Photo courtesy of www.edenalley.com/
I had passed the quaint looking vegetarian cafe a thousand times before, but never thought twice about what was sitting inside the brick building with the blue awning on the corner of 47th Street and Jefferson. Tired of Chipotle and Chick-fil-a, my friends and I decided to try our hand at vegetarian eating.
The vegetarian cafe, Eden Alley, prides itself on its use of organic and local ingredients, making it the perfect destination for the hungry health guru. Walking into the lower side of the Unity Temple building, I was surprised to enter a completely open, yet windowless, room. It was one of those rare, beautiful Thursday evenings we have in KC, and I would have loved to enjoy the natural sunlight from inside, but the outdoor patio made up for the lack of light inside.
The waitress fit the stereotypical image of a waitress in a vegetarian cafe: the epitome of an animal loving health freak dressed in her long flower skirt. However, her impression of a vegetarian cafe veteran was immediately shattered when she spilled my glass of water all over me.
There was a moment of silence as everyone at the table tried to comprehend what happened; she had completely missed the table and instead the water had landed on my jeans. It was actually comical how drenched I was. However, after the waitress promised me a free dessert as compensation for my wet pants, all was forgiven.
I surveyed the menu and found that I really didn’t know what a lot of the ingredients were. Falafels and aioli? How was I supposed to decide what to eat when I was struggling to decode the menu? Luckily I’m an adventurous eater and decided I’d try my first veggie burger; it only seemed fitting at the vegetarian cafe.
When the food arrived in front of me – and not on me, thankfully – I was surprised to find how much it resembled a regular burger. I just hoped it tasted the same, too. Loaded with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion and a special mustard spread, I embarked on the journey of my first veggie burger. I was shocked to find it more flavorful and more enjoyable than a regular burger.
For those who lack vegetarian knowledge like me, veggie burgers are made out of tofu. This one happened to be breaded and cooked in olive oil and soy sauce. The flavors were unlike any other burger I’d had before. Instead of tasting rich and fattening, it tasted light and healthy. I think I’ve officially converted from a cow patty to a tofu patty.
I also tried some of my friends’ grilled cheese and tacos. Both lived up to the flavorful expectations of the veggie burger. The grilled cheese was served on bruschetta and loaded with three different cheeses, tomato and pickles. The three tacos were served with a healthy side of brown rice and vegan vegetable protein topped with mushroom, onions, two types of cheese and an array of oregano and cayenne.
All that was left was my promised free dessert. The waitress brought over three different slices of cake: a chocolate and coconut one, lavender white cake and a strawberry shortcake. With my strong dislike for coconut and the appetizing aesthetic of the strawberries, I decided on the strawberry shortcake.
Like the rest of the food at Eden Alley, the cake was loaded with a wide variety of fancy ingredients, making for a flavorful dessert. The cake was perfectly fluffy and light. I wasn’t left with the gut bomb feeling some restaurant desserts leave behind, making me feel like it was at least somewhat healthy.
My spilled water was all forgiven following my heavenly dessert. With its reasonable prices, great location and flavorful and healthy food, I will definitely be heading back to Eden Alley. Maybe next time I’ll feel even more adventurous and try the mini falafel.