Soooooo…it’s been a while, huh? I had to take a break from blogging for weird personal reasons that we probably don’t need to talk about here, but I have a couple new cities to post about, so here I am, and hopefully, this will become a habit again. I guess we’ll see.
In the meantime, let’s talk about Kansas City, MO aka the happiest place on earth. I organized a conference there in May (shoutout to the Westin Kansas City and their kickass event staff), and my lady, who spent seven years there, was able to come along for the trip. While my first couple days there were mostly consumed by conference running, we did have an opportunity to explore the city, which exceeded all of my expectations. Translation: I love the shit out of Kansas City.
So KC has three – yes, three – vegan restaurants with multiple gluten-free offerings. A fourth was a few days away from opening during our visit. We went to lunch at Cafe Gratitude with a couple of my lady’s former colleagues. The concept is a little shticky; everything on the menu is an adjective, and you’re supposed to order by saying “I am Grounded” or “I am Magical” or whatever. Good lord.
In any case, it must work for some people, because a guy from Vampire Weekend was in the restaurant when we visited. (It really, really was him – my friend talked to him as we were leaving the restaurant.) Oh and the food? Holy. Balls. We split an order of “Grounded” (garlic potatoes with spicy nacho cheese) and I was astounded by “Warm-hearted” (pesto polenta and spaghetti squash). My lunch companions were all omnivores, but they seemed pretty excited about their entrees as well. And then there was the moment when our waiter brought over an entire tray of vegan and gluten-free desserts. I am not ashamed to admit that I nearly cried. Cafe Gratitude, I would like to have your gluten-free, vegan, sustainable, Midwestern babies.
Aside from one of the best vegan meals of my damn life, I met some pretty amazing people in Kansas City. My very lovely girlfriend introduced me to some of her friends, who had planned a potluck to celebrate her visit. Not only did her friends cook for us, they collaborated to make sure everything at the dinner was vegan and gluten-free. And delicious. Seriously you guys, even my family doesn’t do that for me. We spent a long evening eating, drinking wine and talking on the front porch during a rainstorm. It was such an wonderful and welcoming atmosphere…I was kind of surprised we actually came back to DC, because I would have stayed forever.
This trip and conference was one of the best experiences I’ve had in terms of traveling with IBS. The Westin was creative and accommodated multiple dietary restrictions (including gluten-free dessert options) and the food was really good. I was nearly symptom-free the whole time. Of course, you get what you pay for – I don’t even want to think about how much of our budget went to food and bev at this particular conference. ALSO Kansas City was hosting Rockfest during our stay which is an outdoor music festival featuring the musical talents of Korn and Five Finger Death Punch, among others. The festival was right outside our hotel, and many of the concert-goers stayed at the Westin. I have never seen so many drunken, muddy white people in one place in all my life. Yikes.