I am Full.

Hello again from San Fran! Hope your Saturdays were fabulous. This trip, so far, is awesome — if you missed any of yesterday’s fun, check out this morning’s post for the deets!

I woke up this morning bright and early and not at all jetlagged. I ventured outside for a run, but quickly chickened out: it was too cold, and San Fran has too many hills. Back indoors I went, and finished my run on the hotel gym treadmill, which was much more my exercise scene 😉

After that, I was pretty hangry. I wanted to wait for the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market to eat, but appetite trumped anticipation, and I decided to pick up some warm oatmeal to combat the foggy morning chill. I found a diner nary a block away that met my two favorite oatmeal criteria: 1) vegan, and not made from instant oats, and 2) nice big portion sizes. Score. Back in the room, I enjoyed it with half a sliced banana and some nut butter. Hit the spot:

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After that, I made my way up five very, very, very steep blocks to the Fairmont hotel, where I was reunited with my favorite person in the world: my Chloe. Our reunion was briefly dominated by some amusement over my sweaty brow and huffing and puffing from the walk, but we were soon busy chatting and catching up as we walked to the famous Ferry Building Farmer’s market.

We had been told that this was one of the most spectacular markets in the country: a combination of outdoor vendors and indoor specialty shops. And we were not disappointed.

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This whole experience–the people watching, the shops, the food, the vendors—was amazing from start to finish. I think I’ll have to let photos do much of the talking:

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(INCREDIBLE raw sprouted dips, including hummus, and wheatgrass shots!)

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California sure is a land of plenty. We were completely overwhelmed. The only thing I could focus on was my intense craving for a Gala apple, so that’s what I got for a snack:

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Chloe had some figs, and she and Knud split a very pretty open faced salmon, tomato, and onion sandwich for breakfast, made right before our eyes:

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We walked around some more, and Chloe was given the chance to indulge her intense love of oysters:

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A very happy, beautiful lady:

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After that, I was allowed to indulge a love of my own. As we made our way back to the building to see the shops, Chloe blurted out, “Gen, avocado truck!”

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As I zoomed over, I vaguely heard Chloe explaining patiently to Knud, “Gena has a bit of an avocado problem.” By the time they caught up with me, I had already asked to sample the Esther avocados, which I’d never tried:

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They tasted like a cross between Haas and Florida avocados. Yum. I got some photos of the bounty—wish I could have taken these all home and made salads with them!

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After this, we all sat down inside for some tea:

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And food talk. One of the nicest things about traveling with Chloe and Knud is that we are all, in our own ways, foodies. We love talking about food, planning our days around food, comparing our food, and savoring food together. When people have asked us about this trip and what we’re doing, we’ve all responded that we don’t really care what’s on the agenda, as long as it involves near constant eating. It’s great to travel with people who who are as passionate about food as I am. At the least, it makes it a little less weird when I’m busy snapping photos of my meals!

While inside, I was impressed with this Vegan donut vendor—rock on, sistah!

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After some scenic photo ops:

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…my appetite was once again in full force. Lunchtime. I’d already found a place I was dying to try:

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Um, had I died and gone to heaven? This, at least, is sort of how my foodie heaven would look: raw, vegan food stands with kale salad at the turn of any corner. It was such a treat to find the kind folks from Alive at the market, selling their delectable raw foods!

My lunch, not surprisingly, consisted of two salads: massaged kale and a celeriac slaw:

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A raw hummus wrap:

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And a blueberry “limeade” that I forgot to photograph. The drink and salads were great; the wrap was really just OK—barely any hummus, and tons of the same shredded veggies I was having in my salad. Still, it was a treat to find the kind of food I love to eat at the market, especially the kale!

After this, we reluctantly said goodbye to the market. Chloe and I agreed that, between the two of us, we’d already had our fill of totally satisfying meals. Knud, though, was after some Dim Sum, so we started strolling to Chinatown. I forgot, of course, to catch photos of the Dim Sum. Bad Gena! I’’m getting better at photodocumentation overall, though, right?

We realized as we ate that we were mighty close to San Fran’s famous City Lights bookstore.

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This place is an institution, not only for San Fran natives, but for all of us in the world of letters. Neighborhood bookstores are vital to the culture of literacy and shared ideas, and yet they are sadly dwindling in number. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the owner of City Lights through work, and I can’t say enough about how bravely he continues to champion quality literature. Case in point:

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I was especially psyched to see so many FSG titles on the shelves!

After this moment of book worship, we strolled through what must be San Fran’s Little Italy. Good espresso is one of my favorite indulgences, especially when I travel, so I stopped for a dry soy cappuccino:

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Which I proceeded to spill all over my camera. Blogger panic!

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Bad, bad cappuccino:

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Knud quickly took up the role of knight in shining armor, clutching my dripping camera to his chest (and staining his sweater in the process) while I scrambled for napkins. Thankfully, the camera emerged from my little mishap undamaged. I lost some good espresso, tho 🙁

Our last stop of the afternoon was Fisherman’s Wharf—every bit the scenic attraction it’s said to be. I loved getting photos of Alcatraz and the sea lions!

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What an exquisite city this is. My oh my. It’s almost enough to make me overlook the train system…

We made our way through the sea of tourists, and then decided to stop in a wine bar for a leisurely afternoon “flight.” Chloe got champagne:

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…which was all a little too “flavored.” And Knud got a trio of reds, of which his highest praise was that they started to grow on him after a glass:

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Still, a nice sojourn. Even nicer company:

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In fact, no matter what I do on this trip, the main thing is that I’m spending time with them.

And with that, our day of activities wrapped up. Chloe and Knud went back to the hotel to rest, and I returned to my room here, snacked on some of my Gnosis trail mix, and changed for dinner with my friend Amanda at Cafe Gratitude – a raw, vegan institution!

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That’s me thinking, “at last, I have arrived.”

No raw foods devotee doesn’t know of the famous Cafe Gratitude and its famous menu mantras: each dish is labeled as “I am _____________ (grateful, enlightened, fulfilled, festive, etc.).” The whole ethos and spirit of Cafe Gratitude is to give thanks for the bounty of what we have, and to be conscious and mindful of emotions. In fact, our awesome waiter this evening, Danny, told me that working at Cafe Gratitude has virtually changed his life.

For the food alone, I can see why. Check out, if you will, this killer menu.

I have to admit, I knew what I wanted long before I got here. When you’ve been hoping to dine at a restaurant for 3 years, you have a meal in mind! First, I asked to sample the coconut soup. It was delicious, but too spicy for me. So I settled on appetizer option #2, which was the “I am insightful” spring rolls: avocado, seasonal fruit, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, sprouts & fresh herbs wrapped in blanched collard greens. Served with Thai coconut-almond butter dipping sauce & coleslaw. Amanda and I split them. Hooray for generous portion sizes! Far better than the spring rolls I’ve had in other raw joints:

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These were generally divine, but I have to say that the dipping sauce made the meal. It was far more herb-y than almond buttery, in a really good way. I could have drank it as a soup!

For our entrees, Amanda and I ordered the same thing: the “I am fulfilled” large cafe salad. It’s described as mixed greens, avocado, carrots, beets, cucumbers, tomato, a flax chip, Parmesan & teriyaki almonds. I wasn’t so into the teriyaki almonds, but I got the rest as is. The flax chip was made with carrot, and slightly sweet, and I loved it. I was also super impressed with the salty, but not too salty raw parm. Amazing! I decided to have mine with the fig-balsamic vinaigrette, which was almost as incredible as the almond butter sauce. I kept mashing both of them into my salad bowl!

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Fulfilled indeed. Check out the two very happy ladies:

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To top off this perfect meal, I had a house kombucha:

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Anything carbonated upsets my stomach, but I really like kombucha, so I make exceptions on special nights. And this was a special night, indeed. Cafe Gratitude was every bit the raw dining mecca I had hoped. Over drinks today, Chloe and I were talking—as foodies will—about what our last meals would be. I said it would be salad (probably kale salad) and something–maybe hummus, maybe rice, maybe sweet potatoes. What’s the point of this story, you ask? The point is that I love salad. And my salad tonight would most definitely be “last meal” worthy.

Thank you to Danny and to all of the CG staffers for making me feel embraced. I’ve been to many a raw restaurant, and they’ve all been great in different ways, but it was obvious to me this evening that CG cooks and serves and feeds the community with a special sense of purpose. It was inspiring, and I’m sure it’s part of why my meal was so tasty. Next time, I want the tomato soup special that I (tragically) didn’t notice on the chalkboard till I was leaving!

With that, another day of foodie heaven draws to a close. I’m stuffed with raw eats and ready for bed. I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you all about day three in Fog City—and dinner at the famous Millennium!


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  1. I’m dying to go to San Fran and eat at Cafe Gratitude! I read about it in Jason Meraz’s blog and I was drooling over his descriptions almost as much as I drrol over him hehe
    i love it that you said salad as your last meal. Many people I encounter think I eat a lot of salad or fruit because I have to or because I’m on a diet, when in reality, I just love it!!! My last meal would probably be a cup of coffee with cinnamon and a bowl of fruit: papaya, apple, banana.
    Have a lovely trip!

  2. Wow! I wish I was on this trip with you! πŸ™‚ You are having an amazing time, thanks for the recap! Kombucha on tap..yum!!! And you know I am loving those avocados and kale salad! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    P.S. I mentioned this before, I just love your hair longer! You look gorgeous, lady (which isn’t something new!)! πŸ™‚

  3. Oh my goodness I love San Francisco! I haven’t been there in a few years (my bro. lives in the area- awesome to visit him!) and I could easily relocate there forever πŸ™‚

  4. Wow! I’m so jealous of you right now. I LOVE San Fran and the markets and everything. Looks like you’re having a great time. Maybe I should go visit my relatives in SF…?? πŸ™‚

  5. I love the eats, I have always wanted to go to san francisco! That farmer’s market looks to die for! Also caan we please share wardrobes?! I absolutely love all of your clothes so chic and so me! I think we are the same size πŸ˜‰ hahaha Where did you get that green jacket and plaid dress?

    • Hi Kelli!

      Jacket is Gianni Bini, which is a line associated with ASL/Tahari. My mom’s boyfriend works for Tahari, so I get some free samples sometimes!

      Dress is Anthropologie, purchased on eBay. Boots are vintage vegan, purchased on Etsy. Pleather jacket is Urban Outfitters, also via eBay. I’m a thrifty shopper πŸ™‚


      • love thrifty shopping.. ebay is love! Awesome about free samples, especially stylish ones ;). Also gotta love etsy!


  6. I love when food and gratitude collide. That should happen more often — you conveyed that sentiment very well in this post!

    I love exploring new places through food and walking and talking. You sound very happy there — I would be too! I visited SF last August and stayed at the Fairmont. I didn’t get to explore many food places then so I’m reliving it through you! πŸ™‚

  7. I LOVE the ferry building market! I’ve stayed at a nearby hotel twice for conferences and each time obtained as much food as possible from the market. I’m especially fond one of the stores in the market- I don’t remember the name, but they make juice and smoothies- because I first discovered and fell in love with kale chips there!

  8. holy deliciousness. isn’t having friends who support our love of raw and green foods amazing?? chloe seems like such a great friend and i love considering how differently you two eat, you each could find a bounty of choices that you loved
    i am determined to feast at cafe gratitude sometime soon. or live there πŸ™‚
    miss you roomstar!

  9. I rarely comment, but I can’t help myself today. You’ve made me so nostalgic. I miss living in Berkeley, if only because I was only across the bay from San Francisco.

    But oh, Cafe Gratitude… That place has my deepest respect. It was the true key in my recovery from disordered eating, not only changing the way I eat (I’d never even *heard* of raw foods before stumbling into the restaurant back in 2008), but the way I perceive my life and every day. I have such passion for Cafe Gratitude I even gave one of my book characters a job there. πŸ™‚ I’m so, so jealous of your dinner.

    Anyhow. I need to end this tangent. Thank you so much for writing such a happy making entry about my favorite city. You definitely took me back to some good memories. πŸ™‚

  10. Love all the San Fran pics! I have been to the farmers market and on the ferry ride and have seen Alcatraz and all that jazz. A good friend of ours lives in Marin County, kinda paradise on earth for me..EXCEPT too cold. Isn’t it amazing how hilly AND chilly SF can be even though you think, oh Calif in early Sept, how cold can it be? Wrong. It can be damn cold!

    Your camera and the espresso? Omg the food blogger and camera gods were smiling on you..that coulda been a huge disaster!

    Champagne flights…oh, the memories of my life about 5-7 years or so ago..nothing like going to Napa or Sonoma and vineyard hopping drinking champagne flights all afternoon. Ok that’s kinda a perfect memory for me.

    And glad you got the flavored ‘booch going here! I didn’t think you were a huge kombucha girl, glad to know you are on board!

    GREAT TRIP pics and glad youre having a blast!

  11. it looks like your enjoying your time in san francisco!!!!

    cafe gratitude = my favorite restaurant ever. ever! i’m actually about to go there for lunch with my brother! i like alive, too and also found my spicy avocado wrap lacking in the avocado sauce. hmmm…

    anyway, have a great rest of your time in the lovely little city by the bay! and i can’t wait to hear more about your foodie adventures!

  12. I love the Ferry Market. Awesome they have some raw vegan choices.

    So glad you got to Cafe Gratitude. But NONE of their infamous desserts? I am crying a little inside. πŸ˜‰

  13. Wow. That does look like heaven. Now I know several places to hit up when I eventually get to San Fran. Thanks for posting so many beautiful pics!

  14. I’m loving reading about your trip to San Francisco. It looks like you are having the best time! You have me wanting to travel to San Fran now so that I can go to Cafe Gratitude.

    I haven’t commented a lot lately, but wanted to let you know that I love your blog more and more every day. I feel like you have a really good balance of recipes, information, personal posts, etc and everytime I could comment “Love, love love!” I know you were slightly embarassed to confess your meltdown the other down, but I found it relatable and made me admire you (total blogger girl crush) and your blog even more.

    • Oh wow, Jen, thanks! I used to never post about my more psychotic moments, but every time I do, I see that readers appreciate it. Glad you’re enjoying the blog.

  15. Lovely! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ I have never been to SF, and have always wanted to go. Will definitely have to go now that you’ve documented all these really amazing places to visit and inspired me to go–thank-you!

  16. I’m so happy that you are enjoying the magical city that I called home for nearly five years. Truth be told, I still miss it every single day!! When I moved there from Boston in the fall of 2002, I could not get over the bounty of produce that I was constantly encountering. My love affair with avocados began and I’ve obviously never looked back! I know you found the train system frustrating, but as another commenter pointed out, San Franciscans walk everywhere! The city also has a great bus system that I found very efficient – one of the first to implement low emission vehicles!

    I actually lived around the corner from Cafe Gratitude for a year. I visited frequently and loved it. At the time, I had no idea what the “raw food movement” was, I just loved that I was eating whole, delicious foods.

    Enjoy the rest of your time there (especially Millennium!). San Francisco has a way of forcing one to slow down and take it all in. As cheesy as it sounds, for the length of time I was there, I truly breathed every single breath πŸ™‚

  17. San Francisco is a magical place…I love the weather, the food, the people, and Millennium is my favorite restaurant of all time!! You are going to love it.

    If you have a chance check out The Slanted Door, also at the Ferry Building.

  18. BEST VACATION EVER! Seriously, Gena, it looks like you had such an amazing time! Delicious food (haha, I love that you ran to the avocado truck – I would have done the same time!), amazing book stores, beautiful scenery, great friends….you had it all. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

  19. So much fun!!! I cannot wait to go back to Cali, I have not been in years, all the food looks great!!!

    Have a great time ; )

    Glad your camera is okay!!

  20. Gena!! This sounds sooo amazing!!!! I’ve been wanting to go to SF for sooo long but this post really excited me!!! I’m starting to make plans now!!!! and I agree!! That dress with the boots, really cute ensemble, you looked beautiful!!!

    Have a wonderful time!!!!!
    Much love!!

  21. YAY SF! There are no words for how amazing cafe gratitude is, so glad you made it dere. I got to spend two consecutive birthdays there

  22. SF IS the land of fantastic eats. I am in awe of their food scene, they are so serious on yelp! love your shirtdress/boots! so cute! continue having a fab time!

  23. Gena,
    I have been perpetually on the fence about SF being moved up on my travel priority list…and now I’m totally off the fence! What an awesome place—I love the pics. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Sounds like you had an absolutely fantastic day in SF!! I love love love the Ferry Building Market – I was only there once in 2006 and I still talk about it πŸ™‚ Enjoy the rest of your stay πŸ™‚

  25. I LOVE your plaid dress and boots ensemble. Where did you get them?

    Enjoy your well-deserved trip in vegan paradise! I am a Californian living in New York. There is nothing like visiting home and seeing farmers markets overflowing with heirloom tomatoes, exotic citrus, and avocadoes….in the middle of winter. If you get a chance, try the Zutano avocadoes, a smoky variety I haven’t seen outside of California farmers markets.

    • Hey Hannah!

      Dress was anthropologie at some point, but I got it on EBay. I got the boots on Etsy — they are vintage vegan boots, which means pleather from the 80’s πŸ™‚


  26. I’m loving this SF food travelogue. I will be there this winter, first time back as a vegan, and I will certainly refer to these archived posts to plan my meals!

  27. So all day Melissa (Trying To Heal) and I were talking about YOU. Please come to Foodbuzz and accost sea lions and Ghiradelli Square with us. Please?!

  28. wow you seriousy hit up all of my favorite places!!! (i live a bit south of san francisco). i loveeee the ferry plaza farmers market though prices can be a bit steep compared to other farmers markets! nevertheless, other farmers markets just don’t compare in size and variety, and it’s a bit of an attraction, don’tcha think!? you can find just about anything there! ive had the alive! wraps and i agree with you that they are just okay. there is another raw foods stand that i love even more – just around the corner from alive! – i can’t remember the name right now, but they have amazing collard wraps, shakes, and raw breakfasts… i got a durian shake there once! did you happen to see that place?

    ahh yes city lights is such an institution! in high school we would go see poetry readings there. did you get a chance to visit the poetry room upstairs? that area, north beach is one of my favoriteS!

    and cafe gratitude! the golden land! haha, i love the salad that you got… i also like the i am Whole which is a macrobiotic bowl, and the tahini dressing is awesome!

    so glad you got to enjoy san francisco – you are a very informed tourist i have to say, seeing as how you definitely hit up THE best places, literaly my favorite places!!!

    • Gena,
      Since you and Cloe see “eye to eye,” how perfect that you two have matching sunglasses! Though I haven’t been to San Francisco (live in Dallas), I keep a couple of sauces from the Cafe Gratitude recipe book in the fridge at all times. Have a great Labor Day. Thanks for working for us!

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