Monday, June 23, 2008

A Fabulous New Raw Food Restaurant in Miami

First cousins Chef John Schott and business partner Christian Gonzalez

Miami, Florida is lucky to have an exciting new raw restaurant, LifeFood Gourmet. I ate there yesterday for the first time and was really impressed. The gifted chef John Schott and his business partner and first cousin Christian Gonzalez (in his first-ever restaurant), have come up with a big hit.

LifeFood Gourmet in Miami, Florida

LifeFood Gourmet is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon to 9 p.m. and inhabits a small, second floor space, with what I counted to be seating for 16 (although I might have counted wrong), with brown and tan walls and purple tablecloths. The small kitchen is visible at one end of the room and Chef Schott prepares menu items as people order them. I got there early and had my pick of tables, but the place filled up fast, with what had to be the best looking bunch of diners I've ever seen in a restaurant. Young, slim and handsome, including several couples with children, they could have been out of central casting. Christian, who grew up in Cartagena, Colombia with John ("like brothers"), said that the energy of the food makes people beautiful.

I'd read about LifeFood Gourmet on a blog, and decided to order exactly what the blogger had, although, being a foodie, what I really wanted (eyes bigger than my stomach) was to get to eat every single thing on the menu. I began with "Tato's Crazy Chz Nacho." The nachos were crispy and paper thin, with a delicate flavor, and served with fresh salsa, homemade guacamole, pumpkin spiced "carne molita," nacho pine nut cheese and Brazil sour creme. OMG, I thought as I ate this delectable appetizer, this might be their signature dish. (But how could I know without tasting everything on their menu?)

Next I opted for pizza, and they brought me two kinds, Texy Mexy Super Veggie and NYC Cheese--a total of four thin-crust slices served atop a wire basket that rose dramatically above the table. While I liked both varieties, the NYC Cheese was pitch perfect in evoking the Italian pizza (known as "Tomato Pie") that I grew up eating in northern New Jersey. I've never before experienced that essence in a raw vegan pizza. What a treat!

I looked forward to dessert. The restaurant was out of the "Trisha Fall in Love" cupcake that the blogger had had, and suggested their Chocolate Mousse cake instead. But I had to leave suddenly for the three-and-a-half hour drive back to Sarasota because of threatening weather, so I brought the dessert home with me and somehow managed to save it until after dinner tonight. It was lush, chocolatey and sweet and, like all the best entertainment, left me wanting more.

Before leaving LifeFood Gourmet to try and escape the looming rain storm, I found a few moments to drink the remainder of the Vanilla Dream Shake that my friend had ordered but was too full to drink. It was sublime.

As you leave the restaurant, there's a delightful non-culinary surprise, an architectural treat I had never seen before. It's a large mirror that hangs in the stairwell, so that when you walk downstairs to exit, you see yourself from top to bottom (looking gorgeous from the food, of course!)

I can only hope that John and Christian will open a raw cafe in Sarasota next. Otherwise, I just might have to move to Miami!

LifeFood Gourmet
Open Thursday through Sunday
From noon to 9 p.m.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New York City

Raw foodists love NYC because it has many all-raw restaurants. It's a raw foodists' paradise. And so is the state of California, for the same reason. Now the rest of the country needs to catch up!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Delicious Salads Like This One

Dandelion greens, raddiccio, cilantro, sunflower greens, red & yellow grape tomatoes, and red onion slices, with lemon tahini garlic dressing.

Underground Raw Vegan Dinners

There's a trend towards throwing so-called underground dinners, to save chefs the cost of restaurant overhead, and yet to fly under the radar of health departments requiring licenses.

So c'mon over and join the latest online group, this one for Sarasota, Florida area raw vegans who look forward to organizing and attending pirate restaurants as they occur.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spreading the Word About Raw Food

Raw foods enthusiasts like to get the word out about their passions. One place they find the goods is this shop, whose items urge the US Department of Agriculture to lift the ban on the sale of raw almonds. The USDA imposed the ban on Sept. 1, 2007, because of two long-ago cases of salmonella in NON-ORGANIC almonds, and because of this, raw foodists and raw foodies are having to order raw almonds from abroad.