon"

I'm going to ask that they all be food. EL

I just got "Campbel placenta". I don't think the first one is even a word.

One problem with the "captcha" feature is that it disappears if you use the Preview button to check your comment for typos. If you make corrections in Preview and then try to post, you get an error message saying that you need to return to the original (error-laden) page in order to enter captcha words (which, of course, have changed since you originally went to Preview). Is there any way to fix this?

Heh, we were just at One World today for lunch. Had the always amazing Philly cheese steak-less sub. Soooo good... and my wife (a confirmed carnivore) loves the tempeh reuben.

Shhh, don't tell Lissa, but Hennessy (now 12 days old) went with us - it was after her ped appointment.

Thank you, Elizabeth.

sean, I don't mind you feeding your child, especially at a place I don't frequent (although I have eaten there).

I still see no place for faux meat. It is expensive, processed and, like most processed food, of doubtful nutrition.

And it tastes bad.

Sean - when I first read "ped appoint,ent" I totally thought mani-pedi.

Heather, it's never too early to begin good grooming habits!

Check out this uplifting and inspiring video on why people choose vegan:

Wow, vegan spam!

Don't make me laugh out loud. EL

Heather, why would you think otherwise? Even babies gotta have style.

I agree with Lissa. I never liked the meat substitutes when I was vegetarian. It's one of the reasons our family went back to eating meat 3-4 times a week. I always thought portabella mushrooms were the best substitute since they are flavorful and can be cooked several ways and in different sauces.

Congratulations to One World Cafe for making the list, but I think I'll stick with meatballs with meat in them. Just my opinion...

trader joes has meatless meatballs that are good!

Y'all are so negative! I wonder how many of you have actually tried these things? And especially the natural, whole food versions. I have big problems with a lot of soy, but big kudos to restaurants who are doing this soy-free and deliciously.

Soy is "expensive, processed" etc. But mushrooms? Almonds and Brazil nuts with zucchini? Hello, people. Someone's trying to do something different. Don't be close-minded.

Leighann Garber, if you had read all of the prior posts, you would have noted that most of the posters had, indeed, tried various vegetarian items over the years, many with mixed results. Are you saying that these posters should be forced at gunpoint to travel unwillingly to all 10 fake meatball joints across the country? (How many of them have you actually patronized, by the way?)

You are free to have your own dietary preferences -- but so are the other posters who have concluded that they disagree with you.

hmpstd: Hmmm... Did I ever say people should be forced to try them? Much less at gunpoint? Don't put words in my mouth. Yes, I read all the comments. That's what I'm talking about! Did you really read my comments? I never said anyone should travel to go eat them, either. I'm not promoting the restaurants. I'm promoting the new ideas.

What I said is that there is more to "faux meat" or "meat substitutes" than soy. I haven't tried these restaurants, no. The people I'm commenting on haven't either. They're just saying "fake meat is gross" with nothing to back it up.

I've had tofu and other kinds of soy-based meat substitutes, I've made my own "fake meat" using nuts, seeds, or mushrooms. There are many things that can be considered "meat substitute" or "fake meat" that are not gross, are real food, and are delicious. Whole foods, not processed and very healthy. I'm challenging people to try something new and not turn up their nose just because the idea sounds disgusting.

Everyone's free to their preferences of course! I'm an omnivore, I don't eat vegetarian all the time. But is there a place for "fake meat" or substitute for meat that make you feel satisfied (meaning mushrooms, avocados, nut pate, etc) sure! If you're opposed to eating animals for whatever reason, you should be able to find satisfaction in what you eat. Millions of people are going to eat turkey next Thursday and a lot of vegetarians are going to feel left out, or pressured to do this. There are a lot of food options out there, not just soy, and I'm just encouraging people to try something new. And be positive!


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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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