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The Café Didn’t Change; I Did May 19, 2009

I work on a street that, for better and for worse, is lined with dozens of great restaurants, cafes and shops. I hardly ever bring my lunch to work because… well, because I am lazy. And it’s so easy to find great food just steps away from my office.

The closest place to my office is a very Zen-ish tea shop. I love their teas but in the past have hated their food. My co-worker and I have agreed that their food was “really bad.” But what it is, is very simple, unadorned, and HEALTHY food. It used to bore us to tears. Their soups are all based on some kind of vegetable broth. Their sandwiches seemed just… meh.  We would walk way out of our way to go to other places on the street, which when I think about it now, have soups that are filled with cream or cheese, and really decadent sandwiches.

Recently I was in a total rush for time and didn’t have time to be walking all over the place for food. I went to the tea shop and ordered a chicken salad sandwich.  I wasn’t expecting much. Now normally a chicken salad sandwich is pretty rich – gloppy with mayo, etc. But this sandwich was so different. First, it’s on very dense whole grain bread. Then, the chicken itself is dressed with probably 1/2 teaspoon of mayo, total, and some herbs. And it has about pound (okay, I exaggerate!) of dark leafy greens, and also has some sliced almonds and grapes thrown in.

It’s good. It’s sooooooo good.  And I am amazed at how delicious and clean and yummy and healthy this sandwich is. Months ago, I would have sneered and called it “bad food” because I was so used to eating food that was super rich and dense with fat. Now, I see their tomato lentil soup and I think how good that sounds. I call the other cafe and when they tell me about their super cheesy chowder, it just feels like… too much.

Neither place has changed their menu at all. But I have.

And now I’m so glad that my favorite lunch spot is only about 100 feet from my desk. :-)

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8 Responses to “The Café Didn’t Change; I Did”

  1. Interesting, I think I know the shop you mean; I’ve never eaten “real food” there, will try it now.

    When I was visiting a friend in Venice Beach last year, I raved about Mao’s Kitchen, Northern Chinese food. I find it yummy. Yes it’s healthier, too, with brown rice etc. But to me it’s just really good. My friend says she doesn’t eat there because the flavors are “too clean.”

  2. jadepark Says:

    omg thank G*D. I thought you were going to say you now love Cafe Gratitude. And then we’d have to TALK.

  3. It is so amazing how your attitude can affect how you see everything!

  4. Ha ha ha, no, I’ll never love Café Gratitude! But that has nothing to do with the food; the food was fine. It was PEOPLE that made that place intolerable.

  5. Great post! My hubby and I were just talking about how we have changed some of our eating habits over the last few years and how some of our old favorites just don’t sound appealing at all anymore. In fact, we were astonished when we thought about what we used to eat and like…

  6. Robin Says:

    Your post made me feel so happy for you!! It always amazes me how much our tastes change, and how good clean eating feels when we do it.
    Good for you!!

  7. Hanlie Says:

    It just goes to show that our palates do change when we commit ourselves to being healthy. I take great pleasure in simple, yet tasty food these days, where previously I craved rich, creamy pastas.

    I loved this post!

  8. Michael-David Says:

    I so look forward to that day. I have generally really enjoyed healthy and simple foods but alas this hasn’t limited my unsustainable pleasures in fried chicken and sweet potato pie, or noodle kugel, blintzes and brisket…


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