Vegan cuisine distinguishes Revive Cafe
One-of-a-kind eatery dishes out raw, healthy fare
With an emphasis on healthy eating, Revive Cafe offers customers an alternative to the norm: raw, vegan cuisine. Refusing to use a stove, an oven, a toaster or a microwave, the cafe cooks everything at a low temperature, locking in vitamins and minerals in their freshly-prepared food.
Customers don't often expect vegan babyback pork ribs at just any restaurant, but at Revive Cafe there is more to the rib than meets the eye. This eatery is a small, family-owned restaurant that serves raw vegan food to those who enjoy eating healthy and delicious meals.
In Fresno, Revive Cafe is the first restaurant to open which offers raw vegan and vegetarian meals. Tara Hamilton owns the cafe, and her husband helps her with the business and the farming. Everything is organically grown from the Hamilton's farm in Fresno, though it is more expensive to grow organic. The Hamilton's goal is to serve people meals without vitamin-destroying pesticides and chemicals in their vegetables and fruit which, in recent laboratory studies, are shown to increase health problems.
Revive Cafe offers a variety of delicious smoothies, fresh juices, salads and other great entrees. However, one unique thing is that the cafe does not have a set menu. Before every new day, the cafe announces on Facebook what will be on the menu, according to the organic produce available at the time. They even take it a step further with their menus, as, rather than a piece of fancy paper, the waiter brings the customer all of the dishes, pre-made. From there, they are free to observe and choose their meal.
This brings me to my visit. Entering Revive, my nose took a strong whiff of the sweet, yet potent spices in the air. The smell was very alarming, but this, combined with Revive's open and artsy atmosphere, instantly reminded me of a small Manhattan cafe.
After being seated, my waiter quickly introduced himself and asked how he could serve me. With hesitance -- I was unsure of what to order -- I just asked for water. Because I was with Brady Lee, '12, and his mom Sheri, who eats there quite often, she recommended a couple of dishes. With instinct, I was prone to order baby back ribs, whether they were vegan or not.
"Overall, I am pleased to say Revive Cafe has made an impact on my life when it comes to eating conscientiously. To know there is a place that serves tasty food to those who want to escape the norm is a reviving thought, indeed." --Stephan Melendez, '13
While we waited, Hamilton began to explain how eating raw is healthier than its competitors. She talked about how anything that is factory-made has at least a 25 percent chance of rodents being packaged in your food; you would never know this because the US Food and Drug Administration allows up to 70 percent of non-food specimens to be included, she says.
Hamilton went on to explain that when food is cooked under 110 degrees, the meal does not lose any of its minerals or vitamins. She also explained that the cafe does not have a stove, an oven, a toaster or a microwave. At this point, the thought of unheated food was not very appealing.
I was surprised when I noticed that our food was ready in under five minutes. After looking at the ribs that were placed in front of me, I was very skeptical of eating them because I felt that it was impossible to eat vegan meat. After taking a few bites, I was very pleased with the ribs, even after I discovered that the "ribs" were actually large, dehydrated Portabello mushrooms. The mushrooms were very tasty, somewhat reminding me of steak. Additionally, the barbecue sauce was very different, as it consisted of dehydrated tomatoes mashed together with other spices.
My plate also came with a salad in the form of sauerkraut, which was tasty and crunchy, for the most part. Because the kraut-like-salad had carrots, I did not care for the hodgepodge of vegetables. However, one aspect of my side-dish I did like was the crunchiness of the wild rice that was incorporated into the mix. To be reasonable, I could eat this salad without the carrots in sight.
In addition to my ribs, I also tried a vegan tamale that was rather chewy and sweet. I wasn't sure how a tamale would taste without proper masa and pork meat with chili, which is what I'm accustomed to. I was dissatisfied for the most part because of the texture, but I was happy with the pesto that was used as a filling -- it consisted of cabbage and a blend of other vegetables. The outside of the tamale was slightly sweet because of the added honey, but was overpowered by flax seed that was added to it.
Being one of the few eateries in Fresno that caters vegan food, Revive stands out, even more so by the fact that they receive all of their produce by a farm owned by the owners. Though meatless babyback ribs and tamales may seem unappealing to some, Revive makes it work.
Yet, of my entire meal, by far the pièce de résistance was our dessert, as the three of us delighted in a vegan key lime pie whose presentation looked as if it from Ruth's Chris. The pie was sour -- which allowed me to have a refreshing experience every time I took a bite -- and had a thick crust stuffed with nuts. This end to an amazing meal left a good taste in my mouth, which, in turn, left a good taste about the restaurant.
Revive Cafe is definitely the restaurant for those who like eating healthy and enjoy a family-oriented atmosphere. The waiter was attentive, which made all the difference for my new experience in vegan food. I am not a vegan and have not acquired a taste for this type of food, but I did enjoy the ribs and the pie, which helped me get used to a quite unusual style of cuisine.
What's more is that Revive Cafe is located in the mural district in Downtown Fresno near a new development of modern lofts. This gives the eatery an artsy and a unique feel, which is exemplified in their food.
Revive Cafe is a place I will most likely be returning to with my mom, who loves vegan food, and other family members that will enjoy healthy eating. Overall, I am pleased to say Revive Cafe has made an impact on my life when it comes to eating conscientiously. To know there is a place that serves tasty food to those who want to escape the norm is a reviving thought, indeed.
Revive Cafe is located at 1807 Broadway Street, Fresno, CA, 93721. To contact them, call 559.492.0729 or you can check out their website.
For more food reviews, read the Jan. 13 article, Teahouse brews beverages for Fresno community.