What an amazing experience we had tonight - a group of us Arnold's Way raw chefs, customers and friends met up at HORIZONS CAFE' at 7th and South Streets in Center City Philadelphia for an amazing dinner to celebrate our friend, SHAIE'S, birthday. Shaie is our weekend raw chef at Arnolds Way.
Happy Birthday, Shaie! I had such a good time tonight and it was such a pleasure to celebrate with you! You are an absolute GEM...and what a cute doggy you have! Ruff Ruff!
HORIZONS is an upscale VEGAN Restaurant, which serves cooked vegan fare, but they will make you raw dishes if you call and order 2-3 days in advance. Fabulous, huh?
Horizons just so happens to be CLOSING in 2 days...for good!
[We were so blessed Horizons was still open to celebrate Shaie's birthday...and to commemorate the genesis of our little raw supper club! We had such a good time tonight, we're all going to meet monthly to go out to different restaurants serving raw food together!]
Tonight at Horizons, several of us pre-ordered raw meals. I, for instance, requested raw appetizer, entree and dessert. What we would receive would be up to the chef!
The surprise raw offerings tonight were yum! So light! Almost NO nuts/seeds! Totally unexpected.
The appetizer arrived dramatically on a long rectangular plate! It was a deconstructed gaspacho soup...that consisted of, first of all, 3 "hearts" of heirloom tomato. The center of an heirloom tomato - no seeds, just the pure delicious column of pulp at the center of each tomato - was "cored", and 3 long core shaped tomato "hearts" took center stage on each plate, along with red radish, a tomato puree', fresh basil, microgreens, 3 fresh garbanzo beans, and olive oil. Very tasty. And only about 2 oz of food total, but deliciously yum. Deliciously simple...presented very modernly, clean, sleek. Wow!
We were all very anxious for the raw entree! What would it be?
Our entrees arrived on oversized plates. We spotted zucchini pasta with a side of some kind of a layered thingy. The waiter proudly described it as "lasagne." We were excited for that, but were like, "oh, no biggie, we make zucchini spaghetti all of the time."
But were were MORE than pleasantly surprised when we dug into the zucchini spaghetti! What fresh flavor! I've never had a raw spaghetti like this. A vinaigrette that was so simple dressed it, mmmm, so delish, and the pasta was thicker than we make at Arnold's Way so it had a nice crunch. I detected some Thai Basil with it's anise flavor, mmm. Lime was also very up front, too. A little salt, maybe an infused oil, and not much more! Fresh, clean flavors!
Next to the zucchini was the cactus avocado lasagne! Cactus? I've never had cactus before...raw OR cooked! Thin slices of shaved cactus, which tastes sort of like....cucumber slices, were layered with avocado slices, and looked to have been molded in a turine and weighted down to form one cohesive unit. This must have been sliced with an electric knife after being unmolded because each of us got a perfect layered square, wow! This was yum, marinated in another marvelous simple vinaigrette. This lasagne was the heaviest thing we had eaten so far with the avocado, and we wanted more!
We were excited for dessert and hoped it would be filling...since everything was so light so far! (Delicious! But light!)
No such luck! Dessert was again surprisingly light as well, and so astoundingly simple, incredibly refreshing, we were impressed! What a surprise! We all expected to feel weighed down from heavy nut pates....and instead we received simple local outstanding artisan produce ingredients, prepared artistically and beautifully. A thick circle of watermelon was topped with lemony matchsticks of pear. So simple! A pineapple papaya cashew cream (at least i think that's what it was) circled the fruit. Wow. So good! Why didn't i think of that?
All of us with the raw meal grinned ear to ear at the conclusion of our elegant simple pristine meal, we were so impressed! - but admitted to feeling a little undersatisfied from the lightness of the raw fare and the lack of volume. The fruits and veggies themselves were highlighted with such simplicity. Wonderful! Why do we complicate things unnecessarily? We just could have used MORE of it!
The genius behind the kitchen is Rich Landau, owner, chef, and his wife, Kate Jacoby, pastry chef, manager. Rich is a self taught cook. Incredible!
Rich and Kate are extremely hands on. They take full control of the restaurant and it shows! The quality of ingredients was superb. No cutting corners here, everything was first class!
Rich and Kate used to own Horizons in Willow Grove, PA, but instead of branching out to 2 restaurants, they closed the Willow Grove restaurant and moved to center city. I was told "Rich and Kate are not like some restauranteers who buy up restaurants and have other people run them. They need to be onsite."
I'm glad for it! Kate couldn't have been nicer on the phone and on email when we arranged the reservation for our group. And Rich really went out of his way to accomodate our raw needs. MUCH APPRECIATED!
Sadly, on July 4, Horizons will be closed, but, there is something new on the horizons! Rich and Kate's NEW VEGAN RESTAURANT at a new location, 12th and Locust Street, with a new name...."VEDGE!"
What a clever name! Vedge, as in "Veggie." The focus will be OFF of tofu and Seitan and onto VEGETABLES! Maybe the play on words of edge and veggie were appealing when designing the name...as in EDGy VEGGie food...VEDGE?! Also, the spelling of VEDGE helps to know how to pronounce the name. If they called the restaurant, "Vegg," people might pronounce the egg part of the word like scrambled egg, instead of like "j" like job, like Vedge. Smart! I really like it!
VEDGE will open in mid-August, so you know our little raw supper club will be meeting at VEDGE in August!!!
Will we see you there?
ARTICLE on the restaurant and it's new transition:
VIDEO of Rich and Kate on the freshness of their LOCAL PRODUCE:
VIDEO of Rich with Kate, cooking on the NBC 10 show:
xoxo michelle joy