Photos by Hailey Hughes
By Meg Thoma
The second my fingertips were scalded by picking up my first tortilla chip, I knew I would be satisfied with my meal. Fresh off the fryer.
FüD originated in 2007 with the desire to become a restaurant known for locally grown produce in the greater Kansas City area. As a local organic eatery, FüD focuses on taking classic American dishes and turning them vegan. The subtle details of the place make for an overall pleasurable experience. A huge heart mural splattered across the wall to my left, pink, gold and orange striped the wall to my front and a gold brick wall shimmered to my right which created a more relaxed vibe to the restaurant.
Feeling in the mood for the classic Mexican dishes on the menu, I bit into the quesadilla I had ordered. The cheese stuck to the plate, creating the famous unbreaking cheese string. In this moment, I knew I had become a fan of Mexican food, which had not been the case in the past. The quesadilla cheese, replaced with a vegan-friendly cashew cheddar, on a thick flour tortilla made my meal not only more flavorful, but healthier. I couldn’t stop myself from eating the whole thing, though I promised myself to only eat half to save space for more.
But still I somehow managed to make room for my freshly made tortilla chips balanced with a side of spicy salsa. The chips were a huge plus in my overall impression of the small, yet spunky restaurant, but the salsa was not my favorite. It was the kind of cilantro spicy that I like, but it was rather soupy. The two dishes in the end left me full and without a hole in my pocket, the total coming to $12.
Though I tried Mexican dishes, FüD has delicious sandwiches, soups, salads and a section of the menu dedicated to using mostly all raw ingredients.
As my eyes scanned the room, I was never bored with all the new details I noticed. My favorite was how the front counter subtly imitated the checkered wood underneath my plate. The small size of the restaurant sure didn’t limit the creativity within it. The intricate attention to detail and bursts of color not only represented the atmosphere, but spoke for the food too.
Another thing I noticed as I looked around was the variety in crowd seated for lunch. This is just one of the many aspects that appealed to me. From a sit down family lunch, to a high school first date, FüD can accommodate any occasion and treat the customer to clean, consciously grown ingredients.
By Meg Thoma
As I entered what reminded me of an old wine cellar, I was hit with the homey vibes of Blue Bird Bistro immediately. It started with the smile and a sincere “How are you girls doing today?” from the host and the bright yellow door that resembled the sun. The whole restaurant said “good morning” to me.
I was greeted with a menu and a splash of crisp water in a quaint mason jar. A single yellow tulip in the middle of the table only added to the ambiance. Scanning themenu, I noticed a variety of options, from green curry to meatloaf. I decided it would be best to go with something worth my while, yet still close to home for me. I landed on a black bean burger and a side of mashed potatoes, which to my liking was only $10.
The wait for the meal was not very long, but to curb my restlessness, a staircase leading to a sculpture gallery in the restaurant caught my eye. As i entered the gallery, I was introduced to many works that were all created by local artists. This might have been my favorite part due to the uncertainty of what was ahead because the only label on the door was “Gallery.”
As I made my way back from the gallery, I questioned my order as I passed all the other menu options on the plates of customers. However, I was reassured as my meal was served to me on a pure white dish looking more mouthwatering than I had pictured. I cut my burger in half and dug in. The black bean, corn and onion combination left me feeling satisfied for my fix of spice for the day. Could it get better? The lightly-salted mashed potatoes answered that question. Though I’ve always been a fan, these potatoes topped the charts on texture. They were whipped to perfection, not so overdone that I was left with potato soup, and not underdone leaving me with unwanted white chunks.
Thrilled by not just the meal, but also the view onto Summit Street through the huge paned window, topped with white holiday lights. It proved very accommodating for people watching and adding natural light to the dimly lit room.
By the time we got the check, I was not only happy with the reasonable price, but was once again hit by a flavor of the style of the restaurant as my check was delivered on a cute clipboard and close pin.
From start to finish, I felt like this restaurant hit home with me. I felt that I got the sophisticated lunch I yearned for, but at a much more reasonable price. The combination of the two left me feeling full and wanting to bring back my whole family.
By Lucy Kendall
Following four long, hot summers working in a snow cone truck, owner Lindsay Laricks opened Little Freshie, a soda fountain and espresso bar, across the street from her snow
After waiting several days to go to the quaint cafe I’ve heard everyone rave about, my high expectations were instantly met once I opened the rustic shop door. Indie style music and messy handwriting on a chalkboard displaying the soda flavors of the day revealed just two of the several standouts. I was taken aback while gazing through the peculiar flavors of the week, such as mango ginger, blackberry lavender and green tea pear.
The blackberry lavender first caught my attention, considering I was eyeing how amazing it looked on their website for several days prior. Once I chose my flavor, the nextstep was to pick which drink I would like: a snow cone, float or soda. After having a mini war in my head between the float and soda, I went with the float. I couldn’t help but smile when I received my fizzing cup with a purple and white striped paper straw.
Immediately, I tasted bursts of sweet and tangy blackberry in every sip, and as I reached the bottom of the cup, I finally got to taste the thick, delicious ice cream. My mom and I were obsessed and decided we needed to come back the next day and try some snow cones and sweet treats.
When I came back the next day, my expectations were even higher. I decided to be brave and ignore the cold weather outside by trying the raspberry rose snow cone. My eyes grew larger and larger as I stared at the beautiful bright pink prize sitting in front of me, wondering how much of a sugar high I’d getafter eating it.
But I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that it was all natural and didn’t contain loads of sugar. Now I didn’t have to worry, as I continued to shovel it into my mouth. I first thought that it would taste just like raspberry and I wouldn’t be able to taste the rose, but I was completely wrong. The delicate, yet not overly sweet snow cone revealed what a rose should taste like.
My final delicacy was a sandwich, since I was curious about what else this shop had to offer. I ordered the prosciutto and manchego sandwich, which had stone ground mustard andarugula on a Farm to Market pretzel bun.
The sandwich came out after about five minutes, and I dug right in. It had lots of bold flavor from the manchego and mustard, but it was overly salty because of the prosciutto. Compared to the array of drinks I ordered, the sandwich was my least favorite part.
There’s hardly a bad thing to say about Little Freshie’s delicious, yet not too pricy treats and drinks. The relaxing atmosphere allows for a perfect little cafe. This is the ultimate destination for a cooling drink on a hot summer day, although I could stop by every day.
By Lucy Kendall
The first thought that crossed my mind as I opened the worn, tattered door of Los Alamos Market was “Is this even a restaurant, why am I here?” I try not to judge a restaurant, or anything for that matter, until I’ve tried the food, but it was hard to block the constant negative comments running through my head as I gazed around the market.
As I uneasily stepped through the door, the first thing that caught my eye was the array of piñatas hung from the ceiling. Spider Man, Woody, SpongeBob and Ninja Turtles stared down at us from the ceiling above. Colorful Mexican sodas lined the shelves, along with random goods such as candy, chips and even toiletries. As I neared the back of the packed store, I spotted a tiny kitchen with a seating area that served as their restaurant.
We walked up to the glass overhang that read the specials of the day, which included beans, rice, pork, chicken and beef. I first tried their signature dish, Chile Relleno, a poblano pepper stuffed with queso fresco and fried on the outside. I won’t be trying this a second time. The overload of cheese and deep frying of the pepper made for an unpleasant surprise.
The second thing I tasted was the Tacos al Pastor. They were three corn tacos, filled with small amounts of pork, onions and cilantro. The immediate bite of savory, yet fiery, pork mixed with the onion danced in my mouth. They weren’t the best tacos al pastor I’ve ever had, but they sure were good.
The final thing I tried were the Huevos Rancheros tacoson corn tortillas, which consisted of slow cooked chicken and runny, over-easy eggs. This would be the perfect dish for an egg fanatic.
To go along with the food, I tried three of the juices made from scratch in the kitchen: hibiscus, cantaloupe and pineapple. All of these juices tasted exactly like real fruit, but they weren’t too sweet and were perfect for cooling taste buds down after a spicy mouthful of meat.
As we finished the final bites of our meals, we sauntered through aisles of random items you’d usually find in a gas station, eyeing Airheads, Lays and Trident Gum. We then made our way to the cash register next to the stand of Marlboro Cigarettes. When totaling up our meals, we were shocked to hear how expensive three meals and three drinks were.
We weighed how good the food tasted with our $45 bill, and decided the food wasn’t worth the overly expensive bill. As part of a family who loves to go out for Mexican food, my parents don’t mind paying for a quality meal that’s worth the money. When paying for our meal at Los Alamos, my dad made it clear that we wouldn’t be coming here again anytime soon.
While stopping on the Westside for a quick meal, Los Alamos would be a decent spot, because of the speedy service and average food, but other restaurants around the area such as Little Freshie deliver preferable food with lower prices.
Walking past the pheasant and deer heads in the window of Oracle taxidermy shop, you almost miss – in fact I did miss – the narrow staircase leading up to “The Aquarium” stage of the FishTank theater. After climbing three flights of dimly lit stairs, I was immediately washed over in the warm lighting and trendy, modern artwork from local artists.
FishTank studios, a local theater company in the Westside area, has two small theaters that offer a space for local playwrights to stage their plays with a phenomenal troupe of local actors.
The bright, modern upstairs “Aquarium” theater is contrasted by the dingy, yet cozy “FishTank” section of the venue downstairs. Both stages are black-box theaters, meaning that the spaces are flexible so shows can be staged in a variety of ways, such in-the-round or surrounded on three sides by the audience. While this can be challenging for some actors, the small size of the space creates an inclusive feel for spectators.
The space has been home to many incredible pieces by local artists, like “Bond,” a one-man-show by Iraq war veteran Logan Black. The show received Best Original Play at last year’s Fringe Festival and will begin a new run at the WWI Museum and the Johnson County Community College stage next month.
The venue has also housed some unsuccessful experiments, like “Gunplay”, a play by local playwright Frank Higgins.
Even though not every show here is a masterpiece, the superb acting and gritty atmosphere is enough to make it worth supporting Kansas City art.
As the lights faded out on the warm, hardwood-floor theater, I quickly thanked the Lord I could finally use the bathroom and get the hell of there. But then, over the P.A. system, I heard my death sentence:
“Gunplay will resume in 10 minutes.”
At this point, nothing sounded worse than suffering through another two long hours of this so-called “play,” reminiscent of an SNL sketch that pokes fun at hyperbolically bad high-school theater. But for the sake of journalism, I knew I had to give this trainwreck another chance and stay for the second act. If only I had known that it was just going to get worse.
Gunplay, by local playwright Frank Higgins, is a kaleidoscope of scenes and sketches meant to portray all sides of the gun control argument in a creative and effective way.
Instead, this poorly written and painfully long show ends up preachy and incomplete. Without a single plotline to follow, the collection of more than dozen 15 minute scenes felt strung together, and failed to establish even one side of this argument.
The skits ranged from George and Martha Washington discussing whether they should be armed, to an NRA convention. There was even a sketch of a little girl’s fantasy of carousel horses coming alive and taking her to the moon – yes, somehow this was supposed to be about guns.
The confusing scenes felt like they were written by a first grader and each seemed to last an eternity, but the one redemptive quality of this play was the acting. It is not easy to take a boring, mind-numbing and poorly written lump of coal and turn it to a diamond, but the superb local acting troupe at the FishTank did their best.
The FishTank offers a space for local playwrights to stage their art, and that is a wonderful thing. That being said, even the best looking lump of coal is still a lump of coal.
Wait… am I crying?
I have always taken pride in my unemotional approach to my movie-and-play-going experience. I made it through “Bambi.” I made it through “Up.” Hell, I even made it through “Marley and Me.”
Yet somehow, I found myself bawling. And to my left, so was a 6-foot-5 giant with a monstrous grey beard and a leather Harley-Davidson jacket.
“Bond”, a one-man show masterfully written and performed by Iraq veteran Logan Black, is the true story of Black’s battle with PTSD and the bond that he formed with his military dog, Diego.
Black and his “partner” Diego served three tours in Iraq with a K9 bomb squad unit. While most soldiers form brotherhoods with their company members, Black and Diego spent small shifts in each company, and formed only fleeting relationships with other humans.
In the play, Black recounts going without meaningful human contact for almost a year, and his only lasting relationship was with his “puppers,” Diego.
Throughout the show, Black portrays both the horrors and the boredom of serving in war, through monologues and physical enactments of his experiences. When his tours were over, Black returned home. But Diego, who still had one more tour to serve, was assigned to a new soldier.
After losing Diego, Black fell into a deep depression. He spent years trying to find Diego, and as the play goes on you can feel his hope draining.
Throughout the play, Black tells his story while miming Diego’s role; I could feel Diego’s presence even though he was never actually there. This then sets up one of the most human and real moments that I have ever experienced in live theater.
After years of searching, Black locates Diego and drives hundreds of miles to see him. Here Black breaks down and visibly shows real emotion. As he begins to call for his “puppers”, the real Diego comes from behind the stage and runs into his arms, to the tears and standing ovation from the audience.
Getting to witness and be part of a war hero’s cathartic experience is meaningful enough. But Black’s powerful acting and writing creates a touching and personal – what’s more personal than getting to pet “puppers” after the show – experience for each member of the audience. And that’s exactly what theater should be.