Friday, April 29, 2011

Turning Over A New Leaf At Leaf Organics

Last summer, I discovered an appreciation for raw food, along with a small, quaint restaurant called Leaf Organics in Culver City. I regret not having tried Leaf Organics before their relaunch this summer, thus I cannot compare my experience with the original restaurant. Their menu had been completely revamped to create a middle ground for raw and cooked food. They now have raw, cooked and raw fusion dishes to please the palates of all diners. Not having been there since last July, I was excited to go back this past week and use a $25 gift certificate. 

The minimum spending required to use the gift certificate was $35, which my dining partner and I were able to do really easily. We ordered a raw appetizer, two entrees, and a raw cheesecake.

First, our appetizer came out, Cashew Kreme Cheeze with corn chips ($6.50).

The dish was delicious and this is saying a lot, considering I've never been a fan of cream cheese. Everything was completely raw, but it did not taste like it. The cashew kreme cheeze was so creamy and decadent with the right amount of saltiness and bitterness. The corn chips accompanying them were very crispy and crunchy and had a slightly sweet taste. They complimented the kreme cheeze really well. There were also some sprouted beans interspersed which added an extra crunchiness and was a great contrast to the smooth kreme cheeze.

Next, our entrees came out. I ordered the Bombay Burrito ($10), while my dining partner opted for a cooked dish and chose the Chik'in Dill quesadilla ($10). 

The burrito was wrapped in layers of collard greens and was filled with crunchy vegetables and soft, savory patties. There was a creamy, mildly spicy coconut curry sauce coating everything and made the dish so flavorful. I enjoyed the various textures in the dish and the vegetables were very fresh. This was a great take on a wrap. I love that the outside was so soft and chewy and felt light in my stomach, as it was so easy to digest.  The beet salad that accompanied the dish was also very delicious. It had a light, sweet taste and was very refreshing and cooling. 

My dining partner was unable to finish her dish, thus I was able to enjoy some of it. It was also very delicious. I was a little nervous trying a cooked dish at Leaf since they are known for their raw food and am happy to report they did a great job!

The quesadilla was huge and stuffed with vegetables, "chicken" and daiya cheese. I am pretty sure they use gardein chicken, as it had the meaty, chewy texture I am all too familiar with. The tortilla was very dense and savory and filled with hearty ingredients. The sauce on top was very creamy and had a bittersweet taste. It complemented the dish really well. My only complaint is that the daiya cheese was not completely melted, thus retaining its odd aftertaste. 

Finally, our dessert came out. It took a friendly reminder to the cashier to bring it out, but it was well worth the wait. We ordered the Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake ($8).

The dessert was so delicious. It was not overly sweet and had a good balance of chocolate and coconut flavors. It was very creamy and decadent, but not too rich. The sauce on top had a light sour taste with hints of sweetness. I would have preferred a sweeter sauce, since it is a dessert, but the sauce still complemented the cheesecake fairly well. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the dinner. Not very often do I get to enjoy a meal with both raw and cooked dishes. Leaf does a great job with each dish, although I still wish there was a bit more variety on the menu. Still, the ingredients are so high quality and we each spent less than $9 with tax and tip. This is such a great deal for raw food and the meal was very filling. I will definitely be back and I regret not having gone back sooner!

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