Sunday, December 7, 2008

jp's wine bar and coffeehouse

★★★(3 stars)

i'm giving jp's 3 stars, based more on the vegetarian side of things. it' s a cute little wine bar that has been in kansas city for a few years, and about a year ago (i'm guessing) they actually had to double the space because it was so popular. it's one of those places where you'll find art students, aging hipsters, and the business types all mingling. there are typical booths and bar tables, but there are also couch and comfy-chair seating areas for the more casual types.

the prices, unfortunately, aren't super cheap. but neither i
s the atmosphere. it feels very swank - almost too much so sometimes. for the vegetarian/vegan, they have a handful of cheese flights to choose from ($15/3 cheeses), as well as an antipasto platter. neither of which is strictly vegan, but to my surprise, the cheese flight came with lavosh crackers, grapes, caper berries, olives and pepperocinis. since this is more of a snack and pre-dinner type of place, i found that was plenty to munch on while the others ate the cheese. i haven't had the antipasto platter, but i'm sure it contains an assortment of other vegan-type eats.

the service is great, although it can get pretty crazy in there on a friday and saturday nights. i've never had a bad experience, but it is one of those places t
hat you only stay for one (or maybe two drinks). they do have live music sets, but it's not the type that will disrupt your conversations. overall, i'm giving it three stars based on the prices and sometimes snootier-than-thou atmosphere. but like i said, it's great as a one or two drink social place.

jp's winebar and coffeehouse

1526 walnut
kansas city, mo 64108

Sunday, November 2, 2008

mr. le's sushi

★★★★(4 stars)

mr. le's is a sushi, japanese and vietnamese food restaurant in north kansas city. this rating is based on their sushi menu, and awesome miso soup. they use hoisin sauce in their vegetable delight, which is veg*n (lee kum kee), so it's sweeter, but at least it's not oyster sauce. they also have vegetable fried rice (contains egg) and veggie stir fry noodles (not sure if it's vegan, but probably vegetarian), which is probably that extent of their veg*n dinner options.
they have edamame and vegetable tempura as veg*n appetizers. both are good, but not necessarily the best i've ever had.

they have four veg*n rolls - the avocado, the cucumber, the oshinko maki (pickled radish), and the vegetable roll (pickled radish, avocado and cucumber). this is pretty typical for the area - i've only been to one other sushi restaurant in the kc area that has more than four veg*n rolls, and some have even less. however, they give free miso soup with every sushi order - insane!

we've been three times in the past five days (uh, we were on a sushi kick), and their service is pretty consistent. mr. le makes most of the sushi, and has an assistant that helps him out. all three times i thought the rolls could be tighter, but in general, it's pretty good. they have sushi happy hour every day from 3-6, and this place fills a noticeable sushi void in the north kc area, which also helps its rating.


5024 ne parvin road
kansas city, mo 64117

Sunday, October 19, 2008

papa murphy's

★★★★(4 stars)

yea, it's a chain restaurant... but i figured i'd give it the old veg*n review anyways. their sauce and crust are vegan, so it makes it easy for me to eat there without resorting to salad.

we got the gourmet vegetarian, which has spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and chopped tomatoes. it also comes with onions, but we subbed black olives as neither one of us really likes onions. we just asked for cheese on one side - including some parmesan sprinkle they put on top. so half was vegan, and half was fine for my ovo-lacto vegetarian husband.

after we got it home, we baked it for about 5 minutes, then i sprinkled half a can of drained sauerkraut on top of my side. if you like sauerkraut, this makes a great crispy cheese-like topping (obviously it doesn't really taste like cheese). the husband loves sauerkraut on top of his cheese, but his side was way too overloaded already.

to be honest, it's not the best pizza in the world... i mean, it' s good, but it's not phenomenal. but i gave it 4 stars because 1. it's cheaper than other pizza take-out, 2. it tastes way better than frozen pizza, and 3. it's so easy when you don't feel like slaving in the kitchen making homemade pizza. i would probably would give it 3 and a half stars, but i don't feel like figuring out how to make a half star in html.

papa murphy's

lots of places - see the website

Saturday, October 18, 2008

ming garden

★★★★(5 stars)

this is my new found favourite cheap chinese take-out place. we moved up north of kansas city at the end of 2007 and found this place almost immediately. the only bummer is that we can't get delivery, but no one delivers to where we live, so i can't blame them.

they have the best veggie chinese food. they even have these fried veggie spring rolls with cabbage and mushrooms that inspired my recipe for kraut rolls. and they have the hot sauce. i have no idea why they call it hot sauce, because it isn't hot at all, but it is the best f*ing sauce i have ever had. every time i go, i grab handfuls of the packets (i know - tsk, tsk). it's the perfect combination of asian sauce and vinegar twang. if you are a vinegar lover, this stuff will change your life. i'm sure you can find it at other chinese take out joints, so look for it. ok, moving on.

the husband always gets the general tao's tofu, and i tend to always get the tofu and mixed vegetables. the tofu pieces are always the most perfect sized cubes, and often i get several deliciously crispy ones. they have tons of veggie options - more than any other cheapo chinese restaurant i've been to in kc. their menu also lists the elusive veggie and bean curd soup, which i haven't tried yet, but i'm giving them bonus points for having. the servings are huge - i can get like 4 meals out of my order (which is usually: dinner, post-dinner, breakfast, pre-lunch - yea, it's that good).


4311 ne chouteau trafficway
kansas city, mo 64117

Sunday, October 5, 2008

the thai place

★★★★(5 stars)

we went to the thai place last night for our 2 year anniversary. we first stumbled upon this restaurant about 6 months ago, and fell head over heals. it's a great place to suggest for groups or dates, because it is veggie-friendly and also offers less daring options for those who may not be food-experimental.

their online menu is a little misleading - it doesn't have everything at every location, and some locations don't have certain dishes. they list a happy hour online, but i've been to 3 locations and have still never found one. last night, we went to kc north.

our service wasn't that great, which honestly, was to be expected. i'm not really sure why, but the service is very hit or miss (at all locations). there is one server up north who doesn't even come to your table for drink orders until 7 or 8 minutes after you are seated.

i've had the veggie spring rolls several times - and they are pretty disappointing. there is not much in them except lettuce and bean sprouts. they serve it with some dipping oil (peanut oil?), which does not add anything to the dish, unfortunately. if i had to rate this place based solely on the spring rolls, i'd give it one star. seriously. we only got them last night because we were starving and couldn't find another veggie-friendly appetizer.

for our main course, the husband and i both got spicy cashew with tofu. it is our hands-down favourite item. since this was a celebration and we hadn't been there in several months, we couldn't resist the temptation. we both love spicy food - although i'm a little bit more of a spice freak. at the thai place, we order our food at medium temperature, and then also get a 'spice tray' so we can modify the heat. of course, i totally forgot to take a picture before we chowed down - we'd only split one bowl of bar pretzels between the two of us all day. so here is a picture of my dinner, once i came out of my food delirium and realized my mistake.

even though the service is only mediocre, and the veggie-appetizers are blah, i still give this place five stars. the meals and dynamite, the veggie entree options are plentiful, it is very clean and has a nice atmosphere.

**update 9/25/09: i always specify 'no fish sauce' when i order. last night, at the westport location, the server informed me that the diced green chilis on the spice tray contained fish sauce. the rest of the spice tray is vegan.

kc thai place


overland park (x2)
downtown (closed 2010)
north kc (closed 2010)