Raw Food Cafe in Pennsylvania in the News
The Morning Call, a Pennsylvania newspaper, published an article about Arnold's Way Vegetarian Raw Cafe. If you live near Landsdale, PA and you're a raw foodist, you've got a new restaurant to try out. Unfortunately, I don't live near PA, but for those who do…this is for you…
Raw Restaurant Offers Tasty, Inventive Vegan Fare
By Pervaiz Shallwani
Of The Morning Call
Veggies, I like. But a Lansdale eatery that prepares traditional all-American dishes using only raw vegan ingredients?
Will it be tasteless? Or will the dishes be a throwback to the scrumptious eats I encountered during a short stay in the country's unofficial vegetable mecca, San Francisco?
Gotta find out.
My friend Steve and I head to investigate Arnold's Way Vegetarian Organic Raw Cafe. If nothing else, Steve's puerile personality could make for an amusing afternoon. (He was puzzled and disgusted by a self-help book on display about the healthy benefits of consuming your own urine.) This tiny cafe and cluttered health food store sits tucked inside a shopping mall on W. Main Street. It is designed to be a one-stop shop for healthy, earth-friendly living, complete with organic toothpaste, sandals and shoes.
Customers flutter through in a steady stream, some eating wraps — rolled with seaweed, not a flour tortilla — others sitting on a love seat with a "banana whip" or chocolate mousse, which actually is carob, bananas and dates ''served a la chocolate Sunday style." (It was not my favorite.) One thing is clear: Owner Arnold Kauffman is serious about raw, organic, vegan cuisine. Seated, we are greeted with a sample of flavored banana whips, a sweet treat of frozen and pureed bananas that create the smooth consistency of ice cream or frozen yogurt.
"Yogurt?" Steve asked after the first spoonful.
"No yogurt, ever," Arnold blurted from behind the counter.
"Don't go there."
Arnold is convinced "the No. 1 reason for all diseases is based on dairy products."
Arnold, 57, has been experimenting with a raw diet ever since a heart condition forced him into a hospital more than 13 years ago. He had stuck to it 100 percent but has slipped to 95, including some boiled potatoes. "When I was 45, before I knew I didn't know anything, I started developing chest pains." The pains got so bad that Arnold had to make a hospital detour while driving his daughter to school one day. "I didn't think I was going to make it."
Obviously, Arnold did make it, but he wanted a healthier lifestyle. Thirteen years ago that quest led to the original Arnold's Way in the glitzy Manayunk section of Philadelphia. "[Eating raw] is hard for people to do. What you eat for breakfast, what you eat for lunch and what you do for dinner has to be re-evaluated," Arnold preaches.
"The thing that turned me on the most is that if you change the way you eat, you can pretty much reverse the aging process," swears Arnold, who looks his age and a little wiry.
He is trying to regain sight in one eye by drinking 80 to 100 ounces of carrot juice daily. He was accidentally poked by his grandson. Doctors told him surgery would cure the problem in a half-hour, but Arnold is waiting eight months, hoping to fix it naturally. Arnold moved to Lansdale in 2002 because "I live around here and my rent had skyrocketed four times."
The recipes were developed by Arnold and his daughter, Maya, many of which while doing mundane chores. A meatless ''stake," surprisingly red and close in texture to steak, and with its own juicy flavor, came about while driving down Bethlehem Pike. "I thought I need something red because a steak is pinkish in color," Arnold said. "You want a juicy steak. Beets and carrots are for color and consistency and cashews help hold it together."
The wraps: Arnold was in line at the restaurant supply store and the restaurant owner in front is "famous" for them. Immediately, he thought "nori" — paper-thin seaweed used to roll sushi. The "living bread" is a variation of a recipe that includes "a little oil and salt to make it Americanized." It's made using pulp after a carrot is juiced. The pulp is mixed with flaxseed and buckwheat that has germinated for a night. Together they make a loaf, which tastes moist and looks fittingly compact. The menu, unheated and uncooked, has grown to more than 60 dishes including burgers, pizza, spaghetti, nachos and the region's gastronomical staple sandwich, cleverly spelled "cheze stake."
The Pick-Me-Up soup — pureed carrot, celery, broccoli and red cabbage — is a forest green hue with a little spice to give it heat. It was OK. The Polynesian delight, a salad with frozen mango and pineapple mixed with shredded coconut and chopped almonds, is crunchy, sweet and pleasantly exotic in appearance and flavor. A "cheze burger" has "cheese sauce" of pureed sunflower seeds, but who would have thought a burger could be served at room temperature? It's a little dry, but the plate was cleaned, although I still don't like raw mushrooms.
Sally's red salad, a mound of minced beet, red pepper, tomato, carrot, red cabbage and green olives served on a bed of lettuce, looks like a mini red hill that Steve swears was "great." Yogurt or not, he had another whip. He just about licked it clean on the drive back.
Reversing the aging process? OK, maybe. But we'll pass on "Urine Therapy: Nature's Elixir for Good Health."
"Even if I lived 200 years, I am not going to drink my own urine," Steve remarked.
Neither would Arnold.
"That's where I draw the line."