Fairfielders are pretty lucky when it comes to green food. Not only do we have two farmers’ markets that run during the spring, summer and early fall seasons, but our indoor winter market reopens this Saturday at the Fairfield Theater Company on Sanford Street from 10-2. We have an award winning organic, vegetarian restaurant, Health in a Hurry, offering a wide variety of scrumptious seasonal, locally grown foods to go. Now we’ve got an organic cafe offering exclusively raw foods – the only one in the state. Throw away your preconceptions and read on.
You can’t miss the Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe as you walk down Unquowa Road because their colorful chalkboard sitting on the sidewalk alerts you to their presence and a few menu items. The cafe’s newness is palpable as you enter; everything is clean and neat yet inviting. I confess to being a newbie to raw foods so I got an education from co-owners Glen Colello and Lisa Storch, who moved the restaurant from West Haven and just opened a week ago. If the first week is any indication of demand, they are going to do well. According to Glen they have ten times more foot traffic here than they had in West Haven.
Why raw is the first things I wanted to know. Didn’t man invent fire for a reason? Hasn’t cooking our food freed us up to evolve into higher order thinkers not constantly worrying about finding or hunting down our next meal? Glen espouses a 100% raw diet because of the greater nutrient value of raw food. According to raw food devotees, foods cooked beyond 120 or 130 degrees lose 100% of their enzymes, which help digest food and make it more bioavailable to us. Sorry, no tofu here.
Okay so maybe you buy that and maybe you don’t, what matters is that it’s organic, it’s all house made fresh, some of the ingredients are local, and the food tastes great. The juices and smoothies are unpasteurized and made to order from whole fruit they cut up themselves. I tasted the Grateful Green Smoothie, which is a blend of kale, pineapple and banana, that is just sweet enough, has a nice bit of tang from the pineapple and delivers a slight vegetal flavor to tell you the kale’s there. Well, actually it’s green so it’s screaming to you that something green’s in there, but I guarantee in a blind taste test only supertasters would be able to identify kale as the ingredient. Anybody got a kid who won’t eat vegetables? This could be your secret weapon.
The menu is pretty extensive and offers many mock versions of traditional American restaurant foods like burgers, pizza, pasta and wraps. How do you make a burger that’s not cooked I wondered? A deyhdrator. That warms it up. And how to you make ” onion bread” for dishes like the Tomavo without cooking it? The dehydrator. Glen explained that the onion bread is a flatbread made from a dough that’s spread thin on a cooking tray and then spends 12 hours or more in a dehydrator. He offered me a piece. I looked at the very thin and delicate brown flatbread and immediately thought “cardboard” but boy was I wrong; this is an explosion of savory goodness highlighted by rich onion flavor and excellent salt. What kind of salt do they use? Pink Himalayan rock salt. Well that explains a lot. Go try it yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
They make their own ice cream too and use it in their milk shakes. How do you make raw ice cream? Blend cashews and almond milk, add other ingredients and process it in an ice cream maker. Glen told me that the cashew and coconut oil prevent ice crystals from forming, which results in a super creamy product. Other desserts include pecan cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, caramel apples, macaroons and chocolates. Glen’s “raw” chocolate treats won a universal thumbs up from my whole family. Want to know how he makes them? Check out the video!
Glen made it a point to tell me that their water first passes through a filtration system and then a reverse osmosis filtration system to remove the chlorine and fluoride from the water used in food preparation. Local products used include organic wheatgrass and basil from 2 Guys from Woodbridge, Red Bee Honey from Weston, and organic vegetables and fruits from area farmers’ markets.
You can eat at the cafe or take your order to go in a biodegradable bag. Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe is located at 39 Unquowa Road in Fairfield and is open seven days a week. Their schedule is Monday-Wednesday from 7 am to 8 pm, Thursday and Friday from 7 am to 9 pm, Saturday from 9am to 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. www.catchahealthyhabit.com.
You are invited! Catch a Health Habit Cafe’s first event is a meet and greet with raw food chef and author Frank Giglio on Saturday December 5 at noon. Come sample and learn about raw food, make some new friends and chat about food and life. Frank’s Finest Herb/Spice Blends and his book “Raw For All” will be available for sale.