SF Weekly features ANANDA FUARA restaurant

Anda Fuara

In today’s online edition the SF Weekly features among other vegetarian restaurants “Ananda Fuara”, an enter- prise lead by disciples of Sri Chinmoy:

Ananda Fuara, a few blocks away at Market and Larkin, is a San Francisco institution and “divine enterprise” of guru/super-athlete/humanitarian Sri Chinmoy. The spiritual leader died in 2007, but lives on at restaurants like this, which still bears the name he bestowed on it (translation: “the fountain of delight”) as well as poster-sized photographs of his beatific visage on the walls. There’s a lending library in the back stocked with Chinmoy titles like Beyond Within and Eastern Light for the Western Mind that you can peruse as you eat, but Chinmoy and his philosophies are never mentioned by the sari-clad staff (who do close the restaurant for yearly retreats, though, including one April 11-15). If anything, the room is peaceful, with robin-egg blue walls, tinkling meditative music, fresh flowers, and a fountain trickling water down one wall. The crowd’s a mix of business-lunchers and yoga-pant-wearing enthusiasts.

Chinmoy’s dedication to vegetarianism lay in his teachings to find your best self through meditation. He’s best known for antics like bench-pressing political dignitaries, but his followers also claim that he produced 1,500 books, 100,000 poems, 18,000 spiritual songs, and 200,000 paintings in his lifetime, many of which are on the walls. His high achievement is attributed, at least in part, to his avoidance of animal flesh. On his website, he wrote that when we eat meat, “the aggressive, animal consciousness enters into us,” whereas milder vegetables give us “the qualities of sweetness, softness, simplicity, and purity.” As such, the menu is less fake meat and more textbook hippie by way of the Moosewood Cookbook.

The restaurant is known for its Neatloaf, a take on meatloaf made with ricotta, tofu, grains, eggs, and spices ($11.75, a vegan option is also available). It’s admirably moist and texturally very similar to the version your mother might have made for Sunday dinner, but the tangy tomato-based sauce on the top was overly sweet and cloying. Still, it was a satisfying lunch, and came with a sizable fresh salad with a zippy lemon-tahini dressing. On a sandwich, the bottom slice of bread tended to get soggy; a better sandwich to try is the veggie burger ($7.95), of the soft and squishy variety and no more exciting than it needs to be.

The menu also has a large number of Indian dishes. Dal ($5.95) had the requisite complex layers of spice and heat that makes the simple chickpea stew so appealing. Samosas ($6.25) were stuffed with pea-and-potato curry, though the wrapping was a tad too thick and gluey. Ananda Fuara also has a daily curry served over rice ($11.50), which one day featured a mild, creamy version with mushrooms — nothing that blew the palate away with spice, but warming on a rainy afternoon.

Was forgoing meat for a few meals my path to spiritual enlightenment? Of course not. But dining under the gaze of the Supreme Master and Sri Chinmoy did make me more conscious of the meat I eat every day without thinking about it — turkey sandwiches, sausage on pizza, chicken in pad Thai, and so on. Given all the uncertainty these days around what’s in the meat we eat, a little mindfulness isn’t a bad thing. Even when it comes with a side of scripture. (Source: Anna Roth/SF Weekly)

Aotearaw – First Raw Vegetarian Restaurant in Auckland

Nandana and I are really excited about opening a Raw food enterprise in Auckland (New Zealand), it is her brain child as she has been in the Raw food world for quite a few years now and has inspired many others to eat Raw etc… There are many aspects to the enterprise, the main feature is Raw food prepared, packaged and labeled to be wholesaled and distributed through Health food stores and supermarkets. Basically any processed conventional foods found on supermarket shelves can be prepared in a Raw way, so the potential is unlimited for variation of products which can be prepared. From Breakfast foods to desserts, meals on the run, athletic performance nutrition, snacks, beverages, superfoods, nuts, seeds, herbs etc. Raw food is always alive, Fresh, full of vitality and gourmet. The final inspiration came from running the 3100 mile race on a raw vegan diet as it proved the potential and healing/recovery from such a refined diet was possible. My energy levels were high and constant not suffering from effects from sugar spikes and fatigue from over stimulation.

As a side line to the wholesale network we will have our products on our shelves available for purchase (retail) on-site as well as a cafe’ aspect serving Raw food and we’ll cheat with coffee (specialty coffee) as it’s such a commercial draw card in New Zealand. We also have a consultation room for nutritionists and naturopaths etc and we will be hosting a running club/races from the premise also. The venue can be used for seminars talks, health food programs and pot luck dinners for the Raw food community. The name Aotearaw comes from “Aotearoa” which is the native Maori name of New Zealand meaning “The Land of the long white cloud”. Kiwis are very patriotic people and proud of their homeland so from a commercial marketing standpoint it’s a strong name to bounce off. We changed the roa at the end of the name to Raw for obvious reasons.

We hope to have the kitchen side of the cafe open for wholesale business within the next week or so and then the cafe should follow in the next 4 – 6 weeks. 🙂  Its fun and inspiring 🙂  we are really trying to link Athletic performance nutrition and high levels of health with gourmet deliciously prepared foods. -Dharbhasana