Eating, Veg/Vegan

Eating Vegan in San Fran!

During our one-week trip to California, we only spent two beautiful, glorious days in the big city of San Francisco. San Fran has always been known for its activism, openness, and emphasis on love and equality, coupled with its stunning natural beauty and penchant for the unique. From block-to-block, there’s no city in the world quite like it.

We knew we’d be spending a few short days in the city, so Terry had been amping me up about the gourmet vegan food world captivated within many of San Fran’s distinctive districts. We walked around the gorgeously forested Golden Gate Park, dotted with wild buffalo, museums, ice cream stands and winding storybook creeks and rivers.

Our first food stop was La Méditeranée in the Fillmore District, a family-owned Mediterranean restaurant that served up old-school Turkish coffee, homemade Baklava, and a full vegan menu. Open since the 70’s, the place was small, quaint and warm, with a flurry of friendly waitresses guiding us through the menu and to our table.

The waitress steered me toward the veganized Mediterrean plate, a standard hodgepodge of plant-based mid-east dishes. It featured grape-leaf Dolmas, baba gounesh, hummus, olives, mixed greens, and homemade falafel. The food was just as incredible as the atmosphere and service – straight-up perfect.

The next day we drove around the bright, rainbow-adorned Castro Dstrict and stepped through an alley of wall art, one of my favorite things to discover in a new city. Gigantic faces boldly declaring equality, unity, peace and love decorated every wall as we wound our way down the street and stepped out into the Mission District.

My friend was ecstatic to take us to Gracias Madre, an artsy tavern serving up organic, locally-sourced vegan Mexican dishes (say whaaaaat!). I was stoked to discover that they served a HORCHATA LATTE, two of my favorite things combined in one.

I was so in love with my mole enchiladas stuffed with potato and zucchini, black beans and kale that I could barely contain myself in public. My boyfriend also got cashew cheese nachos, which we’re definitely made and fried in-house. It’s been a few days and I am still super obsessed with this place!

I also grabbed some vegan ginger snap cookies from Hot Cookies, a quaint little cookie shop in the Castro District. We stopped there after a few drinks and a lot of dancing, and sadly, I forgot to take a picture.

I ate a quick, healthy breakfast at the hotel. After adventuring around the city, we drove through the Pacheco Pass, a long and windy northern California road that cuts through the region’s abundant farmlands. We stopped at a fruit stand to grab avocados, oranges, pickled garlic, eggplant and asparagus to grill at T’s mom’s house in Merced, our final destination. The prices were rock-bottom, and the fresh fruit was top-notch.

We spent the night in the quaint town of Merced, and woke up to an impressive spread of fresh fruit and locally baked bread laid out by T’s mom. I filled up on freshness and grabbed some snacks for the road back to Santa Cruz.

The last meal of our adventure was on the plane to Hawaii, after a long day of traveling. We took a bus from Santa Cruz to San Jose, then the BART to San Fran, an air train to SFO Airport, sprinted to our gate to catch a flight to LAX, then sprinted from our arrival in LAX to our plane departing to Honolulu.

It broke all my traveling rules – we didn’t stock up on enough snacks, we didn’t eat before getting on the plane, we didn’t drink enough water. We were starving, grumpy and lethargic on the plane, and decided to cave in and purchase food. I was stoked to find an all-vegan, non-GMO Tapas box from Delta. It was packed with gluten-free seeded crackers, quinoa and red pepper dip, hummus, almonds, organic dark chocolate, a lemon fig bar, and more. It was surprisingly cheap, filling and satisfying, and I was happy to vote with my dollars to keep the option around.

All in all, it was a busy and fulfilling trip that totally re-stoked my love for vegan food and rekindled my dedication to living a life of kindness. Thanks much, San Fran!

spiritual

Faith Friday: Kindness


KINDNESS.

Regardless of who you are, where you’re from, the challenges you’ve faced, or your own unique experience, I think we can all agree the world needs more of it. Wars may rage, hearts break, and humans endlessly suffer, but kindness is all around us. And kindness is the powerful silver lining of human existence; that somewhere along the way of our worst days we’re bound to encounter it.

blogWith tough times like today – where our country and the world feel so juxtaposed and divided – kindness transcends it all. Have you ever had a super shitty day and out of nowhere, for no real reason, a complete stranger was nice to you? I’ve had one person – who I didn’t even know – be nice to me on one of  the worst days of my life, and it totally turned it around. In fact, when I think about that day, that is what comes to mind; the kindness. Not the terrible stuff, but the single act of kindness that turned it all around.

Peeps, I know life is rough. But kindness feels just as good to dish out as to have it dished to ya.

 

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Happy Aloha Friday!

Love,

Nikki

Thoughts

Wednesday Wisdom: Kindness

  

Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

In modern society, we’re all searching for a better life; practicing meditation, yoga, cleanses, fasts, and delving into the beliefs of karma and cosmic connections to one another. 

Yet, kindness has got lost in the shuffle.

Differing from a single (or a few) kind acts, the practice of being kind – as a personality trait or daily habit – has profound effects on the people around us. And if everything really does come back that we put out (it does!) then by being kind to others, we’re being kind to ourselves as well. 

 I encourage all of us to let our inner peace and happiness radiate outward and embody itself in kindness, graciousness, and generosity. Not meekness or weakness, of course, but simply sharing a few kind words or moments of patience for our fellow humans.

Happy Wednesday!

Nikki