It was about five years ago that I took my first nose dive into the online raw food movement. I was on a quest for information, and often found myself on YouTube and Facebook liking channel after channel, page after page, deeply inspired by the positivity and energy of those who followed the raw lifestyle. It wasn’t long before I stumbled upon Sarma Melngailis‘ facebook pages “One Lucky Duck” and “Pure Food and Wine“. It was through the recipes and images shared on her pages that I first began to think, “Hey, I could do this raw thing!”. Her recipes were exactly what a someone on a cooked diet would need to transition to a raw diet, including rich desserts and hearty, comforting meals such as raw lasagna and zucchini pasta dishes. I promised myself then that I would visit her Pure Food and Wine restaurant in NYC.
Five years have passed, and after a waxing and waning interest in raw foods, I have finally taken another dive into the lifestyle. Over the years I’ve had plenty of opportunities to stop by Pure Food and Wine, I visit the city at least twice a year, yet I always had the excuse that the company I was with wouldn’t enjoy the vegan food. I took two days this April and went into the city alone to see friends and family, this time with the added intent of enjoying a meal at this restaurant. I’m happy to say, it was worth the wait (though I wish I had gone earlier!).
I arrived early for lunch, around 12:00, and the restaurant was nearly empty, maybe four or five tables were full. I was greeted by an adorable and friendly hostess, and then waited on by a very knowledgeable and equally adorable waiter. The ambiance was romantic, with a gorgeous wine bar in the back, making me wish I was on a hot date with a health nut like myself! Reminding myself I was in the pleasure of my own company, I would have loved to eat in the garden area, but the weather wasn’t on my side.
I wasn’t all that hungry and the menu was loaded with awesome options, so I desperately needed the help of my waiter. The waiter was a total foodie, he talked about the depth and layers of flavor. To my inexperienced ears, he seemed to know what he was talking about, so I decided on his favorite, the croquettes. Excellent choice. They were warm and dense, flavorful, and seasoned in a way that would satisfy even a strict meat-eater’s palate. Of course, they weren’t much like the creamy Spanish besamel-filled croquettes I was used to eating before I kicked the gluten habit, but they were just as good… just another type of amazing. A woman next to me had ordered the raw lasagna, and for a moment, I felt a pang of jealousy. It looked incredible, I can understand why it is the restaurant’s most popular dish!
By dessert, the place was much busier, and a friend of mine had showed up to see me. Perfect timing! That way I could taste two desserts! (And enjoy his company, of course!). I ordered the tiramisu, and my friend got the chocolate moon pie. Both, were incredible, though the moonpie was a bit disappointing in size. The tiramisu could have easily had me fooled into believing it was the traditional recipe. Both were rich and sweet, and very welcome after several months on a raw diet. My friend was impressed as well, he was surprised not only that they were raw, but vegan as well.
I was so satisfied with my meal, I will, without a doubt, be visiting next time I’m in the city. And I will no longer be able to use the excuse that the company I am in will not enjoy it! It was very clear not only with my meal, but with the options on the menu and the dishes served around me, that this is a menu that any open-minded eater can enjoy.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I’d love to meet you on Facebook!