We've been having a fabulous and powerful time here in sunny California and I'm looking forward to telling you all about it, but first I simply must share a delicious raw feast we enjoyed shortly before leaving Arizona.
When we were in Phoenix last February we serendipitously crossed paths with the organizers of a local raw meet up group. (You can read the cool story of how that happened here.) Naturally, when we got back to the area a few weeks ago I contacted them, and with one, Monica, it worked out to get together over a raw meal.
A brand new raw restaurant, Chef Sara's Raw Vegan Academy and Cafe, recently opened in Cave Creek, and we considered checking it out. But since it's a little out of the way and the Phoenix traffic being what it is, instead we opted to meet at The Blue Nile. While they primarily serve Ethiopian food, they also have 'Raw Sundays and Mondays'. We didn't know what to expect since raw isn't their specialty per se, however it turned out we were in for a pleasant surprise as Chef Abel creates a different raw menu each week.
There were a couple of raw soups which sparked our interest so we decided to try them both.
Super Duper Green Soup
Fresh organic spinach and avocado blended to a velvety texture with herbs.
The consistency and flavor were awesome, but unfortunately it was way too salty for our taste buds. It might have been just that particular batch, though, as the other dishes we tried were fine in that department.
Yellow Pepper & Hemp SoupFresh peppers blended with hemp seed, curry powder, turmeric, avocado and a dash lemon juice.
The concept of using hemp in a soup was interesting but we thought that the spice blend was too strong and lacked depth.
Sandy and Bruce had also joined us for the occasion and ordered South of the Border Cilantro Hummus that we all shared. The Hummus was made of zucchini pureed with raw sesame seed paste, lemon juice and a mix of fresh herbs and cilantro, with a hint of garlic. This was soooooo good! It was served with two kinds of crackers.
Monica, her friend George and Sandy all went for the California Onion Bread Sandwich made with tomato, avocado and sprouts and drizzled with stone ground mustard. It was generous and I was told very very yummy!
Don and I shared the Living Lasagna; layers of spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes with cashew ricotta and pistachio pesto and drizzled with white truffle infused oil. It was light and tasty, and the piece was ginormous!
We made sure to leave some room for dessert... We ordered the Cinnamon Rolls which were to live for! I was sort of expecting something along the lines of Cafe Gratitude's rendition, using almond pulp as a base and then dehydrated. However these were made of figs, pecans, walnuts, almonds, and dates sandwiched with layers of chocolate and cinnamon. They were drizzled with a raw chocolate syrup and dusted with cinnamon.
Mmmmmmm! A big hit with everyone at our table!
There was an Almond Chocolate Chip Cheezecake on the menu, which sounded mighty scrumptious but we were told that it hadn't set yet (boo hoo), so instead we ordered the Banana Ice Cream. This was basically frozen bananas passed through a champion juicer and topped with Chocolate Sauce. It's the kind of thing you can make at home in a flash at a fraction of the cost so we were a little disappointed.
We had a truly fabulous afternoon, sharing all this delicious food in such good company!
If you're ever in the Tempe area on Sundays and Mondays, I recommend checking out The Blue Nile's raw menu and see what yumminess they'll be whipping up that week!