Reviews written by Steve Carlson

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I'm vegan
Registered on Aug 16 04

Planet Raw in Los Angeles, California
Aug 26 04

rating star

Since this restaurant was originally listed, the prices here have gone through the roof; with entrees averaging in the $25 range, and micro-sized appetizers go for about $8-10. So plan on spending at least $40 with tax/tip. And add another $8 if you want a beverage and another $8 for desert.

But the prices aren't my biggest issue with this place, rather it's the very mediocre food and the small portion sizes. Also, the much-heralded and much-ballyhooed Juliano oversaturates his food (in my opinion) with too much salt, spices, and oils. This is raw food? Maybe technically, but there's other places out there that are a lot cheaper, A LOT better tasting, and more authentically raw than this farcical excuse for raw food cuisine.

And that's too bad, because the place has a great location, just east of the heart of downtown Santa Monica, California! And the concept is ideal for those health-and-body conscious beach babes. But I'm sorry to say that many people that stumble in there will probably think that the food at Juliano's Raw is somewhat representative of typical raw cuisine, when it's not, in my mind.

Blue Nile in Twin Cities, Minnesota
May 22 05

rating star

I ended up here around on Saturday night, only because Addis Ababa was closed (despite their "Yes we're Open" sign in the door). So it was off to the Blue Nile, and my first appearance at this place since it was a Mexican restaurant back in the 80's. (Ah, the memories...)

And the decor hasn't changed much since then, still the same goofy 70's interior and garish bathroom. But the food is better, as this is a veg-friendly Ethiopian place.

After waiting around for an eternity (even on what appeared to be a slow night), I ordered the Gosa A, or the cheap vegetarian combo ($10.95). And it arrived piping hot at my table shortly thereafter, replete with steaming towel (so as not to lick my fingers - apparently a no-no in the world of Ethipian cuisine).

Unfortunately, I didn't read the other reviews here beforehand, and I had a nice big dollop of sour cream on my otherwise good-looking platter of lentils, yellow split peas, spicy mashed fava beans, spicy red lentils, and a cabbage watt.

The veg food was okay. Though some of the items were quite a bit spicier than most other Ehtiopian food I've had; so much so that I had to make a visit to the bathroom just to blow my nose and give my inflamed mouth and lips a breather.

The cabbage and the yellow split peas were the best of the lot, very good. The others, were nothing special, but good enough that I didn't feel I was being gyped by coming here.

And, I actually left stuffed (unusual for me unless I order a lot), largely because the injera bread is thicker than I've had before, and there was plenty of it (lining the bottom of the platter and a full piece of it on the side).

Overall, I'd rate this place Thumbs Up, but not way up.

Ecopolitan in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Aug 20 04

rating star

I've been to Ecopolitan many times, and each time it has been a rather pleasant experience. The food is always very fresh and very delicious. Portions, in general, are a little small and pricey, but hey, this is raw food; and gourmet at that. (Try New York or L.A. and you'll really be shocked!) My favorite dish at Ecopolitan is the pasta alfredo. It consists of thinly shredded zucchini noodles topped off with a rich, zesty macadamia nut "cheese" sauce. MmmMmm Good! Ecopolitan also has a juice bar, a bookstore, a shop of various eco-friendly household items. Plus, there's outdoor dining for those beautiful Twin City days and nights. And they have free meetings on Tuesday nights to discuss a variety of health-related issues. Overall, a trip to Ecopolitan is my choice as the most worthwhile health-minded experience in the entire Twin Cities.
Try it, you'll like it!

Fasika in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Jun 30 05

rating star

This is one of the better Ethiopian restaurants I've been to (Cafe Lalibela in Tempe, AZ and Merkato in Little Ethiopia (L.A.) may be the only exceptions). And it was very busy at 7pm on Tuesday night.

The injera bread here is different than most I've had, with large "pores," but it's still quite good. As are the vegetarian treats.

I ordered the vegetarian sampler, which comes with their 5 vegetarian menu items: lentils, red lentils pureed, beans, collard greens, and cabbage. All were quite good, esp. the lentils and the beans. And there was plenty of bread, i.e., completely underlining the watts of food, as well as a full-sized hunk of bread on the side. Only the biggest of appetites could eat all this in one sitting. (Which I voraciously and rapaciously managed quite well on my own.)

The service was a different story (something I noticed in other reviews). I might have gotten one word out of the server, but if I did, it was inaudible. Though the food did arrive in record time (any restaurant would be proud), and my bill came to $12, which is pretty darn reasonable for that much food, that good, and served that quickly.

Galactic Pizza in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Oct 21 05

rating star

This was, believe it or not, my very first vegan pizza with "cheese" on it. (But then I've only been on this quest for 21 years, so it was bound to happen sooner or later.) I came here with a local Veg group, and those that had been here before gave the food rave reviews.

I'm not necessarily raving about this place, mostly because I've had a lot better pizza in the past (at other places), sans the "cheese." But I do think this place is worth trying yourself. Mostly because I liked the funky atmosphere of the place. (Not the mention the super-retro kitchen tables and chairs. Probably purchased for a steal on E-Bay!) I also like the enviro-friendly motif promulgated at this place.

As for the food itself, the Vegheads I was sitting with ordered vegan garlic "cheese" bread and the Organic Veggie pizza. The cheese bread was excellent. In fact, so good, I seriously wondered if that "cheese" was from a plant.

The pizza was fairly tasty, despite the apparent lack of veggies. (This was a "Veggie" pizza, after all, wasn't it?) The crust, fortunately, was soft and chewy, nearly perfect, actually. (However, I normally eschew white bread, esp. since this is the 21st Century, and I'd think a place like this would be aware of that recent development.)

Though, unlike the melted "cheese" on the garlic bread, our pizza "cheese" was not particularly melted. I commented to my fellow diners that it looked like "that stuff you see on frozen pizza." I also can't say that it was particularly hot, the so-called "cheese."

At least the sauce on the pizza was hot (enough) and tangy enough, to make this (overall) a thumbs-up culinary experience. And, in fact, I did appreciate being able bite into a piece of pizza (right from the start) that wasn't so hot that I couldn't eat it. (I'm sure we've all been there!)

Also, lest I forget to mention, the Vegetarian company I was keeping just added to a genuinely pleasurable experience. If you (yourself) could repeat that, then by all means check this place out!

Q Cumbers in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Jan 28 05

rating star

Q Cumbers may be classified by some as a basic iceberg lettuce salad bar, but it IS a salad bar in a town largely devoid of them; a town largely devoid of anyplace to get fresh food (beyond the produce section at grocery store), or one of those 12-item so-called "salad bars" (as an ancillary to the main courses) at other places. In a world that is increasingly beginning to (finally) understand the true radical difference between fresh, real food and deranged, degraded, heavily-processed, and purported "food" (with the life cooked to death out of them), Q Cumbers offers people of the Twin Cities an opportunity to consume Real Food. Plus, they do have romaine lettuce, spinach, and a great many vegan options, including delicious vegan soups. Please don't let salad bar naysayers dissuade you from checking out Q Cumbers. (Plus, Q Cumbers floods the market with coupons, so lunch can be had for $6. I'd say that's pretty cheap for all you eat Real Fresh Food.)

Trader Joe's in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Aug 11 06

rating star

Yeah, there's not a lot unique things here for vegetarians to pick from here; beyond the unbelievable selection of whole wheat bread products (sandwich breads, pitas, English muffins, naan, Veggie hot dog buns, etc., etc., etc.); a wide variety of ready-to-eat foods (packaged lettuce, cut veggies, veggie sandwiches, dolmas, olives, fresh salsas, Veggie dips and sandwich spreads, innumerable types of hummus, etc., etc., etc.); amazing and inexpensive frozen fruit and vegetable choices; Veggie burgers; frozen Veggie dinners; Veggie pizzas; an incredible array of dirt-cheap dried fruits and nuts; Veggie snacks and dips; whole-grain pasta products, rice, canned goods; soy and rice milks; health and beauty products; supplements; non-irradiated spices; a good supply of fresh produce; their own liquor store next door (with beer and wine); and much, much more...and most prdoucts have with substantially LOWER PRICES than your friendly Co-op or health-food store! (Most of Trader Joe's products carry their own label.) Parking is indeed tight, especially during prime time, but there is street parking and a well-lit parking ramp one measly block away. If you're a really pissed-off person, you probably won't like this place (esp. seeing all those other customers who are overjoyed at the selection and prices). So, for the rest of us, it's like Seventh Heaven!

Go Raw Cafe - Westside in Las Vegas, Nevada
Aug 15 08

rating star

I'm a little surprised by some these reviews/ratings. This is, after all, gourmet VEGAN RAW FOOD! The portions are not typically huge, because this is not the cheap, heavily-processed, low-quality junk that you'll find at most restaurants in the U.S.A. The food here is of the highest quality and finest taste. And you'll pay for that. (It's 4-star food in a 1-star setting.) If you're on welfare or a Wal-Mart budget and you expect something along the lines of yet another spoiled-brat-minded freebie handout or an all-you-can-eat place for the cost of Luby's Cafeteria, you will likely be disappointed. (As I can tell by some of these reviews/ratings.) Still, it's surprising to me that there are ratings for this venue of 1 (lowly, measly) Star for a restaurant that features VEGAN RAW FOOD!

For raw cuisine, Go Raw is about as good as it gets. It's the only restaurant in the entire U.S. that gets my coveted rating of a perfect 5. It's that good. And compared to other raw restaurants around the country, the prices are actually cheaper than most places; and yet, the food is better! Try to beat that!

Go Raw has so many flavors, so many carefully-prepared layers, that it's easy for this stuff to be sensational. The Lasagna is to live for! The Green Burrito will blow you away! As will the other dishes as well.

No doubt, the Soup Nazi would love to get his hands on these recipes!

Go Raw!

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