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Friday, July 15, 2011

Living Kale Snacks at Pachamama's New Raw Food Stand

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Mmm ... living kale
  • Mmm ... living kale

As Californians become more and more health-conscious (and proud that we are not as fat as the rest of America), the latest trend in healthy living is eating "raw". So SF Weekly wasn't surprised when a new raw-food stand, Pachamama Raw, turned up at Ferry Plaza. Since Pachamama is the Mother Earth deity in Incan mythology, it's an appropriate name.

The first thing you see when you approach the Pachamama stand is samples of "living kale chips," which look like bits of moss or leaves. The word "living" conjures up images of kale sprouting in your stomach, but standkeeper Guojian Rao assured SF Weekly that's not going to happen.

Rao explained that the term "raw" means the food has not been cooked over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which preserves 95 percent of the nutrients. He described raw eating as "one step further" than vegan food.

Pachamama Raw stand at Ferry Plaza
  • Pachamama Raw stand at Ferry Plaza

The Pachamama living kale is dehydrated at 110 degrees Fahrenheit and seasoned with cashews and lime. The kale clusters were satisfyingly crunchy, and tasted faintly of parmesan, which Rao suggested might come from the cashews, because there's no dairy. There's a slightly bitter aftertaste, but we suppose that's what you get when you eat healthy veggie snacks.

Pachamama Raw also makes a number of "baked" goods: chocolate pecan cookies, chocolate crepes, and a brownie, all which are made without wheat or baking. SF Weekly tried the cookies, which are soft and sticky to the touch, more like cookie dough than a baked cookie. They had the consistency of a Clif bar but were pleasingly fresh and moist.

The best part was the texture. The taste of pecan is hardly noticeable, but the chopped nuts break up the half-baked brownie consistency. There also seemed to be a hint of coconut, though without any ingredients listed on the packaging, we weren't sure if it was just a taste-hallucination. We ended up licking the sticky dough clinging to our fingers, surprised to find ourselves wanting more.

Pachamama Raw products are made by Peña Pachamama, an organic North Beach restaurant that serves traditional Bolivian dishes. The restaurant's menu has a "raw" section, which includes a tapas sampler plate as well as a raw-living pizza made with sunflower-flax crust.

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Caroline Chen


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