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San Francisco: Café Gratitude & The Source

March 4, 2012

News & Notes

    • It’s official: my book Practically Raw is now in stock at! People who preordered are already getting notifications that their books have shipped. I’m so thrilled it’s landed a full 2 weeks early, and I truly can’t wait to hear what you all think of it. For anyone interested in an autographed book, I will soon be setting up the opportunity to purchase personalized, signed copies directly from me. Stay tuned!
    • Even though Practically Raw just came out, I’ve already received some wonderful feedback about it. Erik from had some amazingly kind things to say, and VegNews Magazine chose it as their “staff pick” of the week! My blog-buddy Megan, the Detoxinista, also mentioned her excitement at my book’s release this week. Wow!
    • Got any more links or sightings of Practically Raw? Please feel free to email them to me or post them on Facebook!
    • Soooo many other things are happening with Practically Raw right now that I can’t keep up on this blog! (I’ve still got several more San Francisco travel posts to write up from last week.) I am, however, posting up-to-the-minute musings, links, photos, etc. to Facebook (and Twitter too), so you can keep checking those pages to be the first to hear about new developments.

Now, on to the food!

On our trip to San Fran last year, Café Gratitude was the first place we visited. Even though they’re opening a new location in Kansas City this year (yes, it’s legit; no one can seem to believe it, but it’s true!), and Matt and I just put down a deposit on an apartment in downtown KC that is – get this – a ONE-MINUTE WALK away from it (aaahh!), we had to visit the original CG location on Harrison Street in SF one more time before it closes.

I started with an I Am Luscious smoothie (hazelnut milk, figs, dates, raw cacao, vanilla bean) and Matt had a mimosa.

Matt chose a cooked entrée, the I Am Warm-Hearted: grilled organic polenta with a fresh spinach and mushroom ragù, topped with cashew ricotta and Brazil nut parmesan.

I went for some filling raw fare with the I Am Hearty: deep-dish pizza with sundried tomato marinara, pesto, olive tapenade, Brazil nut parmesan, and cashew ricotta cheese on live onion sunflower pizza crust (plus a side salad).

Nice and salty, and very satisfying! Their pizza crust actually reminds me of the one in Practically Raw; it’s thick and chewy, instead of cracker-like and crisp.

Of course we got dessert! I had the I Am Rapture seasonal layer cake, which was coconut-almond that day; perfect flavors for me.

Matt had an I Am Beloved “Be-Love” bar: homemade raw ice cream dipped in raw organic dark chocolate. Start to finish, it was an excellent meal!

The next day, Matt and I braved the rain and cold to trek to The Source in eastern SF for another fantastic lunch. I started with a Jun Elixir, a live fermented tea beverage made with purified water, raw honey, Chinese green tea, and a live natural enzyme culture. It was very kombucha-like; I loved it.

Matt sipped a glass of the House Blend Blueberry Raw Yerba Maté Lemonade; also yummy!

Matt was in the mood for fries, so he got an order of the Source Fries with smoky chipotle sea salt and house-made ketchup and creamy vegan garlic dip. I may have helped him eat a few of these.
…A few.

For his main dish, Matt had the Vegan Moussaka: grilled layered eggplant with cinnamon, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, and faux meat bits, topped with cashew béchamel sauce and served with grilled pita. It was piping hot when it was brought out, with the cheese and sauce still bubbling. He loved it.

I ordered a Dosa-Rito: a humongous dosa stuffed with basmati rice, butternut squash, cashews, tofu, kale, and coconut curry sauce, plus coconut tomato sambal on top and a creamy mint dip on the side.

Wow. This thing was the size of a cafeteria lunch tray! The dosa itself was very light, though, so I actually managed to finish most of it. Delicious.

Even after that huge feast, we had to grab a small dessert. (That’s what vacations are for, right?)

This chocolate Snowball cake with vanilla buttercream filling and frosting was gluten-free, vegan, and amazing.

After stuffing ourselves at The Source, we spent the whole rest of the afternoon (a good 5+ hours) prowling San Francisco’s Exploratorium, the “museum of science, art, and human perception.” I can’t even begin to describe this place; it’s like a science geek’s playground…seriously, I think I found my new mecca. It was THE perfect afternoon outing for these two nerds.

I’ve still got more great San Fran eats to share with you later this week!

3 years ago this week…
Crème-filled German chocolate upside-down cake
Whole wheat beer bread
2 years ago this week…
Whole-grain rosemary-olive bread
Black olive tapenade
Almost Vegan random factoids
1 year ago this week…
Dinner with Philip McCluskey at Matthew Kenney OKC
Road trip wrap-up: the drive home

45 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2012 5:30 pm

    Congrats, Amber! I just got my copy in the mail, and it’s even more stunning in person! 🙂

  2. March 4, 2012 7:22 pm

    I should have been with you all week- no idea food like this was in sf! Wow. That dosa looks seriously incredible. I am going to be trying to make something like that. Yum!!!

  3. March 4, 2012 9:45 pm

    everything at cafe gratitude looks AMAZING! your smoothie, polenta dish, and thick raw crust pizza look so freakin delicious!

  4. March 4, 2012 11:04 pm

    Wait, what? The original Cafe Gratitude in SF is closing?!?!

    • March 5, 2012 9:38 am

      Yep 😦 All but 2 of their Northern CA locations are closing. There was a big lawsuit hoopla with some former employees a few months ago. I still don’t even quite get it.

      • March 13, 2012 1:01 pm

        Lawsuit?! Gosh, I just assumed that anyone working at Cafe Gratitude would be all zen and peaceful and happy. What a strange thing to hear about.

        But hey, the CG in KC is still happening, so hooray for that! Maybe I’ll time my next visit around their grand opening… 😉

        • rawchic permalink
          March 14, 2012 2:29 pm

          Yeah…….but apparently not so “zen”. Ties to scientology and the Landmark Forum. “Forcing” employees to participate in the Landmark workshops and lifestyle. So sad that it has to close because there was a Lack of Zen……….It doesn’t seem like they ever apologized or anything for it-which seems so strange given that they “sell” this concept of “bliss”. Do like the place and think they are great business people with good concepts. However, strongly dislike that they push a questionable agenda, Landmark seems really F-d up-on their employees.

      • March 13, 2012 1:05 pm

        I know, right?

        You SHOULD! And then you can come party at our place, since it’s RIGHT DOWN THE STREET! 😉

  5. March 5, 2012 3:28 am

    Apartment apartment apartment!! SQUEE!! Everything is coming up roses, darling. Everything. *stares piercingly at you* 😛

    Also, I can’t wait to hear about how you decorate my room in that apartment. Because that’s what’s happening, right? Of course it is.

    Mmmmm raw desserts…

    • March 5, 2012 9:39 am

      Haha. We’ll see. 😉

      Oh yes, about that…umm, the place isn’t very big, so we won’t exactly HAVE a second bedroom for you. I hate to relegate you to an air mattress for the month/summer/year, but I’m not sure what else we can do…we’ll get a NICE air mattress, though! Any other ideas?

  6. March 5, 2012 9:30 am

    That dosa and all of those desserts look so good! There is so much good food in San Fran.

  7. Tamara Lukie permalink
    March 5, 2012 11:09 am

    Yah!!! So excited for you!!! Can’t wait to see it!!!


  8. March 5, 2012 1:47 pm

    Your posts have been making me so hungry lately. And, that picture of you and Matt is so cute 🙂

  9. March 5, 2012 1:50 pm

    Everything looks mouthwatering! I LOVE the Exploratorium–went there last time and it was so much fun! 🙂

  10. March 6, 2012 3:04 am

    All the dishes looks sooo good!! If Cafe Gratitude L.A. is same standard as in S.F….oh boy; I am going to explode…have to try everything on the menu…:-)

  11. March 6, 2012 5:47 pm

    What great restaurant adventures – Ive been wanting to eat at Cafe Gratitude foreeever! Nice pic of you and your hunny!

  12. March 7, 2012 2:36 pm

    Congrats on the official release of your book, Amber! I have yet to see it but I am hoping to get my hands on a copy soon.

  13. March 9, 2012 3:52 pm

    Congrats and how awesome! Love to think of you exploring-the-torium.

    And how cool that you got to try jun! I had a friend in HI who used to make it, and I adored it–loved it much more than kombucha. But I hadn’t heard of it since. Hope it makes a comeback.

    • March 9, 2012 3:54 pm

      I had never heard of jun! Is it just a different probiotic culture/creature they use? It was less vinegar-y than kombucha, which I liked.

  14. Matt permalink
    March 11, 2012 10:24 am

    Although I really liked my main dish at CG, I was a little disappointed in the frozen bar. It came in a package like I bought it from a store and tasted a little frost bitten. I should have gone with a different dessert.

    As for the Source, those fries and that lemonade were excellent! The main dish was also good but DAMN it was HOT! Temperature hot. Like for 45 minutes, too hot. They need to figure out a different method for heating that dish up. My tongue was burnt multiple times trying to eat that thing. The dessert made up for it though. 😉

    • March 11, 2012 10:25 am

      Um, I think you meant MY tongue was burnt when you fed me a boiling-hot bite!
      It’s nice that it was freshly-baked, but yeah, that made it a little hard to eat.

  15. March 11, 2012 6:37 pm

    I’m SO excited about the new Cafe Gratitude! The food from the SF location looks fantastic…and makes be more bummed about the delayed KC opening. Hopefully soon… 🙂

  16. March 22, 2012 2:43 pm

    That’s awesome that Cafe Gratitude is opening a location near you (weird though, while their locations here are closing), but I hope they lower their California prices a bit for your sake! And it’s cool that you got to try Source. They’re a little whackadoo, but for the most part the food I’ve had there has been great. And the Exploratorium is so much fun!

  17. April 27, 2012 11:10 pm

    I made that snowball! I’m the pastry chef at Source! I’m so stoked that you enjoyed it, it means so much to see it on this blog! Thank you! (I also used to make desserts at Cafe Gratitude — what a coincidence!) xoxo

    • April 27, 2012 11:20 pm

      Hey Jenny! Haha, awesome! So cool that you read my blog. 🙂 And WELL DONE on the snowball! I’d love to have that recipe 😉

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