As a ‘professional eater’, my body often needs ‘detox food’. Food that heals your body and soul…food that is so pure and full of nutrients, every inch of your body thanks you for nurturing them.
I have been a huge fan of Alchemy Arts Center Cafe for a while now. I usually get my lunch there as well as post-yoga munchies, afternoon pick me up cold press coffee and smoothies. There was a period time I would eat 3 meals there. I admit I was somewhat embarrassed to go in 3rd time around. But hey, it’s a good addiction to have. Forget the juice cleanse. (I can’t last more than a half day anyways.) Just come to Alchemy Arts Center Cafe for literally mind(soul)-blowing, ‘detox food’.
Urban Healing Center
So what is this place all about?
The story begins with a journey across the world. Alchemy Founder, Emma Narachi was exhausted, stressed, and depleted from a busy modern lifestyle as a mother and entrepreneur, and set out for a retreat center in Thailand. What she found was that after a couple of weeks of eating really well, receiving healing treatments, and getting some much needed rest, she felt like a whole new person. As she made the epic return journey, the inspiration for Alchemy Arts Center was born : an Urban Retreat where local people and tourists alike could find the health and vitality that she discovered on her journey to Thailand… and that they could use every day to help prevent the exhaustion and depletion that our modern lifestyle creates. Emma envisioned a “Quality of Life Center” where good food, healing treatments, therapeutic movement, and spa services could all come together under one roof, and where all the amenities of a world-class retreat center would be available to support the community right here in her hometown of Santa Barbara.
I remember the first time I stumbled upon this place, my jaw literally dropped. Where have you been all my life? Exotic, peaceful, absolutely beautiful. I can meditate even in their bathroom. (yup it’s that beautiful) I took bunch of pictures with my phones so I can decorate our house exactly like this. I want to live here. There is a spa upstairs where all different massages, facials, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, Reiki, yoga classes are held. After pampering yourself with spa treatments, you come down to the cafe where you nourish yourself with wholesome, pure, exotic and simply amazing food. Sounds good so far? I feel healed already.
New Chef, same great food
I see a new face – they welcomed a new chef, talented Erik Sternberg who added his magic touch to their popular existing menu and helps the cafe run smooth. He works with their clinical staffs to design new recipes and cleansing program integrating the wisdom and alchemy of chinese medicine, ayurveda and western herbalism. They are proudly certified as Farm Friendly Dining by The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association and of course make almost everything in-house including almond milk, coconut cream and even tea blends.
Alchemy Salad was my old favorite and still is. Fresh lettuce mix, avocado, crispy sprouted sunflower and pumpkin seeds with goji berry dressing which I tried to make it at home. Because it is so good!
Medicinal Mushroom Miso Soup builds blood, supports the liver and kidneys and helps you adapt to stress. And you can feel your body heals at your first sip.
Nori Roll is raw chick pea and kale hummus, julienned seasonal vegetable in spicy peach dipping sauce and it taste as good as it looks! Warm chick pea falafel is served under seasonal fruit salsa, arugula salad and lemon-tahini sauce. Warm and satisfying…Smoothies and juices from Tonic Bar are out of this world good. Papa smurf smoothie, wow! Blueberry, apple juice and coconut flesh. Rich in essential fatty acids, it soothes the central nervous system and strengthen the eyes. Ok, I just want to believe everything they say. Now I can see better!!…
I love their chill-filtered coffee. Coconut almond coffee is chill-filtered coffee served with homemade almond milk and of course homemade coconut cream ‘float’ I call. It’s like a dollop of whip cream on frappucino, you just want to chase after it as you drink. And oh my, mystical mocha with spicy medicinal cacao is just divine.
As pumpkins season approaches, don’t forget to try their famous pumpkin soup. (Coming up in fall). They had this delicious vegetable curry that I hope to see come back.
There are so many ‘soul’-blowing food and drinks at Alchemy. To write all about it, it will take up the entire newspaper. I will leave the rest up to you to experience. This rare gem is a beyond health food restaurant. I don’t want to go all ‘cosmic’ on you, but you will come out of there feeling like a new person. Now if you would excuse me, I am going to meditate. Ommmm Papa smurf smoothie——…………
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