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Restaurant Review: Karma Road

Here is my checklist for the perfect café: Vegan, organic, no refined or irradiated ingredients, gluten-free, eat-in and take-out, green juice, delicious food, friendly people and lots of love. Sounds like a huge order to fill but there is a place that can satisfy all my wants and needs: Karma Road Organic Café.

Karma Road Organic Café was opened in the heart of New Paltz, N.Y. by Seth and Jenn on February 22, 2007 (Happy Belated Birthday) with the “hope to bring health, consciousness and love” and to “nourish the soul as well as the body.”

As soon as you walk into the bright, airy and colorful café’, you are hit with feelings of friendliness and comfort and the offer of a taste of the “soup of the moment.” The first time I went into Karma Road, my intention was to get some take-out food but I immediately felt like I had found a new, yet familiar home. I wanted to take off my coat, sit down at the tables (decorated with pictures of farm sanctuary animals) and hang out. And that is exactly what I did.

After tasting the “soup of the moment” that Pippa offered us, which happened to be Two-Grain Veggie Tomato and was delicious, Tom and I got breakfast. Karma Road serves granola, fruit crisps, oatmeal, muffins and quinoa grits. They also make incredible sweet potato biscuits which we had to try with some vegan spread.

Tom and I indulged ourselves from the breakfast specials. I got the Tofu Scramble wrap which is made with seasoned tofu, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and vegan aioli.

Tom got the Hybrid Burrito which has tofu scramble, spiced russet potatoes, beans, soy mozzarella, salsa, and a sundried tomato aioli.

We got them both on brown rice tortilla wraps and they came with a side of sprouts. Both wraps were delicious.

We washed them down with organic juice – orange for Tom and a green juice made with spinach, kale, cucumber and apple for me. I’m now addicted to this green juice!

Karma Road offers a large variety of organic juices, smoothies and shakes as well as wheatgrass juice and hot organic drinks such as coffee, cocoa, tea and chai lattes.

In fact, Karma Road was voted as having the “Best Smoothie in the Hudson Valley” in 2007 and in 2010, was the Best of Hudson Valley winner for “Best Vegetarian” eatery.

That came as no surprise to me. As we ate our breakfast, looking out to the patio where there is outside seating, our eyes were trying to take in all the menus including the delicious-sounding sandwiches that made us wonder if they would mind our sitting there until it was lunchtime.

After finishing our breakfast, we did sit for awhile and basked in the sun coming through the windows. The atmosphere was so relaxed and inviting, we felt no rush to leave. I walked around the café and perused the deli case where more amazing delicacies called to me.

Everyday there are different offerings including a grain of the day and a bean of the day. On this day, among the many choices were falafel, curried vegetables, pasta (brown rice, never wheat), chunky tofu salad, chili and the famous “Karma Burger of the Moment” which is a “baked (never fried) gluten-free, delicious mix of veggies, grains and Love.”

When it felt like we were going to need to legally change our address to Karma Road, we reluctantly left but not before I got a Karma Road t-shirt. I was tempted to get the hat too but I figured I should leave myself a treat for another day.

Later that same day, I was still thinking about all the incredible-looking food I saw and decided I didn’t want to cook dinner. So off Tom went back to Karma Road to get dinner for us. We feasted on Roasted Tempeh with a tahini sauce which was rich and spicy.

We also got Spice Blackened Tofu that was full of flavor and cooked perfectly.

The sauteed Greens were garlicky and a must-have every time we order.

And my new favorite dish, Roasted Cauliflower. Now I’ve had roasted cauliflower before but not like this. I don’t know, maybe it’s the Love. That ingredient seems to make a world of difference.

Karma Road also makes organic desserts that contain no wheat flour, milk, eggs, butter or any refined sugars. Brown rice crispy bars, chocolate peanut butter bars, chocolate-chip cherry muffins, raw peach pie, apple spice muffins, puddings and so much more. We had dessert too but we ate it before we could take any photos. Sorry :).

Needless to say, we eat at or from Karma Road every chance we get. Everyone there – Seth, Jenn, Pippa, Kevin, Patrick, Nick – is so friendly. They are popular with the locals, the college crowd and people who are just visiting New Paltz. Karma Road offers cooking classes and has monthly guest speakers and special events. They are also available for catering, specializing in vegan birthday and wedding cakes. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary members get a 10% discount too!

The people at Karma Road care about food but along with one’s tummy, they are also taking care of people’s minds, bodies and souls. Their commitment to community, service and the planet shows in everything they do. As Will Tuttle states in The World Peace Diet, “food is an intimate vehicle of energy and consciousness, and when it is prepared with love, mindfulness, and gratitude, these vibrations bless and support the fortunate recipients of the food.”

Karma Road’s menu says “We’re so glad that you’re here!” and every moment they make you believe that is true.

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One Response to Restaurant Review: Karma Road

  1. Anonymous March 4, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    All so true! It’s a real oasis of peace in an omnivore’s world.

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