blog, Raw Food Adventures, Restaurant Review

Vegan Friendly Ireland

An Inspired Spire

Adam’s adventures with The Live Food Experience continue in Ireland. With the class in Wicklow completed, it was time to visit Dublin and see the sites. Donal acted as my knowledgeable tour guide. The Sunday schedule had us visiting a farmer’s market in Dun Laoghaire and then heading to a potluck with the Irish Raw Food Meetup group in Dublin. There were a few brief rain showers that had us ducking for cover at the market, but the rain/sun combo made for some great rainbow opportunities. At the market I was pleasantly surprised to see an entire booth dedicated to rawfoods. Donal commented that he knew the business owner, Natasha Czopor of Natasha’s Living Foods and that he could inquire about meeting with her. I was like “hells yes I want to meet her” and he set to arranging things.

Look for the sign

I have to say I failed miserably as navigator while in Dublin. To my defense the street signage is practically non existant and when it is there it’s placed in random and obscure places on placards the size of a postcard. It took a while to find the meetup, but eventually we did. Keep in mind we were cruising the narrow neighborhood streets of Dublin in Donal’s camper van… u-turns are not an option. At the meetup I took a moment to snap a picture of another rawfooders fridge. It’s funny what I find fascinating these days. The hosts of the meetup were a married couple originally from South Africa; Caroline and Norman Rasmussen. Caroline  had just returned from a long stay at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona. We chatted a bit about life in that magical raw community. There were around 12 people at the meetup and I think that only 5 of them were originally from Ireland… quite an eclectic bunch. I had to excuse myself when an 80/10/10 discussion broke out. 80/10/10 needs to be added to the list of things not to be discussed at parties and potlucks along with religion, politics and urine therapy.

On Monday Donal and I were at it again, this time visiting Dublin and a few health savvy business owners. Highlights in Dublin were “the really big flag pole with no flag“, the James Joyce statue and Saint Stephens Green. Little did I know when we visited Natasha at Natasha’s Living Foods, that I would end up spending my last 5 days in Ireland hanging with her. Natasha radiates raw inspiration and I have yet to discover her source of endless energy. Could it be the energy bars? During our brief visit she gave us a tour of her production kitchen and gave us her background which sounded more like an adventure novel than a rawfooder’s bio. Natasha had done some living, and she had plenty more adventures in her as well. After our visit to the rawfoods fun factory, we visited Cornucopia, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that has been open since 1986. Owner and operator Deirdre McCafferty met us for an afternoon munch and told us about her magical restaurant and the plans for expansion into the neighboring building. Do they have rawfoods on the menu at Cornucopia? They do have a variety of amazing salads to choose from that are above and beyond iceberg lettuce and canned corn. Deirdre said they were focused on the expansion at the moment and definitely considering raw editions to their evolving menu. I raised my hand and volunteered to come back to Dublin and help design some raw dishes when ever they were ready. It just doesn’t seem fair that Dublin and the area surrounding it would have a variety of vegetarian and vegan choices peppered across the landscape while I’m here in Jacksonville, Florida with no vegetarian options to speak of other than The Present Moment Cafe, which is an hour away in St. Augustine.

Donal, Mary, Adam at Fresh

The next day Donal and I explored another veggie option just up the road from Cornucopia, known as Cafe Fresh. We arrived just before the lunch rush and got to see owner Mary Farell strap on her chefs gear and work the grill in preparation for the lunch crowd. Rumor has it Cafe Fresh has a raw lasagna on the menu on occasion… the rumors are true, but we missed out on the lasagna by a day. No worries, I was able to enjoy an uber salad with 3 choices from their raw salad selection, while Donal got the Super Uber salad with 5 choices. I’m not sure where he put it, but Donal polished off his mountain of salad with ease. Mary was able to take a moment to chat with us about her restaurant, rawfoods and future plans before jumping back behind the counter to meet the lunch crowd. Other restaurants and health shops of note around Dublin are The Happy Pear in Greystones and of course Healthy Habits Cafe in Wicklow. Join me as my Ireland adventure continues with Natasha of Natasha’s Living Foods.

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Raw Times in Ireland

Live Lunch
Paul Making Wraps

Ireland is to blame for all of my travels in Europe. Specifically Gabrielle Kirby of the Servant s of Love (SoL) in Wicklow, Ireland. Gabrielle is the one who had sent me an email regarding the April retreat in Spain. This was back in December and it only took a couple email exchanges before we were able to set some dates for my class in Ireland. The Servants of Love are an amazing group of monks and nuns that have dedicated their lives to teaching and sharing information regarding the importance of healthy holistic living. This includes the importance of a spiritual practice, meditation and prayer, music, service and conscious eating. The Servants didn’t start out as raw foodists, it was something they gravitated towards over time. At the heart of The Servants of Love is their founder Kevin Jacobson, who is no longer with us in physical form. Kevin’s inspiring contribution lives on in every meter/foot of The Servants of Love’s cafe (Healthy Habits), health shop and work and living quarters. Every where I looked at SoL there were little time and energy saving gadgets and inventions that Kevin had designed and created. Most impressive were the blanks he created for making wraps and breads in the dehydrator. He had even created a dehydrator the size of a phone booth which was recently taken out of service because it had been constructed of wood and was a potential fire risk. The spirit of Kevin is inescapable at SoL and you could feel it and see it in the selfless work of the Servants. When I had arrived on Thursday none of the Servants that had been at the retreat in Spain had returned yet. So I worked with Paul, Vera, Michaela and Donal until most of the group returned the following day.

Veronica Makes Kimchi

Chef Veronica, the one person that wanted to be at my Saturday class most of all would not arrive back in Ireland until Sunday, the day after my class. We were able to take some time during the week to make some kimchi and also redo the onion bread recipe. The class I taught featured a spinach wrap, buckwheat refried beans, onion bread, my signature “gadget” recipes as well as some chia recipes. We had an amazing crew in the kitchen helping out. I owe a big “thank you!” to Donal for helping on both Friday and Saturday and also Carlos Corkish, a classically trained chef  who rocked out the guaca-ole, fig vinaigrette and headed up the lunch time plating. Margaret Carey also assisted in plating. Gabrielle pitched in by rolling the burritos and adding a colorful floral finishing touch to all the plates. She even devised a way of giving the blackberries a magical shine before dessert was sent out. My experience with teaching in Wicklow was fantastic. I hope to return next year for another teaching event.

Enjoy this dessert recipe featured during the class in Wicklow, Ireland:

Chia Pecan Flan

  • 1/4 C chia gel

    Pecan Flan
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 C cashews (soaked),
  • 3/4 C pecans (soaked)
  • 1/2 C dates (soaked)
  • 1 T maple syrup or agave
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 t powder/extract
  • 1 T lecithin
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1/2 t salt

Add water and chia gel to blender and blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients except for lecithin and blend.

Add lecithin to the mixture while blending.
Transfer to bowl and allow to cool in the fridge or freezer before serving. Decorate with fresh/frozen berries and mint leaves.

blog, Raw Food Adventures

Off to Ireland

CDG airport
Airport Chaos

With my time in Paris coming to a close, I prepared my gear for my visit to Ireland. At this time the Icelandic volcano mischief was wreaking havoc at airports around the world, especially in Europe. My flight into Ireland wasn’t effected but that’s not to say that I would escape the cloud of chaos that had descended upon Charles Degaul Airport. Per Arletty’s suggestion I got up extra early to go to the airport; good thing too. I got on the wrong train twice, went to the wrong terminal and qued up in the wrong line before I got to the correct ticketing area. I’ve never seen or felt so much disorder than during my visit to CDG airport. I searched for someone or something that would give me a bit of guidance. There were tons of flat panel screens all over the check-in area and none of them had any useful information on them. The AirFrance staff was far a few between and the ones that appeared to be of service were surrounded by travelers hungry for answers. The picture doesn’t do it justice. This was only one section in the AirFrance ticketing area. More than half the people standing in line had no flight or had missed their plane. They were just standing in line because they didn’t know what else to do. I realized that if I were going to make my flight I would have to slice through this mob of stranded travelers, which I eventually did. To my dismay the woman at the check-in counter had no record of my booking. I had checked in online, but didn’t write down my confirmation code. As a last resort I pulled out my laptop and tried to get online at the check-in counter and pull up my ticket, but before the Wi-Fi pirates were able to take my money she found my booking which was under my first name instead of my last name… doh! A wave of relief came over me as she printed out my boarding pass and she didn’t bat an eye at the weight of my checked baggage. I was used to flying Ryanair which only allows 15kg for checked bags… my bag was over 20kg and my carry on was stuffed to the gills. With all the speed bumps, wrong turns and mishaps I was still not on the plane. I needed to navigate through security and I was 10 minutes away from boarding. Another mad dash and line cutting maneuver was required. I pulled an OJ Simpson once through security, no knives or bloody gloves were involved, I’m talking about the classic TV commercial where he dashes through airport, hurdling suitcases and then eventually hiding in the back of a white Bronco that he rented from Hertz rent a car. So I’m on the plane to Ireland after quite an ordeal. The lesson learned was “surrender”. When I walked into the AirFrance check-in area and saw thousands of people in line, first I panicked, then I surrendered realizing whatever outcome happened was for the best. With each new obstacle I took a moment to be thankful and let go of any attachment to an outcome.  It was quite a challenge. My arrival in Ireland was the complete opposite of my departure from France. I eased into my new surroundings and the relaxed pace in Ireland. It was great to see a familiar face upon arriving in Dublin. Donal, my roommate in Spain, picked me up from the airport and also assisted in preparing for the upcoming class. After the class he also gave me a tour of Dublin which was unforgettable. I have to say I’ve been blessed every step of the way of this journey. More to come from my adventures in Ireland. Keep It Live!