Saturday, June 23, 2012


Bob has been very busy at work this week and worked all day today, so in search of some company, I took a trip to Los Angeles to take Andrew and Lauren out to lunch.  It is always a wonderful adventure to eat with them in LA. They know all the hip places to eat, and today was no exception.  (I took a dozen or so pictures with my cell phone, but unfortunately none of them seem to be there.  I'm not sure what I did!  As a result, all of the pictures below are pilfered from the Internet, and there is no picture of my good-looking lunch companions.)

Today's lunch was at Cafe Gratitude:

We had intended to save this place for another day when Bob was with us as he has recently become a vegan, but we decided to go there anyway.  (I did order something for him and took it home.)

We have eaten at several vegan restaurants in Los Angeles in the last few months, and I have to say that this one is my favorite so far.

From their website:
Our food:
Café Gratitude serves a menu of 100% organic, 100% vegan, local fare.  Our food is free of refined sugar, flour, and additives.  We have an extensive menu of raw foods and have recently expanded to serve cooked foods in many of our locations. We create all of our own food -from the produce bin to your plate - so we can avoid serving certain common allergens like wheat, soy, and peanuts. Over 45% of our produce comes from our Be Love Farm, and the compost from our Cafes is returned to the farm to nourish the next meal.

Our mission:
Café Gratitude is our expression of a world of plenty. Our food and people are a celebration of our aliveness. We select the finest organic ingredients to honor the earth and ourselves, as we are one and the same. We support local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products. Our food is prepared with love. We invite you to step inside and enjoy being someone that chooses: loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for. Have fun and enjoy being nourished. Welcome to Café Gratitude!

Look at the menu.  Notice anything unusual?  Every dish is entitled: "I Am ______."

This restaurant is all about self-affirmations. When you order, you say, "I would like I Am Pure as an appetizer and I Am Extraordinary as my entree.  How about I Am Worthy for my drink."  The waitress says, "Okay, You Are Pure, You Are Extraordinary, and You Are Worthy."  It's very New Age-y and quite fun.

For an appetizer, we shared an order of I Am Present,
which was a crunchy wheat bruschetta topped with butternut squash, cashew mozzarella, and fig-balsamic vinegar.  It was delicious.

For my main course, I had I Am Whole,
 which had a base of brown rice and quinoa topped by seaweed, kale, kimchi, carrots, sprouts, tahini, and almonds.  It was absolutely fantastic, and I will probably have to get it again if we go back.  In fact, it is what I got to take home to Bob, and he enjoyed it as well.

Lauren had I Am Pure,
which was a kale salad topped with "sea veggies" and ginger-tahini dressing, and Andrew had I Am Gracious, which I can't find a picture of on the Internet, but which was brown rice and quinoa topped with hemp seed pesto, kale, Brazil nut parmesan, tomatoes, and sprouts. 

I can't wait to go back.

On our way home, we stopped at the Whole Foods Market across the street from The Grove Shopping Center on 3rd Street.  This is another fun place to go with Andrew and Lauren as they are adventurous eaters and do a lot of very interesting cooking.  (Andrew, for example, makes his own sauerkraut from scratch.)  I picked up quite a few treats for Bob as consolation for him missing our adventure.  I think I just made him more jealous.  Here are a few examples of what I hauled home:
Chia Juice.  This was Andrew's idea.  He has had it and says it is really good.
Yum. This looks so delicious!
Andrew got especially excited in the mushroom section.  If you know Andrew, you know how much he loves mushrooms.  They happened to have a fresh batch of morel mushrooms, a very rare find.  At $39.99 a pound, they are very pricey (but not as pricey as dried morels in another section of the store--$304.95/lb.), but luckily they don't weigh very much.  This is about $5.00 worth:
There were also Hen-of-the-Wood mushrooms, also known as maitake mushrooms.  They are way cheaper at only $29.99 a pound, and this little cluster cost about $3.00:
We cooked them both for dinner tonight and felt very chic.

Andrew also sent home a bottle of his favorite kind of kimchi for Bob to try:
Kimchi, or fermented cabbage, is a Korean dish that is an acquired taste.  This particular version is a bit milder, and even I like it.  Bob, of course, loves it.

And so you can see that even with Bob's change in diet, we are still managing to eat strange and unusual foods.

Life is still fun.


  1. It was a fun lunch! Come again soon! Bring Dad next time! I really want to go to that Ethiopian place.

  2. I have to go to the restaurant and we have to order a supply of the kimchi. I have been wanting to eat fresh morels for several years, so yes, it was a good day.

  3. Sounds affirming, in the best sort of way, to eat good food with good companions.