After hearing that Kalachandji’s Restaurant and Palace was extending its lunch hours (serving Tuesday through Sunday from noon-3 p.m., with dinner hours from 5:30-9 p.m.), one of the other interns and I decided to go vegetarian … well, for lunch, anyway.

We were initially surprised when our trip took us to a huge Taj-Mahal-style building in the middle of a residential neighborhood (complete with domes and intricate Indian trim — it’s actually both a restaurant and a Hare Krishna temple), but once inside, we felt right at home. The dining area has seating both inside and outside, so after filling our plates, we grabbed a booth in the tree-shaded courtyard.

For someone who generally picks the meat first when planning her meals, going veggie can be intimidating. Luckily for me, Kalachandji’s all-you-can-eat buffet-style offerings were interesting and flavorful enough to satisfy even the most obstinate carnivores — lots of healthy brown rice, a dal or two, some sort of fantastic curry dish involving what I think was Brussels sprouts, and a salad bar featuring some of the freshest-looking spinach I’ve seen in a long time. After we ate our fill from the main meal, a sari-clad server brought us dessert: fresh, creamy rice pudding. Mmmm!

But here’s the kicker: The whole thing was only $7.95 for each of us. Given that we’re two very hungry college students, an all-you-can-eat lunch for less than $8 is definitely a deal — we plan to go back. Frequently.

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