Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Leaf Cuisine - "In the Raw Trio"

Every time I tell people who don't live in LA about "Raw Cuisine", I usually get the "Only in California (or LA)" comment. For those of you who don't know specifically what "Raw Cuisine" is, please read on.

A raw food diet consists fully of foods which have not been heated above a certain temperature. The maximum temperature varies among the different forms of the diet, from 92ºF to 118ºF. Raw food diets may include raw fruits, raw vegetables, raw nuts, raw seeds, raw unpasteurized dairy products such as raw milk, raw meat, raw eggs, and raw honey. Those who follow a raw food diet typically believe that the greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits.

Having never experienced "Raw Dining", I thought that it was time to check out some restaurants that specialize in that kind of non-cooking. :) My first experience happened last month at Leaf Cuisine in Culver City.

Standing outside the grass-green painted building that housed Leaf Cuisine already made me feel like I was around a more "natural environment." When you walk in, you can see that the restaurant interior boasts of the earth's colors: green, brown, orange. There was just something very soothing about the restaurant space and the laidback vibe, along with the counter person with his orange bandana seemed fitting for what Leaf Cuisine is supposed to be about.

My meal started off with trying a mock salmon nori roll. The salmon was like a creamy pate and in this case was made up of avocado, carrots and sprouts. The roll did have a "salmon" taste to it, but just a taste. I actually think that the carrots lent itself to the sweetness of salmon meat, which is why you "taste" the idea of that salmon without eating the actual salmon. I actually enjoyed these rolls and would order it again if I had a chance.

Following the salmon nori roll, I had the raw slaw which is made up of cabbage, carrots, herbs & a creamy seed cheese dressing. In retrospect, there wasn't anything that unique about this salad. Coleslaw consists of raw veggies anyway. The veggies were great. I really like the crunchiness of this salad; however, the dressing had a vinegary taste and after taste to it that I disliked a lot, so I barely even made a dent in it.

For my main entree, I had the Veggie Sunburger Wrap. First off, I really liked the kale leaf wrapper. The leaf was dense, hearty and had a nice bite to it. The sunburger itself needed a bit more work. According to the menu, the "meat" of this burger should be crispy on the outside due to it having been dehydrated. That crispness was lacking. Now if it had been fried.....but of course, that wouldn't happen at Leaf. As for the flavor, I liked the nuttiness of the veggie burger, but felt like it needed something to crank it up a notch. Not sure what. Just something more.

Dessert was the Oraweo Pudding. Yummy! Now this was a good pudding. The menu mentioned this pudding as being a gooey mess of coconut cream, cacao nibs and chocolate and they weren't kidding, but it was a gooey mess that really took care of my sweet tooth without drowning it.

In general, my foray into "Raw Cusine" wasn't a resounding sucesss, but it wasn't an abject failure either. Generally, it was hit or miss for me at Leaf Cuisine but it may be a homerun somewhere else, so time to check out some more "Raw" restaurants.

To see pics, go to:

Leaf Cuisine
11938 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA, 90066


bri said...

I find raw food restaurants to be hit and miss as well. Sometimes they are so heavy handed with the nuts, that I actually feel a little sick to my stomach with all that heaviness. There was a place I tried once, that went a little heavy on the garlic, but was a decent place called Juliano's Raw on Broadway in Santa Monica. You might want to try that out as well. Happy tasting!

pleasurepalate said...

Thanks for the Juliano's rec, but I actually have gone there already. I tried 3 different raw restaurants this year, cru, leaf and juliano's raw and of the three, leaf was my favorite. :)

mipmup said...

i ate there once and unfortunately, saw two roaches on my way to the bathroom. make that three: one was smashed near the dining area. disgusting.

have you tried terra bella in redondo beach? i love their food, despite their spacey service. see .

pleasurepalate said...

Eeek! Sorry to hear about the roaches. I didn't see any on my visit there, thank goodness. Thanks for the terra bella rec. If I'm in that area, I'll try and check it out.