Sunday, December 4, 2011

Good Karma Kitchen: Good and Good For You and the Environment

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan…sounds pretty bland, boring and uninspiring to you, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought a few weeks ago too. I admit it, this Texas girl likes meat with a side of carbs and veggies drowning in butter. So, when I found out there was going to be a gluten-free, vegetarian truck with vegan options in Fort Worth, I was mildly intrigued but never, ever considered it would be one of my regular trucks. Sure, it will be fabulous to take my gluten sensitive friends to Good Karma Kitchen, but for me, well…I was glad my friends would have this truck.

Then I met owners Megan and Christina and started learning about their vision and my interest grew. Here were two women who have a real passion for their food and their business and they want to share that passion with everyone: vegetarian or carnivore, those with food allergies and those without. As soon as they told me they were testing recipes on meat eaters in their family, people who eat like I do and probably had the same thoughts as I about gluten-free, vegetarian food, I was sold. If these people were giving their approval, Megan and Christina probably weren’t going to be serving cardboard sandwiches and rabbit food.

Good Karma Kitchen slowly revealed their menu items, leaving what is my favorite item to be one of the last announced…their sushi rolls. Sushi is, by far, my favorite food and I was so excited that a truck would be serving it. Of course I had questions, which is where I really was able to see Good Karma’s passion come through. My basic (and probably silly question) of “will this sushi be vegetable or fish based” led to a good explanation of the true definition of “sushi” and how Good Karma incorporated that in to their philosophy. Christina’s background as a chef and her family’s background in Japan have evolved in to the sushi they serve which is gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan style and very tasty. This wasn’t your basic cucumber roll thrown together to satisfy the non-fish eaters at your local sushi restaurant, this was filling, flavorful, sushi that may even be more authentic than at your local sushi restaurant.

After Good Karma passed the favorite food test, I was ready to try some of their other menu items.  So, at the Grand Opening of the Fort Worth Food Truck Park, (where Good Karma will have permanent set up Thursday through Sunday) I told them to give me whatever they wanted me to try. This led to the Spicy Asian Flatbread. I doubt Good Karma is looking for a slogan for their flatbreads, but if they ever need one, my suggestion is “pizza without the gunk”. You know how sometimes when you eat pizza or flatbreads you are left with a greasy, blah feeling? That does not happen with this flatbread! Good Karma’s menu describes this item as “A palate awakening gluten-free flatbread piled high with spicy Asian barbecue, carrots, vegan jalapeno cream, cilantro and onion relish and your choice of creamy provolone or vegan cheese”.  Since I had let them choose for me, I had never looked at the menu but my notes while eating say, “spicy, BBQ, fresh carrots, lingering taste, FULL OF FLAVOR”.  I don’t know if you can get closer than that without seeing the menu first. If you like barbecue chicken pizza, you will love this Spicy Asian Flatbread. Your mouth will love the flavors and the rest of you will be thankful that you don’t feel greasy afterwards.  

I also ate a side salad which was amazingly fresh. With greens, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, craisins and cashews, this salad could have stood on its own for fresh flavor and I would have been more than happy. But the salad comes with a side of vegan dressing that is amazing!  It is a light vinaigrette with a subtle garlic and ginger seasoning. I’ve already asked for bottles of the dressing, I need this dressing on every salad I eat from now on.

I know I said sushi was, “by far, my favorite food” but coconut is a close second. I love all things coconut and it really makes me sad when someone messes up coconut. This led to me being nervous about Good Karma’s coconut macaroons. Yes, Good Karma has a dedicated pastry chef and I was sure she could make some tasty desserts that would meet the standards that Megan and Christina required but this was macaroons; not just anyone can make macaroons. Luckily for me, Aubree, Good Karma’s pastry chef can! These macaroons are sweet and flavorful, with just the right amount of chewiness.

Good Karma also as several other desserts, the lemon bars are light, with a fresh lemon taste that wasn’t too tart and wasn’t too sweet.  For you chocolate lovers, Good Karma has a “Chocolate Dream” This cupcake size dessert is chocolate on top of chocolate. It’s a dense, fudge-brownie-like cake with a chocolate ganache icing. It was too rich for me to eat in one sitting but even the half that I had the next day was fresh and just as tasty as it was the night I bought it.

There is one more component of Good Karma Kitchen that has impressed me and it is only tangential to the food. That would be their service items and their desire to be as sustainable as possible. All of their items come in either reusable or recyclable containers. I now have two of these cool containers that I can use for my lunch and the flatbread box went in to the recycling bin. I love the idea that the food is good for me and the presentation is good for the environment.

You can follow Good Karma Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter to get their weekly menu and confirm hours and location. 
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