I took a field trip to check out ~ALIVE!~ on Lombard, an all-organic raw food restaurant (you may know them from their stand at the farmers’ market). I liked the intimate atmosphere, with its rustic wood tables, Japanese-influenced graphic art on the wall, and dim lighting. Very soothing, and very small. Also one of the quietest places I’ve been in for ages. It was a pleasure to be in a restaurant where I could have almost everything on the menu (well, except the organic wine). In my booze-free existence, I opted for the coconut. I swear, I went wild for my fresh coconut juice, such a tasty treat. The carrot-orange-ginger combo was another vibrant winner.
The appetizers were good, like the flaxseed flatbread with cashew cream, tomatoes, and avocado ($12)—although I’ve had better olives, and I hate out-of-season tomatoes. The maki roll with a sunflower seed miso pate, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms was excellent—it almost had the texture of imitation crab inside. Sadly the entrées followed the path of why I dislike many vegetarian places: why have a pile-up of ingredients, all in one dish? They get muddled, and in this case, sodden. Sodden salads of julienned vegetables, basically. It would be so much better to just let the ingredients stand on their own, or at least simply. In the end, our three dishes ended up feeling very similar to each other. Oh well. The carrot cake dessert topped with cashew cream was a good finish—there were seven desserts to choose from in all. Supposedly there’s a patio in the back, but the night we were there it was a wind tunnel, so no alfresco for us.