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.


Anonymous said...

Fabulous article, Judy.

They just opened a fast food vegan restaurant on 8th street between university and broadway in Manhattan. When it gets to the point that's happening it's an indication that awareness is growing for the health benefits of the raw lifestyle. I've learned so much from you about this even though I'm not vegan it has helped me move more towards a better way of eating.

Congratulations on a great article on the Miami restaurant!

Luz Helena Bustillo Schott said...


I thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a wonderful article describing what has been for so long my son's dream come true. I am thankful to God for what He has done giving John the love, strength, dedication to overcome all the obsticles along the way. I specially thank God the way He got this two cousins together to work as a great team and very grateful with Christian my super nephew that has been supporting John all the way giving him his time, dedication, support and love.

God Bless you and hope we can meet at the restaurant someday.

sketchgrrl said...

Thanks, Luz, for your lovely note about your son's Miami restaurant. It's the best! I would love to meet you some time, in his Miami restaurant or hopefully in one that he will open in Sarasota!