Raw Food in Middle America
I can’t remember when I first read about 105 degrees. I am a big fan of Pure Food and Wine in NYC (raw food done right) and wanted to try the midwestern version of haute raw food. The night before leaving Detroit, I had searched my travel source for veggie food, Happy Cow, and was reminded of this wonderful mecca of all things raw food. It was getting dark when we arrived and we were quite hungry. Naturally I forgot to take a photo of the exterior of 105 degrees and my 50 mm lens, but it was like nothing I expected for Oklahoma City. Next door was a yoga/ballet studio, and the surrounding buildings were all modern to the core. I love hippie-esque veggie food havens, but I really adore the modern cleaner aesthetic as well.
This was my mom’s first time experiencing a raw food restaurant and I am happy to report it lived up to the hype. She told the hostess that we would like to be seated to view the kitchen and we both wanted everything we saw the chefs prepare. Watching raw food chefs prepare the food is a completely different experience than your typical open kitchen. The chefs pulled things from dehydrators, blended sauces, and expertly and artistically stacked components of each dish.
The menu really overwhelmed. Everything sounded amazing but we finally decided on two appetizers and one entrée to share. After all, we knew dessert was a must. Raw desserts are almost always delicious.
The kimchi dumplings with a sesame ginger foam were like nothing I’ve ever tasted. The filling was a nut cheese that was flavored with ginger. I can’t wait to recreate these.
Next, I tasted the Mezze starter. Raw Falafel may just be the best falafel I’ve ever had. My mom and I definitely detected almonds in the mix. They were warm from the dehydrator and delicious with the raw hummus. The other components were “eggplant bacon,” and a hemp seed tabbouleh. The eggplant bacon was smoky and crispy. This is another reason I dream of owning a dehydrator (or I will bake in my oven on the lowest temperature with the door open).
Somehow, I completely blanked when it came time to order our main course. I knew that I wanted to forgo the heirloom tomato lasagna because of trying a raw version before at Pure Food and Wine (great!). My mother took the reigns and ordered the Pad Thai (Vegetable Noodles, Enoki Mushrooms, Candied Almonds).
The dish really was this neon, matching the spice factor. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any enoki mushrooms, but I still thought it was a great meal. The vegetable noodles were zucchini, which I’ve prepared many times at home with my spiralizer. Honestly, I wish we opted for some of the other choices. Some things I saw that looked delicious were:
Butternut Squash Ravioli, Wilted Spinach, Wild Mushrooms, Savory Ricotta
Open Faced Portobello Sliders 3 ways, Lettuce, Tomato, Cashew Cheddar
Caramelized Vegetable Pizza, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Onions, Kalamata Olives
The best part of the meal (in my chocaholic opinion) was our dessert. The Gianduja Tasting included Hazelnut Fudge, Hazelnut Budino, Hazelnut Butter Cup, Hazelnut Semifreddo, and Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake. I will say it often, but raw desserts are some of my favorite things to eat. Chocolate in its pure form with fruit, nuts, and coconut is all you need to be satisfied. I have never been a cake lover, but a dark chocolate flourless cake person. The fudge and semifreddo were my favorites. I am not usually an ice cream person but the semifreddo with hazelnut flavors reminded me of the nutella gelato I ate in Tuscany when I was sixteen. We left full and happy.
I am now seriously considering getting one of Matthew Kenney’s books, especially Everyday Raw. The connecting shop was filled with all sorts of raw food treats, eco jewelry, kitchen gear, and cookbooks. We also peered in the academy window before leaving for the night. Learning how to create these wonderful raw meals is such a culinary art unlike any other. I would love to try it someday.
If you are ever in Oklahoma City, please go to 105 degrees. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Next up on my road trip will be Amarillo, TX and Santa Fe, NM. I must tell you though, I am still thinking about Santa Fe. It is a place I am dreaming to return to.
I am getting settled in our little temporary home in the middle of Topanga Canyon. We had no internet or cell service until today, but I can’t wait to spend more time exploring LA’s neighborhoods while thinking of a place to move to next. I’d love suggestions.
Hiking for cell service has happened these last few mornings. This isn’t the kind of hiking I am used to. I’ve hiked at Runyan Canyon before, but hiking just behind our place in Topanga means strenuous inclines and no people in sight. I’ve even gotten frightened a few times from hearing rustling along the trail. Unfortunately, the beautiful view gets ruined as I head back and meet many downhills that kill my knee. Hiking uphill doesn’t seem to bother my knee at all but the way down hurts the whole way. Tomorrow I am trying a yoga place a few miles down the canyon that our neighbor teaches at and I hope that doesn’t create any pain.
-Do you do yoga when trying to get over an injury? Any suggestions on types of practice? I’ve been a hot yoga devotee in the past but it has been a long time since I’ve done any classes. This studio has many types I have never tried and I am up for trying a variety.
-Have you eaten at a raw food restaurant? Or made a raw meal? Do you have any favorite recipes or places?