Some time ago, the lovely publishers at Arsenal Pulp Press sent me a copy of Aaron Ash's Gorilla Food: Living and Eating Organic, Vegan, and Raw recipe book for review. Last fall, Aaron Ash held a book signing and raw food demo in Victoria, but unfortunately I was unable to attend. I promised myself that I would visit the restaurant of the same name before reviewing the book, sort of like a food blogger field trip.
I love those kinds of assignments.
En route to Ontario this past July, I finally fulfilled my wish and visited Gorilla Food in Vancouver. Gorilla Food is a restaurant owned and operated by Aaron Ash, a charismatic raw vegan chef who is passionate about sharing organic, raw, vegan food with others. He indicates as much in the book's inscription:
"I bow to all those who have reminded me to find joy in the service of humanity and to those who have reminded me that service is a path to liberation. I feel blessed to be serving this food."
The book is divided into different sections, including information about Aaron's journey, the restaurant and raw food preparation; breakfasts; breads, crackers, crepes and nuts; sauces, goos, sweet creams, cheez and spreads; appetizers and snacks; salads and soups; mains; desserts; drinks.
Overall, I found this book incredibly accessible and easy to use (and
peruse), and I became immersed in many of the fun recipes. I was also impressed with the layout and beautiful food photography; there is an abundance of lush, colour photographs combined with individual pages dedicated to each recipe. The Gorilla Food cookbook is a must for any food enthusiast interested in raw-vegan-organic cuisine, and is one of the better raw recipe books I've come across.
There are so many recipes to try and so little time, but you can be certain that my heart is in the salad and dessert sections.
For my meal, I chose the East Coast West Coast salad ($6.50), with a package of Tomato-Herb Flax Crackers from their retail section ($4) and a Green Glory juice ($7). My boyfriend ordered the GO Veggie Burger ($9.25) and a Butterfly Bliss Cacao Treat ($3.25).
Unfortunately, I was less then enthused with the East Coast West Coast Salad. It was smaller than I expected, and didn't do much to satisfy my hunger from lots of travel. The taste was nice (a mixture of apple, fennel, and greens), but I felt the portion was too small. I should have gone for the The Great Gorilla (their larger salad) for where I was at that day. The crackers had a nice flavour and helpd to make the salad more filling.
The Green Glory Juice (in the background of the photo above) was fabulous; a blend of apples, lemon, ginger, celery, parsley, kale, and greens. Refreshing with just the right amount of sweetness. This one is a cell-recharger, for sure.
The GO Veggie Burger had a beautiful presentation with the colours complimented one another. Layers of a dehydrated veggie burger patty with slices of tomato, soft avocado, and topped with cucumber and a garnish. I was still hungry after my salad experience, and kept eying the burger next to me. I snuck in a bite or two, and it was delicious. The side of veggie bread to the right helped to turn it into a satisfying meal.
Overall, my experience at Gorilla Food was a positive one and I enjoyed my time there. It is one of the more colorful and vibrant raw food restaurant experiences, so the next time you are in Van, give it a whirl!
For more on Gorilla Food, visit them at 101-436 Richards Street, Vancouver, BC, on their website, and on Facebook. Better yet, pick up a copy of Aaron Ash's book to make some of these delicious treats in the comfort of your own kitchen.