I decided that I’d had about enough of Austin and headed out to California to spend some quality time with my mom this week. It’s been gorgeous. Yesterday we went to San Francisco to visit some friends and stop at one of my all time favorite restaurants Gracias Madre which I hadn’t been to in a few years. I saw that they opened up a beautiful location in LA and I sure hope Austin is next. California Mexican food is so different from in Texas. I love it. We started with the potato and masa gorditas.
They were fried perfectly crisp and soft inside and served with a cashew cream and the ubiquitous avocado. We also got the mole empanada. The last time I was here I wasn’t a fan of their mole but with the sweetness of the fried plantain in the empanada it was more balanced and delicious.
For my entrée I chose the pozole because I’d heard it was delicious and also I had in my mind all day that it would be cold and foggy in SF. It was sunny and warm but, whatever, I was set for some soup.
It was yummy and chock-full of avocado but it wasn’t as good as the recipe make at home all the time. I was hoping after this to try the flan but by the time our waitress came back all that food had hit my belly and there was no way. For dinner we went to Dosa on FIlmore and I’m still recovering from all the delicious cocktails, Uttapam, potato and basil spicy dosa and every kind of chutney. If you go, and you should, make sure you ask for the vegan menu because it’s very clear and even mentions if cashews are used which I know many are allergic too. It was magical, highly recommended. Now I’m going to lie down.
When we landed in San Fransico last week the first thing that we did was ride the train to the Mission to go to Gracias Madre.We were starving from the long trip and indecisive so I was able to convince my young man that we should get several items and share. He agreed and we awaited our food with anticipation. The first item we tried was an eggplant gratin which was described as “Roasted eggplant, tomato, rajas and cashew cheese gratin topped with garlic breadcrumbs”California Mexican food is sure different than what I am used to if this dish is an example, I have never had anything like it at a Mexican place. The eggplant was cooked really well and the cashew cheese sauce was perfect. I think this was our favorite dish of the entire trip!
Next we had the Quesadillas de Calabaza described as “Butternut squash and caramelized onion folded into tortillas with cashew nacho cheese a pumpkin seed salsa” I thought these we fantastic as well. I loved the nacho flavoring in the sauce mixed with the squash. That isn’t how I made them at home but I will from now on because it makes a lot of sense. I was also in love with the pepitas on top because all the sauce made everything kind of… shall we say… pliable so it was nice to have a bit of crunch. Which reminds me of my only problem with Gracias Madre, they don’t have chips and salsa! Even for sale! They sell guacamole but with a toasted tortilla instead. I like chips whenever I have Mexican food to scoop things up with but in reality I guess I was better off without since I would have had such and easy time walking out of there!
Finally we got the mole enchiladas, which we were both the most excited about and described as “Mole enchiladas topped with mushrooms and cashew cheese, served with sauteed greens and beans”The mole sauce was not my favorite, but everyone is different when it comes to mole so I can’t fault them there. It was weird to me that the enchilads weren’t rolled up. The highlight on this plate was the refried beans. I don’t know how they make them so good, I really should have asked because they were just fantastic! I could eat nothing but beans from there and be a happy camper.
After that we wandered around the mission which was a very interesting place. I saw a happy babya really angry young manand enjoyed all the muralsWe spent time with family in San Jose and then went to Berkley where I got to try Cinnaholic the all vegan cinnamon roll bakery. This was one of those places that I was totally and completely overwhelmed by. First everything is vegan and they have like a million toppings and frostings that you can try, (if you click the picture you can read it)I totally panicked and stood indecisively for a long time. The special was some crazy monstrosity involving cookies and though I was tempted (I haven’t had a cinnamon roll in as long as I can remember probably at Chicago O’hare airport years ago because I am still tempted by the smell of those godforsaken cinnabons every time I step off a plane there because it is the first thing you smell) I decided to keep it simple and go for the old fashioned with apples on top because then it would be healthy!This is where cinnamon rolls go when they die. I have never been so in love with a baked good, except maybe at Voodoo donuts last year. I immediately wanted ten more but having eaten the cinnamon roll on top of a Vietnamese lunch it just wasn’t to be. Next time Berkley, I’ll be back!
Then we got to see and awesome show at the Greek! Tomorrow I will write about Santa Cruz, I am so behind on blogging and I am headed to Wisconsin & Illinois this weekend!