A few years ago, if someone recommended a raw-or living-food restaurant, I would have thought they were nuts. Lately, it seems like these types of establishments are sprouting (no pun intended) up all over the place. Just check out Christopher’s Kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens, which has been described as the latest spot for the fit and fabulous.
Raw-or living-food diets purport to perpetuate youthfulness, weight control and overall good health because “live” food and its enzymes create a life force. Someone I know in the raw-food industry described enzymes as “little Pac-men that travel around your body eating all the bad stuff.” Obviously, most of the food is raw, and anything cooked is usually done at a very low temperature (between 104 and 108 degrees Fahrenheit), reportedly preserving the all nutrients. The food is free of gluten, dairy and anything “white,” or processed (flour, sugar, etc.). The recipes include organic ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, seaweed, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains (do not confuse these grains like rice, oats, etc.). You will not find any food with “eyes” in a true raw -or living-food kitchen.
After a few visits to Christopher’s Kitchen, I can report that the food is inventive, fresh and tasty. For example, the pizza crust is composed of dehydrated seeds and nuts. (Dehydration maximizes freshness while preserving the nutrients.)
The crust is thin, crunchy and topped off with a salad of organic arugula, an array of freshly chopped vegetables and lots of herbs tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette.
The lasagna is a concoction of layered heirloom tomatoes with basil pesto and fresh herbs layered with a nut-based sauce made of ricotta-like cheese and sundried tomato. This is not your grandma’s lasagna but a delicious tomato salad.
The dragon bowl is loaded with flavor consisting of zucchini-based noodles, finely chopped broccoli and red peppers topped off with a spicy sauce. Its similarity to “real” noodles is unnerving at first but wears off after a few bites.
On the restaurant’s website, chef and owner Christopher Slawson claims his food is designed to help you feel, look, think and play better — not a bad concept. Christopher, who had cooked raw foods for about five years before opening his own restaurant, told me he is passionate about this particular style of cooking on spiritual and other levels.
I asked him to explain how he creates a cheesy-like substance (like on the lasagna, for instance) from a nut. He said the process includes soaking macadamia nuts, which sprout enzymes, then adding lots of flavorful ingredients such as lemon juice, Himalayan salt and fresh herbs.
There is a slight spring in your step after eating at Christopher’s Kitchen. Be prepared, though. These labor-intensive creations are expensive. Lunch for three of us topped $80, and that didn’t include any dessert or beverages. Obviously, being fit and fabulous doesn’t come cheap!
Christopher’s Kitchen, which has a light, bright and clean-looking feel, is located 4783 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. It is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to –9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. For more information, go to www.christopherskitchenfl.com.