As a follow-up to my previous post about things consumed whilst in the Sunshine State, I will now wax on about another place, this time having nothing to do with Harry Potter
On Wednesday of our trip, we drove up to St. Augustine, the oldest European-established city in America. Two out of the four of us have celiac disease (myself not included), which made me realize just how tricky it is to find gluten-free meals while eating out. After trying and failing to find a place for lunch and eating chips and popcorn in the meantime, I used my trusty iPhone to search for restaurants with gluten-free options for dinner.
Lo and behold, the first hit was for The Present Moment Cafe and it was almost entirely gluten-free! We headed there around 5pm, but as we neared our destination, I noticed that it was also vegan…and RAW. Rut-roh! How could we all like it? Even I was nervous about the raw part as I’m not a big fan of raw veggies (vegetarian fail, I know).
We decided to at least check out the menu on the door. Everything sounded really good, but I think we were all a little bit haunted by the raw part. As we were standing there in unanimous indecision, a nearby patron had a pretty strong opinion to share: “If you’re trying to decide whether or not to eat here, this place has some of the best food in the world.”
Oookay then…we looked at each other, shrugged, then went inside.
As you can see, not many people were there. There was one couple at the other side, but keep in mind that it was a little after 5pm on a weekday. It’s good we got there so early because the food took kind of a while to get to us.
Oh, but it was worth it.
Courtney ordered the sushi roll which looked amazing, but I didn’t try it. The rice was actually made out of parsnips! The other fillings were avocado, carrots, and (I think) cucumber.
Laura’s mango samosas were the most impressive-looking, but I didn’t get a shot before she started digging in. :) [Update: Actually, she took a lovely photo!] The mango was actually in the wrapper which was also made with coconut. Inside were curried vegetables, and the samosas sat on a bed of baby spinach. I was only able to cut off a piece of the wrapper (it was thick!), but it was delicious!
It looks like Katie got a plate of spaghetti, right? Well, it’s not any sort of spaghetti. It’s zucchini pasta! Crazy, I say! I’ve had spaghetti squash, but had never heard of making pasta out of zucchini. Actually, once I shredded some and topped it with spaghetti sauce, but it was nothing like this. The things that look like meatballs are portabella croquettes!
And here is mine, AKA one of the best meals I’ve ever had, no lie. It’s also zucchini pasta, but topped with creamy white truffle pesto. Mmm, mmm! I really don’t know the rules of creating a raw meal, but I wasn’t nomming on crunchy veggies, and there were “sun-cured” tomatoes. The zucchini really was pasta-like, and I actually preferred it over the real deal!
Finally, the desserts all sounded amazing, but we decided that we needed to give the ice cream a try. It was chocolate and made with raw cacao and cashews (and apparently strawberries), and it really didn’t taste like anything was missing. The texture had a little something different about it (maybe slightly grainy?), but it was still super creamy. Perfect finish to a perfect meal!
I’m not sure if I’ll ever find myself in St. Augustine again, but if I do, I’ll be making a bee-line for this place. Will definitely try to recreate my fantastic meal!
The Present Moment Restaurant, Cafe & Market
224 West King Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084