Lifefood Gourmet, which moved a while ago to an airy new location on Coral Way, promises to be a mecca for healthy eaters, vegans and raw-foodists alike. Advertised as "the most sustainable cuisine on the planet," Lifefood makes guilt-free dining easy with no dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, corn, chemicals, "strange proteins" or anything artificial -- everything on the menu is truly fresh, raw, wholesome, and thankfully, legitimately delicious.
My companion and I arrived hungry and got to work on the appetizer sampler. The cucumber rolls were filled with a sumptuous nut pate that could put any cream-based filling to shame, and the Mexican nachos were smothered with a hearty amount of guacamole and pumpkin "meat" (though it could have included a few more chips as we grabbed forks to scoop up the remainder of the topping). The nori crisps were better than the best blue corn tortilla chips. The world-traveler dining next to us couldn't help but comment that he bought some to take with him on his next trip to Costa Rica, but only made it down the block before he devoured the entire bag.
For the main course we split their burger and the NYC "cheese" pizza. The burger was served on sprouted quinoa bread which was great as some raw places try to use flax crackers and it ends up feeling like a giant hors d'oeuvres. It came with a side salad of house greens covered in a refreshing dill dressing that they should consider bottling for mass consumption. The pizza had a thick sun-dried crust, flavorful fresh tomatoes and toppings, and the perfect sprinkling of dried oregano to give it that real NYC feel.
Some people incorrectly suspect that eating such ridiculously nature-y food will leave them wanting but by the time we dropped our forks (and still had leftovers), we were far too full for dessert. Head chef John Schott certainly knows what he is doing as far as coming up with innovative raw recipes that are not only uniquely tasty but satisfying as well.
As one might surmise, the only downside to a place like Lifefood Gourmet is that the food is a bit pricey. A "Goji Magic" shake with hemp milk, goji, hemp, maca, tocos, vanilla and honey runs $11, but the pizza was a steal at $13. Clearly though, if you bought all those fresh, organic ingredients at Whole Foods, the bill plus the time to prepare everything makes it more than a bargain for what you get. Lifefood also uses biodegradable/recycled tableware amongst other eco-friendly practices so you can feel good supporting such a progressive and necessary local business. Highly recommended.
Lifefood Gourmet (1248 SW 22nd St., Miami), 305-856-6767, www.lifefoodgourmet.com.
For more information of meat-free eating in Miami, visit Lolo's blog meatlessmiami.com.