LUNCH + DINNER AT WEHO'S GRACIAS MADRE

I was so curious about West Hollywood's Gracias Madre, that I took one for the team and ate both lunch and dinner there, so I could really scope the (plant-based) place out. Despite the fact that I am proud meat-eater, I was very interested in the fact that they serve organic, locally sourced, farm fresh food AND superb, out-of-this-world drinks -- my two favorite things, really. The decor is on point and the staff, on both visits, were warm and welcoming. I found myself forgetting, at many points throughout these meals, that this is in fact a 100% vegan restaurant. Take me here everyday, and I just might convert.

Lunching on a lovely marble-top table: (organic, non-gmo) Tortilla Chips, Fresh Guacamole and a mini-smorgasbord of drinks.

We mixed it up with two cocktails and two non-alcoholic drinks. From left: Mezcal Mule, Madre Green Smoothie, La Quinceañera (snow cone for grown-ups!) and Horchata.

Fried Cauliflower and Nacho Cheese.

Kale and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad (Warning: Spicey!)

Sweet Potato Flautas and a Guatemalan Style Tamal.

Pretty and serene outdoor seating.

Back for a candlelit dinner and ready to party.

Starting the evening off with the beautiful Sorry Ms. Jamson cocktail.

More amazing craft cocktails. From left to right: Purista Margarita, La Quinceañera, The Three Miracles, Seasonal Sangria, La Belleza, The Dude Abides.

Quinoa and Black Eyed Pea Salad.

Crabcakes

Brussles Sprouts topped with a Cilantro Almond Pesto

Gorditas, next to Enchiladas Con Mole

Fudge Brownie and Pumpkin Spice Cake for dessert. 

Gracias Madre, the verdict is in: I'd skip meat for you. xoxo.

EATING IN CALGARY + CANMORE

The Great White North, as my Canadian husband calls it, is a land of nice people, clean bathrooms, fresh air and a lot of heavy drinking.  I'm more of the heavy eating type.  They have a saying in Calgary, "if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute, it'll change."  But most of our recent trip included below fa-reezing temps, so we ventured into the city for some hot chocolate, and ran our frozen California selves right into Analog Coffee.  

Mila is very serious about hot chocolate. 

For lunch, we happened upon what I would call the Bottega Louie of Calgary, Corbeaux Bakehouse.  Chef Keith Luce oversees the culinary experience. He's cooked for President Clinton and won the James Beard Rising Star award.  Enough said, right?

Mila overseeing bakery production.

Our next adventure was a daycation to Canmore.  Although I believe it's better suited to an overnighter -- you really need that fireplace to kick off your snow boots in front of and play some board games.  But this time we took the day and ventured out to behold the natural beauty that is Canmore.  Known for the Three Sisters mountains (a trio of peaks), it's a beautiful little mountain town situated right next to the world-famous Banff.  They're gorgeous but pictures don't do them justice so I haven't included any here (laugh).

We noshed on some serious yumminess at the Mountain Mercato.  Who doesn't love some good charcuterie and cheese on a frosty day?

And then, of course, we had to take some goodies home!