Though it’s hard to be away from school and family for conferences, one of the highlights is enjoying a new place. I have been to Seattle before, but I haven’t had much of an opportunity to explore the culinary offerings. A wonderful gift from last week’s NAIS conference was a fantastic dining experience at an alumni restaurant.
Last Wednesday night the Marin Academy crew visited Café Flora, the award-winning vegetarian restaurant of Nat Stratton-Clarke ’00. When it opened in 1990, former managing partner Scott Glascock explained in an interview, “We wanted to overcome the stereotypes associated with vegetarian food. We wanted to showcase great vegetarian cuisine from other parts of the world and at the same time provide a pleasing environment and good service.”
It did not disappoint: we were able to share many exquisite dishes from salads to pizzas to pastas to desserts, and the experience was superior to any that I have had in a vegetarian restaurant—or many non-vegetarian restaurants, for that matter.
What also stuck out was Café Flora’s commitment to sustainability and community. Nat explained how the floor was stained with a nontoxic soy-based stain, and that much of the wood in the restaurant was recycled from the same local farms that provide the restaurant’s ingredients. A children’s play area is immediately in view when you enter, as are vegetarian books: one is Café Flora’s own cookbook, and next to it is That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, a children’s book by Nat’s classmate Ruby Roth ’00.
I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to dine with one of our own at such an impressive place!