Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fresh Fork Market Presents a Raw Vegan Dinner

Recently, I attended a Raw Vegan Dinner put on by Fresh Fork Market.  While I am vegan, I am far from a raw vegan.  But I was very intrigued by an all raw meal.  So, I grabbed my friend, Yo, and off we went on our raw vegan adventure!  By the way, Yo is not raw or vegan, but was such a great sport & she loved it!  I was also surprised to learn that the participants weren't necessarily all vegan or even vegetarian either.  I felt a certain sense of comradery nonetheless.

The event was held in Ohio City at the Transformer Station, a very cool re-purposed building, currently used to display contemporary art.  For our viewing pleasure was a collection of photographs by Todd Hido, on display through August 24, 2013.

The meal was prepared by Nicole Tuzzio, chef at Root Cafe and soon-to-be independent chef-owner of the "Grazing Place." A Grazin' Place, opening maybe Octoberish will be a vegan marketplace, juice bar and learning center in Lakewood, Ohio!  I can't wait to check that out!

Enough with formalities, let's get to the good stuff!

The Raw Vegan Meal!

As we sat down to long tables adorned with edible decorations (flowers, corn on the cob, leeks, berries, etc.) we were treated to a starter course of "Nacho cheese" marinated Kale Chips.  As a hater of Kale, I was converted!

Next a Corn Chowder with eggplant "bacon," cabbage and cherry tomatoes.  To my surprise & delight, it was not a cold soup, but rather slightly above room temperature.  Made possible by the fact that raw food can still claim it's rawness as long as it has not exceeded 110 degrees.  While I never did detect the "bacon," it was delicious!

Then the salad course, a Cucumber Salad in a creamy red wine vinegar dressing and herbs.  You all know my feelings on salad, so I was less then crazed about this dish.  Made worse by Yo questioning the extreme creaminess of the dressing, in which I promptly dropped my fork for fear I was consuming dairy.  To my utter relief, the creaminess was the result of ground cashews...

Main course time - Garden Lasagna made with Swiss chard, fennel, sun-dried tomato marinara, hazelnut/macadamia nut pesto, cashew "ricotta," pine nut rawmesian and greens. IT WAS AWESOME!  The only problem, it was whisked away while I was too distracted with making new friends.  I almost cried.

On to a palette cleanser - a lemony sorbet that had many guessing if it contained pepper, ginger, melon or all three.  Not bad, but I had my fork ready for dessert!

Our last course of the evening was a Lemon Chz Cake with a blueberry and blackberry maple sauce.  It was so creamy and AMAZING!  I didn't let Yo get into my head about it being made with dairy as she eyed up my slice.

Quite frankly, had I not known that this was a raw dinner; I highly doubt I would have suspected anything.  It was not a all what non-raw foodies would expect: crudite, salad, gazpacho, sorbet, etc.  So good, that I can't wait until my next raw meal (made by an expert chef of course, um Nicole open soon!).

As far as I could tell, the event was sold-out, which meant 40 Clevelanders spent the evening dining with strangers on raw vegan food.  Not at all typical for Cleveland.  It was quite a unique experience to be a part of and made me think of the pop-up restaurants trending up in New York City currently.  We need more events like this in Cleveland!

Nicely done Fresh Fork & Grazin' Place!

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