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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A few rawviews

I think everyone pretty much knows by now what the vegan "diet" consists of. I use the air bunnies because I hate the word diet then I talk about veganism, but you get what I mean. In a nutshell it's no meat, dairy, or eggs... it's 100% plant-based. So there's the vegan "diet" and then there's the raw "diet." Raw food is vegan by default, but it's different in that the foods you are eating are uncooked and unprocessed.

It was a Friday and we needed to order lunch at the office. Unfortunately, there aren't too many places around us to order a vegan meal that's actually good, so occasionally we drive downtown to The Raw Kitchen or to Darbster. I'll start with The Raw Kitchen. Since it was difficult to decide on one dish, we ordered two and split them so that we would have the opportunity to experience both. On the left is the Nori Wrap made up of fresh coconut meat, marinated sprouted teff and white sesame seeds, julienned market vegetables wrapped in nori roll with sesame ginger sauce. And on the right is the Mac Daddy which is a macadamia nut salad layered with zucchini, avocado, tomato, turmeric, scallions with eggplant pancetta on a bed of spinach with smokey chipotle vegan mayonnaise. Both were good choices however we declared the nori wrap as the winner.
I love the "sea" taste of the nori and the light, fresh taste of the raw veggies together. (In case you don't know what nori is, it's a type of edible seaweed that is often sold in sheets and used in many varieties of sushi rolls.) The coconut meat also provided a pleasant, subtle sweetness which went great with the sesame ginger sauce. I also enjoyed the crunch of the teff and the sesame seeds. It made for great texture. The Mac Daddy was good, however I probably wouldn't order it again. It was mostly avocado, which I happen to love, but I felt like I needed to eat it with chips. It was more like a big pile of really good guacamole. The macadamia nuts were marinated which made them soft. Oh, I forgot to mention the eggplant pancetta! That was very good. It was salty and smokey and I thought it was a nice compliment to the salad. It wasn't bad, but it just didn't knock my socks off. I would definitely order the nori wrap again though!

My second raw review is from Darbster. My mom, Jack, and I went there for brunch last Sunday. Jack and I were brave and went for a raw selection. My mom had the challah french toast, still vegan of course, but not raw. I'll take what I can get at this point. Anyway, I ordered the Raw Wild Berry Pancakes served with eggplant bacon, portabella sausage, raw agave syrup, and fruit. This was AWESOME!! My favorite raw food meal to date. The pancakes are made from bananas, nuts and other fruits. The dominant flavor is banana. They were very good. The closest thing I can compare the flavor to is banana-nut bread. They were thin, yet moist. The texture is obviously not similar to a fluffy buttermilk pancake, but it's not trying to be. It was served with fresh blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and sliced banana. The raw agave syrup was every bit as good, if not better than what most people consider to be "normal" pancake syrup, i.e. Aunt Jemima's high-fructose-corn-syrup-infused "maple syrup." The agave syrup also paired quite well with the portabella sausage. This didn't have a "sausagey" flavor, but it was still savory and delicious.
The eggplant bacon was very similar to the eggplant pancetta that The Raw Kitchen served with their Mac Daddy salad. It was seasoned a little differently but the texture was the same. It was smokey, salty, and yummy! As you can see by my plate, I didn't really enjoy my meal! Haha... I seriously don't know how Chef Seth continues to turn out delicious and healthy meals. I also wanted to comment on how magnificent the orange juice was! Fresh-squeezed, I'm sure. The color was as glorious as the taste! Another A++++++ for Darbster!

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