Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kalachandjis - Amazing Vegetarian Food in Dallas

Last Saturday Mike took me on another Saturdate (read about my other Saturdate). We've been wanting to try Kalachandjis Restaurant and Palace for some time but living in North Dallas and making the trip downtown requires a little bit of motivation. 
Clockwise from the top right: Dal soup, Mustard Greens, Cinnamon Raisin bread,
Pumpkin Curry, steamed veggies and brown rice. Tamarind tea at the top.
We made the 20+ mile drive downtown to find the streets lined with cars. We had to drive around the block a couple of times to find a spot to park. Immediately you see the palace, in the middle of a quaint neighborhood, dwarfing all the houses on the street.

We weren't quite sure where to even find the entrance but luckily a group of people were walking in before us and so we discretely followed them. I didn't realize they also held services here. So I was quite taken aback when the first sign I saw said to leave my shoes in the shoe room. What? I'm not taking my shoes off at a restaurant! Luckily a kind patron guided us down another hallway where we were met with a wonderfully long line of people serving up such delicious smelling food.

Everyone around us was dressed so beautifully in traditional garb that we looked like shmucks in our jeans and flip flops; no one but us really seemed to mind. We grabbed our trays and I struck up a conversation with the gentleman in front of me. I asked him how this worked and which foods were not to be missed. Basically, Kalachandji's is a buffet where you can choose soup, salad and a drink or the hot buffet. Mike and I saw so many new and wonderful foods on the hot buffet that it was a no-brainer decision. The gentleman then turned to me and said "Get. The. Cinnamon. Bread!"

We filled our trays, as you can see in the picture. We started with a vibrant soup which I believe was called Dal (please correct me if I'm wrong), brown rice, seasoned steamed veggies, pumpkin curry (soooo good), bitter greens (I thnk they were mustard) and the Pièce de résistance the homemade cinnamon raisin bread (I ate three slices!). The food was so fresh. Each bite was a wonderful surprise to my tastebuds - so many flavors and spices that I'm not used to.

You also can't miss the tamarind tea. It is this sweet drink that tastes like tea and lemonade mixed together. Dessert was this amazing sweet rice and a unique type of pineapple cake. I actually mixed the two and it was so good.

As if the food wasn't enough to entice us to come back, the restaurant setting is a hidden gem in Dallas. The middle of the restaurant opens up to the sky. We sat next to a peaceful fountain and shady tree in the middle of the courtyard. We were lucky to go on a really nice day (blue skies and mid 70's). We can't wait to go back at night. Take a look at the home page of Kalachandji's and you'll see their little twinkly lights and warm lanterns ... sigh. I can't wait!

More tamarind tea and ... I forgot to mention they had vegetarian lasagna. You can
see it right above my glass on Mike's plate.

If you've been to Kalachandji's what has been your favorite food?

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