Tag Archives: missouri

Vegan-Friendly Kansas City

11 Sep

Kansas City is known for its BBQ and steak, but thanks to the growing desire for plant-based food, it is being put on the map as a vegan-friendly destination. With three (as of this posting) 100% vegan establishments and a variety of vegan-friendly bars, restaurants and stores, Kansas City is embracing its compassionate side.

Following is a list of vegan-friendly establishments located in one of the Show Me State’s most popular cities.

Café Gratitude

Café Gratitude is a 100% organic and plant-based restaurant chain primarily located in California, with a single location outside of the west coast. Needless to say, this location is in Kansas City! I was shocked when I first heard that Café Gratitude was opening a location here, and by the looks of it, this bold move was a smart one. Café Gratitude is almost always busy, which is a sign that the times are changing and people are moving towards healthy eating. This uplifting restaurant has creatively given their dishes positive and inspiring names.

My family and I began with an order of Present (“Bruschetta — toasted ciabatta with cashew mozzarella topped with tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette & fresh basil”). For our main dishes we enjoyed Grateful (“Shredded kale, brown rice, black beans & garlic tahini sauce”), Sensational (“Spaghetti squash noodles, spinach & portabella mushrooms tossed in our alfredo sauce. Topped with Brazil nut parmesan, basil & crushed red pepper. Served with our house side salad”), Transformed (“Two organic corn tacos with brown rice, black beans, guacamole, salsa fresca & cashew nacho cheese. Served with a side salad”), and Warm-Hearted (“Grilled pesto polenta over sautéed spaghetti squash, spinach & puttanesca sauce topped with Brazil nut parmesan, ricotta & basil”). We washed it all down with Incredible (“Banana, raw cacao, maca, almond butter, dates, coconut milk, & vanilla bean smoothie”).

Present Bruschetta from Café Gratitude

Present Bruschetta from Café Gratitude

Grateful dish from Café Gratitude

Grateful dish from Café Gratitude

Sensational dish from Café Gratitude

Sensational dish from Café Gratitude

Transformed dish from Café Gratitude

Transformed dish from Café Gratitude

Warm-Hearted dish from Café Gratitude

Warm-Hearted dish from Café Gratitude

Incredible smoothie from Café Gratitude

Incredible smoothie from Café Gratitude

Eden Alley Café

A 100% vegetarian restaurant, Eden Alley Café is located in the basement of the Unity Temple on The Plaza. Most of their dishes can be made vegan and many are gluten and soy-free. With an emphasis on local organic ingredients, Eden Alley Café does what they can to be kind to the environment including conservation, waste reduction, and recycling. Serving lunch and dinner Wednesday through Friday and brunch on Saturday, their large open space provides seating for more than 100 people and even includes a little shop with cookbooks, t-shirts and more.

FooDoo

Kansas City’s newest 100% vegan restaurant, FooDoo is a small establishment that prepares delectable dishes using fresh local produce, focusing on what is currently in season. Perhaps my new favorite plant-based restaurant in Kansas City, FooDoo definitely delivers in the flavor department.

My family and I enjoyed the Broadway Burrito (“Roasted Peppers – Caramelized Onions – Pepper-Jack – Hey Joe Chorizo – Jerked Potatoes – Jalapeno Jam” served with “Quinoa Black-eyed Pea Succotash & Organic Greens”), Taco Trio (“Cheddar – Shredded Lettuce – Tomato – Cilantro – Cactus Relish with Vietnamese Ham Gluten”), and The Bella (“Portabella Steak – Roasted Peppers – Pickled Onions – Italian Hot Peppers – Garlic Spinach – Mozzarella” on a Pretzel Bun and served with “Quinoa Black-eyed Pea Succotash & Organic Greens & Spicy Pickle”). I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious all of our meals were and will gladly return the next time I am in town!

Broadway Burrito from FooDoo

Broadway Burrito from FooDoo

Taco Trio from FooDoo

Taco Trio from FooDoo

The Bella sandwich from FooDoo

The Bella sandwich from FooDoo

The Foundry

The Foundry is a beer garden and bar + grill serving a handful of plant-based options. Such options include their Cheat Lover’s vegan pizza, guacamole, nachos (with “cheat meat” and vegan cheese, sans sour cream), Zucchini Fries (without honey or sauce), Sunflower Salad (with oil and vinegar dressing), and their Mean Joe Green salad (sans cheese). Thanks to a variety of options the plant-based crowd is sure to leave with full, happy bellies.

FüD

One of Kansas City’s first all vegan restaurants and a favorite among the plant-based crowd, FüD is a cash-only establishment specializing in both raw and hot dishes, and strives to serve organic meals. FüD’s sustainable practices include using “fluoride-free filtered water, composting, recycling, biocompostable to-go packaging and cutlery, buying local organic produce and providing the lowest impact food on the environment.” Now that is impressive! One such local item served here is Central Soyfoods tofu made in Lawrence, Kansas.

The dishes enjoyed at my table were the Smoked Tofu Nuggets (“A Basket of Fried Local Tofu Nuggets with side of Sweet Pickle Thrillanaise & spicy Chilinaise”), the Tune-Rahh Melt (“Tune-Rahh sandwich Panini Grilled with Garlic Sweed Cheese on Rye”), Phishwich (“Tune Rahh infused with cinnamon curry spice deep-fried and topped with Thrillanaise, Dillanaise, El Cream, Lettuce, Tomato & Purple Onion on Rye”) and the Olivewich (a mixture of olive tapenade, cashew cheese, lettuce and tomatoes), a brand new sandwich which is the cook’s favorite.

Smoked Tofu Nuggets from FüD

Smoked Tofu Nuggets from FüD

Tune-Rahh Melt from FüD

Tune-Rahh Melt from FüD

Phishwich from FüD

Phishwich from FüD

Olivada sandwich from FüD

Olivada sandwich from FüD

GreenAcres Market

GreenAcres Market is a natural foods store with seven locations (as of this posting), one of which is in Kansas City. With an emphasis on organic foods, nutritional supplements and body care items, this health foods store provides prepared foods in addition to pantry essentials and other grocery items. GreenAcres Market also takes it a step further by providing regular in-store classes and seminars to further educate the public on healthy lifestyles.

Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee is Kansas City’s first and only (as of this posting) 100% vegan bakery and coffeehouse. The super friendly folks here at Mud Pie make some delectable desserts and are happy to provide for various events including birthdays and weddings. One such event I used them for was my mother’s 60th birthday! In addition to desserts, Mud Pie also offers savory treats including house made scones and burritos from FüD.

The items I enjoyed from Mud Pie were their Lemon Kiss cupcake (filled with a delicious lemon curd), Coconutz bar, Mostess cupcake (fashioned after the popular commercially sold cupcake), Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treat, and their Apple Crumb Cake. Every single item I have had here has been delicious — highly recommended!

Coconutz from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Coconutz from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Mostess Cupcake from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Mostess Cupcake from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Peanut Butter Crispy Treat from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Peanut Butter Crispy Treat from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Apple Crumb Cake from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Apple Crumb Cake from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

Natural Grocers

Located in nearby Independence, MO, Natural Grocers (formerly Nature’s Pantry) is an excellent natural foods store providing a plethora of goodies including those which are difficult to find. Having opened its doors in 1995, Natural Grocers has since expanded and opened a Deli Café, providing paninis, pizzas and salads. In addition to groceries, Natural Grocers has a bulk and vitamin section, and sells various household and personal items as well. Some of the local items they sell are Central Soyfoods tofu (in Garlic Herb, Hickory Smoked, Hot Fiesta and Plain flavors) and Manifest Chocolates, which provides caramels and chocolates that are vegan, gluten, soy, dairy and nut free.

While here, I picked up a bunch of treasures including some Gardein Fishless Filets, a container of Garlic Just Mayo (Natural Grocers currently carries all four flavors), a package of Rising Moon Organics Artichoke and Olive Ravioli, and a container of non-dairy Scotch Chocolate ice cream from Steve’s Ice Cream — perhaps the best ice cream I have ever had! Definitely check this place out.

Nature's Pantry

Natural Grocers

Steve's Ice Cream - Scotch Chocolate Ice Cream

Steve’s Ice Cream – Scotch Chocolate Ice Cream

One More Cup

One More Cup is a coffee shop serving assorted smoothies (most, if not all can be made vegan with soy milk), and items from various local businesses including sandwiches from FüD, Tamales from Mean Vegan, and desserts from Kneaded Specialties and Be Free Bakers. The owners seem very passionate about their business so this is one worth supporting.

Seasons 52 Fresh Grill

A more upscale restaurant with separate vegan menu, Seasons 52 Fresh Grill is a chain located throughout the United States with dishes that are 475 calories or less. Their plant-based menu currently (as of this posting) features various appetizers, sides, entrees, a couple salads, and blueberries for dessert.

Spin! Neapolitan Pizza

A pizza chain with locations in California, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, Spin! Neapolitan Pizza has a Kansas City location that offers Daiya cheese, which can be used on any of their pizzas (minus the meat). While their soups are not vegan, Spin! does offer a few salads that can be ordered without meat and cheese, and topped with vinaigrette dressing. Their croutons are cooked in olive oil.

Succotash

Succotash is primarily a brunch and lunch restaurant with a few plant-based items and a variety of juices and smoothies. Soy milk is available. The folks at this establishment pride themselves in using locally grown/made ingredients whenever possible. As of this posting, available lunch items include pancakes, scramble and a wrap; the latter two featuring Succotash’s signature lima bean hummus and succotash.

Waldo Pizza

With two locations in the metropolitan area, Waldo Pizza gives Kansas Citians their choice between their Waldo and Lee’s Summit locations. This pizza chain goes above and beyond for their plant-based crowd, offering a variety of pizzas, starters, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages. For the gluten free vegan crowd, Waldo Pizza even offers an egg & gluten-free pizza crust (ask to make sure). Pizza offerings include both Daiya and Follow Your Heart cheeses, a large variety of veggies, various meat alternatives including chicken, hamburger, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and taco meat, and a variety of exciting sauces including, but not limited to, barbeque, buffalo, taco sauce and vegan garlic butter. After you’ve gorged yourself on delicious food, Waldo will send you on your merry way with a vegan after dinner mint.

I have been to Waldo Pizza multiple times and their pizza (and offerings) just seem to get better and better. My choice this time was a hand-tossed crust with artichokes, capers and “chicken” topped with Daiya Mozzarella. The capers added a really nice flavor to the pizza, which was delicious, but my only complaint this time around is that there was hardly any “chicken” on the pizza…I wanted much more! Definitely support these guys and gals.

Artichoke, Capers and "Chicken" Pizza from Waldo Pizza

Artichoke, Capers and “Chicken” Pizza from Waldo Pizza

Yogurtini

Yogurtini is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop that offers 1-2 vegan flavors of sorbet with various toppings including fruit, nuts, Oreos, Nutter Butter cookies and a handful of sauces. When I stopped by, Yogurtini had just one vegan flavor, their Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet, which was very good. Previously they had a pomegranate flavor.

Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet from Yogurtini

Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet from Yogurtini

Have you been to Kansas City before, or do you currently live there? What are your favorite vegan-friendly places to frequent?

Advertisements

Vegan-Friendly St. Louis

5 May

The city of St. Louis is perhaps best known for its famous Gateway Arch, located on the west bank of the Mississippi river. The monument was opened to the public in 1967 and has remained a popular tourist attraction ever since (source). During my visit to this beautiful city, I had the pleasure of visiting a few vegan-friendly establishments.

Pi Pizzeria

This popular pizzeria has three locations in St. Louis and offers various vegan items including deep dish and thin crust pizzas. Aside from your typical pizza toppings, Pi Pizzeria also offers Daiya vegan cheese and vegan Match Meat sausage. Pi’s traditional deep dish pizza is prepared with a buttered pan, so should you want a vegan deep dish pizza, the restaurant requests that you call at least 6 hours before you plan to eat there so that they can prepare a special crust just for you, sans butter.

With so many delicious toppings to choose from, we settled on Daiya cheese, Match sausage, wild mushrooms, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic and fresh rosemary. With a thick cornmeal crust, delicious toppings and tasty chunky tomato sauce, this pizza is one you should not pass up.

If you are able to refrain from devouring a whole pizza, I recommend enjoying a couple of their vegan (and gluten-free) chocolate chip sandwich cookies. Who doesn’t love moist cookies with a delicious vanilla cream filling in between? To top it all off, we washed down this delicious fare with some local Schlafly beer. We left with our stomachs full and our hearts happy.

Deep Dish Pizza from Pi Pizzeria

Deep Dish Pizza from Pi Pizzeria

Local Harvest Café

Local Harvest Café came highly recommended by a friend, and after looking at their menus, I knew I had to go. Needless to say I was not disappointed! With two locations, we stopped by the Tower Grove restaurant for dinner one night. As an appetizer we split an order of the vegetable sushi and got to sample some house-made pickled apple, carrots and pineapple. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the pickled items, but found that their natural flavors were nicely accented with fresh dill and vinegar.

For our entrees we enjoyed the Baby Kale and Crispy Potatoes Salad, White Bean Soup, Sage and Parsley Polenta and the Vegan Mushroom Linguini. The salad was good and we loved the crispy potato topping, which provided a nice texture. The soup was deliciously creamy and hearty, but also crunchy thanks to the black pepper croutons on top. The polenta was drenched with roasted butternut squash stew and accompanied by sauteed tat soi (an Asian variety of bok choy or mustard), which had a very nice flavor to it. Finally, the linguini was served with porcini mushrooms, spinach, garlic, roasted pine nuts and fresh herbs, and covered with a nice, lightly-salted oil. Everything we tried was delicious.

Though the prices at Local Harvest are a little high, the food is very fresh and of high quality to match. From what I understand, Local Harvest takes part in a local CSA, where they obtain much of their produce.

White Bean Soup from Local Harvest Cafe

White Bean Soup from Local Harvest Cafe

Baby Kale & Crispy Potatoes Salad from Local Harvest Cafe

Baby Kale & Crispy Potatoes Salad from Local Harvest Cafe

Sage & Parsley Polenta from Local Harvest Cafe

Sage & Parsley Polenta from Local Harvest Cafe

Mushroom Linguini from Local Harvest Cafe

Mushroom Linguini from Local Harvest Cafe

After viewing Local Harvest’s brunch menu, we were quickly persuaded to visit the Downtown location for brunch a couple days later. After finding out that we are all vegan, our friendly waitress informed us about the vegan specials they had. We chose two of them: the Sloppy Joe Slinger and the Root Beer Float French Toast. Not knowing what a slinger was, we quickly found out that it is a potato hash covered in either chili or gravy. Local Harvest did an excellent job on the slinger as it tasted eerily similar to the Sloppy Joes I grew up with. Accompanied by a couple slices whole wheat bread, the Sloppy Joe Slinger was all you would need in a meal. The french toast was basically dessert for breakfast! Two thick-cut pieces of brioche flavored with root beer, smothered in chocolate syrup and then accompanied by two scoops of coconut ice cream, this breakfast was awesome! Though I could barely taste the root beer (if at all), it was a very memorable dish that I would recommend to others.

In addition to these two dishes, we also enjoyed some house-made coconut granola, potato hash, vegan sausage and a peanut butter banana smoothie. The granola and hash both had wonderful flavors, as did the sausage, however, it was more like a slice of bread (both in look and texture) than actual sausage. It wasn’t bad, however, it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. To top it all off, the peanut butter banana smoothie tasted mostly like banana and could have used a little more peanut butter, but it was lightly-sweetened however, which was refreshing!

Sloppy Joe Slinger from Local Harvest Cafe

Sloppy Joe Slinger from Local Harvest Cafe

Root Beer Float French Toast from Local Harvest Cafe

Root Beer Float French Toast from Local Harvest Cafe

Potato Hash & Coconut Granola from Local Harvest Cafe

Potato Hash & Coconut Granola from Local Harvest Cafe

Vegan Sausage from Local Harvest Cafe

Vegan Sausage from Local Harvest Cafe

Sweet Art

I had heard rave reviews about Sweet Art so we stopped by in between activities one day, and each of us ordered a Boston cream cupcake. A huge Boston cream pie fan, myself, these moist cupcakes had just the right amount of sweetness with a creamy vanilla center and chocolate topping. I could have easily devoured four of these in one sitting. AMAZING.

Aside from offering desserts, Sweet Art also offers brunch and lunch. We weren’t able to try their brunch this time around but we did enjoy some lunch on the following day. One of the nice things about Sweet Art is that they offer a 1/2 sandwich + salad or side deal for around $8. Wanting to try multiple things, we took advantage of this deal and settled on various combinations of their Mackin’ Cheese, Queen Kale Salad, Jewel and River Monster sandwiches. Sweet Art’s Mackin’ Cheese is rich and satisfying and full of greasy goodness. Since they offer Daiya on some of their sandwiches, I’m assuming the sauce is a Daiya mixture with nutritional yeast in addition to a couple other items. Tasty! The kale salad had chunks of sweet potato with steamed kale and a light dressing. Both sandwiches were also good. I especially liked the River Monster as it had panko-crusted seasoned fried tofu with a curry tartar sauce. I could eat that stuff by the spoon, it was so good. In addition, the sandwich also had organic mixed greens and agave-lime pickled red onions. The Jewel sandwich had caramelized onions, fresh herbs, local organic sunflower sprouts, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, Daiya cheese and their signature vegan magic spread on house-made hoagie.

Queen Kale Salad & Jewel Sandwich from Sweet Art

Queen Kale Salad & Jewel Sandwich from Sweet Art

Mackin' Cheese & River Monster Sandwich from Sweet Art

Mackin’ Cheese & River Monster Sandwich from Sweet Art

Since we enjoyed the Boston cream cupcakes so much the day prior, we purchased a brownie, cinnamon roll, carrot cake cupcake and strawberry lemonade cupcake to go. Yes, all vegan! These were all moist and absolutely delicious as well. The folks at Sweet Art sure know what they are doing!

Strawberry Lemonade & Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Sweet Art

Strawberry Lemonade & Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Sweet Art

Cinnamon Roll & Brownie from Sweet Art

Cinnamon Roll & Brownie from Sweet Art

Black Bear Bakery

Having heard that Black Bear Bakery has a great Saturday buffet-style brunch with lots of vegan options, we elected to try it out. Unfortunately, however, we were disappointed. Perhaps the bakery was having an off day, but the buffet was small and the only vegan options offered were tofu scramble, potatoes, steamed kale and fruit. Not exactly my definition of “lots” of options, but then again, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I have high standards.

In addition, I found the food to be a bit on the bland side. While this can be seen as a good thing (i.e. healthy), everything could have used just a dash of salt and pepper to liven it up and bring out the flavor. The tofu scramble had carrots, green onion and turnips with a few cubes of tofu, the potatoes were plain but nicely roasted, and the kale had what looked to be a little nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. Luckily there was a table at the end of the buffet with a handful of seasonings such as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and nutritional yeast. After sprinkling some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos on most of my plate, I was happy to finish the rest of my food.

A nice added touch that the bakery provided was musical entertainment. A local folk-type band got their groove on while we all chowed down. We left Black Bear Bakery with a couple cinnamon raisin cookies and a crunchy carrot muffin. Both were actually very good and hearty.

Breakfast Plate from Black Bear Bakery

Breakfast Plate from Black Bear Bakery

I Scream Cakes
After an ice cream craving struck, we found I Scream Cakes, thanks to a friendly fellow vegan who waited on us at Pi. Located next door to Black Bear Bakery, I Scream offers 3-4 vegan coconut-based ice creams each day. Those featured when we stopped by were Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana, Strawberry and Tastes Like Purple. According to the gentleman behind the counter, purple tastes like tropical fruit and also describes the color of the ice cream. The flavors we tried were Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana and Strawberry. Both ice creams were nice and creamy, with the chocolate tasting primarily of, well, chocolate and banana. I felt that it needed more peanut butter as it was a little difficult to taste. The Strawberry ice cream was very fresh, and we could tell that I Scream used real strawberries to flavor this ice cream. Very good!

In addition to their frozen treats, this ice cream shop also sells local vegan baked goods such as cupcakes.

Schlafly Bottleworks
Schlafly is a popular St. Louis brewery offering guided beer tastings each Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the neighboring town of Maplewood. According to Barnivore, all of Schlafly’s beers are vegan, yay!!! After being provided with a 5 or 6-ounce glass, then watching a short video about the brewery, we tasted four of Schlafly’s beers: Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Dry Hopped APA and Oatmeal Stout. There were baskets of pretzels to munch on in between beers, which helped somewhat clear our palates before proceeding with the next beer. My personal favorite was the Hefeweizen as it is a light, unfiltered wheat beer, similar to my beloved Blue Moon. For those of you who enjoy coffee, I recommend the Oatmeal Stout as it tasted like straight coffe and was a favorite among the group.

%d bloggers like this: