From my column in Tastebud Magazine
Table Hopping - July 2008
“Vegetarian places so good, you’ll never miss the meat!”
707 W 47th Street
Kansas City, MO 64112
In the lower level of the Unity Temple on The Plaza, you will find KC’s oldest and best vegetarian/vegan/raw/gluten-free restaurant in KC. Started by two friends in 1994, Sandi Corder-Clootz, an original owner, continues to operate the wide open, light and whimsical restaurant today with her husband Greg Clootz. The restaurant is as colorful as the variety of food on your plate with local art on the walls and tables. Try the Spinach and Mushroom Loaf made from multi-grain bread crumbs, fresh spinach, mushrooms, rice and tofu topped with tomato-basil marinara with roasted sweet potatoes for $6.25, an ample half order. SAMPLE: around the menu with the Tantalizing Transcendent Triplet and get an appetizer or soup and two smaller portioned entrées for $18.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Off 31st street and around the block from You Say Tomato is KC’s newest all vegan and mostly organic restaurant. Owners Diallo and Africka Kenyatta opened Café Seed in January, after moving here from NYC where they had a successful bookstore that served vegan food. The little place is a warm modern space with colorful artwork on the walls and tribal music playing. Choose the BLT with the soup of the day for $7.95, and be surprised at the flavor in the crispy soy bacon with butter lettuce and red ripe organic tomatoes on sprouted whole wheat toast. The soup on my visit was a creamy smooth black bean soup with a hint of the aromatic spice. START: your day in a healthy way with made-to-order organic juices or 100% vegan smoothies $4-$6, open weekdays at 7:00 am.
Blue Bird Bistro
1700 Summit Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 221-7559 http://www.kansascitymenus.com/bluebirdbistro/
Known for their quality and commitment to buying their ingredients straight from local farmers and producers, owner, Jane Zieha-Bell, took the original concept which was upscale vegetarian, and expanded it by adding a few meat dishes, using only the finest free-range chicken and grass-fed beef. However, the vegetarian dishes are still very much on the menu and a focus here. Try the Risotto topped with oyster mushrooms and caramelized onions for $19 or the Green Curry Vegetables with organic coconut milk for $11. Order from their mostly organic wine list, and see if you can taste the difference. AFTER: Your meal, Thursday – Saturday, stop in next door and pick up fantastically fresh artisan bread from the Fervere Bakery.
4855 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64112
White-collar types, book lovers from the library next door and mid-town monied Mom’s are all in The Mixx. Come here for the best designer salad bar in town. Chef/Owner, Jo Marie Scaglia, hires professional Chefs who hand-make your salad from the freshest vegetables available then toss them with wonderful designer dressings – try the non-fat Pear Ginger Vinaigrette. Order The Mixx salad and get your choice of greens with five mix-in’s (over 33 ingredients) and your choice of dressing with a slice of fresh bread for $7.49. Once you are done ordering and paying, enjoy people-watching in the modern dining room which does a brisk business at lunch. LOOK: at their menu online before you dine, because you are expected to order as soon as you arrive.
309 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
Tawfiq and Salha Al-habashi opened the Al-habashi Market, in 1992, in the heart of the City Market. A Middle Eastern grocery store featuring an impressive array of nuts, dried fruits, herbs and spices. In 2000, they expanded next door and opened a restaurant called Habashi House featuring the food of their culture. Their number #1 selling dish, also happens to be entirely vegetarian, is the House Combo for $6.99. It’s a great introduction to middle eastern cuisine featuring – Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Dawali (Dolmas), Falafil patties and a choice of salad with pita bread on the side. The service is fast and friendly, and the food is authentic and tasty. OPEN: only for lunch 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Monday-Friday, but on Friday and Saturdays they are open until 7:00 pm. Closed on Sunday.
Jenny Vergara is a full time Foodie and a woman on quest to develop her palate and herself through cooking, eating, drinking, traveling and writing. She has spent the last 5 years documenting all the restaurants she found along the way in a series of personal restaurant journals she keeps for her own enjoyment. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or keep up with her Foodie adventures at http://www.makingafoodie.com.