The Plant Cafes are scattered throughout San Francisco. My friend and I head to the location neighboring the Ferry Building at Embarcadero. Walk to the eatery and notice it is split into two: the restaurant sits on the left and the take-out cafe is on the right.
Arriving at peak lunch hour, our wait time for the restaurant is ten minutes for indoor seating. For the more scenic outdoor, it is forty minutes. Hungry, we opt for the preceding.
We each grab a juice–two Green Basics–at the take-out cafe then return to the restaurant. The Green Basic contains kale, parsley, celery, apple and lemon. It tastes clean and sweet. You feel pure with every sip. No preservatives. All raw vegan friendly.
Once seated we order Shiitake Spring Rolls as our vegan and gluten-free appetizer. Shiitake mushrooms, marinated tofu, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, basil, mint and cilantro are wrapped in rice paper and served with roasted onion peanut sauce. The rolls alone are bland. The star of this dish is the peanut sauce.
My friend and I each get a plate of Dino Kale Salad, which is also vegan and gluten-free. As the name hints it is made of dino kale, along with arugula, red quinoa, cherry tomatoes, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, toasted almonds and lemon cumin vinaigrette. There is the option to add meat and vegan protein, but I get mine without additions.
The salad is an exploration of contrasting textures ranging from crunchy to mushy and dry to juicy. The first bite may be refreshing due to the cucumber yet the second bite may be nutty thanks to the almonds. Because of the diversity in texture, no two consecutive bites are the same. Flavors rotate in your mouth.
My friend orders another Dino Kale Salad for to-go. Upon lunch we walk along the waterfront. Men watch their fishing lines as seagulls watch us. The end.