Raw ambition in the City Different
When I first heard about Body, I wondered how it was spelled. Given it’s in Santa Fe, I figured maybe it was “Bodhi,” or “Baughty,” or some other inscrutable spelling. But Body? Too obvious. It was the last thing I thought of. That’s the name of a gym.
Turns out it is a gym, complete with personal trainers, yoga classes, weights and the promise to make you look better naked. It’s also a spa, a dance studio, a performance space, and a boutique where fair trade, organic, sustainably produced and arguably overpriced products can be purchased to the soft sounds of Himalayan dulcimers and real falling water.
The funny thing is: I’m in support of fair trade, organic and sustainably produced goods, but something about the context activates my gag reflex. It’s probably more of a reflection of my own issues. In any event, once I made it past the beautiful people basking in their individual afterglows on the covered porch, through the loose-fitting clothes and skin crèmes of the boutique, and sat down in Body’s café, my gag reflex was nowhere to be found.
The food belongs in that rare company of edibles that leave me feeling better than I did before I ate. The ingredients are free of wheat, dairy and sugar, which couldn’t be better aligned with the way I cook at home. According to the café’s website, 90 percent of the ingredients served are organic, with local ingredients used whenever possible.
About the only similarity with a real burger was that I held it in my hands and had to open my mouth wide to take a bite. But I was able to set aside my cynicism and enjoy the heck out of it.
Although vegetarian and vegan options dominate the menu, the café caters to omnivores as well. I had a special consisting of a tower of quinoa with seared tuna, brunoise carrots, curried potatoes and a sesame-and-fruit salsa.
Aside from ingredients like chicken and potatoes, which demand cooking, most of the dishes on the menu are raw—which technically means not heated above 120 degrees. Perhaps the most striking example I sampled of Body’s raw food “cookery” were pesto-packed “noodles,” actually long shreds of raw zucchini. They were tossed with sun-dried tomatoes and chunks of fake cheese made from pine nuts. The raw veggie burger couldn’t have been further removed from the hamburger that inspired it. The “bun” things had a crisp to them from the dehydrator, and the bean patty in the middle was crispy as well, all in a good way. About the only similarity with a real burger was that I held it in my hands and had to open my mouth wide to take a bite. But I was able to set aside my cynicism and enjoy the heck out of it.
It took even less effort to enjoy a cold avocado-curry soup. It was thick and delicately spiced. The house salad, not surprisingly, was exceptional, with an oregano-flavored dressing.
Liquids take up half the menu. There are herbal elixirs, straight-up juices, and smoothies made with coconut milk and fruit. A delicious berry smoothie was heartily creamy.
The only disappointment was a mild one. The “Vietnamese” spring rolls, while chock-full of great ingredients and served with a tangy coconut-lime sauce, were loose and unwieldy. The restaurant should consider bringing up one of the many skilled spring-rollers from Albuquerque for an afternoon training session.
This meal was capped by an assortment of raw chocolate truffles, which come in multiple forms and flavors—on my visit, there was green tea, red chile, mocha, almond, coconut, pecan and many combinations thereof. The menu points out that raw chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants. That may be true, but as with most of the food at Body, that’s not why I stuffed my face with them. I’m sold.
On my way out the door, I bought a pair of hemp yoga pants. Not.