Raw veganism is alive and well at Om Garden. Like owner Dionette Kalkhofer, I first sampled such delights at Lifefood Gourmet (which used to occupy the space above Om Garden.) It was love at first bite. Flavorful, colorful, and healthy, vegan food prepared without heat above 118 degrees Fahrenheit is a feast for the eyes and the body. My preconceptions were debunked. She started a restaurant.
Possibly the best thing about eating raw and vegan is the way you feel after a meal. Rather than lulling into a food coma, you are invigorated! So if you don't
strictly adhere to this type of lifestyle, there is no better time of day to
flirt with it than a workday lunch. Trust me, your clients (and bosses) will thank you for it.
Om Garden has been at its location in The Roads/Shenandoah (the area in between
Brickell and Coral Gables around Coral Way) for a little over a year
and a half. On a recent visit, Kalkhofer divulged that they are
currently in negotiations for a bigger space on South Beach. It's
where I first met her, when we were both munching on pizzas at then
newly opened Casale.
On the specials menu the other day was the
Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich on Raw Onion Bread. It called my name and did
not disappoint. Shredded romaine lettuce got a light toss in an
eggplant-based dressing and was piled high atop a juicy red tomato
slice, layers of crunchy, thinly-sliced pickled cucumbers, and a base
of bean curd fashioned into a yummy tuna salad-like mixture. This beauty, times two, rested open-faced on
a raw onion bread pita-like base, with a nest of sprouts on top.
With the special came a cup with beautiful magenta beets, cubed and tossed with slivered cabbage and re-hydrated chick peas (the ones that are dried and not from a can.) A side salad of mesclun greens accompanied.