07/18/10

Cafe Gratitude – Berkeley, CA

Cafe Gratitude
1730 Shattuck Ave (@ Virginia)
Berkeley, CA 94709
Phone: (510) 725-4418
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
http://www.cafegratitude.com/

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To the average diner, the attitude of this restaurant might seem a little intimidating. The concept began with a couple who challenged one another to “live their lives together following and trusting intuition.” Their commitment inspired the development of the Abounding River Game. It’s an interactive game to share with a partner based around what they believed were important qualities to aspire to: Love & Acceptance, Generosity, Worth, Gratitude, and Creation or Responsibility. Cafe Gratitude was created initially as a meeting place for others to play this game.

Then, one of the owners stumbled upon a book about live foods and they experimented with this lifestyle for a month. They felt so good, they decided to create a menu for the cafe. Most of the food at this restaurant is organic, raw and vegan.

Sound like a lot to take in? I thought so, too, but once I arrived with my family my skepticism subsided. The Berkeley location isn’t large. Most of the tables were full on a Saturday for a late lunch. We were offered a cozy area with two couches and large coffee table connecting the space. Overall, the ambiance is calm, even soothing and casual.

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We started with the I AM ABUNDANT sampler plate. For $16, you’ll receive sprouted almond hummus, Asian kale-sea vegetable salad, hempseed pesto crustini, spicy cashew nacho cheese w/ flax chips, olive tapenade, buckwheat crackers, spring roll & mini house soup served on a large plate for sharing. These items taste great paired together. I especially liked the house soup and almond hummus.

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For my entree, I tried I AM WHOLE. This macrobiotic bowl contained shredded kale, sea vegetables, house made kim chee, sprouts, teriyaki almonds, quinoa, brown rice and a garlic-tahini sauce. I strongly recommend the 1/2 order ($10). Despite my best efforts, I was unable to finish. I felt satisfied, but not like I had overeaten.

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I AM RAPTURE completed our meal, with a scoop of creamy vanilla nut-milk ice cream. It was extremely had to believe this chocolate layer cake was vegan or raw. Bravo!

Without experiencing this place, the concept seems easy to ridicule, however, I encourage skeptics to open their mind and try it. The food is delicious and you’ll experience of the best feel-good meals you’ve had in a long time.

Cafe Gratitude on Urbanspoon

07/5/10

105degrees – Oklahoma City, OK

105degrees
5820 North Classen Boulevard
Suite 1
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 842-1050
105degrees.com

After my recent raw tiramisu adventure, I found this place on Yelp and I immediately became interested. I stopped in on a Thursday afternoon for lunch and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people dining. I loved the open, modern decor – steel frames and large glass windows throughout. The architecture alone may have tempted me to walk in and peruse a menu.

I spotted the CHEDDAR KALE CRISPS one table over and knew I had to try them. They were generously coated with cheddar cheese and baked to perfection. I felt jealous that I hadn’t thought of this fabulous use for kale when the never-ending-kale reared its ugly head during the first month of our CSA. Let’s face it, there are limited creative uses for kale; this recipe is fantastic and it’s perfectly priced at $5.

Next, I tried the RAW ARRABIATA. This was a wonderful combination of ingredients: gnocchi, crushed chili-tomato sauce, wilted spinach, aged chevre and basil. Being Italian, I felt nervous trying gnocchi in the raw form, but it was incredible. I was full after eating only half and felt this was also well-priced at $11.

I loved everything about this restaurant except for the service. They were slightly pretentious and not very attentive. They did suggest my entree, however, and I didn’t need much, so all was well. This place was much more than just a restaurant. It also offered a healthy living store and cooking classes. I would have loved to learn more if my time were not limited.

105degrees Academy

You win, Oklahoma City.

105degrees on Urbanspoon

06/24/10

Wild Cow – Nashville, TN

The Wild Cow
1896 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 262-2717

http://www.thewildcow.com

I’ll admit it; I would like this place no matter what, based solely on its close proximity to where I live. It’s great to have restaurants within close walking distance – it’s part of what I really like about living in East Nashville. The fact that it is vegetarian makes it even more attractive. The Wild Cow is one of only two vegetarian restaurants in this city and I really admire the way they have reached out to connect with the community. Months before they had opened, they already had hundreds of Facebook fans anxiously anticipating their opening celebration / benefit party for East C.A.N.

Sadly, I haven’t tried most of their menu. This is hardly intentional; I’m out of town fairly often and I really enjoy cooking at home with fresh vegetables from our CSA when I can! Last night, after a visit to the beloved, Mas Tacos Por Favor, I noticed that someone tweeted about the raw tiramisu Wild Cow has had available and my curiousity was captured.

Does this look raw to you?

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Wild Cow is also unique in Nashville for being one of the first to embrace the raw lifestyle. I have recently become increasingly interested in what the diet and the preparation of raw food entails. I find my quest for healthy eating to be continually evolving. Although somewhat pricey, ($9.25 with tax), this was delicious. I can’t imagine the amount of time it must have taken to gather ingredients and prepare this delectable treat.

After this delicious experience, I started following Wild Cow on twitter – TheWildCowVeg and now have daily updates on all kinds of vegan and raw desserts. Matcha Green Tea Chocolate Cupcakes? Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting? Yes, please! With an ever-changing menu of daily specials, friendly and charitable staff and an unbeatable location, I really need to get to this place more often.

The Wild Cow on Urbanspoon