Friday, June 29, 2012

Quay Coffee

I think Erik and I were officially crazy on Wednesday. Coffee shops tend to be my “office” during the week and Erik has been job hunting online thus he decided to join me for the day. So we switched it up and ended up going to way too many places --- Quay Coffee in the morning, Blue Nile for lunch, Little Freshie for after lunch snow cones and, Mud Pie for more work, and fiiinally Chipotle for a quick dinner. Yeah. 

But it was fun.

All that nonsense aside, you may have noticed in the past week several pictures on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram of drinks from Quay Coffee. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it’s new. So naturally, I had to write a blog post. Here we go.

Quay Coffee

Quay Coffee (pronounced “key”) had their grand opening this past weekend, and they are located in the River Market at 412 Delaware, aka, in the old KC Coffee.

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They’re open Monday through Saturday 6-8 and Sundays 7-4.

They’ve got a simple, but delicious menu that consists of Oddly Correct pour over coffee, espresso, macchiato, Americano, cappuccino, latté, mocha, tea, soda and a few baked goods for munching. (Maybe some day we will try to annoy them into bringing in some vegan treats too ; )

Iced and non, their coffee is delicious! Go get some. Really. You will be glad you did.

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Their décor is minimalistic just like the menu, and it definitely works.  The seating area is comfortable and spacious, and the owners/employees are very friendly, welcoming, and seem to know what they’re doing.

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If you can’t tell, they’re quickly becoming one of my favorite coffee shop “offices”, so providing they don’t get sick of me, I’ll probably be there a lot, ha.

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We’re glad you’re here, Quay Coffee … see you again soon!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Jasper's Vegan Italian Experience

Happy 5 year wedding anniversary to us!

It’s crazy how fast time flies! Erik and my wedding anniversary was this past Saturday, on the 23rd. This, of course, called for a celebration! Erik got us tickets quite awhile back to the grand finale symphony (Beethoven’s 9th) at the Kauffman for Friday night so that part was set.  Our next decision … where to go for dinner?

Back in December at a Portfolio Kitchen event we met Jasper, well known chef  and owner of Jasper’s Ristorante and Marco Polo's Italian Market as well as host of LIVE! from Jasper's Kitchen radio program.  During our conversation, we told him that we were vegan, and at that time he invited us to his restaurant for a special “Vegan Italian Experience”. Yes, please! So when our anniversary rolled around, we immediately thought of Jasper.

Jasper’s Ristorante

We didn’t know what to expect, but Jasper truly went above and beyond anything we could have expected or imagined, creating a special six course vegan meal! We’ve been raving about it all weekend long, and I’m sure our raving will continue for some time to come.  In all honesty, we could not deny that this was the best vegan meal we have ever eaten in Kansas City. For real.  So what was this delicious dinner all about? Allow me to walk you through its deliciousness! First up, as we were settling in, we had some bread dipped in olive oil from Jasper’s family’s hometown in Italy. It was so rich in flavor.


Now onto the start of the meal!

Jasper’s Vegan Menu

In The Beginning

Roasted Cauliflower & Local Heirloom Garlic Cappucino

A perfect way to start off our meal! Each bite was light and airy, packed with flavor. The prevalence of the cauliflower came through very well and was wonderfully accentuated by the olive oil and fresh garlic.

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Piadina & Tuscan White Beans

Jasper told us that in Italy, Piadina bread is commonly eaten similarly to a taco and is served with a wide range of other ingredients besides beans. The Piandina was perfectly charred, and had such wonderful flavor that went perfectly with the rich, creamy Tuscan white beans.
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Next, Jasper showed us the eggplants which would be in our upcoming course of pasta, and gave us a taste of what was soon to be my favorite taste of pesto ever!

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A Study of Two Grains

Garganelli “Risotto Style” Sicilian Egglant & San Marzano Tomatoes

Vialone Nano Risotto, Fresh Zucchini & Fresh Green Pea Pesto

The pasta, perfectly al dente, was topped with beautiful Sicilian eggplants (which are in the above picture) and made into a sauce with San Marzano Tomatoes which was especially close to Erik’s pizza fanatical heart. San Marzano tomatoes come from the Campania region of Italy known for its rich volcanic soil and are said to be the best sauce tomatoes in the world.
The risotto was, again, perfectly al dente and packed with rich, explosive flavors.
The green pea pesto, which I talked about above, was amazing! I’ve never tasted pesto that fresh and delicious. We both agreed we could have eaten a bowl of it just on its own, ha.

Jasper explaining to us our delicious pasta and risotto course:
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Ciabatta, local tomatoes and cucumbers, Greek Olives, XV Olive Oil & Basil Vinegrette

At this point, fullness ensued, and we truly wondered if we could eat another bite, but at first taste of the insalata, we both quickly changed our minds! Though it would be incredibly hard to pick a favorite part of the meal, this was one of the highlights for me. I was amazed at how much rich, delicious flavor this dish put forth.
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Piatti del  Giorno

Polenta Fritti & Local Corn Puree

Wild mushrooms, Local Potatoes, Spring Onions, artichokes and Marsala

We absolutely love how Jasper came up with a menu full of fresh, real, and simple ingredients that resulted in a vegan meal so rich and dense with flavor. The polenta had a magical crust on the outside with a rich, creamy interior which was a match made in heaven alongside the local corn puree.
The local potatoes had just been delivered to Jasper’s at 4:30 that afternoon, and were brought to our plate slightly crushed, topped with fresh wild mushrooms and a wonderful Marsala sauce.

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Fresh watermelon & 25 year old Balsamic

Missouri Peaches, The Berry Patch Strawberries, Mint, Cloves & Chianti Syrup

The 25 year old balsamic (so good!) over watermelon is simply a genius pairing. Not only was it beautiful to look at but the result of the flavor was the same.
The sliced fruit with mint and chianti syrup were absolutely fantastic, and were Erik’s favorite. We couldn’t have had a better, more refreshing closure to our meal!

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By the end of our meal, we were so stuffed, but even more satisfied. Though we knew of Jasper’s wonderful reputation, we had never been to his restaurant before, and hadn't really known what to expect. But after this experience, there is no doubt in our minds that Jasper is truly a master chef that loves what he does and really cares about those that he serves.

In case you can’t already tell, we will certainly be back, hopefully way sooner than later. Thanks again, Jasper and staff, for making our anniversary such a wonderful night to remember!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lulu's Thai Noodle Shop

Happy Belated Father’s Day!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We didn’t do anything too exciting, got to just kind of hang out, so I’ll count that as a good thing! On Saturday around lunch time our stomachs led us to Lulu’s.  Though we already frequent Lulu’s, I realized I’ve never done an official blog post about them (other than some take out awhile ago), so I whipped out my iPhone and got to snapping … Okay, I guess I would have done that either way …

Anyways - allow me to share the deliciousness that is Lulu’s in case you’ve not been there for yourself. And if you have, you know just what I’m talking about.

Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop

Lulu’s is located in the Crossroads at 2030 Central Street right across the street from Crossroads Coffeehouse and just down the street from the new Café Gratitude (which is in Lulu's old location).

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And if it isn’t obvious already, they serve up a delicious Thai menu. Their hours are Monday - Friday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday: 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Little known fact for vegans … upon request, you can ask for a vegan menu and they will give you a list of their vegan friendly menu items. It’s quite extensive too, so you will have plenty of delicious options without feeling limited, I promise!

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Erik and I got two menu items to share. First up … drunken noodles (one of our favorites!)  which consists of …

“Wide rice noodles wok-tossed with Thai basil, peanuts, bean sprouts, scallions, Chinese broccoli, lemongrass, green and red bell peppers”  You can get optional protein, but we love it with just the noodles and veggies.

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Along with whas se-ew pak, which is a rice dish that consists of:

Fresh vegetables stir-fried in a sweet garlic and ginger soy sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds”.

Delicious, and delicious!

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If you haven’t yet been to Lulu’s, you’re missing out. Go there, eat, and enjoy!

Little Freshie

After lunch, as per Saturday afternoon tradition, we hit up Little Freshie and walked around the Westside while enjoying our snow cones on a hot, summer day.

For Father’s Day weekend, they had a wonderful new flavor of traditional root  beer made with sassparilla, sassafrass & wild cherry bark. It was delicious!

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Have a great rest of your week!!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homegrown Foodie

Okay, this post is officially way overdue! I meant to post it literally two months ago, but as you can see that didn’t happen. With Erik’s dad passing and putting our house on the market, those two months have flown by. And as I sat here realizing it was about time I posted a new blog post, I remembered that this treasure was sitting in my drafts just about ready to go.

So without further ado … a recap of an awesome KC event we went to about two months ago now …AIGAKC_HGFoodie_Poster_400_px618px_web_R
AIGA KC Homegrown Foodie

I can’t even remember how I heard about this event, but as soon as I did, we were going! It featured awesome panelists and delicious samples from an impressive lineup of very talented people. An awesome mix of food and design.

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This event was put on by AIGA KC and was all about “where creativity and cuisine converse”. It focused on a discussion about the creative process behind designing for and about all things food.

The panelists included:
  • Brent Anderson, Creative Director of Stir Branding
    • Brent talked about how just because you have a logo, does not mean you automatically have a brand. Instead, he said there are two elements to successful branding: surprise and delight. You can check out some of Stir Branding’s surprise and delight on their website. They’ve worked with places such as Julian, Lulu’s, Christopher Elbow, Boulevard, and Glace
  • Christopher Elbow, Artisan Chocolates
    • Christopher Elbow told us about his own story starting out in the chocolate business and how branding reached out far beyond their logo and into things like the design, aesthetics and feel of their store fronts and packaging. It doesn’t take much to see their success, just take a look inside Christopher Elbow, it’s certainly something special!
  • Payton Kelly, Creative Director of Boulevard Brewing
    • It was interesting hearing what goes into the design and creation of different Boulevard beers. We got to hear the story behind their Tank 7 ale, and a fun fact, Payton has designed each and every different label in the Boulevard line.
  • Jennifer Roe & Joe Wilper, Editor and Creative Director from Tastebud Magazine
    • Jennifer and Joe talked about how Tastebud Magazine began, and how their cover is designed each month to focus on the large, beautiful cover photo. It’s simple, and makes a big statement.
  • Lindsay Laricks, Owner of Fresher than Fresh and Little Freshie
    • It’s nothing new how much we love Fresher Than Fresh snow cones … I’ve only blogged about them about a million times, ha. I love what Lindsay has done and is doing and it was great to hear some background on her beginnings. She is the genius behind Little Freshie that just opened this May and that I mentioned here!
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Along with that, the night featured tasty samples from Christopher Elbow Artisan Chocolate and Fresher than Fresh as well as a bar and Good You food truck on hand.

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Erik and I both thought it was an awesome discussion, and we’re really glad we went.  We’ve thought and talked many times about contributing to the KC food scene some day in some way, so it’s great to hear how others started out and some things they learned along the way.

homegrown  foodie

Perhaps one of these days life will settle down a bit and I will post more often with more recipes but until then …

Have a great rest of the week!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Just for fun ...

Just for fun …

And to say happy weekend!!

erik lesley

That’s all!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Keste Pizzeria

Okay, it seems that durations between posts lately are getting further and further apart …. time for a post!

Things have been busy for us, hence the lack of posting. We’re kind of in a transitional period of life. In case you’re just catching up, Erik’s dad passed away a little over a month ago now, and we’ve been taking care of some of his things, as well as trying to sell our own house here in North KC. His dad lived with us the past few years during his illness, so when we moved to KC we bought a house in the ‘burbs so that Erik’s dad had his own living space with walkout basement, etcetera.  It worked well for us for the time we were there, but Erik and I have always wanted to be more in the city (nor do we love having a large mortgage payment) so that’s where we’re hoping to head next. For now … the house is on the market, and we’ll go from there when it sells.

All that to say, yes, busyness abounds. We’re hoping it will sell quickly and we can get straight on a plane or in the car after closing and go on a vacation!

But first … one last catch up post from New York. Some more authentic Neapolitan pizza from Keste Pizzeria!

Keste Pizzeria


Keste is located on 271 Bleeker Street in NYC, and they serve delicious, authentic Neapolitan style pizza. When we walked in Erik was quick to request the seat “closest to that beautiful pizza oven” …. of course.

But I must admit, it was fun to watch the pizza making process right  behind me. The cool thing about Neapolitan style pizza is that it cooks for literally only 90 seconds because the temperature of the oven (a wood fired oven) is so high.


Erik got the marinara pizza consisting of simply tomatoes, oregano, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

I forgot which pizza Erik’s mom got, but doesn’t it look delicious?


And I got the vegetariana which had tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, artichoke, zucchini, and extra virgin olive oil.

Keste Pizza & Vino on Urbanspoon

We thought it was delicious!

And now … you guessed it …. I’m hungry for pizza!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Soft Serve Fruit Company

Happy Friday and first day of June!!

I really have no idea where the month of May disappeared to, but I’m happily welcoming June into my life. I’m loving this summer weather (despite some already very warm days!), and the 23rd of June marks Erik’s and my 5th year anniversary. Life has been pretty crazy the past few years and these past few months and we’re hoping to get a vacation in sometime this summer too. Let me tell you, we could really use it. Hello, California!
Anyways … enough of that. I still have a few back posts from New York, and it’s time for some food. Or in this case … some soft serve!

The Soft Serve Fruit Company

One of the other places we hit up while in New York was The Soft Serve Fruit Company. Soft serve ice cream made of frozen fruit! I think about everyone has heard of the wonder of simply freezing bananas and throwing them in a blender to produce delicious, creamy “ice cream”, and this is a place very similar to that.

soft serve fruit

There are two NYC locations, one in Union Square at 25 East 17th and the other in Upper East Side at 1371 Third Ave.

The ice cream is made of three simple ingredients: fruit, water, and some cane sugar making it both dairy free and gluten free. I’m all for such a simple recipe! Their menu consists of sundaes, smoothies, a pretzel cone, and soft serve dishes that you can put a variety of toppings on. When we were there, the different soft serve flavors were banana, mango, dark chocolate and strawberry.

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Both of us opted for dark chocolate and I topped mine with pomegranate and peanut butter. 

I really love the concept of this place since it’s so simple and uses so few real ingredients. Overall I thought the dark chocolate flavor was pretty delicious, especially when paired with the sweet crunch of pomegranate arils. It was really airy and and light and I though I did enjoy it, I think I would have preferred a little more chocolate and a little less water so that it would have more substance and less air.

My only complaint? I thought the toppings make it a little pricey for what you get. The non fruit toppings are 50 cents each and fruit toppings are 75 cents each. I really like yogurt/ice cream shops in which you pay by weight, that way you can get a few more toppings without the price increasing so quickly!

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The Soft Serve Fruit Co on Urbanspoon

A great place to stop for a delicious (and healthy!) treat. If I lived in NYC, I’m sure I would be returning.

What’s your favorite place to get fro yo/ice cream??


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