Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Visit; Last but (indeed) least

We were feeling pretty tired after our action-packed Friday and Saturday, but we still got up early Sunday morning and decided to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Such a touristy thing to do, but good exercise all the same, plus it was another gorgeous day. Afterwards we headed home for a simple fruit breakfast (a walk + fruit = the best hangover cure) and then just relaxed for a bit. Mom was having a major Mexican craving so I took her to my fave burrito spot, Papalote. Again, it's the well-marked menu denoting the vegan stuff (all the beans!!!) that I love about this place. I had had some granola with my fruit and wasn't hungry, so I passed, but she claims her burrito was quite yummy.

Realizing I should probably do some grocery shopping and that mid-day on a Sunday might not be a terribly crowded time, we headed off to Rainbow. My most favorite of grocery stores, it's also a good place to take any foodie in your life just to peruse the bulk bins alone. My mom got some organic powdered stevia, since she can only get the processed white stuff at home in NJ. She found it hard to believe it's actually a green leaf. Why we must make all sweet things look and perform just like sugar is beyond me. ANYWAY...

I stocked up, and we drove home to put it all away and relax some more. Mom actually fell asleep, but not for long since we had a mission to accomplish: Get my dad a new City Lights t-shirt, since his old one was worn out. I wanted to walk to North Beach, but that idea was vetoed by both my mom and husband, so we took the good old 45 bus and were there in no time. All of this worked out perfectly, by the way, because our dinner choice was in the neighborhood. So, after we picked up the shirt, we walked the few blocks (in now freezing weather, mind you. Good old San Francisco.) to Pena Pachamama. I've wanted to go here for a while, after reading their unique menu online. Heavy on the Bolivian-influenced tapas, they also have a raw food and vegan section. I was down to see what it was all about.

The place itself was mighty colorful and looked like Carnaval waiting to happen. This was made weirder by the fact that we were the only people in the place at 6:30 on a Sunday. They have performances every night, but we were too early. I can imagine it would be a much more fun place to go with your drunken pals to see the show. That would also make the fact that the food was just mediocre not really matter so much. For us, however, it was the main focus, and it wasn't that it was bad, it just wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. We all started off with the organic green salad, from the raw menu, and this was by far the highlight of the meal. Fresh greens and veggies, with a little scoop of sweet fresh corn "hummus" (I believe our waitress said it was simply corn, agave, and cinnamon), it was unique and tasty. I kind of wish we had stuck with the raw menu the whole way, since it seemed promising. Instead, my husband went completely insane and got the fish (rolls eyes) and my mom and I then split a few of the vegan tapas - fried plantains with black bean reduction, yucca fries, corn tamale, and sauteed spinach. It was all just okay, and we could have used an extra order of spinach to balance out the rest of the heavier plates. All in all, we were satisfied, and had we had some beers in us and were enjoying a good show, I think it would have been much more enjoyable.

Vegans, try it for some new tastes, but don't expect to be wowed. If you try the rest of the raw menu, let me know. It could be pretty yummy.

PS. My mom is back in NJ now, which is sad for me, so make me feel better by suggesting some vegan-friendly places in the Bay Area to go. Maybe we can even go together!

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