Caravan of Dreams invites you in through its unassuming entryway down several steps under a red awning. The crowd on a Wednesday night included couples, friends, and a lively group celebrating a birthday. I was pleasantly surprised to see a man grooving on the piano in the corner of the room, providing live music that still allowed for easy conversation. My friends and I agreed that the eclectic décor looked as if we’d taken a step back in time to the East Village of the 70’s. Our slightly frazzled, but very smiley waiter greeted us and proceeded to answer our many questions about the menu.
Patience must be a requirement for the staff at Caravan of Dreams, as the menu has so many options including sandwiches, salads, pastas, dips, appetizers, raw foods, soups, smoothies, juices, coffee drinks, and desserts. Vegan fare always seemed limited and bland, but while perusing the menu I realized that it actually encourages innovative and interesting combinations. Everything sounded like an all too tempting splurge, but I knew the ingredients in each dish had specific health benefits I could appreciate.
After much debate over what to order, we decided on chilled avocado and coconut soup, butternut squash soup and the spiced pear & blood orange sangria to start. For entrées we ordered the tri-color pasta in a tomato-cashew cream sauce, the avo-wild greens sandwich and the wild rice and cremini risotto croquettes. Everything was exceptional and left us eager to try the rest of the menu. I could hardly believe that vegan food could be so delicious that it felt indulgent.
The oft-forgotten saying “you are what you eat” was owner Angel Moreno’s inspiration for opening Caravan of Dreams in 1991. After moving to New York from Madrid, Angel brought his love for food, health, music and community together to create this unique restaurant in the East Village. The passion and commitment to these values that initially inspired Caravan of Dreams are still evident today, and make it a must-visit for vegans and non-vegans alike. Buen provecho!