As I experiment in the world of vegan foods, I know I have a few friends who will come on this adventure with me. One of them is Natch. She hails from Wisconsin, home of cheese curds, hotdishes, and snickers salads (we can discuss at a later date how a dish that contains snickers candy bars can also be a salad). Although she embraces the foods of her upbringing, she also has a great appreciation for wholesome, natural cuisine; and so, the two of us went on a post-yoga girl date to Café Green.
Located at 1513 17th Street NW, between P and Church Streets (next to Mr. Yogato!), Café Green is an organic, vegan restaurant, with a mission “to make vegan dining delicious, nutritious and accessible,” according to their website. Natch and I sat outside in the enclosed seating area at the front of the restaurant, so that we could enjoy the pleasant summer evening.
Since I am not a regular consumer of vegan food, I began by asking our very friendly server about his recommendations on the menu. I was intrigued by the selection of raw foods. I’ve heard talk of raw food dining, but have never tried it. Therefore, I decided my appetizer and entrée would both be raw (because, really, when am I ever going to make this stuff for myself?).
On the server’s recommendation, I started with the Raw Pizza. The crust is made from sunflower, flax, and quinoa. It has a layer of roma tomato spread, cashew cheese and fresh guacamole; and it’s topped with fresh and dried mushroom, tomato, peppers and fresh basil.
Before it came out, I was very excited for my first experience with raw food, but I was still a little skeptical that I would like it. Let me tell you, though, this pizza is great! I’m not sure how they made the crust stay together without cooking it, but it felt like a thin crust pizza. The guac had a little kick of spice to it, and the creamy avocado was a nice texture that was somewhat reminiscent of the melted cheese on a typical pizza. I loved how I could taste the distinct flavor of each ingredient with every bite, especially the fresh basil. Yum!
For my entrée, I went for the Raw Spaghetti Pesto. It was zucchini noodles (basically raw zucchini cut in the shape of noodles), tossed in pesto sauce, with tomatoes, cucumbers and roasted pine nuts. Very light and refreshing! I ate the whole thing and felt satisfied, but definitely not weighed down, like after eating a giant plate of pasta.
When Natch was looking over the menu, she first gravitated toward the juice. I’ve been to juice places with her before, and it’s not my thing (it’s a little too “earthy” for my liking.) She ordered the Power Green, a juice of celery, kale, green apple, cucumber and lemon. She enjoyed it. I tasted it. I noticed the flavor of the celery the most.
More exciting for both of us, though, was something on the menu called the E3Live Aqua Botanicals Shot for $4! The menu describes it as “colorful sea vegetable Superfood reported to help lift mood, alkalize, increase energy and stamina, and improve mental clarity and focus, offering chlorophyll for life-force vitality.” Natch decided she HAD TO order a Shot of Life from the menu (partly for the absurdity of spending $4 on a shot of seaweed.) She let me taste it first, but closed her eyes so as not to see the reaction on my face after trying it. Then she ripped the shot in one smooth gulp. We both agreed: Life tastes like dirt.
For her entrée, Natch ordered the Avocado Temptation panini, even though our server had told us he wasn’t a big fan of the sandwiches. I’m glad we did not listen to his advice on this one. The sandwich, made with grilled tempeh, avocado, baby spinach, tomato and mozzarella on whole wheat bread, with smooth java sauce, was really delicious. It came with a side of tasty red cabbage slaw.
I really enjoyed this little vegan café. Next time I go, I think I will try one of their almond smoothies. It caught my eye, but it was too much for one night.