On a road-trip through Missouri, we enjoyed some vegan Kansas City highlights including Cafe Gratitude, an all-vegan coffeehouse, and more.
Kansas City is one of the Midwest’s best-kept secrets.
I stumbled upon it 5 years ago while driving across country. Expecting to find another ordinary mid-sized town, what I discovered instead was a cool place with outstanding vegan restaurants, great shopping, and the benefits of big city living with the easy pace of a smaller town.
So while we were plotting our route for a road trip to the final Vida Vegan Con in Austin, Texas, David and I made sure to get there by way of Kansas City.
In total, we spent 10 days on the road and in Austin. Now we are back home with kitty cuddling quotas to make up. (It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it.) So I sit here, happily trapped under Jezebel, and looking back at a fun experience that has convinced me to do road-trips more often.
(They’re cheaper. I don’t have to worry about my bag weight. And I can stop for vegan treats any time that I want. Plus, I can buy souvenirs of hummus, hot sauce, and Miyoko’s cheeses with no worries of them getting confiscated at the airport or exploding in my checked luggage. #veganproblems)
Vegan Kansas City
But back to the trip…
After dropping Jezebel and Avon off with my parents in Des Moines for a kitty vacation of their own, David and I continued to Kansas City, where we spent the night near the Plaza.
We had dinner at Café Gratitude, a restaurant that also has locations in Southern California and the Bay area.
The menu at Café Gratitude features filling, substantive food that is simple without being boring. I ordered one of my favorites – I Am Humble.
(That is the name of the dish – not an overt brag about how humble I am. Although, I am incredibly humble. It’s one of my greatest qualities.) 😉
I Am Humble is an Indian curry bowl with spicy and smooth lentils, spinach, and roasted sweet potatoes. It’s served over brown rice and drizzled with a sweet tamarind sauce and coconut mint chutney.
I like the balance of sweet and spicy, and the lentils reminded me of the curry lentil soup that I like to make for a quick and inexpensive dinner.
David got started early on the 10 Days of Tacos with a dish called I Am Transformed.
It includes butternut squash tacos on corn tortillas with black beans, salsa fresca, dollops of guacamole, and a drizzling of cashew nacho cheese. It’s served with a side salad.
This is one of David’s go-to orders at Café Gratitude. He can’t say no to a butternut squash or sweet potato taco.
After dinner, I asked to see the dessert menu. This is what they brought…
With this sitting within reach in front of you, I had to wonder if there’s anyone who says, “Oh, no thanks. No dessert for me.”
All of the options looked fantastic, but we went with the blueberry meringue to share. It was mildly sweet, dense, and creamy.
Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse
The next morning, we went to Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse to grab coffee and pastries for breakfast.
Mud Pie makes some of the best coffee anywhere – rich and bold without being bitter. (It’s the Adele of coffee beverages.)
I got a soy latte and kolache. I don’t think I’d had a kolache since elementary school when we’d occasionally get them on our hot lunch tray.
This pillowy pastry was stuffed with non-dairy cream cheese and sautéed mushrooms. It put me to the mind of a stuffed bagel. I finished every last crumb.
David got an enormous and quite tasty cranberry orange scone.
With full bellies we hopped back on the road. We are eager to return and explore more of the vegan Kansas City scene another time.