Yoga devotees and newcomers alike celebrated when KaiaYoga, a complete wellness center, opened in Westport in June of this year. An offer to explore the new center with a deal called “30 days for $30”, enticed 2500 new students of all ages to take classes and explore this new studio. With 10,000 square feet and two thoughtfully designed levels, this location offers a large selection of yoga classes and wellness services for all members of the community. Now members and non-members alike can rejoice again. Husband and wife duo Stan Woodman and Gina Norman have finally opened KaiaCafe, an organic juice bar that offers a carefully edited selection of salads and wraps, in addition to freshly squeezed juices, boosts, smoothies and remedies. Over 20 organic teas are offered by the cup or pot, as are coffee, espresso and capuccino with any kind of milk you can imagine.
I was treated to a selection of “everyday remedies” that had been mixed up for my tasting. I am no stranger to “juicing” with the intention of increasing my daily vitamin intake or boosting my immunity. Finally, there is an all organic source for finding the juices that we need in Westport. Without even a sniffle, I tried a dose of COLD CURE, bright with green apple, a double dose of freshly grated ginger, cayenne and lemon. Woodman explained that Manu Dawson, of the Integral Yoga Natural Apothecary in NYC, helped develop the menu of juices, remedies and smoothies for KaiaCafe. With years of experience in researching the connection between nutrition, prevention and healing, Dawson is an exponent of natural living and holistic healing. Yes, I found the cayenne a bit caliente, but the warming is intentional. The green apples have particular vitamins that the red ones don’t and the ginger is antioxidant. We all know how vitamin C packed lemons are. Onward! The PRANA BOOST is easy on the palate with the natural sweetness of carrot, beet, apple and vitamin rich, raw kale. Looking for increased immunity? Try the IMMUNE BOOST juice or ask the knowledgeable juicer behind the bar for an additional SUPER BOOST additive ranging from flax oil (“endless benefits”) to Goji (alleviates morning sickness and supports a strong metabolism). KaiaCafe offers juice cleanses in 1,2, or 3 day programs that can be designed for your needs and includes eight juices for $50 a day. Juices and smoothies range from $4-$8.00 depending on size, choice and additional boost “shots.” With so many choices, I suggest you spend some time reading the menu, speaking with the knowledgeable owners and staff and visiting repeatedly to find your own favorites.
In addition to juices, KaiaCafe offers a selection of salads ranging from a crisp, tossed salad to an organic sprout salad including mesclun greens, sprouts, avocado and carrots. You may also chose your own ingredients and pay by the weight. The fun started when I tasted the creamy, SPICY ALMOND NORI ROLL. Quarter size, artfully wrapped seaweed embraced a filling of almond pate, crunchy raw carrots, cukes, broccoli sprouts and perfectly rip avocado. These bite size treats have protein packed almond pate at the heart of this colorful spiral. I washed it down with house made ALMOND MILK, which I learned, leaves delicate almond meal in the strainer, when being pressed to extract for milk. This almond meal is then used in the NORI ROLLS. The ALMOND MILK is sweetened with a bit of agave, and combines almonds, filtered water, cardamon, cinnamon and tiny pinch of sea salt. The flavors were a delicious revelation considering the taste of packaged almond milk I have previously tasted and rejected.
The quinoa salad includes the protein packed, versatile grain plus finely chopped carrots, red onion, lemon and agave. It was simple and delicious. A mound of shredded , raw beets beckoned next and I dug in, happy to enjoy the natural sweetness. What comes through at KaiaCafe is the quality of these farm fresh, local and organic ingredients. Every bite is flavorful and distinctive without being complicated. A mound of black beans tossed with onions and carrots over greens makes for a great wrap or appetizer at home. KaiaCafe also offers creamy and smooth hummus and tangy guacamole, which were served with super thin, grain packed but somehow light, “Mary’s Gone Crackers” crackers (clever huh??). Wraps with any of these ingredients are available, as are containers to go.
KaiaCafe is minimal in design, spacious and bright with 4-5 tables and a kiddie table for the young set. Each element is eco-friendly including the bamboo floors, rattan chairs, shelving constructed from plant stalks, counters and table tops made of recycled bottle materials . Disposable plates, cups, straws and utensils are made from corn product that is recyclable and totally biodegradable. The space is flexible, by design, as the owners hope to utilize both the cafe and the yoga studios for community events, birthday parties (adults and kids) and upcoming speakers series. In addition, there is an outdoor patio, with tables and umbrellas, which will provide an oasis for enjoying these pure, organic treats when the warmer weather returns. Expect seasonal adjustments to the menu and new items as the menu expands.
KaiaCafe at KaiaYoga, 1200 Post Road East (behind Crate and Barrel), Westport 203-532-0660
Cafe hours: M-F 6 AM-4 PM; SAT-SUN 8 AM-4 PM