No Stovetop Needed
I’m sure you all know that a strict vegetarian diet is devoid of all animal flesh. For lacto-ovo
vegetarians, they can still consume animal products like milk, eggs and cheese usually if said
animal products originated from animals that were humanely raised. For pure vegetarians or
vegans, even humanely raised animal products are taboo so their diet is totally devoid of animal
products. And then there’s the raw vegan diet. In the words of Monty Python; “And now for
something completely different”. Not only is the raw vegan diet devoid of any animal products
but any processing or “cooking” of the food cannot exceed 118 degrees F (I’ve also seen
references citing an upper threshold of 104 degrees F).
Many converts to the raw vegan diet feel that traditional cooking can produce toxins by the use
of excessive heat and destroy vital enzymes in the food. It’s also felt that consuming food that is
alive is a healthier alternative that can enhance your spiritual well-being as an added benefit. It
is known that certain B vitamins and Vitamin C levels are reduced when heat is applied to foods
containing these vitamins. On the flip side, heating also liberates other nutrients that would
remain trapped in plant cells like lycopene from tomatoes or improving the availability of beta-
carotene from carrots. Heating also helps denature natural compounds that reduce the
availability of minerals like iron, selenium, calcium and zinc.
Consuming more raw vegetable matter and less animal matter, namely livestock can help to
reduce the production of greenhouse gases several times over. For starters, along with saving the
copious amounts of water needed for livestock husbandry, those critters also produce a load of
methane. Methane has at least a 20 fold potential as carbon dioxide to trap heat in our
atmosphere. And once you get that shrink wrapped piece of meat home, you’re probably
cooking it via and electric or gas stovetop which again creates an abundance of greenhouse gases
since gas and electric burners are usually less than 50% efficient at cooking any meal. However
plant matter doesn’t use as much water to propagate and a lot of veggies don’t even need any
cooking – in the case of raw vegan it’s zero cooking. But if you must cook your veggies (or
meat for that matter), consider an induction cooker which is 84% energy efficient.
Almost a Raw Vegan
I think I’m almost there… I mean I consume my fair share of raw cuisine like oysters, ahi,
salmon and even beef (carpaccio and tartare) but I guess those products wouldn’t make it on
the vegan list. In fact they’re almost polar opposites. But then again, I also consume my fair
share of real vegan foods like whole grains, legumes and plant material from the leaves and stems
all the way down to the roots. But I do apply heat in the process of preparing these foods
especially the grains and legumes so that nixes the raw part. So I guess that makes me a
Sometimes Raw Sometimes Vegan. But all jokes aside, I do occasionally enjoy a good raw vegan
meal and there’s none better in the 50th than Greens and Vines. Run by the wife and husband
team of Sylvia and Pete Thompson, it began about 10 years ago after Pete suffered a heart
attack and Sylvia was determined to reverse the usual course of heart disease via the vegan diet.
The initial business was Licious Dishes which created raw vegan takeout meals offering several
meal plans which eventually spread to various weekly Farmer’s Markets throughout the 50th and
with the couple’s love of wine turned into Greens and Vines which is now situated in a brick and
mortar setting in Honolulu. Sylvia handles the food preparation (remember that nothing is
cooked) while Pete manages the restaurant wine list. Greens and Vines serves lunch and dinner
and occasionally special wine seminars usually facilitated by one of Hawaii’s three Master
Sommeliers. And with the arrival of the Coravin in Hawaii, they can offer most of their wine list
by the glass if you desire, including a glass of 2010 Sassicaia.
On an earlier visit, we sampled several appetizers including the:
*Not-Tuna on Onion Bread:
Organic Sunflower Seeds, Macadamia Nut “Mayonnaise,” Coconut Water, Dill, Dulse, Green
Onions, Celery, and Licious Date Mustard.
Bread: Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Brown Flax, Yellow Onions, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, and
Organic Ohsawa Wheat-Free Tamari.
The seed and nut based “mayonnaise” more than adequately replaced the traditional mayonnaise
while the dulce ably substituted for the seafood flavor in tuna. The “bread” provided a pleasing
crunch not unlike a good whole grain cracker and tied the dish together.
Falafels made of Almonds, Marinated Sweet Onions, Ho Farms Tomatoes, Tahini Sauce, in Kula
Butter Lettuce cups.
These falafels obviously weren’t fried as frying requires at least 350 degrees so my guess is this
dish combined different textures of ground almonds with various spices. The marinated onions
balanced the richness of the almonds and tahini while the cherry tomatoes added a vibrant
component to the dish.
Layers of Seasoned Zucchini instead of Pasta, Basil Pesto, Sun-dried Tomato Marinara,
Macadamia Nut “Ricotta,” Spinach and Sliced Tomatoes.
Though the rich spicy flavors of any good lasagna were there, the zucchini “pasta” really
lightened and brightened the flavors of the dish so much so that I could have had 2nds and 3rds.
This dish really exemplified the fresher flavors that can be created with raw cuisine while still
staying true to the original.
Wicked Chocolate Tart:
100% Organic Raw Cacao Powder, Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Raw Agave
Nectar & an Almond Crust with Organic Maple Syrup Powder.
WOW! What else can I say about this dessert other than the Mrs. would have consumed a whole
dish by herself if you gave her the chance. Rich, chocolaty and decadent!
Greens and Vines also caters and makes Party Platters To Go so even if vegan or raw isn’t your
cuisine of choice, the next time you’re visiting the 50th and tire of the endless buffets and rich
“vacation” food, consider a take-out or Party Platter to refresh your taste buds. And sample a
glass or two of vino from Pete’s extensive wine list.
Am I a Raw Vegan convert? Well, as you know I love my “sunny sides” and lox too much to
even consider a vegan diet let alone a raw vegan diet but every now and then, it is a refreshing
change from the usual.
Greens and Vines
NineONine Kapiolani condominium
909 Kapiolani Blvd. Unit B
Honolulu, HI 96814
Dinner: Mon-Sat, 5pm-9pm.
Lunch: Mon-Sat, 11am-2pm.