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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Karma Cream Café

Karma Cream Café

Meatless wrap, lunch, ALMOST perfect

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

KkremeSFRelocating a few blocks east on University Avenue has created a wonderful upgrade for this popular vegan lunch stop. The sandwiches, wraps, organic dairy, and organic ice cream draws crowds of hungry meatless minions. But the totally remodeled Karma Kreme lunch experience is now flooded with natural lighting by gigantic windows across the front of the double wide storefront.

KK has also added a small number of lunch counter seats at one end of the building, which makes for a very convenient lunch spot for the curious, people-watching lunch outer like myself.

 

KkremeSILHOUETTE0227

All of a sudden the Kreme's delicious desserts and amazing selection of ice cream (Kreme?) are much more readily available to customers. Speaking of customers, I first ventured into this new vegan lunch palace on a Sunday afternoon and the line was out the front door for lunch.

It was smart to return later in the week for a late afternoon Friday lunch. I did notice the social phenomenon of several 'coffee and dessert homesteaders' corralling what they thought were the best tables for an afternoon of books, conversation, and studying.

 

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I get this now. No franchise 'kitch' here. What you will find is a wonderfully clean, bright, comfortable space guaranteed to satisfy your hunger pangs as well as your hang-out initiatives.

But the GLOB Master was here for lunch, a Meatless Monday report in fact. The No-Meat-Here paradigm was evident from the vegan grilled cheese ($5.50) to the Vegan Bacon + Tofurkey Club sandwich ($7.00). If your lunch entree didn't have vegan stamped on it, you can for sure believe it was organically grown, ALMOST tasting like that which shall remain nameless.

There is a varied selection of Karma Kreme sandwiches and wraps I surveyed before ordering the Curried Chickpea + "Chicken" Wrap. I was telling someone I have been on a diabetic diet long enough that now starchy carbohydrates like eating sandwiches, potatoes, pasta make me react with great anxiety. There is a complete Karma Kreme menu at the restaurant web link below this review.

 

KkremeWRAPchoco0227

I Justified the flour wrap as a good carb alternative with breaded "chicken" strips, curried chickpea salad, greens and tomatoes in a sprouted wheat wrap ($6.25.)

There I was GLOBers enjoying a mashed garbanzo bean sandwich with crusty pieces that ALMOST simulated chicken . . .

It is taking a lot of getting used to. The wrap was flavorable with the chickpeas having very pronounced flavor. The texture of the 'almost chicken' worked adding a distinct texture variation. I am not a curry fan as a rule. Kudos to KK for slipping in a very small amount of curry that actually had me thinking the spice was a nice addition. My lunch included some flavorful, dark brown, yummy, organically grown corn chips.

 

KkremeWALLart0227

Of course the drink component is also alternative with some exotic sodas I steered away from. Organic teas and coffees are the ticket here. I spied an interesting customer crouched into a comfortable corner table with a very large cup of what appeared to be hot chocolate with whipped cream that looked inviting. I ordered the hot chocolate that arrived in very large, attractive blue cup with an interesting cream display. Unfortunately the hot chocolate wasn't very hot.

 

KkremeHOTchoc0227

The last time I ordered a hot drink and it arrived tepid, I asked if the server could "nuke it' for a few more seconds, and the server looked at me puzzled, squinched her eyebrows, and replied. "Nuke it?'

I'm thinking the Karma Kreme owners are wondering why they didn't move years ago. The food is some of the best vegan food in Gainesville, the ice cream and treats are worth a trip all by themselves, and the vegan lunch menu ALMOST makes this a five star lunch stop..

The Pluses and Minuses of Karma Cream:

Karma Cream + indicators: Bright, clean, friendly dining area. Multiple wrap, and sandwich choices with many item ALMOST like meat products.

Karma Cream - indicators: The Karme Kreme Server sould have checked my hot chocolate temperature. New location is drawing lunchouters creating busy lunch hours.

 

KCalmonds

Mint Galactica for lunch, good judgment be damned

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

KkremeSFSometimes a well-balanced meal is overrated.  Sometimes you have just had one of those awesome/awful weeks where you need something that will hit the spot without any judgment of how healthy or unhealthy it may be. This was one of those weeks, and I was in one of those moods.

What is the one thing most children wish they could eat for any meal? If you guessed salad, you are probably one of the 2 percent of people who doesn't care to eat junk or sweets. It happens. Although I do love eating healthy for the most part, sometimes that little voice in your head is making you focus solely on that ice cream carton like it is a piece of meat being hunted by a wild animal. I decided I would have one of those days with said ice cream, but I wanted to go somewhere that gave the full delicious experience. I hadn't been to Karma Cream in the last few years, and as soon as my roommate, Alyssa, chimed in that she had never been, I knew we had our lunch time destination.

As a locally-owned, ice cream café since 2009 located on University Ave., Karma Cream has myriad of organic treats, from donuts and scones to coffee and chai tea. I figured we couldn't go wrong with any menu item. The best part about this hole-in-the-wall shop with a few intimate tables that are typically filled with patrons eating ice cream or drinking coffee while using Wi-Fi is that there are two ice cream options: dairy and vegan. Very concentrated or large amounts of dairy do not usually agree with my stomach, so I stuck my face against the vegan counter, practically drooling at all the delicious-sounding flavors.

 

KCchocSprinkles

I was titillated by the chocolate hazelnut and delighted by the salted caramel, but I had to go with a tried-and-true favorite (mint) in the form of Mint Galactica and I figured the Ginger Cookie Caramel could pair nicely with it. I didn't really care if it didn't, though, cause both vegan flavors sounded ridiculously good. I got a scoop of each — two pretty generously-sized scoops I must say — and of course my usual topping of sprinkles. I love sprinkles probably a bit too much. The more in each bite, the better.

I could not have been more pleased: The vegan ice cream was better then I remember it being. I recall it having more of an icey consistency previously, but if I hadn't been told it was vegan, thus made with coconut milk and sweetened with agave, then I would have mistaken it for dairy ice cream. The texture was sensationally smooth and creamy, and my lactose-hating stomach and taste buds were thoroughly satisfied. The mint with little chocolate slivers meshed in was truly refreshing and tasty, and although the ginger cookie flavor was not so cohesive with the mint, it was very good without being overly sweet. I also could not get over how every bite was completely coated in sprinkles, just the way I love it.

KCalyssa

Alyssa opted for the medium-sized sundae (image at top), which I was jealous of as soon as I saw it. She chose a dairy scoop of Gingerbread Cookie and a dairy scoop of Cinnamon loaded up with almond slivers, chocolate sauce and cookie dough pieces. The beauty of it was only amplified by the warm, made in-house chocolate chip cookie underneath it all. I had to have a bite (or two) and was in heaven. I have a serious weakness for a ton of toppings on my ice cream, and she chose well! Not to mention that aside from ice cream, cookies are my dessert of choice. The cinnamon, sharp and tasty, created a nice blend with the gingerbread flavor.

Whether a dairy or vegan ice cream flavor, I highly recommend any of them. I wish there was another way to convey how great it was without forcing you to go, but I hope this article has been convincing enough to entice you. It is a tad pricey, my two scoops and sprinkles weighing in at over $5, but that is why it is a treat. If ice cream is not your thing, there are also some basic and locally-sourced sandwiches, along with many options of coffees, shakes, floats, teas, and baked goods. It is truly a one-of-a-kind Gainesville spot.

The Pluses and Minuses of Karma Cream:

Karma Cream + indicators: dairy and vegan ice cream options (many flavors of each), many topping choices, many different drink and dessert options, local ingredients, organic food, friendly staff

Karma Cream - indicators: A tad pricey for an everyday stop, not a lot of parking

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Karma Cream.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Karma, karma, back to Karma Cream!

KarmaCremeSFBy Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

A good example of how Gainesville is a forward thinking community is one of the most oft asked questions to the GLOB Master: “Where are the vegan restaurants in the GLOB?”

All vegan, veggie and organic lunchouters take note: I just had an excellent meatless lunch ‘sammie’ at the Karma Cream Organic Ice Cream Café. Located on University Avenue in Midtown, Karma Cream is proudly serving all organic and vegan food, including five healthy and cleverly named vegan sandwiches such as the Banana Fluffernutter and the Chickpea Salad Sammich.

KkremeServerKarma Cream is an organic ice cream café. KC owners Payal Pateri and Kyle Kick explain the organic ice cream idea on their website:

“Organic and fair trade ice cream!!! We serve ice cream that is completely free of any artificial flavors, colors, additives and preservatives. (You may be sad our mint ice cream isn't green - but you can find comfort in its phenomenal taste). Anything added to our ice cream is free of pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals. Our dairy ice cream comes from Three Twins Ice Cream and uses dairy from grass fed cows that are not given hormones. And best of all, the dairy cows live on a small, family owned dairy where they can graze on open pastures. All of our soy based vegan ice cream comes from Chicago Vegan Foods, who use soy grown in the United States mid-west, free of gmos and chemicals. We buy our milk, soy milk and other products from socially responsible companies with solid track records for both human and animal welfare.”

More importantly, I had one of the best mocha almond fudge milk shakes I have had in quite some time.

KkremeFLOATSI’m not sure how it all fits together, but Karma C also has an assortment of organic beers and will happily take your favorite scoop of ice and turn it into a beer float. I didn’t say root beer. This is a beautiful, one scoop or two, Homer Simpson beer float surprise.

The K Cream has counters of yummy looking, homemade bakery items. Their website mentions vegan candy bars and vegan marshmallows. You can grab a cup of locally brewed Sweet Water Coffee, espresso, or one of their 22 varieties of organic tea.

KkremeSAMMIE400I hadn’t lost sight of my noon time mission. I was looking for a meatless lunch. Of the seven sammich choices available, I decided on the Tofurkey Reuben, Photo at top of this feature. Tofurkey is a loaf or casserole of vegetarian protein, usually made from tofu (soybean protein) or seitan (wheat protein). My sandwich consisted of tofurkey slices, on locally baked rye bread, with sauerkraut, homemade Russian dressing and a choice of Organic Swiss or Vegan cheese. At Kyle Fick’s suggestion, since I confessed I was new to vegetarian cuisine, I chose the Swiss cheese.

This Meatless Reuben is a good sandwich, er, uh, sammich. The bread was fresh, and toasted it created a nice, crunchy palette for the sauerkraut, cheese and Russian dressing. The sauerkraut was crunchy, and tart enough to pucker the jowls of the GLOB Master.

There is a complete Karma Cream menu web kink at the bottom of this feature.

KkremeICECREAMI’m not lyin’ when I tell you the KC Reuben Sammich and the coffee flavored milk shake is reason enough to go back to Karma Cream on ANY darn day of the week!

I wish my daddy was still around – no one enjoyed a giant bowl of Neapolitan ice cream like Bruce Sanford, and at KC, you can recreate that old fashioned classic.

How does that Boy George song go, “Karma, karma, karma ka-mocha almond soda . . .?

The Pluses and Minuses of Karma Cream:

Karma Cream + indicators: Wonderful organic ice cream my daddy would love. Interesting assortment of healthy, vegan sammiches.

Karma Cream - indicators: None noted. Karma Cream is an excellent, fun place for a different kind of lunch!

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Karma Cream.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Last modified onWednesday, 17 May 2017 05:15

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 505-6566
  • Address: 607 W University Ave,
  • Urban GLOB Location: Midtown
  • Latitude: 29.651859, -82.331142
  • Longitude: 82° 19' 52.1112'' W
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2 comments

  • Cathy DeWitt
    Cathy DeWitt Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:15 Comment Link

    (-) I'm sorry to say that the last few times I've been to Karma Creme, home of my favorite ice cream flavor--cardemom!-- I was very disappointed. They never seemed to have the cardemom, and the salted caramel suddenly had a weird consistency with some unexpectedly gooey patches throughout that were not caramel. It all became clear when they told me recently that they had started getting their ice cream from a different source. As Bonnie Raitt once lamented, it looks like somebody went and messed up a good thing!

  • Jon Roosenraad
    Jon Roosenraad Monday, 11 June 2012 12:10 Comment Link

    I just love reading Meatless Mondays during lunch when I make sure I am EATING MEAT. In this case a lovely all-beef hot dog.

    Had a Jersey Mike sub over the weekend. Excellent sliced-just-for-you meat. Welcome to Hogtown.

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