Saturday, October 3, 2009

Whoa Wren on the Road: Kansas City

As Kansas City is only a few short hours away, it is the perfect place to go for a weekend trip and this is a trip I take on a semi-regular basis. Due to this, I've mentioned my love of Kansas City before, so this will mostly be a repeat of places I've mentioned previously, but with new pictures.

The day following me and Alaina's exploration of Lawrence, we headed over to Kansas City, which is about a 45 minute drive. The first thing we did was get lost, which included me silently freaking out and Alaina calming me down and directing me via iPhone. Thankfully, we eventually arrived at our intended destination of Eden Alley, located next to the Country Club Plaza. I've had my issues with Eden Alley, mainly having to do with small portions, but it cannot be denied that I always look forward to stepping through their doors into their warm cocoon of reds, oranges and chocolate chip lavender cookies.

On this particular trip, Alaina and I were apparently both craving something 'cheesy' because Alaina got the Ultimate Garlic Grilled Cheese and I got the Smoky Tomato Bruschetta. These can both be made vegan through the removal of lactose cheese, and the addition of a delicious, creamy cashew cheese. They turned out to be essentially the same dish, with mine having smoky tomato aioli and Alaina's having chili cumin aioli. The good news is that both of these dishes were fantastic and filling. It's hard to go wrong with thick slices of bread smothered in warm cashew based cheese.

We followed the meal up with a dessert, and I have unfortunately forgotten the name of it. I do remember it contained fruits and was delightful. I can tell you with utmost confidence that it is nearly impossible to get a bad dessert at Eden Alley. Each and every confection I've eaten there has been mind-boggling in how good it is, with my favorite being their Pollock.

In an attempt to drum up some hunger before supper, Alaina and I took some time to wander around the Plaza and enjoy some shopping. Rechargeable penguin shaped flashlights were purchased, among other things, and Alaina and I eventually felt like we could once again imagine eating. To celebrate this, we made a beeline for Blue Nile Cafe. I love Blue Nile not only because of the succulent food, but also because they sell their spices in small to-go containers, even the ones needed to make their iced tea. I think this is absolutely wonderful. The one thing that stops me from buying spices and such at my local Ethiopian restaurant is that they all come in bags the size of my head. Blue Nile has solved this conundrum. Good for them. Now to the food.

Blue Nile Cafe has a clearly labeled vegan section but I would suggest splitting the veggie platter with a friend. A chance to try everything and a chance to split the bill, what could be better? The flavors are pungent, savory and each dish holds the ability to truly differentiate themselves- an impressive feat for stews poured next to each other on injera.

Reviewing both this blog post and my previous post on Kansas city has led me to realize that I truly need to expand my vegan exploration of this wonderful city. While I love my tried and true combo of Eden Alley, Blue Nile Cafe and Waldo Pizza, the city has much more to offer. For you, my dear Vegan Mofo readership, I shall venture down there with the intent of trying new places and reporting back to you. I look forward to both the journey, the challenge and the inevitable stomachache after I've eaten far too much delicious vegan food.

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