If you don’t count veggie trays and boxes of salad, yesterday was my first experience with raw cuisine, and I was not disappointed. Rawlicious in Bloor West Village wasn’t too crowded on an early Sunday afternoon, so I sat by the window mesmerized by a spinning class that was taking place in a studio across the street. I know I’ve got a long way to go before I feel as good as those spinners looked, but I was feeling pretty proud of my healthy lunchtime dining choice, even before I’d looked at the menu.
Pizza is right up there with burritos and sushi when it comes to my favorite “assembled” food dishes, so when I saw it on the menu, it was kind of a no-brainer. Though, admittedly, the idea of uncooked pizza left me more than a bit skeptical.
After ordering, I eyed my server as she walked behind the counter (there is no kitchen: I guess because nothing actually gets cooked), and caught a glimpse of her putting my pizza into some sort of box, where it stayed for a few minutes. I gather this box was a dehydrator, which is a necessity in raw food preparation to remove water from food, while keeping things at low temperatures and allowing natural enzymes to stick around. I’m not sure whether the “warm pizza” I ordered had been dehydrated earlier and was simply being warmed, but I have to say, when it arrived at the table, it looked like a cooked pizza. And, when I took my first bite, it tasted like a cooked pizza. In fact, I’d say it was one of the more flavourful slices of pizza I’ve ever eaten. Albeit a bit crumbly, the sprouted buckwheat crust was delicate and delicious, the dehydrated tomato sauce had an almost “meaty” flavour, and the toppings (zucchini, peppers and onions) were warm, but retaining a bit of crunch and natural sweetness. Oh…and there were crumbled nuts (cashews? pine nuts?), resembling parmesan cheese, which added a nice bit of texture and dimension. Quite a “party on my tongue” if I do say so (in a rather nauseating fashion).My one and only complaint? Two tiny slices! I know this food takes a lot more effort and “kind energy” to prepare, and I know that vegan raw food people go to spinning classes and don’t crave the vast amounts of nastiness that I do, but I really wouldn’t have minded eating the entire round of pizza, which wouldn’t have amounted to more than a modest-sized plateful, anyway. Ah well, perhaps the logic to be found is that there was room for dessert. So, my dining companion (who ate the—also delicious, yet small-portioned—”Rawitch” veggie sandwich with sprouts and guacamole on onion bread) and I decided to try the chocolate-dipped macaroon and the cinnamon something-or-other-rolled-in-coconut, both of which were sinful and delicious as all-get-out. We could have taken about six more of them (each) for the road, but, glancing over at the spinners once more, I decided it would be best to enjoy a fleeting moment of lightness and guilt-free indulgence.