People have many food biases; food is very personal after all. But one of the strongest ones is that "outlying areas" are not the place to find great food. I'm talking about places like Kansas City that are well known for their fantastic BBQ (Arthur Bryants anyone?), but not much else.
Unless you live there, then you are in the know. Here are a few places I tried and really enjoyed.
I grabbed some take out from this tucked away in a tiny strip mall place. They make their own noodles, BY HAND! At the top of the picture are Tofu Dumplings, hand wrapped, and set on strips of corn husk to keep them from sticking. They were lighter than you would think, as they are usually a very doughy dumpling.
To the right is Salt and Pepper Tofu. This is a dish I try every time I see it. Spicy without being overwhelming and the tofu were fried yet light.
Lastly, at the bottom of the picture is Vegetable Lo Mein. Standard yes, but the handmade noodles and bok choy elevated it to something special.
The Plaza, Kansas City, MO
A vegetarian/vegan oasis located in the basement of a church. Such a cool, wide open, quirky space. We sat out on the patio to enjoy the lovely fall day. They take time to make food that has flavor, depth and intelligence. Brunch was incredible.
From the top of the picture, Italian Hash. Creamy mashed potatoes topped with Italian "sausage" and tomato sauce. Next was a Curried Potato Pancake with hummus, spinach and a tomato caper sauce. And lastly was the lightest Pecan Cranberry French Toast I have ever had. It could have floated off the plate.
39th St, Kansas City, MO
Mud Pie is a vegan coffee shop that also has baked goods. Very tasty vegan baked goods. At the top of the picture is a Vanilla Cupcake with Mocha Frosting. The crumb of the cupcake was light (often vegan baked goods are too dense and too sweet) and the Mocha Frosting was as well, not at all overwhelming. To the right is a "Mostess" Cupcake. A version of the original that, again, was not over sweet and the frosting was smooth and creamy. To the left is a Layer Bar. My favorite. Not overly sweet but abundantly filled with coconut. I'm not sure what they used to substitute for the usual Sweetened Condensed Milk this recipe calls for, but I like it!