Today's review on the 9th Annual San Francisco Vegetarian Festival comes to us via guest contributor Laura Bruno. Laura is an author, Intuitive Life Coach and Reiki Master.
Tahoe-based visionary artist and fellow raw foodie Tania Marie decided to swing by Sonoma County on her way home from L.A. She had just had her third painting (“Air”) in a series of five scanned into online format, which meant she carried the original in her hybrid. Some of you may have seen this Celtic masterpiece before I did, because she premiered it at Raw Spirit. In any case, I was excited to see Tania, experience the painting, meet her turtle (Gaia) in person, and, well, … EAT!
So many options, so little time! Tania would arrive on Sunday, so we couldn’t go to Seed, the new-ish raw café in Santa Rosa. That left the brand new Café Gratitude in Healdsburg, my old standby in San Rafael, a possible jaunt to Berkeley or a visit to one of two Gratitudes in San Francisco. (Alive doesn’t open until evening.) Since Tania would have already driven from L.A., I figured we wouldn’t fight the weekend traffic back to SF, but Synchronicity held other plans.
I had wanted to visit the 9th Annual Vegetarian Festival on Saturday, maybe even write a post for WLIR, but life intervened in the form of way too many errands and a funny feeling not to go that day. Oh, well, I thought, maybe next year. Then late Saturday night I received an email from Dhrumil saying he’d “totally be down with” me covering the VegFest. Hmmm … Since Tania and I hadn’t yet decided where to go, I mentioned VegFest as another possibility. We agreed to let Fate take its course; if by some chance she managed to arrive by noon, we’d go.
Holy hybrid! Tania made super good time and pulled up to our place at exactly noon. We didn’t want to leave her original painting or little Gaia on the streets of San Francisco, so my loving hubby offered to “turtle sit.” We hauled Gaia’s aquarium up four flights of stairs and got the painting on round two. I could have stood all afternoon gazing in awe of “Air,” just taking in all that detailed beauty, but we had traffic to battle and food to enjoy. So, we hit the road again, making our way through hordes of Bluegrass Festival traffic headed south on the 101. By the time we arrived in Golden Gate Park and managed to manifest a parking spot, Tania’s dashboard read 2:00. We were starving!
Tania Marie and Laura Bruno
We each gave our $6 donation and figured we’d take a few photos of the one or two raw vendors, then nosh at Café Gratitude’s booth. But no! Something strange had happened since 2007: rumor had it that raw foodists had taken over Veg Fest. About three-quarters of the tables featured something raw: raw cookbooks, water fasting books, raw cacao, raw classes, raw tahini, fresh green juice, raw nuts and rawnola. Everywhere we looked brought another raw delight to our attention. OK, we agreed, this might take longer than anticipated, so we took a pre-business snack break. We ordered the last two “I AM” ice cream sandwiches in double chocolate from Café Gratitude.
I’ve not had an ice cream sandwich in at least a decade, but Tania and I agreed these were the best things ever! I liked mine so much we ended up having to reshoot some of our photos because I had chocolate all over my face! No lie, if you come to Northern California, you have got to try these “cookies” with raw ice cream inside. We believe raw foodies everywhere should launch a campaign: Out with the Klondike’s. In with I AM. These could start a revolution in the freezer.
Having had our first fix, we got serious about talking to folks and taking photos. Next to Café Gratitude’s booth, we found Parma’s Vegan Parmesan. Their motto, “Eat in the Raw” means raw so long as you don’t mind a little nutritional yeast. I was still blissing out from I AM, so I just looked, but this Oregon-based company offers some savory treats packed with Omega-3’s. Their mission statement is: “To provide healthy, earth friendly culinary delights, uplift humanity's consciousness through business, and leave the world a better place than when we found it.”