Let's continue this video cavalcade with a very quickly made video basically peeking inside Karyn's Raw in Chicago. I didn't really have an opportunity to spend a good deal of leisurely time there, as I did with two other Chicago area restaurants, so this video is *very* basic, and not at all thorough in terms of what is offered there. But, if you're not from Chicago and have no other way to see it, perhaps its interesting to take a quick (just 3+ min) look. Here's the video:
You saw the gourmet desserts, the take-away desserts, the raw food salad bar / buffet, the raw to-go, prepackaged meals, the raw food store, the juice / smoothie bar, and the bistro (the gourmet raw restaurant). They also had a yoga studio and numerous related consultative services available. It's a whole building of stuff to do, really (and has free parking, which really means something in Chicago!).
So, as I said, this quickly-shot video really shows only a small glimpse of what Karyn's is all about. The Karyn, btw, after which this destination is named is Karyn Calabrese. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to meet / interview her (hopefully another time). But, it was great to at least visit the restaurant / store and take a quick look around (and of course sample a few items).
The Indian samosas were interesting; I'd never tried a raw version (the cooked version being a staple of our diet for *years* in times past). The flavor was spot-on, but the texture wasn't close to an actual samosa. I don't mean that as a critisicm, as I don't think it would be possible (or at least not easy) to reproduce the texture of a deep-fried, doughy item using only raw ingredients. To their credit, they paired the samosa with an interesting chutney that, if memory serves, was a spicy cranberry sauce-type creation. Very tasty, and a surprisingly nice diversion from the more traditional mint chutney pairing for that item (although, you do find sweeter chutneys offered on samosas from time to time -- usually tamarind, in my experience).
One thing I definitely notice after visiting some larger raw restaurants (unlike anything we ever had in Pittsburgh) is that richer, heavier items tend to dominate the menus. There's a bit of irony there, I think, in that many of the longer-term raw foodies I know don't eat like this every day. For many, it's kind of a rarity, really. But, unlike their cooked counterparts, raw restaurants have two distinct constituencies: raw foodies and everyone else. So, offering gourmet raw versions of time-honored cooked recipes becomes important in terms of outreach and awareness. (Fortunately, you can always get great salads, juices, and smoothies at these destinations, so this isn't really an issue as much as it is a mildly ironic observation, in my opinion.)
To learn more about Karyn's Raw, you can find them online at www.KarynRaw.com. Stick around this week, as I've got some spectacular stuff to share from more Chicago raw destinations!