If you want your milk from a nut and your meal completely raw, be ready to shell out some serious change. But you'll get a product that is natural as can be. Eating the food at Java Green is like putting pure energy and health straight into your mouth. Java Green Eco Cafe, the vegetarian, organic, and fair trade focused restaurant in Washington DC’s “Golden Triangle” business district is a haven for vegans and vegetarians but has tasty treats for everyone. Except perhaps your wallet. So, before you settle down for a Raw Vanilla Latte at $8 and a $9 dollar Bi-Bim Bob Salad, you better know what you're getting.
First, what is so special about this place? Well initially, it lets you be pretentious about environmental issues by contributing 2% of your final bill to green-friendly charities. But on a less sarcastically scathing note, this little café is focused on the right things: your health, the community’s health and the planet’s health. Not to mention, I've met the owner, and he is just as sincere and good natured as one could possibly hope. He really wants you to be healthy.
Second, if you’re going to dine, understand what you’re eating. What the heck is raw bread? The raw diet consists of totally unprocessed uncooked foods, so a raw bread is sprouted grains densely compacted together. "Bird Food!" DJ, the owner told me. The same concept applies for the frappes on the menu, a regular frappe is made with soymilk which is processed (cooked) and a raw frappe is made with nut milk. DJ explained this concept to me: the nuts (usually almonds) are soaked then ground and strained. Some sweet agave nectar and spices are added to give the protein filled liquid a kick. You can actually get this in the store if you really fall in love with it. It is similar to soy milk but rounder feeling in the mouth.
Lastly, lets get to my meal. I've made friends with one of the chefs, Joe, and he put together a sampling of four raw salads: kimchee, Kale, Cucumber Radish, and Seaweed. I loved the kale, the sweetness of the marinade did not mask the crucifer’s pungent flavor, but rather heightened its intensity. White sesame seeds were a nice earthy accent. The radish salad capitalized on the daikon’s mild flavor. Please don’t bother with the kimchee here. Decent, but not breath taking. And the seaweed, well, its an aquired taste and texture.
Somehow, after I'd filled up on veggies, I managed to eat a cookie the size of my face. Vegan of course. Without the benefit of butter, the cookie was crumbly, but the vegan chocolate was deliciously rich and creamy.
So, Java Green….worth it? Yes! Stop in to try something unusual and appreciate if for what it is (not to mention the enormous health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle). And it really is good all around, fresh fresh fresh and burgeoning with flavor. But don’t make a habit out of it, it really is wicked expensive.