I have just returned from my second trip to Ananda Ashram. The first time was in March and my friend and I shared a semi private room for a wonderful weekend with great yoga classes and meditation sessions that helped me reach my longest mediation period by far. The accommodations are simple as expected, and the grounds are beautiful. We returned home sharper and calmer.
We decided to return a second time, with our husbands who are somewhat newer to yoga but very interested in learning more. The Ashram had no vacancies given the busy Thanksgiving weekend so we found a nearby B&B to stay at and spent our days at the Ashram doing yoga and learning meditation and Sanskrit. The food is listed on the website as being vegetarian but I believe it was all vegan, and almost all of it was gluten free. A bonus for me as I have celiac disease, but among the four of us there was a meat and dairy eater, a vegan, vegetarian/flexitarians and we were all equally satisfied with the simple, fresh, and delicious food.
It's true that the daily schedule gets put up in the main hall, and the hall is not open all hours, but if you are uncertain of anything anyone you ask will give you information. Color-coded weekly yoga class schedules can be found in all the yoga studios as well.
I didn't notice any gratuitous use of technology-- a couple people taking photos or videos of the Saturday evening concert and dance performance--but otherwise people seemed happy to be present. I used my own phone as a time piece only.
I recommend staying on the grounds for a fuller experience. Everything is done with care and respect, people are helpful and kind. But I'm glad we were able to make it work with the B&B. I only wish I could come on my own and stay for a more extended period sometime. The later Spring would be lovely since there is a lake (and a swimming pool) and a few hiking trails.
For now back to Brooklyn and noisy crowded streets, but yoga is with me. Thank you Ananda Ashram!
Review for June 2012
Between the two of us we tried two kinds of wine on their by the glass list. Both fantastic.
We were hot and dehydrated from a trip to the Vineyard and lots of walking so we worked on that and shared a meal.
Basic salad, yum. Lettuces were so fresh and tasty I could've eaten mounds of them.
Spaghetti alla Chittara allo Scoglio. Just yummy. They make their own pasta in house, but since I am gluten challenged we had the GF pasta (packaged) but they use a really excellent brand that would fool anyone. And the sauce was heavenly.
Boyfriend had "chocolate salami" for dessert. Some kind of chocolatey fudgey roll dotted with nougat? and sliced, served with whip cream. He was pretty pleased with that.
Service was friendly and attentive. Server got a little busy at the end so we waited a bit for dessert and the check, but that happens everywhere.
This has to be prefaced by the fact that I went on a Sunday. For/during trivia when it was quite packed because there was also a football game in the back room.
It was SRO by the time I got there, which is tough enough to deal with, but I was taking it in stride. We could've shown up earlier.
Then there were the bartenders... who were completely insufferable assholes. No other way to put it. As a 9 year service industry veteran I can say that I've never seen such a rehearsed combination of needless pretention and cliche dive bar apathy. There was no redeeming underlying charm or wit. Just overwrought douchey-ness. If you feel the need to confirm this for yourself, go and order a cocktail off the menu. They only have three and and they don't know how to make them but they'll act like it's your fault.
On to the trivia... it was challenging. Overall I appreciated the caliber of the questions. But... 1. they do it tournament style. I guess I can see why some might like this... if you are that into trivia, never have any conflicts on Sunday evenings, and yea... ARE THAT INTO TRIVIA. The result is a kind of cliquey-ness when one is just dropping in and the overwhelming sense that everyone is taking this waaaaay too seriously, especially given that the prize isn't money, just free drinks you'll have to order from the douchey bartenders. 2. May or not be a deal breaker, but I would've have appreciated the heads up: The MC that night was over-enunciating to a mind-numbing degree. It took 6 or 7 seconds just to say any monosyllabic word beginning with W. 5.98 seconds just wwwwwwwwhhhhhhent to making an exasperatingly emphatic WH sound--the rest to complete the word. (read: he was super pretentious but trying to be ironic about actually being pretentious. fail. gag. bleh.)
Bonus: bathrooms are wretched. Absolutely wretched. To flush you have to stick your hand in the tank. Yes. True story.
Moral is... the concept behind this bar isn't that interesting.. San Francisco/Northern California themed, but in theory it's passable--with the right care given to a SF sourced beverage selection (no sign of that on my visit). They have a decent sized space, layout of the place is nice. Board games are available. Big screen for games, etc etc. Then from there it all gets pretty hairy.
On the trivia note, it seems like most of the regular teams were well versed in area trivia nights and this was kind of like the elite of overly exuberant trivia players coming to face off in the ultimate of mediocre bars. To some that might be heaven. To you, I say enjoy.
Super cute bar.. Lovely patio. So much potential. You lost me at: a bathroom so filthy I gagged the whole 39 seconds I spent in it and even hesitated to use to TP because it was not in a dispenser and I had visions of it rolling on the mucky floor. You killed me at: $8 for a glass of swill you called red wine which I did not expect to be good given that you are clearly more of a beer and whiskey joint, but damn was it bad and so offensively over priced to salt the wound. I'm so glad you don't serve food for everyone's sake.
Dear Pulp & Bean,
Let's say you are a sleepy customer who stops into the coffee shop closest to your subway stop instead of heading up the block a bit to that other place you've already tried that's mighty tasty (Breukelen Coffee House). Convenience is key here because you are tired and have a long day ahead of you (two jobs to be exact), plus you want to give the other coffee shop near your new apartment a try. Awesome. Should go swimmingly and everyone should be happy, right? No.
You order a chai because that's your preference. You order soy milk because you have no choice - you are allergic to dairy (not lactose, but casein because of celiac disease). You get your chai, descend the subway steps, take a sip and then a few more, and finally about a 1/3 of the way through wake up enough to realize that not only is this chai too sweet and inauthentic in flavor, it's a powdered mix that distinctly rings of dairy so you stop drinking it.
Fast forward to 50 minutes later when you get to work and sure as hell you begin to suffer the telltale symptoms. Fast forward to the rest of your life: you will not go to the Pulp & Bean because any place where people are dense enough not notice that you went out of your way to order soy milk instead of dairy milk but neglected to tell you you were about to consume the latter anyway is not a place you trust to serve you things you are putting in your body.
Sorry guys. Also, just FYI Breukelen's chai is not only of the non-powdered variety, but is home-brewed.
I'm sure you do some things right. I can't speak on your coffee or bagels or pastries (couldn't eat them anyway), but I'm ok with not taking anymore risks.
I've been back to Maizal three times since the last review, one more time last summer, once over the winter and last night. First things first: all three times the margaritas have been consistently dreamy. Same goes for the guacamole completo. Yum. Two of these three times we sat outside. Really so lovely out there.
On the visit last summer, it was just two of us, myself and a friend visiting, and we were eating light (plus guac and margs). I had the green mussels. She the chicken enchiladas. Everything tasted fab.. but a few too many mussels showed up to the table closed. Really? That's kinda inexcusable. Despite every other element being great, I had to rate the meal 3.5 on account of that faux pas.
On the winter occasion there were four in our party and we collectively ordered two seared tuna specials (divine), fajitas, and the greens salad with shrimp (plus guac and margs). Everything was cooked and seasoned wonderfully. Salad was large, perfectly dressed, and fresh. Service was great. It was a 4.5-5 star night.
Last night, four in our party again: shark empanadas special, short ribs special, sea bass and clams special, shrimp fajitas, green salad (guac, margs and a chardonnay).
Again, it was all fantastic--short ribs and empanadas were raved about-- with one exception: the sea bass and clams, why so salty?! This is the second time I've had this over-salted-fish-fail at Maizal (and once the sardine appetizer was under-salted). Seems to me that the achilles heel here is seafood, and so you might ask why I keep ordering it. Well, I feel like they have to get it right eventually (the seared tuna was very good) and the dishes always sound imaginative and yummy. (To boot, I eat a gluten free, dairy free vegetarian diet [allergies and ethics] making periodic forays into pescatarianism, but never meat eating, so trips to eat out always tempt me to turn to the fishes. I should note though that there are plenty of options that coincide with my normal diet at Maizal. Huge plus.)
I wanna give them 4 stars for last night. So, I have. But the part of me that knows this is most likely a chronic situation is pretty bummed, which means while this is a review, it's also a plea to Maizal to make me fish dishes that are on par with the rest of the food--seasoned right, and prepared with care.
Thanks, and I love your fabulous little place so much I will come visit you even when I move off SI.
and for reader reference, as the specials change:
SHARK EMPANADAS 8.95
mako shark . jalapeno escabeche . salsa verde
BRAISED SHORT RIBS IN SALSA VERDE 24.95
green tomatillo sauce . rice . black beans & sweet plantain
WHITE SEA BASS FILET & LITTLE NECK CLAMS 25.95
guajillo - white wine sauce . Mexican riceMaizal is definitely a four...and when considering the dearth of total-package, note-worthy eateries… En savoir plus