Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Best Of: Kansas City!

For Day 7 of Vegan MoFo, I want to talk about the best places for vegans to eat in Kansas City. I've had lots of experience, so trust me on these!!
I have to start by saying, I love Kansas City! Missouri, while in the middle of the country and often perceived as all farmers and cowboys, is actually home to a lot of great stuff: amazing produce, delicious veg-friendly restaurants, and cool vegans! Who doesn't love all that??
I wanted to do a "top ten list" but there are 12 that I really want to it's a top 12 list. Hope you don't mind :)
12. YJ's Snack Bar: YJ's is a little hole-in-the-wall diner in the Crossroads District. Open 24 hours, you can get really good food and coffee anytime you want! Awesome staff, cozy settings. They always have a vegan option, and it's always tasty! The menu changes daily, so you will always be surprised. They've even been featured on the Food Network show, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." Impressive!
11. The Record Bar This is a restaurant by day, music venue by night, and this place is great for both. They have several menu items that are or can be made vegan, and the staff is pretty knowledgeable about the ingredients. Awesome music-themed decorations and hardwood floors make The Record Bar have a true bar room feeling, but with great vegan food.
The Ian MacKaye Pizza
The Moby Sandwich (sans cheese) with Fries
10. McCoy's Pubhouse A surprising place to find vegan options, McCoy's is a KC local brewery that just happens to have great food, too! Their best vegan dish is the Sonoma Vegan Wrap, and they also have really yummy hummus and pita, and a Moroccan veggie stir fry. They have tons of vegan beers, too, if that's your thing.

9. Thai Place Thai cuisine is an obvious choice for vegans going out to eat, but Thai Place does it right. They have a really great vegetarian menu, and most things can be modified to be vegan. Perfect for anybody who likes spicy food and authentic Thai dishes!

8. Lulu's Thai Noodles and Satay Bar Lulu's has a fun atmosphere and extensive menu. You can get tofu in just about anything, and they fix it two different ways: fried or baked. Awesome peanut sauce, sriracha on everything and fresh veggies all over the place. And they have an awesome happy hour for super cheap food from 5-7 pm! Yes!

7. Blue Koi Noodles and Dumplings Blue Koi has aspects of Vietnamese and Chinese food, with great vegan options, including noodles, soups, dumplings, and spring rolls. The food feels very homemade and comforting, and the atmosphere is really lovely. They even have a few vegan dessert options! You cannot pass up this place.

6. Waldo Pizza The only local pizza place in Kansas City to have vegan cheese, Waldo Pizza is some of the best pizza in KC, vegan or not. A list of toppings a mile long...including pine nuts, kalamata olives, and roasted corn...a vegan is in heaven here. The staff is extremely helpful and knowledgeable about all the vegan and gluten-free menu items. Multiple crust and sauce options, a huge salad bar, and VEGAN CUPCAKES that are awwwweesome! The best non-homemade cupcakes I've had thus far. Seriously. Go here. They have Trivial Pursuit Cards on your table to play with while you wait! A really fun and tasty place for everyone!!

Pizza with Spicy Red Sauce, Vegan Mozzarella, Kalamata Olives, Pine Nuts, Artichoke Hearts, and Sweet Red Peppers, on Original Crust. Vegan Cappuccino Cupcake 5. Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant With about half of its menu being vegan and a beautiful outdoor seating area, Blue Nile is an easy choice when looking for something delicious and different. Amazing Ethiopian food all served with Injeera and usually some vegan dessert options, too! Everything there is just so flavorful, you won't believe it! The staff is great, too!
The Vegetarian Combination Platter, with extra Injeera
4. Blue Bird Bistro The best upper-scale place for vegans in Kansas City, Blue Bird's focus is on seasonal, local ingredients. The great staff and atmosphere are just extras when compared to the great vegan options, like Green Curry and Quinoa Cakes, or the Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake for dessert. Almost exclusively local and sustainable, you can feel good about eating at Blue Bird and supporting local farmers!

3. Jerusalem Cafe In my opinion, Jerusalem Cafe is the best Middle Eastern food in KC! The best falafel I've had to date and baba ghanouj that is making my mouth water just writing about it. It looks kinda like a dive, but the food will blow you away. The dinner sandwiches (on pitas) are a great deal, as they are HUGE and served with their savory yellow rice, Greek salad, and warm, housemade pita, all for under 8 bucks. Holy cow. I crave this pretty much weekly.
The Falafel and Hummus SandwichTabouli Salad
2. Succotash A hip, urban take on a greasy spoon diner, Succotash specializes in brunch favorites, with a funky and delicious twist. Not a ton of vegan menu items, but what they do have is aaaamaaazing!! If you call ahead, they will make you vegan stuff specially for when you come. Fancy! And they have great coffee. All you need, really.
The Grilled Veggie Wrap with Lemony Lima Bean Hummus, with a side of Homefries
The Veggie Quesadilla (with their Lima Bean Hummus subbed for cheese), topped with their housemade succotash and a side of Homefries1. Eden Alley Hands down the most vegan-friendly place in Kansas City, and probably all of the Midwest. With an awesome menu and a long list of daily specials based around seasonal, local produce, Eden Alley is a vegan food sanctuary. Every staff member is extremely knowledgeable about which items are vegan, or raw/soy free/gluten free. This place is all-vegetarian, too, so you will always be in pretty good company! Tons of vegan desserts, drinks, appetizers, and, on Saturdays, brunch! The owner/chef has published a vegan cookbook. That's how good she is! Located on the Plaza, this is a perfect place for a date or a night out with your friends. When it is nice outside, they have an adorable little patio for eating outdoors. I never want to leave!!
Sweet Potato Burrito

Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Icing and Candied Walnuts

** Good Coffee and Tea Places: Broadway Coffeehouse, Westport Coffeehouse, The Roasterie, Coffee Girls, and Teadrops. There are more, but these are my faves.**

These aren't the only great vegan-friendly places to eat/drink in Kansas City, but they're some of my favorites! If you live in Kansas City or travel here or just pass through, I hope you'll stop by some of these won't be sorry!!


Amey said...

hey! I have some vegan friends in KC, I'll send them a link to this post so that they can suss out your great info. Very nice!


Amey said...

ha ha! I meant :), not :0... but at least it's kinda funny!

Jeni Treehugger said...

WOW! Kansas has some awesome vegan foods on offer. I really like the look of the Tabouli and the grilled veggie wrap. HECK - all of it looks good.

miss v said...

i was just talking to someone at ink about my favourite veg-friendly places to eat in kc, and my top 5 are all on your list. :)