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Adam Sawatsky - 1st Oct 12
"When two of my favourite things came together, food and books, it was an event I couldn't miss. Heather Cunliffe, chef and owner of Cafe Bliss - a raw food restaurant here in Victoria, recently published a book of her recipes called Blissful. The book launch at Chapters touted some amazing samples of raw foods, but I was also pleasantly surprised to get a lesson in making raw food at the same time..."
Heather Boulding - 8th Jun 12
The Gulf Islands Driftwood
"In the introduction to her newly released book, Blissful: Raw Food Recipes from Café Bliss, chef and entrepreneur Heather Cunliffe recalls how she spent much of her youth on Salt Spring Island foraging for wild berries, fishing for salmon and harvesting vegetables.
"She recalls her adventurous young parents' constant encouragement to have fun in the kitchen while the family created nearly everything they needed from scratch..."
Sean McIntyre - 30th May 12
The Globe and Mail
"Next is the restaurant granola foodies rave about. Everything here is organic, raw, as locally sourced as possible – and, if my small sampling is an indication, surprisingly delicious. The corn salad with avocado, shredded carrot and greens packs an unannounced heat that gives depth and strength. Salad for dinner? After a day of travel, it does a body good. But do pick up unbaked sweet treats for a pre-breakfast nibble – the coconut-mango balls are especially fortifying."
Sarah MacWhirter - 3rd Oct 09
Monday Magazine - Serving Suggestions
When hometown hero Simon Whitfield first chowed down on one of chef Cosmo Meen’s yam omelets at Mo:Le, he probably didn’t foresee raw-food enthusiast Meens accompanying Canada’s triathletes to Beijing as team chef. I like to think it was Meens’ living green smoothies and raw cacao beans that propelled Whitfield across that finish line in August. Meens’ next adventure is as the chef at Victoria’s only organic, vegan, raw-food restaurant.
Highlights: tons of juices made fresh to order, chocolate “mylk” shake ($8) made from the mylk of house-sprouted raw organic almonds, warm butternut squash soup ($6) and the substantial and screamingly fresh Sombrio salad ($8 sm/$14 lg) with tenderized kale, B.C. kelp, organic arugula, marinated shiitake mushrooms, raw cashews and house-pickled ginger. (556 Pandora, 250-590-5733)
James Russell - 24th Dec 08
Monday Magazine - Food Review
The food is sexy and sophisticated at Victoria’s only 100-percent raw and organic vegan restaurant
I remember a time in my more idealistic youth when the idea of spending money on food for any reason other than physical nourishment seemed crazy. I now realize that food choices are legitimately guided by just about anything, from the desire for mental and spiritual health to the need to act on philosophical and political convictions to, well, taste—and, yes, to give your body a boost. At Café Bliss, Victoria’s only 100-percent raw organic vegan restaurant and juice bar, tick all of the above. Not only do you get the most bang for your buck in terms of health, it also appears that sustainability, ethics, joy, fun and adventure seem to be founding principals.
For drinks, sit at the beautifully handcrafted wooden bar to watch the good folks behind the counter bliss out with the blenders, utilizing only organic, freshly squeezed and pressed juices made fresh, fresh, fresh to order. Green juices (8oz $4/16oz $7.50) and fruit and vegetable juices (8oz $3.50/16oz $7) range from the refreshing Cecily (apple, cucumber, lime, lettuce, mint) to the unpredictable Doris (yam, carrot, apple, ginger, cinnamon). And for a loonie or two add rosehip powder, hemp oil, bee pollen, ginseng or any number of ingredients that probably only fellow raw foodists and other health enthusiasts would recognize (ginkgo biloba, Udo’s oil with DHA, etc.).
More delight comes in the form of creamy smoothies (16oz $7-$8) and mylkshakes (16oz $8) made from homemade almond “mylk” created with enzyme-rich sprouted almonds. We ordered the special green smoothie of the day—containing pear, apple, banana, cilantro and lime—and a simply gorgeous chocolate mylkshake. I expected more of a limey cilantro kick from the smoothie, which otherwise was velvety and delicious, but it was no match for the shake, which was thick and cold, suitably served with a spoon and full of the rich flavour of raw cacao powder and cashew cream. Who says raw food can’t be comfort food?
Speaking of which, you might not expect to get anything but cold cuisine here . . . but you’d be wrong. Sure, most items are on the cooler side, but we ordered a butternut squash soup ($6), subtly spiced, and heated to 115°F (beyond which naturally occurring enzymes are degraded or destroyed, thereby disqualifying it from the list of living or raw foods) and it was earthy, warm, rich and soothing.
From a small selection of cracker plates we chose the beautifully presented Mexican-themed Baja ($10) and were treated to huge triangular yam crackers and three dips: a finely pureed green salsa, an amazingly silky guacamole and a fabulous and creative version of faux sour cream made from cashew and macadamia nut cream, with additional flavours such as lemon and garlic. It was so smooth and creamy that we asked to take the last little bits home—they were just too good to waste. Crackers are a staple here, and are made from various mixtures of vegetables, seeds, herbs and spices which have been blended together and spread thin in a special raw-foodist-approved dehydrator that only heats it to a certain point so as not to remove it from the realm of the raw. The result is an almost crisp, thin layer of living goodness as versatile as any other cracker, and used as a crust for the Bliss pizza ($8)—a fun and healthful alternative, which this day featured a full-flavoured olive tapenade sauce, spinach, cucumber and quartered cherry tomatoes.
Salads (small $8, large $14) are served with a multiseed cracker and olive-oil-based “butter.” Our Sombrio salad was a substantial and colourful affair, containing a selection of greens totally unlike those thin, factory-farmed leaves from California that too often pass as organic greens. Dark green tenderized kale, organic arugula and soft B.C kelp provide the base upon which this West Coast wonder is built—freshly squeezed orange and miso dressing adds zest and zing, while garnishes include thinly sliced cucumber, daikon and red onion. Marinated shitake mushrooms, raw cashews and house pickled ginger top it off. As salads go, it was truly awesome.
If you’ve never considered living foods before, or passed off the raw-food movement as a passing fad, try putting aside your preconceptions and go try it. The food at Bliss is as sexy and sophisticated as it is earthy and nutritious, and whether you are trying to impress a date or training for a triathlon, you’ll find plenty to get excited about here.
But, as they write on their menu, don’t blame Bliss if you go “running naked, laughing with casual joy, barefoot in the rain.” M
James Russell - 12th Oct 08
Café Bliss is located at 556 Pandora Ave. Victoria B.C.
We are open from 11:00am to 6:00pm daily
Pressed for time? Call in your order at (250) 590-5733