Earlier this year I spent a week at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico learning how to prepare raw foods. It was amazing. I am officially certified in raw foods and know how to grow wheat grass at home as well as make cheese out of cashews. No, I have not done either but I did become transfixed by the diet and all of its benefits and have since tried to get atleast a shot of wheatgrass into my body weekly if not daily. It really is the best thing to do for your health and this place in particular is one that people go to in order to cure a myriad of ailments from stomach ulcers to cancer and leukemia. And it works. I thank God (knock on wood a trillion times) was not there for that purpose but simply because I had been wanting to go for several years and finally did it.
When I returned to New York I was happy to find that my foodie map had just expanded to include all the raw foods restaurants that had sprouted (no pun intended) throughout the city. One of the more pricy but well worth it options is Pure Food & Wine which opened in Gramercy Park in 2004. While it’s not the pure form of what they teach you at the institute it’s still a better option to the way most people eat and a great way to get introduced to raw foods. And it tastes fantastic. I immediately signed up for their mailing list and over the past few months have had a steady trickle of amazing offers from their online shop for everything you can imagine. Cheeses, chocolates, cookies, you name it, all prepared with raw vegan organic ingredients to minimize preservatives, chemicals and of course cooking. Sarma Melngailis, Proprietor and Co-Founder of Pure Food and Wine is also the Founder of www.oneluckyduck.com, an online boutique that sells a line of snack products all made and packaged by hand at the restaurant, perfect for the ultimate raw organic lifestyle. She also released a cookbook in 2006 with some of their best recipes. You can’t order the lasagna below online but I highly recommend visiting the restaurant for the full experience.
Lasagna and Mint Sundae photos by Erica Graff