If you ever consider applying for medical school, you should know that the process puts you through the wringer in every way you can imagine. It involves sacrifice, hard work, focus, and dedication at a sprint pace and for a marathon distance. It’s demanding.
There are also upsides. There are proud moments, the odd breakthrough, and some feelings of accomplishment. And every once in awhile, there are trips to Miami.
My favorite sentence ever written is the first line of Joan Didion’s Miami, which I was thrilled to discover at library book sale this morning. I won’t spoil it for you, but my old pal Didion allowed me to arrive in the city with a good feeling about the endeavor.
In March, when most of America is waiting by the phone for spring to call, southern Florida is a breezy 80 degree paradise. In San Francisco, it’s 55 degrees and raining, which I don’t really mind, but I definitely enjoyed the chance to be on the beach for a little while when I wasn’t marching through a hospital or university in my pumps and pearls. We don’t get to spend as much time on the beach as we’d like to; when my father saw the photo above, his comment was, “I think you might have been the two palest people in the state of Florida.” Likely.
After an afternoon in South Beach, we got the chance to visit T.H.R.I.V.E., an all-vegan and mostly-raw cafe tucked behind a garden antiques shop with a shaded patio and the two friendliest and most charming chefs I’ve ever met.
I felt instantly at home when I saw the menu signage at the entrance to the cafe.
… And then even more at home when I got inside and read the menu. We started with the gazpacho, not pictured, which featured chunks of tomatoes, onion, and cucumber in a light tomato broth with lots of chopped dill. This was probably the weakest dish we had here; the ingredients were great, but the flavors weren’t as well balanced as I would have liked, and the broth could have used more body.
For my entrée, I ordered the raw taco, which featured a hearty, savory “meat” with a base of crumbled germinated walnuts and a topping of cashew-based sour cream. It was perfect: the flavors was bright and fresh, and it was exactly what I wanted to be eating after a long day. It also came with a generous portion of salad, which pleased me immensely.
Reese tried the curried tofu sandwich and shared a bit or two with me. We both agreed that the tofu salad was excellent, but the millet bread wasn’t our favorite; it was a bit dry and spongy.
Because I had a medical school interview that day, we decided we should celebrate with dessert, something we save for special occasions. The ladies at T.H.R.I.V.E. had put together a dessert they called Chunky Monkey (also the name of Reese’s favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor), which was a chocolate-banana-coconut cheesecake in a walnut-date-raisin crust. It was every bit as indulgent and decadent and tasty as it sounds.
After dinner, we chatted with the women who run the café and discovered that one of them, Gabrielle, went to college in San Francisco and is coming to visit our fair city next month. She took down my number and I promised to escort her to Gracias Madre when she comes to town. I’m looking forward to it, Gabrielle!
The café made me feel like I could make a home in Miami if that turns out to be our destiny, and even if we don’t end up moving there, I’d love to go back and visit some time when we can really soak up all the lovely things the city has to offer. Thanks for a great evening, T.H.R.I.V.E.!