|Cafe Gratitude Los Angeles|
After getting at mani-pedi at Marie Nails (which, by the way, I do recommend!), we drove down Beverly Boulevard to Cafe Gratitude. It is located outside of the busy Hollywood area in what appears to be a more residential area. We thought our GPS has brought us to the wrong destination, but it wasn't wrong! Cafe Gratitude is part of a tiny plaza that even has free (but limited) underground parking! Free parking in Los Angeles is nearly unheard of... Just watch for the bright blue A-fold sign that points to the garage entrance.
My mom still needed a bit of coaxing before actually agreeing to eat at the restaurant. We walked into the cafe (not restaurant) side and asked to see the menu. The prices were decent and it was getting late so we asked for a table. There was a covered patio seating area that would've been a lovely place to eat; evening temperatures in Los Angeles are extremely enjoyable. Unfortunately, eating outdoors would have to wait for another time. Seating is a bit dim, especially as the sun begins to set.
We were served water in unique glass bottles that matched the hippie-style of the whole restaurant. Now, descriptions of the dishes on vegan menus doesn't really do much more than listing all the vegetables used. Photos are much more effective in showing how the ingredients were transformed into a work of art, so I suggest taking some time to look at the photos on Yelp and Urbanspoon before visiting to get a sense of what interests you. I also asked our waitress for recommendations and what the most popular dishes are. She was very patient and kind to us newbie vegan diners while waiting for us to make decisions or taking our order. Oh, I've heard you're supposed to order by saying "I am..." then the dish name, cute huh?
After writing down our orders, the waitress or waiter will ask you the question of the day, which is written on a chalk board by the cashier. Our question was 'What are you proud of?' and served as an opening topic for our table to chat away some of the wait time for our food. It is a clever way for the restaurant to keep the atmosphere lively and the guests less focused on how long it takes for food to be made.
|I am Warm Hearted ($13)|
My dad got one of the summer monthly specials, called I am Warm Hearted, with a base of polenta topped with a summer vegetable ratatouille and cashew creme fraiche. We weren't familiar with polenta and didn't know exactly what it was. Although this wasn't the best dinner my dad has ever had, he gladly finished his portion.
There was a long table containing a large group of adults that came to celebrate a birthday at Cafe Gratitude. The restaurant has a routine when a birthday is celebrated; a special happy birthday song is blared very loudly over the speakers and all the waiters and waitresses come out to sing and present a birthday dessert. The sudden loud music was frightening and made everyone jump out of their seats. The table of two fashionably-dressed women sitting next to us even muttered "What the-" due to the sudden change in music. It was all rather amusing really.
Throughout the meal, my parents continued to poke fun at the fact we were eating vegan food. "It looks like we're eating out of dog bowls" or the eraser comment were just a few remarks I remember. Nevertheless, my family had a fun time trying something completely new and out of their comfort zone. Mom said it was tastier than she had expected it to be. I, however, really enjoyed the overall experience. My kelp noodles were good, not the best, but I'm sure there are other menu items that better exemplify the art of vegan food. Cafe Gratitude is a very hippie-esque restaurant, but I didn't feel intimidated at all. The range of customers is very broad, everyone from families with young children, businessmen, or young adults came to enjoy a veggie-ful dinner. For locals needing a mix-up in their restaurant routine or tourists looking for an adventure for the taste buds, Cafe Gratitude is the place to go! We desperately need more vegan restaurants where I live, to dine at when I'm craving healthy feel-good food. Until then, I'll ask Peanut Crumpet to be my vegan chef ;)
Reviews on Yelp
Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡