Market Dinner Sponsor Spotlight : LivingWell Bistro

Market Dinner Sponsor Spotlight : LivingWell Bistro

September 8, 2011 |  by  |  Blog

Montavilla Farmers Market extends a big “thank you” to LivingWell Bistro for sponsoring this year’s Harvest Dinner. Enjoy this spotlight on this new restaurant and market and be sure to pay them a visit when they open on October 4th!

A few months ago I found myself with a person very close to my heart in the hospital. I should say before I go any further that he’s just fine now and going strong! It really was just a nasty case of appendicitis which thank goodness isn’t an especially dangerous thing as medical emergencies go. Anyway, so I was basically living at the hospital for about 5 days. Needless to say, meals were rushed affairs and necessarily about how quickly they could be obtained, how substantial they were, and whether or not I could afford them. So, like so many others, when the hunger pangs got intense, I made a beeline for the cafeteria figuring if all the doctors and nurses eat there, it can’t be too terribly bad.How wrong I was! I tried hard to make good choices – well, choice rather – which meant I lived on salads basically the entire time I was there, breakfast lunch and dinner. While I appreciate a great salad (which these really were not, but I digress) when a loved one is in the hospital, you need comfort. You need warm, healthy food that feeds body and soul, that nourishes an over taxed system and helps you be your best strongest self. Power foods! Fuel! Not pesticide-coated, ice cold, trucked-across-the-country-from-goodness-knows-where, heartless slop. “When will people wake up!” I thought! “Aren’t the doctors angry that they eat this junk everyday!?”Well someone has heard my (and countless others!) call – namely Southeast Portland’s Adventist Medical Center! Now, for a person with a BA in comparative Religions, I had an embarrassingly weak understanding of the Adventist faith going in to my conversation with Lyndee Lawrence, who as the Director of Hospitality Services at the AMC is one of the driving forces behind their innovative new project, the LivingWell Bistro. From Lyndee, I learned that keeping a vegetarian diet is actually part of the Adventist faith, and health and preventative nutrition in general is a huge part of what they do at the Adventist Hospital. The LivingWell Bistro, which is slated to open on October 4th, is going to be a full service restaurant and market that will reflect those ideals in everyway.

Open to the public, as well as doctors, nurses and poor souls like me who are stuck at the hospital waiting with an unwell loved one, the bistro will be serving what Lawrence and restaurant consultant Bo Rinaldi (the brains behind Portland’s popular Blossoming Lotus, among others) refer to as a completely “plant-based” menu. All of the food on offer will be 100% free of animal products and a many of the items will be raw, live foods in addition!

“We want to show people that eating in this manner can be really flavorful – it’s just good food.” Says Lawrence of Living Well Bistro’s mission and purpose as part of the Adventist Medical Center. She emphasizes that health is so important in terms of preventing the need for treatment, and eating a largely (if not completely) plant-based diet is a major step towards health. Bringing Bo Rinaldi on board back in April to work on recipes and brainstorm about the logistics of what would be offered and so on brought the dream of LivingWell Bistro into a beautiful, attainable, exciting reality. With 51 years of eating a completely plant-based diet behind him, Bo certainly ought to have some insight into how to enjoy a meat and dairy free diet to the fullest. As an extremely successful local restaurateur and author, he brought savvy from the restaurant world about what customers need, what they crave, and what sort of food you might offer to entice omnivores through the door. In fact, as Bo described the menu over the phone, this particular omnivore’s stomach began to rumble and growl – everything sounds amazingly delicious.

Chef Brenda Fulle will be pulling wany dishes from the bistro’s open hearth; from a drool-inducing portobello pizza with pine nut-based ‘cheese’ and lots of fresh, local organic vegetables to a comforting strudel with mochi standing in for the dough (lots of options for those gluten-free-ers out there) and a pine nut cream cheese filling studded with luscious Oregon berries.

LivingWell Bistro will also have quick, ready-to-go items like raw (and not) wraps to grab for doctors (and anyone!) on the run, a taco bar, delicious salads like a chia seed Caesar (YUM), and crazy delicious desserts and pastries (many gluten free)! As much as possible, Rinaldi and Lawrence want the food to be good, nutritious, local and above all else to show people that aplant-based diet can be really wonderfully delicious way to eat!

Aaaaaand last but very very far from least, LivingWell Bistro and Adventist Medical Center have generously offered to sponsor the Montavilla Market Harvest dinner!! So a big big thank you to them, and we encourage everyone to go give LivingWell a try on Oct. 4th!

Check them out (after the 4th) at!
-Written by Miranda Rake

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