Thursday, January 06, 2011

Eating Vegan at Leaf Organics with Rod Rotondi

It was time to try Leaf Organics. We'd passed it a few times when it wasn't open. We try to eat mostly vegetarian, and we're always looking for new options. And this one turned out to be way more than we expected.

We had my mom with us - she's game to try new things still in her late 80s - and the place was bright and colorful with people coming and going.

You order at a counter and it took a little time to sort through the menu.  Most of the items were marked R (raw).

I got one of the few C (cooked) items, Vegan Chile which had great tastes hidden in it.

We also got a Vegan Burger, Gazpacho, and Rawsagna. 

But the highlight had to be the chocolate cake, which came as one serving on two plates with raspberry sauce. 

I couldn't help thinking, "We need a place like this in Anchorage."  I'd already had thoughts about how we needed more vegetarian options in Anchorage, but this experience pushed me to talk to the chef.  (As I write this I'm thinking how I'm not saying anything about the Organic Oasis, which we should be going to, but just feels uninviting.  OK, we'll give it another try when we get back and I'll try to figure out why I feel this way.)

Anyway, Rod Rotondi said he does do classes and travels to different places for that.  Now I want to plan a weekend for him to come up, do a class, and prepare a meal.  That was the general picture and I'll have to talk to him again about more details.  But I'd love to do this.  So if there are any of you out there who want to help me figure this out, leave comments and/or email me.

Here's his book, which we bought - when I realized the chef was the author - and we're going to use it to convert some of our friends, maybe.

When vegetarian food is presented as a non-meat version of a carnivore favorite, the eaters will always be disappointed because it doesn't taste the same as the original.  So it's really important to come up with totally different dishes designed to take advantage of the the non-meat possibilities.  India does this magnificently.  There, meat dishes are "non-veg".

The menu here does include choices like the rawsagna and vegie burger, which to new folks may be less daunting.  Perhaps if they had pictures of the dishes it would help.  We saw things being carried out to other tables and thought, we should have ordered that. 

Like with most people, there is far more to Rod than one first sees.  He did mention that he'd spent time in the middle east (he's not fond of cold weather, so we have to bring him up in the summer), but there was a lot more to it.  From the Leafcuisine website:

After graduating with a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School, Rod’s life took a dramatic turn. Volunteer work in Morocco and Tunisia as a manager of grass roots development projects was followed by a 6 years in Jerusalem as a Program Management Officer for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) trying to develop the private sector of the Occupied Terretories. Six years and many harrowing stories later, Rod moved to Dahab, Egypt, a Bedouin village along the Sinai Peninsula. . . 
For LA folks,  Leaf Organics is at 11938 W. Washington Blvd a few blocks east of Centinela.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.