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March 12, 2008
It’s a raw deal — in a good way
Staffers Jim Haug and Amber Dees dined at the Almond Blossom Cafe, a mostly raw and organic vegan restaurant in Flagler Beach with a happy and healthy vibe. The walls are painted in bright colors and murals. The restaurant soundtrack was World Music like samba.
Q. What is raw vegan food?
Vegan is the next logical step of vegetarianism since vegans don’t eat any animal-related products like milk, cheese or honey. Raw means the food is cooked to 115 degrees or less to preserve the food’s nutritional value.
So don’t expect french fries or baked potatoes with butter and sour cream.
Q. So you have to eat vegetables?
Pretty much. There’s no problem meeting your daily quota of fruits and veggies here. In fact, you can actually get leafy greens like spinach blended into smoothies such as “green fruit smoothies.” Our Goji milk smoothie tasted like fresh peas.
We were on the verge of eating three servings of avocado but decided to save the calories for dessert.
Q. What did you have for appetizers?
We started with a stuffed curry avocado, which was a Florida avocado filled with scallions, cherry tomatoes and sprouts. It was a perfect blend of creamy, crunchy and sweet.
We also got a Mediterranean grape leaf, a rolled leaf stuffed with ground almonds, raisins and mint. It was the not-so-greasy version of a stuffed grape leaf. We didn’t miss the meat.
Q. How about the main course?
Jim ordered mole tacos, refreshingly served in a leaf instead of the traditional fried corn shell.
The nutty filling of Brazil nuts and almonds provided all the crunch he wanted. The tacos were topped with avocado slices, cherry tomatoes and a tasty sauce. It came with a side of cilantro-flavored salsa and chips.
Amber got a “meatloaf” made from a blend of portobello mushrooms and nuts. She decided she liked the real thing better, which is always a risk when vegan food tries to imitate meat.
Q. Did you have a sweet tooth?
The nice thing about eating a dinner of nuts, fruit and veggies is that you are not too full for the Almond Blossom’s “non-guilty”‘ desserts. This time the food imitation paid dividends.
The “cheesecake in the raw” was creamy-licious. It was made with coconut, soaked cashews and a ground almond crust. Best of all, it did not feel like a rock in our stomachs upon digestion.
We also shared a maple ice cream that was nondairy. It was yummy, too.
Q. Would you go again?
Certainly. The food is so inventive and full of surprises, packing that “I can’t believe it’s not butter (cheese, honey or ice cream, take your pick)” punch. Plus, it’s a bargain; our check, including tax but not tip, totaled $65.81.
We would recommend reading the menu closely since we mistakenly ordered too many items with nuts, which is easy to do here. We want to go back to try other entrees, such as the zucchini and portobello lasagna.
For local vegetarians in search of restaurants, it’s an oasis in the desert.
Almond Blossom Cafe
WHERE: 408 S. Daytona Ave., Flagler Beach, about a half block south of the Flagler Beach Post Office
HOURS: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
THIS AND THAT: Meals range from $6 to $12.50. Visa, American Express and MasterCard accepted. The cafe is handicapped accessible and all on one level.
Thank you News Journal !!
I feel like I just got a day off !!~