Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Dreamy Breakfast At Caravan Of Dreams

About once a year, I visit New York City, one of my favorite places in the country. It just so happens that there are many amazing vegan restaurants scattered throughout the city. I was faced with a difficult decision to make that I rarely face: which restaurant do I dine at? I found the options to be overwhelming and prayed that I made the right choices.

On a Sunday morning, my parents, sister and I headed to the Village to dine at a lovely restaurant called Caravan of Dreams. For brunch, they offer a pre-fix menu for $16, which includes a choice of sangria or fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee or tea, salad and an entree. My sister, mom and I chose the french toast, while my dad opted for a tofu scramble, replacing toast with a blueberry pancake for $1.50 extra.

First, my sangria came out.

The sangria was very fruity and had a strong taste of wine. It was sweet with a subtle tartness. The alcohol was fairly strong and I felt it absorb into my bloodstream almost immediately. It left me with a nice buzz, which may have helped me enjoy my brunch even more.

The rest of my family raved about their orange juice. They were surprised about how fresh tasting it was, even more pure and sweet than the overly processed orange juice they are accustomed to.

Next, I had some tea. It was brought out in a large pot, which provided several generous servings.

I opted for an herbal chai tea, which was very refreshing and uplifting. It had a slight sweetness to it, with spicy undertones. It balanced the sangria out very well.

Next, our salads came out.

The salad was very good, consisting of slightly bitter greens and sweet, juicy tomatoes. The vinaigrette was very light, which was perfect for this first meal early in the morning.

The service was very bad and our entrees had been sitting out for quite awhile before the waiter finally brought them to our table. Thus, the meal was cold and although it was very delicious, it would have been way better if it was served hot. I first tried my french toast.

This french toast was delicious and quite possibly the best I've ever had. The bread had a great consistency and was very thick with a slightly eggy flavor. It was very moist and felt delicate in my mouth. There was a decadent layer of vegan nutella spread on, giving it a rich, chocolatey flavor. The pieces of juicy strawberries and bananas took the dish over the top, adding even more sweetness. In addition, there were toasted pieces of slightly salty, crunchy hazelnuts, which added a wonderful contrast to the softness of the french toast and fruit slices.

I tried some of my dad's dishes, which were equally tasty. I first tried some of his blueberry pancake.

This pancake was very interesting, as it was made of spelt flour. It was very fluffy and had a sweet, luscious taste.

I also tried his tofu scramble, which was way different from any tofu scramble I've ever had.

The tofu was very fluffy and mimicked the texture of eggs almost to an exact. The vegetables were sauteed very well and were soft and easy to eat. There was a subtle taste of soy sauce, which made this dish a cross between a scramble and stir-fry.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. The food at Caravan of Dreams is top-notch and one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. I love that the dishes are both innovative and sophisticated. As a vegan, I rarely get the chance to eat nutella, so this was such a treat. While the meal was fairly expensive, it was very reasonably priced for its high real estate location. The pre-fix menu is quite a deal, as it is only $3 more than the a la carte entree and includes a salad and two amazing drinks. This could easily cost at least twice as much if the items were ordered separately. I definitely recommend this restaurant for a relaxing brunch before exploring all the city has to offer. I hope to return the next time I venture to NYC.

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