Seeing as Valentine's Day is approaching, I thought I might go into the less frequently explored terrain for raw foodies... dining out. Let's face it, we are the oddballs of the world. Revolutionaries and outcasts usually go hand in hand. There are, however, a few options in the DC area, and as I have explored them I thought I would share my opinions.
1. Elizabeth's Gone Raw. Elizabeth's is the high-class gourmet raw vegan option that is extremely unique. Elizabeth is a cancer survivor in the catering business, who found healing in raw foods. Her dishes are decadent, many nut-based. They mimic items like lamb and caviar, and often involve truffle oil (of which I am a huge fan). The location is beautifully and elaborately designed wilt gilt-framed painting and ornate velvet settees. I had a raw dessert there which had a remarkable flavor I couldn't discern, and the waitress was kind enough to find out for me that it involved juiced sweet corn. There are only a few downfalls. One is that it is a fixed menu at $75 per person, excluding drinks. While that includes 6 courses, if you are broke like me this is an big issue. Also, the high class atmosphere seems to draw to it the Capitol Hill snooty intern crowd. Granted, that is hard to avoid in DC anywhere these days. The third issue is parking. All this aside, the interior is glamorous and the food inspiring.
2. Khepra's Raw Food and Juice Bar. Khepra's is a very different kind of raw food than Elizabeth's. For one thing, you can get a heaping carry-out container full of food for around $15. The food has a bit of Jamaica/ Caribbean/ soul food flare with dishes such as "fried" plantains, creamy collards, and jerk eggplant. The buffalo cauliflower is particularly good. You can get a sampler platter of everything, which I recommend. The food is high-impact flavor, so hopefully you like spices. I do! The downfall of Khepra's is that it isn't very glamorous for eating in. The bathroom is, sadly, a pretty gross affair, and the tables are essentially set up inside a store. But don't let this dissuade you. Pick up the food for carry-out and make your own romantic setting!
3. Everlasting Life. There are two Everlasting Life locations, one in DC and one in Capitol Heights. I have been familiar with the Capitol Heights location for roughly 8 years, so I thought I would include it on this list. The only catch? While the are fully vegan, they are limitedly raw. They do offer an array of salads though, some of which can fit in a raw diet. Most of the ingredients they use are posted, so it is easy to see which salad items may contain ingredients outside of your diet. I usually indulge on kale salad (sweet or garlic), tomato cucumber salad, parsley salad, and beet salad. The location isn't much to look at, as it is in a strip mall, but you can tell that this location is an oasis in a food desert, and an affordable one at that. The biggest downfall is it may tempt you to eat cooked food and even soy-based meat substitutes. I used to love the mock chicken, but now I love not having soy stomach pains. But if you have good restraint, or if you don't care about eating a little cooked, this place is great.