the raw deal

I’m reeeeeeeeally hungry.

Quickly, the backstory:

Two and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with a scary medical condition I’m still figuring out a way to write about in a way that doesn’t make it sound like I’m whining but also doesn’t make it sound like I’m dying. Because, truth be told, I’m not doing either of those things. The symptoms, however, were terrifying, and I entered into a two-year (and ultimately failed) pact with Western medicine to save me, a journey which will be chronicled in the first half of my upcoming, as-yet-unwritten memoir, I Can’t Believe This Doesn’t Mean I’m Dying. Because I really did think I was dying.

After a stay in the hospital, several thousand dollars worth of tests checking the levels of every part of my body inside and out, up to twenty pills a day of varying strength and purpose, a fair amount of internal bleeding, and a very real fear that I would have to have all of my internal organs extracted and replaced by something made out of Dupont’s finest plastic and branded with the suffix “ostomy,” I took matters into my own hands, ditched the doctors who told me that there was no dietary or nutritional component to my illness, found better doctors, found a nutritionist, read twenty books on the topic, and radically undertook a full-scale reformation of my entire dietary regimen.I cannot even explain how fast I got better.All of this is the necessary amount of preamble required to explain how I — whose previous investigation into the food groups was figuring out which brand of beer best washed down which flavor of Dorito — ended up celebrating my thirtieth birthday at a raw food restaurant.Specifically, this raw food restaurant. Raw. Organic. Vegan. Made of nothing. Amazingly, there were still things on the menu I’m not allowed to eat. Screw you and your too-starchy soul, jicema. I don’t even want to know what you are.You can get your jokes right on out of the way now. God knows my six-person office bade me farewell with several quips of the “Enjoy your carrot!” variety, and doubtlessly continued on their “How do vegans even build up the strength to put up a building in the first place?” line of discussion long after I was gone.The Jade Café looks just like a real restaurant, which should seem fairly apparent but, before I arrived, wasn’t. Don’t you hear “raw food” and expect, I don’t know, eating by mime? But it’s really a lovely place, and I walked in with Pam and stee to find Adam and Rebecca waiting, not having a drink (no alcohol served, plus I’m not allowed to have any liquor at the moment, but I will be allowed to drink again soon, and believe you me, I AM GOING TO BE DRINKING).We sat. We glanced at the menu. It began.stee: Is cheese…cheese?Adam: I know this one. Can I answer?Dan: Oh, god, yes.Adam: No, it’s not cheese. It’s nuts. It’s made from nut paste.Dan: Yes. Bread is also nuts. Nuts are versatile. Hee. And to get the optimum nutritional value from nuts, you have to leave them in water so that they “sprout.” You have to…soak your nuts. Again, hee.stee: I’m getting soup. Is soup…soup?Dan: Yes, and then I promise I’ll stop knowing things. Raw food isn’t technically raw. It’s the theory that food starts to lose its inherent nutritional value at, like, a hundred and eighteen degrees. So things can be served warm. Soup is soup.Amazingly, we managed to talk about other topics as well. We discussed my parents’ recent visit to Los Angeles, the lustrous quality of Pam’s hair lately, Rebecca’s last day with her current class at school, the utter lack of creativity that supposedly smart people exercised in naming the network that’s about to start airing the show I work for, and the awesomeness of stee’s new car.Waiter: Who got the tonic?Pam: Oh, I did.[Pam takes a sip.]Pam: Oh. My.Dan: No?Pam: No.Dan: It has cinnamon on it. Cinnamon makes everything delicious.Pam: Not this. It tastes like something different every time I take a sip.Adam: It says on the menu that this tonic is good for moisture.Pam: My skin has been kind of dry.Rebecca: Did that sip make you feel more…moist?stee: Moist?Adam: Let’s everyone stop saying moist, okay?Dan: Here. Let me.[Dan takes a sip.]Dan: Oh.Adam and Rebecca got salads they seemed to quite enjoy, and I ordered the ginger coconut noodles, which I loved and stee…stee: Is this what I ordered?Dan: It’s the ginger coconut noodles.stee: It’s carrots.Dan: It’s carrots and other vegetables shaped like noodles and mixed with this delicious sauce, which…stee: All I see is carrots.Dan: There are a lot of carrots.stee: I feel so duped.Dan: Do you like it?stee: Yes.My review: It beats internal bleeding. And from what my reports from the front lines tell me, it was a hell of a lot less tangy than Jollibee.

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