Monday, September 30, 2013

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Cafe Caliban (Inside Prospero's Uptown Books), Kansas City, MO

After visiting the flagship location of Prospero's Books on 39th St., April and the hedgehogs were excited to finally try the reportedly delicious food at Cafe Caliban inside Prospero's Uptown.

Cafe Caliban (inside Prospero's Uptown Books)
3600 Broadway #107, Kansas City, MO
Facebook page

April and the hedgehogs hadn't managed to make it to Cafe Caliban yet on this visit to KCMO because Prospero's Uptown is only open until 5 pm, and Cafe Caliban is only open until 3 pm. They decided to visit today for lunch. However, when they got there, there was a sign that said "Emergency - be right back", and the door was locked.

Prospero's Uptown Books, Kansas City, MO

April waited in her van for a little while, listening to the radio, and the hedgehogs played "who can spot the most number of blue cars" (Hedgie won, but Buttercup says he has an unfair height advantage). Just as they had decided (sadly) that it might be time to leave, a car drove up, and a gal got out, opened the door of the bookstore, and went in. April and the hedgehogs gave her a minute to get situated, then went in themselves.

Prospero's Uptown Books, Kansas City, MO

Prospero's Uptown Books, Kansas City, MO

Banned Books - Prospero's Uptown Books, Kansas City, MO

Yellow Cover Books - Prospero's Uptown Books, Kansas City, MO

April had heard that the vegan tacos were really good, but she couldn't pass up the jackfruit panini, since she's been on such a jackfruit kick lately. The gal working there made some quinoa salad to go with it, and gave April some "conspiracy-free" (filtered) water.

Jackfruit Panini And Quinoa Salad - Cafe Caliban (inside Prospero's Uptown Books, Kansas City, MO)

The panini was delicious; grilled perfectly and very flavorful, with mushrooms, onions, and peppers mixed in with the shredded jackfruit. The cool quinoa salad was a great accompaniment to the hot sandwich.

April hopes to get a chance to go back to Cafe Caliban once more before she leaves so she can try the tacos. She left this time with full hands as well as a full stomach -

I Like Big Books And I Can Not Lie

Sunday, September 29, 2013

In Which The Hedgehogs Make April A Faux Egg Salad Sandwich

After a long day of faire, April discovered that she had an unwelcome, unexpected visitor. She drove home, and the hedgehogs sent her to relax while they made dinner. Since April had been planning on making the Faux Egg Salad from page 50 of "Vegan a Go-Go!: A Cookbook & Survival Manual for Vegans on the Road", the hedgehogs decided they'd make it for her.

Tofu Salad Ingredients

The hedgehogs had almost everything they needed, but realized they didn't have any garlic or pickles. However, they had a GIANT bunch of parsley, so they added lots of that.

Hedgehogs Stir The Tofu Salad
Buttercup says that Hedgie is going to owe her BIG TIME after this.

After mixing everything together and tasting it, they decided it was good, but needed a little something. They added about 1/2 teaspoon of Kala Namak (black salt) and two yolk's-worth of The Vegg, and mixed some more. This time, it tasted really good!

Hedgie and Buttercup made a sandwich with some of the Faux Egg Salad and some avocado, and toasted the whole thing.

Hedgie & Buttercup's Tofu Salad Sandwich
"Hey, Hedgie. How are we going to get it up the stairs to April?" "Oops."

Full Disclosure: There are Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. I receive a small commission if you click through to Amazon and purchase products using these links. That being said, I'm currently in the process of trying to pay off a $34,000 hospital bill, so if you want to buy something, feel free to click!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Hedgehogs Visit Prospero's Books, Kansas City, MO

Tonight's post isn't going to be about food; April and the hedgehogs had a very long, wet, muddy day at faire, and are officially too tired to make the non-egg salad from "Vegan A Go-Go" (which April had planned on doing for tomorrow's lunch). Instead, the hedgehogs are going to show you all about their visit to Prospero's Books on 39th St. in Kansas City, MO last week. They'll be visiting Prospero's Uptown (which has Cafe Caliban in it, which apparently has delicious vegan food) on Monday, but thought that they'd show you what another location of Prospero's looks like.

IMG_4137 Hedgehogs Play Chess 3

IMG_4139 Hedgehogs Play Chess 1

IMG_4138 Hedgehogs Play Chess 2

IMG_4130 Hedgehogs Old Book

IMG_4132 Hedgehogs Telephone Book

IMG_4127 Hedgehogs Quaint Sign

IMG_4128 Hedgehogs Book Ladder

IMG_4133 Hedgehogs On Disc

IMG_4129 Hedgehogs Typewriter

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Hedgehogs See The Carter/Lea Duo!

The hedgehogs would like to appologize for the lateness of today's post. Besides technology generally being very unhelpful, they had a very full day.

First, they went with April to her Tulstin Troubadours band business meeting, where Mark's girlfriend Demaris' dog, Isabella, showed off All The Cute -


Then, they all went to the coin-op laundromat to do some clothes. Hedgie and Buttercup broke out into song.

Laundry Day
"Tell you how. How you make. Make me feel. What's the phrase? Like a fool. Kinda sick. Special needs. Anyways."

Then, the group all traveled to Prospero's Books so April could pick up the debit card that she'd left there a couple of days before (Hedgie tried to tell her she'd forgotten it, but did she listen? By the way, you'll hear more about Prospero's Books and Cafe Caliban on Monday!) On the way out, they saw a monkey in the window, and Buttercup swears she heard it talking.

Talking Monkey

The group's ultimate destination was their stagemate, Marianne Carter's, show with her musical partner, Darrell Lea. Since the show was going to be at Cutter's Smokehouse in Eudora, KS, April decided to walk just down the street from Prospero's to grab dinner from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery. An Eggy Breakfast Burrito (made by FuD) and a chocolate coffee muffin really hit the spot.

Eggy Burrito and Muffin

Once they all got to the show, April asked about possible vegan options on the menu. Just in case. For science. Apparently, all the appetizers (like the corn nuggets, stuffed mushrooms, and onion rings) have dairy in the batter, the veggie burger is made with egg whites, and the waffle fries are seasoned with something that probably isn't vegan. That being said, the rest of the varieties of fries, including the sweet potato fries that April ended up getting, are vegan.

The show was awesome! The group is used to hearing Marianne (Matty Stryker, at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival) play hammered dulcimer and cittern, so hearing her play guitar and upright bass was a real treat (and a bit of a surprise!)

The Carter Lea Duo 1

The Carter Lea Duo 2

Carter Lea Duo 3

On the way out, Hedgie and Buttercup made a new friend, and stopped to chat for a bit -

Hedgie and Buttercup Make A Friend

Thursday, September 26, 2013

RECIPE REVIEW - The Vegg Baked Frittata

Today, April and the hedgehogs are going to tell you about their latest experiment with The Vegg. Are you sitting comfortably?

Lounging Paka Front

Good. So, the hedgehogs woke up this morning, and Buttercup thought she saw a bird outside, but it was really just a couple of leaves, and Hedgie told her she was being silly...

Lounging Paka Side

...and we've lost your attention. Sorry. So, The Vegg experiment! Last time, April and the hedgehogs made an omelet from The Vegg Cookbook. Even after baking it in the oven for a bit, April's omelet was very soft and not nearly as "set" as she would have liked it to be. Interestingly, Jen from Living the Dream @ Deer Run had made the exact same omelet just two days earlier, and found that her batter was too thick even to pour!

This time, April decided to make Chris Dixon's Baked Frittata on page 57 of The Vegg Cookbook (also posted on the blog here). Her hope was that something that *started out* being baked would set up better.

At her host Duane's house, April only has access to a mini food processor (her camping blender has gone on walkabout somewhere in her van, and isn't ready to come back yet). The Vegg powder, garlic, water, spices, and arrowroot powder all fit in one batch, but the 12 oz. of silken firm tofu would not. April mixed a bit, poured it into a big bowl, added a bit more tofu to the food processor, mixed that, added it to the bowl, and continued until all the tofu was mixed. She then finished mixing the "eggy"mixture together by hand.

Mixing The Vegg Frittata

For filling, April used an onion, two large mushrooms, 4 slices of Upton's Naturals Seitan Bacon, and six small potatoes. She wanted to add some broccoli, but was afraid that there would be too much veggie matter for the eggy mixture to set well. After roasting the veggies for 30 minutes and seeing how much they cooked down, she realized that she could have added the broccoli (and the second onion, and the third mushroom, and some more bacon). Well, knowledge for next time.

Waiting For Vegg Baked Frittata
The hedgehogs wait patiently for the frittata.

After baking the frittata for 35 minutes, the very top looked somewhat set, so April sliced into it. Unfortunately, it was still quite gooey underneath.

Finished Vegg Baked Frittata

She put the frittata back into the oven for another 20 minutes, at which point the top had puffed up like a souffle and was looking very brown.

Finished Browned Vegg Baked Frittata 2

Finished Browned Vegg Baked Frittata

It was a bit more solid than before, but was still like a very thick custard under the top layer. April used 8 tablespoons of arrowroot powder instead of the 6 called for in the recipe, as well. Duane thinks that a wider shallower pan might work better next time (April was worried about a larger pan fitting into the toaster oven, but Duane swears it will fit).

As for flavor, both April and Duane thought that the frittata was very good. The creaminess of the eggy mixture paired well with the roasted veggies. Duane ended up adding extra salt, pepper, and garlic to his second slice, and said that it helped, so April will double the amounts of those things in the eggy mixture next time.

Finished Sliced Vegg Baked Frittata

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

RESTAURANT REVIEW, Part Deux - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

April visited Blue Koi in 2011, but the hedgehogs insisted on going to see it themselves. April met a few omnivorous friends there for a nice lunch.

Blue Koi
1803 W. 39th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111
(also at 10581 Mission Road, Leawood, KS 66206)

Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

Menu 1 - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

Menu 2 - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

The last time April went to Blue Koi, she made a meal out of the Crispy Tofu With Spicy Awesome Sauce and the Veggie Dumplings. This time, she was excited to try the Eggplant Pockets, but the server told her that they were out of those. Vowing to come back before the end of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival to try them, April and her dining companions decided to split the Crispy Veggies (tempura coated fried mixed vegetables with a cool basil sauce and a semi-spicy sriracha sauce), the Spicy Chili Tofu Wontons, and the Crispy Tofu with Spicy Awesome Sauce.

Crispy Veggies - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

Spicy Chili Tofu Wontons - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

Crispy Tofu With Awesome Sauce - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

The Crispy Tofu with Spicy Awesome Sauce was just as awesome as April remembered; the tofu is nicely fried and the sauce is just the right combination of sweet and spicy. The Crispy Veggies were also good - April got lots of the delicious cauliflower, since her companions weren't big fans of that particular veggie. The sriracha sauce wasn't overly spicy, but has a bit of a kick of one gets enough of it at one time. The Spicy Chili Tofu Wontons, however, are April's new favorite! Incredibly flavorful, with just the right amount of spice.

April and the hedgehogs were impressed to discover that Blue Koi actually offers more vegan options than they had originally thought. Besides the appetizers listed above, there's also Lettuce Wraps that can be made with tofu. For main dishes, the Firebird Duck and the Black Bean Chicken can be made with tofu instead, and in addition to the Vegetable Noodle Soup shown on the online menu, there's a Vegan Delights soup that April very nearly got, Tofu with Chinese Curry Sauce, Braised Tofu with Shiitake Mushroom (can be noodle soup or just over noodles or rice), and Ants On A Tree, which can be made with tofu, and which is what April decided to get. (The hedgehogs wanted to see if it really had ants. It didn't.)

Ants On A Tree (With Vegan Mix) - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO
Hedgie offers April her collapsible chopsticks.

The bean noodles were very tasty, and the fried tofu stood out well among the rest of the veggies. There was a ton of it, as well, and the hedgehogs helped April pack half of it into her reusable to-go box to have for dinner.

For a beverage/dessert, April had the Sweet Red Bean Bubble Tea with pearls. The server told her that they use soy milk, so it was vegan. Yay!

Sweet Red Bean Bubble Tea - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO