Karla Deel, the blogger behind Kansas City history-based website SqueezeBoxCity.com, recently published her first book. Storied and Scandalous Kansas City: A History of Mischief, Corruption and a Whole Lot of Booze explores the “history of an overly ambitious river town set on hurling itself into prosperity by any means necessary — the good, the bad, the gritty,” Deel says. “The whole city was built by immigrants, hungry and scrappy to find a place in this new world.”
Deel also serves on the Jackson County Historical Society board, volunteers for several local nonprofits, practices Kundalini yoga, eats vegan food, drinks red wine and makes mischief with her daughter, Salem. She’s no slouch on knowing where to find “incredible food catering to all cuisines” for plant-based food lovers in Kansas City.
Here are her favorite spots, as told to Pete Dulin.
Breakfast: At Mud Pie Vegan Bakery and Coffeehouse, I am eating either a cheddar sausage scone with cream cheese, an enormous cheddar bagel or the highly coveted vegan breakfast sandwich. Mud Pie is a dream-come-true kind of place for me. Totally inclusive, satisfying and badass.
Lunch: Blue Bird Bistro lives in a historic 1880s building, one that has lived many lifetimes, from a doctor’s office to a drugstore to Murphy’s Tavern. This eclectic, organic, sustainable cafe is truly my home away from home, in part because of the amazing food but also because of my love and respect for owner Jane Zieha, who established a farm-to-table restaurant nearly two decades ago. My favorite dish is the homemade nettle pasta. It’s decadent, buttery and comfort food done right.
Dinner: Find your way to Freshwater KC. Let go and let chef Calvin Davis treat the hell out of you with his hyper-local ten-course vegan tasting menu.