Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beets Raw Foods Cafe

I met a friend for dinner last week, and we both wanted healthy, so we met at Beets Living Foods Cafe. I didn't really know what to expect, but upon walking in, I immediately liked the modern lines and styling. It's also a large physical space, with ample parking, once I figured out where it was! (They're on West 5th Street between Mopac and Lamar, on the ground level of the 5th Street Commons building; drive (slowly) past the restaurant, then turn right, and go straight back; you can either park in the covered/indoor lot and take the back door into Beets, or behind the building.)

My friend had been a couple times before, so she told me about a few of her favorites, and I had the waitress tell me some of hers. I picked the nori rolls and a small Asian salad, and my friend had the carrot ginger soup (one of her and the waitress' favorites) and a large Asian salad; the salads can be prepared mild or spicy, and I went for spicy.

M's carrot soup came first, and it was really good! Nice ginger flavor, especially since I find ginger often gets lost in dishes like that. Couldn't help but wonder how it would be warmed up! (Remember, this is a RAW foods experience!)
Our salads were next. These have cabbage, kelp noodles, sea veggies, carrots, green onion, cilantro, radish, broccoli, and a sweet spicy miso dressing. Tasty, crunchy, the dressing was good; all very fresh.
But wait! What happened to my rolls? I had to ask about them because since they are listed as an appetizer, I thought they had been forgotten.... the waitress said they take a long time to assemble, so they were coming. This would have been nice to know up front, but oh well.  They did finally arrive, and I will say they were gorgeous, though difficult to eat.  Because of all the little julienned pieces, you really had to put the whole thing in your mouth or risk everything falling out. These were carrots, red cabbage, sprouts, and a "mock" tuna, made from some sort of almond paste, I believe.
And I was instructed to leave room for dessert. They have a case full of different options, but my friend definitely had her eye on the chocolate cheesecake. I got a brownie with mint chocolate chip ice cream. The ice cream  is made from a nut milk blend, and sweetened with raw agave nectar. The brownie had cacao nibs, dates, and I can't remember what else. I liked the ice cream, the brownie was ok... bit different texturally than what I am used to. The cheesecake however, was AMAZING! I didn't catch what was in it, but the texture was silky smooth, and the flavor was great. Almost better than any "real" cheesecake I've ever had.

It was a good meal, and I left feeling satiated. However, within an hour of getting home, I was totally craving a hamburger....

Bits and Bites

And, in this week's news:

In case you really can't figure out where to go eat, the Austin Chronicle Restaurant Poll came out last week. It's always fun to see what the readers and critics picked, and of course, I always have to agreed and disagree with some of the picks. (Like this year's new number one restaurant??) Bookmark the page, or hurry up and find the glossy print copy, and make more lists of all the places you want to try!

Man Up Texas BBQ has announced their 2nd Annual Texas Monthly BBQ Festival will be October 30th on the City Terrace at the Long Center.  I've got to go to this! A friend went last year and said it was phenomenal. Porky goodness! 

The USDA has finally realized that overcooked pork is not tasty. They have lowered the recommended cooking temp of pork from 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 145 with a 3 minute rest. Read the National Pork Board's update on it.

Now through June 28, when you shop at area HEB grocery stores, you can add $1, $3, or $5 to your grocery bill total to help support the Capital Area Food Bank. HEB is a big supporter of the CAFB, and it's great to see them involving their customer base.

-- Hoover's (some of the best down home cooking in town) has embarked on a healthier venture, based off of homegrown produce. The Soular garden is at 12th and Waller, and will also be accompanied by a food truck of the same name.
-- Olivia, one of my favorite brunch spots, will now be open on Saturday and Sunday for brunch, beginning June 4th; read their newsletter announcement. Because of this, they will now be closed for Friday lunches.
-- And speaking of Olivia, owner/chef James Holmes is about to have another restaurant named for another one of his daughters: Lucy's Fried Chicken will open later this year on College Avenue (off of SoCo, running into Oltorf), in the site of the former Nueva Onda.

-- Fortune, the huge Chinese and dim sum restaurant, in the Chinatown complex up north. According to their Facebook page, they'll become a site for event rentals. Bummer.