Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Healthy and Happy Harouvis Style

   Chef Anna Harouvis radiates a bright positive spirit and has a nurturing way about her. She smiles often,  lighting up her face and the room. And she has a passion. So when she starts talking about the benefits of  fresh fruits and veggies; vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free diets; and the raw food ethos you can't help but be drawn in. Whether you actually ascribe to any of those ideas or have any desire to give up animal products or your junk food fetish doesn't matter. You want her to take care of you, cook for you, root for you. At least that was my experience sitting across the table from her recently at her  little breakfast/lunch cafe, Good to Go, in the IMG Building downtown. I felt as though she really truly cared about me and my well being. She was delighted that I raved about her tomato basil bisque, rich tasting even though she used no heavy cream. She wanted me to enjoy my "raw-dical" burger, kale chips, and pad thai made with sea kelp noodles, not because it affirmed her skills in the kitchen but because I'd be better for eating it. Her excitement was contagious.

   Those qualities make Harouvis the ideal spokesperson for her line of cleansing and revitalizing juices, Anna in the Raw. Made from organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, they're meant to be drunk in a specific order through the day and are sold in numbered bottles. Chefs, who have notoriously poor eating habits, are fans, among them Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit and Chris Hodgson of Hodges. Melissa Khoury, who womans the stove at Washington Place Bistro told me she did a three day cleanse and loved it.  "I did it as a way to reset and kick start a new way of eating for myself," says Khoury. "I felt great, had more energy and am still doing a daily juice in the morning."
   Juices can be ordered online. The regimen isn't cheap, but if you can afford it, the price is fair considering the quality of the ingredients and the potential payback. If you go pick them up, arrive hungry and place an order for vegan stuffed grape leaves, a free range chicken and pineapple salsa wrap, mock tuna salad or one of her other creations.
  Speaking of going, Harvouvis and Diana Maiola Cirino, President of Italian Tours and Travel by Diana, have put together a Wellness and Detox trip to Italy for October. Days will include excursions to picturesque cities around the Puglia, Basilicata, Molise and Umbria regions; pilates, yoga and meditation classes: a spa visit; cooking lessons; and of course much feasting on local specialties and wines. Reservations are being accepted now. More information online.  One of the best things to recommend it is that you'll be spending time with Anna  and I have no doubt she will be an inspirational and delightful traveling companion.
  And more thing. Anna celebrates her Hellenic heritage tomorrow (Thursday).  It's Greek Day at Good to Go and this kitchen goddess is preparing spanakopita (and a non-traditional version with ramps), pastitio, grape leaves and tzaki pita, gyros, roasted leg of lamb with rosemary, lemony potatoes and avgolemono soup. Or she says, "Try a little of each in a Grecian Platter." This is not to be missed!

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