Bringing It Down to the Earth

Posts tagged ‘raw food’

SOOOOO Good: Grezzo (Boston, Massachusetts)

Grezzo Boston

Our Rating: SOOOOO Good!
Address: 69 Prince Street Boston, MA 02113
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 5pm – close
Contact: 857-362-7288, grezzorestaurant.com

Review via Maureen Whitehouse

The sign outside reads:

Welcome to Grezzo!
Grezzo is more than just a place to eat.
Our food is prepared with love and a deep caring for what we put into our bodies. We select the finest ingredients and the freshest high quality produce, nuts and seeds.
We support the slow food movement, local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products.
Please be our guest and enjoy these high vibration foods that will enhance your well-being, improve the quality of your life and allow you to create optimum health.

Being treated to dinner at Grezzo was one of my most favorite birthday gifts this year. What a jewel of a surprise… tucked away in Boston’s North End, amongst quite a few other 4 and 5 star eateries, this little luminary outshines them all.

It’s bold, to say the least, to fly in the face of convention and open a raw food restaurant in Boston’s Italian North End, notoriously known as the birthplace of Prince Spaghetti. Perhaps one can imagine the occasional al dente dish being served here – but raw!

food at Grezzo

At Grezzo (pronounced Gray-Zo, meaning “raw” in Italian) every dish is 100% organic, unless it is absolutely not available as an organic product. This elegant, upscale yet cozy and inviting restaurant serves food that is at once mind expanding and an extraordinary feast for the senses. Set in warm rustic tones, the intimate 28-seat candlelit restaurant with copper tables and crushed cranberry colored chairs specializes in organic, raw vegan cuisine.

A delightful menu combined with a highly responsive staff and engaging atmosphere made the overall experience sublime. I’d just returned from presenting my Soul-Full Eating book signings, lectures and workshops in both LA and NYC, sampling scrumptious morsels in some of the finest conscious eating establishments on the planet, and I was astounded to find that Grezzo not only rivaled but surpassed most of the well-known, revered and even iconic names in the vegan and raw food world.

food at Grezzo

It’s clear that Grezzo owner, Alissa Cohen, is not only a visionary but an educator. Author of the book, Living on Live Food, her devotion to both raw food cuisine and her clientele is obvious. Her wonderfully gregarious wait staff is well trained in the art of presentation, engagingly explaining in mouthwatering detail each dish as it is presented. All questions about this, strange to some, raw food menu are met with a smile tinged with a twinkle of delight, most especially I noticed, each time the phrase, “and nothing is heated above 112 degrees” is uttered. Although the pace was fast the Satuday night I dined at Grezzo, it never felt frenetic and Chef Leah DuBois also seemed graciously available to guests after the most evident dinner rush had subsided—perhaps because for her there is no such thing as “slaving over a hot stove.”

Grezzo dessert

The concept is that green, organic and locally grown vegan, raw food served in an upscale style and setting can be inviting to anyone. Their menu changes daily and reflects the availability of locally grown, organic, high quality, living foods.
As the daughter of an Italian mother, the one and only suggestion I’d make to possibly improve the dining experience here is that cannolis be a permanent part of the Grezzo menu… however I did notice that there’s a recipe for them (that I am determined to make) in Allisa’s recipe book, so there’s hope!

Either way, I’m certain I’ll return to Grezzo again and again when visiting family in Boston. Bravo Allisa. Grazie!!

All photos courtesy Grezzo.

SOO Good: Cru (Los Angeles, California)

Our Rating: SOO Good
Address: 1521 Griffith Park Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Hours: Wed – Mon. 5:30pm –10pm Open for lunch Friday and Saturday 12pm – 4pm. Closed Tuesday
Contact: 323-667-1551, crusilverlake.com

Photo courtesy Cru Los Angeles

Review via Maureen Whitehouse.

This organic, vegan, raw café presents thoughtfully prepares and artfully presents their meals with intention to deeply satisfy their customers. The atmosphere is simple and stylish, the wait staff attentive and the food well prepared. I liked the variety of the menu, catering not just to raw foodists, but to discerning vegans with simple tastes and distinguished palates. The prices are reasonable. But I did feel the salad section to be a bit lacking, especially for a raw food restaurant. I had the house salad, expecting the likes of what I’d experienced at other raw food digs and instead found myself in front of a rather common looking and tasting pile of greens smothered in a way-too-spicy-for-me (and my dining companion, who’s been known to down habanero peppers 3-4 at a time without blinking an eye or shedding a tear) chili lime dressing. I don’t mind eating very spicy food when I’m in the mood for it, but I feel that it should be indicated somehow on the menu.

Photo courtesy Cru Los Angeles

However, the caponata bruschetta more than made up for my dismay. Made with a very fresh Italian chopped vegetable spread in a savory herbed sundried tomato sauce with cashew cheese on a very light but substantial buckwheat flat bread, this appetizer is tastefully bold and satisfying. The wraps, raviolis, pizzas and mezze platter all looked fresh and inviting for those inspired by “fusion” style Asian, South American or Mediterranean dishes. Raw foodists who are especially turned on by cacao—raw chocolate—will be particularly interested in Cru’s dessert selections. Chocolate Brownie a la Mode, Raspberry Chocolate Crepes with Fruit Sorbet and Chocolate Fudge Cake present you with a virtual chocolate nirvana.

Photos courtesy Cru.

SOOOOO Good: 118 Degrees (Orange County, California).

Our Rating: SOOOOO Good!

Address: 2981 Bristol St Ste B-5 Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 9am to 10pm (last seating at 9pm)
Sun. 10am – 9pm (last seating at 8pm), Sunday Brunch 10am to 3pm
Contact: 714-754-0718, shop118degrees.com

Via Maureen Whitehouse…

Sustainable, organic, love-filled, vegan, raw food that’s entirely out of this world!

Venturing out of downtown LA to explore what was, for me, the uncharted territory of Orange County was interesting enough. But my excursion to 118 Degrees became even more captivating when I found myself in Costa Mesa’s oasis of consciousness known to locals as “The Camp.” This eclectic and innovative neighborhood has been labeled an “anti-mall adventure,” a small enclave of hip, eco- and health-conscious businesses, including Patagonia, Cyclewerks, Bikram Yoga, Native Foods and Humanitaire, which sells vegan, faux-leather fashions, footwear and bags.

Back to 118 Degrees…

The restaurant’s design shows a sense of style and sensitivity that’s warm and inviting. We chose a table by the window with a view of the entire restaurant and its open kitchen. Since I’d skipped breakfast that morning, I arrived famished. So my lunch companion and I settled ourselves in for a substantial meal…

The menu is loaded with sumptuous choices, my friend and I opted to share a few dishes so we could not only get a good sampling of the fare, but be sure to fill our bellies. Sometimes getting enough food to satiate a voracious appetite can be a bit challenging at raw food eateries, where meals may be inviting, but diminutive. Happily that is not the case with 118 Degrees, where portions are substantial and the prices still very affordable. We began our dining experience with some “Small Bites” – a Mezze Platter, which is a palate pleasing plate of tahini “cheese” and avocado served with olive bread, cucumber and red bell pepper tapenade. A perfect complement to the Tortilla Soup I’d ordered which I found to be a delightfully light and just-spicy-enough tomato soup with chilies, corn, red bell pepper, and chili squash served with corn chips and avocado.

We moved onto the “Greens” – the salad selection is considerable, so again it wasn’t easy settling on our choices, but we opted to try out the Compressed Spinach Salad – fresh baby spinach tossed with citrus pistachio dressing and herbed cheese, pressed and topped with Applewood Balsamic apple and a half-portion of the Seaweed Salad, which is a lovely presentation of baby romaine tossed with a creamy sesame miso dressing and topped with sea veggie medley along with avocado and coconut strips.
Though my stomach’s growling had by now subsided, I didn’t hesitate to dig in when our entrees arrived. We enjoyed the Lemon Pesto Pasta, spaghetti-thin strips of zucchini with a tangy lemon pesto sauce complimented by mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil, and a Surfer Sandwich, an inventive combination of smashed avocado, kale and mixed vegetables served on house sprouted olive kamut bread.

I must say, the executive chef of 118 Degrees, Jenny Ross has got it all goin’ on. As a decidedly conscious restaurateur she is not just committed to facilitating a superior dining experience for her customers, but when asked, she reveals that she also has a larger, more Soul-Full mission in mind. She feels that by serving the raw food community great food she’s not only helping people be happier and healthier, but advancing the cause of environmentalism. “Eating raw is probably one of the easiest ways to reduce your impact on the Earth, she says, “You’re eating all plant-based foods, and 99% of the time and you’re supporting organic and biodynamic farming, which replenishes the ecosystem where food is grown. It’s one of the great things you can do for your body, your soul and the planet!”

Forgoing all philosophy, no matter how fulfilling it may be, jf your intention is just to relax and enjoy a superior dining experience 118 Degrees is a sure bet. Not only is Chef Jenny amazingly creative in her dishes, but she is quite happy to make alterations if necessary for those who may have food allergies, sensitivities or express other preferences.
The menu is artful and varied, with sumptuous and satisfying selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner – salads, desserts, smoothies, fresh juices, organic beer and biodynamic wines. And you may lift your eyes between forkfuls to see a famous face or two… as some the more health focused Hollywood celebs have been known to wander in to 118 Degrees for a bite to eat.

118 Degrees mission statement: 118 Degrees serves to empower the community of Orange County with fresh, organic living cuisine, presented in an artful context, to be enjoyed with family and friends. We are here to usher in the future of food by offering a menu that is full of nutrient rich selections that are pleasing to the body and the mind. We hope you’ll join us for a bite, a sip or a divine dessert and enjoy the feel-good energy of organic living cuisine. May you enjoy vibrant health!

As Jenny so Soul-Fully states… “People say the next revolution will be a food revolution, and I believe that.” My intuitive sentiments exactly—You go girl!

Photos courtesy 118 Degrees.

New York Open Center, June 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008, 7–10pm

Soul-Full Eating Workshop

NY Open Center

[CLICK TO REGISTER]

Maureen Whitehouse

According to Maureen Whitehouse, author of the best seller Soul-Full Eating: A (Delicious!) Path to Higher Consciousness, it’s possible to eat our way to enlightenment. Eating “soul-fully” is something that’s available to all of us, no matter our faith or philosophy. By being aware when we select, prepare and eat our food, we can radically increase our vibrancy, vitality, eco-awareness and connection to Spirit. (more…)

Natural Awakenings Magazine 01-2008

Natural Awakenings Jan 08

 

I found this book captivating; I was expecting a cookbook of sorts but instead found a wonderful blend of nutritional handbook and spiritual guide. The author wants us to return to a time when eating food, the “most natural and innate part of existence” was “an enjoyable part of life” and not “an obstacle to surmount, a chore, or a situation to fear.”

(more…)

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