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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stuff Raw Foodists Like #7: Flexible Chefs at Non-Raw Restos!

What's better than being allowed to bring raw baon to a resto that doesn't have raw food selections for you? Restos with flexible chefs!

When I first read that Victoria Boutenko (of 12 Steps To Raw) flashes a raw card whenever she eats out, I wondered if such a thing would ever work in the Philippines. (Has anyone ever tried this?)

I haven't. But I have tried calling a resto in advance, asking what happens if someone in the party had a lot of food restrictions. (Take note, that I have never come out to say that I was it! He he :)) Sometimes I would get a sympathetic head waiter who would tell me to look for him so I could be accommodated. Sometimes I don't. But at least I can adjust accordingly (read: bring my own baon).

So when someone else does the asking for you, in advance, it's nice.

My sister did just this when she booked us a table at Blackwood Bistro in Venice Piazza one Sunday. She forwarded to Chef Goody Jose my raw food guidelines, and Chef Goody gamely rose to the challenge. She told me later it was her first time to encounter this kind of food restriction.

What did she serve?

For starters, she provided shiitake mushrooms on fresh zucchini with olive oil and citrus zest salt on the side.

For my main course, she steamed (ok, not really raw but allowable under the circumstances) asparagus, and served the other ingredients raw/fresh. The onions were really sweet.

For dessert, assorted fruit. The mangoes were yummy. Chef offered a yummy-looking sherbet to the meat-eaters. 

As for my meat-eating companions, I know they enjoyed their meals. Huge servings for the meat eaters, I must say. The salmon looked particularly appetizing, but oh well. :D

(Just a sidebar- if you are in Venice Piazza on a Sunday evening, stay outside so you can watch whatever outdoor show they have on. When we went, they had a Mardi Gras. They also have other events. Thursday is ballroom night, I believe. Do ask first because I could have heard wrong.)

Thanks a lot Chef Goody for the accommodations! 

The other time I enjoyed a raw meal was at Rainmaker at CVC Law in Bonifacio Global City. This resto is catered by Gaita Fores, one of my culinary inspirations when I was still into cooked food. (Fun memories of Cafe Bola, Pepato and Cibo!) She wasn't there though, so I couldn't be all fan-girlish.  

Chef Gerald Montelibano was there and he received not just my raw food guidelines, but some recipes from Gone Raw and a few of the Dahon Kusina classes I attended. (My sister insisted) 

 From these, he chose to do my beginner's breakfast green smoothie (bottomless!!!!), his own take on raw salad, and Thai-inspired papaya rice. 

(Tsk, tsk, someone flunked the marshmallow test for "wait until after the picture before you drink". And this was already after the second glass. Quadruple tsk.)

Thai-inspired papaya rice

It was awesome to have a non-raw chef interpret a raw dish!

Other non-raw restos worth checking out for their accommodations to raw foodists: Cyma, Cafe Mediterranean, Jasmine (at New World Hotel) and the room service at East Asia Royale Hotel in General Santos. None of them are raw restaurants, but quite accommodating. Jasmine and EARH might bargain with you to lightly steam the veggies. I think that is OK. Just remind EARH not to use butter/Star margarine. Steaming for a few minutes only partially removes the nutrients, compared to grilling (which adds carcinogens from the blackened parts of food) or frying (which uses trans fat). 

Disclosure: Chef Goody Jose is related to my brother-in-law. My sister is senior partner at CVC Law so of course the chef at Rainmaker had no choice but to do what she said! I don't have any connections with Cyma, Cafe Mediterranean, Jasmine or East Asia Royale Hotel in General Santos and I don't receive any discounts/favors for these mentions.


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