Friday, September 30, 2011

Veggie Goodness on Work Trips

If you wonder why I've been eating out so much, it's because I'm basically traveling non-stop for work right now.  Traveling always makes eating more interesting for me, since I really have to search out vegan food.  I also bring a lot of applesauce cups, rice cakes, Larabars, dried mango, etc., to supplement eating out, which can get costly after awhile.

Last week I found three amazing restaurants in Northern California that cater to vegans and vegetarians.  I always love seeing actual vegan options on menus, and especially love ENTIRE vegan menus!  It's so wonderfully overwhelming.

Goji Kitchen: Santa Rosa, California
The menu classifies this restaurant as Asian Fusion.  It features Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine which are two of my favorite types of foods ever.  I stuck with the no-fail option of vegetable pho.  The menu even called it "Vegan Vietnamese Noodle Soup."  I mean, how can you go wrong with that?  Not only were the vegan items specified on the menu, the whole restaurant was organic!  Love, love, love this place.  The pho was amazing.  Exactly what I wanted, even though it was practically a hundred degrees outside and not really soup weather.  That's okay.

East West Restaurant:  Santa Rosa, California
This was a fun dinner with Aunt K and Grammy at another great restaurant in Santa Rosa that features vegetarian food!  I seriously love this town!  Again, there were so many vegan options at East West, and I was torn between the Thai Tofu Salad and the Tostada Delight.  In the end, I got the Tostada and Aunt K got the Thai Tofu Salad.  When the dish came out, I was happily shocked when an entire serving tray of fresh veggie goodness was placed before me!  WOW!

Cafe Gratitude:  San Rafael, California
This one was perhaps the most interesting vegan dining experience I had that week.  I really don't know where to start with describing this place.  Here, just read this description from their website:

"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 who 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."

My vegan black bean tacos with homemade cashew cheese were good and all, but I don't think I really fit into the whole hippie "life affirmation" vibe of this place.  All the menu items were entitled with catchy little phrases like "I am transformed" (which was my bean tacos) or "I am joyful," "I am rejuvenated," "I am enlightened," etc.  I guess we are supposed to feel like whatever the title says if we order that dish?  When I ordered my entree and wheatgrass-ginger-lemon drink, the organic cotton wearing waitress practically bowed and said "You are Transformed and You are Effervescent."

Um, okay.  Thanks?

While I waited for my transformative and effervescent meal, I reminded myself that pulling out my smart-phone in a place like this must certainly be frowned upon.  Afterall, wasn't I waiting to be transformed?  Instead, I thumbed through the stack of affirmation cards that conveniently rested in a basket on the table.

"What do you have an abundance of that you are not committed to or don't enjoy?  For example:  worry, concern, debt, wanting more, etc?"

How bout all of the above!  How is this supposed to be affirming?

"Being grateful always shifts your attention to what you have already been given."

Wow!  That's a wonderful thought!

"Albert Einstein once said, 'Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistant one.'"


Thank goodness my food came and it was very tasty.  The vegan cashew cheese was so creamy and good!  How do they do that?

Did I feel transformed or effervescent afterwards?  Actually, I was kinda in a rush to get to the airport...

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