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Grateful for Cafe Gratitude

There is one more San Francisco foodie experience I must share with you. I know I am still leaving out the gala dinner. I will get to that in some form or another. But first things first.

Over the weekend, I chowed down on burgers, octopus, pork, buttery croissants, to name a few. But not all of it was animal based. In fact, I ate a lot of vegan while there too!

It started on Friday after a yoga class at San Francisco’s Yoga to the People. Astrid and I showed up with 50 lbs of luggage, only to find out we had to climb five flights of stairs to get to the studio.

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You have got to be kidding me.

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I think we could have skipped the sun salutations, we were already warmed up when we got there!

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The climb however was worth it, as the studio was gorgeous. Large and bright, with windows overlooking the San Francisco cityscape. I know some people think doing a yoga class is a weird way to experience a city. I did the same thing while in Banff. However, finding new yoga studios is one of my favourite ways to experience a new locale!

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The class itself was wonderful. Not so much “hot yoga” as “warm yoga.” Enough to open you up. Crazy leg postures, including a low lunge for what felt like 10 minutes. I left feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and completely elated!

It was with this feeling that I first experienced Cafe Gratitude.

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A small vegan restaurant that specializes in mostly raw dishes. Apparently they used to operate on a by-donation basis.

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I loved everything down to the cloth napkins.

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My table started with an I Am Abundant Sampler Plate.                  

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Sprouted almond hummus, hempseed pesto crostini, spicy cashew nacho cheese w/flax chips, olive tapenade, buckwheat crackers, spring roll & mini house soup.

Cafe Gratitude only just started serving warm dishes and didn’t even have an oven when we were there. Thus, only served two of their cooked options. I opted for the I Am Trusting Tamal Plate.

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A hamdmade corn tamal made with stone-ground heirloom masa and filled w/ seasonal vegetables served with beans, salsa verde & Mexican cilantro coleslaw.

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I don’t think I’ve had a tamale since I was in Mexico 8 years ago!! I loved the cilantro slaw and the green salsa.

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The best part though were the pieces of squash in the tamale. Great for taste and texture.

After lunch, we decided it would probably be in our best interest to order dessert too.

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I Am Devoted Coconut Cream Pie: Rich coconut cream pie in a coconut-date crust. Holy coconuts!! I definitely would not compare this to the real thing, but that doesn’t mean this version still wasn’t delicious. So coconutty and surprisingly fluffy in the centre considering no cream was used.

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Group shot stolen borrowed from Ashley :)

Come Sunday evening, I found myself with no official schedule or dinner plans. When I heard a group of bloggers were hitting up Cafe Gratitude, it sounded like just what I needed after a weekend of heavy food.

I hummed and hawed over what to get once again. Picking the menu up, feeling overwhelmed, then setting it down again.

I finally decided on a dish that caught my eye on that first visit. I didn’t want to leave wondering what it tasted like!

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I Am Festive Taco Salad: Shredded romaine lettuce with crumbled pumpkin seed-walnut taco filling, guacamole, salsa & cashew nacho cheese, topped with flax chips.

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I loved the flax chips. Some people thought they were a touch too spicy, but they were right up my alley. The walnut taco filling was good too, however there wasn’t enough of it. Cashew nacho cheese was creamy and spicy, but this time too much of it! I totally blanked and forgot to ask for it on the side.

Even though I got just a half order of the salad, my belly filled quickly from all the delicious food ingested over my weekend at the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco.

Sometimes it’s easy to zip through vacations so quickly that they’re gone in a blink of an eye. Suddenly, you’re laying in bed watching Mad Men in Toronto thinking, “Wasn’t I just soaking up the rays in California?”

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Thankfully, Cafe Gratitude slowed me down just long enough to appreciate being in that moment. With new blog friends, enjoying wonderful food, in a place I never expected to be.

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Picture copied borrowed from Raya.

And for the record, Cafe Gratitude gets extra points for proper signage.

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For all you Americans who say “bathroom” ;)

 

My other Foodbuzz Festival/San Francisco recaps:
California Dreamin’
The Bakery That Changed My Life
All Good Things Come To An End
A Food Lover’s Paradise
A West Coast Story

Sweat It Out

Hiiii!!! Long time no *see*!!

I hope you enjoyed the kick off to my Blogger Interview Series with Tamzin and Tina while I was off gallivanting around Halifax. I’ve got tons more coming up in the next several weeks, should be fun :)

So this will be a short and sweet recap. I didn’t snap many photos as sometimes it’s nice to put the camera aside and live life outside of a viewfinder. Let’s see some of the highlights…

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Friday morning I woke up and gave a stab at dairy free protein pancakes.

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  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp benefibre
  • 1 stevia packet
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • lotsa cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

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Oh yeah, and I sprinkled some flaked coconut and walnut pieces on the batter while it was cooking. Holy yum. This batter may not work for waffles, but it makes good pancakes!

Friday morning I also did a full-body weight lifting workout which I quickly regretted upon my arrival to Halifax. The bestie has become a yogini since my last visit, and brought my to my first ever hot yoga class!

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Moshka Yoga is a group of independent yoga studios across Canada and several parts of the world. It’s done in a heated studio, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38 C). It’s not a power flow based class, more static standing, sitting and laying postures.


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We started out laying on the floor in savasana (corpse pose). As I laid there, I was already breaking into a sweat over my upper lip, and I was a little concerned I wouldn’t make it through the class. I’m pretty temperature sensitive.

We then moved into crescent moon, awkward pose, a warrior series and balance series, to name a few. All poses I know and am capable of doing, just with the addition of sweat pouring out of every pore on my body.

We also did a few bicycle crunches which was surprising, and ended back in savasana. I left feeling refreshed and peaceful, as well as thirsty and hungry ;)

We wolfed down some Subway (one occasion when the additional sodium is welcome!) and were ready to get our evening started ;) 

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The smudges on the mirror are courtesy this guy:

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Griffin tends to fight his reflection. He’s also always exposing his manbits by laying with his legs spread like that :P

We started our night out at the Seahorse Tavern for some live folk-pop music. But somewhere along the way we ended up at a sports bar playing pool (where I whooped some ass, might I add). The only other group of people at the bar happened to include someone I went to elementary/middle/high school with!! Small world. Several pitchers of beer were consumed and the night may have finished off with a McDonalds’ Big Mac Snack Wrap.

Because after some draught and pool, I get classy like that ;)

Night turned into morning and I have a feeling it was 5am by the time I crashed.

We were hurting bad enough the next day that I even gave in to Tim Horton’s coffee.

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I hate Tim’s. But the caffeine did wonders :)

A chunk of Saturday was spent running around town picking up food – including this place!!

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They have some things that I can’t buy in New Brunswick, including some new-to-me bars.

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Vita TOPS (we can only get VitaMuffins)

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Fact: muffins are superior when ingested in “top” form.

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Plus, the peanut butter is easier to spread on top :)

I also picked up some waffles that I was sent coupons to sample. Will feature in the next few days – I’m excited to try them!

Then we got cookin’! I taught Erika how to make guacamole.

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I helped her come up with a meal plan for a 12-day detox (don’t worry, it’s safe and healthy). We cooked up a whack of fish and brown rice.

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And let the kitty lick up the fish juices ;) She lives in student housing with a communal kitchen though, and we stank up the whole house with the fish. Whoops!

The rest of the evening was spent laying in bed watching Supernatural, and eating bbq ribs and coconut cream pie. I’ve never had the big kind of ribs before. Amazing.

Since we were in bed at a decent hour Saturday, we were able to get up for a morning yoga class today. Friday’s was 60 minutes long, but today we tackled the 90 minute one. I loved it! Felt gooood to sweat all that beer and pie out. Also notable was that I was able to do a whole flow series doing the high plank, chaturangas and cobra, instead of the modified versions on my knees. Getting stronger!

Arrived back to my mom’s place in time for supper.

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A giant chicken salad – just what I needed after an indulgent weekend!

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I like to throw all my usual “healthy” habits out the window every once in a while. It’s more for mental sanity than anything else. To be able to eat and live without any nagging thoughts in the back of my brain. I will say, my tastes have truly changed. While a Big Mac Wrap is briefly tasty, something like this salad satisfies me on a much deeper level. Afterward I can feel my inside smiling :)

 

Well, this girl is beat. I will do the goals check-in tomorrow, so you’re off the hook this time. I hardly went near a computer all weekend, I’ll be tackling my inbox tomorrow. Fret not if you haven’t heard from me yet! Heart you all! xoxo

 

Question of the Day: Have you ever done hot yoga? What are your thoughts on it? I was expecting to pass out, so I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

Bonus Question: What’s one dish you really want to try but haven’t because it’s not “healthy?” I’ve been dying to try a rack of ribs since I started eating meat again. A real rack doused in sauce. When I had the option of getting them this weekend, I knew the time was right. Worth the wait!!

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