We had just finished taking my mother-in-law and nephew to The Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine. On the way home, my mother-in-law said, "that's a good name for a restaurant." I agreed, but didn't quite know why it was such a good restaurant name. Because we need to be reminded to live in the present? Because yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes? Carpe Diem?
It was an interesting thought as we drove back to Jacksonville Beach, but regardless of the answer to such esoteric questions, the main reason we visited The Present Moment Cafe was for the great food. My mother-in-law has celiac sprue disease (cannot eat gluten), my nephew is a picky eater, and we try to adhere to a Paleo diet. The Present Moment Cafe is a raw restaurant, meaning that all foods are raw or 'cooked' below 115 degrees Farenheit. It is also dairy free, meat free, and gluten free. Was there something for everyone at The Present Moment Cafe? In a word, yes.
As we sat down, we were served tap water in a carafe with a slice of cucumber and lemon. It was refreshing, especially in the hot weather. But the restaurant also serves wonderful juices and shakes made from organic vegetables and fruit.
I had the creamy White Truffle Pesto Pasta, which is zucchini 'pasta' tossed with pesto, tomatoes, and pine nut 'parmesan'. Our picky nephew had the same without the pesto and tomatoes. The garlic and fresh basil in the pesto made for a delicious sauce. The zucchini pasta gave the dish a soft crunch. Combined with a side salad, it was a filling and flavorful lunch. Our picky nephew thought the pasta still tasted more like vegetables than pasta, but continued to eat it with the parmesan sauce.
The Viva Burrito used a nut and vegetable tortilla to wrap a pine nut, walnut, guacamole, and coconut sour cream filling. It was topped with a jalapeno vinaigrette. It was spicy, chewy, and surprisingly filling. We also tried the daily special, which was a Quinoa Bowl. The quinoa was warm and the surprise was a bunch of baby spinach leaves barely wilted at the bottom of the bowl. There was a slight curry taste to it. It was thick and satisfying. Most entrees came with a spring greens salad.
For dessert we tried the cashew based Raspberry Ice Cream with Chocolate. It tasted just like ice cream, and was exceptionally smooth. We also had the Chocolate Marble Torte with Drunken Banana. The raw cacoa torte had cinnamon and a hint of chili in it. It was surrounded by rum poached bananas. Even our picky eater loved the desserts.
The Present Moment Cafe is a small restaurant with an inviting decor, from the lovely stained glass windows, to casual seating arrangements with sofas and coffee tables, banquette seating, or regular tables and chairs. There are assorted pillows to make whatever seat you choose comfortable. Perhaps my mother-in-law was right that eating delicious and healthy food with family or friends is the best way to live in the present.
The Present Moment Cafe … (904) 827-4499 … 224 West King St., St. Augustine, FL
Mon - Thurs 10am - 9pm
Fri - Sat 10am - 9:30pm