I’d just been to the Mandarin buffet for lunch and so in picking a restaurant to visit with our friends Robin and Nae, I chose its antithesis and a place the very thought of which has chilled me to the bone. Rawlicious is, as the name suggests, a raw foods restaurant and has some weird-ass items on the menu.
For instance, the Nutloaf Taco Wrap. True, it’s nutloaf (whatever that is) wrapped in a collard leaf, but in the absence of a tortilla, I fear it is not a “taco.” Perhaps this is a semantic distinction, but my point is this kind of fast and loose treatment of traditional recipes had me worried. Worried for instance that if I said, for the sake of argument, that tomatoes in salsa (which I love) are more “processed” than merely sliced tomato (which I do not like), someone might answer me in affronted and derrisive tones that their salsa is not processed. More on that later.
The interior of Rawlicious is cute, clean and organic. There are low, Middle Eastern style tables with pillows to sit on as well as regular tables. We sat on the patio which was given a slightly Roman feel. There are brightly coloured splashy paintings by someone named “Cassandra” up everywhere which ranged from the pretty good to the truly dreadful.
The place appeared to be staffed by three waifish vegan-hippie clones. On the West Coast I had a lot of contact with such creatures. Don’t let their pleasant smiles lull you into a false sense of security, they are (as a breed) easily riled and commonly vicious.
To start, Nae ordered himself a ChocoMonkey smoothie. I don’t remember what is in it besides bananas and chocolate. Nut milk one would think. Apparently it was good. The special was “meatloaf” which our server was not comfortable even voicing and made excuses for. It was shortly after that I requested to not have tomatoes on my wrap and the “processed” debate ensued. And by “debate” I mean her being a bitch (or as Robin put it, “riding a fine line between pleasant and cantankerous”). Mandi and Robin stepped in and made peace with the many uses of avocado in desserts.
Robin ordered the meatloaf which she made of point of referring to as “the special”, Nae nut-cheese lasagna, myself the aforementioned “taco” and Mandi an Olive-Currant-Nut and Seed salad. The meatloaf (actually mushroom and nut) was very tasty, as was my taco-not-a-taco. The nutloaflog in the center of it was dry and savory. Nae seemed disappointed with his three nut cheese and zucchini instead of noodle lasagna, but only in contrast with the meatloaf-not-meatloaf. Mandi enjoyed her salad but remarked it seemed like cheating since a salad is usually raw normally.
So for dessert she ordered a strange brownie. It was a dense cake of brown which reminded me of the sludge-cake extruder I had just seen in a documentary about a Toronto sewage treatment plant. The vanilla topping looked like cheese set out in the sun for half an hour and tasted “grossly rich.” Unfortunate, fecal allusions aside, since the brownie itself was good. As was Robin’s pecan pie and Nae’s lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce.
When we were finished we were informed we could pay at the front which we appreciated since we didn’t care for another long anxious wait like at the High Park Spicy House. Will probably return (with euphemisms for “processed” in hand).
4 semantics out of 5 arguments.