Rockin’ Raw: Williamsburg’s First Raw Restaurant

June 4, 2009

by Joshua Katcher


Rockin’ Raw is a vegan raw-food restaurant serving organic-Peruvian-New-Orleanian-creole-inspired cuisine. It’s located very close to the Bedford L-train, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and has a great outdoor, backyard garden area. It is a refreshing and innovative addition to the Willaimsburg restaurant scene, which tends to be very uncreatively meat-centric.

The first thing I tried was the Raw Boy “Tuna” Sandwich, which had a satisfying, seafood flavor. I was blown away by the raw bread. It was tender, chewy, and not too dense or heavy. It’s the sort of bread I could eat every day and not be aware that it’s raw! I don’t even know how they make raw bread. This dish is perfect for anyone new to, or skeptical of raw foods because it’s just like an artisan sandwich.


The Tallarines Verdes de La Lala was a live pesto-pasta dish. Thin strips of zucchini replace traditional semolina pasta. As a hardcore Italian food and pasta-lover, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The pesto was rich and garlicky, and it was sprinkled with cheesy nutritional yeast. The best part was that it didn’t leave me feeling bloated and sick. .


My friend got the Louisiana Gumbo. If you like Okra, you will enjoy this dish. The “sausage” in it was smokey and savory, and the gumbo-base was spicy and very complex.


An Appetizer we shared was the “Crab Cakes” with Creamy Dill Sauce. I believe there was horseradish in the dipping sauce, which matched the cakes nicely. I have never had traditional Crab Cakes, so I can not make the comparison, but they were like little veggie burgers, and quite enjoyable.


I had a refreshing and delicious Cucumber Mojito, and also tried the gingery Watermelon Cooler. I would definitely recommend those drinks, as well as the Strawberry Milk Shake, which was out of this world.


Believe it or not, we made room for dessert! The nut-based Lucuma ice-cream was a new flavor experience for my palate. It’s made from a Peruvian fruit, the lucuma, which has hints of maple, caramel and coffee. The chocolate sauce was outstanding, and the ice-cream itself was creamier than the vanilla (on the Peach Cobbler), which I found to be tasty, but a bit on the chalky-icy side.



Overall, it’s a great spot with a chill outdoor seating area, and a very welcoming vibe. It’s laid-back, relaxed, delicious, and the staff is very friendly! Now go check it out!

Click HERE for menu, directions, and reservations.

Boutiques, Sweets, Slices, & Endangered Bears

May 17, 2008

1. Eco Boutique Opens in LA.
An awesome eco-boutique, Visionary, has opened in West Hollywood – but so far it’s only for the ladies. Hey Visionary! Don’t forget about us Brutes!

2. Penny Licks is Vegan Sweets Heaven!
Last night at Penny Licks – Melissa, Jodi and I indulged in vegan brownie sundays with soy whipped-cream and a cherry on top! While wearing a gorgeous Organic cotton polo, I had a peanut-butter brownie sunday with temptation cookie-dough vegan ice cream. Jodi went to town on a huge slice of vegan coconut cream cake from Vegan Treats. To top that off, We ate with biodegradable corn-based spoons and ate out of biodegradable cups. Not everything is vegan here, but most of it is, and most of it is organic as well. This is my new favorite spot! See you there….

Penny Licks

3. Vinnie’s Pizzeria Makes Love to the Vegan Pie.vinnies vegan pizza
Just a few doors down from Penny Licks, Vinnie’s Pizzeria is putting shame to any other pizza place that has attempted to do vegan pies before. There isn’t just one “we have to put something out to take economic advantage of those annoying vegans” pie. Every day there are at least three innovative pies, in addition to handwheels, rolls, and sandwiches. They use Teese, from the same people that brought you Temptation.

4. Polar Bear on Official “Endangered Species” list. this week, the Secretary of the Interior placed the polar bear on the Endangered Species List as a threatened species.The listing is clearly a step in the right direction. Much more needs to be done — to save the polar bear and solve the climate crisis.

Horror Chick Flicks & Supreme Scramble

May 10, 2008


1. The BEST tofu-scramble I have ever had is at Bliss, an unassuming hole-in-the-wall organic, vegetarian brunch and dinner joint, in a prime location on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg. The music is innocently and charmingly terrible, the staff is adorable and sweet, and the homemade cashew cookies and chocolate cupcakes are addictive. The winner, though, is the amazing, savory, soy scramble that keeps me coming back at least once a week.

**Cash Only**
191 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Cross Street: Btwn N 6th & N 7th Sts
Public Transit: L @ Bedford Ave

2. Trader Joe’s has finally abandoned Gemperle Enterprises Eggs after friends of DB, Mercy For Animals, exposed undercover investigative footage of the gross neglect and cruel treatment of hens at Gemperle Enterprises’ factory egg farm in California. Like the Westland Meat/ Hallmark Beef recall, this has generated a flurry of media attention across the nation, including stories on and by the LA Times, and the Associated Press. Not surprisingly, when people really see what’s happening on factory farms, it’s almost impossible not to withdraw financial sponsorship of behavior that is so contradictory to our own conscience.

The decision came on the heels of MFA’s news conference in Los Angeles, which revealed the grocery chain’s business relationship with Gemperle Enterprises, where employees were caught on hidden camera kicking, throwing, and stomping on live birds.

Although this announcement is a good first step, Trader Joe’s must do more. Please write to the CEO of Trader Joe’s and urge him to take further action to prevent cruelty to animals by adopting a strict policy against the sale of battery-cage eggs.

Egg Laying chickens are probably the most abused animals, and unfortunately, these behaviors are considered normal on typical egg farms. Egg alternatives, click here:


Advice on substituting eggs from Post Punk Kitchen.

DB Etiquette Recommendation: The best way to avoid supporting activities with no regard for the suffering of living, feeling animals is to stop eating eggs and adopt a healthy, plant-based diet.

No Mushrooms in Fiore

May 4, 2008

*UPDATE* FOX News… I mean New York Magazine (I kid, I kid) Food Bloggers had their (inaccurate) fun with this entry. Truth be told, Fiore is a decent, affordable restaurant in my hood – I just wish they had a few more options for conscientious eaters and that they dealt with customer feedback in a more positive way. ‘Nuff said…

I attended a birthday dinner at a new Italian place, Fiore, in Brooklyn. I was shocked to find that thefiore-small.jpg only vegan options were salad, and the spaghetti with tomato sauce entreé. In New York City – especially in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I expect the restaurants to not only be smart enough to cater to the burgeoning vegan population (if not simply as an intelligent financial decision), but to be sensitive to general customer feedback of informed customers. After my meal of pasta and salad, I kindly suggested to a manager that, “my meal was tasty, and it would be fantastic if you added a few more vegan options to the menu – like a grilled portabello cap, or mushroom ravioli, or pasta primavera.” With all of the amazing vegan sausages and meat alternatives, dairy alternatives and veg-friendliness of traditional Italian food in general, I expected anything but the response I got. Not “thanks for the feedback” or “we value our customers, so we’ll see what we can do”. In a defensive tone, she said: “Portobellos cause cancer”. What? Excuse me? In an establishment serving up tons of conventional, hormone-ridden, pesticide-pumped ribs, beef, chicken, lamb, cheese, and butter – you’re telling me that portobello mushrooms cause cancer? Needless to say, I was so caught off guard that I was at a loss for words.

After a few hours of research, I’ve discovered that this is total nonsense, of course. Not only that, but the Stanford Cancer Center has recipes for portobellos on their website. Go figure. In fact, mushrooms contain selenium, potassium, copper, and B-complex vitamins, and are purported to have anti-cancer properties. Vegans have been shown to have 40% less chance of getting cancer, and meat and dairy products have been shown to cause cancer. There are mushrooms, that if eaten raw, have certain carcinogenic toxins (that cook or wash off). My only explanation for this ridiculous response of hers is that she was so offended by my vegan request that she said the first terrible thing that came to her mind.

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So in the spirit of the slandered portobello, I give you a plethora of mushroom recipes from our friends at Post Punk Kitchen:

4 Course Vegan

March 31, 2008

Every Saturday night is an excuse to celebrate in Brooklyn. Behind a maze of hallways in an inconspicuous spot near the Williamsburg Bridge, Chef Matteo’s culinary creations satisfy the most particular palates with a gorgeous candle-lit dining experience in a rustic-modern Brooklyn loft that brings together both the adventurous and the discriminating.

The presentation is stunning and artful, featuring local, organic, seasonal, and sustainable fresh ingredients from NYC’s Green Markets. The seating is large dining tables where you have the freedom to be social and arrive alone, or take a corner with a date. I’ll be in San Francisco for this week, but will definitely make it to the next one!

Saturday, April 5th, 2008
4 Course Vegan presents:
5 Years of Fine Dining in Williamsburg

$40 per person
dinner is at 8pm
space is limited/RSVP in advance

4 Course Vegan
4 Course Vegan
4 Course Vegan4 Course Vegan

Soy Lattes & Cahsew Cheese in Williamsburg Brooklyn

January 19, 2008

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. One of my favorite things to do on a Brooklyn afternoon is to enjoy a soy-latte at Gimme! Coffee. Gimme! could be the best coffee in New York City. They have rave reviews, and I have yet to find something better. Their beans are fresh-ground and absolutely never bitter. Smooth, rich, and aromatic – the product is nearly perfect.

Soy Latte at Gimme! Coffee

After my soy-latte, if I am feeling especially indulgent – I head to Marlow & Son, the mostly-not-vegan-at-all gourmet mini-market/restaurant-cafe/wine-bar and pick up a wheel of Dr-Cow’s Aged Cashew Cheese to eat with a fresh baguette and a bottle of S.Pellegrino. Dr. Cow’ Cashew cheese tastes like any good, soft, French cheese. The only catch is that it’s hand-made in Williamsburg from cashews – not from cholesterol, pus & chemical laden cow’s milk. I am in love. Won’t you join me?