After a weekend spent swimming hazily through a NyQuil-induced fog and eating the only thing that didn't come back up (Ak-Mak crackers), I was primed and ready for a good vegan lunch buffet--someplace where I wouldn't have to ask any questions about ingredients or wonder whether they had really removed the mayonnaise from my no-cheese vegetable sandwich.
Added to the list of old favorites--Spiral Diner, Kalachandji's--New Start Veggie Garden is a little haven of veganism near Royal and I-35.
Everything here is vegan, from the Asian yellow curry (fabulously creamy, with a hint of cinnamon) to the earthy winter-squash tempura and salty-spicy kimchi.
There are the usual vegan things, including some surprisingly good roasted and spiced potatoes ("You're a potato girl, eh?" the guy behind the counter said when I told him I liked them), a few variations on stir-fried veggies and tofu, some not-too-flavorful spring rolls and pert little brown rice veggie sushi. Then there are the special items: subtly salty sea lettuce, an eggless egg roll baked into a pancake and sliced into triangles to resemble a thin Spanish tortilla, and a strange, earthy-sweet Mountain Mushroom Tea made of the Sang-Hwang medicinal mushroom that's said to fight cancer.
Maybe it's the next green tea.
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The lunch buffet is an insanely affordable $6.99 a head; mushroom tea (free refills; fight cancer all day!) is $1. What's more, the staff is friendly, efficient and accommodating. Maybe it's because they're living by the "New Start" acronym, as posted on the wall next to the buffet line:
Trusting in God
Yeah! Nothing like Trusting in God (and some vegan carob cake for dessert) to kick a cold and help you conquer life! But where does temperance come into play?
New Start Veggie Garden
2330 Royal Lane #900