A vegetarian restaurant in a city famous for steak, fried chicken, and barbecued meats of all kind? Yes, indeed. The menu is strictly vegetarian with a large selection of vegan items that contain no animal products whatever. One such wonder is vegan cheese made from raw cashews that enriches a marvelous avocado and corn grill – a tortilla loaded with “taco meat,” corn salsa, red salsa, and slices of cucumber. The avocado virtually melts among the corn kernels, making the dish especially luxurious. I also enjoyed a vegan cocoa waffle topped with candied walnuts and, on the side, vegan “cheesy” potatoes laced with caramelized onions and spice.
But I do like animal products, cheese in particular, and my favorite thing to eat is a lunch special known as the Ultimate Garlic Grilled Cheese sandwich: a thick slab of sturdy garlic bread spread with chili cumin aioli, layered with pickles, onions, and tomatoes, then topped with cheddar, mozzarella, blue, and Parmesan cheeses and baked until bubbly. Holy moly, what a fantastic open-face sandwich! Its garlic punch is tremendous – I found whole cloves buried underneath the melted cheeses – and the garlic toast at the bottom is itself chewy and full-flavored.
There are some beautiful, chocolaty dessert cakes and tortes on display, but the sweet that won my heart is the chocolate chip cookie sold from a jar near the cash register. It is rich and chewy and its intense chocolate essence is perfumed with the flavor of lavender. What a surprising (and alluring) twist!
So, if ever you are in Kansas City and need a break from animal protein, do check out this enclave enlave of virtuous cuisine at the lower level of the Unity Temple. It’s a big, open dining room (and an outdoor patio) staffed with people for whom The Right Food is a mission in life.
Note: Eden Alley is closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.