Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Nicole Richie; Organic Mama

I absolutely adore Nicole Richie. I full fledge have a girl crush on her. Massively. I love her boho style, her relaxed demeanor, her lifestyle, her wit, her family and her kids. She is my celebrity soul sister. So of course I only love her more now since discovering that she had an elephant at her winter themed wedding. (Elephant = my favorite animal. Winter wedding theme = what I was planning before we ended up doing a destination wedding.) This girl! I need to meet her. I want to personally tell Nicole Richie she is the beez neez.

As many of you know I am a vegetarian and I love kids. Naturally I plan on having vegetarian kids (at least until they can decide if they want to eat dead animals or not with their own free will). So I thought it was pretty cool that Nicole Richie is doing the same in her household. (It helps that her husband Joel Madden is a vegetarian.) As if I didn’t already love this girl, I love how she is raising her kids. Nicole has revealed she uses chlorine-free, non-toxic and hypoallergenic diapers for her children, and refuses to use baby wipes and instead uses cloth and water. She grows her own vegetables in her garden and purees her own baby food. Everything in her household is organic, down to the clothes, food and diapers. She also doesn’t feed her kids dairy. On The Talk, she also shared, “We don’t use battery-operated toys, we don’t use plastic… Sugar is obviously a big no-no.” She went on to share, “I was at a birthday party and there was a cupcake with all this pink icing and there was a blueberry on top of the cupcake. Harlow looked at it and her eyes got so wide and she was like ‘Ohh,’ and I was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go,’ and she was like ‘Blueberries!’ So I went to the kitchen and got her a whole thing of blueberries. And she was happy.”

I give it to her. It’s hard today to be able to live this kind of lifestyle but she’s doing it. It also helps that she has oodles of money, more than I’ll ever have but hey, still I give her props and can only hope I’ll be a kick ass mom like her one day.

Look at these guys-the cutest family ever. For more pics go to Nicole’s blog.


Jasmine 26; A Step up from the Deli

Last night my best friend G and I took one of our girlfriends out for her birthday, named A. Being that A and I are both vegetarians we decided to try out a new vegetarian place, called Jasmine 26 in Minneapolis. Many people, especially foodies, have heard of Eat Street. Normal folks call it Nicollet, but for the foodies, it is Eat Street…the magical street that boosts every authentic and cultured meal known to Minneapolis. The diversity there is remarkable, from Vietnamese, Mexican, Greek, American, All Raw to Indian (and everything else in-between). Many people have experienced Jasmine Deli…which is owned by the same folks as Jasmine 26. Jasmine Deli, which I have reviewed before ( see post ‘Tofu Wars’) is a great little hole in the wall dive that has a great variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes as well as many vegetarian/vegan options. It literally can only seat 12 people-max, but people still come in droves to wait for a seat anyways. So Jasmine Deli decided to make a larger and more upscale version of their highly successful Deli, and there’s where Jasmine 26 comes in. Jasmine 26 is a beautiful restaurant nestled next to The Bad Waitress on the corner of 26th and Nicollet. The place is larger than it’s proceeder, is spacious and has a remarkably large and full bar guarded by a wall sized Buddha. Very cool!

G, A and I debated sitting outside on the cute wicker chairs and tables they have lining up outside their building but decided since it was over 90 degrees out, inside would be just fine. First dilemma to conquer? What to drink. They have a large and extensive menu of what I call “fancy” drinks, wines and beer. I settled on Sapporo, my fave Japanese beer (that’s brewed in Canada…strange? That will be a different blog…), A settled on a martini, and G got the interesting if not fascinating Frozen Bubble Tea. For anyone who has had Bubble tea, you know exactly why this concoction is strange. Frozen bubble tea? Frozen liqured bubble tea? Well G got it, and we all tried it. Excellente! G got the Mango version, but there’s also other flavors, including coconut. Yum! Yum!

Since we were fiendishly excited over too many options on the menu we all got an appetizer as well as a main dish. On the appetizer course we got the Coconut Cream Cheese Wontons, Sea Salt and Pepper Cube Tofu and Lettuce Wraps. Delicious, delicious, delicious. We were all amazed by the appetizers. So much that we ate almost all of them before I realized I hadn’t snapped any pictures! Opps. So that’s why my pictures show scantily clad plates of food…

The cream cheese wontons were definitely different…it had the familiar taste that we all know and love but then it had a little sweet coconut to it, and served with homemade pineapple sauce, it was perfection. The tofu. Omg. I know I always praise P.F Chang’s tofu as my favorite, but I think I found a new one. This appetizer of lightly fried tofu is a-mazing. G, isn’t even a fan of tofu and she was addicted to that stuff!  On the outside it has a little spicy kick, and flavored so delectably by salt and pepper; on the inside it is hot, soft and with less flavor (in this case it works out so, so well). The contrast between the very flavorful and crispy outside is great with the soft and less flavorful inside. It’s so good. I have been thinking about it all day. The lettuce wraps came out so beautifully wrapped. Seriously like little presents-they were wrapped with rice udon noodles, eggs, cucumbers, mints, bean sprouts and had little baby shrimp on the outside neatly tucked into the cilantro tying the package together. (Everything we got was vegetarian except the lettuce rolls, but you can easily take the shrimp off!)

Onto the main meal. G got the Pho (beef), I got the Vegetarian Pho and A got the Grilled Shrimp Coconut Milk Noodle Salad without the shrimp (she got mock duck instead). G thought her beef broth was good, sweeter than usual but still very delicious. It came out similar to most other places serving pho. Mine however was different, but this was expected. For anyone who doesn’t have Pho knowledge, it is the common Vietnamese soup that can be eaten literally for any meal. It is usually made of (beef) broth, flavored with onions, herbs, bean sprouts, lemon, lime, and is made with rice noodles and served with meat, tofu or mock duck. It is as common to the Asians and foodies, as it is the all American Chicken Noodle Soup. I have it when I’m sick, when I’m cold, when I’m tired, when I’m hungover and most definitely when I crave Vietnamese food. This was my first time ever having Pho that had broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in it. Your first impression would be, “That’s wrong” and I wouldn’t correct you. It was wrong. I understand that I ordered the Veggie Pho…but I thought all would be replaced was my broth and meat. No, they added in other stuff too. I’m not saying it was bad, I’m just saying it was different and not in a way that I favor. The broth however was good, since I have had vegetarian Pho that has been downright bad before, so at least I can give them props on that. A also wasn’t too impressed with her meal, saying it lacked flavor. It’s described as “Grilled shrimp (in her case, mock duck) tossed in coconut milk with thick “udon-style” rice noodles, garnished with shredded lettuce, cucumber, herbs, cilantro, and a sprinkle of roasted peanuts. Served with house vinaigrette sauce.” Without the shrimp, shedidn’t have much of a coconut taste, so her noodle dish ended up being rather bland. She had to add a lot of hoisin sauce (which they called Ha Noi sauce here, so don’t be tricked) and chili pepper sauce to her dish to make it taste better.

In conclusion, we would probably rate it a B+.

The presentation was beautiful, the place was clean and gorgeous, the service was good, the appetizers had us drooling, our drinks were overall normal, and the main dishes were aiight. So, to round it off we gave them a great B+ and think that if they can improve on their main dishes, and maybe take the prices down a notch it would be a stellar A. Still, we have to be grateful for them to make such a nice, vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurant. Almost every single thing on the menu can be made vegetarinized.  Would we go there again? Totally, and next time you can join us! 😉

Don’t be Clueless about ‘The Kind Diet’

One of the best books that I’ve read in the past year is “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone. A lot of people literally judged this book by it’s cover…Alicia Silverstone, the actress, is going to write a dieting book? Oh brother. At least that’s what my brother in law thought. But no, it’s nothing like that.

I have known for many years that Silverstone was a vegetarian and an activist for all things eco-friendly so I knew that this book would be knowledgeable. And also, it’s not a diet book peeps. By diet she means “lifestyle” and “what you eat daily” not just a fad diet that you try for a couple months then drop.

I had originally picked up the book just to see what she would talk about. I guessed it would be about her diet and why it works for her, and ultimately why it can work for us. Well it is that, but more importantly it is jam packed with information about animals, the factory farms, the industry, and more. Half the book is full of facts, statistics and studies, then the other half is recipes. So really it’s a cookbook too.

And it’s funky (in a good way) because the recipes are divided into three parts. She has the Flirt section, which are recipes for people who just want to flirt and experiment with a diet without dairy or meat. Then there’s the “normal” section that is filled with your many vegan dishes. Then the last section, the Superhero is hardcore recipes for the peeps who not only can handle no meat, no dairy, but also no soy, and lots and lots of veggies and fruits. This is close to the macrobiotic diet, since a lot of things are raw and the recipes focus around local grown veggies, and not ones that are flown in from around the world.

A lot of the things that I know about veganism, animal cruelty, etc. I found from this book. I give Silverstone huge props, and respect her much more now seeing how she is actively trying to make a difference. The book also touches on our natural resources, waste, the rainforest, etc. Anytime that I need a refresher and remember why I don’t consume meat, I just reread this book. It’s such a motivator and inspiration. Below is an interview Silverstone did describing her book, why she is a vegan, and what “diet” really means to her. It’s an excellent read so if you are lounging around the pool, or sitting besides the lake this summer pick up this book. I highly recommend it.

Tofu Wars

Although I try to limit my soy intake (substituting rice milk for soy milk, for example) I still have a special place in my heart for tofu. Tofu is definitely an acquired taste and most people think they don’t like it even without trying it. For all of us tofu veterans out there, we know how tofu can vary in texture and taste based on how it is cooked. Because we know this, we enjoy lots of tofu! The common folk are missing out!

When I am actually using my kitchen (rare!) I sometimes like my tofu sautéed in sauce with veggies, or baked in the oven with soy sauce, or in a broth served soup style. But my talents usually run dry after these recipes. So what’s a girl with no cooking skills to do? Eat out of course. You already know, my husband and I are professionals when it comes to eating out. I have tried tofu from almost every place that serves it in the Twin Cities and have found many different varieties. I have to say only a handful of places really stand out to me, in good and bad ways. Although I could list many places from all over, I’m going to keep this restricted to common places that most people already dine at. This is to help the tofu lovers out there as well as the people out there who are nervous about trying it.

The Good

P.F Chang’s – I absolutely love this restaurant. I loved it when I ate meat and I love it now that I don’t. They have an exclusive menu of vegetarian options and even a gluten free menu. They have three tofu dishes to choose from, one being my favorite tofu dish…ever.

Buddha’s Feast: This is a vegetable medley with five-spice tofu served with steamed or fried rice. This is not my favorite, although still good. I originally ordered this because I love spicy food but the tofu was too soft for me. I do enjoy soft tofu, but in this dish I would have preferred it to be a bit thicker to resemble meat in this dish. C

Buddha’s Feast

Ma Po Tofu: OMG. This is my favorite tofu dish of all time. The tofu is crispy on the outside, silken on the inside and in a yummy sichuan vegetarian sauce with steamed broccoli. I order this a little too much. Actually this is the only thing I order at P.F Chang’s now, ever since I first tried it. Only complaint? Sometimes when you get it take-out, the sauce sits at the bottom making the dish towards the bottom extra salty. A!

Ma Po Tofu

Coconut Curry Vegetables: This is stir fried veggies with the same crispy silken tofu with peanuts in a vegetarian coconut curry sauce. This sounds really good, but unfortunately I cannot tear myself away from the Ma Po Tofu. Opps. Someone else will have to grade this one for me!

Coconut Curry Vegetables w/ Tofu

Big Bowl – Good old Big Bowl. It’s becoming as commonplace as Leann Chins (which does not serve any meatless dishes! Grr…). Big Bowl is a favorite of mine as well since they serve all natural, organic and fresh foods daily. I always get a ginger beverage there and it’s so fresh and good every single time. Hmm. Like P.F Chang’s they also (just started to) have a gluten free menu. Perks! Of course they have bountiful options for vegetarians but my focus here is tofu!

Noodles w/ Kung Pao Tofu & Spinach: A-mazing. I love this dish which consists of wide wheat noodles, little pieces of tough tofu, blackened chilies, roasted peanuts and a sweet and spicy sauce. Really if you like kung pao anything, you’re sure to like this. The tofu in this one is good because it’s small and a little bit tougher, really mimicking meat. The tofu also really soaks up the sauce, acting as a sauce sponge making it even more yummy. A

Noodles w/ Kung Pao Tofu & Spinach

Vegetable Pad Thai with Tofu: Good good good. For anyone out there who isn’t familiar with pad thai, it’s Thailand’s signature dish made with fresh lemons, herbs, big rice noodles, basil, eggs, sprouts and peanuts. It’s a really refreshing dish that seems light when eaten but still fills you up! The tofu version comes with medium texture tofu and fresh asian vegetables. (Think bok choy.) It’s a really tasty meal, especially for lunch. A-

Vegetable Pad Thai w/ Tofu

Yellow Curry Vegetable with Tofu: This dish is fried or steamed rice with bok choy, green beans, seasonal veggies, soft textured tofu and yellow coconut curry sauce. I have to say this one isn’t my favorite. But it doesn’t really have to do with the tofu, but the sauce is a bit runny for me. It resembles soup more than sauce in my eyes. But if you’re fan of curry, be my guest! The yellow curry is a bit sweeter and they also offer Thai Green Curry instead which is spicy! C

Yellow Curry Vegetable w/ Tofu

Jasmine Deli: Most of us that grew up in or around Minneapolis know about Eat Street…the amazing strip of Nicollet in Minneapolis filled with food for every type of taste bud possible. You will find authentic Asian restaurants, Mexican Restaurants, gourmet breakfast diners, fresh vegetable markets, etc. It’s a foodie’s heaven. jasmine Deli is on this strip and is most commonly known for their pho (a Vietnamese soup as common as the chicken noodle) and banh mi (Vietnamese subs made with French baguettes) but their tofu should not be overlooked! On this certain day I was looking for a place that offered vegetarian pho (a blog will come later about this) but something else caught my eye on the menu. Tamarind Tofu. So I asked the owner about it and he told me just to try it. I shrugged, said what the hell and ordered it. And thank goodness I did. This is a phenomenal dish for the little Jasmine Deli! Here is an appetizer portion of fried and baked tofu in a tangy tamarind sauce. The tofu looks and tastes as if someone fried it to get it to be the texture it is, then baked it afterwards to make the extra crisp outer layer then smothered it in this sauce that’s both sour, tangy and sweet. It’s almost citrusy but is not the typical sweet and sour sauce. Hmm hmm. I ended up eating that, a veggie pho and ordering another portion of Tamarind Tofu to bring home. A

Tamarind Tofu

The Bad

Noodles & Company: I hate to rip on Noodles, since I do like their pastas but the tofu here can definitely be passed. I had the misfortune to try this, not once but twice, and not liking it either time. For whatever reason the tofu here is really tough and chewy. Not like a tough piece of steak but like a dog’s chew toy. It virtually has no flavor and seems to have been fried so much on the outside that no moisture or sauce can even get soaked up into it. My sister in law had her first tofu experience at Noodles, and now her tongue doesn’t trust it anymore. It’s a shame because almost anyone’s tofu is better than Noodles. D-

Doesn’t matter what kind of noodles you get. The tofu stinks.

The Ugly

Benihana’s: This is a great restaurant. Not too pricey for what it offers, good entertainment, great for kids, delicious…Here’s the thing though. It’s only delicious because everything is smothered in butter. If you want to get something healthy, or something without meat, it’s not going to be pretty.

Spicy Tofu Steak: The description says: tofu, scallions and cilantro grilled in a spicy tofu hot sauce. Sounded good. Tasted bad! The tofu in itself was, get this, slippery. This was no steak. It was uber soft and slimy, had little to no taste (it isn’t marinated before hand, which you see when the cook pulls out the cold tofu straight from the container and plops it onto the grill), and has seriously no texture to the point where I after a few bites it was like tofu slushy in my mouth. Now, the sauce. How disappointing! It was not a sauce. It was a spicy soy sauce, without the spice. Total waste of money in my eyes and something I wouldn’t eat again even if someone paid me. F

Spicy Tofu Steak

Hope this somewhat helps you tofu newbies out there. Get out there and try your first piece!! At least try it at the restaurants, instead of buying it and attempting to cook it! Hopefully you won’t be disappointed!

Leggo my Eggo!

A battle I have with myself is over the consumption of dairy and eggs. When I stopped eating meat initially, I stopped having dairy and eggs as well. To substitute I had a lot of soy. I am a huge fan of soy based products, including their cheese, meats, sauces, spreads, etc. However I was eating lots and lots of soy. I think for the average person this would not matter, but for me, I started to break out enormously and frequently. I couldn’t pinpoint the culprit at first, but when I thought of what I had changed in my diet I realized how much soy I was having. I was probably having soy at least at every meal, if not every meal and every snack. So to put the theory to test I cut out soy for a full week. And voila, the breakouts stopped. As I realized I had to decrease the amount of soy I was taking in I started to feel the huge lack of dairy/eggs in my life (fake or not-I was missing them). I slowly, and full of guilt, started consuming little bits of dairy and eggs here and there. Now months later, I am a full blown dairy and egg consumer once again. And I feel guilty.

A lot of people ask me why I feel so bad and I always start off with “I feel bad for the dairy cows!” Because I do. I love the dairy cows. My first blog, Holy Cow!! has a whole section devoted to the dairy cows and explains their suffering and short lived lives. But it doesn’t end at the cows. I feel bad for the chickens too. People don’t understand this since the eggs aren’t really chickens yet. Well here’s the lowdown on eggs…

More than 95% of the eggs that are sold here in the states come from birds that are confined in wire battery cages and cannot move. They are usually starved and only there for the sole purpose of laying eggs. After they get overly tired and beat up from laying as many eggs as we can get from them, their bodies are so weak and poor that we don’t even eat them. They eventually end up being meat in pet food. If these hens are even too poor for that they are simply beaten to death, gassed or thrown into wood chippers while they are still alive. This is no exaggeration. This is almost common practice.

When these chickens are born, the ones that are not planned to be used as meat, are put into two groups. The first group, the males are not needed, so when we have too many we let them die or grind them through meat grinders while they are alive to be fed to other livestock (the cows). The second group, the female chicks are then selected and have their beaks ground off with a hot blade within the first 2 days of birth so that they cannot use their beaks.

Seriously it is so hard for me to let myself eat eggs but at the same time it’s so hard to accept a lifestyle where I need to watch out for eggs…which like to appear everywhere…in breads, soups, dressings, cakes, etc. I applaud the folks out there who do this each and every day. I want to be one of them someday. Baby steps. Until then I will try to always consume organic eggs. A little FYI on organic eggs people, the term does not really apply unless it is labeled “Certified Organic.” Another thing to look out for is “free-range eggs” which actually has no legal definition in the States at all. “Cage-free” also doesn’t mean that they were humanly treated or that they even ever stepped outside. Many cage-free chickens are still crammed into dark, dirty barns and almost all cage-free chickens are still clipped (this means beaks, wings and feet). Another way to find eggs that came from non mistreated chickens is by looking for the terms “Certified Humane Raised and Handled” on the label, which I have yet to see. “Certified Organic” is more common.

Until I can find the strength and willpower in me to finally kick dairy and eggs, organic is my best bet.

Wish me luck!

Circle of Life? Really?

My husband and I had a thoughtful conversation the other day when we were driving up north. We passed many farms with organic cows roaming (which was a really great sight) and started to talk more about meats. (I am a vegetarian, he is not-but no worries, he only eats organic).

I came to a conclusion that I would be okay with eating meat if it weren’t done in a way that is so cruel, thoughtless and so incredibly wasteful! Why is it that we think we can kill masses amounts of animals, like cutting grass? Why is it okay to murder millions upon millions of animals a day for our consumption (or our waste) when we think it is not okay to murder millions of people? Why isn’t it the same? I see no difference. Animals are mothers and fathers caring for their children just like us.

Why did we let money rule our lives? Food is a business, not just  a way for survival anymore. What if we only killed what we would actually eat? If I go to a buffet, I am not okay with piling my plate(s) full and plenty of foods that I want to eat. I take what I will eat and if I need/want more I can go get some more. I don’t plan on taking a lot beforehand and then wasting the rest. So why can’t we consume meats in the same way? Instead of people thinking that meat is a necessity, why can’t it be special?

How much of this meat actually gets bought within the time frame before it expires?? Does one store need this much meat? (And each town has how many stores who sell meat?)

If meat was a luxury the way sugar or alcohol used to be, we could increase the price of meat and it no longer would be a necessity in the household. If meat was rare, few and costly people would reserve it for special occasions and none would go to waste. We could kill as many animals as needed instead of killing masses of them, and then allowing for at least half of it to go to waste.

For a world so concerned with recycling and reusing and saving the trees, we certainly are wasting animals.

Thinking back to the beginning of civilization, we only killed what we needed to survive. For example, Native Americans, they were connected to the animals, nature and the trees. One animal could last a family a long time, in terms of meat and clothing. They did not kill as many as they possibly could to store because much of it would not be eaten in time and would spoil, therefore be wasted. The same thing applies today so I don’t understand why we do this. Sure we can freeze meats, but tell me how often a family will bring out the 2 year old meat from the freezer and thaw it for dinner when they can toss it and for just $10 go to the store and buy a few more pounds of meat. We simply just don’t notice what’s going on here. We live in a country that wastes, wastes, wastes. And we seem to not care. Why do we allow ourselves to do this or accept this when there are families, children and elderly in other countries in this world who do not have enough to eat? And these poor animals, being sacrificed for us. For our consumption. And then we throw them away. We killed them, for nothing. This is not the circle of life.

So it isn’t enough to say let’s make all meat organic. We have to also limit how much of it is produced. Basically, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, so we need to take much, much less.

Ecopolitan in the Metropolitan

My best friend G and I got to experience an entirely vegan and raw restaurant, Ecopolitan recently which exists in Uptown, Mpls. I had found this place one night while rummaging through the internet, also known as my other husband. Ecopolitan seemed very interesting. This restaurant is also a juice bar, spa, an eco-shop and a wine bar! Background: They are non-profit and pride themselves on many accomplishments, such as serving 100% uncooked, plant-based meals that are 100% organic with no additives, GMOS, or toxic processing. Seems pretty cool!

So we ventured out to try this place.We didn’t really know what to expect. It ended up being in a quaint little old school Mpls home with roughly 6 or less tables. It was very dark, lit only by one lamp and several candles and had a great eclectic feel to it. It’s as if someone went to a garage sale and brought back everything and put it into this room. None of the chairs matched, or the tables, or the napkins, or anything actually. G and I were feeling pretty hip and cool.

We drank our filtered water in reused jars and G paid for a jar to take her smoothie home in. (They have a fee for you having to take something home-which seems weird, but if you come back and bring the jar/container back they will refund your dollar. Or you can just come with your own containers. We may not be adjusted to this yet, but hey, we’re reusing bags at the grocery store now aren’t we?)

There were many interesting and intriguing options to choose from but I decided to go with the Eco-sausage pizza. The “cheese” is made of macadamia and cashew nuts, the sausage made from walnuts and the rest of the pizza was loaded with raw veggies (mushrooms, bell peppers and onions) and ginger marinara sauce. G settled for the Spicy Thai noodles, which consists of coconut curry sauce, noodles made from raw zucchini, carrot and daikon radishes, and loaded up with pineapple, bell peppers, cilantro, almonds and coconut flakes.

One word of advice? Bring your homework, business, laptop or a good reading material. G and I had no idea that we would be waiting for a very long time to be fed. Considering that the food is made entirely raw (meaning probably very fresh and on the spot) we assumed it would take a while. But a while was a long while. Dare we say 45 minutes? And this was us being the only customers besides two ladies that were already on dessert.

After we got over the wait and starting dissolving into one of your deep and probing conversations, our food arrived. It looked wonderful. It tasted…different. Mine was a good different. My first bite certainly was cautious considering this pizza was entirely raw and cold. It had a very nutty taste and a thick texture from the buckwheat crust (that is dried instead of baked-remember all raw here). In some ways it tasted “too raw” for me, in some other ways it was delicious. After the first piece I was satisfied. My body had been eating vegan, but not entirely raw so my body went into a slight shock. I knew better than to freak out my body by eating the entire thing. The next day I would eat my leftover piece for lunch, and for whatever reason it was even better than it was the day before. It really just tasted like leftover cold pizza.

G’s pasta was also different. Incredibly different. I didn’t take a bite because as adventurous as I would like to think I am, I don’t have a great experience with coconut curry. She described the noodles to me, which were cold, very thinly sliced and soft. Slightly softer than real pasta. She said overall it was good although one could never mistake this for real pasta. However, that night she got ill. ( I didn’t. Hmm. Who knows.)

We ended our experience with the blueberry “cheese” cake and folks, this was AMAZING. By far the best cheesecake I had ever had in my life. G agrees. The first bite was “Hmm, this is weird. Hmm…tangy. Hmmm.” By the third bite it was “Oh my god, this is the best thing I ever tasted.” By the last crumb it was “Why isn’t there more??” We both agreed that this cake only got better with each bite. Most desserts leave you feeling full and beyond satisfied because they are so sweet and rich. Normal cheesecake usually starts off with a few delicious bites and then turns into overload. This was cheesecake crack. Delicious. I still dream of this cheesecake.

After our meals, and paying for the leftover containers (which were biodegradable), we decided to venture through their shop. It is small, but definitely fun. There are assortments of raw and vegan desserts, snacks, sauces, and nuts pre-packaged for your convenience, juicers, books on raw/vegan lifestyles, cookbooks, CDs, DVDs, air purifiers, SAD light therapy lamps (very cool, especially for us Minnesotans), body care, supplements, art and even knick knacks and clothes.

So overall conclusion? We would both try it again. There were a number of items we would both try-including the raw vegan burger, the cold soups, and more desserts. Something to be cautious about though is to make sure you make time for this dining experience as well as bringing your own containers to bring leftovers in.

Cool side note? They also do free lectures, films, “uncooking” classes and have free meeting spaces for non-profit groups! Go to their site to learn more, and also check out their online menu which showcases their goods as well as more information on their community events!