Saturday, January 31, 2015

Café Gratitude

What are you grateful for? - the motto for Café Gratitude, a plant-based restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz that offers 100% organic vegan food. Their natural ingredients are simple, yet incredibly satisfying. The theme of the restaurant is about expressing gratitude and wholeness of our lives, hence the names of their menu items all start with the two words, "I Am". It's a pretty neat feeling when I look at the menu and see names like "I Am Adoring", or "I Am Thriving."

I absolutely love fresh and organic cuisine, so Café Gratitude suits my taste perfectly. Needless to say, I was super excited to go there for dinner last night with two of my co-workers. For the main course, I ordered the "I Am Accepting" sushi bowl, which has raw kale, sprouts, cucumber, nori, and brown rice tossed in a homemade sesame-ginger dressing. It was refreshingly good and filled me right up! My co-workers also really enjoyed their main dishes, as they savored every bite of their food. In the middle of dinner, our server surprised us with kale shots on the house. It had almond butter, banana, kale, spinach, and hazelnut milk. It was creamy and tasted like a milkshake. After devouring our main courses, of course we made room for dessert! I was originally going to skip on the sweets, because I had a huge slice of cheesecake for lunch. But seeing my two friends were all getting something from the dessert menu, I couldn't resist and ordered a slice of tiramisu cake. The seasonal layered cake is made with raw almond biscuit, coconut cashew cream, espresso, and raw cacao. We took turns sinking our spoons into the three plates of dessert, and I think there's just something really wonderful about sharing dessert. In a way, it makes me feel not so guilty about indulging the entire plate of dessert by myself.

Everything tasted amazing, and if you get a chance, it's definitely worth giving the place a try! It's one of my favorite restaurants in Santa Cruz, hands down. Now I leave you with wholesome goodness :)

I Am Accepting

Seasonal Apple Caramel Cheesecake, Ice Cream Sundae, Tiramisu Cake

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mini Winter Fashion Haul

Sometimes it's easier to show the content in a video than putting it in a blog post. It's also fun to do things differently every now and then. So instead of writing about it, I made a quick video of a small winter haul showing what I purchased for myself over the holidays! (Except for the cardigan, that was a gift from my mom). 
I do apologize for the lack of video quality as I'm clearly just diving into the creative side of the youtube world. 

Hope you're having a chilaxing weekend :) 

In the haul:
H&M: Sweater
A&F: Textured Sweater, Blanket Scarf, Belle Cropped Shirt
Nordstrom: Sweater Cardigan

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dim Sum on New Years

Happy New Year! Here's to an amazing 2015 filled with happiness and warmth!
On New Years day, my family and I decided to go to a very popular dim sum restaurant, called Koi Palace. We've never been, but heard impressive reviews about them and wanted to see what the rave was all about. The place was packed when we arrived at noon, and I mean packed as in there were no available tables (in a restaurant that seats over 100), and large groups of people filled up the waiting room and even gathered outside near the entrance. We expected there to be a wait, but we didn't realize it would be that crazy. After a 2-hour wait (insane, right?), we were seated at a comfortable area, and good thing the food didn't take long to come, because we were starving! The atmosphere was warm and lively as it was filled with excited chatter. As for the food, let's just say it was worth the long wait. I'm not particular when it comes to dim sum, but after going there, it has set my expectations pretty high for all dim sum places now. From the savory dishes to the sweet treats, everything were super delicious! I walked out of the place with a satisfied belly, still thinking about the warm and gooey baked Portuguese custard tarts we ordered. They were my favorite! It's a solid dim sum place, and I can't imagine going anywhere else for dim sum. 

What we ordered:

Stewed Chicken Feet in Abalone Sauce

Coconut Banana Mouse Cake

Pan Seared Crispy Noodle with Mixed Seafood

Mongolian Beef Bun

Pan Grilled Pork Bun

Salt and Pepper Calamari

Shanghai Style Juicy Pork Dumpling

Shangxi Style Dates Cake

Shrimp Dumpling

Baked Portuguese Custard Tart