Yesterday I trekked from LA to SF for an audition–no quick jaunt, lemmetellya. But, having made the promise to myself when I moved to LA to jump in my hooptie and do the drive if anything good came up, I packed myself and my two marvelous nieces in the Civic and off we went. Post-audition, we convened with my son and his lovely gf for a late lunch at Gracias Madre. Generally after auditions in SF I’d jog the few blocks to Cafe Gratitude on Harrison and melt into the raw food love, relaxed and indeed, grateful. But since the closing of CG and my move to LA, I found myself back in SF for the first time, hungry, and with no raw option close by. A good friend suggested Gracias Madre, a Mex Rest also owned by Terces and Matthew Engelhart in the Mission. With GM only a couple of blocks from my casting agent, we nodded a “yes that sounds good,” at each other and soon arrived, starving.

NOTE: This is not a restaurant review, really, although I will say the atmosphere was cozy (which does not mean the place is small, it isn’t) and the food, spectacular. But why am I yapping about it? Because, Loves, they don’t serve raw food, and I didn’t order a salad. WHAT?! Yep, I ate cooked.

Every blue moon (maybe once every couple of months) I’ll eat a bit of the following: corn tortilla, potato or brown rice/quinoa. If I’m out with friends or family, sometimes I just can’t handle another salad. What usually results is me, about ten minutes later, head on table, napping. But that’s about it. I don’t typically experience any negative effects beyond an extreme tiredness that descends ultra quickly but sweeps dramatically out within the hour. My guess is that my stomach just isn’t used to processing heavier fare and all my brain-blood gets routed to my gut. Whatever, not a huge deal, but it’s unpleasant enough that I typically won’t consume any more cooked food for another couple of months.

But yesterday, I decided to order an entire cooked meal! The last time I did that? Uh, I can’t remember. Four, four-and-heif years ago? So why now?? Why NOT?! Starving, enjoying my family, and sitting in this gorgeous restaurant, salad was simply NOT going to cut it. I’m not about staying in a box for the purpose of staying there, and I don’t have an issue with eating a little cooked food every once in a while. The reason I keep eating raw is that I feel insanely good when I do, so I keep doing it. But every once in a while I’m willing to get super crazy and eat something that’s been through a little heat. Local, vegan and organic, food wasn’t going to get any purer than the menu at Gracias Madre without being raw, so I dug in. Three tacos later (butternut squash, greens and sautéed mushroom) in wonderful homemade corn tortillas with a healthy dollop of black beans, aside from an initial odd feeling I get from putting something hot in my mouth (stop), it went down just fine. And tasted? Divine!!! Just to go super duper crazy I also ordered a sangria (wonderful) and apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert (fab).

Here’s what happened: I almost immediately experienced significant phlegm (common gluten issue), which stuck around all night, and later noticed myself scratching absently at a bit of a flank rash, most likely also a gluten-gift. And a minor sleepiness.

My thoughts? Meh–I’d do it again, but not any time soon. My body clearly prefers raw, vegan, gluten-free fare, and I prefer feeling amazing, so I like to oblige. And eating that way is plain-and-simple my way of life now, and I love it. I love the taste, I love the quality, I love how I feel, and I love knowing that I’m eating in a way that’s amazing not only for MY health, but for the planet’s health too. But a carefully selected, high quality cooked meal here or there on a special occasion? Eh, maybe. LiveLove&BU

Art via