Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday Night’s Alright For Eating

Who: VN Publisher/Editor in Chief Joseph Connelly + a pair of pedometists
What: A raw Friday-night dinner
Where: Café Gratitude, San Francisco
When: November 21, 2008
Why: To chew the fat with fat-free athletes

The Scoop: It was a dark and stormy workweek. After the Green Festival, which coincided with what must have been record-breaking temps here in Fog City, we enjoyed a few more days of Indian summer on Monday/Tuesday before someone turned off the heat and the chill-that-can-be-San Francisco returned in full fall fashion. Yes, dear readers in New England, Ontario, Chicago, or Minnesota, the mercury dipped below 60°F here, low enough to send nearly the entire city running for mittens, scarves, and space heaters. We're tough.

Braving the frigid conditions, Canadian triathlete Brendan Brazier, formulator of Vega, everyone’s favorite whole-food meal replacement, and his traveling companion Julie Morris, she of LA (though recently relocated from Portland), were in the Bay Area demo-ing said nutritional supplement at a few Whole Foods Markets. With their duties complete, the pair swung by the VegNews offices for a quick visit with the working-late-on-a-Friday staff, and to pick up complimentary “You Are What You Read’ VegNews t-shirts, which, of course, they promised to wear whenever they are out and about.

Next, it was off to dinner. We spun the big wheel and the needle landed on Café Gratitude, the perfect choice, since all three of us all delve in rawish foods whenever possible. We picked the 9th Avenue (SF) location, though any of the other four CG’s, which you read about in our September+October Food Issue, would have been just fine. This is a chain where the food is consistently good no matter the location.

We started with an order of I Am Generous, which equates to chips, guac, and salsa ($9). The “chips’ being, of course, dehydrated flax crackers. Brendan and Julie shared a bowl of I Am Thankful, or coconut curry soup with avo, tomato, cukes, and shiitakes. I ordered the I Am Giving kale salad ($9.75 for a half portion), thanks to VN Senior Editor Elizabeth Castoria, who at our staff lunch earlier in the day talked about how she could go for a kale salad. This vegan yum yum mixes sea veggies, cukes, shiitakes, cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds, and tasty teriyaki almonds into the marinated kale. It’s as good as it sounds.

Brendan and Julie each ordered the I Am Fulfilled large café salad, which is what I normally get so I was happy to have been corrupted by Ms. Castoria, lest all three of us order the same thing, and how ridiculous is that? For $13 you get a hugemungaloid bowl of mixed greens, avo, carrots, beets, cukes, tomato, more flax crackers, “parmesan,” and those yummy teriyaki almonds, which I vote for adding to the menu as a side. You hear me?

I Am Thankful + I Am Fulfilled, courtesy Café Gratitude

I also ordered the I Am Cool milk-free milkshake—no reason needed. This tempting concoction blends raw hazelnut milk, vanilla, cacao nibs, and mint into a refreshing, light treat that had Julie formulating the recipe in her head for trial at home, using her Vita-Mix, of course. I asked for the large, 16-oz ($9.75), and took half of it back to Colleen because, well, in her not-so-subtle way, she asked me to.

During dinner I learned that Julie had just run her first marathon, in Portland. Regular Press Passers know that I just ran one, as well, making the world famous triathlete and two-time Canadian 50k champion the slacker at our table. At least for the month of October, 2008.

Julie Morris & Brendan Brazier, San Francisco, November 2008

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