Fifty South Restaurant is known for its eclectic menu and farm to table style approach to dining, and chef-owner Kim Klopstock continues her foray into food styles by hosting a 100% raw food meal on Thursday, July 12, 2012. The event was inspired and coaxed by Johanna Sophia, a local raw food advocate and educator from Saratoga Springs. My wife, Brenda, and I had been adding more meals "in the raw" of late, so we were thrilled to have been invited to this event. by Ms. Sophia.
Anybody who has eaten a salad has experienced eating in the raw, but an entire meal built upon ingredients that never feel the heat of the stove? This meal was to showcase just how good, and fun, eating raw can be.
About 20 or so eager and hungry patrons gathered at 6:00 and were directed to the "gold" room for the affair. Once all were settled in, Ms. Sophia greeted the guests, and explained that the food we were about to eat is made out of organic and nutrient dense ingredients. The modest portions to be served would more than satisfy our hunger, she assured.
The first course was the appetizer. It featured raw crackers with various toppings of pesto, marinated mushrooms and cut veggies, cashew cream cheese, and stuffed nori rolls. I'm not sure what was in the Nori rolls, carrots, avocado, was that daikon? and lettuce? but they were fantastic. Brenda and I have had Ms. Sophia's raw crackers in the past and we are huge fans. The chatter amongst the other diners seemed to affirm their approval as well. The crunchy texture of the crackers was the perfect complement to the tasty toppings. Wow, we were off to a great start!
Following the appetisers was a choice of raw soups - gazpachos - one made from a cucumber base and the other from tomatoes. I chose the Tomato version, and Brenda chose the cucumber. The tomato gazpacho was a total delight to the taste buds. The very rich tomato flavor was enhanced with a touch of onion and garlic, and sundried tomotoes, presenting a nice spice heat without being overpowering. The Cucumber Gazpacho was light and refreshing, with a nice complement of dill and black pepper and a couple of pieces of sweet mango. These cold soups were especially enjoyable considering the fact the day's high temperature peaked in the 90's. No runny broth here - these raw crafted soups were chock full of pureed veggies that filled the mouth with flavor. Fantastic!
The main event was a choice between a "Nut Burger" and a Lasagna. Brenda and I both opted for the Nut Burger, curious how one can make a burger from raw vegetable ingredients. The "bun" was made of leaves of romaine lettuce. The burger itself has an amazingly tasty barbecue flavor - raw BBQ-flavored ketchup! - that was derived from applewood smoked sea salt. Made from ground nuts, veggies and spices, the nut burger like the courses before it did not disappoint. The taste and texture rivalled, no, exceeded, anything made from animal flesh. I was getting it now...this is the new way to eat!
The folks at the neighboring table had ordered the Lasagna. Thick tomato-carrot sauce, nut pate, baby spinach, and cashew cheese layered amongst zucchini "Noodles" making for a very appetising dish. The reviews were rave; everybody enjoyed this creative alternative to the classic Italian favorite.
How could you top this? With a raw ingredient dessert, of course. Again, the two choices were tough - cacao truffles or "cheese" cake? Brenda chose the truffles, and I the cheese cake. The Truffles arrived first, and we shared the plate. An arrangement of square chunks of chocolate decadence around a center pile of fresh blueberries. Made of raw cacao, nuts, coconut, and sweetened with agave, this truffle was unlike anything we had ever tasted. Again, the flavors were intense, not sickly sweet like so many desserts can be. The little chunks filled the mouth with big flavor, the power of cacao mellowed just right with the sweetness of the avage syrup.
Ms. Sophia emerged from the kitchen with cheese cake in hand.
She explained that not, she did not fall off the wagon and bake, but that this "cheese" cake was actually made from pureed cashews and agave, then topped with a local raspberry puree. Wow! The presentation looked just like it's cooked counterpart, but what about the taste? Wow, again! This version takes the cake! Smooth, rich, taste bud tantalizing....everything that you expect from cheeescake and more. What a surprising delight!
Ms. Sophia returned to the group, and asked if this event should be repeated for a future date. There was resounding approval, everyone was in agreement. I could see raw food meals being offered on a regular basis. I make a note to suggest just that to Chef Kim.
This raw food meal was a complete delight; the presentation, the flavors, the visual appeal of the various courses...it all was a stimulus to the senses. Perhaps the greatest evidence of how good this meal was, was the feeling afterwards. We we full and satisfied, the density of the food more than ample to satiate our hunger. That feeling continued through the night, and to our delight, no bloating or acid stomach, which can be a typical reaction from eating out. The gut was happy! Looks like going raw not only tastes great, but the digestive tract appreciates it as well.
For more information about Johnna Sophia raw food workshops, call 518-795-5030, or go to greenconsciouskids.com
NEXT RAW FOOD DINNER
Thursday, August 9th: Johanna Sophia's: ALL RAW 4-Course, organic Gourmet Dinner at Fifty South Restaurant, 2128 Doubleday Avenue, Ballston Spa, NY 12020. $45.00 per person - does not include beverages, tax or gratuity.
Johanna will discuss the raw food diet and movement right after dinner. Reservations recommended. This is a very special evening. Please call 518-884-2926 for reservation now.
Last Updated (Monday, 16 July 2012 14:47)