Eat In The Raw in Highland Park
In The Raw’s sous chef Rich Sowa and owner Beth Taussig. | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
In The Raw
483 Central Ave., Highland Park
7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday
(847) 432-9999 or see: intherawhp.com
Updated: October 24, 2012 12:17PM
“We are an organic, vegan, gluten free, raw food restaurant.”
Beth Taussig is speaking proudly of her original concept eatery, In The Raw, launched in Highland Park just three months ago. Despite this seemingly daunting list of adjectives, Taussig, who created the concept in partnership with raw food guru and chef Matthew Kenney, says local response has been outstandingly supportive.
“People are really into eating healthy,” she said.
But it’s one thing to eat healthy and a whole other animal to go raw. For those who find the thought of non-dairy, non-fried, not pre-packaged or processed, and pasta-and-bread-free dining just this side of overwhelming, Taussig has these words of advice: “Introduce some type of organic raw food into your diet every day. Just one thing.”
You don’t have to go whole hog, says the fresh-skinned mom of three who admits to living raw 50 percent of the week. “It’s not that hard.” Taussig does believe in cutting out dairy and any meat products or “any product that harms an animal.”
Not one item on Raw’s menu contains eggs or milk or any kind of animal byproduct despite the fact that it is chock full of dishes that seem like they should. Like, say, ravioli, which Raw makes from beets. Or the dumplings made of coconut “meat,” and desserts like cheesecake with cashew cream cheese.
Raw’s contemporary cuisine incorporates tastes from a range of cultures including Italian, Indian, Mediterranean and Asian. Kenney still consults on the menus.
If you want to work toward raw eating, Taussig recommends starting with one juice or meal. “Get a taste of both so you can see how each menu item makes you feel.”
Raw’s fresh, vegan tacos are made with pumpkin seed “ground beef,” mango salsa and fresh guacamole. The fillings are wrapped inside spicy, fresh-corn and sun-dried tomato shells and topped with thinly-sliced red cabbage ($14).
Another Raw secret is that ingredients burst with flavor. For instance, a vegan lasagna constructed with thinly-sliced fresh zucchini instead of noodles, and macadamia nut “ricotta cheese” binding layers of heirloom tomatoes, and with parsley oil and pistachio-basil pesto finishing off the delectable dish you may want to lick your fingers for every last crumb. ($15 – dinner only).
The pasta primavera is noodle in name only, made of spiraled zucchini “noodles,” herb house-dried tomatoes, arugula and fresh ground black peppercorns ($14).
For dessert, fall in love with the malted chocolate tart with a pink salt almond crust and tangy filling made of macadamia nuts, hazelnut milk, maple syrup and carob. Comes served with a scoop of decadent vanilla bean cream ($10).
And just in time for fall, the pumpkin cheesecake features a wild-pecan crust topped with a heady combination of cultured cashew cream cheese infused with farm pumpkin mousse, vanilla bean whipped cream, candied pecans, a dusting of spicy ginger and cinnamon ($9).
“I just want to offer an alternative to the North Shore and show what healthy, organic food should be and what (people) should be putting in their bodies,” said Taussig.
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