Friday, January 27, 2006

My First Visit to a Raw Restaurant

Today was great!!! I feel rejuvenated and reinvigorated. My visit to a raw restaurant has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of raw eating. First, the food itself was eye-opening. Second, the fact that I could eat ANYTHING in this restaurant was just awesome to me. There has never been a restaurant where I felt I could eat anything on the menu and not suffer some nutritional or dietary (as in ruin-your-diet) consequence. And the books, foods and equipment they sold made me so happy- like I'm not lost in the woods anymore. I felt like I was around "my" people, people who understand what I'm doing. They had the elusive Nama Shoyu, nori actually labeled "raw", cookbooks and health tomes to keep you busy for weeks, vitamins, etc. This is a small place that operates as both a restaurant and a juice bar. It's very plain looking, but there are little terra cotta wheatgrass pots on each table, a brightly colored wall, and plates with large, brightly colored designs on which the (also brightly colored) food is served.

The meals are expensive. The smoothie I ordered (banana, carob, tahini and date) cost over $5. We (you know I didn't go alone!) ordered the Chef's Plate so that we could try a variety of things. Our plate included: Bruschetta - I'm not sure if that was hummus or tahini on the "Living Bread", but it was topped with a deliciously herbed and spiced chopped tomato topping. Mexcali Toast, which is also on "Living Bread" and is topped with guacamole, tomatoes and some hummus. There were two small Mexicali Wraps, which had the same ingredients as the Toast but were each wrapped in a collard leaf instead of sitting on bread. There as also a dollop of hummus and some flaxseed crackers. The hummus was good but neither of us like cumin very much, and that's the main spice we tasted in it. The "bread" is made of sprouted grains and was rather thick, so it was chewy-- a nice compliment to the toppings, I thought, plus it allowed me to really chew and enjoy the meal.

My smoothie had an obvious tahini taste that initially put me off, but by the second sip I barely tasted it! It was a grayish/brownish color. Not pretty, but tasty. They use water as their base liquid, not the yogurt or milk I'm used to putting into smoothies. It was nice to know that I can achieve the right consistency with the ingredients they used. I will definitely try making smoothies at home with some confidence now.

They have a store, so naturally I spent some more money. I bought the spiral slicer, which I'm excited about. I like being creative when I cook, so it'll be fun to have different vegetable and fruit shapes. It isn't a Saladacco brand, but it seems to be just fine. I tested it on an apple and produced some of the longest apple "tubes" I've ever seen. They looked like silly string! Very attractive- I can see putting that on some dark spinach leaves and garnishing it with some nutmeg and a lime slice or something.

I bought my first cookbook, but since I'm going to make an Uncookbook post, I'll leave out the name of it until then. I've gotten some great input on cookbooks and will probably buy several. I also bought vitamins (that was on a whim- a really nice woman who was eating there (hi, Minnie!!) told us about the vitamins and I decided to buy them on the spot.) I bought the nori, the nama shoyu, and some raw vegan bars: the Larabar and two protein wraps. I figured I'll try them in school next week. I'll probably eat those kinds of foods very infrequently.

I have no idea how many calories I consumed, so my meal tally for today will be totally estimated. I understand that many raw foodists who produce cookbooks or put recipes online are affronted by the idea of posting their caloric and nutritional content because they are so healthy that there is no reason to be concerned about such things, in their opinion. I don't agree with that attitude. We all come to raw eating for our own reasons, and we immerse ourselves into it in our own ways. Knowing the nutritional content of my foods is important to me as a newbie to raw eating and does not take away from the enjoyment of a good meal. In the future, after I've lost a lot of this excess weight, I'll probably learn to eat simply by "listening" to my body, but that isn't the case right now.

I think the reason I left the restaurant feeling so good was that the raw food thing feels even more real and supported now. When you get all your support from the internet, there is a tinge of surreality to the experience. But actually eating at a raw food store and talking face-to-face with people who eat that way really "grounds" the experience in some way. I probably am not explaining myself well, but what I'm saying is that I feel like this is the right thing for me, and having access to a business that caters to this way of eating gives me an emotional boost.

Today gets a thumbs up!!


Anonymous said...

You told me exactly what I wanted to know about your experience! Thank you so much! Great job...



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