Although I identify strongly with the vegetarian label, I can still get pretty excited about a wildly raw vegan meal at a place hippie enough to refer to the establishment as an organic oasis. If I see anything prefaced with “living” on a plant-based menu, I’m definitely going to be curious. I may not live the raw vegan life, but I’ll dabble for sure. Why? Not only do raw vegan restaurants tend to have the most unique menus, they are actually F-ing indulgent. Case in point: ChocolaTree in Sedona, Arizona.
On my second trip out to Arizona, my resident sister introduced me to the fascinating treehouse of a restaurant that is ChocolaTree after a day of hiking. Mismatched furniture, hammocks, trees growing out from the center of tables – the servers even offer you a blanket if it’s a chilly day. If you couldn’t already predict this, the blankets are those stereotypical drug rug patterned yoga ones. Dining at ChocolaTree is like being embraced by a sunbeam. You can’t help but feel zen here.
ChocolaTree is not only an organic, raw vegan restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s also a raw vegan chocolate shop.
The chocolates are every bit as glorious as you’d find at Godiva, and with unique flavors you likely can’t find anywhere else, i.e. saffron rose truffles.
For my entree, I may have apparently been boring and ordered the raw equivalent of a veggie burger, but I was most curious to see how they would replicate something traditionally very not raw. Many of the other options were very intriguing, but also much easier to imagine being raw.
Most notable about the raw burger was how incredibly vibrant it was – from the sundried tomato ketchup (that bright orange sauce) was tangy, umami, and so satiating even as it dripped all over the place once I put the burger together. Every topping was at it’s peak (I guess this is the draw of organic), a perfectly ombré green avocado, passionately pink horseradish, deep red tomatoes and dark greens, and white onion piled up in a honey mustard sauce. The bread was made of seeds – and miraculously dense and moist. Whether or not the bean burger itself was good is irrelevant because the toppings stole the show, in a very good way.
But of course, in my experience, what I’ve known for a while now is that raw vegan desserts are rich and decadent as f&@% so I was eager to hit up that dessert menu.
I don’t care if you’re the type of person who feels uncomfortable ordering off a menu with things like “living burritos” – you can probably get down with this divine creation that is raw tiramisu. It’s obviously different than what you’d expect from a standard tiramisu, but it’s incredible in it’s own way. Made from layers of transformed dates and chocolate and coconut cream, it did have a stronger density which lends to it being richer than you might anticipate. And of course, being a chocolate shop, the drizzle of chocolate sauce was way above par with regard to taste and quality.
Raw vegan might be intimidating, even for those who eat plant-based, but don’t let fear let you miss this decadent hippie haven next you’re in Sedona.
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