I know it’s only Wednesday, but it’s been quite a long week so far. Matt and I returned from L.A. on Monday night, and since then I’ve been catching up on rest, polishing my book manuscript, and trying desperately not to freak out at the fact that more than half my recipe testers missed the Monday deadline, and of that group, half of them have admitted they never made any of the recipes at all (::gulp::) and the other half are completely MIA. Yeah, I’m not doing too well on the not freaking out…keep your fingers crossed for me that at least a few more of my testers come through.
After waking up at 4am Central time to fly to L.A. last Thursday, we finally made it there around 10am Pacific, and went straight to breakfast at Real Raw Live. Matt had the Berry Grounding smoothie (with banana, berry mix, date paste, buckwheat, spirulina, and date water) and I had the Brazilian Breakfast smoothie (with almond milk, açaí berry, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and hemp granola). Both were superfoody and yummy.
We also shared these raw Oaxacan mole enchiladas. They made for an unconventional, but satisfying, breakfast.
Once we were checked into our hotel, Matt and I crashed for a bit. After our nap, we got straight up and went to the almost-still-brand-new Café Gratitude Los Angeles location. It’s quite different from the original in San Francisco; it’s newer, sleeker, and sexier, in my opinion. I wonder if the newest Café Gratitude opening in Kansas City this winter will be similar to this one. (That’s right—if you haven’t heard yet, Café Gratitude is coming to KC! WOOHOO!)
We started with smoothies, of course—I Am Grace for me (young coconut milk, almond butter, date, and vanilla bean; SO GOOD!) and a berries ‘n cream smoothie (of which I forget the name) for Matt.
We shared the I Am Grounded appetizer: garlic- and olive-oil-roasted potatoes topped with spicy cashew nacho cheese and pink sea salt. These were my only non-raw bites of food all day!
For his main dish, Matt went for the I Am Graceful bowl: quinoa with kale, tomato, sprouts, and pesto sauce.
I did something most unusual, and ordered a taco salad! The I Am Festive had sunflower seed chorizo, cashew nacho cheese, salsa roja, and guacamole on a bed of romaine, sprouts, and carrots. It was light and fresh and really hit the spot.
For dessert, we shared this I Am Rapture seasonal cake, which that day was strawberry shortcake. The coconut-flour-and-date-paste cake was just rich enough to offset the cloud-light whipped icing.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know what happened next! I posted this on the AV Facebook wall:
Get this–after eating at Café Gratitude, Matt and I returned to our hotel, where I found this Twitter message from @VeggieFixation:
“@AlmostVeganChef Were you at @CafeGratitude in LA today? I think I recognized you but wasn’t sure enough to say hello.”
How cool is that?! Does getting randomly recognized at a restaurant 1000 miles from home mean I’ve officially “arrived” on the raw/vegan culinary scene?
Is that crazy, or what?! Hehe! Christine (@VeggieFixation) went on to say “I was at a table in the middle of the patio. Was going to say hi on my way out but then your food came. Bummer! Your camera gave you away! The way to tell a food blogger: they start snapping away when the food arrives.” Too true! Wish we could’ve chatted, Christine—next time!
Several hours later, Matt and I were ready for one last sweet snack for the night, so we headed over to KindKreme, a gourmet, raw, vegan, organic dessert shop with three locations in L.A. I went for something simple: a scoop of honey-vanilla ice cream (KindKreme does use honey) with raw salted caramel syrup. The “salted” part was no joke; that syrup made me thirsty! I enjoyed it, though.
Matt went all out with their Brownie Sundae: raw vegan brownie chunks topped with one scoop each of chocolate banana ice cream and espresso bean ice cream, raw chocolate syrup, and crushed Newman O’s cookies. WHOA! This was sinfully good! I must recreate this at home.
Coming up next: all about our day at the pre-Emmys expo with Brendan Brazier and the Vega team!