Raw Food Adventures, Restaurant Review

Winter Travels 2013/2014

Carl in KitchenTime flies when you’re buried in snow. It seems like only a few weeks ago I was down in Florida enjoying the ocean and the sun. Months have passed but the memories remain. I took a road trip with my former girl friend and now good friend Stacia down to Bradenton, Florida in mid December. We spent Christmas with her cousin Tess Challis and family. Tess is a vegan chef and author who is also the co-founder of Get Waisted, a healthy vegan version of weight watchers. Tess’ husband Carl is the head chef at a raw food cafe in Sarasota called Ionie. I spent a day in the kitchen Tess and Carl… tasty good times.

 

raw pizzaNow I’m back in Michigan at Camp Rawnora. There’s no shortage of snow in these parts. I’m looking forward to the start of the 2014 season here at the camp. We still have 2014 Raw Recipe calendars available. It’s never too late to pick one up.

2014 Raw CalendarOur first event this year is the March Maple Water Fast beginning on Wednesday March 19th through Sunday March 23rd.

March_Maple_Fast

blog, Raw Food Adventures, Restaurant Review

2012 Here We Come

durian_smoothie_better_life_LA

The beginning of 2012 is only days away. Are you ready? Do you have your RAW 2012 Calendar? It’s loaded with 13 raw recipes from me.

It’s likely that 2012 will be the most over-hyped year I will see in my lifetime, second only to the uneventful year 2000 and all the Y2K foolishness. Anyone living above ground and keeping up with headlines is well aware that things are heating up on all fronts… economic, political, social, agricultural, spiritual… if you can name it, it’s likely that it’s changing dramatically for better or for worse. We all must do our best to see the big picture regarding the changes that are occurring. In isolation, the news headlines can be a bit scary and I believe that’s the whole point, to scare the public. We need to look beyond the manufactured headlines and try to see the whole picture. I see antiquated, exploitative, unsustainable, unbalanced, unhealthy, unfair and unethical systems being dismantled. The news media isn’t going to point this out because they’re an important part of this dysfunctional system that is on the way out. So it is our responsibility as conscious and accountable individuals to read between the lines and move in the direction of positive change. If you’re reading this then what I’m saying most likely resonates with you, and life is all about resonance and the vibration of things.

One of the best ways I’ve found to raise my vibration is by my food choices. We eat food for energy and energy is vibration so the foods with the highest vibration are the best sources of energy. These foods are fresh, naturally grown, whole foods which include fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds and sea veggies. Fermented foods like miso, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi are also high in vibration.

Things to avoid are low vibration foods or foods with dissonant vibrations. These foods stress the body and create imbalances that eventually lead to disease. To be avoided are flesh foods (meat, fish, eggs), dairy, fried foods, processed foods, white sugar, white flour, corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, synthetic drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, soft drinks and anything made with genetically modified ingredients. I like to say, “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.” Stress is a dissonant frequency that should be avoided as well. This is often easier said than done being that almost anything can be a potential stressor. Just remember to breath and be grateful. We are truly blessed. Thoughts and intention have been shown to have an effect on the vibration of things. With this in mind think positively and bless your food and drink with intention when ever possible.

Speaking of being blessed, I recently toured Los Angeles, California and visited an array of raw food restaurants. Here’s a rundown of some of the spots I visited:

Cru_raw_vegan_LA_cafeCru

1521 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 / tel: (323) 667-1551

Silverlake is a hip section of LA which is home to Cru, a raw vegan cafe featuring some fine raw cuisine.The decor inside Cru is minimal and sparse but the food is full of flavor and color. I dined that evening with my friend Robyn who was nursing a broken jaw. She ordered a fresh green juice while I enjoyed a young Thai coconut and ordered the evening special – Jicama Raviolis. The presentation was divine, price was right and the portion ample. Oh yeah and it delicious as well.

Cru_slivelake_LA_raw_ravioli

I followed up the entree with a slice of blueberry/strawberry pie which was great… not a religious experience like pie at Cafe Gratitude, but good. In keeping with the minimal decor, the slice was decorated with a strawberry fraiche.  I’m not one to pass on dessert and I didn’t pass on this one, plate was licked clean.

berry_pie_raw_cru_LA
Nice Slice

Better Life Cuisine

717 Broadway Ave. Santa Monica, Ca 90401 / Tel: 310-458-7620

raw_burrito_better_life_cuisine
Gigantoid Burrito

Better Life Cuisine is home of the “big a$$ burrito”. Enter with an appetite and leave satisfied and with a “to go” container. I enjoyed not only the fried bean burrito but also a durian smoothie, cinnamon bun and kale chips. Everything was fresh, tasty and well priced. The only challenge was finding the place. We had blindly followed the directions from the GPS which had us driving in circles in Venice. Fortunately we didn’t give up on our quest. Check out my video review below and remember to Keep It Live!

blog, Raw Food Adventures, Restaurant Review

Raw 2012 Calendar, Jamaica Retreat, LA Raw Reviews

Greetings boys and girls,

Blissings to you all as the holiday season approaches. Usually I have a lull in things to do as the holidays approach, not this year though. I’ve got a Thanksgiving potluck, a top secret raw Malibu mission in December and a Jamaica Retreat in January or is it a January Retreat in Jamaica? Oh yeah, and I can’t forget the Raw 2012 calendars, the holiday gift that keeps giving the whole year round. The calendar features 13 recipes complete with pictures and a virtual tour of Camp Rawnora. The calendars are priced to move at $10, with free shipping when you order 4 or more… as it says below.Raw 2012 CalendarNaughty or nice, anyone can benefit from having a Raw 2012 calendar… and if you’re really nice you can treat yourself to a Raw Retreat in Jamaica to start off 2012. Chase away the winter blues by basking in the sun while sipping coconut water at an ocean front villa in Jamaica. That’s only the beginning though, you’ll also receive hands on raw food training, fresh prepared meals, a visit to the famous YS waterfall and more. Just visit the events page or click this link to learn more about this event.

Jamaica Raw Retreat
Sun and raw food fun!

Now for some restaurant reviews… recently I visited LA to provide some juicing support for my friend Robyn who had her jaw wired shut as the result of a Sorority Weekend ATV accident in Mexico… girls gone wild, gone wrong. Robyn has a army of angels looking out for her and also a raw food chef. I cracked coconuts and made her green juice and in return she took me to 3 raw restaurants and watched me stuff my face as she sipped green juice through a straw. We visited Cafe Gratitude, Cru and Better Life Cuisine.

As I expected, Cafe Gratitude was amazing. If only I had known we were going, I would have fasted all day in preparation. Here’s a video review of our dining experience. I’ll be posting a review for Cru and Better Life shortly…. Keep it Live!

blog, Raw Food Adventures, Restaurant Review

Bartertown Diner, Vegan Raw Restaurant Review

 

bartertown vegan diner grand rapids
good vegan eats

Recently I was in Grand Rapids, MI on a raw food detox mission. I’m not at liberty to discuss the details of this covert operation at this time… just kidding. I was there doing The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raw Food Detox stuff and visiting Lansing for a raw potluck and screening of Forks Over Knives. If you haven’t seen Forks Over Knives you need to get with it and watch it online, rent it, buy it… you could even steal it as long as you promise to show it to everyone in your life. It’s great to see conscious media catching on. This movie was made for all those people that felt totally jipped when they watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Yeah, you know the film about global warming that completely overlooks factory farming’s contribution to green house gas emission… it tops all of the worlds motor vehicle emissions. Al Gore was too busy tending cattle on his family farm and polishing his Oscar and Nobel Peace prize to notice Livestock’s Long Shadow. No worries, even though Forks Over Knives is about degenerative diseases and diet they still manage to squeeze the facts in. Livestock production is the main source of human-made methane which is responsible for 22% of man’s total contribution. I say “man” because I think if it were left up to woman, factory farms would have never come into existence.

The film screening was a great success with close to 100 people showing up. I had the honors of conducting the Q and A session after the screening. A big

forks over knives lansing
full theater in Lansing, MI

“THANK YOU” to Charles Terry for organizing the event in Lansing.

Grand Rapids, MI is one of my new favorite cities. The city has a cozy and clean downtown surrounded by welcoming neighborhoods. There’s a mixture of college housing and residential homes from the turn of the century. My friend Kim lives with in walking distance of the local vegan restaurant Bartertown Diner. This blurb from their website rings true with me for many reasons:

“We as Chefs want to take back the food  and serve it to you the way it was meant to be: fresh and local. We are craftsmen and want to have the space to perform our craft for you. At Bartertown education is the key. We will not hide recipes from you. We will have classes on cooking raw/vegan and vegi dishes, and what it means to eat this way. Our focus will also be on the having a simple diner atmosphere that will be fun and exciting to visit for all”

Bartertown is also a worker owned business. At the time we visited they were a “cash only” establishment but as of Oct. 18th 2011 it shows on their website that they are taking steps to be able to accept credit/debit cards. We stopped in for lunch and tried all the raw items on the menu that day. Keep in mind this review is coming from a seasoned raw food chef who has done his fair share of work in the trenches. With that said, here’s my review of the raw items we tried.

raw pizza bites
Raw Pizza Bites

Pizza Bites

I expected a little more from a menu item touted as raw pizza. There’s 101 ways to peel a mango and just as many to make “raw pizza” but one thing that is critical for pulling off a believable pizza is a dehydrator for making the crust. Then you need some nut/seed cheese and tomatoes. And the final touch is some herbs to bring it home. This was zucchini slices with a cauliflower medley perched on top of it. It was good, don’t get me wrong. It just needed a more appropriate name.

vegan salad
raw trash salad

Raw Trash Salad

Appropriately named this was a hearty salad combination that took me back to my college days of making “garbage time stew”. That’s where you open the pantry and the refrigerator and just start combining whatever is on hand. The only difference here is that there was some tasty method to the raw trash madness. The salad featured a mound of salad greens, walnut taco meat, marinated veggies, sliced apples and a cashew based creamy dressing. Good eat’n! Once again very fresh and hydrating unlike some of the raw food cuisine you encounter at raw cuisine establishments.

raw zucchini pasta
raw pasta

Zucchini Noodles Salad

This noodle salad was similar to Raw Trash Salad, minus the greens, plus the zucchini noodles, cauliflower and brocolli. Very fresh, very tasty. On their own each of the 3 salads is unique enough taste experience but when you have them all on the table at the same time you notice some similarities and overlapping of ingredients. As a chef I know that at times you must create a variety of menu items out of the same core ingredients. Not a big deal though. I realized that what Bartertown specialized in was vegan, local and seasonal cuisine… raw was just a bonus that I much appreciated.

After to speaking with chef/co-owner Ryan about the raw menu at Bartertown I found out they don’t have a dehydrator on premises. That explains a lot. They’re a vegan cooked diner with some raw food items so it’s not realistic to expect exotic and decadent raw cuisine from them. One thing to keep in mind is that with a seasonal menu things change. What we did get were some great fresh salad combinations featuring local produce, prepared with love and a couple slices of quality raw vegan pie.

raw vegan pie
chocolate and lemon pie

Chocolate Pie, Lemon Pie

Bravo to Jeremy Kuhn of Deliciosity for producing raw vegan pies for Bartertown. We tried both a chocolate and lemon slice of cheese cake style pie. I enjoyed that the chocolate wasn’t super super chocolatey. I noticed slight hints of carob in the coconut oil based filling. The lemon pie was tasty as well with hints of banana. Needless to say when Kim and I left the table there wasn’t any food left behind. There’s more to the menu at Bartertown then just raw food so if you’re in Grand Rapids, stop in and give them a try. Keep in mind that as of this post they are CLOSED TUESDAYS. Grow your own, buy local, eat seasonally and Keep It Live!