Monday, February 28, 2011

Eating Tacos & Flan with Isa

None other than the glorious Ms. Isa Chandra Moskowitz!
Reigning overlord of the PPK! Cookbook author ExtraOrdinaire!

A couple weeks ago, Isa came to San Francisco to do a cooking demo at the famed Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Isa was cooking up a couple of recipes from her new cookbook, Appetite for Reduction. Not surprisingly, there was a massive convergence of vegans at this event! In fact the gal who introduced Isa said it was the biggest turnout they'd ever had for a cooking demo. Represent! Lots of friends from around the Bay Area came and it was really fun to see everyone... plus I got to stroll around the farmers market before hand and oogle all the beautiful food, buy $25 worth of super special heirloom beans, buy fancy breads, and eat vegan donuts. All in all, a good morning.

After all that cooking demo-ing and cooking demo-watching, we were all hungry... so a few of us pals headed over to Gracias Madre for lunch. I was so happy to finally try out this amazing restaurant that I have been hearing so much about. Luckily, I was not the only dork who needed to photograph everything we were served... turns out that Isa and I are equally dorky in this way (here, she is pictured with caesar salad, and Jopa in the background!). Though her camera is better than mine, which made me a little jealous. I'm sure she won't have to brighten all her pictures in photoshop, the way I did.

Gracias Madre is an awesome restaurant because it's all vegan, all organic, and all yummy! We ordered loads of appetizers to share amongst us... for maximum menu saturation. In addition to the caesar salad and a great order of fresh guacamole with fresh blue corn tortillas, we also got a cauliflower bake with cashew cheeze sauce and bread crumbs, a plate of amazing & perfectly tender roasted baby potatoes with cashew chipotle cream (hiding behind the cauliflower in the top left picture), a plate of steamed kale with pumpkin seeds, and a side of roasted winter squash with delicate seasoning. All totally delicious. In the bottom right is my lunch entree....

For my main entree, I ordered the tacos - and you can select your fillings: I picked kale, roasted poblanos, and squash... and they come served with a side of amazing black refried beans. It was so yummers! I love this goofy picture - thanks Alana!

Oh, you didn't think we ate so much that there was no room for dessert, did you? Oh no no no no NO! Not us. We actually shared 3 desserts, but these two were my favorite - and that was the general consensus amongst all 8 of us. On the right is the Mocha Cheezecake, which would have been the best thing in the world if I hadn't also tasted that FLAN. Soooooooooooooooooo good. I will go back to Gracias Madre and I will make sure to order my kale appetizers, so that I can feel slightly less remorseful when I pack down more flan flan flan after dinner.

We had coffee with dessert, because we are civilized and sophisticated people. Plus, our lunch was going on about 3 1/2 hours by now... and a coffee seemed like the right choice. Naturally, it was delicious - and since it's a vegan establishment, your delicious coffee comes with soy milk without you having to make a big deal about it and pay $1 extra just because someone opened a carton of soy milk.

Isa and I took a truly excellent selection of deadpan pictures together... in which we look like we are going to either burst into tears or rip someone's heart out. I will cherish those photos, but I will not share them with the general public! So, here's a very socially acceptable picture of the two of us, beaming with foodie delight and bellies full of delicious and nutritious vegan mexican food.

It was awesome to finally meet Isa, to spend the day with so many great buddies, and to share my first experience at Gracias Madre with all of them. What fun!


  1. I agree, seeing such a large turnout for the demo was awesome! Your epic Gracias Madre feast looks amazing...I definitely need to make my way over there sometime!!

  2. That was such a fun day! And oh man, I don't think I will ever tire of Gracias Madre. Their food makes me feel so good, no matter how much I stuff into my belly. I love the crazy picture of you about to eat your plate!

  3. What an awesome day! So fantastic you got to meet Isa.

  4. Gabrielle10:43 AM

    Aww, I love everything about this post except the fact that I wasn't there. :)

    You totally made the right call with the tacos! They're my favourites for sure!

  5. GM tacos are so yummy! The mushroom filling was my favorite!

  6. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Oh man, I really wish I had known about this demo!! I read the ppk blog, but it wasn't on there. Ugh, I guess some day I will have to start paying attention to Facebook like the rest of the world, even though I don't really want to...

    And thanks for documenting Gracias Madre - I still have not been, but I will obviously need to get there soon. If you ever feel like making the long trek up to SF again for a trip to Gracias Madre and to Rainbow (I am esp wanting to go here soon because I saw in an SFGate article that they carry whole grain grits, which I've been looking for forever), lemme know.

    :-) jen e.

  7. How fun!!! I hope I'll meet Isa at the Vida Vegan Con...but you got to eat with her!! I'm so J! I just had the Veggie Pot Pie Stew with Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits from AFR for lunch. So tasty! And that flan looks terrific there.

  8. Lucky you! I'm super jealous.

    I want her new book too.

  9. Looks like a great time. Very cool to meet and hang out with Isa!
    I'll have to make the 4-5 hr trek up to Frisco sometime for a vegan weekend.

  10. It does sound like such a great time! And you are so lucky to have met Isa. Love the smiley photo! And of course the food looks fabulous.

    PS--wanted to tell you that I made the flatbreads from your Intergalactic Recipe book and they really are fantastic! My head didn't explode, but almost! ;)

  11. What a fun day!! How lucky to be eating delicious food & hanging with vegan rockstars...

  12. Anonymous4:22 AM

    ISA is hot.. is she single??


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