Where did the summer go? We had hoped to get a pre-winter trip in but with work commitments I haven’t had the flexibility to just take off.  We had talked about trying to get an end of season trip to Mexico to surf but with the recent devastation from hurricanes that hit the area that was no longer an option.  With September ending and winter fast approaching our window for a trip closed.  Not one to give up we decided we would take a “stay cation”! Let the fun times begin and we’ll see you in a week! High-res

Where did the summer go? We had hoped to get a pre-winter trip in but with work commitments I haven’t had the flexibility to just take off.  We had talked about trying to get an end of season trip to Mexico to surf but with the recent devastation from hurricanes that hit the area that was no longer an option.  With September ending and winter fast approaching our window for a trip closed.  Not one to give up we decided we would take a “stay cation”! Let the fun times begin and we’ll see you in a week!

PEACE raw open-faced bagel
Onion sesame crust, cashew cream cheese, nori, tomato, onion, capers, sprouts BEAUTIFUL gluten-free muffin
Homemade muffin, seasonal fruit preserves CRUNCHY raw granola
Homemade granola, fresh fruit, coconut yogurt FANTASTIC raw crêpe
Cashew crêpe, fresh fruit, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, pecans Turmeric latte with honey, turmeric juice and steamed almond milk (Caffeine-Free)
Homemade veggie burger on raw gluten-free wrap with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mustard sauce, and spicy chipotle ketchup. Served with a side salad, avocado, coconut Bacon, macadamia cheese Brussle Sprouts, maple, olive oil I-Am Bountiful - Baked gluten-free pasta with Delicata squash, Brussels sprouts and spinach in an almond béchamel sauce topped with Brazil nut parmesan and fresh basil HUMBLE - Indian curried lentils over quinoa with oven-roasted Garnet yams and sauteed spinach drizzled with a spicy mint chutney and sweet tamarind sauce. Finished with chopped scallion TRANSFORMED
Two organic corn tacos with chipotle butternut squash,
black beans, avocado, seasonal salsa fresca, and cashew nacho cheese. Served with a side of Mexican coleslaw Key Lime Pie. Creamy avocado-lime custard topped with coconut meringue in a pecan-macadamia date crust

My first time at a Cafe Gratitude restaurant was in 2009 at their premier location, in an area that was a little “off the beaten path” in San Francisco. The restaurant had a very colorful, earthy, laid back and eclectic vibe. The wall’s were covered with inspiration quotes, detailed murals, and their pledge to “Nourish a Thankful Community”. The servers and the people were warm and inviting and the restaurant was filled with a mix of hippies, young adults, nature lovers and foodie types.  Their Venice Beach location doesn’t quite have that same vibe.

Located on a busy street in Venice, just blocks from the beach, the street is lined with bars, hip coffee shops, fashion boutiques, and condominiums. Cafe Gratitude Venice is situated in a huge residential building with the bonus to that being that there is free underground parking. You are greeted by a hostess and have the option of sitting at one of their many counter top bar stools, booths, tables, or outside on their large covered deck.  It’s definitely a more modern and hip unified version with simplistically styled decor, “uniforms” for all the servers that entail a v-neck shirt with the v-neck helping to spell out the work love, and most of your meals will be served in white dishes with the occasional teal dish served.  The staff are friendly and accommodating but it does seem to be more of a rushed atmosphere. I guess that’s how it goes in the hustle and bustle of a big city.

Atmosphere and decor aside it’s the food that is the real star of this restaurant! Everything on the menu is 100% plant based and 100% organic. You literally can’t go wrong with anything you order, as everything is made with the freshest sourced ingredients and prepared for optimum health.  Open from morning to night they have a huge menu including breakfast items, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, coffee, tea, elixirs, sparkling drinks, appetizers, wraps, bowls, pasta dishes, desserts, seasonal dishes, and even organic wine and spirits! They offer both raw and cooked vegan dishes as well as gluten free options.  If you make it here for breakfast they have both sweet and savory options.  The raw open faced bagel is scrumptious but I could have easily eaten two! Looking for something on the sweeter side, you can’t go wrong  Raw Crepe smothered in creamy sauce. One of my favorite meals is the Magical, a vegan burger that I get on the raw gluten-free wrap with avocado, macadamia cheese, and coconut bacon, it’s just bursting with flavor! During the winter one of their seasonal specials are sweet crispy brussel sprouts and we always get a dish to share. Most of their bowls like the indian inspired Humble can be served over brown rice or quinoa for a more nutrient packed version.  Pair your meal with one of their sparkling drink concoctions or cap the meal off with a warm creamy latte with my favorite choice being the Golden, a Turmeric latte with honey, turmeric juice and steamed almond milk (Caffeine-Free).  Right at the front of the restaurant they have a dessert care with a variety of pies, cakes, cookies and truffles.  Don’t come here without trying one of their to-die-for treats, JP recommends the Key Lime Pie.  If you literally are in a hurry you can always grab a to-go item from the deli case.  Cold-pressed juices, salads, wraps, and of course deserts are just a quick grab and you are out the door.  We always get a cold-pressed juice to go, I love that they come in glass bottles and as a bonus I can use them to bottle my kombucha since the labels come off fairly easily!

Next time you are in Venice be sure to check out this hip and healthy restaurant!

Coconut Water, Carrot Juice, Almonds, and Tahini Coconut Water, Carrot Juice, Almonds, and Tahini in Vitamix Creamy Carrot Coconut Smoothie

Tahini in a smoothie, I know it might seem weird but it’s not. The sweetness of carrot juice and coconut water adds the right amount of sweetness.  The almonds and tahini give it it’s creamy component making this a smooth, sweet, and nutrient dense smoothie.  Enjoy!

Creamy Carrot Coconut Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 1/2 C coconut water

1 C fresh pressed carrot juice

2 TBSP almonds

1 TBSP tahini

Preparation

1. Place all ingredients into the Vita-Mix container(or blender) in the order listed and secure lid.

2. Select Variable 1. Turn machine on quickly increase speed to variable 10 for 1 minute then select turn to high for 20 - 30 seconds.

3. Serve Immediately!

Tuesday’s Tool’s of the Trade - Road Bike

I was under this false notion that I could make my road bike gear cool. I think I was under the false notion that I wasn’t just another spandex Lance Armstrong wannabe.  Part of my falsity  was wearing hip sunglasses with my helmet. This proved to be a challenge. Most of my sunglasses are not female specific so they are on the larger side. None of them fit well with my helmet and they all seemed to rest low on my nose resulting in the top bar resting in my line of sight.  After a few weeks I caved in and accepted then fact that there was no way I was going to look cool in my road bike gear and it was time to wear some proper sunglasses that fit well, were comfortable, and had good visibility.

Luckily I didn’t even have to purchase new sunglasses, tucked away in a drawer with all my running gear that no longer gets use I had a pair of Oakley’s Commit Sunglasses. What a difference! They are so light I barely remember I have them on,  especially since they fit so well. They rest comfortably on the bridge of my nose never slipping even when I start dripping sweat.  With nothing obstructing my view I have amazing visibility. You can never go wrong with Oakley lenses, they are some of the clearest and sharpest lenses I have ever peered through!

Guess I’m a total spandex bike geek now!