Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Restaurant Review: Pure Food and Wine - Haute Raw Vegan Cuisine

Haute raw vegan cuisine - not words you usually imagine putting together.  But you can at Pure Food & Wine on Irving Place in Manhattan.   I had the pleasure of dining there a few nights ago with a good friend and I cannot wait to go back.  I love casual, down-to-earth eateries too but for a change of pace, haute raw vegan rocks it!

The restaurant space is beautiful and sophisticated and it has a large back garden (but it was too hot a night for me to enjoy outdoor dining so we opted for inside).  The menu is likewise sophisticated.  I started with king oyster mushroom scallops in a lemongrass/coconut broth and my friend had an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad.  Both were amazing.  The king oyster mushrooms had a texture that was remarkably like a scallop.  We shared a plate of Dr. Cow's nut cheeses (made locally in Williamsburg (Brooklyn)), with rosemary crisps and strawberries, mache and raw honey as accompaniments.  Yum! For a main course I had a delicious zucchini "fettuccini" with asparagus and peppers and my friend had beautiful stuffed squash blossoms.  We were too full for dessert - a huge regret because they all looked great.

You can also order some of the products used to create delicious raw vegan cuisine, along with some awesome raw cookbooks featuring recipes from the restaurant, at the OneLuckyDuck website.  I am going to try the tomato/watermelon salad in the next few days - I think that was my favorite thing out of all the things I tasted at dinner.

I have stockpiled a bunch of raw cookbooks and want to start incorporating more raw meals into my diet.  I appreciate that Sarma Melngailis, the owner of Pure Food and Wine, admits to not being raw, or even vegan or vegetarian, all the time - definitely takes some of the pressure off - especially for raw newbies, like me.  That said, every raw recipe I have tried so far has been great - so fresh and just "good" - getting back to the essence of what food tastes like.  You don't even need a recipe to be raw (though there are some great ones).  One day I just pureed chunks of butternut squash in the VitaMix (this may be a must-have for vegans and raw food enthusiasts -- never have I seen a blender work so well.  It  costs $$$ but is worth it). The raw butternut squash soup - seasoned with some fresh herbs, was amazing.  This past week, I had a lot of Crenshaw melon at home - I pureed it, with some lovely oil, vanilla infused sea salt, a touch of (non raw I think) maple syrup, cayenne pepper and seeded cucumber - delish, even my husband loved the fresh and 99% raw fruit soup.

 Plus, eating raw brings incredible health benefits, preserving many of the enzymes naturally found in foods.  I have a tendency to go full bore at something for awhile and then tucker out but I can definitely see slowly incorporating more raw cooking ideas into everyday life -- it is all about the balance (see Sunday's post - but then ask why I am up at 3am??? - work in progress....).

Sunday, September 5, 2010


My "Balance" ecoBowl
Balance is my new mantra... Wish me luck!

I spent two weekends in August in New England working on ideas related to energy healing.  First was a series of workshops led by Dr. Miriam Wolf in Putney, Vermont.  Two days of learning and working on healing techniques on many levels - it was eye-opening, challenging, very positive, and centering.  After that great experience, the next weekend, the whole family (it was our anniversary too!) traveled to Exeter, New Hampshire for a little R&R and for me to work with Hilary Crowley, to catch me up in my Reiki master level training.

Both these weekends got me thinking much more about balance and the need to reestablish balance in my life.  I tend to go 110 miles an hour on everything, rather than balancing.  So now I am going to start making a conscious effort toward more balance.  That may mean letting go of some of my preconceived notions of how and when things need to get done, figuring out what it is important to focus on at any given time and what can wait.  I am hoping that this new outlook will be liberating but it will definitely be work for me to let go of some of the old paradigms.  I also have to recognize that it won't happen overnight - it will take time to recalibrate and, in a first step in that direction, I recognize that this is okay.

While in New Hampshire, we stayed at the lovely Exeter Inn - our stay was terrific, the only downside was that our shower, while beautiful, was not designed for tall people (the building is older and space constraints dictated what they could do).  While I worked with Hilary, the boys explored Exeter and then we met up to check out Portsmouth, New Hampshire - which was completely charming.  While there, I happened upon a great shop that had opened up only days earlier called Presence of Nature.  This shop sells beeswax bowls (ecoBowls), the creation of which helps beekeepers (who sell their scrap beeswax to create the bowls).  You use the bowl as a vessel into which you can place all sorts of materials, including air plants, to create a very personal environment (you can buy pre-made versions or create your own with their huge selection of items).  The shop's (and website's) tag line is "No matter what you choose, it's right."  You cannot make a mistake - I love that! When I walked in one of the first things I saw was a small flat stone with the word "Balance" engraved on it - there's a message for you!  I used that as a centerpiece to create my own bowl, which is now in our dining room (see the photo above).

Both weekends inspired me to continue to learn more about different energy healing modalities and to challenge myself to open up my mind to new ways of thinking.  One thing I am now very excited to learn more about is Matrix Energetics, a powerful healing modality developed by Richard Bartlett, DC.   But there are so many other things to learn about as well.  Dr. Wolf introduced me to some amazing books a variety of aspects of energy medicine that I cannot wait to dig into.  Of course, I have to balance all this new learning with the rest of my life!