Friday, June 24, 2011

Kombuch-What? Adventures in New Beverages

My friend Elena and I hit Cafe Green yesterday for a post yoga dinner.  For those of you unfamiliar with Cafe Green, it's a sit-down restaurant on 17th Street in Dupont with an organic vegan menu and a nice selection of raw dishes.  I enjoyed a Vegan Cheeseburger, which was soy free, topped with daiya and served on a whole grain roll.  The ingredients included "sprouted quinoa, lentils, and seven fresh veggies, including kale and mushroom." Other than $4 for a "side salad" which was a teensy bit skimpy, no complaints here.  We also both had vegan (and again soy free!) vegan cheesecake, which I enjoyed immensely.  I really appreciate how well the menu is labelled for folks with allergies - items are clearly marked as gluten free, nut free or soy free, which makes it easy for diners with food sensitivities and more severe allergies to pick a dish they'll enjoy.

The real fun treat of the night was me trying Kombucha for the first time.  I've heard people talk about it, but I've never had the opportunity to try it.  What is Kombucha, you may ask?  According to the Mayo Clinic:

Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Although it's sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom — it's a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds.
Health benefits attributed to kombucha tea include stimulating the immune system, preventing cancer, and improving digestion and liver function. 

I will note that the article then goes on to note that there are no medical studies that really support this, and that some people do have adverse reactions to it, so the Mayo Clinic recommends proceeding with caution.   Other folks swear by its disease curing properties.  I actually wasn't aware of any of the medical claims or concerns when I tried it.  I just like trying new foods that don't make me sneeze.

Anyhow, I had Synergy's Trinity flavor and enjoyed it.  It was flavored with raspberry, lemon and ginger, which offset the sour tang I understand plain kombucha can have.  The bubbles were quite refreshing.  I definitely could see me enjoying it a few times a week, medical miracles or no.  All I know is that it tasted good and my stomach felt just fine afterwards.

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