Who are you and where are you?
Hi! My name is Jeanni and I live in Kansas City, Missouri- smack dab in the middle of the USA! I didn’t even know gluten-free options existed in this part of the country until just this past year.
Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
I too LOVE to travel, and 7 years ago while in Eastern Europe I got super sick and had to end my year-long-jaunt early and come back to the states to try and figure out what was wrong with me. Six years later, I finally feel like I know now- GLUTEN. I’m not a medically confirmed celiac but through trial and error, and lots of self-experimentation, I know gluten does not do my body good. My digestion was so screwed up while in Europe. I was not digesting food at all, was majorly constipated and had no energy. I felt like I was 90 years old and dying. That is super scary for a 22 year old! To top it off, medical doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me. They labeled me having IBS and sent me home with fiber. Only when I started changing my diet did my symptoms start to improve, and that took me 6 years to figure out! Those are years I will never get back, and it makes me mad that I didn’t find the right information sooner, finding the truth shouldn’t be so hard! I would never go back to those days of being sick, but I would never trade them in either because I’ve become a totally different person in the process, one that is much more focused on what’s really important in life.
Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
Well, I don’t know that I would make Kansas City a destination priority but for people that are passing through or visiting friends or family in the area there are several good gluten-free restaurants to patronize, health food stores like Whole Foods, Natures Pantry (has a huge gluten-free shopping area, the biggest I’ve seen anywhere let alone in KC), Green Acres, and Trader Joes, and a local gluten-free bakery called Kneaded SpecialtiesÂ that I just found out about that is totally gluten-free and has amazing white & chocolate birthday cake, muffins, cookies, and cinnamon rolls, among other things!!! So, Kansas City does have stuff here to meet your gluten-free needs, even in the heart of America!!!
Tell me something fun about your town..
If you come to Kansas City to visit, or are just passing through you have to see the Country Club Plaza!Â Especially during the holidays, Thanksgiving and through New Year’s, the whole place glitters with lights, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers and music- it’s quite the experience! This is definitely the best place in Kansas City to be. Even during the spring and summer it’s particulary nice. We are known as the city of fountains and the Plaza has many beautiful fountains flowing during the warm months. This is the place to see and be seen, to shop and eat and dine and celebrate!
Where is your favourite place to eat out in your town and why?
I LOVE PIZZA!!! This is something I have missed sorely and didn’t think I would ever be able to eat again, until the creation of gluten-free pizza!!! Now I can eat pizza again, and it’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven, pizza heaven! I really, really like my homemade gluten-free pizza the best (using Chebe pizza crust mix), but when I don’t have time for that, or want to eat out, my favorite pizza place is Minsky’s. They make personal size gluten-free pizza’s and regular size too so you can share! I feel really safe eating here because their kitchen staff receives GREAT Kitchens training from the National Foundation for Celiac AwarenessÂ which means they know how to handle cross-contamination and that puts my mind at rest! Minsky’s Pizza has several locations at and around Kansas City, my favorite one is the South Plaza location. It’s in a fun part of town, a couple blocks from the Country Club Plaza, and they just know how to make really good pizza!
- Olive GardenÂ do a couple of gluten free pasta selections, salad, and chicken entrees. I’ve tried both pasta dishes (tomato based) and they are pretty tasty!
- Spin!Â offer mini and full size pizzas, salads and yummy gelato! Choices are key here, there are so many different pizzas to choose from! I really like this place. Tasty, tasty!
- Sweet TomatoesÂ does gluten freeÂ soups and salads. I Â haven’t been to this place in long time but they change their menu every month and have several different gluten-free items to choose from. This place is all-you-can eat buffet style and their food tastes homemade and fresh!
- Cafe Gratitude, located in the Crossroads district of Kansas City,Â hasÂ raw, vegan gourmet food and almost the entire menu is gluten-free. Meals have names like I AM GORGEOUS and I AM THRIVING, what a way to think of food! They have one meal on the menu here that is by donation. You give a little or giveÂ a lot, how awesome is that!
- IngredientÂ does gluten freeÂ pizza pies and salads and they specialize in customizing your own dish. You get a list of ingredients to choose from and you pick and choose what you want in your meal. It’s a casual place, you stand in line and place your order so no waiting on the waiter here!
- ChipotleÂ forÂ Mexican burrito bowls and tacos. This used to be my go to place for “fast food.” Most of their menu is gluten-free if you don’t get a flour tortilla (sub lettuce, rice & beans, or corn tortilla) but I feel that cross-contamination is probably an issue here. I just never feel good the day after eating here. I love their guacamole and chips but will only choose this place if it’s my last option.
- Salty IguanaÂ does Mexican enchiladas, fajitas,Â and tacos. It’s my favorite place in KC for mexican food!!! I love the iguana dip! It’s white queso and spinach, yum! This place is colorful and lively, great for a Friday night!
- VanTill Family Farm and WineryÂ inÂ Rayville, Missouri, about 45 minutes outside of Kansas City, does gluten freeÂ pizza, cheesecake and wine! Here it is the middle of winter and we had “pizza on the patio” in a heated enclosed patio. It felt like we were transported to the Mediterranean! They have orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees, flowers in bloom, creeping ivy and lush plants all over the place! To soft music and dim lights we ate our delicious gluten-free pizza while watching the flicker from the wood-fired oven and admiring all the green plants in this toasty environment. It’s a really neat family run business that is just too good to pass by if you are in the area!
Do you live in Kansas City or have you travelled there? Where is your favourite place to eat gluten free?