“42-degrés”, raw vegan, WTF???

by Martin Richtsfeld

It was about two years ago. We lived in Paris. We had the best baguette every day. Drank good wine and had a lot of student parties. I’m self-employed and luckily I could join my fiancee on her semester abroad. It was an incredible time.

One day we decided to try a new restaurant with friends. It was a vegan restaurant. I have never been in a vegan restaurant before. It was called, “42 degrés”, but why? I checked the homepage, and it stated “the first 100% raw food restaurant in France”. Raw vegan? That sounds hardcore. “42 degrés” means nothing is “cooked” with more than 42 degrees Celsius (That’s around 107 degrees Fahrenheit). “Well, do I still want to go there?”, I said to myself. Let’s try it. Since I’m not their first guest it hopefully won’t kill me.

It was a small restaurant, space for maybe around 15 guests. I somehow felt a comfortable and peaceful spirit I never felt before in a restaurant. I could not interpret it yet. It took me a few more month to understand that.

I checked the menu and what appealed most to me was a vegetable soup and a raw vegan burger. Strange, this means they won’t use bread for this burger because we need to stay below 42 degrees. For the soup, this also means that the asparagus will be pretty tough. “I’m here now, so I give it a try”, I thought to myself.

I got the soup as a starter. There were some colourful vegetables in there and asparagus. It tasted strange. Warm, but not hot. Everything in the soup was crisp and not soft. I ate it, but it tasted more like raw vegetables with flavoured water. It was good, but something was missing.

I was looking forward to the burger without a lot of expectations. What they brought also looked differently. At the bottom a portobello mushroom. On top of it some vegetables and sauce. The “meatloaf” was a sesame, nut mix. On top again a portobello mushroom. On the side a salad and a few other vegetables. I took a bite, and it was indescribable. Again not hot, but the taste was marvellous. I could not remember that my tongue felt something like this before. I enjoyed every single bite. Kept whatever I put in my mouth there as long as possible, chewing it until it was gone.

When I decided to come here for dinner, I didn’t know what to expect. After eating this burger, I knew that this place was far beyond any of my expectations. It was one of the first experiences that awakened my curiosity for vegan food. My opinion was that vegans only eat salad. This dinner immediately changed my mind. There is a lot of good stuff even in a plant-based kitchen.

I already planned my next dinner in this restaurant.

This article originally appeared on my “simple, open mind” blog.