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Weekend eats in Kansas City

November 14, 2010

I’m back in my hotel room in Oklahoma City, after making the 5 hour drive back from KC this evening. I’m ready for a shower and some much-needed sleep, but first, I have just a couple meals from this weekend to share with you – as well as this excellent pile of packages that was waiting for me when I got home. It was like Christmas morning! You’ll be seeing reviews for some of these secret products in the coming months.

On Saturday night, Matt and I went out to dinner with my friends Colby and Sara, who recently got married and moved to Parkville, MO. Parkville is the most inexplicably delightful little town; its rolling hills, beautiful homes, and seaside-village-esque ambience make it hard to believe you’re still in Missouri. We ate at a Mediterranean restaurant that Colby had raved to me about called CafΓ© Cedar. We started, obviously, with hummus and grilled pita. Oh, how long it had been! I happily broke my two-week-long raw streak with this.

Matt’s meal came with soup, so he opted for lentil. I was dismayed to find it was made with a chicken stock base – BOO! Otherwise, it could have been quite tasty.

Matt ordered the Vegetarian Pasta, which had grilled seasoned eggplant, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, and green peppers over linguine in a “zesty tomato fresh garlic dill sauce.” This sauce was wild – kind of creamy, sort of savory, unexpectedly sweet, and surprisingly yummy.

I chose the Cold Cedar Vegetarian Combo, with grilled cauliflower (which I asked for in place of feta cheese), hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, olives, and muhammara. Yep, I said muhammara! It’s a chunky, wonderfully complex Syrian dip typically made of roasted red peppers, ground walnuts, and pomegranate syrup. (That’s it on the far left.) I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it on a restaurant menu before, so I was thrilled. Everything was delicious, and the belly dancer they had whirling around the dining room was an entertaining touch.

Fast forward to this afternoon – Matt and I followed up our workout with a late lunch at Noodles & Company! I love this place; always have. It’s inexpensive, fast, vegan-friendly, and always delectable. I’m sorry to report that Matt had a temporary lapse in “hegan” judgment today, though, and neglected to ask them to hold the cheese on his Pasta Fresca with tofu. He painstakingly removed every shred of parmesan from this dish while lamenting aloud the prevalence of animal-derived saturated fats in the American food system. (See why I love him?)

I got my usual favorite, which I’ve already featured a few times on this blog, but it never gets old! It’s the Japanese Pan Noodles, hold the sprouts, add tofu and extra broccoli.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these are the thickest, chewiest, most amazing udon noodles ever.

Noods & Co. (my pet name for Noodles & Company) is always a fantastic, filling meal and an awesome value. Actually, you’ll be hearing more about them from me within the next week – hint hint. πŸ˜‰ Hope everyone had as great a weekend as I did!

42 Comments leave one →
  1. gidgetnfroggi permalink
    November 14, 2010 9:58 pm

    hey you were right on my doorstep πŸ™‚ parkville is a great place

    can’t wait to hear your reviews.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:35 pm

      Parkville is super charming!

  2. November 14, 2010 10:09 pm

    So glad you were able to squeeze both friends-time and Matt-time into your trip home! Also, another point towards our soul-sister-synchronicity… my brother lives in Parkville, Melbourne, and I’m visiting him next month (I’ve found a restaurant that serves raw food in Melbourne!!! I haven’t told him yet but we’re going there on my first night. OMG RAW CHEESECAKE! I can’t wait!!!)

    Also, so crazy excited, and a little envious, about all those packages of yours. Such a shame we have to hear more about this boring ole raw food course in between hearing about freebies… πŸ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:38 pm

      How cool that your bro also lives in a Parkville and how lovely that you get to see him soon, but most of all how AWESOME that you found a raw foods place to firmly declare as your dinner destination! What’s the name?? I must look it up!

      Yeah, sorry, you’ll just have to bear with me as I prattle on about Matthew Kenney this and Russell James that and blah blah blah…for a few weeks longer. πŸ˜‰

      • November 15, 2010 7:22 pm

        Well, I was going to keep it a secret until I went because I’m scared of jinxing it and not being able to go for some reason… but you’re my Amber and I can’t say no to you πŸ™‚ Yong Green Food, but it doesn’t have an official website, sadly! I’ve been trawling blog reviews πŸ˜‰ (And it’s not all raw, which is why I’m hoping my brother will agree to go!)

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        November 15, 2010 8:07 pm

        No website or online menu? ::grumble::
        Hey, raw OPTIONS are nearly as good as all-raw selections! I can’t wait to hear about it! No jinxing; I’m your good luck charm. πŸ˜›

  3. Vegannifer permalink
    November 14, 2010 10:53 pm

    I love the Udon noodles at Noodles & Co.!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:38 pm

      ::High five!:: πŸ˜›

  4. November 15, 2010 12:00 am

    Yep, I agree, Noodles and Co is my fav alongside Pei Wei. Yummy Mediterranean eats!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:42 pm

      Hell yes! I LOOOVE Pei Wei’s tofu too! I was just chatting with someone on here earlier this week who’s never eaten tofu. I suggested she eat it in a restaurant first, rather than try making it at home if she’s not familiar with it, and where did I suggest she go to eat it? Noods & Co. or Pei Wei. πŸ™‚

  5. November 15, 2010 12:23 am

    I hate when they ruin perfectly good soups with chicken stock. Annoying. My grandmother used to do that.

    I remember having to painstakingly remove pieces of hamburger from some spaghetti when i first when veg. Now I ask, lots! And I’m not afraid to send it back either.

    Enjoy the packages!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:45 pm

      Tell me about it. And seriously, if any soup out there deserves a good veggie broth base, it’s lentil.

      Asking is second nature to me too, but Matt’s still learning πŸ˜‰ I’m so proud of how far he’s come with his eating habits!

  6. November 15, 2010 3:56 am

    I LOVE muhammara. First time I tried it, it was my mother making it for me, and since then I’ve had it in restaurants a couple of times, it’s great.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:46 pm

      Wow, I wish my mom would make me some homemade muhammara! πŸ˜›

  7. November 15, 2010 4:47 am

    Love middle eastern food of all kinds! Great to see your reviews and enthusiastic energy. I’m a little envious of all those piles of packages that you got: love doing reviews, love seeing reviews and am looking forward to seeing yours – and to learning how to get the opportunity to do likewise.

    And now, back into the breach for you! I hope the next week goes just as well.


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:50 pm

      I love doing reviews too – I’m always on the hunt for new and exciting products, so it’s all the more fun when they land right in my lap. πŸ™‚

      Keep having a great time in the UK!

  8. November 15, 2010 9:18 am

    I LOVE Noodles! The Japanese pan noodles (w/o sprouts) are my favorite, too. Just reading about it makes me want to run out and grab some for lunch.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:50 pm

      Clearly you have excellent taste. πŸ˜‰

  9. November 15, 2010 9:32 am

    Your pile of PR goodies is possibly bigger than mine!

    I do enjoy the benefits of food blogging!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:50 pm

      Amen! πŸ˜›

  10. November 15, 2010 12:38 pm

    What a stack! I’d love to do a product review, sounds kinda fun. That hummus looks incredibly creamy, and the noodles look absolutely slurpable.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:52 pm

      My advice on finding products to review is that you’ll almost certainly have to do the initial legwork yourself. Just shoot a quick email to a handful of smaller companies and see who replies. Once you have a few reviews posted, the ball will be in motion, and it’s much easier from there. πŸ™‚

      I want more of this hummus and these noodles already!

  11. November 15, 2010 4:39 pm

    That hummus is looking mighty delicious! I have yet to try Noodles & Co – and it looks yummy!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 15, 2010 4:53 pm

      Oh, it was!
      You should seriously get yourself to a Noods & Co. ASAP! At ~$5 a plate, you have no excuse not to. πŸ˜› I mean, unless they’re not in your area…in which case, shame on them!

  12. November 16, 2010 5:54 am

    Muhummara is super easy to make. I have a recipe for it on my blog:

    I’ve thought about trying to make a raw version, too. But, haven’t attempted it quite yet. I don’t think it would be hard, though.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 16, 2010 7:22 am

      Thanks for pointing out your post to me! Yours looks great. Pomegranate molasses is the sticking point (no pun intended!) for me; I still haven’t gotten myself any. I too have flirted with the idea of a raw version – would love to hear about yours, if you do attempt it!

  13. November 16, 2010 6:04 am

    Looks delish. Never been to that particular restaurant, but Parkville is full of fun places.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 16, 2010 7:19 am

      It doesn’t look Mediterranean from the outside (or even the inside, necessarily), but the menu is full of authentic goodies.

  14. November 16, 2010 9:57 am

    I love Parkville – And you’re absolutely right, you can’t believe you’re still in Missouri when you are there. I’ve never been to Cafe Cedar, but now, I must go!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 16, 2010 5:03 pm

      Miss Callie, I did not know you were local! Whereabouts do you live?

      • November 16, 2010 7:30 pm

        Sure do (small world)! I live just west of the plaza – went to KCAI for school, so I’ve been here for about 7 years. If you move back to KC after 105, we will have to meet up sometime!

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        November 16, 2010 7:56 pm

        Small world indeed! I know a few people that went to KCAI. Perhaps we should meet up sometime! I’ll be back after Christmas (for good). I didn’t actually MOVE to OKC, I’m just staying here for the 9 weeks of classtime. I’ve still got my apt. in OP waiting for me to come back. πŸ™‚

  15. November 16, 2010 10:02 am

    Damn, those are a lot of packages!

    Your veggie dishes look so good! Creamy and green! Yum. πŸ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 16, 2010 5:03 pm

      Heh, no kidding!

      Mmm, now I want some more hummus…

  16. November 16, 2010 12:50 pm

    Every time I go to Noodles & Company I get those udon noodles πŸ™‚ They are just so yummy. I usually ask for no mushrooms. I haven’t ever thought about asking for more broccoli and I have added tofu, but next time I will be sure to ask more broccoli because I love that stuff. mmmm πŸ™‚ Now I think I should get some this week.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 16, 2010 5:05 pm

      Right on! I used to always ask for no mushrooms, but just these last several months I think I’m FINALLY warming up to them (it only took 25 years, sheesh!).

  17. November 19, 2010 12:50 am

    Jason! Nice!

    Hmm…I don’t think I’ve ever been to Parkville…

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 19, 2010 8:41 am

      Jason? Did I miss something? Heh…

  18. January 8, 2011 8:40 pm

    I love noodles and company. Great vegan options alongside the carnivores’ plates.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      January 9, 2011 1:26 pm

      Too true! Thanks Marty πŸ™‚

  19. November 14, 2011 2:19 pm

    haha, Matt sounds adorable. The veggie pita and the pasta look so yummy! And WOW that’s a lot of packages!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 14, 2011 2:20 pm

      Whoopsie, I didn’t know that editing this post from last year would cause it to re-show up in people’s readers! My bad. But yes, haha, Matt’s adorable and that was a TON of packages!

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