*UPDATE: PLEASE BRING CASH--Annam Brahma only accepts cash, but there is an ATM in the deli next-door if you need one*
Could you use a sanctuary of calm and peace right now? I know my hand is raised. With the polar vortex winter roller coaster upon us and post-holiday work frenzy, it can be such a challenge to unwind and relax. Let's gather with new and familiar friends to share the wonders of Annam Brahma Vegetarian Restaurant and Panorama Cafe, tucked away in Jamaica, Queens, (where I happen to teach and live). They're just a 5-minute walk from each other through an incredibly diverse area with Greek, Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, West Indian, Dominican (...ran of breath, but there's more!) influences. Be prepared explore new, exciting world veg*n cuisine with an Indian twist, followed by tea/coffee 'n' dessert, including many raw and gluten-free vegan sweets!
*Itinerary: Lunch at 1pm at Annam Brahma. Tea/coffee and dessert at Panorama Cafe at approximately 2:30pm-3pm, time flexible to when the majority of people are finished with lunch.
Annam Brahma and Panorama Cafe are run by the spiritual community of the Indian guru Sri Chimoy, who espoused principles of vegetarianism, meditation, and...wait for it, physical prowess. A NY Times article gives a rather colorful introduction Annam Brahma:
"On 164th Street in Jamaica, Queens, there is a vegetarian restaurant called Annam Brahma with a series of photographs on its rear wall showing a bald man in his 70's doing one-arm dumbbell lifts, going incrementally, over 18 months, from 40 pounds up to what is claimed to be 7,063 pounds.
It sounds like a bar bet, but it is Sri Chinmoy: powerlifter for world peace. Mr. Chinmoy is a spiritual guru and founder of a worldwide empire of meditation centers based in Jamaica." (July 1, 2004)
You don't need to follow the principles of Sri Chinmoy to enjoy the light, healthy, and truly delicious food of Annam Brahma and Panorama, but you will surely appreciate the lovely atmosphere.
The Queens Press review states: "The Indian vegetarian style cuisine — primary dishes are vegetable based — weren’t bland or cooked with the wanna-be meats commonly associated with vegetarian dishes.
Curry is often a main spice used to season the vegetables, yet ginger spice was the prevailing aroma from the food.
I started out with Pappadam, a light-weight, spicy and fried Indian bread — the crunchy wafer is mouth watering and should be enjoyed with a curried dish for added ascension.
Meat eaters like myself may be particularly impressed with burgers that vary in style.
The gardenburger, saladburger, tofuburger, vegiburger, curryburger, twinburger and cheese griller are interesting, appetizing and have healthy kicks as they are served with wheat pita bread and fries on the side.
On the side of any main course, you may select from chutney, brown rice, sautéed tofu, steamed vegetables and more.
Reasonable prices...meals start at $5, which does not include a variety of salads, soups and desserts."
If you want to check out the rest of their menu, look no further than here: http://www.annambrahma.com/menu/
After lunch (depending on when the majority has finished), people have the option of joining us at the Panorama Cafe just a short stroll through the neighborhood.
Subway Transit Directions: Take the F train to Jamaica (E train doesn't go to Parsons Blvd on the weekends and you will end up in downtown Jamaica) and exit the Parsons Stop. There are two subway exits, so if you are in the first few cars of the F train, that will bring you closest to Parsons Blvd, where there is a subway operator booth. Once you pass the turnstiles, turn left and walk up the stairs. You should see a couple of schools up the hill on Parsons Blvd. Walk uphill on Parsons Blvd, cross the street, and turn right onto Hillside Ave at the high school. Continue walking on Hillside until you reach 164th Street and turn left. You will see Annam Brahma on your right.
If you're taking the subway, as an added treat, you'll likely walk by Guru Health Foods, Divine Robe Supreme--where female disciples get their beautiful saris, Guru Stationary, and other businesses that cater to this spiritual hub on the way back to the train.
Car Parking: Super easy! There's almost always parking space in the neighborhood. No permit needed, just look for the parking signs for guidance.
Looking forward to meeting everyone in my home 'hood and sharing terrific veg*n goodies!