Raw Foodist Sarma Melngailis Drinks Grapefruit Sake Mojitos Before Noon



"I had venison carpaccio. I’m going to a fiery raw-vegan hell."Photo: Melissa Hom


You may remember Sarma Melngailis as half of New York’s Most Beautiful Feuding Foodies (the other half being Matthew Kenney, her cookbook co-author, ex-boyfriend and former partner in raw-food restaurant Pure Food and Wine). Regardless of gossip tales that she stabbed angry notes into vegetables, she’s revered by raw foodists as a champion of organic eating. That’s why we were surprised when, recounting what she ate this week, she confessed to indulging not just in “weirdo shakes” and Master Cleanse martinis, but also venison carpaccio, and at least one lamb meatball.

Thursday, February 15
I woke up way too late, shared a fuji apple with my boyfriend before he ran out the door. Drank some fresh coconut water, which is amazing for hangovers, then had chocolate ice “cream” and raw cocoa beans. I took a few big bites to create space for the small handful of raw cacao pieces that I poured in. I ate them slowly while drinking a huge glass of water. This is my favorite breakfast caffeine-rush.

I rushed across the street to a corporate lunchtime event we hosted at the restaurant, at which I was required to speak about grapefruits. I won’t name the company since they’re not known for being organic, and pasteurize their juice, so I felt like a whore doing the event. All the food and hors d’oeuvre included pink grapefruit. It wasn’t even noon yet and I was having pink-grapefruit sake mojitos.

Wednesday, February 14
I ran across to the juice bar, threw some frozen blueberries, fresh pineapple, fresh coconut water, some goji berries, half a banana, blue-green algae, vanilla, and a pinch of salt into a blender.

I drank green juice while getting my hair blown dry and typing on my laptop.

In the kitchen I tasted the special Valentine’s Day menu full of foods meant to be aphrodisiacs … rose petals in mache salad with candied pine nuts; shaved pineapple with mint, ginseng, and ginger; asparagus, winter truffle, and wild mushrooms en Papillote with creamed celeriac, endive, and wine-soaked black figs. I felt like a proud Mom.

My yummy boyfriend came by. We drank sake mojitos and went to a late dinner at Mamlouk. We drank red wine and ate what they brought us — no menus, which I like. Lots of salads, hummus, really good rice dishes, then some kind of roasted fish. Then I ate a lamb meatball. It was small! Dessert was fresh berries and flan.

Tuesday, February 13
I ran across the street to the restaurant to grab a pint of our chocolate ice “cream.

Midday, green juice with lots of lemon; it’s my comfort food.

Later I stopped over at the House, a new wine bar across the street from my own place. My friend Sean is the chef; he once had me savoring slow-roasted duck, and then sucking on the bones — a complete horror show, since my company is named One Lucky Duck. Here’s how I rationalize occasionally not eating raw-vegan: I always want to try good food. It was very worthwhile in this case: Branzino with red and gold beets, white beans and parsley oil; roasted pattypan squash with olives and cherry tomatoes. Then I had a bit of venison carpaccio, too. I’m going to a fiery raw-vegan hell, no doubt.

Monday, February 12
Sunday, I stayed up til 5 a.m. working on my computer. I got up at 8 a.m. I had water with a lemon squeezed in it, and some fresh pineapple, then later gave in and made some (organic!) coffee, which I never drink.

Green juice at lunchtime, and then a salad of various seaweeds, lettuces, shredded cucumber, capers — I worship capers – I have a salt fetish — some of our Caesar dressing, hemp seeds, and pignoli cheese. It looked a mess but tasted so good. I rudely ate it throughout a meeting with a prospective employee.

Later, around 5 p.m., I tasted sauces and components of our dishes for seasoning in the kitchen, then for dinner sat in the corner for a meeting, not paying enough attention to the person I was meeting with, and instead watching Howard Stern eat with his daughters at the next table while I drank virgin mojito cocktails and ate some spicy Thai lettuce wraps. They’re all crunchy, spicy, citrusy, full of basil, cilantro, and mint, with sweet tamarind dipping sauce.

Sunday, February 11
A bit hungover from too many Master Cleanse 'tinis the night before. I shared an organic Fuji apple with my lovely boyfriend for breakfast. Then I had some green tea.

Later, I made my favorite weirdo shake: two pink grapefruits, a big peeled cucumber, some blue-green algae, an entire big bunch of cilantro, stems and all, some pineapple, a lime, vanilla, cinnamon, pinch of Himalayan crystal salt, sweetened with Stevia, a natural herbal sweetener. I drank that while working at my colossally messy home office desk. I love cilantro!