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As a general rule, if I got out to eat and end up with a stomach ache, I don’t recommend it, and thus don’t blog about it. Last night, I went to Pure Food and Wine and got a stomach ache. Yet I’m blogging about it.

Well, I think this is a slightly different case. With other stomach ache-inducing meals, I figure it’s maybe the oil, the temperature at which it was cooked or — wait for it — some person’s dirty hands touching my food. Gross. But I don’t think any of those things afflicted my meal last night. You see, Pure Food is a raw vegan restaurant, and I think my westernized, modernized digestive system was just not ready to work that hard. So be warned if you go, this may not be the easiest meal to take in, but if raw and/or vegan is your thing, you’re in luck.

Pure Food had been on my to-go list for quite some time, and even more so once I interviewed its proprietor Sarma Melngailis for a freelance article. She basicallu spearheaded the recent raw food movement, so if I was going to try it anyway, might as well go for the top.

My boyfriend and I started by spitting an appetizer (dim lighting = sub-par pics….sorry!):

{Crostinis with Crimini Mushrooms and Caper Bearnaise with caraway sauerkraut and local apple cider reduction}

They were really light, but tasted simultaneously indulgent. I credit the caper bearnaise, which reminded me of cream cheese in the best way possible, for that.

And I’ve always been intrigued by pasta dishes made, not with pasta, but with thinly sliced squash. Pure Food had a version of this with their zucchini lasagna:

{Zucchini, Local Roma and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara and macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta}

It seemed to be a popular dish, considering every five seconds, a waiter would be carrying a plate of zucchini lasagna to a different table. For us too, it was the better of our two entrees. The basil pistachio pesto was super flavorful, and I marveled at how they turned pumpkin seeds into ricotta. It worked for my taste buds, but not for my stomach. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s not easy to digest that much raw veggies. For me anyway.

We also went for a stuffed tomato entree:

{Tomato filled with curried cauliflower with a side of cucumber raita}

It was interesting, especially the presentation, but I think ultimately the curry flavor didn’t do it for me. I’ve finally realized that I’m not a huge fan of the spice. It’s trying to be Indian food, but not. Get it?

And because all our food had been so unique thus far, we figured we’d have to get dessert. I went for this trio:

{Trio of Dark Chocolate Coated Indian Spiced Ice Cream Treats}

So friggin’ cool. It included: a chocolate cardamom coconut ice cream cone, pistachio gelato ice cream sandwich and chai tea creamsicle. Yowza! The coconut cone was by fair my favorite of the three. Unbelievable texture, great flaky coconut taste. My only complaint? That plate was way too much dessert for one person. Even for me. And at $17 — did I mention this place isn’t too cheap? — it’s much better for sharing.

Here, closeups of said cone and the ice cream sandwich:

Being a fan of the salty-sweet trend, my boyfriend ordered the salted chocolate caramel tart, made up of pecan caramel, dark chocolate ganache, maldon sea salt and vanilla cream:

{Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart}

Though I liked my little cone, I was super impressed with the tart. I don’t love that flavor contrast, but it was not at all overpowering here. The chocolate was mousse-like and the cream was unbelievable. I can’t believe it’s not butter vegan!

You’re probably getting the sense that I was necessarily bowled over by this meal. And you’d be right. My feelings about it are kind of like how I felt about Dirt Candy. It’s cool it’s interesting, and it may not be for me, but I can appreciate it. And that’s why I went to Pure Food. For the experience. I don’t think I’ll be back. But I can certainly cross it off the list, and that, my dear readers, feels so good.

Pure Food and Wine
54 Irving Place (at 17th St.)
212.477.1010
N, R, 4, 5, 6, L to Union Sq.

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