San Francisco is home to the original hippie, the flower child borne of the 1967 Summer of Love, though only faint traces of the counter culture movement remain today. Largely replaced by tech workers with smartphones in their pockets rather than floral ornaments in their hair, it disappoints me to no end that we don’t even have an outpost of Flower Child out in the bay area. Had it not been for a trip out to Austin, TX, I never would have even known of the peaceable chain.
During my whirlwind five-day visit, I managed to drop in not once, but twice; a real rarity for a food traveler with a bucket list of restaurants to eat at, not historical sights to see. Given more time, I might have simply taken up residence on those plush benches lining the walls instead of booking a proper hotel room. True to concept, the vibe is essential to the experience, setting it apart from other fast-casual dining experiences. Seeking harmony between all sorts of eaters, the menu is clearly labeled with abundant options for the vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, and omnivorous among us.
Vegetable-forward dishes allow peak produce to shine, like the simple heirloom tomato salad spiked with balsamic vinegar and shreds of fresh basil strewn about like confetti. Crisp cubes of watermelon sweetly contrast and provide balance overall. A rotating list of seasonal sides offers other savory treats like roasted yuzu Brussels sprouts, blistered snap peas, or curried cauliflower, depending on the time of year.
Poke bowls are a rising food trend for good reason, especially evident when the concept is applied to a fishless main. Tender cubes of marinated beets join forces with lighted brined mushrooms, both salty and umami, with all the fatty decadence of avocado to drive the combination home. Crunchy wasabi peas are an unexpected touch of whimsy in this ode to whole foods. The spicy bites are a good reminder that healthy eating shouldn’t be boring, nor are those choices black and white.
If there was a signature dish at Flower Child, the Mother Earth Bowl would be the undisputed winner of that title. It’s the one that everyone talks about in newspapers, magazines, and blogs the world over, each source breathlessly extolling the virtues of its copious components. The appeal is obvious just from a glance at the bare ingredients; roasted sweet potato and portobello mushrooms, broccoli pesto, charred onions, avocado, and cucumber, all perched upon a bed of ancient grains and lavished with red pepper miso vinaigrette. It really is like having the whole world in a bowl before you.
While I can’t get those same chill vibes out in NorCal, the flower children in the kitchen were generous enough to spread the love with this harmonious secret formula.
Bowl and Assembly:
- 6 Ounces Cooked Mixed Grains, Such as Red Quinoa, Farro, and Barley
- 2 Ounces Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 2 1/2 Ounces Roasted Portobello Mushroom
- 1/2 Ounce Arugula
- 1 Teaspoon Daikon Sprouts
- 1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Broccoli Pesto (Recipe Follows)
- 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Miso Marmalade (Recipe Follows)
- 2 Tablespoons Cucumber Relish (Recipe Follows)
- 1/4 Avocado, Sliced
- 1 Teaspoon Hemp Seeds
- 1 Cup Broccoli, Blanched
- 1/4 Cup Black Kale, Blanched
- 2 Tablespoons Roasted Pistachios
- 2 Tablespoons Baby Spinach
- 1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
- 1 Teaspoon Mint Leaves
- 1 ¼ Teaspoons Lemon Zest
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Water
Red Pepper Miso Marmalade:
- 1/2 Cup Peppadew Peppers, Roughly Chopped
- 1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
- 2 Teaspoons Minced Fresh Ginger
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Miso Paste
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Cucumbers, Peeled, Seeded, and Finely Diced
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- 2 Teaspoon Sesame Chili Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
- 1/2 Teaspoon Mint Leaves, Minced
- ¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- To make the broccoli pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth and emulsified.
- To make the red pepper miso marmalade, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth and emulsified.
- To make the cucumber relish, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until incorporated.
- Now, you're ready to build your bowl! To prepare dish, toss arugula with sprouts and vinegar, then spoon the mixed grains into the center of the bowl.
- Place sweet potatoes on top, followed by the portobello. Place arugula next to mushrooms and cucumber salad next to arugula.
- Top with pesto, marmalade, and avocado across the center of the dish. Finish with hemp seeds and enjoy.
Individual components can be prepped up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 691Total Fat: 178gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 143gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 4929mgCarbohydrates: 240gFiber: 43gSugar: 44gProtein: 58g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.