Hello Portland! Hello Harlow! Oh yeah, Christine had a work trip to Portland that had nothing to do with me, but since I’m such an awesome husband I tagged along. And here we are (Christine on the other side of this picture) at this lovely café in the funky Southeast area of the city.

Even though pumpkins are gourds – and unless there’s erva mate in a gourd, I want nothing to do with it – I chose to hold this pumpkin because it’s Halloween! – and Portlanders are so into their Halloween. A stroll around Portland on Halloween night was like being in a movie where monsters are nice and civilized.

Nice people also made the staff of this great spot Harlow – sister café of Prasad at the other side of the river; equally nice and awesome.

Because I came back here for more, I got to try so many things – on top of the 47 or so “no-bake” cookies I got from the counter.  The dish you see is the awesome Vegan Mac n’ Cheese with KALE! (Kale is my friend). There’s great brunch options too, like the Mercy Blues poached eggs which I enjoyed with the delicious Harlow chai.

Left Portland feeling the love and remembering the food (a Mecca of organics). Didn’t see a whole lot of the sun in this visit, but the light was certainly in the people.

Oh man! I was still coming back to Earth. I got the most amazing massage and Reiki at the Alchemy Arts Center. Then, through the beautiful set of arched doors and overall architecture that somehow unites the signature Santa Barbara Spanish colonial revival style with details that are kind of Persian to my eyes (lovely!), I slowly and sleepily made my way downstairs to the café. Christine was waiting for me down there. I thought that from the buoyant condition I found myself, I could only further benefit from my bed. I was wrong! After being pampered by touch and positive intentions, I was taken care of with a menu that is like me (vegetarian, but with eggs). Well, the thing about me is that when I go places to eat I don’t usually see menus; what I see are ingredients for me to play “Chef Thi” – I’m pretty sure the in-house chefs think it’s a great game too. So, I had my on-the-spot creation: “Thiago’s Scrambled Eggs with Steamed Veggies”. The friendly (for real) waiter was really nice to have it done for me. Christine had the Sweet Potato & Swiss Chard Frittata. And the grand finale, which totally did the job of waking me up completely now, was the delicious Chocolate Pot. Unfortunately the Chocolate Pot was too small for extending my spa day with a bath, but it did a great job feeding my unending chocolate craving for a few hours. It also was a great sub for a cake. Yes, it’s my birthday and a great one too. Now that we’re maca fueled, we’re sealing it with a swim at Carpinteria Beach. Santa Barbara I wanna kiss you in the mouth!

Ok, the Farmer & the Cook is a place I wish was in Santa Barbara – or at least that there was something like that there. I have a huge crush on Santa Barbara, but one thing I wish I saw more of when I was there is ORGANIC RESTAURANTS! There are some, but there should be more. All right, now that I got something totally unrelated to Ojai and Farmer and the Cook out the way, let’s talk about those.

Ojai: a town in California where “Farmer and the Cook” is located.

Need I say more about Farmer and the Cook? That probably isn’t fair to Ojai, but that’s how it was for us. We found the café through a Google search and as we were staying in Santa Barbara we thought “we’ll go there and maybe we’ll get to know Ojai in the process”. Didn’t happen. But F&C did and three times – like a good summer fling. And like a good summer fling it was a major remedy to get over a broken heart: Brazil’s biggest soccer tragedy at the 2014 World Cup. Yes, I’m a Brazilian who didn’t go to the World Cup IN BRAZIL! Well, now you know my psychic abilities are fine tuned.

I had an authentic Mexican dish with the Taquitos, but without everything that makes it Mexican – I don’t eat tomatoes or peppers. I know, I know… there’s more things I don’t eat than do. Welcome to my food blog!

I do drink green juices though – everyday! – which was well taken care of as you can see. Christine was having that beet and something juice there, but since she’s on the other side of this picture, I had my grandpa sit on her chair for this shot.

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Thiago de Melo is presented
by Sunnyheart Recordings

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