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I AM Luscious. Say it. Now try it on a stranger

Posted By GreenChef Staff Monkies On April 23, 2007 @ 5:30 am In GreenChef Foodie Talk | No Comments

Cafe Gratitude in the New York Times. This looks so good! I can’t wait to go there next time I’m in San Fran, or when they open their cafes in LA. I can’t believe I missed it when I was there. I guess I can just settle for their new book right now that will be shipping in a few days, called I AM GRATEFUL. Yes, I AM Grateful! I am Luscious! I am Sensational! I am Loving! I am Inspired! I am too tired to think right now! Yes, I would have more to say but I must sleep….. I am sleeping! Enjoy the article! Hope you had a wonderful Earth Day Weekend!

(via: New York Times)

San Francisco

I AM Luscious. Say it. Now try it on a stranger.

Unable to bring myself to say those three little words to the waitress, I jabbed at the menu. A few minutes later, she presented me with a smoothie made with hazelnut milk, figs, dates, vanilla and raw cacao, making eye contact as she said: “You are luscious!”

And so it goes at Cafe Gratitude, a raw-food restaurant in San Francisco, where every order is a self-affirmation — I Am Open, I Am Beautiful, I Am Powerful — mirrored back to you by your server.

If it sounds like “The Secret: The Restaurant,” you might not be far off: the positivity-preaching millionaire owners (“although there is no solid evidence that his wealth is a result of his practice,” their Web site says) have opened four Bay Area locations in three years, and plan to expand.

“All of our food is local, sustainable, organic, vegan and raw,” begin the well-programmed servers, “except for our rice and quinoa, which are steamed. Quinoa is an ancient….” But that’s the tip of the menu.

How to wrap one’s head around its affirmational glory? The menu’s cover reads: “We invite you to step inside and enjoy being someone who chooses: loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful everyday, and experiencing being provided for.”

Wow. So. The appetizers: I Am Bountiful live crustini, “toasts” made from seeds and nuts with such toppings as avocado and not-so-local Himalayan salt. I Am Happy live almond-sesame hummus. (“Live” food has not been cooked above 118 degrees, the temperature that kills enzymes, and incorporates sprouting seeds and nuts.) I Am Insightful spinach-wrapped samosas with cauliflower and macadamia “potatoes.”

And on through the long menu: I Am Giving, I Am Festive, I Am Prosperous, I Am Fabulous, Yo Soy Mucho (Mexican bowl).

The cold-brewed coffee is from a co-op of Muslims, Christians and Jews who “work together as one to bring us this expression of peace in a cup.”

After being luscious, I Was Sensational. The flatbread crust of this “live” pizza — served on a plate printed with “What are you grateful for?” — was made from pressed buckwheat and sunflower-seed sourdough. Alone, it had the flavor and consistency of a chew toy. Topped with zippy pesto of basil and hemp seeds; cashew “ricotta”; ripe cherry tomatoes doused in excellent olive oil; and a crumbling of Brazil-nut “Parmesan,” it was wholly satisfying.

Unlike the fussy (if flavorful) food at the New York raw-food restaurant Pure Food and Wine, this was straightforward and unpretentious, embodying the California-born edict of local, seasonal ingredients, simply prepared. With produce this good, what could be simpler than not cooking it at all?

Simple pricing, it seems, is also key: Roxanne and Michael Klein were the first to nudge raw food away from the health-store margins with the upscale restaurant Roxanne’s in Marin Country in 2001.

Though popular with purists and dabblers, its nouvelle-live cuisine proved too expensive: the adjoining take-out shop cannibalized the restaurant. Both closed in 2004.

At Cafe Gratitude, entrees top out at $12.

The cafe’s owners, Matthew Engelhart and his wife, Terces, created the(continue reading the full article at New York Times)


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