|Name of Establishment:||118° Degrees Restaurant|
|How Vegan-Friendly is it?||100% Raw Vegan|
|Location:||Located right by The Camp in Costa Mesa, CA|
Comparable in PDX:
|It’s the most comparable, atmosphere and selection wise, to Blossoming Lotus or Prasad – though as you know, there is no entirely raw fine dining in Portland. It reminds me of the late Grezzo in Boston, MA.|
|Pistachio pesto stuffed mushrooms|
|Why it’s worth the journey:||It’s a classy, serene stop for quick and multi-course raw dishes by The Camp.|
Thoughts from the Stumptown Vegans:
I have two basic hopes when visiting a raw restaurant:
- Creative, complex presentations.
- Fresh ingredients. If the kitchen uses tomatoes I wouldn’t want on my sandwich, there’s a big problem.
When I walked into the 118° Restaurant, I was immediately content with how calm it was. It wasn’t a laid back emptiness that’s pierced with sporadic sounds of a juicer, either. It was a small, serene environment, with a lot of quiet, date-like conversations for a lunch time visit. It reminded me of Tao of Tea on SE Belmont in Portland – a running waterfall would not have been out-of-place. After a short wait, where I perused the printed information on cooking classes on the counter and the selection of raw cookies and crackers, , I was seated by a very courteous and hip waiter.
118 Raw has a full menu of appetizers, soups, entrees, combinations, steamed almond milk and coffee beverages, tea, and wine selections. I’ve recently noticed a mild allergy to almonds, and my waiter had a great knowledge of the menu concerning allergens, and even double-checked my order with the kitchen. I started with a large cup of rousing green tea and ordered the Taste of Italy plate ($15 combination plate), with the lasagna option (as opposed to the raw pizza). I have a hard time resisting Italian offerings, and 2/3 of this plate did not prove my instincts wrong. The Caesar didn’t skip a beat with its lack of a creamy dressing – the chewy, caper and sun-dried tomato flake adorned greens were fantastic, especially with occasional bites of perfectly fresh avocado. I never would have thought to put avocado in a Caesar, and now I know better. While the lasagna packaged a whole lot of impressively creamy, macadamia nut sauce, layered with thin strips of zucchini, and even more cream with a sun-dried-tomato sauce on top, the overall sweetness and lack of diversity in the lasagna vegetables left me with just that, bite after bite of sweet cream. Not so savoury Italian. The stuffed cremini mushrooms, on the other hand, were amazing. They were appeared marinated, stuffed with a rich pistachio pesto, and more the sun-dried tomato cream sauce. In this case, it was welcomed in contrast to the salty filling, and earthy base. I have honestly never been so confident in the raw culinary arts as I have been with those mushrooms.
If you’re in the Costa Mesa area and looking for a spot for a refreshing lunch of dinner date, and engaging conversation, I’d highly recommend 118° Raw.