Thursday, January 29, 2009

GREEN FOOD SPOTLIGHT: The Plant Cafe Organic

The Plant Cafe Organic
Neighborhood: Marina/Cow Hollow
3352 Steiner St (between Chestnut St & Lombard St)
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 931-2777

Anyone who has been paying attention to my Yelp reviews, my Facebook posts, or my Tweets (on Twitter) knows that ever since I started running in September, I've been delving deeper into the world of vegetarian and green foods. I feel very fortunate to be living in the Bay Area, where our options seem endless when one wants to eat healthy, sustainable foods. The Plant Cafe Organic (formerly known as Lettus Cafe Organic) has fast become one of my favorite go-to restaurants when I want to eat healthy but I don't have time to go to the grocery store or farmer's market to get all the ingredients myself.

In the mornings, they have breakfast selections, and on weekends, they have a separate brunch menu, which I have yet to try. I personally like their smoothies for the morning, though pricey ($6.50), they are delicious. I highly recommend the mango, which has mango, banana, and ginger. They also have a full juice bar, with one of the best selections of juices I've seen in the city.

Midday, the cafe is full of Marina-ites and employees from the Presidio (i.e. LucasFilm folks) who are getting salads and sandwiches. They have an extensive salad menu ($8-9), as well as the option to "create your own" ($5.95 for small), where you get five "toppings" and a dressing, and the option to add protein (chicken, tofu, specialty cheese) for an extra couple of bucks. I haven't had any of the sandwiches here, but I have had the California Burger ($10.95) - it's The Plant Cafe's own version of a Gardenburger, but it's tastier and fresher than those patties pulled from the frozen food section of Trader Joe's.

After 5:30pm, the dinner crowd heads in - mostly young professionals who don't want to cook, or folks who just finished a workout and want to end their day with a healthy meal. They have a variety of items...quinoa bowls, udon, a fish special, soups, curries. The cold soba noodles ($7.50) are great - a big bowl of noodles, pea sprouts, cabbage, and ginger-lime dressing. My favorite thing to order for dinner is the seasonal tempeh special ($10.95) - it changes every few months, but I have yet to find a version that I don't like. And to finish off a really delicious, healthy meal? The raw cashew raspberry cheesecake - all of the flavor of a sinfully rich dessert, but none of the guilt. Really.

The Plant Cafe may seem pretty yuppie, but it has a hippie soul and is striving to bring local, sustainable goodness to the masses. Bring on the quinoa! (Pretty awesome, since the word "quinoa" wasn't even in my vocabulary until last year.)

New Year's Detox...$85 A Day!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I know, I's been forever since I've posted anything on this blog, but life kind of got in the way. I promise I'll try to keep updating as best I can!


Imagine spending $85 a day on food. Completely possible, if you eat out three times a day, OR if you decide to have dinner at Chez Panisse on a nightly basis. But would you spend $85 a day on food...that you can't even chew?

So, this particular blog isn't quite about cuisine. It's about a cleansing juice fast that one of my friends introduced me to: The Blueprint Cleanse. It's been popular in New York City for the past year or so, and my cousin has done it (and she loves it), and so far, my friend seems to like it. Here's the deal: there are three levels of the cleanse. One for beginners (total omnivores), one for those who eat mainly vegetarian, and one for the stricter vegetarian/vegan types. You get six bottles of all natural, organic juices per day, and you can do the fast for one day up to twenty days. Sounds hardcore, but let me tell you, nothing could possibly be worse than the effects that I experienced when I tried the Master Cleanse a couple of years ago.

I really like the combinations of juices that they've set up. My friend is doing the Renovation Cleanse, which sets you up with:

1. Green Juice: Romaine, kale, cucumber, parsley, celery, spinach, green apple, lemon.
2. Pineapple-Apple-Mint
3. Green Juice (same as the first)
4. Spicy Lemonade: Lemon, Water, Agave, Cayenne
5. Carrot-Apple-Beet-Ginger-Lemon
6. Cashew Nut Milk

My friend says the juices are delicious! And my cousin says the program is "dummy proof".

I haven't exactly convinced myself that it would be worth it to participate, so I've decided to do my own sort of cleanse. I started my day off with a carrot-beet-celery juice combo, and have tempeh leftovers from last night for lunch. I bought some organic juice from Whole Foods (a green veggie juice, a carrot-beet-celery juice, lemonade sweetened with agave) and am going to drink that tomorrow and see how I feel about not eating solid foods for a day. We'll see how long it takes before I cave.