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Around the World in 80 Minutes: Kalachandji's and the King Spa

02 April 2012

After a yogi-focused month of March, Markus and I prepped for April with an international date night on Friday, fit for the most serious of yogis - a group I'm sure that I will never be included in thanks to my complete lack of lululemon and my awkward habit of involuntarily singing along to the class playlist whilst downward dogging, which tends to merit the yogi stink-eye from instructors. As I was saying...

Our Groupon to the King Spa and Sauna was expiring this weekend, and as I mentioned when planning out my March goals, was something I was looking forward to using at the end of this month. I've never been to the King Spa before and it is a 24 hour pass, but no reentry. I've heard awesome things about this place but then also not-so-awesome things, so I was the Jesse Spano excited/scared mix. Usually a good meal calms my nerves but meals before steamy bath houses seems tricky.

I didn't want to arrive and shortly be hungry but what kind of food is the best for looking down at your plate and thinking, "Yes, I can't wait to get into a steam room later with a big belly full of you."

We decided on one of my new favorites, Kalachandji's, a vegan restaurant inside a Hindu temple. I figured maybe if I ate a lot of holy veggies I would surely be setting our evening up for success.


 

If you are looking for a slice of serenity in the middle of Dallas, please get yourself to the patio at Kalachandji's. The shade makes it an actual year-round patio instead of the concrete slabs in strip malls a la Addison, TX that are good for about 2 months a year. They got the plinky-plunky Hindu music going and apparently something pumping through the air that gives you the best enlightenment buzz. 

My salad bar creation: mixed greens with zucchini, bell pepper, carrots, housemade green goodess dressing and unsalted sunflower seeds.
 Their food is served via a spotless buffet. Media accolades and "best of" lists fill the walls of this place, but if you give them a glance over, you will actually find quite a few just for the high santitation awards. We've all heard that cleanliness is next to godliness and this place is smack in the middle of a temple lobby, so I guess they saying hold true. Dishes on the buffet are labeled if they contain diary or wheat, making it a great lunch or dinner spot for families or groups with food allergies i.e. everyone in our extended fam.

 

The buffet selection varies every day, and can be looked up on their website before visiting. It's all amazing. I've had the most incredible veggie enchiladas here. Friday night they were serving BBQ Tofu (top left of my plate), a spinach with a good spicy kick to it, and some vegetable dishes. My favorite part of a meal here is the tumeric cooler - just like a good spice tea a la Neiman Marcus' Mermaid Bar or Two Sisters on Gaston, but with natural flavorings instead of Tang.

After dinner amongst the gods, we were feeling like really amazing people and decided to get Souelful (you have my love of puns and geogrpahy to thank for that gem) with the Koreans over at the King Spa. 

The giraffe family questions if we have what it takes as we enter the King Spa.
 A day pass to the King Spa gets you 24 hours of all you can stand of their pools (one for each gender - no clothes or swimmies allowed) and about eight different steam/ice rooms. There are also different spa services such as massage, accupressure and sitz baths offered for an extra fee. Some things that I learned as a rookie to the spa:

1. If you want a massage, book it when you get there (most especially on a weekend). I was a little gun shy and when I went back to the front desk later in the evening they were booked through the night.
2. Bring ankle socks or thin slippers for the floors. The rooms do not mess around with the heat, which leaves the floors quite hot as well. I bonded with quite a few Korean ladies by joining them as we ran out of saunas shuffling our feet and yelling "FIJAH! FIJAH!" This added to my experience but left my feet feeling sore. Next time I'll have my socks handy.
3. When it comes to group activity, nudity and, in general, extreme differences from our normal American culture, know thyself. Markus and I threw out our sense of what our normal and our usual comfort zones are and we had SUCH a good time. King Spa is like the hygiene trust tree of Dallas. Everyone is sweating their asses off. I saw women walking around the group areas wearing full face masks. There is an exposed booty of every age and color in the locker room. If it's not your thing, go to the Red Door. But if you are the least bit curious, I think you will love it.

Key to my locker.


This is the main hub of the King Spa where everyone hangs out between saunas. On the right is their snack bar that stayed hopping through the night. You change from your street clothes into a set of shorts and a tee given to you in the locker room, grey for men and pink for women. Markus said he felt like he was on the ship in Wall-E the whole night. Disney tie-ins are kind of a speciality in our family.

I believe that there are two types of person re: spa treatments. The first is the indiviudal looking for a relaxing, senory rub down in a soothing environment. Second is the group that I belong to, the ones who want the no-frills, "go ahead and beat the shit out of me," journey to nirvana via an elbow dug into their shoulder region and the like. To my fellow members of the second group of people, the King Spa is our jam. I have always been really interested in accupressure and reflexology, so when there was an appointment open for a 40 minute foot reflexology session, I went for it. As you can kind of follow in the chart above, Eastern medicine believes that each area of the foot is tied to the body, and by torturing intensely applying pressure to that part of the foot, any blockage or pain in the corresponding area of the body will be released as well. I love this kind of stuff and, after both gritting my teeth and feeling as though I was peacefully levetating above my own body during my session, I woke up on Saturday morning with none of my usual tummy aches or back pain and the sinus pressure that followed me around the following week was gone. If you like a good mix of weird and awesome in your spa treatments, get on this.

Markus and I are definitely King Spa converts and will hopefully be back one or twice a year. We woke up on Saturday refreshed and ready to tackle some home projects for the rest of the weekend!

Did you try anything new this weekend?

What is your favorite kind of date night - movie/theatre, R&R, something sporty or something else?

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