In the Raw: The Present Moment Cafe

The Present Moment CafeSt. Augustine, FL

The Present Moment Cafe
St. Augustine, FL

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I wasn’t sure what to expect when my daughter Anna told me she would be a “cook” at an all-raw restaurant.

With fourteen years as a cook in a variety of restaurants, Anna knows her way around a kitchen. When she began working at The Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine, Florida, she received a jolt.

“It was as if I’d never been a cook before,” she said. “I had to learn a whole new way to prepare food.”

Since nothing is cooked, there are no ovens, no stove tops, no deep fryers, and no microwaves. I assumed this meant the restaurant only served salads with lots of sprouts and raw nuts. I learned a few things when I visited The Present Moment Cafe a few months ago, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Anna ordered for us. We started with a Caesar salad with a dressing made from celery, dates, and other raw seasonings. Then we enjoyed hummus made from ground cashews.

HummusPhoto by Golden Pixels

Hummus
Photo by Golden Pixels

Both were delicious. Anna ordered the lunch variety platter for us. We chose burritos, sushi, and pesto pasta. Unbelievable would be how to describe each of these raw, vegetarian, vegan delights. In fact, even with three of us eating from the platter, we had difficulty eating all the selections.

SushiPhoto by Heather Blanton

Sushi
Photo by Heather Blanton

The Present Moment Cafe published a book this past year with beautiful photos of their offerings and recipes. Handmade in the Present Moment is available on Create Space. Owner Yvette Schindler also provides the story of how the cafe made its way into the present moment.

When she opened the restaurant in 2006, only a few existed in northeast Florida, but now there are a sprinkling of raw restaurants sprinkled throughout Florida. To find out if there’s a raw restaurant near you, visit the Directory of Raw Food establishments. They list restaurants in all fifty states and around the world.

The philosophy behind the movement is based on the belief that when food is raised above a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit, it causes chemical changes that create acidic toxins. Visit www.rawfoodlife.com for more information and many links to resource and reference materials.

Am I going to change my diet to only eating raw foods? Not in the present moment, but I don’t rule out the benefits of incorporating the philosophy inherent in the practice to some extent in my diet.

I’m always in awe of the pioneers, and Yvette Schindler and her crew of supporters and staffers certainly qualify in that category. I’m happy my daughter works in a place where thoughtful consideration is taken with each dish. The restaurant itself is a testament to the peaceful attitude of staff and customers.???????????????????????????????

And as always, I support any effort to live a lighter life on this earth we inherited.

Do you have any experience with eating or preparing raw foods?

10 thoughts on “In the Raw: The Present Moment Cafe

  1. We’ve started eating a lot more raw foods (owning a Vitamix helps) and I have to say we really do feel better. Of course, we haven’t given up cooking entirely either, though. It’s great, what they’re doing with that restaurant and with that lifestyle. Thanks for talking about it here.

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    • Staci, the Vitamix has been a stumbling block for me. They all cost so much to get a good one – at least in my research on amazon. What did you buy and where did you get it? We would eat a lot more if we had one, so any advice would be great.

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  2. If I am ever in St. Augustine, I will try your daughter’s restaurant. It sounds wonderful. I make a few raw things and often aim to make 50% of my meal raw, and love it, though I don’t think I could ever be a complete raw foodie, especially in New England’s winter months!

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    • We were pleasantly surprised by how much it filled us up and how tasty it was. My daughter is an artist but has always enjoyed the creativity in cooking so it’s been a way to support herself. She loves the new challenge of using all raw foods. She says she learned to cook from me, but now the roles have reversed, and I’m always calling her to ask how to best cook something. I love it:)

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  3. I bet she loves that job – no hot stove? No hot oil? What’s not to love about that? Americans don’t get nearly as much fiber as they’re supposed to. I hope it’s a trend that catches on. About the only raw food I eat is when I snack on something I’m cooking, like celery or a carrot for a soup pot. I do eat a lot of fruit raw: tangelos, bananas, pears, etc. Veggies, not so much. Oh, I do like fennel raw and of course my escarole ; – ). Good post!

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    • It’s true about the hot oil. She used to smell like a deep fryer when she got off work and it’s impossible to get that smell to go away. Now she smells like patchouli! We don’t eat that much raw either, but we’re very particular about how much/little we steam our vegies.

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