I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rawmazing Food at Omar's Rawtopia

My ears perked up when I heard that there was a raw restaurant in Salt Lake City. By doing a little research online I learned that it had rave reviews. Our hosts Thomas and Angelica had never been to Rawtopia so we decided to eat there one night. The creation of raw foodist and chef Omar Abou-Ismail, Rawtopia opened its doors in 2005. Amazingly it's still thriving in spite of being located in such a cold climate. Wow, that is saying a lot!

But one only needs to take a few bites from the delicious and fragrant food to understand why! The menu lists 'love' as an ingredient to every dish and it shows! Each one is beautifully presented, its flavors carefully balanced and is served with an abundance of fresh veggies and sprouts. I also discovered that at Rawtopia they use only organic ingredients (except for the young coconuts) and make all of their own spice blends; a talent that comes from Omar's Lebanese tradition and having a chef as a mother. We've had the opportunity to eat at a good number of raw restaurants during our travels and I must say that our experience at Rawtopia was one of the best! (Coming close second after Matthew Kenney's Café 118° in Orlando, but then again Matt is my all time favorite chef!)

We started off with the Drink of the Day: a Mango Smoothie. It was very good and so thick that it had more the consistency of a pudding. I was glad that Don and I shared a full glass as I wanted to have room left for all the yumminess to come.

Rawtopia gives you the option of ordering the savory dishes as a main course or part of a combination; a fabulous idea that allows you to sample more variety. And to top it all off they even let you make up your own!

We ordered the Tabouli/Hummus/Broccoli Soup combo. I've tried a couple of raw broccoli soups before but didn't care for them much, finding the broccoli flavor too overwhelming. Omar's rendition was a creamy seasoned almond milk based soup, garnished with onions, bell peppers, avocado, celery and tomatoes. It was sprinkled with Rawtopia's seed cheese made from sunflower seeds, almonds and tomatoes processed into a pate, then dehydrated and ground up. Whoa, this was very very good! The soup was served with super tasty and crispy crackers.

As I expected the Tabouli was a-ma-zing! It tasted just like the traditional tabouli I used to get at my favorite Lebanese restaurant! It was a mix of parsley, tomatoes, red onions, scallions, sprouted quinoa and mint marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and Celtic sea salt, and topped with a generous amount of perfectly ripe avocado pieces. A true delight!

The sprouted Almond Hummus was also very delicious and authentic tasting. It was served in lettuce leaves and topped with onions, sundried olives, tomatoes and parsley.

I had heard that their Coconut Curry Rice was to live for and I was stoked to learn that it was one of that day's specials. Yay! I had tried sprouted wild rice dishes at Au Lac last year and while they were quite good, they were also very heavy and oily. Omar's was utterly scrumptious!!! The dish was a combination of sprouted wild rice in a young coconut Curry Sauce with celery, broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage, pistachios and raisins, and topped with homegrown alfalfa sprouts. Oh man, this was fantastic! I even debated ordering some to take home! lol

We enjoyed it as a combo platter together with another one of Rawtopia's famous dishes: the Falafel Bowl. It consisted of a live tahini dressing over a bed of mixed greens, topped with zucchini, tomatoes, onions, celery, olives, avocados, gorgeous sunflower sprouts and dehydrated nut/seed falafel biscuits. Also excellent!

Angelica couldn't resist the Nut Burger and didn't regret her choice. The thing was absolutely huge! A yummy Brazil nut pattie served between cabbage leaves and topped with nut mayo, ketchup, mustard sauce, onions, tomatoes and avocado.

This was such a new experience for Thomas that he decided to let the waitress pick his entrees for him. lol He had the Tabouli with the Coconut Curry Rice.

I found out from Angelica that Heather of Kombucha CHIC lives in the Salt Lake area. Heather and I have been brushing shoulders online for a few years. I also contributed to her free recipe book One Week Raw back in 2009. So naturally I sent her an email hoping that we could get together. Although she wasn't able to make it to the raw potluck she did join us for our feast that night.

She opted for the Lebanese Wrap: sprouted hummus, topped with tomatoes, avocados, onions, olives, red bell peppers, parsley, and home grown alfalfa sprouts. This was served with lettuce leaves and crackers.

Of course we just couldn't pass on dessert, especially since their display looked so appealing! Look at those beautiful swirls!


Thomas was all gung-ho to try one of each (hehe) but in the end we all decided to order the Pies of the Day.

Chocolate Caramel Pie

 Raspberry Vanilla Pie

I was a little disappointed that both were served the exact same way: drenched in Berry Sauce. The swirls were so pretty that I would have preferred if these were highlighted better. The copious amount of sauce made it difficult for the uniqueness of each of the pies to come through. I also thought that the caramel flavor was overwhelmed by the predominant and slightly under-sweetened chocolate mixture in the Chocolate Caramel Pie. Ah well, just goes to show that no matter how experienced we are in a field there is always some room for a little improvement. ;-)

Angelica was curious to try the Vanilla and Persimmon Pudding which we all shared. It was nicely presented and also delicious.

Three Very Happy but Oh-So-Full Ladies!

Don and Thomas

As we were about to leave we noticed that Omar had just arrived. There's a little funny anecdote around our meeting... You see, I totally thought that he had been featured on G Living, like me. And so I introduced myself as a "fellow Green Chef". I later realized that I was mistaking him for Chef Omid (no wonder the poor guy had a confused look on his face! lol) But you can't really blame me; their names are similar, not to mention that they are both of Middle Eastern background and have a shaved head! Anyhoo I am very glad that it prompted me to go talk to him; Omar is such a sweet, caring, and yes, loving man. It just emanates from all of his pores! In the few minutes that we spent together we had a beautiful connection; I felt like I had found a soul brother. Similar to me, he discovered the perfect means to follow his 'path with heart' as Don Juan Matus calls it. It was so neat to see yet another example of how Life has different and unique ways for us to manifest and share our being with the world.

I cannot recommend enough that you go to Omar's wonderful Rawtopia if you're ever in the Salt Lake area! In a nutshell, the portions are generous, the food tastes great and is very well balanced, and it's served with lots of fresh veggies and greens. It isn't cheap to eat there but it's worth every cent; all of Rawtopia's ingredients are raw and organic and prepared with care and love! It will be an experience that your taste buds (and your heart!) will fondly remember!


  1. Hi Carmella! Thanks for the amazing post - I appreciate your comments on Rawtopia and hope I get to try it someday! It's so hard to find a raw restaurant that doesn't make everything too rich with nuts and oil - (kind of like in cooked food, it's easy to make anything taste good if you add heavy cream - but...that's a healthy way to eat:)

    By making these comments, you are educating people about a healthier way to eat. I think sometimes people who are new to raw find a raw restaurant and then surmise that this is what raw food is and it's ok to eat very rich raw food on a regular basis!

    You tell it like it is, and that is appreciated:)

  2. Wow- I love living vicariously through your posts! Rawtopia looks incredible and your descriptions left me almost tasting the Tabouli and Coconut Curry Rice. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I lived about a mile away from Omar's restaurant, and I definitely visited often :) You described him and his food perfectly. He is a man full of love and his hugs are awesome! The food is the best raw food I have ever tasted. I would and do recommend this restaurant to everyone!

  4. That was so wonderful to meet you finally Carmella! Thank you for a splendid evening!