Wednesday, July 29, 2009

About this blog

If this is your first time visiting this blog, you might wonder why it's been so long since my last post. This was my birthday project for this year. I turned 31 and I love veggieburgers and March has 31 days. So, of course I thought it made sense to find and eat 31 veggieburgers to celebrate my 31st birthday. It was an amazing journey, I had a lot of fun doing it and found a lot of great places in the process. I hope you'll enjoy your time around here. Feel free to leave a comment, I will certainly respond. Cheers and happy veggieburgers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Honorary Veggie Burger

My cousins Beto and Lindsey had their very first veggie burger recently and made a video blog about it. I was really moved by it and asked if I could post it on my blog. They said yes. So, here it is.

If you too have been touched by the veggie burger and would like to leave a testimony here (whether it's a photo, a video or a written piece), please e-mail me at secamode(at)gmail(dot)com and I will upload it. Thanks!

Our First Veggie Burger from Lindsey Joy and Beto on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

31 - Chef Burger

It seems like only yesterday I was standing in front of the Hereford House launching my veggie burger adventure. The backdrop of a burned-down steak house seemed to me a deliciously poignant symbol of my absolute disinterest in meat (but I swear, I didn't start the fire!). The following day I would embark on my journey, to hungrily go where no veggie burger fan had gone before.
Having the last of my 31 veggie burgers at Chef Burger was a decision I made early on. It only made sense to end my undertaking at the place where the idea was born. From the very first time I visited Chef Burger on their opening week, I fell in love with the place. It is a fun dining environment with tasty burgers and shakes. The falafel burger quickly became a standard of mine, but then one day it was sadly and inexplicably dropped from the menu. Fortunately, they continued to offer a black bean veggie patty, which is no match for the legendary falafel burger, but still packs a punch in any of their burger combinations.
The fact that I'm so sad that this has come to an end makes me feel really silly. I mean, it's just veggie burgers, right? But then again, it was more than just veggie burgers. The blog and daily trips quickly turned into an opportunity to connect with friends and family as well as make new friends. It became a daily celebration of the simple things in life, the simple things that bring us closer to what really matters in life ... people.

Chef Burger on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 30, 2009

30 - Room 39

Room 39 has so many wonderful items on the menu that I was afraid I might want to order something other than the veggie burger. But then I read the description again and was convinced that I was making the right decision. The veggie burger is a delicious patty made with bulgur wheat, black beans and sautéed vegetables that is cooked to perfection. The texture and the flavors are in tasty harmony and the roommade fries are crispy crisp! If you're going to order the veggie burger (and I think you should), be sure to go at lunch time because that's the only time it's offered.
Well, don't forget to check in tomorrow for the grand finale!

Room 39 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 29, 2009

29 - Ted's Montana Grill

It was a beautiful morning today. The sun was out, the ice and snow were melting quickly, the sky was bright blue. I didn't really want to drive 40 minutes for my veggie burger. That's why I was so pleased to learn I could have one a few blocks from home. Ted's Montana Grill in the Power and Light District is a restaurant I never even thought about. I mean, their logo is a bison, for crying out loud. It just didn't seem like the right habitat for veggie burgers to thrive. Boy, was I ever wrong!
If Pottery Barn went back about a hundred years ago and decorated a saloon in the Wild West, Ted's Montana Grill is what it would look like. And I mean that in the best possible way. The food is just good old American food, done right. Which is to say, it is not necessarily a vegetarian's haven. But what they lack in veggie options, they make up for with the heartiest Boca patty, served in any of among 20 burger combinations. These burgers are not for the faint of appetite, they are generously sized and require both hands at all times.
Aside from the great food and excellent service, we were quite taken by this restaurant chain's commitment to the well-being of the environment. You wouldn't expect a restaurant that has a mounted bison head on the wall to make such a big deal about green issues. And they're not just all talk. Their menu and website claim that the restaurant is 99% plastic free, the exception being the drinking straws (which are eco-friendly, by the way). But for further proof of their commitment, all you have to do is step in the bathroom, where you'll find water-free urinals as well as natural soap dispensers and air hand dryers.
So yes, I think Ted's Montana Grill is a great place, even though the only thing I'll ever be able to eat there is the veggie burger (it's a good thing the veggie burger is tasty!). And that's not just the melting snow talking.

Ted's Montana Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 28, 2009

28 - Harry's Country Club

On a beautiful Spring day (like today should have been) I can walk from my apartment down to the River Market and enjoy a veggie burger at Harry's Country Club. Today, everything was perfect, aside from the weather. The veggie burger at Harry's is a Boca patty, and there's nothing particularly amazing about it. The best thing about Harry's is everything else: the atmosphere, the decor, the rest of the menu, the great selection of brews and the service. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very tasty burger, and the thin fries are great. And, if you go during happy hour (like we did today), you can't really beat their prices. So, if you haven't already been to Harry's, check it out. It is a Kansas City original, for sure!

Harry's Country Club on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 27, 2009

27 - Two Headed Feast

Two Headed Feast is a very exclusive experience. So exclusive, in fact, that you can only get a reservation if you're invited by the Two Headed Beast. The service, the food and the atmosphere are out of this world. I give it eleven out of ten stars. Tonight we had a most delicious home made herbed nut and bean veggie burger, gallantly flanked by a side of mashed cauliflower. And, oh my, I shouldn't forget to mention the appetizer of mini peppers stuffed with rice and mushrooms.
All around it was an exquisite evening. It is oh so fortunate to have such fun and kind people as friends. Thank you, Mirna, Chris and Alex!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

26 - Willie's

There are bicycles hanging from the ceiling at Willie's. Not that it has anything to do with veggie burgers, I just thought it was interesting. The onion rings were really good. I hadn't had onion rings since I started this blog. And the veggie burger was good, too. It was spicy. I'm not one to frequent sports bars, but I'm very happy Willie's has a veggie burger and I would gladly order it again. They have an amazing view of the Sprint Center. I think it would be fun to go when the garage doors are open and the weather is nice. I only have five veggie burgers left and it's making me kind of sad. Cheers.

Willie's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

25 - Cafe Seed

Being the only completely vegan restaurant in Kansas City, Cafe Seed was one of the first places on my 31 Veggie Burgers list. So, when I called a couple of weeks ago to confirm their hours and couldn't reach anyone, I was concerned. One of our favorite places to eat has already closed down due to the economy, I was scared we might have to say goodbye to another one. After calling every couple of days for the next two weeks, I finally reached someone and learned they had been closed due to their next door neighbor's construction. Fortunately they are back in business and today I had their vegan burger.
This is a small, family-run operation. The food is prepared when you order it and the cook takes the time to make everything right. Cafe Seed is not a place you go to when in a hurry, you should be prepared to wait a bit for your food. But let me tell you, when your food comes to the table, you forget how long it took to get there. Everything I've ordered at Cafe Seed is absolutely delicious, from the waffle at Sunday brunch to today's burger.
I'm fortunate enough to work within walking distance of Cafe Seed. And I couldn't have asked for a better day to go. The sun was out and there was a refreshing breeze. Perhaps the Spring is finally deciding to show up. Whether you can walk to Cafe Seed or not, I encourage to take the time to visit and enjoy their food. You won't regret it!

Cafe Seed on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

24 - The Peachtree

The truth is that if you go to The Peachtree, you're probably not going for the veggie burger. But that's why I went, and I'm happy I did. The Peachtree is a Kansas City establishment (originally located at 18th and Vine, now in the Power & Light District) know for it's "soul food with elegance." I would have never guessed to check their menu for a veggie burger, and I only recently learned they had one when my friend Kevin spotted it and told me about it.
The veggie burger was fine, but the fried okra and the fried green tomatoes stole the show. Nobody knows good fried food like The Peachtree! Their location is a prime spot in the P&L District, and their floor to ceiling windows offer a phenomenal view of the district and the surrounding downtown buildings.
I'll be happy to go back on a weekend night when they have live music and enjoy another veggie burger with seasoned fries. If I'm feeling particularly crazy, I might get the okra and green tomatoes, too.

The Peachtree on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 23, 2009

23 - Burger King

Every day millions of people go to a drive through window, order a burger and get on with their day. But if you're looking for a veggie burger, your drive through options are rather limited. So limited, in fact, that I only know of one drive through window where you can get a veggie burger: Burger King. What for many is a quotidian activity, for a few becomes an extraordinary event.
The veggie burger at Burger King is exactly what you would expect. And I mean that in a good way. There is just something about fast food that always seems to excite my senses. I have many memories of visiting relatives in the U.S. and begging to be taken to McDonald's (we didn't get McDonald's in Mexico until I was in my teens). After wearing out my parents, I'd finally get my wish and it was as though they were taking me to Disneyland.
Smelling that mixture of salt, sugar and fat took me back to my childhood. Eating a burger and fries in the car took me back to college. And so, what had once been a bad habit became for one lunch break a very special treat. I'm impressed with Burger King for including this in their menu. And, I think that their competition would be wise to follow suit.

Burger King on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 22, 2009

22 - McCoy's

I am incredibly fortunate to have such good people as friends. And today was a wonderful day for me, the kind of day one wishes would never end. It has been so nice to receive birthday wishes on my Facebook wall, via e-mail, phone, and text message. And what better way to end the day than surrounded by friends around veggie burgers and cake (and a veggie burger cake).
The setting for my 22nd veggie burger was McCoy's. It has long been my favorite veggie burger, and I knew all along it would have to be the place for tonight's special edition of 31 Veggie Burgers. McCoy's has good food, great atmosphere, nice beer. And plenty of room to gather with lots of friends of all dietary persuasions. Whether you're a vegan, a carnivore, or a veggie burger fiend, McCoy's is the place for you.

Thanks to all my special guests:
Nina, Deena & Sidney, Ellie, Rachel, Nick, Kevin, Scot & Marla, Bryan & Erica, Amanda, Marcelle, Chris & Mirna & Alex, Shannon & Rich, Monica & Gilbert, Sarah & Thomas, Season & Chris, Rick & Kelly, Emily, and, all the way from Tulsa, OK, Jon & Erin.

McCoy's Public House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 21, 2009

21 - Free State Brewing Co.

Mustard is my favorite condiment. Oh, I'm sorry, did I already mention that? Well, I'll say it again. Mustard is my favorite condiment, and at Free State Brewing Co. it is Mustard March Madness. Unfortunately I didn't make it early enough and they had already run out of all but one little jar of garlic mustard. But I enjoyed it all the same.
The veggie burger was great. Top points for texture and flavor, bonus points for hand cut fries and an honorable mention for the delicious barley wine. I have to confess it took some convincing to make another trip out to Lawrence. The thought of spending more than ten minutes in the car just makes me antsy. But I'm really glad we ended up going anyway and we couldn't have chosen a more beautiful day.
Next year I will make sure I get to Mustard March Madness at the beginning of the month. For now, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for the mustard drawing. Now, wouldn't that be a phenomenal way to end my veggie burger project!

Free State Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 20, 2009

20 - Houston's

Tonight was the first time I felt a little bit strange ordering a veggie burger. Houston's is a very nice place; as you walk in there is a sign that reads "Proper Attire Required." I was nervous I might not be dressed well enough, until I saw a guy at the bar in an old t-shirt and jeans. Nonetheless, this seemed more like the kind of place where you order some kind of fancy steak and a bottle of wine.
My friend Jeanée recommended this veggie burger, and I'm so glad she did because I would've never guessed Houston's had one. But it was right there, the second one on the list of burgers and sandwiches. And it was good. The texture of the patty was just right and it held together very well. I had the fries, but next time I'll order the side of root vegetables instead. That's what Emily ordered, and they were really yummy.
It's hard to believe I'm already on day 20. I have to admit that it makes me a little bit sad to think that I'm already two thirds of the way into this project, and that in less than two weeks it'll be over. So, I'm just going to keep making the best of every veggie burger day I have left. Thanks for your company!

Houston's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 19, 2009

19 - Record Bar

The menu at Record Bar used to feature a veggie burger with an awesome name, "The Pretender." So, of course I added it to my list several weeks ago. But then, last week when I checked online again, just to make sure (especially after the Barley's Brewhaus incident), it was nowhere to be found. I was very disappointed about that, so I called and spoke to the manager (I think he was the manager). He said that although the veggie burger was no longer on the menu, if I ordered it, they'd make it for me.
I related this story to the server, who was incredulous, and she went away to confirm my assertion. Those few minutes of wait were fraught with anxiety, what if they no longer had it? What if the person I spoke with on the phone was not the manager but rather a distraught employee? But she came back eventually, maintaining her clear position of utter disinterest, and said "yeah." I had to bite my tongue not to say "I'll have the pizza then." So I ordered the veggie burger (surprise, surprise).
I cannot begin to imagine why they would have taken such a tasty, hand-made veggie burger off the menu. The flavor and texture were great, and it had long been a shoe-in for my "best named veggie burger" award. Record Bar has a number of veggie and vegan options, my only guess is that veggies and vegans were ordering all of those instead of the veggie burger. Whatever the case, I hope enough people will order the veggie burger and maybe they'll put it back on the menu. So what are you waiting for? ¡¡Ándale, ándale!!

Record Bar on Urbanspoon

This one goes out to my Sinceramente friends...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

18 - The Brick

Hey, you know what? If you want to have a fun time and a good burger on a Wednesday night, The Brick is your place. Wednesday nights are 2 for 1 burgers, and yes, that includes veggie burgers! In fact, you can have any of their signature burgers with a veggie patty. Although it really would be weird to order the bacon burger with a veggie patty. You do whatever you want, though ... I'm just saying.
One of the best things about The Brick is the place itself. The walls are adorned with odd and bizarre pieces of art. The whole place has a freak show vibe that makes any meal a fun experience. It turned out great that it was 2 for 1 burger night, because the Emily wanted a veggie burger, too. So we had a fun little veggie burger duet. The burgers were tasty and the sides were fun. All in all, it was just another tasty veggie burger in the wall.

Brick on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

17 - McFadden's

The problem with McFadden's on St Patrick's Day is that it attracts the kind of people who will lean their drunken face into your personal space and unashamedly ask if they can have one of your fries. Other than that, and the blasting music (none of which was Irish, by the way), it's a fine place to have a veggie burger and a Guinness.
The Power and Light District has been for me quite a dilemma. On the one hand, as a downtowner, I'm excited about the development and the increased traffic in my neighborhood. I love the idea that I live in a city that has a lively downtown area. I just wish it didn't feel as artificial. The P&L District has been criticized enough, I won't add to the long list of complaints. All I'm hoping is that we will start seeing more local businesses, other than bars and restaurants, open downtown. We need a bookstore and a couple more coffee shops.
I know I'm just a boring old square and I was totally asking for it by going to the Power and Light Meat Market on what is perhaps the biggest excuse of the year to get crazy and dumb. So, I'll just tell you that my burger and fries were just fine, and I actually didn't mind sharing a few with a total stranger. Top o' the burger to ya!

McFadden's Sports Saloon on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 16, 2009

16 - Joyce's Aubergine Burger

It has been fourteen years since I had my first veggie burger. I was seventeen when I announced to my family my decision to become a vegetarian, and my mom took to it surprisingly well. She got me into the kitchen and taught me how to cook for myself and pretty soon I was helping her prepare delicious stews and dishes that were enjoyed by me (the only vegetarian in the house) and the rest of the family. But, my favorite treat were my mom's aubergine burgers.
Burger night at the Moreno Denton's had always been a special time; friends of the family clamored after the legendary burgers. My mom didn't want me to be left out after I became a vegetarian. So, she came up with this idea to make me burgers out of eggplants. And that is how my love of veggie burgers was born.
Tonight we invited a very special guest into our home, and we made Joyce's Aubergine Burgers, and they were as delicious as I remember them. Only now they enjoy the added benefit of nostalgia. Eating that burger tonight took me back to home in Mexico, to living under my parents' roof and sharing meals at the family table. I am so fortunate to have parents who have always loved and cheered me on, from bleaching and dying my hair pink to turning vegetarian and everything in between. If ever I doubted the sentimental qualities of food, tonight I was convinced otherwise.
Joyce's Aubergine Burger will always be my favorite veggie burger, not only because it absolutely rocks, but because of the history, love and emotion it carries. Cheers and happy veggie burgers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

15 - Jazz

I have not been fortunate enough to visit New Orleans. But I suspect I got a little taste of it tonight at Jazz. There are a number of restaurants on 39th Street that I frequent, and I always was curious about Jazz. I guess I never imagined they'd have anything I could eat there. Well, fortunately enough, my friend Joe mentioned he had seen a veggie burger on the menu. So, of course I had to check it out.
The moment I walked in the door, I felt like I had left Kansas City and arrived in a little less landlocked place. The live music, provided by Rich Berry, was soulful, a little bit spicy and it really brought the place to life. The decor, the atmosphere and the crowd made me feel like I was about to have a good time. And I did.
Jazz doesn't have French fries (which I thought was a little funny, I mean, the French part). Instead, there were a number of sides to choose from such as hush puppies (which the waiter was kind enough to point out contain pork), cole slaw and okra. We had to have the okra. And by "we," I mean Emily. The burger was fine, but after I enhanced it with some voodoo sauce and seafood spices, it was perfect!
I still plan to visit New Orleans some day. But until then, Jazz will have to do!

Jazz on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 14, 2009

14 - Nick & Jake's

When we were discussing plans for tonight's veggie burger with our friends Rick and Kelly, a very important question came up. Kelly thought that perhaps I might not want to go to Nick & Jake's since their veggie burger was a portobello mushroom and not a veggie patty. My immediate response was that it was listed under the burgers section of the menu, and it was called "Vegetarian Portobello Burger." That seemed to be enough for me at the time.
However, as we talked about it again tonight, I realized I had never actually thought about what constitutes a veggie burger. What are the parameters, per se? Well, it's a valid question because last week at Barley's Brewhaus I was very strict about a veggie sandwich not being the same as a veggie burger. So, obviously there are some criteria in my mind.
What is a veggie burger? Well, one might say it is simply a meatless burger. So, if I go to McDonald's and order a Big Mac, "hold the meat, please," is that a veggie burger? That brings me to a recurring qualm of mine, which is defining things by what they're not instead of by what they are. I don't think a veggie burger is a meatless burger, it is simple a burger with a veggie patty. To use an Orwellian reference, I don't believe the opposite of good is ungood, it is bad.
With that, it seems to me that a burger necessitates a patty of some sort. For veggie burgers, black bean patties seem to be the most common option. But, does one solid piece of vegetable count as a patty? Or, does it need to be a blend of vegetables and ingredients shaped into a patty? As far as I am concerned, a burger is the sum of its parts. If it looks and feels like a burger, if you eat it like a burger, and if you call it a burger, then I say it is a burger. And if what is inside it is a solid piece of vegetable or a blend of vegetables, then it is a veggie burger.
So yes, tonight's burger was a veggie burger. And it was very tasty. The portobello mushroom was marinated in balsamic vinegar and garnished with roasted peppers, caramelized onions, sprouts and smoked gouda. I'm happy to recommend it and I would gladly eat it again.
Happy birthday to Rick and a special thanks to Carrie for suggesting this great veggie burger at Nick & Jake's.

Nick & Jake's on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 13, 2009

13 - Blanc Burgers + Bottles

When Blanc Burgers + Bottles opened, I was very excited to learn they had a veggie burger. But then, when I actually tried the veggie burger for the first time, I was even more excited to see that it was unlike any other veggie burger I'd had. The Spiced Lentil Burger is a succulent patty made with curried lentils and vegetables, spiced yogurt, cucumber, red onion salad, avocado, and radish sprouts all happily held together by a deliciously substantial whole wheat bun. The sides are really good, but they ultimately serve as a mere vehicle for the tasty trio of house-made sauces: mustard, ketchup and chipotle aioli.
It's Friday 13th, and today I was lucky to share my veggie burger experience with some of the funnest people I know. So thanks, Marcelle, Trent, Kim, Elizabeth, Olivia, Alison, Chris and Mirna for playing along with my silliness. And to those who couldn't come, well, there are plenty of veggie burger days left!

Blanc Burgers + Bottles on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An Invitation

Click on image for larger version.

12 - Eden Alley

The first veggie burger I ate in Kansas City was at Eden Alley. That was a little over five years ago, when I had just become a vegan. Up until recently, Eden Alley was the only place in the city where a vegan could go and have a dozen or so items to pick from off a menu. And that doesn't even include the desserts! It is without a doubt my favorite restaurant in Kansas City.
It had been a very long time since I had ordered the veggie burger at Eden Alley. The only reason for that, at least that I can think of, is that they always have so many wonderful options on the menu and, well, as this project is revealing, there are a lot of places where one can find a veggie burger. Aside from providing vegan and vegetarian fare, Sandi Corder-Clootz and Greg Clootz, owners of Eden Alley, are committed to local and organic food, with much of their produce coming from local and independent farmers. They also have started offering a great number of raw, gluten-free and soy-free items.
Up until recently I kept a very strict vegan diet (I have now accepted cheeses into my life) and while I could go out for dinner at a great number of places, I usually had to refrain from dairy and egg-laden desserts. Eden Alley has always been a place where a vegan has the happy choice of not one, but an assortment of vegan desserts. And for that, Eden Alley will always have a special place in my heart.
Next time you're in the Plaza area, do yourself a flavor and eat at Eden Alley. And, if you like to cook, or know someone who does, pick up a copy of Sandi's fresh off the press cookbook, Stirwell to Heaven. Happy veggie burgers!

Eden Alley on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

11 - One80

I used to think people just went to One80 for drinks. Well, tonight was my first time to dine there and I was impressed with the menu offerings and the delicious food. I will definitely be going back for the veggie burger and more. In the meantime I am honored to welcome my second guest blogger, friend and band mate, Sarah Mueller.

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Recently my vegan-eating world came crashing down around my shoulders. One of my favorite comfort food luxuries was McCoy's veggie burger: simple, smothered in guacamole and ketchup, surrounded by fried-just-right fries. I cheerfully gave my regular order the overly helpful waiter--veggie burger, no cheese--and the overly helpful waiter looked up with a smile and delivered Five Words of Doom: "Our veggie burger isn't vegan." Dum, dum, DUM. Turns out that sucker was packing some serious egg. Not one to throw away a year of consciously choosing vegan food, especially in front of my parents, who were visiting from the Iowa farm where they raised me to be a polite carnivore, I quickly switched to the vegan wrap. But, man, I missed that burger. Thankfully, Sergio has launched the 31 project, and he offered to help me find a new go-to vegan solution.
Luckily, there was a willing contestant right across the street. One80, operated by the same good folk who run McCoy's and The Foundry, offers a vegan patty made with white and black beans and topped with sprouts, fresh avocado slices, tomato and lettuce. (I skipped the aioli to be on the safe side, but next time I'll ask if their version is eggless, and, therefore, vegan.) The burger tastes great. The bean mix makes for a great texture and the hint of garlic spiced things up. You can't go wrong with ripe avocados, and the bun was a soft but substantial white roll (a welcome change from the regular whole-wheat stand-in that often gets paired with veggie burgers). Two disappointments: 1. The patty immediately crumbled when I picked the burger up, with all non-bun-supported chunks kerplatting on my plate. Although this does indicate it's a handmade patty, the whole burger experience is more satisfying when you can woman-handle your whole meal. Don't get me wrong. I like a good, thick, messy burger that you have to switch from hand to hand as you lick your fingers. I just like most of the burger to stay in the burger. 2. The fries were subpar. Thin-cut, lukewarm, not quite crisp, not quite soggy. I'll try out a different side next time.
Yes, that's right: Next time. One80 has a big selection of vegetarian (and vegan-izable) entrees. Plus big, comfy booths. And during our stay they played the new U2 album straight through; that never hurts. Overall, One80 delivers a great tasting option that doesn't quite deliver on the whole burger experience. I found a worthy interim solution, but I still haven't found the vegan burger I'm looking for.

- Sarah

One80 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

10 - Chappell's

What a fun place Chappell's turned out to be. And I don't even know a thing about sports! The restaurant is packed - and I mean packed - with all kinds of sports memorabilia. From the dozens of football helmets hanging from the ceiling to the bats, gloves, and pictures on the walls. If I were a sports fan, this would probably have to be my favorite place in town.
At Chappell's they have a number of burger options and they offer a black bean burger substitution with any of them. So, I chose the mushroom burger. This is the first mushroom burger I've had since I started my veggie burger bonanza. And it was absolutely tasty. I couldn't help but order the curly fries as my side and they were nice and crisp. (How do they get those fries to curl?)
I'm so happy this project has allowed me to find so many places I would never have known about. Chappell's was a recommendation from my fellow vegetarian Rick - it is located in the charming main strip of North Kansas City and isn't very far away from where I live. I am so grateful to have now found this place and to learn more about this part of town.

Chappell's Restaurant and Sports Museum on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 9, 2009

9 - Blue Bird Bistro

NOTE: Aside from the wonderful food, Blue Bird Bistro stands as one of Kansas City's strongest local food advocates. I'm very pleased to say that Emily Akins, my favorite Kansas City local food blogger and locavore, has graciously accepted to guest blog tonight's entry. Enjoy!

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I've always loved the motto at Blue Bird Bistro: "Organic - All Natural - Sustainable - Local." This is a restaurant that knows what to do and does it well. They source an astonishing amount of their food locally, and when they get those fresh, local, organic ingredients into their kitchen they work wonders to create a well honed, finely tuned menu that offers something wonderful for vegans, omnivores, and everyone in between. They also host a Farmer's Table periodically which allows you to meet and greet the farmers who grew your food. Blue Bird truly takes seriously the relationships between eaters and growers and restaurant.
Their black bean burger is a standard on the menu - and it lives up to their standards of well crafted, house made food. It is a serious burger with a patty made of black beans, mushroom, carrots, and corn. And it is just as interesting, simple and beautiful as the rest of the items on the menu. Not to mention, delicious. Try it topped with local white cheddar cheese, too, for another layer of goodness.

- Emily

Blue Bird Bistro on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 8, 2009

8 - 75th Street Brewery

It's hard to believe that I've lived in Kansas City for six years now and only this week learned about 75th Street Brewery in Waldo. What a great restaurant and brewery it is, and the veggie burger was really good. This is another one of those places that has a surprising number of vegetarian items on the menu, and they're easily identified by the little carrot icon.
If you eat a lot of veggie burgers, you will quickly find that a very common garnish is avocado. I don't know why that is such a trend. Is that specific to veggie burgers? Or do they do it with beef burgers, too? I don't remember having avocado on my beef burgers, when I still ate meat, that is.
Either way, I'm happy. Avocado is one of my favorite fruits. What, you didn't know avocados were fruits? Oh yeah, and one my very favorite ways to have avocados is in the form of a milkshake. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, it's not weird at all. Aside from being delicious, avocados are very fatty (the good kind of fat) and make for deliciously creamy milkshakes - and ice cream! It's very easy, just get your blender, put some soy milk (or whichever kind of milk you prefer), a bit of sugar, lime juice and throw in an avocado (pitted and peeled, of course).
It's too bad that most Americans can only associate avocados with guacamole, it really is quite a versatile food. Perhaps for my next blog project, I'll show you 31 ways to enjoy avocados. Okay, maybe not. But for now, I'm happy it's a regular veggie burger fixin'.

75th Street Brewery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 7, 2009

7 - Local Burger

Of all the veggie burgers I planned for my veggie burger extravaganza, the "World's Best Veggie Burger" at Local Burger was perhaps the one I was most excited to try. It has been very highly acclaimed and frequently recommended. My vegan friends told me it was amazing and even some of my omnivorous friends raved about it, too. So I was glad to make my way to Lawrence today to try it. I was not disappointed. The distinctive quinoa patty was well worth the 42 minute drive.
The journey was especially fun because we shared it with our dear friends, Deena and Sidney, whom we don't see often enough. They used to live in Lawrence, so after Local Burger they took us to one of their favorite spots, La Prima Tazza, for coffee, before heading back to KC for a concert. Music, friends, coffee, the "World's Best Veggie Burger" - not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Local Burger on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 6, 2009

6 - Barley's Bar

Well, it was actually kind of funny. We made the trek out to Overland Park, waited about twenty minutes before we were seated, looked at the menu and couldn't find the veggie burger that I'd been told on the phone they had. The server at Barley's Brewhaus was very kind and I felt bad for him - it happened to be his first night - when I explained that it was nothing personal but we were going to have to leave. "Are you serious?" he asked. "Yes, I'm really sorry, it's just that I was really kind of set on having a veggie burger," I replied, in the friendliest tone I could muster. "It's a bit of a project," Emily offered.
A few minutes later, we were arriving at Elephant Bar, which was also on my list, but not scheduled till later in the month. The people at Elephant Bar are really nice, I really enjoyed the service. But the veggie burger was a little tough on the edges. Still, it was a great night to sit outside while the weather was nice.
I'm really excited about tomorrow's veggie burger. As soon as we got in the car, I called to confirm their hours and the existence of said veggie burger. It's all good. I'm also excited about sharing the veggie burger experience with a couple of great friends who will make a guest appearance. So, you won't want to miss it. Happy veggie burgers!

Elephant Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 5, 2009

5 - The Granfalloon

I was wondering today, as I enjoyed the Black Bean Burger at The Granfalloon, what might be the thought process behind adding a veggie burger to a menu. Of course, it makes perfect sense at a burger restaurant where they have a variety of burgers. Or, maybe at a a vegetarian restaurant, duh! But, The Granfalloon is not really the kind of place that caters to vegetarians, and I wonder how often their veggie burger even gets ordered. Do any meat eaters order it?
We scrutinized that menu; just about every other item had blackened chicken breast on it. And, aside from a couple of appetizers, the only veggie options were the Black Bean Burger and a veggie pizza. It didn't seem at all like the kind of place where a lack of veggie options would be noticed. And yet, they have a veggie burger. And it's not just a plain burger either, it's spruced up a bit with a nice touch of caramelized onions and roasted red peppers.
So, how does it happen? Does a bar owner say to the chef, "we should add a veggie burger." Do enough people ask for it that they finally decide to offer one? Or, is it simply becoming the norm? Who knows.
No, really, who knows? Anyone?

Granfalloon Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

4 - The Foundry

This was my first of several visits to Westport that will take place over the course of this month. Westport has the highest concentration of veggie burgers in Kansas City. Within just a few blocks, you can enjoy a delicious veggie burger at more restaurants than you would expect. Tonight I ate the "Mean Joe Green" veggie burger at The Foundry, and I must say that aside from a slight structural misfortune (the patty was a bit crumbly) it was delicious - the flavor and texture were distinct and memorable. The burger came with a generous serving of avocados and pico de gallo, for which my taste buds were sufficiently grateful.
Being in Kansas City's veggie burger epicenter tonight made me think of how easy it has been to be a vegan and a vegetarian in this great town of ours. When I became a born again veggie, five and a half years ago, we were worried that our dining options might be drastically reduced. Then, when a couple of months later I decided to go vegan, we thought for sure we'd never be able to eat out again. But much to our surprise, we have never had a shortage of options. For being a Midwestern cowtown, we have an amazing number of veggie-friendly and veggie-adaptable restaurants in town. In addition to that, we have at our disposal a wonderful repository of all things veg*n in
One of my objectives in undertaking this most worthy endeavor of mine is to pay homage to all the veggie-friendly bars and restaurants that are kind enough to think of people like me. Most of the places I'm visiting are local establishments and even today I've learned of a couple more local purveyors of veggie burgers. Kansas City vegetarians and omnivores alike should be proud of this great city of ours, where we can eat, drink and be merry, regardless of dietary orientation. The Foundry, only in its infancy, is a shining example of this. And they also have great deals on Wednesdays.

ps. In case you were wondering, the beautiful music at Blayney's tonight was provided by Elaine McMilian and Scott Easterday.

The Foundry on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3 - Bulldog

Our friend Ben introduced us to Bulldog back in the day when he still lived in Kansas City. The menu hasn't changed much, and that's a good thing, because the options they have for vegetarians and vegans are delicious and fun. Tonight the service was a little less than perfect, they were clearly short-staffed. But the food was worth the wait. Their veggie burger, which I hadn't had before, was great. I think my favorite thing was the bun, it was toasted to perfection.
Tonight I ordered a salad instead of fries. Just because it's a veggie burger, it doesn't mean you can be careless! Sure, you save yourself the cholesterol, but you still have to be mindful about the calories - especially when you have a metabolism as slow as mine.
During these 31 days, I'm making every effort to keep 31 veggie burgers from becoming 31 additional pounds. In order to accomplish this, I'm sticking to a strict exercise schedule. Monday nights I do treadmill for an hour. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I practice karate two hours a day. Wednesdays I have weight training and yoga. And on the seventh day, I rest.
Of course, this isn't just because of the veggie burgers. This is an ongoing journey toward fitness, which started last June, when I got serious about cycling. While the weather was still agreeable, I was riding up to 30 miles at a time. In August, I started karate training, and then as it got colder and I couldn't ride my bike, I took on weight training and yoga. All of that exercise, in addition to calorie counting, has enabled me to lose 30 pounds. In the last few months, I've exercised more than I ever did in my life, and I'm feeling great.
It's only day three and this veggie burger adventure has already been more fun than I ever imagined. I've enjoyed everything, finding new restaurants, planning my calendar, making the videos and most of all, reading people's comments. I'm glad this adventure took me back to Bulldog. I'm not really sure why I stopped going there, but I'll certainly be back!

Bulldog on Urbanspoon