New Raw Restaurant Opens in Southern California -- and it's worth the trip!
Here's a review of a beautiful new restaurant in Costa Mesa, California that I wrote for my meetup.com group (www.rawfood.meetup.com/202) that I thought y'all might find useful. It's a few weeks old, so I've updated a few things.
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Well, 118 Degrees quietly opened recently ... and I've been there 10 times so far. I think that qualifies me to write a review!
First, the decor is beautiful. It is upscale in a way that is unlike any raw restaurant in California (excluding Roxanne's, of course, though it's been closed for years). The color scheme is orange and coppers and browns with great art on the walls. There's a DJ booth hidden behind one piece of art and music on Thursdays, Friday, and Saturdays. The waitstaff is all in black and executive chef Jenny is visible behind the counter as she prepares each dish herself. Elegant presentation spa cuisine-style.
The menu is four pages long and the selection is extensive. About 12 dishes in each section -- breakfast, small plates, lunch, dinner, salads/soups, desserts, tonics. Also, there are organic vegan wines, a small selection of locally-brewed organic beers, and mixed drinks (both fermented - made with sake - and herbal).
Jenny's experience as originating co-owner of Taste of the Goddess in West Hollywood, owner of Naked Apples in Laguna, and, now, Jenny's Raw & Organic packaged raw food items (available all over the Southland) shows in the menu design. Aside from the almost-obligatory lasagna (she does have two, though), lunch and dinner entrees include nopales soft tacos, sweet corn tamales, heirloom squash samosas, sweet onion panini, mole enchiladas, wild foraged risotto, pesto tortellini, and macadamia coconut curry wrap. Small plates include deviled tomatoes, eggplant carpacio, New Mexico nachos, and a great tortilla soup and raw rawmen bowl. My favorite salads, so far, are the seaweed salad and the compressed spinach salad. And desserts! Warm Peaches and Creme cured my chocolate addiction .. for the night. If it hadn't, though, the Chocolate Lava Cake would have done so nicely. When I stopped in for breakfast, the Blackberry Roll Ups (sweet blackberry wrap with coconut pignolia yogurt & fresh berries) was my favorite with the split banana a close second. I haven't tried it yet, but the pineapple sandwich is intriguing. I can't imagine how many visits it will take to sample everything on this huge menu.
The dining room is well managed by Anthony -- long-time raw fooder experienced in all aspects of raw and living foods design, cheffing, catering, and distribution -- who worked at the famous Sprout Cafe in Atlanta years ago, learning from Jackie and Gideon Graff. His deep knowledge provides solid support to the new waitstaff. If they can't answer your question, Anthony sure can.
118 Degrees is open 7 days a week -- yes -- none of that closed on Mondays stuff and it's open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (with the last seating at 8:30). I particularly love this as my pet peeve is restaurants that close in the middle of the afternoon. As a raw foodist, I'm apt to get hungry most anytime and appreciate a restaurant that's open consistent days and hours (just like cooked food restaurants are!). Yay for this one.
Okay, that may be WAY more than you wanted to know, but I do get excited when there's yet another option for dining raw.
Oh, here's the website -- http://www.shop118degrees.com
It's at The Camp
2981 Bristol St., Suite B-5
Costa Mesa 92626
It faces directly onto Bristol -- not in back where Native Foods and Adventure 16 are.