Top Five Memorable Morel Dishes of 2015

As evident in past FoodMeOmaha blog posts and social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), I am an avid fan of morel mushrooms. I love it so much that I bought morels for a steep $40 a pound from these guys at the Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village.

Nebraska Morels at the Omaha Farmer's Market in Aksarben Village

Nebraska Morels at the Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village

My morel mushroom madness is justified! Here are my top five memorable morel dishes of 2015 from great to greatest:


#5: Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale Special

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

My man, Brian, emailed me, “Did you see Block 16‘s lunch special?!?!” I immediately went to Block 16’s Facebook page and saw the above and read “Morel Philly Royale today! Shaved steak, provolone, grilled onion, truffle aioli and local MORELS on a sourdough roll. Won’t last long, get down here!!!

My reaction: Think Homer Simpson’s head tilted, eyes rolled back, mouth agape, tongue out, and drooling. Since I work out west and couldn’t make it, Brian saved the day and got me one to-go! I was lucky. They ran out of their special soon after opening.

The re-heated version was satisfyingly good. I enjoy Block 16’s regular Philly sandwiches. It is even better with the morel mushrooms. The morels picked up the savory meat flavor. While I know the Morel Philly Royale was not at its prime freshly-made state, I was happy!

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


#4: My Man’s Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms Made By Man

I adore the homemade butter-sauteed morel mushrooms made by Brian. See the FoodMeOmaha post, “Butter-Sauteed Morels Made by Man“. This dish is simple, yet, sooo goood!

On another occasion, Brian made this morel dish for close friends, Maude and Joen Moreno. The Morenos were delighted and we were delighted to share the food experience with them.

Maude: “On my first bite, the texture, the oily moisture, how it just melted in my mouth… It was like wanting to delay my chewing just so this piece of heaven does not disappear down my throat. I wanted to savor every bit of it! So good and so unforgettable!”

Food is even better when shared with peeps we care about!


#3: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms Special at Lot 2

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Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar has my favorite bone marrow in town. Therefore, when I discovered Lot 2 had bone marrow AND MORELS, I had another Homer Simpson drooling moment on repeat. The roasted bone marrow is divine, indulgent goodness elevated to new heights with the morel mushrooms. The morels were sauteed in a lovely sauce of shallots, garlic, thyme, lemon, white wine, butter, salt, and pepper.

The bone marrow and morels are a dynamic duo! Brian and I were either sighing, moaning, or pausing in silence over the bone marrow and morels. My taste buds thanked Chef Joel Mahr and staff of Lot 2!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


#2: Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri

Morel Nigiri at Taita

Morel Mushroom Nigiri at Taita

Holy morel nigiri at Taita Restaurant! The morel mushroom is honored in this dish. The woodsy mushroom is the featured star accented by a dark salty and sweet sauce, scallions, and neutral, compact rice.

Chef/Owner Jose Dionicio of Taita: “We slightly marinated morel in soy and dashi, then proceed to grill them finish them off to brush them with a nikiri sauce which contains hints of sake, soy and more dashi.”

This finely executed nigiri is a marvelous, woodsy-pure bite!!!


#1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout

Wagyu Beef and Morel Mushrooms at Taita

Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout at Taita

FoodMeOmaha and Brian are frequent visitors at Taita since this is our top favorite restaurant in town. On a recent visit, Brian and I ordered our usual $60 omakase per person for dinner. The omakase is a great food experience. Chef Jose creates a series of courses of his choosing including sushi, hot dishes, and dessert. Our omakase journey hit a pinnacle with the wagyu beef and morel ragout! I was an ecstatic school girl when I feasted my eyes on this glorious course!

The wagyu beef was a savory, melt-in-your-mouth, beautiful moment. The exquisite salt added the extra edge! Chef Jose explained that the morels is a take on a classical ragout. Sauteed onions, wine and a hint of soy were involve in the making of it. The morel mushrooms was an oh-my-freaking-amazing, woodsy love immersed in a velvety sauce with roasted garlic cloves… Oh yeah…

This dish was superbly executed and zealously enjoyed.

Taita on Urbanspoon

This concludes my morel mushroom madness for this year!

For a different perspective, here is Brian’s top five from great to greatest:

  • #5 Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale
  • #4: His’ Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms
  • #3 Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri
  • #2: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms
  • #1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout

FoodMeOmaha had several memorable morel mushroom dishes (including others not mentioned) in 2015. Greedy MorelMeOmaha wants more morels! Next year, I foresee morel mushroom hunting in addition to the eating!

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2015 Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants

Morel mushrooms have been sighted! These unique, honeycombed-cap beauties have a more woodsy flavor than the common button mushrooms. Morel mushrooms are only available once a year by mother nature.

There are a handful of Omaha restaurants that have morel mushrooms. Get them while they last!


Taita Restaurant

Taita Restaurant is FoodMeOmaha’s top favorite restaurant in town! I continually rave about their sushi and other yummy offerings. I am thrilled that they have morel mushroom specials!

Mushroom Morels at Taita Restaurant

Mushroom Morels at Taita Restaurant

Homemade Pasta w/ Scallops, Scallions, and Morel Mushrooms

Homemade Pasta w/ Cream Sauce, Scallops, and Morel Mushrooms

Homemade Pasta w/ Cream Sauce, Scallops, and Morel Mushrooms
  • Description: Weekend special – Homemade pasta with cream sauce, scallops, and morel mushrooms.
  • Price: $25.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9 out of 10

I had this special yesterday evening. I was wooed with each bite. The cream sauce was divine, the homemade pasta smooth and comforting, the scallops nicely seared, and the morel mushrooms was woodsy love! I wanted more and almost ordered this dish again!

Morel Mushrooms Broth and Miso Ramen at Taita

Morel Mushroom Broth and Miso Ramen at Taita

Taita serves up ramen on Sunday only (12pm-4pm only). Today, they have morel mushroom and miso ramen!

Taita on Urbanspoon


Dante Ristorante Pizzeria

Dante Ristorante Pizzeria is another favorite restaurant. They have wood-roasted, grass fed NE rib-eye w/ wood roasted morels, nishnabotna spinach & gnocchi and a nettle & ceci bean tortellini w/ wood-roasted morels, squeaky green organics radish, nettle pesto & fried ceci beans. Based on a recent phone call, their supply of morel mushrooms are almost gone!

Morel Mushrooms at Dante Pizzeria

Morel Mushrooms at Dante Pizzeria

Dante Ristorante Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


La Buvette Wine & Grocery

4/26/2015 Update: Morel mushrooms have been sighted at La Buvette in the Old Market! Omaha food writer, Sarah Baker Hansen, recently posted on the Omavore Facebook page: “What I’m eating: an incredibly delicious morel mushroom pizza” at La Buvette.

La Buvette serves up good food in a charming, quaint European-like cafe with exposed brick and walls of wine. Based on a recent call, La Buvette likes to have fun and try different dishes with morel mushrooms. Note based on several past visits, expect slow-paced service.

La Buvette Wine Bar & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


Block 16

4/27/2015 Update: Block 16 has joined the list of Omaha restaurants with morel mushrooms!

Block 16 is one BIG reason I wished I stilled worked downtown!!! Last year, during the morel mushroom season, they had a different morel lunch special every day. Today, Block 16 has this morel mushroom special…

Miso Morel Burger at Block 16

Miso Morel Burger at Block 16

Hello, beautiful!!! The Miso Morel Burger is composed of the house patty, miso glazed MORELS, cheese, grilled onion, arugula, aioli and sriracha on a brioche bun. I want.

Check out Block 16’s Facebook page for their lunch specials. I wonder what other morel mushroom specials Block 16 will serve. I recommend getting their early. It gets crowded fast since Block 16 is that good.

5/2/2015 Update: Block 16’s special tonight is “MOREL AND LOBSTER RISOTTO. WITH A DUCK EGG AND GRANA PODANA. This is dine in only friends and we’ve only got a couple dozen left. They’ll go quickly and they don’t start until 5 p.m. but its worth it.”

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


V. Mertz

5/2/2015 Update: V. Mertz has posted an Instagram pic of a morel mushroom!

Morel Mushroom at V. Mertz

Morel Mushroom at V. Mertz

V. Mertz is a fine-dining restaurant with fine-tasting food. They have a great ambiance set in the Old Market Passageway. V. Mertz have unique dishes that merge traditional and contemporary styles and different cultural influences. I wonder what they will do with morel mushrooms…

5/4/2015 Update: Check out the goose eggs and morels Instagram pic from V. Mertz!

Goose Eggs and Morels at V. Mertz

Goose Eggs and Morels at V. Mertz

V. Mertz Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

5/3/2015 Update: Lot 2 posted that they have morel mushrooms this weekend!

Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Lot 2 Restaurant & Wine Bar is another favorite restaurant. There is a lot to love at Lot 2 including the charcuterie board and bone marrow. Thus, I had a “woot woot” reaction when I saw Lot 2 has morel mushrooms!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


5/6/2015 Update: 
There are more morels sighted at Omaha restaurants including J. Coco, M’s Pub, Dolce, and Kitchen Table!

FoodMeOmaha loves morel mushrooms! I will update this post if there are other morel mushroom sightings at Omaha restaurants. Hopefully, mother nature will be generous this year.

I recommend contacting the restaurant beforehand, if you want to make sure they have morel mushrooms. They go fast!

Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants

It’s morel mushroom season! I don’t know where all the morel gold mines are for the picking, BUT I do know the prized mushrooms are being served up at Omaha restaurants.

Below are Omaha restaurants that have morels! The morel sightings at Omaha restaurants were discovered via Facebook and confirmed via recent phone calls to the places. Be aware that they sell out fast and the season is up to mother nature!


801 Chophouse at the Paxton

801 Chophouse is one of my favorite steakhouses in town. I enjoy their prime rib, the great service, and ambiance including the view of the big gold bull statue, parts and all. They have morels to enjoy with your meat of choice. They sold out yesterday but fortunately they have a new batch for today.

801 Chophouse at the Paxton’s Morel Mushrooms

Chophouse 801 at the Paxton’s USDA Prime steak with this seasonal preparation: morel compound butter, grilled ramps, and sauteed morel mushrooms.

801 Chophouse on Urbanspoon


Block 16

Block 16 is a teeny restaurant in downtown Omaha. Daily they have a different morel mushroom special. Past specials include morel Philly, morel burger, morel hot beef, and creamy morel mushroom soup. According to Facebook, their morel dishes won’t stop until the season is over. I wonder what other morel dishes they will have.

(Note that they are open for dinner only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and closed on Sunday.)

Block 16 black truffle PCF chicken salad panini wrap. Served with a bowl of creamy morel mushroom soup with crispy potatoes and sautéed morels.

Block 16 morel burger. House patty, oatmeal stout onions, morels, cheese and truffle steak sauce on a sesame bun.

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


The Grey Plume

Grey Plume’s Morel Mushrooms

The Grey Plume is a fine dining restaurant with fine food. The nice staff member I spoke with on the phone shared that they are receiving wonderful batches of morels. The morel dishes will vary day to day. Today they have “sauteed mushrooms with great texture and great profile.”

Check out the FoodMeOmaha story, “The Grey Plume’s National Rainier Cherry Day Dinner.” If TGP’s application of the morel mushrooms is as good as their rainier cherries, then you will not be disappointed!

The Grey Plume on Urbanspoon


J. Coco

J. Coco has morel mushrooms that can be added to any dish on the menu. The morels are made simply with sea salt and butter. I am salivating for all-star morels! Check out a past dining experience at J. Coco on the FoodMeOmaha story, “All-Star Dinner at J. Coco“.

5/15/2013 Update: I went to J. Coco today for an early dinner and they were out of morel mushrooms as of Monday according to the waiter! Tragedy. No forecasts on whether they will get more or not.

J. Coco’s Morel Mushrooms

J. Coco on Urbanspoon


Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar has morels as well! I got the inside scoop that they currently have 12 batch orders left. Lot 2 is serving morel mushrooms sautéed in white wine with garlic, shallots, and thyme for $12. Sounds yummy!

I know that there is a lot to love at Lot 2. Check out past FoodMeOmaha posts, “In Love with Lot 2” and “A Lot 2 Love at Lot 2“.

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

These are all great restaurants in town that have morel mushrooms! Get ’em while they last! I know I will.

5/15/2013 Update: The Boiler Room Restaurant and Dante Ristorante Pizzeria have morels too! Today, Boiler Room is featuring sauteed morels with their plum creek chicken entree. According to Facebook, Dante has “locally foraged morel & 600 day aged prosciutto pizza on the menu tonight (the prosciutto is aged for 600 days not the pizza just to be clear).”

Note I recommend calling the restaurants beforehand to make sure they still have morels available.

A Lot 2 Love at Lot 2

In a past FoodMeOmaha post, “In Love with Lot 2,” I shared my new-found love for Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar. I highly recommend Lot 2 and wanted to share the food with my foodie friends.

Thus, on Saturday, October 6th, a group of old and new friends met for dinner at Lot 2. The love continues.

Here are my top pig highlights from the dinner.

Crispy Pig Ears

  • Description: Crispy pig ears
  • Price: $4.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Don’t let pig ears scare you away from this nibbles dish. This should please most tastebuds. Baconesque, crispy goodness. Yummy!!!

Pork Belly

  • Description: Pork belly with sweet corn polenta, crispy shallots, swiss chard, and maple balsamic
  • Price: $18.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.75 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.75 out of 10

Oh my love. This is still my top favorite dish at Lot 2. The most tender and flavorful pork belly that is magic with the creamy polenta and maple balsamic.

Foodie friend, Joen, said in admiration that it is so tender, it’s like fish. Sooo gooood. It’s evil of me to write about this dish since it’s no longer offered on the menu. BUT it’s that good I had to share! I have been informed that other pork dishes will be added to the menu.

Here’s a smorgasbord of other delicious dishes the group enjoyed at Lot 2.

Thanks to foodie friends, Maude and Joen, for many of the pictures shown. We wish we had better lighting to show off the food!

Other new favorites at Lot 2 include the chicken confit, southeast Asian fish special, and the bourbon malt shake. The bites I had were delicious.

Here’s a picture of FoodMeOmaha with Chef Joel Mahr of Lot 2.

Chef Joel Mahr stopped by our table and presented dishes. It was great to meet the chef behind the food. Thanks Chef Joel!

There’s a lot to love at Lot 2.

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

In Love With Lot 2

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

On Wednesday, August 8th, Brian and I had a double date with our foodie pals, Richard and Erin, at the Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar.

I was past overdue to go to Lot 2, a new, locally-owned, Modern American restaurant in Benson. I consistently heard wonderful things about Lot 2 via word-of-mouth and the press. Sarah Baker Hansen, food writer of the Omaha World Herald and Omavore blog, declared Lot 2 as “One of Omaha’s best new restaurants“. FoodMeOmaha full-heartedly agrees.

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar is my new restaurant-love in town.

Lot 2 has a modern, wood-natural, inviting environment and friendly, helpful service. They only have ten tables in their restaurant so reservations are recommended. We had a reservation for 6pm and we were immediately seated when we arrived.

 

This was our first time at Lot 2. We studied the menu and we were tempted by many different dishes. For our primers/starters, we got the 1/2 board, mussels, and scallops.

1/2 Board

  • Description: Choice of 3 items of meats and cheeses served with spiced nuts, garlic config, tomato jam, dijon mustard and Le Quartier baguette.
  • Price: $9.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.5 out of 10

We had a choice of 3 items from a list of different meats and cheeses. We unanimously selected the prosciutto, then immediately selected the chevre once we learned it was goat cheese. (I’m a big fan of prosciutto and goat cheese!) Our third selection was something new to our palettes, the pate grand mere. Our waitress advised that it was very popular. And, oh yeah, I understand why. The pate grand mere is a beautiful blend of pork shoulder and chicken livers that I savored.

The entire board was a delight to the taste buds. I enjoyed every component including the complimentary nuts, garlic (Mmm from the garlic lover), mustard, pickles, and onions. The board was a great variety and balance of simple and sophisticated flavors and textures. In the end, the only remains was some mustard until Brian helped himself to spoonfuls of straight mustard…  Chuckle. The board was enjoyed and demolished between all of us.

Next time, I want to order the full board (6 items for $18)!

Scallops

  • Description: Scallops with succotash, parsley, chive, and lemon.
  • Price: $10.00, additional scallop for $5
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.75 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.75 out of 10

The scallops were so lovely and the succotash a wonderful complement. The scallops were cooked just right with a seasoned, seared outside and melt-in-your-mouth, smooth inside. Sensational! These are some of the best scallops I have ever had. The succotash brought it to another level with the creamy, sweet flavor and contrasting texture.

Mussels

  • Description: Mussels with sweet corn, bacon, buttermilk bleu, and scallions
  • Price: $7.00 (half order)
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.75 out of 10

I love mussels and happily introduced Erin to mussels on previous dinner outings. So, of course, we had to get the mussels. It was another hit. Both Erin and I, plus the boys, enjoyed the mussels. I had flavorful combination bites of the mussel body, warm broth, sweet corn twist, salty bacon pieces, bleu cheese flavor, and scallon accent. Mmm… Plus, you get a lot for just a half portion for $7!

The starters made us all happy. Our main entrees was another happy round of sharing and savoring. I ordered two primers, the roasted bone marrow and kale salad, as my main course.

Roasted Bone Marrow

  • Description: Roasted bone marrow with pear shallot jam
  • Price: $10.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.5 out of 10

The roasted bone marrow is rich, savory, melt-in-your-mouth heaven. Decadent goodness… I enjoyed both pure bites of bone marrow and combination bites of bone marrow, refreshing pear shallot jam, and red onion on top of a toasted baguette. Holy deliciousness!!! The roasted bone marrow is the bomb!

When the roasted bone marrow dish was set before me and I saw the big bone, I immediately blurted, “I feel like a dog!” Alas, I didn’t bark out loud, but I did salivate a little over the bone marrow goodness. And, in fun, posed in dog-fashion with the bone…

Kale Salad

  • Description: Roasted cauliflower, capers, walnut, golden raisins, parmesan, and yogurt dressing
  • Price: $5.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8 out of 10
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The Kale salad (pictured above on the left) was a nutty, earthy salad that was a nice balance to the rich bone marrow. I enjoyed the unique combination of the walnuts, parmesan, and kale.

Bangers & Mash

  • Description: House made sausage, mashed potatoes, and stout onion gravy
  • Price: $14.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Brian ordered the Bangers & Mash. My dude loves sausage (the food variety)! The sausage was good! It was flavorful, medium-spiced house made sausage which tasted great with the creamy mashed potatoes and onions. I favored the slightly-sweet stout onions which enhanced the dish.

Our waitress recommended that we at least get one of the following main dishes: Steak and Frites, Plum Creek Chicken, or the Pork Belly. Richard ordered the Steak and Frites and Erin ordered the Pork Belly. They were awesome recommendations so next time I may try the chicken.

Steak and Frites

  • Description: Flatiron steak, shallot butter, kale salad, and rosemary house frites
  • Price: $18.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The steak was ordered medium rare but was cooked a little under for Richard’s taste. However, for me, it was just right. The couple of pieces of steak that I had was steak goodness. I didn’t taste the rosemary in the fries, but I enjoyed them with the homemade honey mustard sauce. The fries reminded me of Darios’ pommes frites that I like.

Pork Belly

  • Description: Pork belly with sweet corn polenta, crispy shallots, swiss chard, and maple balsamic
  • Price: $18.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.75 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.75 out of 10

The pork belly was the top favorite dish of the awesome dinner by all four of us. The pork belly was magic and the most tender and flavorful pork belly that I have enjoyed. Match the savory goodness of the pork belly with the cream polenta and maple balsamic, and oh yeah… Marvelous.

I am in love with Lot 2. This place is my new favorite restaurant in town. Stellar food, atmosphere, and service for a great value. Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar is highly recommended!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Service Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Atmosphere Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Overall Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon