NOW that spring is finally taking hold, our fancies naturally turn from warming comfort foods to the colorful allure of fresh fruits and vegetables. Good thing, especially for those of us whose comfort was converted into a few extra pounds over the winter.
It's a good time to check out some of the freshest, most colorful cuisine, which is raw.
OK, I hear ya.
After all, "raw" to us vegans is like "vegan" is to the rest of the world: An imponderable extreme that we know is probably better in many ways, but who can live like that? I mean, what is there left to eat?
Lisa Ransing, of Full Moon Fare, in Fishtown, is ready with answers, in the form of zucchini noodles with creamy cashew alfredo sauce, BBQ kale chips, fruit salad with coconut almond crisps, walnut/hempseed/mushroom burgers with eggplant "bacon," goji superfood bars, tacos with "nacho cheese" sauce, super salad with sprouted quinoa and pumpkin seeds, and lemon lavender cream tarts - to name a few of the items on this week's menu.
Of course, variety is pointless unless it tastes great, and having tried Full Moon's fare, I can assure you it delivers in more ways than one. Twice a week, within Philadelphia, FMF brings a box with four entrees, two breakfast items, kale chips and a dessert for $100. I found the sample box from a recent weekly menu so varied, creative and delicious I had to keep reminding myself I was eating "raw food."
Considering Ransing's kitchen pedigree, this is no surprise: In a phone interview she mentioned an eight-year stint with Georges Perrier, working "in all his restaurants" at one time or another, where she learned "all the different possible flavors" that she now combines in fascinating ways.
As "more of a chef than a nutritionist," Ransing leaves the discussion of enzyme depletion and fiber abundance to others, focusing on getting raw foods into people's mouths, where it sells itself.
"I love introducing people to whole food," she said, "and desserts is a good place to start. Whenever I'm giving somebody something for the first time I give them desserts."
We're not talking fruit cup, but fully realized concoctions such as cheesecake and avocado-infused key lime pie. Ransing gets a special kick, she said, "when people say, 'I don't like raw food,' and they try it, and like it."
That seems to be happening more and more. Whether for health reasons or simple, fresh tastiness, raw food is gaining ground. Ransing observes that "just over the past two years, the amount of raw food available in town has really increased. I think Philadelphia's ready for an all-raw restaurant."
While Ransing and her partner, Michael Waring, pursue that goal, they're concentrating on delivery, catering and events like the yoga dinner that's coming up later this month.
For "Namaste for Dinner," held in an old Fishtown church, yoga teacher Gabrielle Sigal will lead an hour-and-45-minute class, followed by an all-vegan buffet - and "people get to take home the leftovers," Ransing noted.
In that case, you may want to "spring" onto this opportunity, because if I show up, there may not be any leftovers.
"Namaste for Dinner," 6-9 p.m. April 28, 1345 E. Susquehanna Ave., $65. To register for the event, email email@example.com.
V for (Cinema) Verite
Animal ACTivists of Philly presents the Philly premiere of "The Ghosts in Our Machine," 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., 215-573-3234.
Vance Lehmkuhl is a cartoonist,
writer, musician and 12-year vegan.
"V for Veg" chronicles plant-based
eating in and around Philadelphia.
@V4Veg on Twitter.