Restaurant Review: Cafe Gratitude, Los Angeles, CA
A quick post of a different kind today- my first restaurant review!
Last week I visited LA for a long weekend. It was my first time there, and I’ve got to say, I think it’d be worth moving there for the food alone! Call me nerdy, but I spent a Thurs, Fri, and Saturday night in the city, and didn’t go to one single bar. I shared some wine at home with my wonderful friends who were hosting me, but really, I spent my days running and checking out grocery stores and restaurants with a fellow healthy foodie- I guess that tells you where my priorities are!
I have read about Cafe Gratitude on so. many. blogs. and other websites before, so it was at the top of my list of healthy eats to check out while in LA. About 50% of their menu are raw food dishes, and the 50% that have cooked food are based in whole grains. I went there for lunch on a Saturday, and it was definitely bustling with people, but just barely not packed enough to make us have to wait. Score!
One of the things Cafe Gratitude is known for is the titles they give their food. Each dish is donned with a self-affirming name. For example, my friend and I shared an appetizer of rosemary sweet potatoes with mint chutney, which were called “I am Comforted.” (Warning! Expect to feel goofy when you place your order!) Being a sweet potato aficionado, I have to say that these potatoes were awesome. They were roasted to a perfect softness, and the rosemary was really fresh. The mint chutney was cool and had the slightest hint of jalepeno heat, which made it an awesome complement to the potatoes. I’ll be attempting to recreate, for sure!
Luckily, my friend gets just as excited about food as I do, so we opted to split and share a couple dishes so we could try as many things as we could fit in our stomachs. One of the main dishes we ordered was the “I am Complete” Mediterranean sampler plate:
The green scoops were a raw version of falafel balls. They had a delicious, herb-y taste, almost reminiscent of pesto. Taste-wise, they were my favorite part of the sampler, although they were a bit dry. The cream-colored scoop was a raw, almond and sunflower seed hummus, and it was also tasty. Texture-wise, the hummus was the best thing on the plate- light and creamy, with a nice nutty taste. The darker scoop on the right side of the plate was a olive tempanade. Olives aren’t my favorite, but my friend thought it was great! The cracker on the side was a delicious buckwheat sprouted cracker. We loved it, and my only real criticism of this plate is that they should give you more of the crackers. We ended up with a lot of the dips left over and had to eat them with a fork because we ran out of cracker. Sooo good.
The other main meal that we shared was the I am Terrific Kelp Thai Noodle/Kale bowl:
I thought this was really, really tasty. Kelp noodles are raw (so, usually served chilled), so they are really light. This way, you don’t feel all loaded down like from regular pasta. In this dish was the kelp noodles, sunflower sprouts, chopped veggies, teriyaki almonds, and a creamy thai sauce that pulled it all together in a way comparable to The Dude’s living room rug. I was totally in love with this dish, and felt light, yet satisfied after finishing it.
As for drinks, I don’t usually drink much during meals, so I just had a couple sips of water. My friend had an herbal iced tea (don’t remember what kind), and thought it was really good. They have alcohol on the menu, too, and if I came here for dinner, I’d definitely sip some wine from their impressive list.
Overall, I really loved the vibe of Cafe Gratitude. Our waiter was super friendly, and the whole staff seemed really happy and energetic. I’m sad we don’t have a place like this in NOLA!
Alright, I’m off to enjoy this deliciously gorgeous Sunday…
Peace, love, and forthcoming attempts at mint chutney,