When, a week or two after the "glowing" review I wrote about their food, the Glowing Bowl announced that it was shutting down its daily breakfast and lunch service, I naturally thought to myself, "WTF?!?"
Granted, as a raw-foods only café, it was a difficult concept to warm up to (so to speak). However, I'd done it, and was certain that others would, too, if only they'd give it a try—once you've been exposed to it, such fresh, organic, expertly prepared food quickly makes the transition from nicety to necessity. Surely, by getting the word out, I'd ensure a bright future for them. Who wouldn't want to boost their health while entertaining their taste buds?
Well, suffice it to say my touch isn't quite as golden as I'd imagined it to be. It helped, I think—or at least it seemed to me the place was a little more populated each day. But it wasn't enough to keep daily business afloat—fresh, organic food is quite expensive, it seems. When I got the news, I was in some serious mourning. I'd grown accustomed to picking up a Green Lemonade juice after every yoga class and grabbing a delicious lunch out of the to-go cooler. I was even taking the privilege for granted. It wasn't until it was gone that I realize what I'd had—what we all had—and lost. What the heck would I do now?
The answer came quickly. When the café closed, a new option opened: the Glow to Go box. Pay a set fee, and get a week's worth of pre-made entrees, salads, sides, and desserts piled into a big box, already portioned out and ready to serve.
The price tag seemed prohibitive at first: $120 per box. Then I got a box. The amount of food in it was staggering—I fed myself, my family, my friends, even friends of my friends. Everyone loved it, everyone wanted to know more. The quality was unimpeachable—so fresh, so delicious, so inventive.
Whereas the old concept focused primarily on raw foods, the new one offers a good mix of the raw and the cooked. This really highlights the talent of the chef de cuisine, Mollie Moran. (Disclosure: Mollie's married to MP staff writer Chris Barrett.) She's a food lover herself, and a real "cook"—which is to say, one who gravitates to a warm kitchen, a hot oven, a steaming pot of soup. The Glow to Go box is the sum total of her acumen—the skills she's picked up over years of catering for rock stars, often in the employ of Glowing Body owner Hollis Church.
When I picked up my box, I was happy to discover that it included my G.B. favorite: roasted yam and green grape salad. Since the Glow to Go box comes with a menu that includes an ingredient list, I now knew exactly what was in this glorious dish: sweet potatoes, green grapes, almonds, dried cranberries, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, curry paste, salt, and pepper. And nothing else—no processed Frankenfoods, no preservatives, nothing artificial. I can't quite recreate the dish (proportions of ingredients remain a G.B. secret), but I appreciate the healthful qualities all the more for having had a glimpse behind the curtain.
The box contained two soups: One was from the raw menu, a yellow pepper curry soup that was thick and rich (it included avocados), pungent (curry powder and cilantro), and sweet (apples). The other, an entrée, was a smoky black bean and vegetable soup, a stick-to-the ribs autumn warmer featuring a skillful balance of spices.
Among the entrees, Zippy and I immediately gravitated to the polenta-carmelized onion gratin, which came with a homemade tomato sauce featuring mushrooms, basil, garlic, and red wine. Together, they were transcendent—the smoky/sweet/gooey polenta the perfect base for the marinara-like sauce, which was so fresh that each ingredient in it retained its original flavor and texture, creating a beautiful symphony in which each note could sing out clear and strong.
The wild rice- and hazelnut-stuffed acorn squash, heated in the oven, was similarly delicious—the sweet squash offset with chewy rice and creamy cheddar cheese in the filling. We enjoyed it with the sesame-ginger green beans and sugar snap peas—freshly balanced and served straight up with a little nama shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce) and sesame seeds. We loved it, and so did our 3-year-old and his friends, who ate them out of hand as "green French fries."
The Moroccan cauliflower and carrot stew came with a ready-to-eat side of red quinoa, making it a complete heat and serve dinner—I added a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and was transported to a Mediterranean world where a witchy grandma would bend over a cauldron all day, cooking a brew of savory-sweet-salty stew for nothing other than my health and benefit. The dish was colorful—red tomatoes, golden chick peas, white cauliflower, green herbs, raisins, black olives—and savory and delicious.
I adored the Rainbow Chard with Golden Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Kalamata olives—though I braised the lot, rather than eating it straight up as a salad. It shrunk—as you would expect when you cook fresh greens—but was heavenly when drizzled with accompanying balsamic vinaigrette. And we really did fight over the Forbidden Black Rice Salad with Mixed Vegetables, Toasted Cashews, and Light Peanut Sauce, though since I've raved about this one before, I'll spare you the recap—read my review at MetroPulse.com.
It's worth noting that desserts are included, each one the brainstorm of "raw chocolatier" Damien Welch. We happened to get Carob Coconut Haystacks—a rich, truffle-like confection that was best savored one nibble at a time—and Chocolate Pudding, an egg-free raw version comprise of coconut meat, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, agave nectar, sea salt, and maple syrup. Divine.
Sound good? You bet. Log on to their website (glowingbody.org/glowing-bowl) and order your box for next week. Think of it as investing in your own health and well-being (and that of your family, if you decide to share).
Trust me when I tell you you'll think you got a bargain—and that you'll never look back.