By: Mary-Alice Farina
For a special Valentine's Day treat, my beau and I made reservations at a lovely place called Elizabeth's Gone Raw in Washington, D.C. While the meal is prepared with extreme care and attention, nothing on the menu is cooked in any way, a fact we were shocked to remember halfway through the meal.
For starters, we entered and the staff was gerg arious and warm, taking our coats, personally introducing themselves to us and shaking our hands, and leading us to the bar. There we enjoyed the out-of-this-world organic chocolate chipotle vanilla martinis the bartender was preparing specially for the evening, and munched on some organic kale chips prepared with nutritional yeast, salt and hint of something spicy - red pepper perhaps? (Here is a nice recipe for making your own spicy kale chips at home.)
We were then taken to our table in the main daining room, decorated in lovely persian rugs with colonial portraits gracing the walls. A live band played in the corner, with a soprano singing love songs at a perfectly non-intrusive volume. We ordered a bottle of bubbly and soon came the first course: Rosemary fennel cracker with honey tangerine, caviar pearls and truffle mousse.
The combination was absolutely divine - the truffle mousse perfectly balancing the saltiness of the three types of caviar, the rosemary crackers just flavorful enough, the side of tangerine and fennel a refreshing palette cleanser.
The second course was an avocado carpaccio on sunflower sprouts with lemongrass vinaigrette and pistachio pesto. The pesto was especially interesting. Normally a very strong and sometimes overpowering taste, this one had all the pop of fresh basil without the salty heaviness, the ground pistachio adding a nice muting balance. Sunflower sprouts were an exciting and unusual option - delicious too! (In fact it was so good I forgot to take a picture of it.)
The final course was d'Anjou pear and walnut ravioli with housemade herb macadamia nut ricotta and baby arugula salad. The ricotta was so rich and creamy that it was hard to believe it wasn't full of cheese.
I'm officially a raw food convert. I look forward to the day such delicacies become more widely available, though I imagine the time it takes to prepare such treats is cost prohibitive. Still, I've got my fingers crossed!
Check here for some more raw food recipes.