Archive for November, 2005

I Am . . . An Omnivore


Tonight, true to my word, I gave a fair chance to the new Cafe Gratitude, housed in the shell of my love, the former Cafe Evolution.

A few weeks ago, I attended a bachelorette weekend at a spa in San Luis Obispo. While there, I caught a yoga class in which I was told to bark while exhaling. Normally, I’m not a barker. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say I’m never a barker. Ever. Really, though, who is. So walking into a restaurant where the menu is populated by dishes named not by ingredient, but by adjective, I feared I was walking into a situation tailor made to trigger a barking-flashback.

I quickly realized, however, that Cafe Gratitude’s bites are far better than that yoga bark.

You didn’t think I was going to get those points together, did you. Ha! I’m surprising. Which isn’t a dish at the Cafe, I don’t think.

The physical layout of Cafe Gratitude is similar enough to Evolution that I immediately felt comfortable cozying up in the new window seats and taking in the familiar view of 9th Avenue outside. My waitress, Lauren, was engaging and warm from the moment I sat down. I confessed at the start that I had never eaten in a vegan restaurant before, nor in a raw food restaurant, a twist I wasn’t expecting from Cafe Gratitude. I asked a million questions to start and Lauren answered them all.


By the way, Cafe Gratitude opened tonight. But if there were any first-night troubles or hiccups, I certainly couldn’t tell. It was Lauren’s first night too, of course, but she knew the menu inside and out.

The clean, flat stainless steel tables were simply adorned with single stems in milk bottles, small votive candles nested in a bed of what I believe were flax seeds, and the small, scrubby cloth napkins that resembled fabric scraps.

Cafe Gratitude’s hours are far superior to Cafe Evolutions – from 9 am to 10 pm everyday. They offer a full breakfast menu during breakfast hours, which is nice. Of course, the thought of having a nice cup of coffee with almond rather than cow’s milk still seems odd to me, but I’ll give it a shot.

As mentioned, the extensive menu is comprised of items called “I Am _____.” Treasured, luscious, healthy, refreshed, assured, giving, dazzling, generous, opulent, playful, and super (thanks for asking), to name a few. I didn’t foresee the cleverest aspect of such – to me – goofy names. When the diner places an order, she says “I’ll have an I Am X. In my case, I was, er, Am Effervescent, Flourishing, and bit Magical since they were out of hummus. The beauty of the system is that the server repeats the order and, logically, swaps the pronoun. So she says, “you are effervescent, flourishing and a bit magical, which is really exciting.”

Now, normally, that kind of touchy-feely stuff makes this prickly blogger bust out her best snark. But right now, with the unyielding stress of finals and the bar looming ahead, my reaction was, “thank you.” I’m such a sucker . . . .

The I Am Flourishing was a Mediterranean plate featured live walnut-almond falafels served with sprouted almond-sesame seed hummus, spicy olive tepenade, seasoned almond toast and cucumber tzatziki salad. Now, I can’t really tell you what exactly was what on my plate – though I could identify the falafel balls. The hummus had run out, so I was offered a magical replacement stuffed mushroom. The magical arrived looking suspiciously like I Am Generous guacamole – but it was tasty either way. When it arrived, I was surprised at the plate’s tiny size, thinking the $10 price tag was steep. But raw food is filling. Very filling. It was flavorful, a bit spicy for my palate, but I’m a confirmed wuss, so don’t judge by me.


I Am Effervescent is a delicious house gingerale made of apple juice, ginger, and sparkling water. I love ginger anything and highly recommend this refresher.

Dessert, however, may be the best introduction for meat eaters and other vegan-wary types to Cafe Gratitude’s fare. I tried to order a few kinds of pies, but ended up with the I Am Perfect (“you are perfect,” Lauren said when she dropped it off at the table and I temporarily forgot that was the name of the pie so my “thank you” quite a bit more heartfelt than my normal pie thanks) – a feather-light pecan pie on a macadamia nut crust (macadamia nuts? I Am Fat). It was absolutely terrific and if such a pie normally has copious amounts of dairy – it doesn’t need to.


Most everything on the menu is called “live” to reflect its raw status that preserves all its good nutrients. The sheer volume of cellular walls now being broken down by my digestive track, however, made me consider titling this post “I AM . . . in need of beano.” Overall, however, Cafe Gratitude is a welcoming establishment that seems to have attracted a lot of devotees of its Harrison Street location – and loyal patronage is a great compliment. The place was buzzing for its opening night with most tables full and a healthy number of people picking up menus to take home. By the way, the seating is “communal,” meaning you might get company whether you like it or not. I can see how this could be fun on some nights and unwelcome on others.

I give Cafe Gratitude 3 out of 4 raw carrots for food, 5 out of 5 adjectives for service, and 3 out of 5 outlines for study-space-ability. It’s not a perfect substitute for Cafe Evolution, but it’s worth checking out.

Cafe Gratitude; 1336 9th Avenue, San Francisco; 415.824.4652;; open 9 am to 10 pm daily; offers full vegan/raw breakfast, dinner menu with juices and smoothies, desserts, and coffees; catering available; reservations available for parties of 6 or more.

Mark Twain ain’t felt nothing

Witchy's Titty

The coldest winter I’ve ever spent, was a summer in San Francisco” Or something like that.

I usually look at my weather widget every morning before leaving, so I can dress appropriately for the day. This happens when you walk to school every day and it’s about 3 miles each way.

When I saw it this morning, I was like… “No… that can’t be right.” Dressed appropriately anyway.

When I got outside, I felt my ears instantly freeze up and fall off my head.

One of my neighbor’s started a fire underneath her car engine to give it a cold start. An alaskan malamute told me he was heading back to Alaska where it was much warmer. And our landlord is installing a fireplace right next to our already functioning heater.

So yes Mark, it’s that cold. Not that I’m complaining, since this weather prepares me for Snowboarding Lake Tahoe. w00t.

Government-Controlled Wifi: A Very Bad Idea

The (mostly) good people over at Pacific Research Institute have assembled some excellent commentary opposing Newsom’s municipal wireless plan.

As I’ve said before, I’m strongly opposed to the idea. I like having choices. I’m very happy with my small, geek-friendly ISP, while others may prefer raw download speeds and still others are happy with cheap dialup access. Monopolies, by definition, eliminate choice.

PRI’s paper raises other concerns such as the availability of content blocking for children. I find that one a bit dubious on the surface, since most parents employ such tech at the host (individual computer) level. However, it is entirely possible that the city could buckle to public pressure and block access to content that some find objectionable throughout the network. Or they may employ a new layer of bureaucracy by segregating access – and managing permissions for every user in the city would be an absolute nightmare. Or we may simply find ourselves losing our first amendment rights, since we no longer have the second amendment here to back up the rest.

If you prefer to make your own choices about Internet access click through and let City Hall know that they’re making another big mistake.

‘Underground, but not unconnected’

If it had to happen in any city, I suppose it makes sense that it happened here first:

BART has become the first transit system in the nation to offer wireless communication to all passengers on its trains underground, putting an end to miles of technological isolation for multitasking commuters with cell phones glued to their ears, Blackberry devices stuck in their palms and computers perched on their laps.

“The goal we have is to completely wire 100 percent of the underground so a passenger (on a wireless device) wouldn’t know if they were above ground or underground,” said Chuck Rae, BART’s manager of telecommunications revenue. “It would be seamless.”

Some commuters riding under Market Street in San Francisco already are yakking on their phones, surfing the Web and sending e-mail. Within weeks, most passengers should be able to use wireless devices under San Francisco to phone in a pizza order on their way home.

The article mentions the safety aspect – that after 9/11 and the role of cell phones, people seemed much more keen on having phone service in such a normally isolated area. I can’t help but wonder, however, in a disaster situation – how long will the signal be there? And is there such a thing as too much connectivity anyway? We’re practically all GPSed as it is – nearly ensuring that everyone can find us, from friends to bosses.

And of course, the most likely new annoyance will be people who can soon use the whole transbay tube time to yack to their friend about what so-and-so did at the bar last night and ohnohedidn’t and ohnoyoucan’tbeserious and butimailedthecheckyesterday and thedoctorsaysits contagioiussoireallyshouldn’thangouttonight.

It isn’t just phone access, of course. Riders will be able to send email, text messages, etc. Could be handy. It would be great to double check directions, transfer times, or let friends know when you’re arriving.

So what’s better – more connectivity or less? What allows us to feel safer also allows our private time to be invaded just a bit more. Is it worth it?

And Now for Something Completely Different…

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This Sunday afternoon at “The Kings Head Pub and Restaurant” a show for all ages. What is different? The band members are all under 18. I’ve heard two of the bands and they are amazing. (Monies will support our troops.) They even serve Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas!

Nov. 20th

201 Orchard City Drive
Campbell, California
Phone: 408 871 2499

The Best Boulevard In SF Isn’t A Street

It’s a restaurant – and a damn fine one at that.

A few weeks ago, we made farewell dinner plans for one of my favorite SF splurges, Boulevard, at First and Mission. An Art Nouveau wonderland, the restaurant proves an eateries best decor isn’t limited to the walls. Here, art spills from the lush interior right onto your plate – which each perfectly sized portion presented beautifully, while still avoiding a good blog-mocking for excess.


Crispy veal sweetbreads and glazed breast of veal started my date’s meal and in keeping with the eating-small-animals-is-fun theme, I chose the sauteed fresh artisan foie gras. Hey, it’s going to be illegal soon enough anyway. Each dish was melt-in-your-mouth perfection with unlikely yet harmonious flavors mingling nicely with a lovely zin (for me) or cab (for him). Those wines were suggested more for their pairing with our main dishes, but a good glass of wine remains good regardless of its mate – at least to our uncultured palate.


On previous visits, I’ve gone the bottle route. Being wine-stupid for the most part (or at least less wine savvy than many), it was comforting to consult with a friendly, knowledgeable, snob-free sommelier who was able to recommend wine that matched our meals, our tastes, and our budget.

By the way – since we’re talking booze – Boulevard makes a mean brandy manhattan, adorned with two luscious Italian cherries. Try one. Or three.

And because the food is startling good yet reasonably size, you should have room for dessert after – which would be a wise thing to order because they are gorgeous and sinfully tasty. The cr

“Do I Look Fat”

doilookfat.JPGDo I Look Fat?, a documentary on gay men, body image and eating disorders, is being presented at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco on Thursday, November 17, at 7pm. The film will be followed by a panel discussion of the film


November … what a month!!

Good News: Nice and warm. Unseasonably? A little. It was 79 yesterday in San Francisco – broke the record set in 1923 (of 78). And, today … 75. According to, San Francisco’s average temperature for November is only 54.8. So, we’re just a little warmer, folks.

Flipside: Breezy. Red flag warnings mean fire hazards. There was a 77 mph gust of wind at Mt Diablo yesterday. They say it’s because of the “offshore flow” – which is opposite of what usually happens this time of year. And, dryer than usual.

I just love this City!!

Thirsty Bear beer

Thirsty Bear beer I just want to say that the beer at Thirsty Bear is mighty good. Very very good. I recommend either the Polar Bear or the Golden Vanilla. I also liked the fried calamari and the pumpkin cake. Yum!

Thirsty Bear Restaurant & Brewery
661 Howard Street, SF, CA
Mon-Thur 11:30am -10 pm
Friday 11:30am -12:00 am
Saturday 12pm (noon) – 12:00am
Sunday 5:00pm -10:00pm

Big Art in the Big City

The Black Rock Arts Foundation is bringing a bit of burning man to San Francisco. Not like we didn’t have enough already since I think there are about 12 people left in SF when Burning Man kicks into gear. But this time it’s in the form of a 40 foot tall lighted sculpture named “Flock” that is going to be on the doorstep of City Hall.

They started installing the beast yesterday and will be opening it up and dedicating it on Thursday at 4:30 with a dedication ceremony featuring Mayor Gavster. Following the dedication there is a party across the street at Soluna.

They are also planning a BYO Picnic event on Sunday, at 1PM. Bring your friends, sandwiches, watermelon, pickles, grilled squab, a blanket, yourself and whatever else you like and join in the celebration!

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