Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Everything's up to date in Kansas City ... and some of it's gluten-free

I love Kansas City! For one reason or another, usually to drop off or pick up a family member from the airport, I visit KC several times a year. Since we live only 2-3 hours away, we've also found it to be the perfect spot for a get-away weekend adventure.

When the kids were young, a weekend trip to KC meant playing at Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun, watching a Royals baseball game, or traipsing around the zoo at Swope Park.

Now Doug and I are more likely to wander around Country Club Plaza, attend a concert, stroll through the Historic City Market, or enjoy a museum, such as the excellent Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or the amazing Arabia Steamboat Museum.

In addition to the countless tourist attractions, KC is full of wonderful places to eat—even for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. My list of go-to eateries is fairly short, because I tend to go back to them repeatedly, instead of branching out. Here are my favorites:

Bristol Seafood Grill: This wonderful restaurant is located downtown in the newly developed Kansas City Power & Light District. We’ve eaten at Bristol twice in recent months. They have a very nice gluten-free menu, great drinks, and a pleasant patio for outdoor dining. The last time I was there, I had a fantastic steak, fresh grilled vegetables, whipped Yukon gold potatoes, and delicious cinnamon ice cream. Oh, yes! I’ll be dining at the Bristol as often as possible. Located at 51 Eat 14th Street.

Spin Pizza: I’ve eaten here at least a dozen times. It’s my all time favorite gluten-free pizza. I always order the Mini Mia special: a personal pizza (with Portabellos and Sundried Tomatos or Kalamata Olives or Italian Sausage) and a Greek Salad. No trip to KC is complete without a stop at this restaurant. Located just off Country Club Plaza at 4950 Main Street and several other locations in the KC area.

Café Gratitude: Almost everything on the menu at Café Gratitude is gluten-free. Everything is homemade and organic—and unusual. I ate breakfast there with Doug and friends last Mothers’ Day and enjoyed a wonderful GF crepe. Doug had the dish titled “I Am Transformed”: Two corn tacos with brown rice, black beans, guacamole, salsa fresca, and cashew nacho cheese. Yum.  They offer a pesto polenta over spaghetti squash and spinach, titled “I Am Warm Hearted,” which I hope to try in the near future. Located in downtown KC at 333 Southwest Blvd.

Eden Alley Vegetarian Café: I always enjoy the gluten-free offerings at Eden Alley, which is located in the basement of the Unity Church on the west side of Country Club Plaza. I’ve had their Falafel Platter, their GF tacos, and several other yummy dishes. Always tasty, always interesting. Located at 707 W. 47th Street.

The Corner Restaurant: A fun and funky breakfast and lunch restaurant offering gluten-free pancakes, waffles and French toast!  Hooray! I recently had their GF pancakes and perfect bacon. Doug had their Mamas Fries, which, unfortunately, aren’t gluten-free. They consisted of house cut fries, sausage gravy, red and green onions, mushrooms, bacon, and diced tomatoes. So decadent that it’s probably a good thing I couldn’t eat them! Located in the Westport Plaza neighborhood at 4059 Broadway.

Eggtc: Another KC favorite for breakfast. I usually order one of their delicious omelets, like the Margarita, with mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, and basil. And they have GF toast, which is nothing to write home about—but at least it gets the jelly to the mouth. Located near the Country Club Plaza at 5107 Main Street.

First Watch: A favorite chain restaurant offering breakfast and lunch. It has a good gluten-free menu, although no pancakes or toast. Last time I ate there I had a high-calorie, but delicious Avocado, Bacon and Tomato Skillet Hash. No problems at all (except for unwanted weight gain!) Several locations, including 1022 Westport Rd.

PF Chang’s China Bistro: Chang’s has one of the best gluten-free menus I’ve found at a chain restaurant.  I love their GF Moo Goo Gai Pan. Their fried rice (several varieties) is also a winner in my book. Located at 102 West 47th Street on the east side of Country Club Plaza.

54th St. Grill: Lunch and dinner chain with good gluten-free offerings. They don’t actually have a GF menu, but they will give you a chart listing all of their allergens for each dish. They have several GF items, but I almost always end up ordering their stuffed baked potato. We visit the Truman Corners Shopping Center location at 12130 South 71 Highway, because it is on the way home, but there are several in the KC area.

Arthur Bryant’s: I haven’t eaten their delicious barbecue since I’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, but it’s on my To-Do list. Last time I was in KC, I googled their sauce recipes and found that they are all gluten-free. KC is the epicenter of barbecue, and I fully intend to check out a few of their restaurants in the near future. Let me know if you have had any experiences, good or bad, with KC barbecue.

Obviously, I haven't gone "as fur as [I] can go" in KC, yet. Branching out is one of my new resolutions!