Location: 431 N.W. Franklin St., Suite 150, Bend
Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday
Price range: All plates $6 to $11; juices $7 and $8
Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Kids’ menu: Two $5 plates
Vegetarian menu: It’s all raw and vegan
Alcoholic beverages: No
Outdoor seating: Seasonal patio
Contact: www.facebook .com or 541-678-5368
Food: A-. Good portions of healthy vegan food, with taste blends that awaken the senses.
Service: A. Efficient and friendly; counter orders are delivered directly to tables.
Atmosphere: B+. Cafe makes good use of a tiny space, even keeping fresh flowers on tables.
Value: A-. Nothing is priced more than $10, although juices, at $7, seem a little high.
Corrine O’Shea isn’t shy about telling you what she knows about food: “You get everything your body needs, including proteins and calcium, from vegetables and other plant-based sources.”
O’Shea is the owner of Salud!, a new raw-foods cafe in downtown Bend. She insists that she’s not trying to change people’s minds about what they should eat; rather, she is passionate about raising consciousness with regard to the benefits of eating raw.
“Foods that have not been cooked still have their enzymes,” she said. “When you heat food past a certain point, the enzymes are destroyed. In other words, the more cooked, processed food you eat, the fewer enzymes you have to do the work they need to do: They are needed for proper digestion and for getting oxygen to our blood.”
By her own admission, O’Shea’s husband, Mike, is “a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy.” But she does her best to ensure that their two children eat properly. “I try to make sure the percentage of raw foods over processed cooked foods is so much higher,” she said. “You get so much energy and feel so much better.”
I don’t have a particular dietary preference. I consider myself an omnivore: If it’s tasty and well prepared, I’ll eat just about anything. I occasionally enjoy vegetarian dishes, but more often than not, I look for a well-balanced plate of meat (or fish) with potatoes or rice and a green vegetable.
As a result, I’m not accustomed to tacos or falafel or pad thai prepared with no more cooking than the human body might encounter in a Bikram yoga studio.
But when I tried each of those three dishes (and others) at Salud!, I found that I liked almost every bite.
Inevitably there were some elements that worked better for me than others, but so long as I considered each plate a salad rather than a heated entree, I came away more than satisfied.
My dining companion, who is more committed to fruits and vegetables — and to yoga — than I am, had but three words: “It’s absolutely scrumptious,” she said.
Located at the side of the Re/Max real-estate offices on Franklin Avenue, in a space most recently occupied by the Pastrami Old World Deli, Salud! opened in September after a brief renovation. Eight small tables, each bearing a small bouquet of fresh flowers, seat 16 guests indoors, and there’s additional outdoor patio seating in warmer weather. Colorful art hangs on the walls, and Jamaican reggae music plays in the background.
Diners order at the counter from O’Shea or a coworker, who then deliver food and drinks directly to the tables with a friendly smile.
Wraps and tacos
Heading the regular menu are two collard wraps. That is, their flavorful ingredients are wrapped not in a tortilla but in a cabbage-like leaf of collard greens.
Of the pair offered, I preferred the “island style” wrap, its principal savory component a delicious, pasty cashew pesto flavored with ginger. Red and yellow bell peppers, shredded carrots and red cabbage were also part of the blend, along with diced mango, mint, cilantro and a mouth-watering almond-pineapple sauce. The combination of veggies, fruits and nuts left me wishing for more.
The “Aphrodite’s palate” wrap didn’t appeal to me quite as much, for its main ingredient was a salty black-olive tapenade. My companion, however, loved every bite. It featured bell peppers, cucumber, basil leaves, sunflower seeds, shredded romaine lettuce and red onions marinated in balsamic vinegar.
What I didn’t like about the collard wraps were the raw collard greens themselves. I found the leaves much too thick, detracting from the flavor of the other elements of the wraps. Instead, I would have prepared a big leaf of romaine … such as Salud! uses in tacos.
The tacos were simple but very tasty, like wonderful little salads. Coupling a mildly spicy, bean-like paté with various chopped vegetables — tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, avocado and cabbage — they were finished with a non-dairy cream and served with a small dish of dried chilies and spicy pumpkin-seed pepitas.
A blackboard menu features daily specials, which is where we found both the Mediterranean falafel plate and the Southeast Asian pad thai dish.
The falafel consisted of small, savory mounds of ground garbanzo beans (chick peas) that didn’t hold together well, except when mixed with a silky tzatziki sauce or an olive tapenade, or scooped with pita chips or slices of cucumber or carrot. A side salad of cucumbers with cilantro and ginger root was flavored with spicy Thai chilies.
The “noodles” of the pad thai were made from strands of carrot, zucchini and parsnip, soaked to softness and served lukewarm. They were topped with a cold salad of sliced mushrooms, red cabbage, red and yellow peppers, cilantro and alfalfa sprouts, along with tiny minced chilies, a slice of lime and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and cayenne pepper.
Of three salads on the menu, our favorite was the Caesar salad, made with sun-dried tomatoes and a delicious, garlicky dressing.
Salud! also offers a selection of Kombucha flavors and a half-dozen fruit and vegetable juices. My companion chose to sample “John’s Blend” of orange, apple, lemon and ginger juices in a returnable mason jar. She had only a few sips before putting it aside — “Too much ginger,” she said.
But ginger is considered to have many medicinal and therapeutic qualities, a fact that is not lost on O’Shea.
“I was raised to eat really healthy — my mom was very conscious about what she fed us,” Salud!’s owner said. “I always knew the benefits of eating well. I think you can cure anything that ails your body. It’s always been a big part of my life.
“About three years ago, I decided to experiment with raw foods. I was interested to see what I felt like after six weeks. At the end, I felt so amazing, I never wanted to stop.”
Formerly, O’Shea had worked as a server at the Deschutes Brewery and Brother Jon’s public houses, as well as making craft jewelry. In opening Salud!, she said, “I took a leap of faith. The response I’ve gotten from the community has been amazing.”
— Reporter: janderson@ bendbulletin.com
The Outback Steakhouse in Bend closed Nov. 30 with the expiration of its lease. “Let’s not call this a ‘goodbye,’ rather a ‘see you later,’” said a notice posted on the door. No other details were available, however; there was no indication if or when the popular restaurant plans to reopen in a new location. 1180 S.E. Third St. (at Reed Market Road), Bend.