Sasha Raj is owner of 24 Carrots Juice in Chandler -- and she simply sparkles. We suppose it might be from all those fresh fruits and vegetables she prepares so creatively at her vegetarian/vegan cafe she started in 2008. She's an ASU grad who studied biochemistry and nutrition and is putting all that education to good use and giving people who care about healthful and delicious food, a place to go. You can tell from her boisterous descriptions below that she really loves food.
Here's Sasha Raj's perfect food day:
So I've had a hard time writing this...not because I don't love food, but perhaps because I love it too much. Let's be honest, I really don't want anyone to know how much I eat during the day...leave alone how much I actually would eat if reality & general gastronomic physics were removed from the equation. BUT, I'll take one for the team and share....brace yourselves, it's about to go Vegas buffet style in here.
Breakfast: Let's start with breakfast. I'll put this around 6 am as it'll give me plenty of time to jet around and fuel up with more without shocking all of you lovely readers. I'd start my ideal food day the same way I start every other day, with a giant 22 oz green smoothie (local organic greens from our own AZ farmers' markets, pineapple, apple, dates, coconut water & goji berries & a shot of quinoa protein powder). Sweet, grassy and earthy, this mega-smoothie hits the spot and leaves me ready to start the day.
Now, normally this would be my breakfast but this entry is all about my IDEAL food day, and in that food day I get two breakfasts (score!). Breakfast, the sequel stars my mother's cooking. She is, by far, the best chef I have ever come across and knows her way around a kitchen like no one's business. I especially love her dosa. It's a thin rice & lentil, vegan crepe with crispy, lacey sides that have been lightly fried in oil and a slightly sour taste from the sun-fermented batter she uses to make hers. This isn't something that you patiently wait at the table for, in my house if you want her dosa's you better get in line...at the stove top. She stands there, patiently making and flipping them on to our plates until we're too stuffed to move & can't bug her for more.
Lunch: Next up lunch. Lunch is easy for me largely because on a normal day, I never get to eat it but am always thinking about what I want to eat :) More often than not my mind wanders to a little place my husband and I love so much in Seattle. Nestled in the heart of the University District is the best Thai food you will ever have. Thai Thom is as hole in the wall as a place gets- seating 15-20 people in a space roughly the size of a walk in closet it also has an open kitchen, the chef is (I'm pretty sure) Tony Jaa and to top it all of there's 45 mins wait just to get into the place, at any time of the day. In fact, waiting for the food is as much a part of the Thai Tom experience as eating it.
At this point, I'd like to take a break as say that normally I wait for my Thai-fix on a painfully empty stomach while smelling all of the delicious food wafting out of TT's open kitchen....but today, it's my ideal day of food and on this day, I'd ideally have a snack to tide me over. Interject a quick trip back to Chandler, AZ to pick up Mango-Chile Paletas from Paletta's Betty (to die for), blink my eyes and arrive magically back at the front of the line at Thai Toms. I always order one of two things at Thai Tom, depending on who's the Chef that day. If it's George- I get vegan Pad thai, extra peanut, spice 3, if it's Bandana-dude (yes, this is what I refer to him as) I get panag tofu, spice 5...either way, when the food hits the table you stop talking and completely devout yourself to the bowl of bliss in front of you. Partly because you've run out of stuff to talk about cause the wait's so dang long, but mostly because the food warrants that kind of respect. Perfectly cooked, incredibly spiced- I eat at this place religiously enough to where they know my order when I walk in...and I'm coming from out of town.
Happy Hour: Back to Phoenix for happy hour...for THE happy hour. Elements, at Sanctuary on Camelback is perhaps the most romantic happy hour I've ever been to- not just because the views would make you fall in love with a shoe, but because the flavors are truly divine. Being vegan, I'm used to having limited if not all together absent options on most happy hour menus. Not the case here! Charred edamame, carrot & millet pot stickers, and fried shishito peppers are all amazing musts as you enjoy great company, your favorite libation & another gorgeous Arizona sunset.
Dinner: Rounding out the night, I'm really torn as to where I'd go for dinner....so, of course, I'm going to go to both. First up, flight back to the Northwest for dinner at Portabello's Vegan Trattoria in Portland, OR for a bowlful of their pillowy light housemade gnocchi. Laced with butternut squash and savory herbs, topped with pan crisped Brussels sprouts and toasted hazelnuts...the first time I had this meal, I unabashedly licked my bowl clean. Sigh. Portabellos, why must you be so far away?
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Last meal for the night...our very own, Cornish Pasty! I love these guys, not just because of their late night hours but because they make me vegan pasties! My favorite is the eggplant parm, minus the parm with extra broccoli and eggplant on their vegan dough. It comes with a side of marninara, but I opt for a side of hot sauce instead. If that weren't enough, their portions are so generous that I have b-fast for the next day- Squee!
My name is Sasha, and I'm a foodaholic.