Dinner at a Palace- Restaurant and Interview with the Chef

In India, food is considered as divine and is represented by Goddess Annapoorani. And any offering given at a temple is considered to have the blessing of the presiding deity. There are even some temples whose food is said to cure some eye diseases and problems of the stomach. I never thought I would find a place in Texas(!!) that still follows this tradition of simple home cooking, that comes with the blessings of a deity. When I was in Dallas last week, I was looking for a Indian place to try and I found Kalachandjis, a vegetarian restaurant.

Kalachandji’s Palace, Restaurant and Temple is a place where you can get food for the mind and for the stomach. Kalachandji’s is Dallas’s longest serving Vegetarian Restaurant, often voted as the # 1 choice for Vegetarians by Magazines. Started in the year 1982, for nearly 27 years Kalachandijis has been serving vegetarian, home made food, cooked according to ayurvedic traditions.

The name itself is quite unique for a Indian restaurant as most Indian restaurants have a similar name wherever you go,like a dosa corner or Dakshin. The name Kalachandiji is the name of the presiding deity of the Palace. Kala means black and Chand means moon, hence the name translates to that of the beautiful moon face of Lord Krishna. How the 500 year old deity came to Texas is another interesting fact. It is believed that during the foreign invasion of India, the statute of Lord Krishna was hidden to avoid stealing and after many years , Swami Prabhupada found the statue as a door stopper in a shop in Jaipur. Once obtaining the statue of Kalachandji, efforts were taken to construct a temple in Dallas and the Palace was created for his residence.

The restaurant is divided into the Palace-Temple, a magnificent Garden with fountains, Tulsivanam, the Restaurant and a shop for Indian goods. Once entering into the Palace, automatically one can sense the peace, the cool wind due to the garden and the sizzling sound of running waters. Ofcourse, there is the aroma of food that invites you into the restaurant.

We had a chance to meet the Chef and Palace Coordinator Manjulai Devi and she showed us around the palace and gave us a brief history of the place. The food for nearly 400 people a day is cooked by Chef Manjulai Devi and Chef Sweta and it is made according to ayurvedic traditions. It is believed that food can absorb the emotions of the person who cooks a meal and so every meal made at this restaurant is called as a Food Served with Love as the Chef’s cook it with positive thoughts. Another interesting fact is that none of the dishes offered here has any Garlic, Onions, Canned or Frozen food.

The range of food offered here is Indian-Fusion with less spicy Indian food and either a Pasta, Bread or BBQ Tofu for the International food lovers.

And the menu is changed everyday, you can check the menu here. You wont find a Steaming pot of Biryani but the mouthwatering array of dishes for the day we visited were Dal Soup, Vadas, Pooris, Home made cinnamon bread and raisin bread,Poppadams, Brown rice, Spanish Tomato Rice(with olives), Enchiladas, Curry with Paneer, Steamed spinach and steamed vegetables with Tahini Sauce along with a salad bar.

The dal soup is so flavorful that you won’t notice that it is missing onions and garlic. Once the tongue is all fiery from the soup, soothing effect of salad teases the palates.

The salad bar has mixed greens, steamed vegetables, cucumbers, olives, carrots and beets along with peppers. The best part is their home made salad dressing. The almond blend dressing is chunky- crowd favorite dressing and most of the guests were gulping it by the bowls instead of using it as a dressing. Other dressings like Green Goddess, Italian Basil or Lemon Tahini are also home made and as flavorful as the names suggest.

The best drink that goes with such a meal is- Tamarind Tea! I was surprised to hear the name at first and took a little sip just so, but the cold tea sure packs a punch. Made with turbinado sugar and tamarind, the tea is a real refresher. The taste is so addictive that for every plate refilled, you would want to refill the tea also. And even finishing off a couple of plates, there is no heavy feeling as there is no masala to make the tummy feel uncomfortable.

But we were not done yet, once we cleaned off our plates, we were served a classic pineapple coconut halvah(Farina with coconut,pineapples and nuts)and a sweet rice pudding.

Once the tummy was full, we decided to walk around the garden along with Chef Manjuali Devi. The garden-patio has a couple of seats near the fountains and were spread out through the garden. The chef shared that during the summer most people would come to the Palace with a nice book, have a filling meal and enjoy the rest of the evening reading the book in the Garden! Why not, with a couple of glasses of the tea to drink it sure would be a relaxing evening.

The last stop of our tour is the beginning of this post- Kalachandiji’s temple. Surrounded by Tulsi plants, with Radha on his side, Kalachandji was actually celebrating Valantine’s Day with his dear devotees. Heart shaped balloons and garlands decorated the place of worship.

Surrounding Kalachandiji were paintings that describe the life of krishna, starting from his birth to butter stealing days to rasa-leela. Each painting is supported by a beautifully hand crafted pillars made from India.

If you are interested in learning Indian cooking, what could be better than starting it at a Palace? The Palace Chef’s offer cooking classes for beginners every Thursday for two hours and more information on the cooking classes, you can click here. The class is not just a demonstration class but the entire set of students is fed a full course meal that is cooked by the Chef for the class.

And the cost of Dinner Buffet? It is just around $10 per person. Want a relaxing meal on a tiring weekend? Checkout Kalachanjis for a unique dining experience.

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stealing-butter
stealing-butter

Tea
Tea


18 Comments to “Dinner at a Palace- Restaurant and Interview with the Chef”

  1. Asha says:

    Sounds like a cool place to spend an afternoon. We don’t have anything like that here. It’s even hard to find a good one. We just visited a Punjabi Dhaba in Chapel Hill which is really authentic, enjoyed it. South Indian, only in Atlanta, Saravana Bhavan.

  2. simplyfood says:

    Your experience sounds wonderful.

  3. Indian restaurant in abroad is just like one boon i can say…In uk too its quiet difficult to find a good indian restaurants..only few u can find ….Reading your post i felt its a good restaurant and a place to enjoy too…looks beautiful…and whenever i come to your house take me there ok? my paneer behen….

  4. It seems that you had a great time and enjoyed the delicious food. Unfortunately we dont have anything like this here in Munich. The Paintings look really beautiful and I loved the Radha Krishna statues, they are so beautiful…

    Am feeling much better now, was down with high fever and still on antibiotics :(

  5. Cham says:

    U won’t believe, in my place every nook u ve one Indian rest/fast food, etc… I do have one at walkable dist, hehe… Sounds u enjoyed the place!
    Last year, I visited Annapoorani temple in karnataka!
    How is ur hand?

  6. Vaishali says:

    You’ve got me hungry, Ruchika, with all those amazing food pictures.
    We have some great Indian restaurants here in the DC area, although I have to yet find a good one that incorporates fusion rather than just the traditional. Good information for when I visit Dallas :)

  7. SE says:

    Great post..was nice reading it..I believe does the temple belong to the ISKCON ?

  8. Lele says:

    This makes me wish I lived in Texas! I would love to take cooking class at a palace, geez!

  9. Jagruti says:

    Hey Ruchiks

    Sound you enjoyed the place!! great post with lots beautiful pics..actually amazed by the tamarind tea!!

  10. PJ says:

    Nice and deatiled info of the place.Loved reading it..

  11. Usha says:

    Sounds like a neat place to visit !

  12. PJ says:

    sounds like a great place! i think your description of getting food for mind and soul so perfectly describes it!

    #4 was the truth by the way :)

  13. such a great experience..You took me through a nice tour..loved reading it.

  14. Jayashree says:

    Sounds like a lovely place. nice write-up.

  15. notyet100 says:

    wow feel like visiting this place,sounds good

  16. ya definitely would love to have whatever u prepare…so yummy dishes u post always my paneer behen…

  17. minakshi says:

    wow awesome place, i have been to dallas quite few times but never heard of this place.. worth visiting for sure

  18. Looks a wonderful place. Gud Indian restaurant in US is surely a treat! loved reading this post!

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