The stuff we do for good friends is truly amazing, isn't it? Today I found myself giving in to Gran's occasional promptings to go to a local restaurant, The Green Boheme, for lunch. Click over there and check it out if you have time. Yep, raw vegan food. Let me just say you should be careful of making friends with Canadians--so many of them seem to be hippie holdouts, even if they don't look like it on the surface. But I went along with the raw vegan lunch idea. (Me, whose idea of a near perfect lunch is Micky D's double cheeseburger and medium fries followed by an iced vanilla latte at Starbucks.) I don't really "get" the whole raw concept and how heat changes the enzymes in food. Vegan/vegetarian, sure, I get the "no animal products" stuff, but raw? (BTW, I DID see John Cleese on So Graham Norton this morning talking about how he accidentally ate poodle in China and liked it a lot, so maybe I was inclined to be a little more vegan-friendly today.)
Anyway, lunch. The menu was kind of limited. (Probably out of necessity--after all, how much raw vegan stuff is out there?) And I figured a salad is a salad, right? Except when it's a RAW salad--then it's topped with stuff like hemp seeds and uncooked, shaved beets. (Are hemp seeds LEGAL?) It wasn't bad though. The dressing was good--some kind of lemon mustard herb stuff. I thought about getting soup until I found out it wasn't actually hot--it's just sort of warm. Somehow that seemed less appealing. Gran was brave and ordered a black hockey puck they called an All American Wellness Burger. And you know what? I guess raw vegans don't eat bread either--because, of course, you'd have to BAKE it. So no bun. She said it was good though. (But since raw vegan was her idea, I think she probably HAD to say that, don't you?) She offered me a bite, but I figured our friendship really didn't require it, so I passed.
I asked about iced tea, and they said they had some kind of hibiscus stuff. Then I saw they had French pressed coffee (why is HOT coffee okay?), so I got that instead, and it was pretty good, but when I asked if they had anything resembling cream and sugar, I was told I could help myself to the coconut sugar. (Have I ever mentioned that coconut isn't really my favorite flavor? I passed.) Still, I think the black coffee was better than the Maca root coffee substitute Gran had. (Maca is supposed to be a sex and fertility herb--I'm not sure what she had in mind for this evening, and I don't think I want to know.)
Gran has taken classes from the owner/chef of the restaurant, but the men-folk in her family didn't seem to like the raw vegan diet. She told me, though, that you can make a really good raw vegan lasagna, but food preparation takes a lot of time. (On the positive side, I'd never have to clean my oven again.)
Of course, no meal would be complete without dessert, and The Green Boheme has a rather extensive dessert menu. Something was brought to our table that Gran told me was a pecan chocolate bar, and we split it. It wasn't too bad, but it had that weird taste that comes from using "healthy" ingredients in place of stuff like sugar.
I forgot to bring my camera this time, but Gran took photos, so you might keep an eye on her blog to see if she posts them. I'd really like you to see the All American Wellness Burger for yourself. (Why is it that vegans and vegetarians seem so stuck on making dishes that look and taste like meat but never really do?) I know I've poked fun at the whole raw/vegan lifestyle here and that it probably really IS a better, more healthy way to live, but I just don't think it's for me. When I looked around the restaurant, I saw that everyone was stick thin and none of the women wore make up. Yeah, not me. Next time I go to lunch with Gran, I'm going to pick the place--and I think it just might be Mexican food. Carnitas and margaritas. Yum!