Well, as the 'real world' continues to kick my ass, my birthday (both the early celebration on Sunday and today) actually went by pretty good...for the first time. It all started with my usual early sacrificing but sustaining visit to the Alhambra Sunday Farmers Market to peruse the endless varieties of unique asian greens, followed by my will-to-live restoring yoga session. This week I decided to try out some pretty Chrysanthemum leaves that go for about $5 a pound (I know, only got about a dollars worth). I don't know what I would do without food and yoga...
We somehow had enough money to have brunch at my favorite brunch place at the moment, Flore Cafe in Silver Lake. I don't usually use those cheesy words like 'heavenly' to describe the taste of food but for their Tofu Benediction Dish, I believe there is no other word. Think of it like a vegan take on Eggs Benedict: freshly baked toasted Batard Bread topped with tender slices of soft tofu, a generous handful of organic crispy kale, slices of ripe tomato and creamy Haas avocado. And that heavenly sauce...well, I'll just quote one of the waitress's there, "every day when the day is over, i'm always hoping that we'll have somehow have some left over so I can take it home and pour it over everything".
When I was already thinking about what I was going to have for dinner (go out to eat twice on the same day?! I wish...) My sister calls me all of a sudden to tell me that she will take us out for dinner!! I couldn't think of any other semi-affordable place so I decided to appreciate it and go all the way to one of my other favorite places at the moment, Au Lac, all the way in Fountain Valley. I wrote about this place earlier....simply, a one of kind type of restaurant, worth the drive from anywhere. And just when stuff was starting to go kind of bad (made the reservation kind of late so starving and snapping at each other, ran incredibly late and almost gave away our table), the wonderful Chef Ito, yet again, saved my day and changed my life. Not just for his tight welcoming hug that he gave and the glorious food that we shared, both cooked things like 5 spiced Soy Duck Noodle Soup so meaty, its scary and his raw creations like Jackfruit smoothies with a similar funk like Durian and Hot and Sour Soup with slippery coconut noodles and 4 different kinds of seaweed, but for his affection and charity.
Like I said earlier, the food here is really made with love, seriously. Right, when it looked like everyone on the table was finished eating, the lights suddenly start to fade out and Chef Ito and some of the crew come out. They start to sing "Happy Birthday" and are carrying a plate with some slices of that--whatever is above 'heavenly'--raw pies that he makes with a lit candle. It was something sincerely heartrending: "Happy Birthday Javier" handwritten above the vertically stacked pies with chocolate mint sauce, a rose made with tomato peel and mint leaves on the corner...i almost cried because everything was so beautiful.
I'm going against my no-photo policy so I can show you just how compassionate it was.
...I could eat this all day, really.
Thank you again Chef Ito for everything: the pies that I had again for my real birthday, taking those elixir shots with me, but most of all, gracing me with your kindness and making me happier.
The City of Alhambra Certified Farmer's Market
Every Sunday of the year (except Easter)
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at
the corner of Monterey Street and Bay State Street.
Flore Vegan Cuisine
3818 W. Sunset Blvd.
16563 Brookhurst Street
Fountain Valley, California
a one of kind type of place