Thursday, May 1, 2008

Great Sage! Could those be a durians?

As promised, today I am going to fill you in on the little adventure Rawbin and I took Tuesday. I'd like to refer to it as our durian quest (it's about time the two of us got our hands on some, and there was no better time to make this trek than in honor of both our birthdays).

Now, since I did manage to take my camera, I'll spare you the lengthy text. So, here is a photo summary of our day.

Our first stop was the H Mart in Catonsville, Md. Rawbin had gotten a tip that this particular market carried our prickly stinky fruit.

As you can see, we found what we were looking for, so we posed for this pic in the produce section. Rawbin's durian weighed in at 8 pounds, while I selected a smaller 6 pounder. We also picked up a few extra items, including some dried persimmons (sorry, no photo, but I think they looked a little like donuts).

Obviously, we weren't posing for Glamour Shots; the durians are the focus in this pic.

After seizing the treasure at the end of our hunt (wow, that didn't take long), we headed on to Conscious Corner in Clarksville, Md. to celebrate our find. For those of you unfamiliar with this location, it is the home of Roots Market, Bark, The Nest and Great Sage (you may have seen this veg-friendly restaurant in an issue of VegNews magazine).

Our first stop was Roots Market, a small organic market, which even caters to raw foodies. Just check out the refrigerated section of prepared raw snacks (you have to see it to believe it, so I made sure to get this shot), in addition to various other raw ingredients and bulk foods (not pictured, although I did pick up these raw cacao and goji berry chunks of energy from the bulk section; I know I could've made them myself, but sometimes it is nice to have someone else do it for you).

I picked up some of the basics, like my favorite Artisana Coconut Butter (not to be confused with the usual coconut oil; coconut butter has some of the meat blended in, too). But, I also made sure to get some birthday treats for myself, including High Country Goji Berry Kombu Cha, edible flowers (I enjoyed these alongside some heirloom tomatoes in my salad last night, pictured below) and a nonraw Vosges Black Pearl Bar (hey, it was for a special occasion, and Natalia Rose said it was okay. Besides, it was good quality dark chocolate, flavored with wasabi, ginger and black sesame seeds - I bet I could make a raw version next time I want some).

All this talk about food was making me hungry, so we headed over to Great Sage, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, for a bite to eat. Everyone there is so nice; they recognize gluten-free and other various dietary restrictions, preparing your meal as you request.

I had this strawberry and asparagus salad, which I opted to have avocado added to it. I also sipped on a Sunrise smoothie made from strawberries, mango and white grape juice.

Rawbin shared her hummus plate with me, too. She ordered it with extra veggies instead of the usual pita chips. Then, she continued with these flavors in her main meal - this Mediterranean wrap, minus the wrap, and served on a bed of lettuce. She also ordered a maple walnut smoothie.

We had so much fun at the restaurant that we just had to pose for a couple pics. Here is Rawbin and the tree she had been focusing on behind me during our meal.

And, there's yours truly being my usual goofy self in front of the waterfall art I had been admiring the whole time we were there (you can't tell in the pic, but there is water running through it).

Lastly, we went to the Nest (a little eco-friendly boutique, which sells organic cotton, bamboo, soy and hemp clothing, vegan footwear, jewelry, books, gifts, etc.), but unfortunately, left empty handed. I need to save some money for this weekend when my mom and I go shopping in Georgetown/D.C. (I love Lush and American Apparel; I'm wearing a shirt and tank from there in the photos) and to lunch at Java Green (they have added more raw items to the menu; I can't wait to check it out).

But, before I move on to this weekend, I need to tell you about the durian, which we sampled at my mom's house. Now, maybe we don't know anything about selecting the best one, but after sampling both, I have to say I don't care for them. At least I had the chance to experience it for myself. For now, it will be a large contribution to my mom's compost pile. Oh well, we can still say we tried it :-)


Charissa said...

Awwww, what a sweet adventure. Sounds like such fun!!!

Lol, I feel the same way about durians. (I wish I liked them). The smell made me feel almost sick, but my cats ADORED it!!! They love avacado too. :0)

Lovingraw said...

Java Green, my buddy DJ owns that place. He is such a great guy.

What did you think of the taste of the durian?

Rawbin... looking hot in that shirt! : )

shannonmarie said...

Charissa, I'm actually glad to hear that we weren't the only ones that didn't like them. I was surprised since there isn't much when it comes to food that I don't enjoy eating (at least when it is plant-based).

Philip, have fun celebrating the end of your juice feast at the Chocolate Rave in NY. Rawbin and I were hoping to go. We are so proud of you.

Java Green is one of my favorite places to eat. DJ was actually the one who informed me of the changes to the menu. He's so sweet.

As for the durian, for some reason I expected it to taste much sweeter. I don't know how to describe it, but Rawbin thinks it tastes like carmelized onions, which isn't something I want my fruit to taste like.

Anonymous said...

a friend of mine said it tasted like "rotten onions". now that the onion theme seems to be the standard experience, I think I'll avoid it. ;)

RawBin said...

Why thank you Philip!! Haha! We looked like we planned to wear matching colors. I don't know if I've met DJ there before, but it was only my second time there.
Shannon, I actually did finish off the durian! I tried it again in the morning when I was hungry. I tried it plain at room temp (not too bad). I tried it in a smoothie(overpowering-did not finish). I tried it with a sprinkle of sea salt (now that wasn't too bad either!)
The goats refused to eat the bit I offered them. The cat seemed curious about the smell when I was pulling it apart and took the piece I offered, but didn't actually eat it. The dog liked shredding the husk.
Here's the weirdest part. I offered a piece to my hubby last night and he took a spoonful. He said, "hmm, like icecream" and then I offered him the baby coconut I was eating. He tried a bite and said, "eew, yuk". Go figure!

RawBin said...

Oh, duh, I've been to Great Sage twice, not Java Green. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Awww!! You two are so cute! What a fun time you both had together! I love that you took pictures and shared them with us!

I'm sure you already know how lucky you are to have a place that sells premade raw foods!! WOW! They have a great selection there!

As for durian, I think I'm not so eager to try it after hearing Rawbin describe it and now reading your response, as well. Sure, I'll try it sometime--I'm just not in any hurry, now!

Lots of love to you, Shannonmarie!

Wendi Dee

HiHoRosie said...

Looks like a fun-filled day! And you tried durian huh? I'm too afraid to try it because so many people (my husband included) don't like it and I'm picky so I just know I shouldn't bother. Oh well. :) Isn't $0.99/lb for a durian pretty cheap though? Not that it matters since I won't eat it.

Thanks for sharing your raw day!

Allison said...

I just cannot get up the nerve to buy a whole durian!! If I could just taste it before carrying that monstrosity home... I would love to know more about your experience, such as your reaction to the texture, aroma, etc. (Cruel, aren't I?) :-) Thanks for the great post!

Kristen's Raw said...

That sounds like such a FUN day. Great pics! :)


shannonmarie said...

juusan, although I said it tasted like onions to me, it might still be worth a try. Not everyone has the same taste buds, and some people really love the stuff.

Rawbin, so you like the durian better when you tried it again? And, your husband preferred it to the coconut? Weird. By the way, happy birthday!

Wendi Dee, I am so happy that you were able to post a comment this time. Thanks for the compliment. Like I said to juusan, don't let our durian experience bias you.

Rosie, I think $.99 a pound is pretty cheap for a durian, but it starts to add up due to their size. Actually, I think they were on sale that week.

Allison, although I didn't like the durian, I'm still happy to have tried it. The whole experience was fun and well worth it.

It didn't smell as bad as I expected. However, that may have been due to the fact that we opened them outside and they did still have a chill to them (we purchased them frozen).

When we cracked it open, the inside looked a little disturbing; my mom thought the fruit looked like raw chicken, while I thought it resembled scrambled eggs.

The texture is a little like custard, which was nice. It does have some sweetness, but then, I could taste a hint of onion, mostly in the skin.

Thanks, Kristen. It was fun :-)

Anonymous said...

I just visited Great Sage and Roots Market for the first time yesterday! I also picked up the raw cacao goji berry bites:) I actually wrote about the experience at my blog: I live in Hampden and usually shop at Whole Foods, but I will definitely be visiting Roots more often now! I love your blog:)

shannonmarie said...

Thanks sundari. I checked out your blog and will probably be stopping by to read more in the future. I didn't realize we were so close.