This won’t be your typical Kansas City food tour, because I am told that one of those would not be complete without KC barbeque, and I like to eat a bit lower on the food chain than that. Actually, it might shock you to learn that KC has some downright AMAZING options for us plant-food-lovers! I mean, like, I would not at all be opposed to moving to Kansas City, and before this visit I was fairly foggy on where it even was. (Missouri, in case you were wondering. Not Kansas.)
The one place I could not WAIT to go to was Cafe Gratitude. I had heard eyeroll-inducing tales from a few dear friends about the completely vegan menu and how delightful every single dish they serve is. And I was NOT disappointed! (This’ll make you laugh, I actually had to pull out a notebook at the table and write down everything I wanted to try, and I ended up ordering no less than SIX dishes and sampling those of my friends as well. I’m nothing if not thorough when trying a new restaurant!)
My order for the evening included the following:
>> “Cosmic” tonic – Stevia-sweetened coconut kefir “margarita”
>> “Honoring” live nachos – Live seed crackers with sunflower seed pate, guacamole, salsa fresca, and vegan “nacho cheese” (These were incredible!)
>> “Present” bruschetta – Toasted ciabatta with cashew mozzarella, topped with tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and fresh basil. (The best thing I tasted all evening.)
>> “Dynamic” eggplant parmesan – Herb-cornmeal crusted eggplant over a bed of spaghetti squash noodles, cooked in vegan alfredo sauce and topped with marinara and brazil nut parmesan. (The second-best thing I tasted all evening.)
>> “Fabulous” raw lasagna – A raw lasagna layered with veggies, pesto, olive tapenade, sundried tomato marinara, and cashew ricotta.
>> Dessert – I wish I could recall the name. All I can remember is that it was a spin on an energy bar, made with various healthy grains and natural sweeteners, gogi berries, and other goodness. Dipped in dark chocolate. (Whitney ordered the chocolate cheesecake. Heavenly.)
>> Also, honorable mention goes to the “Extraordinary” House CLT (Which I did not order, but wish I had, after tasting Whitney’s.) It is a sandwich featuring toasted chipotle maple coconut shavings, lettuce & tomato, guacamole, and a spicy cashew aioli. And when I tasted it, I died. Bliss!
I’m telling you, everything was beyond divine! I truly couldn’t contain myself… I was eye-rolling left and right. (I will say, though, that between me and you, the “Cosmic” tonic and the “Fabulous” raw lasagna were not my favorite. The tonic tasted like sweet tarts, and I’m not a fan of sweet tarts. And the lasagna was too olive-y for me, and I’m not a fan of olives.) But I was a fan of the overall committment to complex flavors using plant-based ingredients. The creativity that goes into plant-based cooking is a beautiful, delicious thing! Plus I felt like a total hipster pretty much the entire weekend. (Minus the part where I whipped out a notebook at the table to organize my orders. I’m no expert, but I’m guessing stuff like that doesn’t fly among real hipsters?)
The next restaurant I wanted to share with you was a little place we went to after church on Sunday called The Mixx. I hadn’t heard of it before, so I was expecting it to be your typical sandwich/salad shop. But I was blown away by the attention to flavor and the myriad options they had! I ended up selecting Sweet Potato Fries with Curry Ailoi, a Roasted Turkey Sandwich with Arugula and Apricot preserves, and the Garden of Eden Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette. I mean… come ON, Kansas City! I was perfectly happy with my choices here in Little Rock until you came along and spoiled me forever.
You owe yourself a trip to Kansas City, MO. I can’t wait to hear what you think when you experience it for yourself!