The closest most people come to eating raw food is carrot sticks or sushi rolls.

The increasingly popular raw food lifestyle is emerging as a recent health phenomenon, with new restaurants popping up all over Los Angeles. The idea behind this dietary practice is that foods lose their nutrients and natural enzymes when cooked over 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Essentially, foods should remain “live,” or as close to their natural state as possible, in order for the body to absorb the most benefits.

Though the concept of eating uncooked food sounds hard to swallow, eating at Cru in Silver Lake is an inspirational experience. But can lukewarm vegan food really taste good?

Chef Rachel Carr’s exquisite, gourmet recipes practically guarantee it. Using only organic, seasonal and locally grown fruits and vegetables, her menu has the raw equivalent of a four-course meal covered, from soups and salads to entrées and desserts. There is even an offering of cooked vegan food for those who just want a hot and healthy meal.

The Spicy Curried Squash Soup is a refreshing starter. Made from pureed kabocha squash, apples, spices and a dollop of coconut yogurt, the flavor of the soup is subtle yet complex.

The blend of apples with squash gives the soup an ever-so-slight sweetness that marries well with the tartness of the coconut yogurt. Each bite ends with an almost undetectable spiciness that surprises the tongue with each subsequent spoonful.

Though having soup at any other restaurant would leave most people too full for the main course, let alone a salad, the lightness of the soup is an ideal segue into the Strawberry Mint Cucumber Salad. It tastes even lovelier than it sounds, with cucumber rounds, sliced strawberries and chopped mint tossed with mixed greens and a lemon poppyseed dressing. Each flavor is enhanced by the presence of the other, making this unlikely combination the most perfect salad in the universe.

The Pumpkin Walnut Chorizo is an intriguing entrée, with the texture of crumbled walnuts and a seasoned, smoky aroma wrapped neatly within thinly sliced cucumbers. Though this dish was not bad, it lacked the gusto of its predecessors.

The much-anticipated Chocolate Fudge Cake is more solid than a typical slice of cake: the surface is firm, like a piece of chocolate, but the texture on the tongue is smooth and melty … like a piece of chocolate.

The remnants of dining at Cru are a glow and a smile – because you will feel as alive as the food you just devoured.

For more information, visit


Raw Radar

5913 W. Franklin Ave., Hollywood

(323) 461-4545;

Leaf Cuisine

14318 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks

(818) 907-8779

11938 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City

(310) 390-6005;

Rawvolution Loves Euphoria

2301 Main St., Santa Monica

(310) 392-9501;

Juliano’s Raw

609 Broadway, Santa Monica

(310) 587-1552;

Terra Bella Café

1408 Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach

(310) 316-8708;