Pure Market Express

Twin Cities, Minnesota

Reviews

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rating star

In the vegan world raw food falls into a weird niche that has a lot of ardent supporters and also a fair share of skeptics. Pure Market Express, though, can win over skeptics and even surprise the choir.

First, this is not really a cafe. It's more of a pick-up retail outlet. There is space where you can sit and eat (a cool, elevated oval table) but all of the food will come to you in plastic packages and wrappings and you'll have to use plastic utensils. As such, if you're eco-conscious, I recommend bringing your own silverware and plates and insisting on the place using those.

Second, it's better if you order your food a day in advance. This should reduce your wait time as each dish takes quite a while to prepare (raw food is extremely complex, despite seeming simple in theory).

We shared a number of dishes and desserts. To start we had a lasagna ($10) which was just wonderful: it was fresh, light, full of a subtle basil-pesto flavor and superbly layered with "noodles" made of zucchini. Second we had a sausage pizza ($14) which was also excellent: a thin, cracker crust with nut cheese and a fresh tomato sauce. The sausages were made of nuts, mushrooms and other good things. This dish required a fair amount of assembly as each component was separately packaged. Our last dish was the jalapeno poppers ($9) which were also really tasty though I wasn't a fan of the chewy, salty eggplant-"bacon" strips that you sprinkle over the nut cheese-filled jalapeno pieces. Lastly, we got a free sample of pepperoni bites which were really delicious, crispy and tasted like actual pepperoni, more so than even the phony pepperoni you get at Galactic Pizza or Pizza Luce.

For dessert we had a slice of chocolate cheesecake ($8) and a piece of pumpkin pie ($9). The chocolate cheesecake was amazingly rich and dense. It also retained a sense of "wild" flavor with hints of cacao. The pumpkin pie was good, but not great. I was impressed that it really tasted like pumpkin even though there's no pumpkin in the ingredients. We also got to sample different macaroons; my favorites were the coconut and caramel ones, though the chocolates ones could hold their own.

On a whole this was some of the best raw food I've ever had. I'd actually want to come back here and try more things. For reference's sake, the food here is orders of magnitude better than what you can get at Ecopolitan. Ecopolitan isn't bad, but I find the flavors and preparations there to be extremely intense and hard to handle.

In fact, too much of raw cuisine easily turns people off with its intensity of flavors. Pure Market Express somehow manages to soften the edges and create food that's readily edible and doesn't require any acquired tastes.

I do have a few major issues with Pure Market Express: 1. there's an inordinate amount of packaging with each dish. Really unbelievable quantities of plastic wraps, boxes, utensils and more. I understand that they're more of a mail-order business, but maybe they could cut down on the packaging for in-store orders?; 2. the food is pretty expensive and comes in small portions. It's just as expensive as Ecopolitan, and much tastier, but also has portion sizes about 50% smaller than Ecopolitan; 3. it's way out in Chaska (a good 30 minute, 25 mile drive). That said, they do deliver to the Twin Cities.

In conclusion, Pure Market Express is worth the drive to Chaska and definitely worth it if you're skeptical about raw food. Nothing here disappointed us and a few dishes really amazed us. If all raw food were like this I would eat it more often.


rating star

After drooling over their online menu, my boyfriend & I stopped into Pure Market Express last night to pick up a couple vegan (and raw!) desserts to try.

The head chef came right out to greet us & was incredibly friendly. They had samples of about 8 menu items sitting out for people to try (nuts, breads, crackers, macaroons, etc.), and everything was amazing (especially the raw pizza crackers!). He also took out a piece of their chocolate cheesecake & gave us each a big bite to sample. Totally HEAVENLY.

We had originally wanted to get the banana cream pie, but they didn't have any in the kitchen. (I think they're still finding their "groove" in this retail location, even though they've been doing online orders for quite some time. They don't have a real "sit down" area, and they have a somewhat limited selection of foods on hand at any time. This way, they can ensure that everything is made to order & very fresh. If you call ahead or order online, they will make whatever menu items you want & have them ready for take-out!) Anyway, because they were out of the pie that we requested, the chef offered to give us all FIVE of the desserts that they had in the kitchen for just $20. Considering that each dessert is normally $7-9 dollars, this was a STEAL.

We got:
-Vanilla Macaroons (Divine)
-Mudslide Pie (SO delicious! Truly amazing.)
-Chocolate Cheesecake (Holy yum)
-Lemon Meringue (slightly disappointing; not zesty or sweet enough)
-Key Lime Cheesecake (in the freezer waiting to be devoured at a later date)

Everything, with the exception of the Lemon Meringue, was incredible. I can't wait to go back to try some of their savory dishes! I absolutely love that a place like this has opened in the suburbs, and I hope they have great success so they can stick around! We need more places that have organic, fresh, natural, and vegan food, especially outside the city.

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