Los Angeles is a city abundant in flavors and choices, many of which are healthy. This week, rather than go to a traditional restaurant, I challenged myself and my body.
I decided to do a weeklong cleanse of eating only clean, raw and vegan foods. After fasting for two days, I decided it was time to find a restaurant serving raw cuisine and I went to Santa Monica, where I dined at Planet Raw.
At first my hunger wasn’t really on board until I looked at the menu: extensive choices all with a very tongue and cheek undertone and every one of them sounded good. With a menu that encourages dessert as a starter for digestion (mind you it’s not dessert but rather live cultures to aid the body’s ability to digest) and offers organic, vegan and gluten free wine and beers, on a perfect sunny afternoon, this promised to be a memorable meal.
To start, I ordered the strawberry mousse described as strawberry and “kream.” A non-dairy strawberry whip made of soy and strawberry topped with fresh mint, this was good. Sure, it isn’t a “real” mousse, but this stand-in was delectable.
Next I ordered the starter special: spicy egg rolls. No, they aren’t real egg rolls, but they were utterly divine, especially when dipped in the “non-peanut” sauce made with a base of ground cashew. The rolls were rolled with a coconut wrap stuffed with cashew, coconut, avocado, jalapeno, “noodles” and Thai herbs. The dish is served with a beautiful presentation, and the herbs used as well as the bite of jalapeno make this a worthy opponent to any starter.
I then ordered the Hollywood nachos. They are served with flax chips and made with fresh (well, obviously) ingredients of mushroom nut “meat,” nut and cheese, sour “kream,” guacamole, and iceberg lettuce. I could have had two of these plates. The sour “kream” tasted no different than “real” sour cream. Perfect on a hot day, this dish is refreshing.
Finally I ordered an entree of Bangkok Thai noodles, which is made with green curry and zucchini pasta, mixed with Thai curry “kream.” On the side were creamy coated endive, a tarot root chip dehydrated, cauliflower salad, and it was topped with coconut noodles.
The taste that explodes in this particular dish is astonishing! The sauce, the texture – one would have never guessed in a blind tasting that it was raw. The endive slice I’ll admit was my least favorite – a bit too “pasty” – the tarot root “chip” wasn’t crunchy per se, but the noodles and cauliflower salad were honestly on par with Thai flavor.
I was a nonbeliever that raw could be bliss until now. While I may not eat raw meals every day, Planet Raw proves that healthy can be utterly sublime (and everything on the menu is gluten-free). There are certainly creations I will come back to try like the Dragon, Mary Jane pasta dish made with spirulina, Lap Dance (not kidding), Atlantis salad, Spicy Miso Soother, and the Amazon Bowl. While it isn’t inexpensive to eat raw, sometimes, it does a body good.
Note: They have a bar indoors and an entire line of “raw” products for sale.
Planet Raw, 609 Broadway, Santa Monica, Hours: Sun-Thurs 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., Fri-Sat 9 a.m. – midnight