Poetry and culinary magic unite at Pomegranate Café, an Ahwatukee restaurant that focuses on a new way of eating. By “utilizing fresh organic ingredients” to “tempt the palate and create wellbeing,” Pomegranate Café’s ever-expanding menu defies the idea that healthy foods must lack flavor. My experiences at Pomegranate Café have confirmed that health foods are true indulgences, delivering tastes of wondrous vibrancy in every bite. Pomegranate Café is owned by mother-and-daughter pair Cassie Tolman, a former Superstition Review intern, and her mother Marlene Tolman.
Pomegranate Café has a diverse menu, full of wholesome vegan, gluten-free, and raw items. During my dinner there, I had a yummy potato-leek soup with a generous slice of gluten-free pomegranate-chocolate cake. I asked Cassie Tolman about how she conceptualized Pomegranate Café. I asked her if preparing a meal and writing poetry involve a similar process. A meal, she writes, “can be devoured”—perhaps like a poem. While poetry involves rhyme, meter, words, and sounds, the magic in food comes alive when “ordinary things—a bunch of beets, some garlic, a drop of oil, a handful of herbs—all begin to work together with elements like time and heat.” The work of a cook is similar to the work of a poet: the casting of ordinary objects into something that nourishes the soul. Cassie finds ingredients for nourishment in seasonal fruits and vegetables, supporting local farmers, and creates a beautiful meal.
True to form, Pomegranate Café’s chocolate cake was the richest cake I’ve ever had. The pomegranate seeds that top the cake add a bright note of citrus and remind me just how deliciously smooth the cake is—even though it is completely egg and dairy free.
Pomegranate Café truly values food. It’s evident that Cassie and her mother have worked hard to extract wholesome delights out of ordinary ingredients. In a culture of processed foods, where ingredient lists seem endless, the ingredients of Pomegranate’s meals are proudly simple. I am inspired by Cassie’s belief in the transformative power of food. She loves to “create raw vegan dishes because the colors, textures, and flavors remain crisp, bold and beautiful.” I am so excited that she catered Superstition Review’s launch party. Cassie’s love of food is evidenced by Pomegranate Café. It inspires me to experiment in my own kitchen, testing different flavors and textures together—as I’d experiment with different sounds and words as a writer—to craft something delicious, wholesome, and nourishing.