Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lacklustre second visit to Karmavore

Karmavore on Urbanspoon
You may recall that I had written about a wonderful visit to Karmavore not too far back where I had made-in-house hot-and-delicious croissant'wiches. My vegan-curious friend from Berkeley was in town and I dragged her over there, hoping to give her the same experience.

Well, it sort of fell flat this time.

It may have been the different and possibly less experienced staff at the deli, but probably the fact that I forgot to tell them we weren't doing take-out was also a key factor -- the minimal-seating deli operation means they expect solely take-out orders. (On the up side, there's now a bit of decent seating! Two square regulation-height tables plus more chairs replaced the single low coffee table from my last visit. You can squash maybe 10 persons in there easily.)

The sandwiches of the day ($5.99) were the same as before -- tofu egg and smoked tomato Field Roast fake meat deli slices. We opted for the smoked tomato. It came cold and in shrink wrap. Oops -- Forgot to tell them we were having it there. I brought it back and asked if they could heat it up and melt the cheese. They were at a loss at that point, saying they didn't normally do that -- a sure sign that they just hadn't been asked to prep a non-takeout sandwich before.

In any case, the lady at the counter very helpfully tried to oblige saying she could pop it in the oven, but warned that the sprouts would get all funny (i.e., wilted). No problem. We gave it a try. She may have left the oven on toast instead of opening the sandwich to do a broil because the croissant came out not burnt but super-crusty and dry. The generous portion of thick cheese (maybe 4mm thick) was nowhere near melted -- she probably didn't want to risk burning the croissant -- and the meat was still cool.

The sandwich is not so bad cold, but still better hot with melted cheese over hot slices of Field Roast smoked tomato deli slices. So the lesson here is to remember to tell them up front you want to eat it there. I'm not sure how people who do take-out handle it if they want it hot. The cheese would have taken quite a bit of heating to melt properly, which in turn could easily dry out and crust-ify your croissant. And I wouldn't try microwaving it because that would kill the croissant into a limp, soggy, possibly oily mess.

We also ordered soup of the day ($2.99), which was a sort of bean chili. Very small bowl, very thick with beans and not so much soup. It's a solid filling mini-meal. Not too salty, not too hot. If you like a lot more bite to your chili, it'll come across as too mild.

Finally, we picked up an Edible Flours stuffed cupcake (mocha caramel with additional cream in the middle, hence "stuffed"; $3.99). My friend, who definitely doesn't have as sweet a tooth as I, found it too sweet and gave up after just one bite -- and that's not even working on the cream on top or in the middle. Hmm!
Be ready to share it if you buy it for someone else, I suppose.

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