February 10th, 2011 – A Trip Down Eden Alley

Eden Alley (photo credit: blog.pitch.com)

Over 10 years ago, I tried that dern Cabbage Soup Diet.  It was horrible.  At the time, I was working as an Executive Chef.  It was pure torture to eat that dern soup everyday and NOT the delicious food I was preparing for others.  But something happened when I went back to eating meat. 

I’ve never been a big lover of steaks or any huge, thick cuts of meat.  I’ll eat a delicious cheeseburger with grilled onions every now and then but mostly I eat chicken, fish and seafood.  But after a week of swilling that soup, I decided to celebrate my return to meat with a filet mignon.  So I seasoned it well with a rub and some oil, prepared it about medium rare and returned to my semi-carnivorous style of eating.  But as I took the first bite, and started to swallow it, I felt like it was getting stuck in my throat.  I tried another bite and the same thing happened. 

To better digest the meat, I reluctantly returned to the cabbage soup as a means to add moisture to the dryness I felt in my throat.  That’s when it occurred to me – maybe we’re supposed to be vegetarian.  Maybe we are supposed to limit our meat consumption.  Or maybe it’s the way the meat is raised or processed that’s the problem with our diets (my vote is for this conclusion).   Anyway, the experience opened my eyes to how the body processes food.  And I gave more thought to what I was putting in my body.

Since then, I’ve had occasional days where I decided to replace the meat on my plate with more vegetables.  And a few years ago, I did Dr. Ian Smith’s detox diet, which resulted in feeling better and consistent regularity in my digestive process.  Then recently, I’ve periodically committed to Meatless Mondays or Meat-free Fridays, depending on my meal planning for the week. 

Yesterday, my god-daughter Catie texted me she and her boyfriend, Jeremiah, would be coming through town en route to Utah.  She thought it would be great for us to meet for lunch.  I decided that we should meet at Eden Alley.  Mainly because my friend, and her “Uncle Brent”, works there and it had been a few years since they have seen each other.  It would also give me another opportunity to eat at a vegan restaurant.  The last time I was there, I was working with a client who had a very limited view of vegetables. 

One reason I’ve always liked eating at Eden Alley is the atmosphere.  Since it’s in the basement of Unity Temple on the Plaza.  I always feel like I’m “eating close to God”, as my friend Leah says.  And I always feel relaxed when I eat there.  Sometimes I go early so I can hangout at the bookstore.  On this visit, I learned the bookstore has been moved upstairs.  The other side of the dining room is now occupied by Bird Sings Card and Gift Company. 

Uncle Brent, Catie and da Godfather

Once we surprised Uncle Brent, who became our server, we started to review the menu.  I was really surprised at how extensive the menu was.  Vegan, gluten-free, soy based…all of the options were perfect for someone who’s wanting to eat healthier, organically and locally.  A lot of restaurants are saving money and adding quality to their menus by using local farmers and vendors. 

Catie started out with the Cabbage and Potato Soup.  I chose the Tomato Bisque.  Catie loved her soup, which was vegan/gluten+soy-free.  The bisque was thick and creamy.  The tomato flavor was strong and balanced well with the tang of crumbled bleu cheese. 

A thick slice of grilled locally made bread topped with vegan smoky tomato aioli, marinated tomatoes, herbed mozzarella and parmesan, baked until bubbly and then served with a touch of greens, red onions and red wine vinaigrette

For entree, Jeremiah chose the Smoky Tomato Bruschetta.  It looked wonderful and he enjoyed it. 

Local corn tortillas filled with “meat” made from textured vegetable protein, mushrooms, onions, cumin, chili, oregano and cayenne, topped off with mozzarella, parmesan and Cheddar cheese. Served with brown rice, red salsa

Catie had the taco, which she enjoyed as well. 

A thick “slice” of grilled local bread with eggsalad, pickles, tomatoes, red onions, and carrots, sitting on greens with raindrops of red wine vinaigrette.

I chose the Eggsalad Bruschetta.  Egg salad sandwiches are great if made well.  This one was good.  The salad was creamy and delicious.  I thought the vinaigrette would make the bread soggy but it didn’t.  It was just enough to dress and flavor the greens (with a small container of extra dressing if needed or desired).

Several things occurred to me with this meal.  For one, it was a great feeling to eat food without preservatives and all that other junk.  With most restaurants, there’s so much sodium in the food, I drink a lot of water.  But my menu choices did not force me to constantly ask for water.  Another thing I noticed was my lips weren’t slick.  By that I mean that most restaurants or foods have so much fat that it can be felt on the lips as you’re eating.  I didn’t experience that here. 

After lunch was over, I really felt great.  I spent some time with people who I love…I ate food that was true fuel for my body.  Food that felt good to eat and therefore made me feel good.  All within a peaceful, loving atmosphere. 

Wouldn’t it be great if every meal was like this?

Have a blessed day!


Jeremiah and Catie stopped in snowy KC on the way to Utah


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