March 09, 2015

A weekend of eating in San Francisco and Santa Cruz part 2

The sky was really that blue.

Usually when we go to San Francisco, we stay in or pretty close to the city — hiking at Land's End, exploring the Marin Farmers Market, wandering through the Botanical Garden in Berkeley, taking in the delights of the city — that sort of thing. But on this trip, I really wanted to see Santa Cruz, so on Sunday morning, we hit the road and headed South. Before we left Seattle, I contacted Amey from Vegan Eats and Treats, to ask what she recommended we see, and working from her suggestions, and some favorite spots of Alison's, we had a full day's worth of places to explore and food to consume. None of the four of us are very good at random shopping — I usually have to be in the exact right mood to enter shops I hadn't been planning to enter — so we just walked the downtown streets soaking up the eclectic atmosphere, ogling the charming shop window displays and working up an appetite for lunch.


There were several places we could have found vegan food, but Café Gratitude seemed like an excellent choice, and we headed there. We'd dined at Café Gratitude in Berkeley, and really liked it. Alison had either a roasted vegetable sandwich or a BLT — can't remember which.


Jordan had his sandwich with a side of tortilla soup, and Ken had a salad with fig balsamic dressing, which he loved. I don't seem to have a photo of the salad, but picture something fresh and green.


The past two nights dinners weren't sitting so well with me, and although I was hungry for lunch, I really wanted something plain and simple — which is not to say tasteless. I found the perfect solution in a basic bowl filled with perfectly cooked and fluffy millet, black beans and baby kale, with tahini dressing. I was so happy!

After lunch, we continued wandering the downtown streets looking for The Penny Ice Creamery, where Amey had told us to get the amazing vegan dark chocolate sorbet. Ahem. If I lived in Santa Cruz, I'd be in danger of eating dark chocolate sorbet at least three times a day. Amazing, yes.


After the ice cream, we went to the Beach Boardwalk — kind of a beachfront amusement park and walking area. It had a similar, somewhat rundown, dive atmosphere that I remember from the old days on the Atlantic City Boardwalk — especially around Steel Pier, if anyone remembers that. There were great views across the beach and across the water, making it lots of fun to take photos.

My three companions on West Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz.

Our last stop was also my favorite (not counting lunch and sorbet, of course) — West Cliff Drive. What a gorgeous spot to walk and enjoy the view.


It was getting late and we still had one more stop to make on the way back to San Francisco — Mountain Feed and Farm Supply, one of Jordan and Alison's favorite 'garden' stores. Calling this labyrinth of eclectic buildings a Garden Store is like calling Mall of America a shopping center. I mean, it is ... but it isn't. They did have plants, pots and gardening equipment, but also fantastic cooking equipment, pet food and supplies, and everything you'd need for canning, brewing, fermenting, etc., as well as the most helpful and friendly employees I've ever encountered. It took about three seconds for me to loose everyone in our little group, as we each became sucked into the various buildings and departments.


By the time we returned to San Francisco, there was just enough time for a brief rest before we had our last restaurant meal of the trip at Dosa, a South Indian restaurant we are very fond of. It's not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, but they have a separate vegetarian menu where vegan and gluten-free items are clearly marked. I ordered a traditional masala dosa, a large, rice and lentil crepe filled with spiced potatoes, onions and cashews. It came with coconut and tomato chutneys and sambar, and a spicy soup made with lentils and vegetables. You break off chunks of the dosa and dip it into the chutney, sambar and soup. I've always really loved my dinner at Dosa, but the dosa, which has always been dry in the past, was coated with oil. I ate it but it was way too greasy for me. Our restaurant karma was definitely off on this trip. (It was so dark in Dosa that I didn't take a photo. I found a photo of the same meal from a previous trip, and the dosa definitely doesn't look all slick and shiny like the one I received.)

The next day, Jordan and Alison went to work and Ken and I packed and got organized until it was time to go to the airport for the return flight. It was a short trip, but so much fun!

Other San Francisco Posts:
March 5 2015 
June 23, 2013
June 19, 2013
Jan. 30, 2012

16 comments:

  1. Santa Cruz is a pretty fun place, I haven't back in years. Oh sure, none of those food places were around way back when I lived over there. :-)

    I love West Cliff Drive, I used to walk from one end to the other a few times a week, whether it's sunny or cloudy, it's always nice to be out near the ocean.

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    1. I guess you'll have to visit Santa Cruz to see how much it's changed! And to get some sorbet. :) West Cliff Drive was so peaceful and beautiful — I wish I could walk there every day.

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  2. Dark chocolate sorbet? Three times yes! Whenever I crave simple food, it's always brown rice, roast beetroot and avocado. Go figure. Glad you managed to get some good eating and sightseeting in!

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    1. Dark, dark dark chocolate! I wasn't craving a specific food, but the millet was a surprise and a treat. Millet mostly gets ignored at our house, but now I want to eat it more often.

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  3. Your photos are gorgeous! Alison's sandwich made my mouth water. I also wish I could have dark chocolate sorbet three times a day! :)

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    1. Thank you! Alison's sandwich made my mouth water, too. And yes to dark chocolate sorbet. Yes.

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  4. One of the reasons, I don't really go for Indian food either is the amount of grease. It's just too much for me. Those sandwiches look delish!

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    1. Dosa has always been so good — but this time had so much oil. I may try it again, though. Too much grease doesn't sit well in my stomach.

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  5. I'll be in Santa Cruz in a couple months and that dark chocolate gelato is definitely on my list!!! Glad you had a good trip but sorry your food karma was off :(

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    1. Yes, don't miss the sorbet. It was great! And West Cliff Drive. Our restaurant karma was a mixed bag — some great new finds, and some old favorites that didn't live up to expectations. All good in Santa Cruz, though. :)

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  6. I haven't been to SF in ages and have never been to SC. Judging by how hungry this has made me, I'm thinking this should be remedied.

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    1. I always look forward to our San Francisco trips — so much to do, see and eat! This was our first trip to Santa Cruz, and we had a great time. What I keep thinking about, though, is the sushi we had in San Francisco at Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar. Got to go back for more!

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  7. I still haven't gotten out to Cafe Gratitude! It's been on my hit list for many years now, but I keep forgetting that it's just a hop, skip, and jump away in Berkeley every time I'm out here. Thank you for the delicious reminder. I must make the effort to get it on the eating agenda, ASAP.

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    1. It's been a couple of years since I've been to the Berkeley Cafe Gratitude, but I had a great lunch there. We all loved the one in Santa Cruz, too.

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  8. Even though I've been to CA a few times, I've never made it to San Fran! I really want to go! Enjoyed your post.

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    1. Jenny, I think you would really like San Francisco — so much to see and do there, and easy to get around with public transport.

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