Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Govinda's in the UH Sustainability Courtyard

I overheard the guy behind the register saying that they come from the Krishna Temple off the Pali before setting upp on campus. So I guess you don't have to pray before you eat, 'cause if they still do things how they did when I last visited the Temple about 20 years ago, these guys pray and bless the food as they prepare it.
If I'm correct, Krishna devotees don't eat meat, fish or eggs. It has to do with karma. Whatever you do, good or bad, always comes back to you sooner or later. Since no one gets killed when you cook vegetarian, you won't get that karma. And Goddammit, their food is heavenly! Fresh and flavourful in vibrant hues and multiple textures. For example, their Walnut Dumplings with Sweet and Sour Veggie Sauce. This entree had walnuts deep fried (probbly in ghee or 'clarified butter'), with a weightless crispy batter, atop a mixture of soft but not squishy bright yellow squash and celery tossed in a citrus-tangy sauce.
It was so yummy and familiar, I kept thinking: "If this were heavy and greasy, I'd swear it was Chinese take-out".
I don't know how you make cheese, but if they do, hurray for them. Their Palak Paneer of spinach and fresh cheese squares was a creamy delight. The cauliflower was almost mushy enough to melt into whatever the subtly pungent sauce was that enveloped the firm but kinda spongey chunks o' cheese.
I don't always add seasonings, but their condiment selection ranges from unsalted sunflower seeds, to sesame salad dressing.

The entrees change every day, come in Mini or Full Plates, and include brown rice and dessert. Full plates also come with soup. The one I had before was a fine brothy but hearty tomato stew swimming with other small veggie pieces. (I sipped it on the way home so I forgot to get a gooder pic)
The drink upp above on the right is their Lemon Ginger something I think it's called. Tangy aromatic tea with bite. I don't know what kofta balls are made out of, but I love meat mimics. These were like meat-ish balls with a grainy stuffing-like consistency, lightly drizzled with a tomato-y stew of peas, celery and zucchini to complement the texture. My favourite is their dessert. I think it's called Halava, and it's a helluva cross between like a rice pudding and jello. The main flavour varies from peanut butter, to berry, with a light aromatic hint of allspice or cinnamon. Chewing it is like a Jell-O brownie made of tightly pressed tiny-tapioca pearls.

I'm not sure what they serve it to you on if you get it "for here", but to-go you used to have the choice to "go-bio", which means you get your lunch on a bio-degradable pulpy cardboard tray. The guy behind the register would say the bio box "cost 20 cents more, but don't last as long." Well now you don't got no choice but bio, which ain't bad. I got it home and it didn't start bending or feeling soggy, and that's a 10 minute walk from the campus. I'm so self-righteous I ain't too proud to preach that I don't grab one of their heavy-duty but probbly earth-friendly plastic forks. Since I live so close, I use a real fork from home and wipe my mouth with the kitchen sponge instead of using disposable napkins. How's me? So Green.
I hear that their lasagna is a popular dish, so if you're not too quick on those days, you'll have to settle for whatever else they're serving. But overall their food is delicious. There's definitely an Eastern/Indian influence with little local leanings, and exotic spices though not too hot. It's light and fresh and leaves you wanting more.Must be all that praying.

Here's some other stuff I got there:

The samosa was cute (pictured below and above with Govinda's fresh berry something delicious drink.) Kinda curry potato mush popping with peas plus seeds and spices wrapped in a whole grainy thin crust. I sampled the chutney, but I'm not a big dipper.

If you get hooked on it, that's kinda okay. Although enjoying such physical flavour pleasures binds you to a material existence, the food is infused with Love for and from Krishna, so you are in effect ingesting his essence. mmm. And just like my other favourite vegetarian Dr. Gillian McKeith would say, "You are what you eat." (She ain't got nothing to do with this, I just love that woman.)

So Govinda's shares the "Sustainability Courtyard" on UH Campus near Kuykendall Hall. I gotta walk back there to figure out how to get there. I mean I know where I'm going, but if you don't, I would just get you lost. Lemme go back and I'll tell you later. It's the weekend, they're not open any way.

1 comment:

jeela said...

I <3 Govinda's, eat it regularly. It's made eating on campus actually *gasp* enjoyable. The soups are also really good, they have a new one every day.

You are right, the forks are bio-charged, made from cornstarch they told me. You can kind of chew on em (dont taste good tho) and I've been meaning to see what happens when you put em in the dishwasher, I think they might dissolve?

anyway, how come I didnt know you are blogging!?? >:-[ looks good! Ah'll be baaack