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Pacha Mama’s spreads the love with every bite

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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I believe there's absolute truth to the old cliché about getting to someone's heart through his or her stomach. I don't know about the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate and oysters, but I do think that the right food has the ability to win over the heart and trigger plenty of feel-good endorphins. There's a restaurant tucked away in Downtown Auburn that has had a successful first year infusing heart into the food. With a name like Pacha Mama's ¦ So Much Love, you can't help but feel warm and fuzzy. Located in the Gold Country Mall, Pacha Mama's offers wraps, rice bowls, smoothies and salads. Every time I'm interacting in business, I bring love into it. It changes the vibrations, said Dawntrix Kerry, who described herself as a Pacha Mama's catalyst. Kerry, who owns the nearby Auburn Alchemy, said Pacha Mama's has evolved and continues to evolve from her simple desire to have quality food readily available. It was a selfish endeavor, because I really just wanted healthy food across from my shop, she said with a laugh. I wanted something simple, I wanted something easy and something healthy. Basically, Kerry expressed interest in what ended up being Pacha Mama's long enough that others signed on as partners. This is not my creation. I'm simply following guidance. I just got so excited about it because I got to be a part of it but I didn't really have to shoulder it. I got a loan, and people said, OK, I want to be a part of it, she said. I said, ˜Let's just create it.' It could be cooperative. It could be collective. We're still just figuring it out, but it's magic. It's been a journey on my part. When I arrived for my interview, Kerry was busy heating almond milk, which she served with granola to a trio of young men on the mend after a 21st birthday party. This nurturing act was an introduction to the feeling of warmth and, well, love that envelopes you at Pacha Mama's. Something written on a chalkboard on one of the restaurant's walls says it all: Food is love (when you eat at Mama's). I learned how to make the South of the Border wrap, which falls under Kerry's aforementioned desired restaurant qualities: It's simple and it's healthy. Writing about the assembly won't take much space in this story ” take a tortilla, smear it with cream cheese or Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, add two scoops brown rice, one scoop organic black beans, tomatoes, salsa, a pinch of cilantro and roll it nice and snug. It truly is that easy, and the end result is enough to make you hug yourself. This wrap goes for $6.50 and comes with chips and your choice of salsa or house-made hummus, or greens. Kerry said the restaurant's name is borrowed from the Pachamama Alliance, the mission of which is to preserve tropical rainforests by empowering the indigenous people who are its natural custodians, according to the alliance Web site. The word pachamama refers to sacred Mother Earth, all time, all space and the universe. Kerry believes this translates well in the kitchen, and she tries to do her part by serving organic, healthy ingredients and items. When you're working together and you're serving food you're putting that energy into the food, and people can really taste it, she said. It's about consciousness. We're a place where you start thinking about what you put in your mouth. I mean, you are what you eat. So Much Love, while technically a restaurant-naming afterthought, makes a whole lotta sense, Kerry said. Live by your heart, she said. I think if we just used our heart as our true north our planet would be a lot better.