A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn

Exploring the World of Raw
August 17, 2009, 11:19 am
Filed under: Bars/restaurants, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , ,

There are some who see veganism as an extreme lifestyle. Those people should know that it’s possible to go one step further, and become a raw vegan. I don’t intend to adopt that food philosophy, but I think the idea of eating uncooked, unprocessed, completely natural food is interesting.

New York is home to supposedly one of the country’s best raw vegan restaurants: Pure Food and Wine. It’s haute cuisine done raw. In their own words:


“Pure Food and Wine’s raw vegan menu is entirely plant based and does not use any processed ingredients. Nothing is heated above approximately 118 degrees in order to preserve vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

“If you’re sensitive to dairy or not a big fan of gluten, you’ll be especially happy (especially with dessert and ice cream) since we don’t use dairy or gluten products. Finally, there is also no tofu, tempeh or seitan anywhere on the menu or premises.”

A friend and I had been planning on dining at Pure Food before he skips the country, but were recently foiled and settled for sampling the restaurant’s wares through its takeout counter around the corner (called One Lucky Duck). Disappointment number one was that most of their offerings are not Jain (although I don’t know why they couldn’t be made that way—just hold the onions and garlic).

Picture 109

With few choices, we ordered chips and guacamole, but they were out of chips so they gave us “rosemary crackers” instead. The quotes are because these aren’t crackers in any traditional sense, but flavorful slivers of pressed nuts and herbs. Tasty, but very rich. They did not complement the guacamole, which itself was also very rich. (I don’t even want to contemplate the fat content of scooping up avocado with nuts, basically, but it’s all “good” fat, right?) We were full after about three bites.

Picture 110

But not so full that we didn’t also enjoy a coconut lime tart. This, while also rich (I think it was based on nut cream), was not overpoweringly so, and was outrageously delish. I highly recommend. Much of One Lucky Duck is taken up by the pastry counter, where they have cookies, tarts, tiramisu, etc. We tried a chocolate caramel bar that tasted kind of like a Balance Bar (and was also nut heavy—do not go there if you’re allergic!) and I took a lemon sandwich cookie but it pretty much melted by the time I got around to eating it. (Note, raw foods do not like heat.)

Verdict: Props to them for their philosophy, but from what I’ve seen their execution is hit or miss. I think next time I want to go to a schmancy vegan place, I’ll try a non-raw one, like Blossom or Candle 79. But I may stop back at One Lucky Duck for a lime tart. Mmm….

 (Sorry for blurry photos!)


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