Dish & Drink KC: Tamales at Anchor Island Coffee, plant-based burgers at Ruby Jean’s Juicery, and bun bowls at Vietnam Café

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Broccoli Burger. // Courtesy Ruby Jean’s Juicery

Ruby Jean’s Broccoli Burger

While the cold season has many of us craving pasta and hearty soups, Ruby Jean’s is an eatery to keep in mind when contemplating your health-forward New Year resolutions. The juicery showcases a vibrant menu with an interior to match and is situated along Troost and 30th.

Vegan fare is not a usual go-to, but the 100% vegan broccoli burger was recently added as part of their new elevated menu. It is made entirely from scratch. The patty contains broccoli, kale, peas, onion, garlic, and celery. The broccoli flavor was subtle and had a savory profile. To top it off, the burger is stacked high with carrot bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onions, lettuce, tomato, and blackened mayo.

The caramelization of the vegetables delivers exceptional umami flavor, just like with a beef burger. Not only did the vegetable patty hold together well, but the ingredients are whole and straightforward. With no meat or animal products, Ruby Jeans has managed to make a burger that retains juiciness, flavor, and great textures.

Ruby Jean’s Juicery is located in Midtown, on the Plaza, and in Leawood, KS. Hours vary by location.

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Coffee and a tamale at Anchor Island. // Photo by Tyler Shane

Tamales at Anchor Island Coffee

If you’re craving a vacation this holiday season but can’t indulge in one, consider Anchor Island Coffee off Troost for your affordable getaway. The owner’s Latin roots influence the nautical-themed coffeehouse. It’s eccentric, with beach-inspired murals throughout two stories. Aside from classic coffee drinks made with local Sway Coffee, specialty lattes, handmade sodas, smoothies, and lemonades are also available. 

The usual café eats are included on the food menu, such as French toast with orange zest, acai bowls, tuna melts, and the popular breakfast sandwich. Kanbe’s Market produce is also available for sale. The menu is also graced with Latin-inspired delights like chori papa (cheese, chorizo, potatoes, spinach, and eggs), verde chicken, quesadillas, and Mexican-style tamales. The tamales are made from scratch and are served swimming in shredded cheese and tomato sauce—a must-have.

Anchor Island Coffee is located at 4101 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO 64110. They are open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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Bun Bowl at Vietnam Café. // Photo by Tyler Shane

Bun Bowls at Vietnam Café

While the warm brothy bowl of pho reigns supreme this time of year, switch up your usual order at Vietnam Café by trying the bun bowl. The Vietnamese salad bowl has a base of rice vermicelli noodles and is topped with onions, cucumber, cilantro, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, pickled carrots, and daikon. For the dressing? A generous portion of the spicy house fish sauce. 

For those who are avoidant of the funky sauce, fear not. The noodles and crunchy vegetables tame the pungent fish sauce and become a harmonious blend of umami. A smidge of mint brightens the entire salad.

Protein options are the usual pork, shrimp, beef, and chicken. However, the “pork + egg roll” option is highly recommended. Also recommended: leave the crispy egg roll to mingle in the salad flavors for a bit before consuming. The more it marinates, the better it is.

Vietnam Café is located at 3934 Rainbow Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66103. They are open daily from 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Categories: Food & Drink