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A BLISSful graduation gift

November 24, 2010

Secret Agent Almost Hegan (a.k.a. Matt) would like to pass on that he’s appreciating all your comments on his international travel manifesto. He plans to respond to each one, as soon as he completes his most recent adventure in hegan espionage. 😉

Speaking of Matt, I mentioned in my graduation post that he and I had been invited last week to dine at Bliss Raw Café & Elixir Bar in celebration of my completion of Level I at the 105degrees Academy! Dee, the owner, offered us drinks, dinner, and dessert on the house at their new Preston Center location. (Sadly, their Greenville location, where Matt and I ate twice before, has closed, but luckily the new one has the same menu.) What a terrific graduation gift! Dee is a fan of my blog, and has loved the previous reviews I’ve written of Bliss Café, so it was a delight to be invited back.

Matt and I arrived around 6:30pm last Saturday, and were greeted by name at the door. Our server, Sean, is evidently an Almost Vegan reader too—he actually asked me why I don’t like salad! Too funny.

This new Preston Center location is very different from the Greenville one. For one, it’s indoors! It’s got great mood lighting, and gorgeous photographs displayed on the wall.

The kitchen lies right on the other side of this frosted glass window.

To drink, I ordered my favorite, the Hemp Horchata (hempseed milk with cinnamon, mesquite, and agave nectar—so creamy, it’s like a milkshake!). Matt got something new, the Blissfully Green, which is their Chocolate Bliss drink (raw cacao superfood blend with agave, tocotrienols, coconut, and cacao butter) with Revitaphi (“phytonutrient alkalizing beauty blend”) and spirulina. Matt’s drink tasted a little too “greeny” to me, but my Horchata was the best one I’ve had there yet.

I knew ahead of time that I was in a kelpy mood (whatever that means), so I got the Vietnamese Bowl: kelp noodles tossed in almond sauce with carrot, red pepper, jalapeños, cashews, and black sesame seeds.

So, so, so good. It had not even the slightest hint of sea taste (a necessity, for me, with kelp noodle dishes), and I was so wonderfully pleased with the sauce—it was full-flavored but feather-light. I’d eat this again in a heartbeat.

When Sean brought Matt’s Spaghetti and Meatballs to the table, both Matt’s and my mouths nearly dropped open.

Now THAT is a plate of food! Alongside a huge salad, it had spiralized zucchini noodles with sundried tomato marinara, pistachio pesto, chopped black olives, a splash of lemon, and of course the “meat”balls, which were surprisingly tender and perfectly complemented the crisp salad and fresh “pasta.”

Did you know that Bliss Café’s chef, Kelly Dennis, is the former pastry chef at 105degrees?! Matt and I were fortunate enough to get to try her heavenly Pumpkin Cheesecake.

This thing was out of this world good. The crust was so chewy and nutty, the filling was so warmly spiced and flawlessly sweetened, and that cinnamon-honey-caramel glaze on top was just to die for. Kelly, if you’re reading this, 1) thank you for creating this amazing treat, and 2) pleeease tell me the recipe!

As if that weren’t enough, Sean brought us two little chocolate truffles to end the meal with.

He also kindly snapped a couple pictures of us, blissfully sated after this beautiful dinner.

We got to meet Dee outside afterward, and she was a joy to chat with. She’s opening up another restaurant in Dallas soon, a cooked vegan eatery called The V-Spot. I can’t wait to visit there!

After we left, Matt was inexplicably happy and hyper; a bit “high on life,” it seemed. He couldn’t stop saying how good, how satisfied, how alive he felt after this meal. That, my friends, is what raw food is all about.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!
And thank you again to Dee, Sean, and everyone at Bliss! We hope to return very, very soon.

Previously at Bliss Café:
May 2010
October 2010

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2010 6:42 pm

    ZOMG! This all looks amazing! I love Vietnamese food and its zingy freshness so would’ve been fighting you for your kelpy goodness 😛 And you know how I feel about desserts, and most particularly raw cheesecake!! 😛 Guess what? One week until I’m hopefully going to try raw cheesecake myself! 🙂 Hopefully I’ll feel as alive as Matt afterwards 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:00 pm

      I’m certain you would’ve adored this meal!
      My fingers are crossed that your raw meal lives/lived up to all hopes and expectations 😀

  2. November 24, 2010 7:03 pm

    Looks like an amazing dinner! I’m a photo nerd so I have to say I love your strategy of one low light no flash pic, and one photo with flash so we can make out the yummy raw details. Fab review 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:01 pm

      Why thank you! It didn’t occur to me that someone might notice that little technique, haha. I know how everyone abhors flash, so I avoid it when I can, but in a dimly lit restaurant, sometimes you’ve gotta just break it out!

  3. November 24, 2010 8:14 pm

    What a delicious graduation gift!! That pumpkin cheesecake looks PERFECT!! And those meatballs! I’m a sucker for raw Italian food– especially since I have yet to make a raw marinara sauce that I like at home!

    Hope you guys have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:04 pm

      The cheesecake was jaw-droppingly good; Matt and I agreed! The meatballs were really hearty and tasty too.

      I hear you on the raw marinara sauce! Mine used to be terrible too. But somehow, 105degrees endowed me with marinara magic 😛

      Hope your Thanksgiving was awesome as well!

  4. November 24, 2010 8:57 pm

    Seriously, you eat at the greatest places!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:04 pm

      Hehe, I can’t really argue with you there!

  5. November 24, 2010 9:22 pm

    Every time you talk about that horchata I just crave it. And that pumpkin cheezecake looks so creamy and soft.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:05 pm

      It’s downright silly that I haven’t tried making this horchata at home…I need to!

      The cheesecakes WAS dreamy-creamy.

  6. November 24, 2010 9:59 pm

    Wow, great experience. Have a great holiday you two!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:06 pm

      Thanks! Hope yours was great too!

  7. November 24, 2010 11:22 pm

    The spaghetti and pie look very good. You two make a cute couple. Happy graduation!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:08 pm

      It was all delicious. And thanks, Matt does raise my cuteness quotient 😛

  8. November 25, 2010 8:13 am

    GREEN GREEN GREEN! That’s all I can say about me right now! Totally envious of your eats and wishing I had gotten off my bum to get to Dallas on my trip to OKC – why oh why didn’t I do it!!!! Ah well I can continue to live vicariously through you Amber and oh what a joy! Loving your blog posts, keep them coming darling xx

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:10 pm

      Do go to Dallas someday if you ever get the chance! Maybe I’ll meet you there 😉 My posting isn’t stopping anytime, soon, so no worries there – so happy you’re enjoying them!

  9. November 25, 2010 3:38 pm

    What an amazing graduation gift! All of that food looks awesome. I’ve never had raw food, more than raw food that is usually raw anyway, but it would be really great sometime to eat it at a good restaurant, like this!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:15 pm

      Fanny, a restaurant like Bliss would be a great intro to raw food for a newbie! Hope you can find/visit one sometime in the future. 🙂

  10. November 26, 2010 12:27 am

    Happy thanksgiving to you too! How cool, to have somewhat of celebrity status over there. And most especially: how awesome to be known for your writing. That must feel so good.

    Great review: I’d love to eat there sometime.

    love
    Ela

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:17 pm

      “Celebrity,” hehe! That makes me giggle 😛 But certainly, to be “known” in any way, especially in connection with my writing, is a very cool feeling indeed.

      Happy belated T-Day to you as well!

  11. November 26, 2010 12:33 pm

    Now that is a great restaurant owner! Customer service all the way (and back again)! Congrats, again, on your graduation from 105 degrees. I see no other fitting way to celebrate than with amazing raw food- and dessert, of course. And for free! Very nice!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:19 pm

      Tell me about it! Wish there were more restaurateurs like that 😛

      Thanks for your congrats! You’re quite right, there couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate.

  12. November 26, 2010 4:09 pm

    Amber, what a wonderful graduation celebration! I definitely would have been all over that plate of “spaghetti and ‘meat’ balls.” I love vegetarian “meat” balls! The dessert looks heavenly as well.

    So glad you’re getting to celebrate your graduation! When does Phase II of the raw classes start?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:20 pm

      I love raw nut-based interpretations of “meaty” things 🙂 Everything was so tasty!

      Level II started TODAY! Eee!

  13. November 26, 2010 6:52 pm

    Oh I love that the server knew you – that is too fun!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:21 pm

      Hehe, I know, right?

  14. November 27, 2010 6:10 am

    Wowza!!! I want to go to the restaurant asap!! Congrats on your graduation!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:23 pm

      If you’re ever in Dallas, you MUST go to Bliss!

      Thank you for the congrats! 😀

  15. November 28, 2010 2:44 pm

    My sister lives in Dallas, we’ll have to try this place next time I visit her. It looks wonderful!

    Many, many congratulations on your graduation! What an accomplishment!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:25 pm

      Yes, definitely do! I’ve yet to be disappointed in the least.

      Thanks! Now, it’s on to part two of raw chef school!

  16. November 28, 2010 6:02 pm

    Oh you totally deserved it!!! And that meal looks amazing. I’m so sad there are no raw restaurants anywhere near here. I took advantage when I visited Austin, TX though 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:25 pm

      Aw, thanks Tanya! We don’t have a raw restaurant in KC either (yet ;)), so I love seeking them out when I’m in other cities.

  17. Michelle permalink
    January 18, 2011 11:59 am

    Hi Amber, Congratulations! That meal looks divine, especially the dessert 🙂 Did you ever get the pumpkin cheesecake recipe? Would love to try it myself, just wondering if you could share?…Thanks so much!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      January 18, 2011 12:04 pm

      Coincidentally, I just posted this past Sunday about making this cheesecake at home! Unfortunately, I promised Kelly Dennis I wouldn’t share the recipe with anyone =X BUT I can tell you that she’s releasing a raw desserts book this fall, so be on the lookout for it in there! 🙂

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