Wednesday, July 24, 2013

25% off at Karmavore in July 2013

Karmavore on Urbanspoon
This July, Karmavore patrons have been taking advantage of a huge 25% off their bill, valid all through July, for dine-in. If you haven't been back there in a while, they have wiped out their retail and supermarket, and are now just a cafe, with a shelf on the side for a few leftovers. They have also paired up with vegan-friendly Chau Veggie Express!
Here's how the ad copy reads. Notice the extra goodie they threw in (in bold):
Exclusive Karmacard Holder Offer!
[ Deal Ends July 31]
Karmavore would like to THANK YOU all for your continued support over the years, with an exclusive offer to our most valuable supporters!
Simply pop in anytime now through end of July, and mention the following coupon code, and you will receive 25% OFF your table bill, no spending limit, and no menu item exceptions! 
You may also use this promotion as many times as you like for the entire month of July!
Additionally, you can share this special offer with your friends and family! Someone at the table must simply present a Karmacard or provide a valid Karma Points phone number in order for it to qualify in our system.
They also have a pastry chef (only just back from vacation) so if over the last week or so their counter looked pretty lame of pastries and cakes and goodies, that should all have magically transformed by now into an evil witch gingerbread house to woo any juicy Hansels and Gretels. Or something like that. I'll have to head back myself to check it out.

On Tuesday I dragged a friend over to check out their offerings.

CHAU VeggiExpress Noodle Soup (Various) [Curry] ($9.75)
  • This was super-simple -- just noodle and broccoli -- but with a really decent curry. I could easily imagine my mom having made that tasty curry. Not spicy, though, but we didn't think to ask for more heat.
  • It was a reasonably large bowl as well, thick with noodles. They are sort of skimy on utensils -- at the utensil station there are metal forks and plastic knives. Ask for a soup spoon unless you want to just drink the soup straight out of the bowl. Which is not out of the question since by the time you are through with the noodles it would probably have cooled down enough.
Karmavore Smoothie (Strawberry; $7)
  • Vegan means no dairy, which means no milk or ice cream. So from the get go this smoothie is already handicapped. It came out as definitely less thick and rich as a "regular smoothie". It's barely passable IF you are comparing it to a "real" smoothie. This is one of those times where you'll miss the original non-vegan version.
  • For $7, it's a large potion, enough for two coffee mugs (and they can split it for you if you are sharing). Comes with whipped cream on top.
Porcini Gravy Burger and Side ($11)
  • This was the special of the day. It is a single $11 item on the daily special board, but showed up on the bill as two items, since the side could be baked fries or kale salad.
  • The burger was rather sad, unfortunately. It's a dry whole wheat bun, one porcini (mushroom) patty, gravy, one thick slice of tomato, and alfalfa sprouts. Composition wise, it's pretty bland. Taste-wise, it's also pretty bland. The gravy is also pretty bland but there's a good amount plus extra in a small cup.
  • I did isolate the somewhat thin looking patty, and on it's own, it's not bad. overall, I think the burger could have been composed more interestingly somehow. Certainly the patty didn't get a good chance to demonstrate its decent flavour.
  • The kale salad was rather salty tasting, but otherwise okay. Maybe because of the very generous amount of dressing, it wasn't bitter as kale generally is.
  • Something you could do is take the top bun half off and eat it open faced. For the rest of the bun, maybe dip it in any leftover gravy or throw the kale salad onto it to help temper the saltiness by eating it with the bun. You could put everything together as well, but the salad would definitely have smothered all flavour from the patty and gravy.
Green Matcha Rice Crispy Square ($3.50)
  • My friend bought this to share after. When we initially tried to cut it, it seemed hard as a rock, but it turned out to just be dense and chewy. Also not super-sticky like Rice Crispy Squares often are. The green matcha flavour wasn't overpowering, and there was just a drizzle of chocolate on one side to make the flavour interesting without dominating it into a chocolate-coated dessert. Overall not "wow" tasty but fair enough for the price point.
  • The square was maybe half an inch thick and three inches on each size.
The new cafe style of Karmavore looks like a cafeteria but you do get table service just like at a restaurant. If you paid at the counter, you can just leave a tip on the table. Otherwise, the card payment machine does force you to go through the percentage-or-cash tip (which can be a bit wierd if you bought something frozen for takeout).
They are only 50 seats, and at least on the day we were there, traffic starts to get steady after 5pm.

Also interesting at Karmavore is the raccoon-eyed lady at the counter with blonde-and-black hair. She had black squarish patches on her eyes that looked like tattoos but were actually her bold everyday choice of makeup. Worth a look all on its own, plus she's rather cute.

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