Battle of the Health Food Restaurants: The Last Carrot vs. Lifefood Gourmet

Categories: Plato Royale
LAST CARROT TUNA PITA RZ LD.jpg
Photo by Vimary Valdes
Just because it's healthy doesn't mean it has to taste bad.
There has been a growing trend over the past several years toward eating a more healthful diet. And various diets have gained popularity, such as the raw food and vegan ones. Miami has nowhere near as many health food restaurants as Los Angeles, for example, but Short Order found several to investigate. Because Miami Beach probably has the 305 market cornered, I stayed inland and visited the Last Carrot in Coconut Grove and Lifefood Gourmet in the Roads.

Now I'm not normally fond of pretentious, raw, vegan, patchouli-plentiful food places. It's not that I don't like to eat healthy -- I'll take steamed Brussels sprouts over French fries nine times out of ten. It's just that these places tend to have an inauthentic sincerity, a sense of faux bohème, that grates on my nerves faster than the $1,600 juicer that sits in their kitchens.

Service
Some staff members at these types of places wear a cloak of superiority -- an organic, 100 percent hemp, eco-friendly cloak, made by craftspeople and artisans, not by the indigenous populations of Third-World countries. Riiiiiight. Their subtle sneer implies that if you don't eat this way every day, you will soon die.

This is nowhere truer than at Lifefood Gourmet. The man behind the counter was snottier than a Parisian maître d' seating a couple of Midwestern tourists. As he described each menu item, his condescension grew until it reached astronomical proportions -- matched only by the prices on the menu.

On the other hand, the Last Carrot, although still a bit pretentious, is much more believable. The food is natural and organic, and there are lots of veggies involved, but the servers don't look at you like you're Jeffrey Dahmer when you order the tuna pita ($7.75).

Lifeffod Platter7.jpg
Photo by Ily Goyanes
Yum.
Value
Food anywhere is worth any price if said price is backed by taste. So when I complain about the prices at Lifefood, consider it like someone complaining about paying $7 for a turd sandwich. To be fair, also keep in mind that it is 100 percent raw and organic turd imported from Somalia and served on artisan bread.

So when I tried the "burger" ($12) at Lifefood, which consisted of a veggie nut patty with nacho "cheese" on sprouted bread, and felt the revulsion course through my body, I knew part of that revulsion was owed to the fact that I had just paid someone to serve me feces. Well, any place charging $6.50 for a 12-ounce glass of iced tea is already rubbing me the wrong way. One of those ounces better contain water from the Fountain of Youth.

The Last Carrot's quality and selection match its prices. There is no trying to take advantage of the "health food" or "organic" labels.

Food
I asked the folks at Lifefood if they had anything that didn't taste like dirt, and they made me a sampler platter of the special menu, which they comped. The only good thing on this plate was some garlicky cauliflower "rice," which actually tasted pretty good. Everything else was straight garbage.

The Last Carrot's aforementioned tuna pita is good. My girlfriend didn't like it, but she prefers her tuna breaded, fried, and stuffed inside a chicken nugget, so it goes without saying that her opinion wasn't valid on this occasion.

The Last Carrot will fill your tuna pita with roughage at your request; I took mine with everything (I think): cucumbers, tomatoes, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, and lettuce. It comes with two dressings: a chunky orange herbal dressing and a thick green vinaigrette. Both add tremendous flavor to the pita without killing the flavor of the fresh ingredients like a creamy commercial dressing would.

The Last Carrot is like that old vegetarian aunt who is widowed, owns three cats named after literary characters, and grows her own vegetables. She might be kind of kooky, but her heart is in the right place. Lifefood is like the Skynet of the health food universe. For its humility, food, and prices, the Last Carrot wins.

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.
My Voice Nation Help
6 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
MAC
MAC

The carrot is the best! That why it has been in business since 1975. Oldest restuarant in the small village of Coconut Grove. People come from all over just to see the carrot is still a live.

Mac
Mac

jesus, New Times is really slipping. how could you allow someone who clearly has an extremely strong bias against vegan food, do a review about vegan food. it's a complete waste of time. not to mention she sounds like an idiot. i understand and somewhat agree with the whole vegan pretension, but to trash anything and everything about all that is vegan renders the post devoid of any value.

bitc*slap
bitc*slap

The author didn't say ONE WORD against vegan food! She even agreed that steamed brussel sprouts and cauliflower rice were tasty and a preference of hers.

Clearly you can barely retain a word of what you read so, please, just stop commenting on articles you barely understood.

bustanut
bustanut

i prefer my turds on a stick thank you. and thanks for the article, rather you than me go over there and waste my money on nasty rabbit food, now be a dear, JOE and hand me a big mac.

lou clay
lou clay

its the truth carrot is the best.

Joe
Joe

This is one of the worst posts I've ever read on Short Order. Please don't let people like this review restaurants.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...