I had a brief stint writing for the Seattle edition of Conscious Choice Magazine, but unfortunately, like many other print publications they met their demise recently and closed their doors. I thought I would share my last article with you about a fabulous raw restaurant here in Seattle: Thrive.
And here it is...
I grew up eating what my brother and I used to refer to as “hippy food.” My mother made her own whole grain breads; fresh vegetable soups, which we’d begrudgingly eat for breakfast; dried fruit and roll-ups from her dehydrator; juices of every ilk from her juicer. We drank so much carrot juice we literally started to turn orange. Our snack-packs were an assortment of raw nuts, seeds, raisins and carob chips, what she called “fancy GORP” (good old raisin peanut). When all my friends were eating pot roast and potatoes my mom was piling our plates with a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables. Back then I didn’t appreciate the good foods she made us, all I wanted was Wonder Bread and American cheese sandwiches, but now I thank my mom for instilling in us such healthy eating habits. Today, I seek out those fresh nourishing ingredients.
In my quest for health and vitality (and the desire to look decent in a bikini this summer) I discovered Thrive, Seattle’s newest organic, vegan and raw foods restaurant. I’d always been curious about a raw food diet. I knew it was more than just nibbling on carrot sticks, but not much beyond that. So I ventured out to have a bite with chef and owner Monika Kinsman and learn more about the raw foodist way of life.
Monika started 5 years ago when her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. To focus on healing, she attended the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, where she was given an enzyme-rich raw food diet. During a visit with her mother (now in remission and a raw foodist herself), Monika learned the health benefits of a raw diet and vowed to adopt the lifestyle. However, upon returning to Seattle she found little in the way of resources and education and soon forgot her pledge. Two years later, when her weight increased and her cholesterol skyrocketed to over 300 she said she had a wake-up call. “I asked myself, ‘What would 50 year-old Monika tell 25 year-old Monika?’” That’s when she started The Raw Network of Washington (www.rawwashington.org) to provide education, support and resources to both those interested in living a raw lifestyle and to raw foodists.
Then she went a step further and, in mid-December, opened the doors to Thrive. When I arrived two women were waiting for her to open and the 15 tables quickly filled. I sat myself down at the counter and, not knowing what to expect, told her I was in her hands. “It’s the new spa food!” she exclaimed proudly.
She started me off with two smoothies: the “Chocolate Coconutty” ($4/$6) a delicious concoction of fresh young coconut, cashews, agave, and cacao; and the “Shine” ($5.50/$7.50) a Piña Colada-tasting blend of coconut butter, coconut water, pineapple and agave. Heaven! I slurped on both, back and forth, unable to choose a favorite.
Next, I tried the “Hummy in my Tummy” ($8), a house-made hummus made with tahini, zucchini, and spices served with sliced veggies for dipping; and the “Crack-a-lackin’ ($7), a duo of ricotta dips -one spicy cashew and the other almond- with the best darn flax seed crackers I’ve ever tasted. I moved on to one of their non-raw dishes and sampled the “Awaken” ($7/$11), a hearty and comforting bowl of Bhutanese red rice and quinoa topped with kale, avocado, cucumber, nori, green onions, and herbs with a delicious sesame-ginger dressing drizzled on top. Next stop, the “Oh Pastadoro!” ($12), a sauce of sweet organic tomatoes blended with herbs and spices spooned over long strands of zucchini “pasta” and topped with a flavorful almond ricotta. Simply divine!
Finally, dessert. And that’s when the skeptic in me reared its ugly head. “How do you do vegan raw dessert?” I asked. She smiled and placed in front of me two beauties. First, the customer favorite “Mocha Latte Yumminess” ($7), which was so dense with chocolatey goodness I was at a loss for words. Then came the new-on-the-menu “Tiramisù” ($7.50). Now, I lived in Italy and have had plenty of fabulous tiramisù and this was downright spectacolo!
After my feast I concurred with Monika - raw food is indeed the “new spa food.” Though I quickly learned it’s not just delicious food they are serving up, but also a loving community-oriented environment. Our moms taught us well.