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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

Fabulousness + Rawlicious

Today was a day of fabulousness. <—Also fabulous is that “fabulousness” is a word according to my Windows Live Writer.

Anyways, here are all of the day’s fabulous events in order of occurrence:

1. Andy Schleck edged out Alberto Contador for the yellow jersey in Stage 9 today at the Tour de France.

2. I received three times the amount of money I was expecting for my tax return.

3. I got that job I interviewed for yesterday and reallyreally wanted (!!!!)

4. I celebrated all these fabulous things with a fabulous meal with fabulous bloggers tonight :)

 

Okay. I will stop using the word fabulous ;)

So about that job? I’ll be doing personal training in a Toronto-area gym starting next week! It really is the perfect gym and ideal situation for me and I could not be happier about it :D Of course, I won’t start making any money until I get clients, so that extra boost I got from the government today definitely helps!!

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For all the wonderful things that happened today, it was actually a pretty lazy morning and afternoon.

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Started with a Toronto-style bagel topped with butter + mixed berry jam.

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With a side of microwaved egg whites topped with laughing cow cheese. All on a Wall-E plate ;)

I had full intentions on going to the gym before lunch, so I thought a Run Glo Bar would be an appropriate pre-gym snack.

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I love the idea of a small nutrition bar meant specifically as pre-run fuel.

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Again, I liked how you could really taste the peanut butter, and it had dates! Those are always my go-to pre-run snack! I can totally see this being easily digested for energy before a run.

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Except, I didn’t end up going to the gym after eating this. I got caught up in the last 20k of today’s Tour de France, and then the Harry Potter book I’m reading started calling my name.

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I eventually had to break from all this laziness for lunch.

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I mixed some of my leftover white bean-pork-mushroom-pesto with chopped green pepper, red onion, zucchini, beets and feta. Holy delicious. I ate it cold like a salad and it was awesome!

I eventually did make it to the gym late this afternoon. Walked the 25 minutes there because I was too lazy (or impatient) to wait for the streetcar. I know this doesn’t make sense. Can you tell I was in a mood today?? :P

Went straight to the weight room and tortured myself thusly:

 

Exercise Load Reps Sets Target
Deadlift 65 lbs 12 3 Lower back, glutes, thighs
Forward lunge  40 lbs ea 20 3 Quads, glutes
Reverse fly  10 lbs ea 12 3 Upper back
Jump squats bodyweight 20 3 Quads, glutes
Dumbbell bench press  20 lbs ea 12 3 Chest
One arm dumbbell snatch  20 lbs 12 3 Shoulder, quads, glutes
Lateral raise w/ side lunge  5 lbs ea 12 3 Top/side shoulder, inner thighs, quads
Cable pushdown  45 lbs 12 3 Triceps
Single arm cable curl  10 lbs 12 3 Biceps
Prone jackknife  bodyweight 12 3 Abs
Stability ball leg curl bodyweight 12 3 Hamstrings, hips, calves

Colour coded to indicate straight or alternating sets! I really hated doing the jump squats between sets, so I know it was good for me :P I then proceeded to walk home in the humidity. I was starved by the time I got back!

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One thing I’ve noticed about Ontario is that the produce is cheaper than in New Brunswick. Cantaloupe is only 99 cents. 

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I’ve been eating excessive amounts of fruit now that it’s so hot out. That’s what summer is for I guess – it tastes so fresh and delicious!

I also snacked up on a little extra protein…

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Yes, protein desserts are still in my life. This is just a scoop of chocolate whey powder mixed with a tablespoon cocoa powder + stevia and a splash of water. Super rich and satisfying :)

I may have also been filling up on protein because of the blogger meet-up I had in store!!

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Angela got a recommendation for Rawlicious and we immediately had to try it!

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They have a mostly all raw-vegan menu and a super cute dining area!! We were in a room called the “Zen Den” hanging out on pillows and chatting away per usual.

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Jess, Angela, Laura, Kristin, Sarah, Me, Jessica, Jenn. Missing is Callie, she’s the photographer ;)

Rawlicious has a juicer on hand so I figured I might as well take advantage of it to continue the fight against this never-ending cold I have.

Veggie juice: celery, cucumber, parsley, carrot.

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Not bad actually. It tasted mostly of cucumber. I now know that juice is supposed to be drunk warm for whatever reasons, but seriously. Will a couple ice cubes really hurt?

We also ordered a Nacho Platter for the table: the classic trio of Guacamole, “Sour Cream” & Salsa, served with sliced green olives, green onions, hot banana peppers and a pile of Rawlicious Nacho Chips.

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Excuse the blurry picture, but I had to just say the raw tortilla chips were awesome! As was the “sour cream.” The consensus was that it was probably cashew based. I say it was based of deliciousness.

Everything on the menu sounded so unique and amazing. I finally ended up with a Taco Wrap: Seasoned Nut-Loaf, Guacamole, chopped Tomatoes, Red Onion, shredded Romaine, Salsa and Nut Cheese.

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Thumbs up!!! I asked for it without the guacamole (“allergic”) but otherwise everything on it tasted great! The nut-loaf was a little spicy and had a great crumbly texture. The nut cheese reminded me a little of hummus. I really enjoyed this, and for being a raw meal, it was pretty darn filling!!

When the waitress asked if we wanted to see the tea menu after the meal, I couldn’t help but take part.

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Knowing it was getting close to my bedtime, I chose one of the “non-caffeineted” ones, Rooibos Samarkhand: Rooibos, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Calendula & Rose Petals.

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All served in a cute little mug to boot. Good for my sinuses!

There may have also been a little raw dessert action…

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Much better than my last raw dessert experience. Y’all know I’m a butter and sugar girl, but this raw brownie was definitely tasty! It was mostly coconut based, but my favourite part was the icing, which I think had something to do with coconut butter.

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Fun fact: Callie (right) and I are driving to Chicago together for the Healthy Living Summit!! Blogger road trip?? Yesplease :)

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I’m pumped that Sarah (left) and Angela (right) will also be at the Healthy Living Summit! Also, props to Jessica (mid-right) for suggesting the restaurant. It was a total win, and I have a feeling we’ll be going back to the “Zen Den” till we’ve tried everything on the menu!!

I should also thank Laura for her TTC tips (Toronto Transit Commission). Thankfully, I didn’t have to act crazier than the crazy people on the subway to stay safe on the way home. Another win!!

 

And with that, I bid you a goodnight!! *muah!*

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