I’ve been hobbling around for the last week with some vicious back pain, and I asked for advice on twitter. Well, one of the suggestions was to eat more raw food, so I figured… what better time to visit Raw Aura? And I was right*. Though now that I’ve been there, I think any time is a good time to visit Raw Aura (94 Lakeshore Road East Mississauga, On). *my back still hurts so unfortunately Raw Aura wasn’t the cure, though I’m willing to try again, just to see if second or third time is a charm.
Sure it’s in Mississauga, but it’s so easy to get to. From Union Station (in Toronto), jump on the Lakeshore West Go Train and get off at the Port Credit Go Station (in Mississauga), it took about half an hour to get there. Then I walked for 5 minutes to the restaurant. Easy! (and a little over ten dollars for a round trip.)
Let me say that in my life I’ve visited several raw food restaurants, and some of them have been quite decent. But I’ve always given them the “raw concession”. As in, that kind of it’s not very good, but it’s good for what it is sort of thing. Sure raw desserts have always been delicious, and tend to be much better than the cooked or nonvegan version (at least in my mind.) But main dishes… eh. I haven’t really been blown away by anything.
Raw Aura changes that. It’s easy to see why they were named one of the top ten restaurants that opened in Canada in 2009 by Where magazine (but at the same time… still unbelievable.) I started my meal off with an order of delicious nachos and a lemon meringue smoothie. I wasn’t so excited by the lemon meringue smoothie, but WHOA the nachos were fantastic. Cumin freaking makes it. The dehydrated chips were seasoned to perfection, the salsa was made with yummy sweet tomatoes and I wished there was more of it (and I’m pretty sure there is cilantro in the salsa for all you cilantro haters out there (a club I’m not a member of)) then I had the best guacamole I’ve ever shoved into my face. Top that off with cashew based sour cream and walnut meat and everything mixed together was great. The flavours were all so complimentary and even greater than the sum of their parts. I was really happy I started out with that.
Next it was time to decide on a main dish. I was vacillating between ordering the pizza and the lasagna. I have to admit, part of me wanted something more aesthetically pleasing (i.e., I wanted to eat something pretty) and pizza rarely has that quality so I went with the colourful lasagna. I think I almost cried tears of joy while I was eating the lasagna. I’m not going to lie, I teared up a bit, and that is my telltale sign that I am eating something amazing. Unlike most people, if I weep during dinner, it’s a good thing. The basil spinach walnut pesto, with the red pepper marinara sauce, oh what heaven I was in. My goodness. Speechless.
Someone actually walked by my table and commented on how much I appeared to be enjoying my meal. They were right. Being there, I was relishing each and every bite. The flavours so carefully constructed, the beautiful presentation, the quality ingredients. Yes. I love food. And yes, I loved that meal. I feel as though it was prepared by someone that genuinely loves food, and that’s important to me. When I go somewhere to eat, I love being surrounded with people that love what they are doing, it always seems to carry through to the meal itself.
Next comes the unabashed gluttony. Two pieces of cake. There are so many desserts to choose from, it’s a bit hard to decide. So I went with the pecan pie and the chocolate banana as recommended by Chef Doug McNish. Raw dessert is usually magical, and this was above and beyond. That chocolate banana cake was my favourite of the two, but I’m sure I’ll try something different next time and have a new favourite.
I left feeling pleasantly satisfied, and wasn’t hungry until the next evening. Can you tell I liked this place? Mmmm.