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As with most things, Richmond has been slow to embrace a national movement -- in this case, the raw and living foods concept that's been part of California diets for at least a decade or two.

But consider next weekend your opportunity to learn more, when the Goochland Farmers' Market holds a chefs' demo featuring two raw-food and vegan chefs.

Rob Murphy, whose coronary bypass surgery five years ago prompted a quick retreat from the typical fat- and meat-laden American diet, has been a vegan since then and a fully raw-food vegan for the past year. He'll share recipes and his experiences.

Marina Kharitonova, who moved here recently from Florida, also demonstrates her preparation of vegetables and sprouted grains. "I want people to be able to experience what it's like to feel this good," Kharitonova says, crediting her raw-foods regiment for a host of health benefits, including better sleep and concentration. She favors nut milks and nut butters, sprouted wheatberries and lentils, blended soups, and particularly juices made of spinach, Swiss chard and other greens.

Both chefs are instrumental members of the Richmond Raw & Living Foods Meetup, which holds ethnic-themed potluck meals and informational events in the city. Kharitonova also does home demonstrations of her recipes and techniques.

Their demonstrations take place July 28 at the market, located on the grounds of Grace Episcopal Church, 2955 River Road West, near Goochland Courthouse. The market is open from 8 a.m. till noon, and it's becoming a food hotspot where vendors are pleased to be selling their entire stock most Saturdays. The atmosphere is particularly enjoyable, with a nice array of fine crafts, local art, children's activities, occasional music and quality produce and food items. Visit www.centerforruralculture.org.



Vegans and those who love them but still eat meat can find a peaceful coexistence at The Camel, the café-meets-club sandwiched between the Firehouse Theatre and the post office, at 1621 W. Broad St.

With a menu that includes tofu specials, tempeh wraps, turkey burgers and pancake-of-the-day, "there's something for everyone, because we want this to be 'Richmond's social oasis,'" says Peter Szijarto, who books the acts and sometimes cooks.

Coffee, free Wi-Fi, a range of wines and beers, a changing menu that always has vegetarian options, and weekly music and art shows keep the place at the forefront of the city's growing cultural life. "We want this to be a place where everybody can hang out," Szijarto says. The Camel serves breakfast and lunch weekdays, with light fare at dinner during weekend shows and events. Call 353-4901 or visit www.thecamel.org.



While fine diners in Carytown are no doubt pouncing on the soft opening of Karsen's (which we'll detail next week), there's also anticipation for the unveiling of Si, the new tapas spot in the completely redesigned space that was Caffe di Pagliacci on Lombardy Street. The new restaurant in its now-pink building is set to open by mid-August.

Executive chef Matt Turner just spent a week scouting East Coast tapas places for inspiration, and says Si's menu will focus on natural and organic products, daily specials and authentic regional Spanish raciones. He's also redesigned the menu at sister restaurant Bank downtown, to reflect a maturing style and bolder flavors for his New American cuisine with a Southern accent. The place continues to draw crowds as it celebrates its first year in business. Call 648-3070 or visit www.bankandvault.com.



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