Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sage's Cafe and the Vertical Diner

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Ian Brandt, the owner of Sage's Cafe and the Vertical Diner. We first met on the phone and had a great conversation about the business of vegan and raw vegan food. We talked about some of the techniques we use in our raw food preparation and about some of the challenges presented when creating raw food on a commercial level.

Sage's is a vegan cafe that has been voted the best vegetarian restaurant in Utah for about f
our years in a row now. They have delicious appetizers like Carrot Butter Crostini: thin slices of toasted 7-grain bread served with their famous creamed macadamia carrot butter, and entrees such as Mushroom Stroganoff, a dish made from a "creamy and savory sauce with oyster and portabella mushrooms, served with fresh semolina papparadelle pasta and garlic bread." I've eaten there several times now and the food, combined with the amazingly happy and upbeat staff, make Sage's one of my favorite places to eat.

The Vertical Diner is a new restaurant and I had never eaten there before, so I drove there to meet Ian in person. I brought him some of my Vanilla Macaroons and Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Pie and he offered me a plate of nachos and a plate of real (vegan) french fries and a burrito. It was extraordinary food! It was so wonderful to eat some of that food that brings back the memories of those late college nights at the diner! BUT - it's good for you and conscious too.

Check out the websites for both and go eat there - maybe I'll see you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Grand Opening

The grand opening of The Food Garden was an extraordinary success! We had many enthusiastic people who were thrilled that we had opened such a store. We heard every positive comment you could think of, from, "We've been waiting so long for a store like this! Thank you!" to "Wow! Your prices are great!" to "This raw ice cream tastes amazing!"
the food garden, just before we opened our doors for the first time!

We sold out of all our raw hummus and we hardly had a drop left of the Raw Melissa Hawaiian, Chocolate Almond, and Vanilla Ice Creams. I really like the vanilla, but people went crazy for the Hawaiian ice cream which is full of fresh pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts, and of course, the Chocolate Almond went fast too!

Because of the success of The Food Garden, Julia, Agi, and I have just been asked by a major health food store to create a raw food cafe within their existing cafe. Watch for it to come soon, (you'll know, as they regularly advertise to over 130,000 homes) and meanwhile, stop by The Food Garden for an amazing raw food entree, side-dish, or gourmet dessert, and all of your other raw food diet needs!! Those of you outside of Utah, please feel free to email order@rawmelissa.com to order products from The Food Garden. We will soon have a list of available products up on the web. I'll let ya know!
me feeding customers samples :)
Julia, Me, and Agi

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Business has been absolutely wonderful! Raw Melissa products continue to pop-up in more and more health food stores, and this week, a WONDERFUL coffee shop right in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City called Nobrow Coffee and Tea started carrying the Raw Melissa products because its vegan customers wanted a vegan pastry to go with their coffee and tea!

Now for the big news: I have teamed up with two other wonderful women, who are also raw food business owners, to o
pen up a raw vegan store and cafe called The Food Garden! Agi, of Agi's Raw Foods, and I both needed a larger commercial kitchen for our growing businesses so we decided to get together and find one that would suit our needs, together. We found a third business owner, Julia, of Julia's SunSprouts, and we were set to continue expansion. The kicker is that the kitchen we found also has a store-front so without intending to, we won ourselves not only a great kitchen, but a terrific little place we can sell our amazing products out of. It's been a lot of hard work. We've done painting and ordering and cleaning and moving, but this Saturday from 9am-5pm, we are having our Grand Opening and if you're in Utah, we invite you to come by. We'll be giving out TONS of free samples of some of the best raw food on the planet Agi, happily painting! >
and the company is sure to be wonderful, as lots of raw-foodists, and those who just like a healthy treat now and then, will come together to celebrate this long-awaited opening.

The Food Garden 698 E. 300 S. Provo, Utah

P.S. I just added the MOST delicious Raw Ice Creams to my line of desserts. Savor some samples at The Food Garden on Saturday!

Me, demonstrating a painting technique called, "Barefoot Rolling.">

The Healthy Living Show

In a previous post, I talked about shooting a raw dessert segment for a healthy living show in LA. Well, here's how it all began:

It was a November when I first met Catherine Silvers. I had just begun filling the orders for my raw Holiday Pumpkin Pie, which I only sell seasonally in November and December, so it was perfect timing. I live in Utah and luckily for me, Catherine happened to be in Utah doing a guest celebrity appearance gig. She had heard about my raw gourmet desserts and asked if she could stop by my kitchen. I was excited to meet Catherine, because I knew she had met and worked with some of the big names in the raw movement.

Catherine Silvers and David Wolfe, rockclimbing by the ocean in California!

Meeting her for the first time was like meeting a little tornado. She was so enthusiastic and looked like she was 25 in her designer jeans, hip t-shirt and earth shoes, not to mention her beautiful skin, clear eyes and fit figure. I took her back to my kitchen where I and one of my employees had been busy preparing Chocolate Truffle Pie, Key Lime Pie, Strawberry Cheesecake and the before-mentioned, (and blissful, I might add) pumpkin pie. We started talking and I found it was wonderful to speak with such a like-minded person! We talked about the ingredients in my desserts, how she had just considered working with Juliano in one of his restaurants, and how we would love to work together in the future.

Because Catherine arrived around dinner time, she was hungry, so we offered her some of Agi’s raw Avocado and Green Pea Soup, complete with a garnish of freshly sliced avocados, parsley and a sprinkling of paprika. I’ll never forget watching her take the first bite and exclaiming, “Oh, this is so good it makes me want to cry!” She finished and we continued throughout the evening talking about my desserts and “licking the bowls” whenever we finished making one of the pies. Catherine liked the key lime and the pumpkin pie fillings the best, and I remember sending her home with some so she could eat them for breakfast!

When I told her I was working on producing online cooking shows, she practically started bouncing off the walls and told me that she was currently producing a healthy living show pilot and that she would love to have me do a segment for it. We kept in touch through the winter and a few weeks ago, I flew to LA and shot the first raw dessert segment for The Healthy Living Show! It was an absolute blast! We made Raw Apple Crisp, Chocolate Pudding (the camera guy didn't believe it was made with avocados because it tasted too good), and Chocolate Dipping Sauce, which we dipped tons of fresh fruit in.

The best part of the whole opportunity is that Catherine has posted me on her website as the "Raw Desserts Expert," where I am privileged to be among ten other experts, including such notables as Gabriel Cousens MD and David Wolfe! Wow!

Chocolate Dipping Sauce

1 C organic raw cocoa powder (if you can't find raw, use organic, non-processed cocoa powder)
1 C agave

Whisk together until smooth. Dip every kind of fruit imaginable in this delicious, delicious, delicious sauce (I like bananas the very best), and don't be surprised if you look like a little kid who got into the chocolate when your finished!