Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ellis Paul, Raw

I was invited many months ago to see Ellis Paul's performance last night at the New Moon Coffee House in Haverhill. The invite came from a major fan of his, and I was excited to finally hear his music—it was a great performance at a very interesting venue (a Unitarian church that has been hosting folk performances for 20 years).

On our way to Haverhill, we stopped in Beverly. Hmmm...

OK, when we made the plans, I thought Beverly was near Haverhill (in the same way that most people seem to think that Pittsfield is near Amherst). Guilty. The reason for our detour was to dine at Rawbert's Organic Garden Cafe, where they prepare vegan meals with almost exclusively raw ingredients. My friend, Meira, had described her previous food experience there and I was intrigued.

The food was really flavorful and filling. I think this is largely due to the use of fruit and vegetable dehydration to achieve different textures, making for dense, concentrated flavors. Our appetizer was (vegan, raw) Margherita Pizza. The crust was made from (I think?) a combination of grains and dehydrated vegetable pulp (the byproduct of juicing), the sauce was made from concentrated tomato puree, and the cheese was made from nuts. It was really very good!

Meira ordered the most interesting (and incredibly tasty) entree—Nut Butter Squash Ravioli with Cashew Alfredo Sauce—the pasta of which was made from dehydrated beets. It was sweet and rich and really beautiful!

I had a horrible time deciding on a meal, and resorted to The Sampler (as well as nibbles from my friends' plates). I enjoyed the interesting flavors of the Thai Dumpling (sunflower and sesame seed, celery, carrot, fresh herbs, ginger, galangal root, lemongrass and other exotic spices), and found the raw hummus to be some of the best I've ever had. To make it, the chickpeas are soaked until they sprout, at which time they are tender enough to blend into the delicious, garlicky spread.

A perfect match for the sudden summer weather, we ordered Cucumber Lime Coolers sweetened with agave nectar. Agave is the same plant from which tequila is made, and its nectar, I just learned, has a low glycemic value.

Raw foodism isn't a movement I plan to join in full, although I appreciate the value of consuming fruits, vegetables, and nuts as near as possible to the time they were pulled from the ground—an added benefit to growing your own food.

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