Crudessence. We found a great deal on airbnb (use this link and you get a discount) where a local trapeze artist and his artist wife were traveling to Spain and looking for someone to stay in their apartment with their adorable cat. It was perfect, inexpensive, and a block away from a public market and the metro.
The drive there was gorgeous -- we were always on a road that was lined with trees and views of the mountain, everything alive with color. We were starving by the time we got there, so we headed to the public market right away. Andrew enjoyed a vegetable and cheese crepe that was made gluten free, and I found locally made Kombucha (by Crudessence as well) and a carrot-beet-ginger juice. I was in heaven already -- surrounded by good food, and eating healthfully.
For dinner, we took the metro to the Plateau area of the city, which is at the base of Mount Royal. On the super sweet and hip Rue Rachel was one location of Crudessence, which has 3 other locations around town. It was so amazing to sit down and be presented with a menu where I could eat anything and everything possible. I didn't bring my camera, but I'll describe what we ate to the best of my ability. We started off with a pot of hot loose leaf chai tea, served with almond milk. We decided to get an appetizer and two main entrees to split. In memory of many dates in sushi restaurants, we ordered a plate of raw sushi, served with sprouts in lieu of rice, and a dipping sauce that just made the whole bite of sushi explode with flavor and texture. I ordered the signature large crudessence salad, almost as a challenge to see if they could actually make a salad that I deemed worth $14, and Andrew ordered the Om burger, served on gluten free raw chapati bread. They certainly answered my challenge with their salad -- it was huge, generously scattered with clusters of pumpkin seeds and avocado. The hummus that accompanied it was unique in flavor, and really complimented the meal. What had me floored were the crackers, made mostly from dehydrated vegetables. I couldn't get over how good they tasted and how crunchy they were. Andrew's Om burger impressed him as well -- the aioli sauce mixed with homemade ketchup and mustard added the perfect amount of complexity to each bite without taking away from the awesomeness of the burger, also made mostly from dehydrated vegetables. For dessert, I ordered a raw chocolate with flavors of "fire and earth," and Andrew ordered a fig coconut bar. Both were paired with a strawberry sauce. Needless to say, we left full and happy.
This meal experience, paired with a bit of warmer weather, inspired me to make a salad as a part of our dinner when we arrived back in Maine. Raw food makes me feel full quicker than cooked food, and I notice that I pay attention to each bite and ingredient a bit more when eating raw. I usually crave cooked food, so having something raw as a part of my daily diet is something I don't usually do, unless I'm snacking on carrots and cucumbers with hummus. I'll be interested to see how long this raw craving lasts as the colder weather comes.
Raw Salad-4 cups, loosely packed, of curly kale
-3 carrots, grated with a cheese grater
-8 mushrooms, sliced
-1/2 cup walnuts
-1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
-in this salad, I also threw in some mung beans -- which weren't raw, but added some protein!
Combine ingredients together in a large serving bowl, and toss well. Serve, and eat with chop sticks for the fun of it. Makes enough for 2 salads.